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.

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.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

OK, I admit it: I have used Twitter hashtags on my posts on Venezuela as a means to both promoting my blog posts and keeping track of Venezuelan news, but now the “#hashtag” thing has me puzzled.

Last month we had hashtag diplomacy: State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki issued this,

To this day I do not know exactly what “the promise of hashtag” means, represents, or refers to, but I’m quite certain that Vladimir Putin, former head of the KGB, is not quaking in his boots. But, hey, Psaki stands for “the social media approach to foreign policy”, and she’s sticking to it . . .

. . . much to the amusement of the Twitchiers.

Fast-forward to this week’s news of the horrific crimes committed by Islamist terrorists Boko Haram in Nigeria, which have kidnapped 250 girls. This is front-page news, but Boko Haram has a horrifying history.

Pete wrote about Boko Haram this morning. If you read the Ayaan Hirsi Ali article he linked to, she points out,

The group was founded in 2002 by a young Islamist called Mohammed Yusuf, who started out preaching in a Muslim community in the Borno state of northern Nigeria. He set up an educational complex, including a mosque and an Islamic school. For seven years, mostly poor families flocked to hear his message. But in 2009, the Nigerian government investigated Boko Haram and ultimately arrested several members, including Yusuf himself. The crackdown sparked violence that left about 700 dead. Yusuf soon died in prison—the government said he was killed while trying to escape—but the seeds had been planted. Under one of Yusuf’s lieutenants, Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram turned to jihad.

In 2011, Boko Haram launched its first terror attack in Borno. Four people were killed, and from then on violence became an integral part, if not the central part, of its mission. The recent kidnappings—11 more girls were abducted by Boko Haram on Sunday—join a litany of outrages, including multiple car bombings and the murder of 59 schoolboys in February. On Monday, as if to demonstrate its growing power, Boko Haram launched a 12-hour attack in the city of Gamboru Ngala, firing into market crowds, setting houses aflame and shooting down residents who ran from the burning buildings. Hundreds were killed.

So excuse me if I am perplexed by the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. A bevy of celebrities are on it, including Michelle Obama,

and the always-relevant and chic Bianca Jagger,

By the way, under Hillary Clinton, the State Department repeatedly declined to fully go after Boko Haram. I don’t expect we’ll be seeing a photo of Hillary holding up a #BringBackOurGirls sign any time soon.(SEE BELOW FOR UPDATE 2)

To me, it all amounts to Operation Pouty Face. Larry Correia, who’s been a guest in Da Tech Guy on the Radio, doesn’t mince words,

One thing I’m fairly sure of about the kind of people who do that sort of thing for a living, is that they really don’t give a [expletive deleted] about a bunch of American movie stars taking pouty selfies of themselves holding up signs with hash tag give our girls back. The disapproval of fat, soft, Americans on Facebook really doesn’t move them. They care about getting paid or getting killed, that’s about it. The self-righteous pouting is useless.

Larry’s post must be read in full, and he drives home the point that,

The real solution? Nigeria is one of dozens of screwed up countries. If Nigeria wants to be truly safe from slavers and madmen, it is going to require the Nigerians defend themselves from
[expletive deleted], and if the Nigerian government won’t do it, then the Nigerian government needs to be replaced by Nigerians who want something better. For the thousands of other evil events that don’t trend on Twitter, replace Nigeria with whatever lawless [expletive deleted]hole country is in question and you get the same answer. People get freedom when they demand it for themselves.

faustaHashtagging to Putin, to Boko Haram, to the evil in this world? I mean, this is pathetic, the message this sends to people around the world.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz is old enough to remember the Nixon era, and believes the term expletive deleted should be timely for the upcoming Benghazi hearings. She writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

Update DTG: Gotta add this quote from Iowahawk:

UPDATE 2 FRW:
I was 1/2 wrong: Hillary did use the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag, but didn’t post her photo holding up the sign,

By A.P. Dillon

Last week, I wrote about  Frank Roche – Candidate for #NC02. Since then, the primary for this Congressional district in North Carolina has taken place.  Unfortunately for Roche, Ellmers successfully defended her seat with 58.76 % to Roche’s 41.24%. On the Democrat side of the aisle is where the circus has come to town.  This week, I’m writing American Idol runner-up and fired Celebrity Apprentice — and by the way, this is about the same NC District 2 Congressional race.  Stop checking your browser address. No, you are not at The Onion.

