From Around the Blogroll

Presidential leadership in action!

Obama Delays Immigration Action, Yielding to Democratic Concerns
By Michael D Shear, September 6, 2014

As the election draws closer, some nervous Senate Democrats have told White House officials that President Obama’s actions could cost them victory at the polls. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Obama will delay taking executive action on immigration until after the midterm elections, bowing to pressure from fellow Democrats who feared that acting now could doom his party’s chances this fall, White House officials said on Saturday.The decision is a reversal of Mr. Obama’s vow to issue broad directives to overhaul the immigration system soon after summer’s end, and sparked swift anger from immigration advocates. The president made the promise on June 30, in the Rose Garden, where he angrily denounced Republican obstruction and said he would use the power of his office to protect immigrant families from the threat of deportation.

“Because of the Republicans’ extreme politicization of this issue, the president believes it would be harmful to the policy itself and to the long-term prospects for comprehensive immigration reform to announce administrative action before the elections,” a White House official said. “Because he wants to do this in a way that’s sustainable, the president will take action on immigration before the end of the year.”

Let’s do something really radical here and tell the truth: if the President and the Democrats in Congress believe that going ahead with their plans for immigration reform would cost the Democrats seats in the 2014 elections, it means that they know that the voters would not approve of their plans, that the public oppose their plans. They believe that they are going to try to attempt something against the wishes of the citizens of the United States.

The United States is not, technically speaking, a democracy, but a democratically elected representative republic. Our representatives are supposed to represent their constituents, all of their constituents, regardless of whether any particular constituent is a member of the same — or any — party, or voted for the representative or not.

If the Democrats believe that their immigration reform plans would harm their electoral chances, the Republicans ought to point that out, loudly, vigorously and frequently, should point out that the Democrats are delaying immigration reform specifically because they know that the voters would disapprove.

Karen, the Lonely Conservative, also wrote on the topic, as did Donald Douglas.

Donna Miller of the Victory Girls smells a rat in the Kansas Senate race.

From Phineas Fahrquar, on Sister Toldjah: #Benghazi: security contractors claim CIA delayed aid

Hube on the Colossus of Rhodey: As a life-long Rams fan, I say this is patently ridiculous. Your Editor thinks that it’s patently ridiculous to be a Rams fan in the first place!

Robert Stacey Stacy McCain: Whose agenda is the feminist agenda?

William Teach: US Weather Only Matters When It Conforms To Warmist Narrative

From the much better looking Dana:

The Government: Compelling The Nonbeliever To Acknowledge The Existence Of A Supreme Being
Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:06 pm

Having recently discussed what the Christian private business owner can be compelled to do, the question now being raised is: Can the government compel a nonbeliever to take an oath that affirms the existence of a supreme being if it involves the military?

Not according to Monica Miller, an attorney with the AHA’s Apignani Humanist Legal Center, who is defending an atheist airman who was denied reenlistment in the Air Force because on the oath portion of his contract he crossed out “So help me God”.

The airman was told his only options were to sign the religious oath section of the contract without adjustment and recite an oath concluding with “so help me God,” or leave the Air Force, the AHA said.

That is unconstitutional and unacceptable, the AHA said.

“The government cannot compel a nonbeliever to take an oath that affirms the existence of a supreme being,” Miller said. “Numerous cases affirm that atheists have the right to omit theistic language from enlistment or reenlistment contracts.”

More at the link. The Editor is somewhat amused, given the old saw that there are no atheists in foxholes, but agrees that no American can be compelled by our government to take an oath in which allegiance to a deity is implied. However, I do have to wonder if an atheist is fit to serve, in any capacity.

On Truth Before Dishonor, John Hitchcock noted the 67 senators who voted to cut veterans’ pensions.

Donald Douglas: VIDEO: Jihad Preacher Anjem Choudary Confirms Terrorism is Part of Islam. Of course, there are squishy Muslims who would never go along with that, but, in the end, the supposedly moderate Muslims are enablers of the Islamists and jihadi.

Rule 5 Blogging: Vive la France!

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Estelle Lefébure in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. This week: soldiers from France.

Gotta love women with weapons!

