Six Purple Hearts for Chattanooga Attack + More – Daily Digest

Posted on Thu 12/17/2015 by


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“The consciousness of having discharged that duty which we owe to our country is superior to all other considerations.” —George Washington, 1788


Six Purple Hearts for Chattanooga Attack

The Purple Heart. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

After the FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service finished their investigation into the July attack at two Navy facilities in Chattanooga, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the five service members who died and the one who was wounded will receive Purple Heart medals. “Their heroism and service to our nation will be remembered always,” Mabus said in the announcement Wednesday. The men who gave their lives for their country are: Marine Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells and Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith. Marine Sgt. DeMonte Cheeley, who was wounded in the attack, will also receive the Purple Heart.

For political reasons, Barack Obama has avoided labeling attacks on military facilities in our homeland acts of terrorism — something to do with that story about al-Qaida on the run and the Islamic State being contained. He even waited five days after the Chattanooga attack to order the flags at half staff. Furthermore, fallen and wounded soldiers have previously been denied the honor and support that comes with the Purple Heart. It took five years for survivors of the 2009 Fort Hook attack to receive medals. In the case of Chattanooga, the FBI took its time — five months — to announce the attacker was inspired by propaganda created, in the words of FBI Director James Comey, by a “foreign terrorist organization.” Obama finally but offhandedly acknowledged these attacks were terrorism in his Oval Office speech last week. On the other hand, as Chattanooga’s daily newspaper The Times Free Press notes, the FBI waited two days before labeling the San Bernardino attack an act of terrorism. Clearly, the Obama narrative is falling apart.

Is the IRS Once Again Conspiring Against Conservatives?

As much trouble as the IRS has gotten itself into, you’d think it would tread carefully before rolling out more suspicious rules. But no. This is the IRS we’re talking about — the one that politically targeted conservative groups and whose tax-exempt chief at the time, Lois Lerner, walked free. Now we’re seeing what happens when government agencies aren’t held accountable. A Wall Street Journal editorial cautions that a new IRS rule has all the warning sings of another politically motivated hatchet job to stifle finance contributions. To wit:

In September the Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department proposed a rule to give 501©(3) charities the “option” of filing detailed reports on every donor who contributes more than $250. These reports would include names, addresses and Social Security numbers. Oh, oh.

While the IRS says the rule is “voluntary,” in government that’s often a prelude to compulsory. The legitimate fear in the nonprofit world, on the right and left, is that this is a first step toward making such donor lists mandatory, and then applying the requirement to every nonprofit — including the conservative social-welfare organizations that the IRS helped to shut down in the 2012 presidential election.

Such a requirement opens up a whole can of worms, the net effect being that donors who value their privacy (and want to stay out of the IRS’s crosshairs) will close their pocketbooks altogether. Who, after all, willingly provides their Social Security number to a nonprofit? Even the IRS advises against haphazardly giving it away. Add that to the fact the agency has given us every reason not to trust it, and this may be yet another attempt to silence political foes (read: conservatives). Anything to undermine Citizens United, right?

Hung Jury in First Trial Over Freddie Gray Death

In a decision that satisfied no one, the judge presiding over the trial of Officer William Porter, the first of six police officers tried over the April death of Freddie Gray, declared a mistrial. After the jury deliberated for three days, they were unable to come to an agreement over the verdicts of the four charges Porter faced: involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. The death of Gray after his neck was broken while in a police transport van sparked riots in Baltimore. The city’s officials acted quickly, with State Attorney Marilyn Mosby throwing the book at the officers with such force they responded by accusing the attorney of having a conflict of interest. It didn’t help that when Mosby announced the charges, she said, “To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America, I heard your call for ‘No Justice, No Peace.’” Furthermore, the city implied that it thought its police officers were guilty by settling with Gray’s family for $6.4 million before the criminal cases ever hit court. This hung jury throws up a barrier to the city’s rush to “justice.” In preparation of the blowback it would receive, the city braced for more protests, and three school districts canceled field trips into the city. As for Porter, he told a reporter from the Baltimore Sun “It’s not over yet,” as the city can still decide to prosecute him again.

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Budgeting for a Republican President

By Allyne Caan

Boehner’s last laugh

When Paul Ryan succeeded John Boehner as speaker of the House, we hoped he wouldn’t turn out to be “Boehner Jr.” when it came to holding the conservative line against the Democrat minority. While many conservatives may be tempted to attribute the moniker to him in light of the latest budget, it’s important to remember that Barack Obama still holds the White House and Republicans are budgeting for the future — and a GOP president.

This week, Speaker Ryan unveiled a $1.1 trillion, 2,000-page spending and taxes package that can hardly be called a homerun for conservatives. In fact, it’s a steaming pile of Potomac sludge. The biggest caveat is that spending levels for the package had already been determined back in October by Boehner’s last hurrah. You’ll recall that Boehner, unable to get his own party on board, rounded up Democrat support to push through a budget deal increasing federal spending by $80 billion over the next two years.

While Ryan was constrained by Boehner’s parting gift, it’s what made it into Ryan’s plan — and what didn’t — that has some folks raising eyebrows.

In the Republican “win” column, the plan lifts the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports. In exchange, however, Democrats secured a five-year extension of tax breaks for wind and solar energy producers.

Another win came on ObamaCare. The Wall Street Journal explains, “Crucially, they preserved the explicit legal language preventing a risk-corridor bailout of money-losing insurers on the Affordable Care Act exchanges. The medical device tax will be suspended for two years, and the insurance industry tax for a year, while the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost health plans will start in 2020 instead of 2018.”