As of this morning, when I penned this article, the Democrat primary to decide who will face Congresswoman Ellmers has not yet been made official, but right now American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken is in the lead over former Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco. No, I’m not kidding.

Yes, the American Idol runner-up, who also was punted from Celebrity Apprentice (Trump said he was a nasty little guy, not sure if that helps or hurts) as the guy who will face Ellmers. It’s hard to imagine someone with this kind of taste in selfies being a Congressman… well, maybe not that hard if he’s a Clinton Democrat:

War on women?
There shouldn’t a demographic he can miss based on  his big TV ad. If only that ham-handed ad told the truth about how seriously he takes education. For example, he is so serious about it that he skipped all eight of the meetings of the Committee on People with Intellectual Disabilities – of which he was appointed to by the President.  Aiken responded he was too busy with his American Idol runner-up tour:

“While it’s true that I couldn’t attend many of the committee meetings, I had just finished American Idol,” the email continues. “So I made it clear to the committee during the first meeting I attended that I was touring and working on my album at the time and that I couldn’t be physically present for most meetings.”

GEE, maybe you should have turned down the appointment so someone else could be on the committee and actually do some good? Kids? Pfffft.  Too wrapped up in dictating his catering needs and in being a runner-up, which he almost wasn’t after being dumped in a local TV studio try-out. Perhaps that’s because off-color, sexual innuendo jokes are more his style. We at least know his idea of fun, being invisible and watching people in their rooms.  Sounds like the makings of a hit – with stalker overtones. Stalkers are no stranger to Aiken anyway.

While Aiken doesn’t drop the F-bomb in his performances, his pals guarding the doors at his fundraisers do. Makes you wonder if Aiken is a believer in the “Big Tent” idea or not if anyone with a camera showing up gets told to ‘get the F-bomb out’.  I wonder if Aiken dropped any F-bombs on the plane when he was involved in that armrest scuffle?

By the way, where has junior been this whole campaign? Most running for office would have brought out the kids for the photos. Aiken wins a point for not using his kid a prop in a campaign but loses that same point for putting the kid on the cover of People magazine wherein the same story he comes out as being gay and has his online solicitations for sex mentioned. Great baby announcement.

If this is the great and best hope NC Democrats have, then the movie Idiocracy could now confirmed as a documentary. Batter up, Congresswoman Ellmers. Your home run awaits.

 

If you enjoyed this article, you should really check out other pieces written by Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent Seven writers and maybe hit that tip jar!

AP DillonA.P. Dillon (Lady Liberty 1885), is a Conservative minded wife and mother living in the Triangle area of North Carolina. A.P. Dillon founded the blog LadyLiberty1885.com in 2009. After the 2012 election, she added an Instapundit style blog called The ConMom Blog. Mrs. Dillon’s writing, in addition to Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent 7, can also be found at StopCommonCoreNC.org, WatchdogWireNC and WizBang. Non-political writing projects include science fiction novellas that are, as of yet, unpublished. Her current writing project is a children’s book series.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Back in the day, Milton Friedman said,

“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.”

The U.S. federal government is not in charge of the Sahara, but the Venezuelan government is in charge of the country’s water supply.

Small wonder water is now in short supply, along with many other basic goods:
Caracas to begin four months of water rationing

Water use in Caracas will be rationed for at least four months due to drought, authorities said Tuesday, as Venezuela grapples with shortages of basic goods which have spurred massive anti-government protests.

One in every four goods including basic food, hygiene products, medicine and auto parts, however, have already become difficult to find, resulting in long, lengthy lines.

The irony is that Venezuela has the highest water resources and greatest hydroelectric capacity (except for Brazil) in South America. The country has a dry season and a rainy season, but what’s important is this:

Even when fully operating and unaffected by drought, water supply levels in the capital area are below international standards, capable of providing 340 liters per person per day, which is sufficient for household consumption but falls short of commercial and industrial demands.