Gotta love women with weapons!

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Vive la France!’ »

Don’t you understand? The gun-grabbers are happy about stories like these!

As far as the left are concerned, the New Jersey law is a good thing.

N.J. rethinking gun law that snared Pa. permit-holder
By Barbara Boyer | Published Thursday, September 4, 2014, 6:45 AM

TRENTON Three more South Jersey legislators support changing the law that mandates jail time for those caught carrying a gun in New Jersey that is not registered in the state even if they have a permit to carry the weapon legally in another state.

Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Jeff Van Drew announced he would formally introduce a bill Sept. 15 that he said he hopes will help Shaneen Allen, 27, of Philadelphia.

Allen, a single mother of two, was pulled over in October in Atlantic County for a traffic violation. When the officer asked for her license, she disclosed she had a permit and a .38-caliber gun in her purse. Allen, who has no criminal history, was charged with illegally carrying the weapon.

The proposed law, similar to one in the Assembly, would eliminate the mandatory sentence, and allows for discretionary prosecuting and sentencing.

With a few exceptions, it is illegal to bring a gun into New Jersey. Those convicted of doing so face a mandatory 31/2 years in prison. Before her arrest, Allen worked as a phlebotomist. Her attorney said she lost her job because of the arrest.

More at the link.

This is the problem with allowing “reasonable restrictions” on our Second Amendment rights.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

What part of “shall not be infringed” is so difficult to understand?

In McDonald v Chicago, the Supreme Court held that “the Second Amendment right is fully applicable to the states.” Unfortunately, the Court did not go far enough. By not prohibiting mandatory registration, it allowed the states to enforce registration requirements, and the state of New Jersey has a registration requirement which does not accept lawful registrations from other states. In the Garden State’s law, a person of perfectly good character and no nefarious intent would be made into a felon — and thus legally barred from ever exercising her Second Amendment rights in the future — and be incarcerated for a minimum of 3½ years, and be taken away from her children, all because the state is infringing on her right to keep and bear arms. Her life will be ruined, because New Jersey, which is completely incapable of keeping firearms out of the hands of the thugs and gangs in Trenton and Camden, somehow thinks that the people are safer if law-abiding citizens are disarmed.

This is why I am an absolutist when it comes to our constitutional rights; there is always some do-gooder who thinks that his ideas trump other people’s rights. That’s why we need for the rights guaranteed under the Constitution to be absolute, why we need them to mean exactly what they say.

We told you so: The First Street Journal scooped CNBC by two years!

Our raconteur restaurateur said, a couple of days ago, “That my friend, is the exact definition of economics. Learn people, know economics.”

From CNBC:

Fed: US consumers have decided to ‘hoard money’
Jeff Cox | @JeffCoxCNBCcom | 

One of the great mysteries of the post-financial crisis world is why the U.S. has lacked inflation despite all the money being pumped into the economy.

The St. Louis Federal Reserve thinks it has the answer: A paper the central bank branch published this week blames the low level of money movement in large part on consumers and their “willingness to hoard money.” The paper also cites the Fed’s own policies as a reason for consumers’ unwillingness to spend.

Though American consumers might dispute the notion that inflation has been low, the indicators the Fed follows show it to be running well below the target rate of 2 percent that would have to come before interest rates would get pushed higher.

That has happened despite nearly six years of a zero interest rate policy and as the Fed has pushed its balance sheet to nearly $4.5 trillion.

Much of that liquidity, however, has sat fallow. Banks have put away close to $2.8 trillion in reserves, and households are sitting on $2.15 trillion in savings—about a 50 percent increase over the past five years.

“So why did the monetary base increase not cause a proportionate increase in either the general price level or (gross domestic product)?” economist Yi Wen and associate Maria A. Arias asked in the St. Louis Fed paper. “The answer lies in the private sector’s dramatic increase in their willingness to hoard money instead of spend it. Such an unprecedented increase in money demand has slowed down the velocity of money.”

