By Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT:  Let me join the #hashtag chorus for a just a few minutes and let’s look back at one of the weirdest weeks in #foreignpolicy in recent memory (and that’s saying something.)

I’m #baffled, really, by this #hashtag #diplomacy.  What in the heck is going on here?!

Fausta posted earlier in the week on #hashtagdiplomacy in response to Michelle Obama’s now infamous tweet in which she held up a sign saying #bringbackourgirls.  It is beyond bizarre to me that the First Lady would do this.  Not that she’s done anything wrong, mind you, just that it’s weird.  When I first saw the photo my first response was “Is this what we’ve come to?”  Really?

I wasn’t alone in that thought.  Cut to Mark Steyn:

It is hard not to have total contempt for a political culture that thinks the picture at right is a useful contribution to rescuing 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by jihadist savages in Nigeria. Yet some pajama boy at the White House evidently felt getting the First Lady to pose with this week’s Hashtag of Western Impotence would reflect well upon the Administration. The horrible thing is they may be right: Michelle showed she cared – on social media! – and that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

The key word in that, at least to me, is “Western Impotence.”

What in the world is a #hashtag going to do?  Doesn’t the world already feel terrible about the kidnapping of 276 Nigerian school girls who will be (have been already?) sold in to slavery?  A #hashtag is going to make us more aware?  #seriously?

Steyn again:

There’s something slightly weird about taking a hashtag – which on the Internet at least has a functional purpose – and getting a big black felt marker and writing it on a piece of cardboard and holding it up, as if somehow the comforting props of social media can be extended beyond the computer and out into the real world. 

Absolutely weird.

It’s #pandering is what it is.  MO is taking a terrible event and pandering to her social media fan base; look at the gloomy, sad face she has adopted for the photo shoot.  Was she just sitting around in the White House with this poster board in her lap when the White House photographer stumbled upon her?  I think not.  It’s #pandering.

That being said, I now can’t help but wonder why Reagan didn’t deal with Gorbachev by just pulling out a poster and marker:  #teardownthiswall.

For that matter, Patrick Henry could have used the old hashtag trick:  #givemelibertyorgivemedeath.  It would have saved us a lot of trouble.

The #hashtag theory of foreign policy would have served Roosevelt well:  #daythatwillliveininfamy.

The point, of course, is that Michelle’s staged photo simply illustrates the feckless foreign policy of this administration.

Rush Limbaugh, Friday:

I was aghast.  I mean, it’s embarrassing that a Twitter hashtag is all we’ve got.  And, in fact, I was further embarrassed that a Twitter hashtag is assumed to be enough because all we have to do is show that we’re concerned.  All we have to do is exhibit our proper intentions, and that covers it  We don’t have to actually do anything.  It’s perfect liberalism.  You don’t solve anything.  You don’t do anything.  You just show that you care and you have good intentions.

We are impotent.  We arm Mexican drug cartels, we bow to foreign leaders, we alienate our allies, we appease dictators, we leave our people behind in foreign countries after a massacre and never seek justice.  #embarrassing.

What country is this?

Which leads us to Hillary Clinton who refused to use her power as Secretary of State to designate Boko Haram a terrorist organization:

What Clinton didn’t mention was that her own State Department refused to place Boko Haram on the list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2011, after the group bombed the U.N. headquarters in Abuja. The refusal came despite the urging of the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and over a dozen senators and congressmen.

“The one thing she could have done, the one tool she had at her disposal, she didn’t use. And nobody can say she wasn’t urged to do it. It’s gross hypocrisy,” said a former senior U.S. official who was involved in the debate. “The FBI, the CIA, and the Justice Department really wanted Boko Haram designated, they wanted the authorities that would provide to go after them, and they voiced that repeatedly to elected officials.”

And she’s going to be our next president?  #sayitaintso.

As I said, it’s been a most bizarre week in politics, the least of which is our now most powerful weapon in foreign policy:  the hashtag.