The deterioration of Venezuela’s infrastructure is nothing new. Back in 2011, The Economist had an article about the disastrous results of Hugo Chavez’s nationalization program:

After opposition candidates were elected to many state governorships in 2008, the president re-centralised many public services, taking them out of the hands of the states. These included roads, ports and airports, all of which have experienced accelerated deterioration ever since.

faustaAs we in the U.S. are facing ever-increasing federal government intrusion into all aspects of the economy (including the proposed federal tolls on interstate highways), remember Milton’s immortal words.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by Linda Szugyi

My experience with education is a love/hate relationship.  In elementary school, I loved getting ‘A’s, reading books, and writing poetry.  (I wanted to be a poet when I grew up.)  I remember adoring the standardized test at the end of the year.  It was so exciting:  the solemnity, the necessity of filling the bubbles neatly, the fun of trying to deduce the answer when choices were unclear (darn you T/F problems, I see grey in almost everything!), and the thrill of competing with every same-grade student for that top percentile standing.

But I hated the tendency schools have to be bureaucratic, even before I knew the word ‘bureaucratic.’  Rules that didn’t make sense, either as a practical matter or as a matter of justice, burned me up with anger.  The application of rules in an overly dogmatic manner did the same thing.  The smaller and more inconsequential the rule, the worse it was somehow.

A good example is the kindergarten teacher’s assistant who made me turn the picture I was coloring right-side-up.  It was a picture of a toy soldier.  She said he can’t march while standing on his head.  Good grief lady, I am left-handed and it’s hard to color while the paper is in that position! is what I would have said if I had the wisdom to do so, which I did not.  So I just tried to finish the picture without crying, and didn’t really understand why her nonsensical rule upset me so much.

The other thing I hated was the tedium.  The reading comprehension questions at the end of a short story were often so banal, so lame, that the requirement to think up and write down complete sentences in response made me, once again, burn with anger.  Good grief, why are you wasting my time? is what I would have said if I had the wisdom to do so, which I did not.  So I just tried to answer the questions as quickly as possible, and didn’t really understand why sometimes, the end-of-reading questions made me so mad I wanted to scribble them out with dark, forceful strokes of my #2 pencil.

I hope all this doesn’t sound like a brag about being too smart or too much of a special, special flower for school.  My point may be even worse than bragging, though.  My point is that every kid is too smart for schools as they currently operate and have operated for several decades.  That is, all children have their own unique strengths and weaknesses.  A rigid approach to educating these unique individuals will inevitably mute some strengths while exacerbating some weaknesses in every child who endures it.

This complaint is hardly new, of course:

That’s why Common Core proponents have a point when they ask, why in the world do you assume a national set of standards and testing will be so different from the state standards and testing already in place?

Common Core is worse, what with all of its copyright limitations and data-collecting spookiness.  But much of it is nothing different from what has gone on for a long time.  If anything, it’s the next logical step, given the direction we’ve allowed our education experts to march for so long.  Proponents are probably quite bewildered by the way the name “Common Core” has unleashed a backlash that keeps spreading like wildfire.

In a sense, all Common Core did to ignite this wildfire was finally provide a label–a name for something most of us never really understood, but which nevertheless gave us an inchoate, uneasy feeling first about our own education, and later about the education of our children.  I can hardly blame Common Core proponents for reacting, in their bewilderment, by calling critics things like hysterical, or overprotective white suburban moms.

Wait a minute.  Yes I can.

Anyway, the problem with American education is older and deeper than Common Core:

“The current debate about whether we should have a national curriculum is phony; we already have one, locked up in the six lessons I’ve told you about and a few more I’ve spared you. This curriculum produces moral and intellectual paralysis, and no curriculum of content will be sufficient to reverse its bad effects. What is under discussion is a great irrelevancy.”

John Taylor Gatto wrote those words in 1991.

“In our dreams . . . people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands.  The present educational conventions [of intellectual and moral education] fade from our minds, and unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk.  We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science.  We have not to raise up from among them authors, educators, poets or men of letters.  We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen – of whom we have an ample supply.  The task we set before ourselves is very simple . . . we will organize children . . . and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.”