More at the link. But we have mentioned the velocity of money many times on The First Street Journal, and, in fact, we told you the same thing as the CNBC article, two years ago:

A demand-side solution is fairly simple: consumers spending more money. The Obama Administration believed that Keynesian economic theory held the answers, and tried to solve the problem with the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, the stimulus program, an $831 billion program to spend taxpayer dollars on projects that the Administration believed would improve our infrastructure and keep people employed at the infrastructure jobs. By keeping these people employed, they’d have more money available to buy consumer goods, which would keep more people employed all the way down the line. It was very much a velocity of money effort.

However, as much as our friends on the left decry “trickle-down” economics, the stimulus program was based on the trickle-down notion. A construction worker keeps his job and makes more money, and therefore spends more money, so that trickles down through the economy, another way of defining the velocity of money. What the Administration and its economists didn’t count on, or at least hoped would not happen, is that with the economic downturn, people who kept their jobs became more conservative about their spending habits. Many people who kept their jobs were still very concerned that they might be the next ones to lose their jobs, and those people, those consumers did the completely sensible thing of paying down bills and saving their money. People behaving sensibly slowed down the velocity of money. In fact, they slowed it way down.

More at the original, but this was Hoagie’s point all along: the professional economists knew the models and they understood the statistics and they worked with the theories, but what they did not anticipate was that people can, and sometimes do, change their economic behavior based upon their perceptions of what is wisest and what is in their economic better interests. The economy did not perform the way the economists projected because the economy is, in the end, the aggregate decisions of hundreds of millions of economic actors taking literally billions of economic choices every day, and the economists simply did not understand the pressures on the people taking those decisions.

It’s easy enough to understand why: the economists who were putting together these things were well-to-do professionals, people who made good livings and who were not worried that they’d be the next ones applying for unemployment, that they’d be the next ones worrying that they might lose their homes. Yet, somehow, a concrete plant manager and a sub shop owner could see it. I wonder how that happened.

Nothing Is Coincidental in ObamaLand

Two storieds popped up on Facebook that should raise eybrows around Europe Especially. Taken individually, it’s a well??? But together it should set off ALARM BELLS across at least Europe. First is that Islamist (no brand or flavor mentioned, but is that necessary?) stole ELEVEN Planes from Tripoli AP. Then our dear leader opens the ability of Flight Training to Libyans. 9/11 anyone. I’m 99% sure they won’t make it here, but Europe, especially Italy are close. ISIS already has a price on Pope Francis’s Head. Need I speculate more?

11 Planes Taken From Tripoli AP
(by Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon) — Islamist militias in Libya took control of nearly a dozen commercial jetliners last month, and western intelligence agencies recently issued a warning that the jets could be used in terrorist attacks across North Africa.

Intelligence reports of the stolen jetliners were distributed within the U.S. government over the past two weeks and included a warning that one or more of the aircraft could be used in an attack later this month on the date marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against New York and Washington, said U.S. officials familiar with the reports.

More Here

http://www.redflagnews.com/headlines/report-11-commercial-jetliners-missing-after-islamist-takeover-of-tripoli-airport-developing

THEN!!!!!!!!!!!

Obama Lifts Ban on Libyans Attending U.S. Flight Schools, Training In Nuke Science
Ban has been in place since 1983

BY: Adam Kredo
August 12, 2014 7:45 am

The Obama administration has lifted longtime restrictions on Libyans attending flight schools in the United States and training here in nuclear science, according to a final amendment of the ban recently approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Less than two years after the deadly terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is poised to sign off on an amendment reversing the ban, which was enacted following a wave or terrorist attacks in 1980s and prevents Libyans from studying these sensitive trades in the United States.

More of this HERE:

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/obama-lifts-ban-on-libyans-attending-u-s-flight-schools-training-in-nuke-science/

The work ethic

My darling bride (of 35 years, 3 months and 14 days) was watching “Chopped” on the Food Network yesterday. Now, I’m not a fan of that kind of competition show, because it puts chefs in competition with each other in a tightly timed format, and creativity in cooking takes some consideration. It seems to me that the competition takes the most important part of cooking out of the mix.1

But one of the contestants introduced himself as Chef Van Bao (or something like that.) His family immigrated to the United States from Vietnam when he was only five months old. He said that he grew up poor, with ten brothers and sisters, and that his family and he were always treated differently, but his parents stressed education, and every one of the siblings went to and was graduated from college.