#wearesoscrewed.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Montana state line

By John Ruberry

It seems that the Obama White House, made up of urban elitists,  favors fish over farmers. The president sides with the unremarkable three-inch long delta smelt over the farmers who have grown bushels of all kinds of food for the rest of the nation for generations.

Beginning with a court decision in 2008, a man-made drought that carries on today was initiated in the valley.

In eastern Montana, another assault on agriculture could be underway, just as its fields turn green after a long winter.

From the Billings Gazette:

It has been like this for 105 years, ever since Theodore Roosevelt promised to raise irrigated communities from the arid dust of the West. The 26th president signed the Newland Reclamation Act in 1902 and communities like Sidney started to bloom.

Lately, there has been a lot of concern in this community that the government’s century-old promise has come into conflict with yet another pledge to preserve the pallid sturgeon, a rare ray-finned fish with a spoon bill that has been fading in number largely because dams downstream from the Yellowstone, on the Missouri River, have made survival difficult for the species.

Federal biologists hope the sturgeon will thrive if given room to roam upstream from the Missouri, in the Yellowstone. But that plan entails work on the diversion dam that has watered the Sidney area since 1909.

“Everything. Everything we have is irrigated in this valley, pretty much,” said farmer Dan Strasheim, who was seeding his fields with Soron spring wheat in anticipation of the canals, eight months dry, flowing again.

While endangered, the range of the pallid sturgeon is vast: nearly the entire Missouri River and the lower Mississippi is home to the fish.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, not the Bureau of Land Management, is behind this possible reversal of a longtime Washington promise. The federal government, as we learned in the Cliven Bundy case, owns nearly all of Nevada, but the understanding until recently that these public lands could be used, yes, by the public.

Yellowstone River
Yellowstone River from Interstate 90

Back to Montana: What of the farmers and the workers at the nearby sugar beet processing plants? Beets are another crop grown with the aid of irrigated water on the Montana plains.

Are we a nation of people? Or of fish?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

All Animals are equal but some are more equal or others

Animal Farm

Remember that statement concerning the Harvard Black Mass scheduled for tomorrow when the sponsors said that had no intention of offering any offense to religion?

Nevermind:

A Harvard student group organizing a re-enactment of a satanic black mass on campus has dismissed Catholic critics, calling their views arrogant and their objections ignorant and intolerant.

That sounds harsh but after all,  those Catholics aren’t thinking this through, it’s just symbols.

“Satanists have a ritual that they perform for their own affirmative reasons,” the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club told CNA May 8, adding that these reasons “currently have absolutely nothing to do with Catholicism beyond the symbols themselves.”

Oh so symbols don’t matter and should not cause offense.  OK lets play a thought game.  What would the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club say about a group marching on campus carrying this banner:

Harvard Cultural Club:  Nothing currently to do with slavery right?
Harvard Cultural Club: Nothing currently to do with slavery right?

Would they argue to Harvard Alumnus Barack Obama that it currently has nothing to do with slavery or racism beyond symbolism and is flown for it’s own affirmative reasons?

I think not.

As for Catholic offense at the Harvard Black Mass:

Offense is anachronistic and based on intolerance and ignorance about the practice (of) Satanism.

Does the Harvard Extension Cultural Club actually hear themselves speaking?  They might as well argue the NBA taking punitive action and black players ‘s offense over Donald Sterling’s words were just based on “intolerance & ignorance of his cultural beliefs.”

Would anyone, ANYONE buy such an argument?

So when the Harvard Extension Cultural Club claims to respect other cultures….

…I don’t buy it, neither should you and neither should the university.

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By Steve Eggleston

It has been far too long since I visited the targeting every conservative group here in Wisconsin by politically-motivated prosecutors persecutors (I won’t give them the honor of calling them prosecutors). There have been several important updates since then. While I continue to highly recommend Wisconsin Reporter’s now-57-part expose, I’ll give the Cliff’s Notes version, culminating in the federally-ordered shutdown of the John Doe investigation/persecution.