John Rockefeller’s General Education Board penned those words in 1906.

I know there is no perfect solution.  There will always be times in both childhood and adulthood when we have to put up with some boredom or other discomfort.  I’m not suggesting a sunshine and rainbows world where the children run free in the meadow all day, and yet still magically learn how to be musicians, doctors, electrical engineers, and all the other things we need them to be in the future.

But the education system in America today has become so calcified that it harms not just special little flowers like me, but even the more resilient among us.  Can you imagine any seven-year old resilient enough to handle getting handcuffed at school for having a nonviolent meltdown, for example?

We are unfortunately forced by circumstances to focus on Common Core and its repeal in state legislatures.  It is unfortunate because by doing so, we are focusing on merely a symptom of the problem, instead of the problem itself.  After all, if tomorrow every state in the union repealed Common Core and burned every page of Common Core-aligned material, our schools would still be a hot mess.

I hate to admit it, but the real problem . . . is us.  The parents.  We need to realize that our reliance on education experts and their academia-speak is an impediment to learning.  We need to realize that teaching from a script written by those experts is a phony kind of teaching that sucks the air out of a classroom.  We need to accept the fact that there is no magic formula that the school system can apply in order to open every child’s mind to learning.

Homeschooling parents are included in this problem, by the way.  We have a hard time trusting our own judgment and abilities, where education is concerned.  We are just as prone to rely on experts as everyone else.  That’s why homeschoolers tend to research, analyze, and discuss curricula until they are blue in the face, always searching for the elusive “best curriculum” and “best teaching style” for their children.  Homeschoolers often end up reading from a script, too.  That script may be more ideologically to our liking, but it can also be as awkward and phony as a Common Core lesson.

I should know.  I’ve tried to use the detailed teacher instructions and worksheets included in Sonlight curricula for two years, and I’ve felt guilty for the times I’ve skipped them.  I’m not criticizing the Sonlight product–they assemble a wonderful assortment of textbooks and fiction that weave together a rich and engaging story.  I’m criticizing my own over-reliance on the supplemental material.

Anne Sullivan didn’t succeed in teaching Helen Keller because she was an expert, or because she relied on expert material.  She succeeded because she had a gift for teaching and a passion to do whatever it took to open Helen’s mind.  In the long-term, the only real solution lies within this kind of individual passion.  Whether it’s public school or homeschooling, the solution will always be found where the rubber hits the road–a teacher passionately sharing knowledge, and a student striving to gain it.

We can’t get there from here.  First, we have to get rid of the Common Core threat to teacher autonomy.  Next, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top need repealing.  Heck, just go ahead and shut down the Department of Education.  Only then can the states work without their hands tied, and find their own ways to reward the talented, passionate teachers who open our children’s minds, and either retrain or fire the rest.

Even then, such fixes won’t succeed unless we parents fix ourselves.  The pro-Common Core education experts currently hold sway because we ceded to them the responsibility of knowing what’s best for our children.  We gave them the power they now abuse.

Gov. Pat Quinn,  (D) Illinois
Gov. Pat Quinn,
(D) Illinois

By John Ruberry

Governor Pat Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, has been mostly on the fringes of Illinois politics since the early 1970s. For most of that time he was a minor-league version of Ralph Nader, part consumer advocate, part self-appointed government reformer. Although Nader never held public office, Quinn was state treasurer for a term in the 1990s, and of course twice he was Rod Blagojevich’s running mate. Quinn succeeded Blago after the hair-brained pol was removed from office five years ago by the state Senate.

Last week was arguably Quinn’s worst as governor. An autumn 2010 anti-violence program, the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, was unveiled by Quinn as he faced a tough battle to win a full term as governor, is now being investigated by federal authorities and the Cook County State’s Attorney Office. The $54.5 million program has been exposed by the local media as a massive political slush fund to drive up the African American vote in Chicago and its inner suburbs so Quinn could win his election, which he did, barely. The Chicago Sun-Times revealed that the felon husband of Dorothy Brown, another Chicago Democrat, was paid nearly $150,000 in salary and benefits to oversee $2.1 million in NRI grants.