As it happens, I knew several Vietnamese immigrants from the company where I worked in the nineties. They were all hard-working, and showed up, on time, every day, and did their jobs. The story of Chef Van Bao reminded me of one of them, who was already in his sixties when I met him, and working as a loader operator on an aggregate yard. His English was pretty marginal, even after having been here for twenty years or so. He was a stringy old guy, with maybe four teeth, and he had lived a rough life. But he and his wife had worked hard, despite being members of a racial minority — and remember: Vietnamese immigrants weren’t particularly well-loved in the US in the aftermath of the Vietnam War — and while they never went to college themselves, they put every one of their children through college, and paid cash to do it.

Well, if they could do it, if people who came here with nothing but the clothes on their backs, many speaking little or no English, could pick themselves up and make a living for themselves and a better life for their children, anyone can.

This is why I don’t accept excuses; this is why complaints that some particular group has had it too hard do not impress me in the slightest. I have seen, first hand, how people can succeed, despite handicaps, despite long odds, despite hardships, if they will just work at it!

  1. This is also one of my criticisms of candidate debates.

Was #JenPsaki hired for her looks?

State Department Spokeswench Jen Psaki

Because there is certainly no evidence she was hired for her brains!

State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Tuesday refused to say the U.S. is at war with the Islamic State, even after the reported beheading of a second U.S. journalist, and tried to pass off humanitarian action in Iraq as proof that the Obama administration is committed to fighting the Islamic State in Syria.

When asked whether the reported execution of Steve Sotloff means the U.S. is at war, Psaki said she would not “put new labels on it.”


“I’m not going to put new labels on it,” she said. “We certainly consider this reported act, [and] the act of the killing of James Foley, as a horrific terrorist act that… has been one of the motivating factors in the effort… to undergo the creation of an international coalition to address this threat.”

When pressed further, Psaki deferred by saying State has not yet confirmed the authenticity of the video that purportedly shows Sotloff’s execution.

Psaki said the Obama administration’s actions against the Islamic State show that it is committed to addressing the threat that group poses.

“Our actions speak for our commitment to this,” she said. “The president has authorized more than 100 strikes in Iraq as has been confirmed by the Department of Defense.”

More at the link.

Our first impression is that the lovely Miss Psaki just isn’t very bright, if she cannot recognize that the Islamic State claims that they are at war with us, with all of the West, with everybody who doesn’t adhere to their particular brand of Islam, and that beheading two captured Americans — along with mass execution of other captives — only emphasizes their point.

But, on second though, we must recognize that the liberated Miss Psaki really can’t say anything that hasn’t been previously approved by her male masters — please note that I said they were male, and in no way imply that they are actually men — so we can give her a bit of a pass: she is being paid, rather well, to stand up in front on some pretty incredulous reporters and respond to tough questions with banalities. It was probably a lot easier when she was working for the Obama campaign, and the professional reporters were all pretty much Obama sycophants; softball questions which got marshmallow answers were still taken with wonder, adulation and awe then.

But now that the President’s inept policies and personal weaknesses are simply too blatantly obvious for even NBC to ignore, and the softball questions aren’t all softballs anymore, and the mushy answers aren’t cutting it. The attractive young woman of the Obama campaign, who was so polished and honest and open just looks like a fool now. Unfortunately for her, she looks the fool because she works for fools.

Consider what Miss Psaki said:

the act of the killing of James Foley, as a horrific terrorist act that… has been one of the motivating factors in the effort… to undergo the creation of an international coalition to address this threat.

Yes, it’s always nice to have allies, useful allies, but when someone attacks you, the proper response is to fight back, not try to create “an international coalition to address (the) threat.”

The truth is that our President, the Commander-in-Chief of the world’s most powerful armed forces, doesn’t want to get our collective hands dirty by actually fighting our enemies. He’s (sort of) OK with using bombers and cruise missiles and drones, which make the dealing of death as sanitary as it can be for the death-dealers, but boots on the ground, putting our soldiers and Marines in harm’s way, is something with which he has a very difficult time. It’s a good thing if a President is reticent to use the military, up to the point where his reticence ends when necessity requires it. For our President, he is too cautious to be a good Commander-in-Chief.

