A Leaky Distraction

by T. Grimsley on August 30, 2016

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A Political Cartoon By A.F.Branco for Liberty Alliance

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Russian Troops - Public DomainThe drumbeats of war are growing louder.  Fighting in eastern Ukraine between separatists and pro-government forces has risen to an intensity not seen in well over a year, and the Russians claim that they recently foiled a “Ukrainian plot” to conduct terror attacks in Crimea.  As tensions in the region have increased, the Russians have used the cover of “military drills” to move massive amounts of troops and military equipment up to the border with Ukraine.  This is something that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, but things have intensified since then, and a huge military exercise is planned for September.  Needless to say, the Ukrainians are quite alarmed by this, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is warning that a full scale mobilization of the Ukrainian military may be needed.  If something is going to happen, it is likely to happen soon.  As you will see below, once we get into October it will become much less likely that we would see a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

We aren’t hearing much about this conflict in the U.S. media, but over in Europe this is a very big deal.  Just consider the following excerpt from an article in the Independent entitled “Russia is teetering on the brink of ‘all out war’ with Ukraine“…

Ukraine is holding a major military parade in Kiev today to mark its 25th anniversary as an independent state. But, at a time that should otherwise be a moment of national celebration, a serious crisis with Moscow is flaring up. So serious, in fact, that on Tuesday the Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande were forced to hold a three-way phone call to try to de-escalate the situation.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has even warned that there is growing risk of a “full scale Russian invasion along all fronts,” ratcheting up what is already the bloodiest European conflict since the wars over the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

And the truth is that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has some very good reasons to be concerned.  As the Washington Post has pointed out, the Russians have used military exercises as an excuse to stage forces for military action in the past…

As violence in the east heats up, Ukrainian officials have suggested that Russia may use the upcoming military drills, called Kavkaz (Caucasus) 2016, as cover for military action against Ukraine. The drills are the first to integrate the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, into the country’s military planning, and thousands of Russian troops will be brought in for air, land and sea exercises.

Ukrainian government analysts have recalled that exercises served as staging grounds for troop incursions in 2014, as did Russian military exercises held shortly before the Georgian war of 2008. Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations suggested that Russia may have “bad intentions,” while the West has also said it would like observers to be present.

If there is going to be a Russian invasion of Ukraine in September, Kavkaz 2016 will likely be used as cover for invasion preparations.  It is a yearly exercise, but in 2016 it looks like it will be much bigger than ever before, and some analysts have pointed out that the Russians have not conducted a mobilization on this scale since the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.  Here is more on Kavkaz 2016 from the Daily Signal

In September, Russia has plans for a large-scale strategic military exercise called Kavkaz-2016. The exercise, which is an annual event, will include units deployed near the borders of Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan—including two Russian military districts in the Southern and Northern Caucasus, the Russian Black Sea Fleet (headquartered in occupied Crimea), and the Caspian Flotilla.

It is not immediately clear the exact size of this year’s exercise, but last year it comprised 95,000 troops, 7,000 vehicles, and 150 aircraft, according to a report by IHS Markit, a U.K.-based intelligence and analysis firm.

If the Russians are going to do something, they need to do it soon, because the weather turns very bad during the month of October.  Here is one how one analyst assessed the situation

“But will there be a war – we’ll see, no much time for guessing left… In this situation, the main thing for Russia is to achieve strategic and tactical surprise. And if she does not start now – then it will be too late. One would need to turn off full-scale operations in October because of the rains and the next draft to Russian army (it would mean the demobilization of current wave of conscripts and training the new ones – UT).”

A Russian invasion of Ukraine would mean that Russian relations with the U.S. and with Europe would immediately plunge to Cold War levels.  Of course some would argue that we are already there.  In any event, a Russian invasion would force the U.S. and NATO to make some very uncomfortable decisions.

Would the U.S. and NATO just stand by and do nothing while Ukraine is overrun by the Russians?

Maybe.

But if the U.S. and NATO responded with military force, that would risk a full scale nuclear confrontation with Russia.