Quinn faces another scandal. A long time patronage-hiring foe, Michael Shakman, asked the federal government in a court motion to investigate hiring decisions at the Illinois Department of Transportation. He claims that Quinn is loading up IDOT with political hires.

Durbin said Quinn was a  ghost payroller
Durbin said Quinn was a ghost payroller

Speaking of political hires, Quinn was the patronage chief of early-1970s governor Dan Walker, who later went to prison for looting a savings and loan. And an authority no less than Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) accused Quinn of being a ghost-payroller under Walker.

Quinn’s former chief-of-staff, Jack Lavin, was once chief financial officer for Tony Rezko, one of Rod Blagojevich’s enablers who is best known in Illinois for being Barack Obama’s first political sponsor. Rezko is serving a prison sentence now.

Lavin also served under Blago.

Pat Quinn is as much of a reformer as I am an astronaut.

Disclosures: I knew Lavin quite well years ago while we were classmates at the University of Illinois. And the husband of Anita Alvarez, the Cook County State’s Attorney, is a friend of mine.

John Ruberry blogs regularly at Marathon Pundit.

steve eggBy Steve Eggleston

The Obama administration and the press (though I might be repeating myself) got their desired toplines of 288,000 jobs added and an unemployment rate of 6.3%, both on a seasonally-adjusted basis, in April. A closer look at the numbers show that things are not as they seem.

The first contradiction involves the number of jobs added. While the establishment survey claims there were 288,000 jobs added, the household survey claims there were 78,000 fewer people employed in April than in May. That divergence of 366,000 tells me that at least one of those numbers must be wrong.

Those 78,000 fewer employed were among the stunning 806,000 fewer people considered to be part of the workforce, defined as those working plus those who looked for work in the 4 weeks prior to the survey in mid-April. That drove the labor-force participation rate down from 63.18% to 62.81%, which, to the nearest tenth of a percent, is tied with December 2013 and October 2013 as the lowest since March 1978. It also drove the employment-population ratio down from 58.94% to 58.87%, which, to the nearest tenth, is lower than every month between January 1984 and December 2009.

That leads me to the second contradiction, one that actually has been a long-standing feature of the Obama economy – those under 55 continue to take Todd Rundgren’s advice and bang on the drum all day instead of working, while those over 55 take up some of the slack. Out of the age groups for which seasonally-adjusted numbers are available (16-19, 20-24, 25-54, and 55-and-older), only the elders had more people employed (174,000) or in the workforce (158,000) in April, and they also had the only positive growth in the labor-force participation rate (+0.12 percentage points to 39.93%) or employment-population ratio (+0.14 percentage points to 38.06%).

Those between the ages of 25 and 54 suffered the biggest drop in the percentage of employed, with the 209,000 fewer employed reducing the employment-population ratio among that age group by 0.19 percentage points to 76.46%. To the nearest tenth, that is lower than it has been every month between January 1985 and March 2009.

Those between the ages of 20 and 24 gave up looking for work by the largest percentage, with the 322,000 fewer participants dropping the labor force participation rate among that age group by 1.47 percentage points to 70.21%. The last time it was that low was May 2013, and before that April 1972.

A special mention must be made for the participation rate among 16-19 year olds. At a meager 33.2%, it is the first time since records began in 1948 that fewer than a third of teenagers even tried to work.

The final contradiction involves those who work part-time, defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as those who usually work fewer than 35 hours per week. While the household survey claims 398,000 fewer people worked part-time in April, the establishment survey claims the average private-sector workweek was unchanged at 34.5 hours, the average production/non-supervisory workweek was unchanged at 33.7 hours, and the average amount of overtime worked by non-supervisory workers in the manufacturing sector declined by 0.2 hours to 4.4 hours.

By Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Before you read this post, keep in mind that an attack on an American embassy or consulate is an attack on American soil. The attack occurred on the 12th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attack.

The Twitchy guys had a field day with The Breakfast Club-like response from former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor:

Bret Baier: According to the emails and the timeline, the CIA circulates new talking points after they remove the mention of al-Qaeda, and then, at 6:21, the White House, you,
Tommy Vietor: Me.
BB: add a line about the administration warning of September 10th, of social media reports calling for demonstrations. True?
TV: I . . . believe so.
BB: Did you also change attacks to demonstrations in the talking points?
TV: Maybe. I don’t really remember.
BB: You don’t remember?
TV: Dude, this was like two years ago.