Economics 101: Labor Day and the American economy under President Obama

From The Philadelphia Inquirer:

Five years after recession, American workers are scared, cautious, and worse off
By Jane M Von Bergen, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer | Published Monday, September 1, 2014, 1:08 AM

Anthony Reynolds lost his job in 2009. The replacement job he found at Philadelphia International Airport pays half as much and does not include benefits. (Photo by Michael Bryant, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Photographer)

When the phone call came, Anthony Reynolds, a big man with a ready laugh, cried like a baby.His ex-wife, living in Texas, had taken their son, 7, to a hospital for an important but minor procedure, and the hospital had turned them away. No insurance.

She called. He cried.

“When I lost my job, I didn’t have the heart to tell her that my benefits had been cut,” he said.

“I was so ashamed,” he said. “I’m 1,800 miles from my kids, and I can’t do anything for them.”

By the statistics economists gather, the recession officially ended five years ago, in June 2009. Reynolds lost his job in October 2009. He now cleans airplanes at Philadelphia International Airport, earning half what he once did, in a job with no benefits and no future.

“The recession is over?” Reynolds said. “I didn’t get the memo. I’ve been struggling.”

It’s a now-common journalistic practice to lead off articles on topics like the economy — once called the “dismal science” — with a human interest story, in this case to tell the reader that no, the economy really hasn’t recover yet, and here’s a guy who’s struggling. Only someone as rotten as your Editor would point out here that part of the reason that Mr Reynolds is struggling is because he and his wife divorced, and they are trying to support two households, not one.

But, after that human interest beginning, the story gets down to the meat of the dismal science statistics:

Five years after the recession, so much has changed in the world of work – celebrated, or at least noted, on Labor Day.

Hiring is up, with 209,000 jobs added in July, pulling the nation’s total payrolls ahead of where they were when the recession began in December 2007. The stock market has also risen, with the S&P 500 index breaking a record to close above 2,000, a key benchmark.

Even so, there is growing pessimism among the nation’s workers, with Americans in all walks of life worried about the future. Financially, they are worse off, as wages have stagnated and many jobs created since the recession are in occupations that pay less.

And this is the point at which the reader needs to refer to the Inquirer original to get the rest of the story; I’ve directly quoted more than is my wont. But note the rather odd way that the author put it: “Hiring is up, with 209,000 jobs added in July, pulling the nation’s total payrolls ahead of where they were when the recession began in December 2007.” Well, it’s true enough that the number of people employed is now higher than in December of 2007, 146,352,000 compared to 146,273,000, an increase of 79,000 more jobs. The trouble is that it is a 0.054% increase, when the working age, work eligible population1 increased by 14,867,000, or 6.38%. The official unemployment rate has come down from its recession highs2, but that is because the labor force participation rate3 has dropped from 66.0% to 62.9%. That’s a 3.1 percentage point decrease, but, mathematically, a 4.7% decline.4 Finally, a statistic at which The First Street Journal looks at closely, the employment to population ratio has declined from 62.7% to 59.0%, a 3.7 percentage point decrease, but a 5.9% decline.5

More simply put, 5.9% less of the work eligible population is actually working.

That has a huge impact on everything else. The Inquirer article noted that “wages have stagnated and many jobs created since the recession are in occupations that pay less,” and that all falls on the employment to population ratio: with so many more work eligible people not working, the supply of labor vis a vis the demand for labor has jumped significantly. Businesses don’t pay more for labor because they don’t have to pay more to actually get people to work.

 

The response of President Obama and his Administration? The same people who told us that the $816.3 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 would hold unemployment to a maximum of 8.0% now want to address “income inequality” by raising the minimum wage, blithely unaware that increasing the costs of labor on the minimum wage employers means that such employers must either raise their prices or reduce the number of people who receive the increased rates, or some combination of both. The President and his economic team have been so wrong, so often, that the wiser bet, without having any other information at all, is to do the opposite of what they suggest.