The state-based appeal seeking to stop the investigation/persecution is being slow-played by the state Supreme Court, as liberal Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson controls the timing of the hearing of the appeal and eventual release of the opinion even though her liberal faction is outnumbered 4-3 on the average case. Actually, it’s 4-2 after Justice Ann Walsh Bradley recused herself because her son works for a firm representing one of the three still-unnamed plaintiffs, so we shouldn’t have to hear about other Justices having to pull Bradley off of people.

That doesn’t mean the news out of state courts is all bad. Judge Gregory Peterson, who took over supervision of the process shortly after it became public, quashed subpoenas against the Scott Walker campaign and three major players in conservative issue advocacy in January, ruling that there was no probable cause that any of the four groups violated any provision of Wisconsin law. The return of the items seized has been delayed pending appeal, which has not been adjudicated at either the same 4th District that has thus far been little more than a kangaroo court for the benefit of the persecutors or the state Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Eric O’Keefe, on behalf of both himself and Wisconsin Club for Growth (one of the three groups that had subpoenas targeting it quashed), filed suit in federal court seeking to stop the John Doe investigation/persecution. The persecutors-turned-defendants have been trying to assert immunity on multiple fronts, and federal Judge Rudolph Randa rejected every one of them.

The month of May has been a busy one on the federal side. On May 2, a bunch of traditional media groups sought to intervene in an attempt to get their hands on what the persecutors dug up. I suspect they’re less interested in opening up the process, or even trying to relitigate the matter in the court of public opinion like they did with the document dump in the sentencing of one of those convicted in the first John Doe, than they are in the donor lists. After all, we are now in an era where actions not approved by liberals, like donating to conservative groups and causes, are grounds for harrassment from liberals, even to the point of killing careers.

This past Monday, the Milwaukee persecutors/defendants appealed the denial of their claims of immunity to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Tuesday, Randa dropped the bombshell of the week; in a preliminary injunction, he ordered the investigation stopped and all evidence returned to the targets and otherwise destroyed. Like Judge Peterson before him, Randa found no probable cause that a crime was committed. Indeed, he found that even if everything the persecutors alleged is true, it is not only not criminal under Wisconsin law, but it represents actions protected by the First Amendment.

There also were a couple of disturbing revelations in the order. First, the raids against conservative targets were even more like raids on drug houses than originally reported, with the targets unable to even contact their lawyers. Second, the chilling effect of the leak of the existence of the “officially-secret” persecution back in October 2013 on O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth was laid out in some detail – the absence of Club from Growth from virtually the entirety of Wisconsin politics since October 2013, the claimed loss of $2 million in fundraising, and the inability of O’Keefe to talk to others about politcs.

On Wednesday, the 7th Circuit temporarily stayed the order because Randa had not officially declared the Milwaukee persecutors’ appeal frivolous (that is, designed to do nothing more than strip him of the authority to issue injunctions). They also changed the status of the evidence to effectively “frozen”, not to be turned over to anybody, destroyed, or used by the persecutors in any way. Also on Wednesday, Randa granted the media groups’ motion to intervene in their attempt to get the evidence, but in a way that signals he is likely to ultimately deny their request.

On Thursday, Randa certified the persectuors’ appeals are frivolous and reinstated the injunction stopping the investigation/persecution, with the modification on evidence by the appellate court incorporated. As of this writing, the persecutors/defendants appear to have not appealed the reinstated injunction, but if they do appeal, they would need to win on the merits of their case to continue their presecution.

On a related note, Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf, one of the persecutors/defendants being sued by O’Keefe and Club for Growth, announced that the DA’s office would not investigate Milwaukee County Board member John Weishan for using county resources to send “informational” mailings to residents of the 15th Assembly District, including those in Waukesha County and thus well outside his board district, shortly before announcing his candidacy for the seat as a Democrat. As a reminder, two of the four political plea deals from the original John Doe targeted aides of then-Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker who used county resources to work on the lieutenant governor campaign of Brett Davis. To paraphrase Judge Randa from his Thursday ruling – I am left to wonder if the Milwaukee Defendants actually read the complaint because this is prima facie evidence that the complaint that they haven’t treated the targets of the second John Doe equally under the law compared to liberal politicians and organizations is valid.