Let’s interrupt this for a second to raise the issue of the video:
Andrew McCarthy, who convicted the Blind Sheik over the first World Trade Center attack, points out (emphasis added),

In the weeks before September 11, 2012, these jihadists plotted to attack the U.S. embassy in Cairo. In fact, the Blind Sheikh’s son threatened a 1979 Iran-style raid on the embassy: Americans would be taken hostage to ransom for the Blind Sheikh’s release from American prison (he is serving a life sentence). Other jihadists threatened to burn the embassy to the ground — a threat that was reported in the Egyptian press the day before the September 11 “protests.”

The State Department knew there was going to be trouble at the embassy on September 11, the eleventh anniversary of al-Qaeda’s mass-murder of nearly 3,000 Americans. It was well known that things could get very ugly. When they did, it would become very obvious to Americans that President Obama had not “decimated” al-Qaeda as he was claiming on the campaign trail. Even worse, it would be painfully evident that his pro–Muslim Brotherhood policies had actually enhanced al-Qaeda’s capacity to attack the United States in Egypt.

The State Department also knew about the obscure anti-Muslim video. Few Egyptians, if any, had seen or heard about it, but it had been denounced by the Grand Mufti in Cairo on September 9. Still, the stir it caused was minor, at best. As Tom Joscelyn has elaborated, the Cairo rioting was driven by the jihadists who were agitating for the Blind Sheikh’s release and who had been threatening for weeks to raid and torch our embassy. And indeed, they did storm it, replace the American flag with the jihadist black flag, and set fires around the embassy complex.

But back to the Baier-Vietor interview:

10 seconds into the video:
TV: A couple of things: One, I was in the situation room that night, ok?, and we didn’t know where the ambassador was definitively,
BB: Was the President in the situation room?
TV: No, and the fact that your network at one time reported that he watched video feed of the attack as it was ongoing is part of what I think is being innacurate
BB: Let me get to the bottom of that. Where was the President?
TV: In the White House.
1 minute into the video:
BB: Where was the President?
TV: In the White House.

Watch the whole interview:

Only after a series of edits — with various State, White House, and CIA officials massaging the talking points — do the talking points themselves “spontaneously evolve” to include a direct claim that there were demonstrations in Benghazi. Vietor will have you believe “that’s what bureaucrats do all day long.”

The fact remains that

The most serious attack on a US mission since the storming of the country’s embassy in Tehran in 1979 has occurred in a nation that Washington claims to have liberated from tyranny.

A retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general who was on duty at U.S. African Command headquarters in Germany during the Benghazi attacks said today said commanders quickly concluded that the event did not evolve from a protest, but that it was “a hostile military action.” This took place in the height of the 2012 presidential campaign, with the talking points of “Obama killed Bin Laden and al-Qaeda’s on the run.”

Where was Obama? Where was Hillary?

So where were they on the fateful night of September 11? Tommy Vietor–formerly Obama’s van driver, now, apparently, a foreign policy spokesman–says that Obama wasn’t in the situation room. Where was he? Resting up for his big fundraising trip to Las Vegas the next day? And how about Hillary? As Paul wrote earlier this evening, retired Air Force Brigadier General Robert Lovell testified today that the military should have tried to rescue the besieged Americans in Benghazi. Why didn’t they? They were waiting, he testified, for a request from the State Department that never came.

Now there’s another Benghazi email,

The private, internal communication directly contradicts the message that President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice and White House press secretary Jay Carney repeated publicly over the course of the next several weeks.

BUT!
Jay Carney’s now saying those emails aren’t about Benghazi.

More questions: Why was Chris Stevens in Benghazi? Why were requests from an ambassador for additional security denied?

One more question: How did the attackers know the ambassador would be at the consulate in Benghazi rather than at the embassy in Tripoli?