Unfortunately, the President’s policies concerning wages are not the only ones which are bad for our economy. The Administration is trying to impose regulations which would impose huge new costs on businesses, costs which must be passed along to the consumers, concerning CO2 emissions, has constantly stymied (by the mechanism of simply delaying approval) the Keystone pipeline project (costing thousands of high-paying jobs), and, of course, the biggest cost of them all, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, mandating that everyone have health care insurance and thus increasing burdens on businesses. All of these things stem from American liberal philosophy, from thinking how great things would be if everyone was just a good liberal, without having the first clue as to the economic costs of all of those things. We have said it before: if liberals actually understood economics, they wouldn’t be liberals anymore!6

And now the Inquirer is telling us what we have known all along: it doesn’t matter that President Obama and his Administration have claimed to have made great progress, because this economy is just plain rotten. The gentleman pictured in the Inquirer article almost certainly voted for President Obama, if he voted at all,7 but the recession isn’t over for him yet, just as it isn’t over for a lot of people.

Your Editor is somewhat amused by the very existence of the Inquirer article. After all, the Inquirer endorsed President Obama in his re-election campaign, concluding, “BARACK OBAMA is the better candidate in the presidential race. A vote for him is an investment in a strong future, which is why The Inquirer endorses his reelection.”

“An investment in a strong future?” Boy, did they get that one wrong!
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Related Articles:

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  1. The Bureau of Labor Statistics refers to this as the “civilian non-institutional population,” meaning those people 16 years and above, who are not in the military, nor prison, nor some sort of other long-term treatment or care center.
  2. 10.0% in October of 2009, eight months after the 209 stimulus bill which was supposed to hold unemployment to a maximum of 8.0% was passed.
  3. The percentage of the workforce eligible population which is actually employed or looking for employment.
  4. 3.1 ÷ 66.0 = 0.04697.
  5. 3.7 ÷ 62.7 = 0.05901.
  6. The Editor has watched Star Trek plenty of times, and he’d love to see the Star Trek future, where everyone has a great job he loves, poverty has been abolished, and energy is provided from completely clean and renewable sources, but the Editor understands the differences between science fiction and reality. He doesn’t think that the left do.
  7. President Obama won 93% of the black vote in Pennsylvania, and he received every single vote in 59 heavily black precincts in Philadelphia.

Is there a worse Attorney General in any state, anywhere, than Kathleen Kane?

Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D-PA) Click to enlarge.

The First Street Journal has run several stories about the silliness of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, (D-PA), who squashed a sting and an investigation into bribery by some members of the Pennsylvania state legislature because, surprise! everyone caught has been a Democrat, an action so egregious that even the editors of The Philadelphia Inquirer complained. And now, it looks like she’s in trouble again:

Special prosecutor probes Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office
Craig R. McCoy and Angela Couloumbis, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writers | August 31, 2014 6:45 AM

A special prosecutor is investigating whether the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane leaked confidential grand jury material to a newspaper in a bid to strike back at former prosecutors in the office who had been critical of her, according to several people familiar with the matter.

The special prosecutor has issued several subpoenas to Kane’s office and others to explore how secret records became public this year about a 2009 investigation by the Attorney General’s Office involving Philadelphia political activist J. Whyatt Mondesire, the sources said.

Though there have been periodic inquiries into grand jury leaks in the past, this appears to be first time the state attorney general or top staffers in the office have come under scrutiny.

Reached for comment late Saturday afternoon about reports of the leak probe, J.J. Abbott, a Kane spokesman, referred those questions to Renee Martin, Kane’s acting communications director. Martin did not return phone calls.

It is unclear who commissioned the investigation, nor was The Inquirer able to determine the special prosecutor’s name. But typically, sources said, such a decision would need approval from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

A person who violates grand jury secrecy rules may be found guilty of contempt of court and sentenced to up to six months in prison.

More at the link. But we are officially amused that the lovely Mrs Kane, who won her office by campaigning on investigating whether Governor Ton Corbett (R-PA), then the state’s Attorney General, deliberately slowed the investigation into former Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky on child sexual abuse allegations, for some sort of political advantage, charges on which an investigator completely cleared Mr Corbett, is now facing an investigation that she has misused the Attorney General’s office to get back at her critics.