Right now, a war with Russia is about the last thing that most Americans are thinking about, but the truth is that we are not that far away from such a scenario.

Over in Russia, the mindset is totally different.  The following is from a Newsweek article entitled “In Europe and Russia, There’s Talk of War“…

Recently, I grabbed a taxi in Moscow. When the driver asked me where I was from, I told him the United States. “I went there once,” he said, “to Chicago. I really liked it.”

“But tell me something,” he added. “When are we going to war?”

The question, put so starkly, so honestly, shocked me. “Well, I hope never,” I replied. “No one wants war.”

At the office, I ask a Russian employee about the mood in his working class Moscow neighborhood. The old people are buying salt, matches and gretchka [buckwheat], he tells me—the time-worn refuge for Russians stocking up on essentials in case of war.

In the past two months, I’ve traveled to the Baltic region, to Georgia, and to Russia. Talk of war is everywhere.

Most Americans don’t realize that Russians already view the United States more negatively than they did even during the height of the Cold War.  On Russian television they openly talk about the inevitability of a war between the United States and Russia, and the Russian military has feverishly been preparing for such a future conflict.

If we can get to October, we can probably breathe a bit of a sigh of relief because the Russians are not likely to conduct an invasion once the weather turns bad.

But for now there are very good reasons to be concerned, and we shall see what happens over the coming weeks…

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Russian Ups The Ante On Alaskan Border

by Andrew West on August 30, 2016

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Russia

While the U.S. is preoccupied with the least appealing election in decades, Russia has been covertly strengthening their defenses around the world.

Russia

Russian troops will soon be stationed mere miles off the coast of Alaska.

The latest Russian defense outpost is alarming close to Alaska.  At merely 50 miles from The Last Frontier, only The Bering Strait will separate Russia’s military and American soil, a sure sign that the Russians are preparing for an uneasy spell.

“The new division, expected to be in place by 2018, will be responsible for defending Russia’s sparsely populated Far East, stretching from the Alaskan border to the Kuril Islands, which are disputed with Japan.

“Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu indicated the new division will be expected to ‘ensure control of the closed sea zones of the Kuril Islands and the Bering Strait, cover the routes of Pacific Fleet forces’ deployment in the Far Eastern and Northern sea zones, and increase the combat viability of naval strategic nuclear forces.’

“’It’s obvious that this is not just ordinary news, not least because what we’re talking about is the creation of a serious military force just a stone’s throw away from the United States: only the Bering Strait will separate the Russian coastal defense division from Alaska,’ Sergei Ishchenko, a defense analyst for Svobodnaya Pressa, said. ‘At its narrowest point, that’s only 86 km away.’”

Russia’s military has been a wildcard on the world stage in recent years, and this latest move shows that there is no sign of them slowing down anytime soon.

You can read more here.

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VIDEO:  Hilarious Songs Lambasts CNN Over “News” Coverage

Cable news networks, especially CNN, have been shirking their journalistic duties more and more every year, and this next video highlights it.

The clip, coming to us from ReasonTV on YouTube, does an excellent job of sticking it to the biggest offender of them all:  CNN.  The liberally biased news channel has been forced to focus on Donald Trump’s non-issues as a way of ignoring Hillary Clinton’s enormous and profound scandals.  The cable news giant also makes it a habit to report on everything but what’s actually newsworthy, and this video harpoons them for it.

Check it out below.

 

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Legislation pending in Congress will restrict consumer choice in contact lens purchases

Legislation pending in Congress will restrict consumer choice in contact lens purchases

Legislation pending in Congress will restrict consumer choice in contact lens purchases

Years ago when consumers had their eyes examined by an eye doctor, if they had chose to get contact lenses they pretty much had to have that prescription filled by their eye doctor at the price charged by that doctor. The ability of consumers to purchase their contact lenses from other vendors provided competition, and consumer choices in obtaining contact lenses, lowing the prices paid for them. But now the eye doctors industry groups are pushing legislation that will benefit themselves by restricting consumer choices on where they buy contact lenses.