But, hey, nothing to see here. “It’s all a partisan issue,” a phony scandal.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

By A.P. Dillon

It is primary time in NC and  early voting is currently going on in North Carolina. Over the past few months, I have had a chance to meet Frank Roche at multiple events in the Raleigh area. Roche is a candidate for North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional district and  primary challenger to incumbent Renee Ellmers. I pitched five questions to Roche, which we’ll get to after a little but of background on the 2nd Congressional race and a quick look at Roche himself.

The 2nd Congressional District

The 2nd District has a bit of an interesting history. The state legislature created the 2nd district just after the Civil war. The population was majority Black and you might find older references to “The Black Second“.  All four of NC’s Black Congressman  in the post-civil war era came from that district. By the way, they were all Republican and the district itself was heavily Republican. The Democrats attempted to break that up and gerrymandered the district to include ten counties.

Gerrymandering was just one of the tactics the Democrats used to push Blacks out of the district. When Democrats took control of the legislature, they sought to keep Blacks from holding office at any level in North Carolina and passed a disfranchisement Constitutional amendment that severely restricted Black voting rights.  Democrats and Liberals have a foul history in NC that they have done a good job revising and hoping people forget.

Today, the 2nd district is made up of  nine counties that include: Alamance, ChathamCumberlandHarnettHokeLeeMoore, Randolph and Wake counties.

In 2010, Tea Party favorite Renee Ellmers pushed out Democrat Bob Etheridge in 2nd Congressional district. Etheridge had been in there for seven terms, so this was no easy feat. Ellmers won the backing of Sarah Palin for her stance on Obamacare. Ellmers had a bit of help from Etheridge himself though,  in the form of being caught on video assaulting a student journalist. The video went viral and “Who Are You?” became synonymous with the name Etheridge.

It would seem that caught on camera type history is repeating itself a little bit.  Ellmers went on the Laura Ingraham show and basically got into a fight with the host over illegal immigration. Things got heated when Ingraham pointed out Ellmers was using Liberal Democrat talking points on the issue. Breitbart has the audio and chronicle of the incident. Unsurprisingly, Ingraham has thrown her support behind Roche, as has Ann Coulter.

Things went from bad to worse after the Ingraham show.  Not long after that incident, PJ Media published an article that included audio from a meeting between Ellmers and North Carolina citizens on illegal immigration. In it, members of the Randolph Tea party can be heard pressing Ellmers on illegal immigration. The conversation was combative and full of interruptions with a reply to one of them being,  “You don’t have any damn facts.”   Ouch.

Ellmers won reelection in 2012 after beating three Republicans in the primary. This year she faces another primary challenge from Frank Roche. Depending on whoever wins the primary between Ellmers and Roche, they will go on to meet either former state Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco – who arguably just wants to run for something, or Clay Aiken. Yes, that Clay Aiken. Aiken’s campaign has had problems lately. The Democrats are really struggling to put up good candidates lately.

Ellmers has her hands full with Frank Roche, however. Roche has four out of the last five straw polls held and seems to be gaining momentum.

About Frank Roche

Roche is the 6th of seven kids and was born in Massachusetts. Reading his bio, one sees the obstacles he had to overcome as a child after being diagnosed with Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease when he was young and not being able to walk for several years. Roche attended the University of Rhode Island where he earned a degree in Economics. Roche would return to University of Rhode Island to obtain a Masters of Arts in Economics. He worked in New York City for a time and was present in the city during both WTC terrorist attacks.  In 2007, he headed South to NC and worked with Fox News Business channel talking about politics and economics.

In 2009, he ran for Congress in District 4. The bid was unsuccessful but opened doors at Elon University to teach Economics. It was there that RUSH Radio (WRDU FM) recruited Roche for a radio show.  That show kicked off in July of 2011 and ran on Sundays from noon to three pm. The show was suspended last Fall when Roche decided to run.

The full bio is worth a read and is interesting and detailed. His campaign website has a lot of content, including a handy guide to see how Renee Ellmers voted on key issues and where he differs from her on them.

Five with Frank Roche

Here are the five questions I posed to Mr. Roche.

1. Common Core. 

APD: We’ve spoken on this issue and you know I stand firmly opposed to Common Core. With regards to the Core and government intervention, you’ve stated on your website, “It is time to realize that the federal government’s current policy of regulating and micromanaging the public school system has failed.”  What is your reaction to the proposed draft bill from the NC General Assembly’s Common Core committee?