And make no mistake about this: a special prosecutor investigation authorized by the state Supreme Court is a serious thing, and to authorize such against the state’s Attorney General, who is the state’s official litigant before the Court, is a very serious matter, one that the Justices1 would never undertake if they did not perceive a real problem with the Attorney General and her office.

It seems that Mrs Kane, once called the Democrats’ new “it girl” in Pennsylvania, is exactly what we have called her before: an intellectual lightweight and an embarrassment to the Commonwealth. Perhaps she can get a guest appearance on Orange Is The New Black.
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  1. Four Republicans and three Democrats.

I’ll bet that Vladimir Putin is scared now!

From the Associated Press, via The Washington Post:

EU sets Russia ultimatum, threatens sanctions
By Juergen Baetz and JimM Heintz | Associated Press

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during an European People’s Party summit ahead of the EU summit in Brussels, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. EU leaders, in a one day summit, are set to decide who will get the prestigious job as the 28-nation bloc’s foreign policy chief for the next five years. They will also discuss the current situation in Ukraine. (Yves Logghe/Associated Press)

BRUSSELS — Despite tough rhetoric decrying Russia’s increasing military involvement in Ukraine, European Union leaders on Sunday stopped short of imposing new sanctions against Moscow right away.Instead, the 28-nation bloc’s heads of state and government tasked their executive body to “urgently undertake preparatory work” for tougher economic sanctions, according to summit chairman Herman Van Rompuy.

The sanctions will depend on the evolution of the situation on the ground but “everybody is fully aware that we have to act quickly,” he added. The preparatory work will start Monday, he added.

The fighting between the military and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine has so far claimed 2,600 lives, according to U.N. figures. NATO said this week that at least 1,000 Russian soldiers are in Ukraine, which Russia denies. Another 20,000 Russian troops are amassed just across Ukraine’s eastern border, NATO says.

The U.S. and the EU have so far imposed sanctions against dozens of Russian officials, several companies as well as the country’s financial and arms industry. Moscow has retaliated by banning food imports.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the new sanctions would target the same sectors as previous punitive measures, which also included an export ban for some high technology and oil exploration equipment.

Ahhh, but here are the money quotes:

Several European leaders had called for additional sanctions at the outset of the meeting in Brussels, but the fear of an economic backlash apparently prevailed and led the bloc to grant Russia another chance at avoiding tougher action. New sanctions would have required unanimity among the leaders.

Russia is the EU’s No. 3 trading partner and one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers. The EU, in turn, is Russia’s biggest commercial partner, making any sanctions more biting than similar measures adopted by the U.S.

In other words, if the European Union angers President Putin enough, he can turn off the gas, and it gets pretty darned cold in the winter in Europe. The sanctions could hurt Russia’s economy, but Russia could freeze Europe to death.

So, I’ll put it bluntly: if President Putin wants to seize the eastern part of Ukraine badly enough, he can and he will, and the European Union will fuss and bluster and fulminate, but they cannot and will not do anything to actually stop it. I wrote about the West’s inability and unwillingness to do anything to actually stop Russia, months ago, using this tweet from Hale Razor:

So, the Western leaders threatened to impose new sanctions, huh? It’s pretty obvious that the previous sanctions didn’t bother President Putin in the slightest, so it’s rather difficult to see how these new sanctions are going to have him quaking in his boots. Heck, Russian bombers even violated Dutch airspace, something which has happened before, but given the heightened tensions, the Russians would be more careful these days . . . if they hadn’t already judged President Obama and the other Western leaders as milquetoasts.

There is really no reason at all for Russia not to invade the eastern half of Ukraine, where much of the population is Russian, because the West has proved that it cannot and will not do one thing to stop the bear.

Dr Strangelove put it most simply: “Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy the fear to attack.” Mr Putin has no fear of attacking at all, because he knows that he can, and, as Hale Razor put it, the most serious consequence will be that Mr Obama will unfriend him on Facebook.

It was true when I wrote that last April, and it’s still true today.