In a significant loss for conservatives, though, the package does not include restrictions on Obama’s plan to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees (or, for all we know, 9,500 refugees and 500 terrorists; who’s counting — or vetting — anyway?). Instead, the bill focuses on reforming the visa waiver program, which allows individuals from approved countries travel to the U.S. without first obtaining a visa. The reform would prevent folks from visa-waiver countries from coming to the U.S. sans a visa if those individuals had previously traveled to known Islamic State hotspots, such as Iraq or Syria. This is a worthwhile reform to be sure, but it doesn’t even come close to addressing how the U.S. plans to separate terrorists from refugees here in the homeland. And “trust us” is not an acceptable response.

Another Republican loss is the intact federal funding for Planned Parenthood, though that leaves the Left with one fewer election lightning rods. And the package fails to cut funding for Obama’s executive overreach on immigration.

In fact, Democrats announced that they “beat back about 150 Republican riders” in the package. Absent, for example, are riders focusing on Dodd-Frank financial reform, environmental regulations, or the U.S.’s new “normalized relations” policy with Cuba.

Defending the package, Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong stated, “While not getting everything we wanted, the speaker noted that both packages include many provisions that Republicans have long fought for. The speaker noted that though there are significant wins in these packages, we must not repeat this process and instead get back to regular order in 2016.”

While this may be desirable to Republican Party wonks (we prefer the “animating contest of Freedom” espoused by Samuel Adams,) the losses are significant enough that the “let’s just move on” attitude has become Ryan’s primary sales pitch for the plan.

After Ryan spoke Tuesday with members of the House GOP conference, Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI) remarked, “[Ryan] feels that it’s time to start fresh, that we increase our hand and we’ll have better negotiating position if we have a strong Republican vote this year.”

Of course, conservatives never trust the “let’s cave now so we can negotiate better later” approach.

Indeed, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, posed this very question: “I don’t understand that at all,” he said, “give the Democrats what they want now so next time they won’t want as much?”

Despite very valid concerns, Ryan’s plan will likely pass when put to a House vote this week. But don’t expect all conservatives to go along with it. The shadows of Boehner are, understandably, still too long. All that being said, the optimistic approach is to remember that it will take years to undo the damage Barack Obama has done, and a single budget while he’s still in the Oval Office isn’t going to be the final word.



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George Will: “[A]s the ink dries on the Paris gesture of right-mindedness, let us praise the solar energy source most responsible for the surge of human betterment that began with the harnessing of fossil fuels around 1800. The source is, of course, coal, a still abundant and indispensable form in which the sun’s energy has been captured from carbon-based life. Matt Ridley, a member of a British coal-producing family and author of ‘The Rational Optimist,’ notes that the path of mankind’s progress, material as well as moral, has been from reliance on renewable but insufficient energy sources to today’s 85 percent reliance on energy from fossil fuels. The progression has been from reliance on human (often slaves’) muscles, to animal energy (first oxen, then horses), to burning wood and peat as stores of sunlight, to energy from water and wind, to, at last, fossil fuels. Sustained economic growth, a necessary prerequisite for scientific and technological dynamism, became possible, Ridley writes, when humanity was able to rely on ‘non-renewable, non-green, non-clean power.’ … In May 1945, Aneurin Bevan, a leading light among British socialists, said: ‘This island is made mainly of coal and surrounded by fish. Only an organizing genius could produce a shortage of coal and fish at the same time.’ Genius was not required. Socialism — command-and-control government of the sort that climate fine-tuners recommend for the entire planet — soon accomplished this marvel, with coal rationed and the price of fish soaring.”


Insight: “Nothing is so galling to a people not broken in from birth as a paternal, or, in other words, a meddling government, a government which tells them what to read, and say, and eat, and drink and wear.” —Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859)

Leftmedia double standards: “Bush flies over New Orleans two days after Katrina: DOESN’T CARE! Obama visits San Bernardino two weeks after massacre on way to tropical paradise: COMPASSIONATE.” —twitter satirist @hale_razor

Village Idiots: “[W]e’ve allowed these trillion-dollar industries to manipulate the argument about the science for too long. This year is a massive tipping point in the climate struggle. … [L]ook, everyone loves money, I love money — we live in the United States. This is a capitalist country. But ultimately we’ve locked ourselves, through capitalism, into an addiction to oil that’s incredibly hard to reverse.” —Leonardo DiCaprio (So when can we expect you to begin living like the rest of us commoners?)

Wrong prescription: “Never before in our history have enemies outside the United States been able to propagate genuinely dangerous ideas on American territory in such an effective way — and by this I mean ideas that lead directly to terrorist attacks that kill people. The novelty of this threat calls for new thinking about limits on freedom of speech.” —University of Chicago Law School professor Eric Posner in Slate

Non Compos Mentis: “White men are approximately 30 percent of the population but account for 60 percent of the mass shootings. … White men are 31 percent of the population but own 62 percent of the guns in the United States. … There will be no effective gun control in the United States, even in the aftermath of horrific events such as Sandy Hook, the Planned Parenthood Shooting, or the San Bernardino massacre, until politicians, pundits, and analysts realize that the gun is a type of totem or fetish object for too many white men.” —Salon’s Chauncey DeVega

And last… “Our Syria evolution: 1) Assad must go. 2) Don’t you dare use chemical weapons. 3) Use of chemical weapons shows why Assad must go. 4) ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.” —Andrew Stiles

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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