FR: I believe public education curriculum, standards, content should be left to the states, counties, and parents.  I support the bill to replace Common Core with state standards.

2. Illegal Immigration.

APD: The general consensus is that your opponent is weak on illegal immigration and generally supports Amnesty. What is your vision of how the U.S. should tackle the illegal immigration problem?

FR:  My plan is simple:

Illegal immigration: enforce our current immigration laws, fully fund border security measures already passed into law since 2001, properly manage our short-term visa program to end overstaying, deport those who come into contact with legal authorities, use attrition to cause illegal immigrants to self-deport.
Legal immigration; end family reunification as the basis for our policy.  Move to an economic needs based model. Cap yearly legal immigration to 375k per year.
Social counterparts: end official government regulation of multiculturalism, identity politics, and political correctness and bring back assimilation programs to help immigrants become Americans.

3. Federal Reserve.

APD: Your site’s issues page also covers the topic of the Federal Reserve. In that summary statement, you propose the following:

“As your Congressman, Frank will work to remove the dual mandate imposed on the Federal Reserve and replace it with a single mandate to maintain low and stable prices.  Frank will also join the effort to exercise congressional oversight authority to ensure the actions taken by the Fed since 2008 do not pose an unusual degree of systemic risk to the U.S. economy and America’s future strength and prosperity.”

Please expand on your definition of “single mandate” in as much detail as possible. Also, do you believe the Fed should be dismantled?

FR: End Fed’s dual mandate of stable prices (inflation rates below 1.5%) and full employment (unemployment at or near 5%).  Fed should not be responsible for the labor market.  It was imposed on them by Congress in the late 70’s.  With the end of the dual mandate the Fed could end the massive printing operation called Quantitative Easing.  A focus on only stable prices will bring about low and stable rates of inflation.  I do not think Fed should be dismantled.

4. Spying and the NSA.

APD: In the last year, we’ve heard from whistleblowers like Edward Snowden detailing the degree and detail to which the NSA has been spying on citizens and members of Congress. This administration has arguably led the charge in trying to silence whistleblowers of this nature and in other areas, such as the DOJ’s AP phone tapping and the spying on reporter James Rosen. In what way and to what degree would you promote transparency in this area? Do you believe agencies like the NSA, DOJ, CIA, DHS, etc have enough oversight?

FR: Bring back profiling, remove political correctness, and repeal the Patriot Act. We promote transparency through common sense national security policies.  Yes, Congress has sufficient oversight authorities, they refuse to exercises them in a competent way.  Oversight is critical to controlling the exec branch, and here Congress has failed as it is more focused on re-election and fundraising.
5. Term Limits. 

APD: I noted at the bottom of your issues page, that you believe in voluntary term limits and have pledged not to serve more than 12 years. Why 12 years? Are there circumstances where you would break that pledge and if so, what are they? Would you ever support a bill that requires mandatory term limits? If so, what would they be for the House and Senate?

FR: 2 years because that should be enough for an effective leader to make a difference, or have been proven ineffective.  If over 50% of my constituents wanted to me to remain I would break my pledge or if their was a significant national security threat in the period around the primary period.  No, I would not support legal mandatory term limits; empowers the bureaucracy.

I’d like to thank Frank Roche for his time. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Those wishing to know more about him or donate to his campaign only have to visit his website, FrankRocheForCongress.com

*Post updated

If you enjoyed this article, you should really check out other pieces written by Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent Seven writers and maybe hit that tip jar!

AP DillonA.P. Dillon (Lady Liberty 1885), is a Conservative minded wife and mother living in the Triangle area of North Carolina. A.P. Dillon founded the blog LadyLiberty1885.com in 2009. After the 2012 election, she added an Instapundit style blog called The ConMom Blog. Mrs. Dillon’s writing, in addition to Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent 7, can also be found at StopCommonCoreNC.org, WatchdogWireNC and WizBang. Non-political writing projects include science fiction novellas that are, as of yet, unpublished. Her current writing project is a children’s book series.