The trade group representing eye care practitioners, The American Optometry Association (AOA), has a long history of opposing consumer choices in contact lens purchases. AOA strongly sides with eyes doctors, and against other vendors of contact lenses, in opposing customer choice.

The three largest manufacturers of contact lenses, and AOA, were sued in 1996 by 32 state attorneys general for accusations of denying consumers their prescriptions and anti-competitive practices that made it harder for contact lens vendors to sell at wholesale prices. The AOA made the false, and debunked, claim that contact lenses purchased at the eye doctors office are safe than those purchased elsewhere. This claim was debunked by a 1997 investigation by 17 state attorneys general that found contact lenses purchased at eye care practitioners offices were no more safe than those purchased from other vendors.

The largest maker of contact lenses, Johnson & Johnson, which controls about 40 percent of the market share, last year spent about $6.4 million on lobbying, according to OpenSecrets.org, on lobbying to present the false claim that contact lenses purchased at eye doctors offices are safe than those purchased elsewhere. The lobbying also promoted the push for restrictions on the other contact lens vendors, that would also benefit eye care practitioners selling contact lenses from their offices.

The large contact lens manufacturers, including Alcon, Bausch & Lomb, CooperVision, and Johnson & Johnson, and the AOA have created and bankrolled a group to lead their campaign for restrictions on consumer contact lens purchases, called The Coalition for Patient Vision Care Safety. They created this group to promote the claim of safety while the real agenda is the cronyism of enabling eye care practitioners to make more money selling contact lenses at higher prices, at the expense of consumers.

The AOA and their industry cronies are working to get Congress to enact the “Contact Lens Consumer Health Protection Act“ (S. 2777). This legislation would impose draconian regulations on contact lens vendors, including limiting consumer choices, slowing the prescription verification process, and delaying delivery of contact lenses from the vendors. All this will only enrich the major contact lens manufacturers and the members of the AOA. Eye Care Practitioners enjoy an advantage few other professions have, the ability to both prescribe products like contact lenses and also sell them. Consumers benefit from choice and competition in contact lens purchases, in large part because the vendors can sell them their contact lenses are discounted prices for the same exact products customized to their prescriptions.

Congress cracked down on the industry’s anti-competitive practices in 2004 by enacting the Fairness in Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA), which sought to protect consumer choice by requiring eye care practitioners to provide patients their prescriptions, and stopping efforts to thwart consumers from purchasing contact lenses from vendors other than the eye doctor’s offices.

The same industry groups, including AOA members and the big contact lens makers, today are seeking to roll back these consumer protections by asking Congress to enact the so-called Contact Lens Consumer Health Protection Act, which would only restrict consumer choices and bolster the profit margins of contact lens manufacturers and AOA members. Congress should stand up for consumers, and against so-called “crony capitalism” by opposing this legislation.

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John Kerry Demands Media Blackout On Terror

by Andrew West on August 30, 2016

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kerry

kerry

John Kerry’s latest idea about how to combat terrorism is just plain idiotic.

In yet another asinine move by liberals in the war on terror, Secretary of State John Kerry is asking the media to discontinue its coverage of terror attacks.

While the American left has slowly and surely decreasing the amount of time and resources it spends fighting the very real threat of terrorism, this bold statement by Kerry is a new low – even for an administration that has refused to even use the phrase “radical Islam”.

“Secretary of State John Kerry wants media to stop covering terrorist attacks so ‘people wouldn’t know what’s going on.’

“’It’s not just the battlefield; it’s the minds. And if we have too many young people who can’t go to school, or too many young people who are frustrated, or they can’t find a job — if we leave those minds out there for extremists to recruit, then it will continue and none of us would be doing our jobs if we allowed that to happen,’ he added.

“It’s better if the public is kept in the dark about Islamic terror attacks in their nations, according to Kerry, who warned earlier in his speech that terrorists ‘no respect for national boundaries.’”

This is a dangerous precedent to set in the modern terrorism era, where vigilance has proven to be the most effective way to mitigate the harm done by Muslim extremists.  Kerry’s insinuation that ignoring the problem will help to make it go away is frustratingly short sighted.

You can read more here.

 

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kaepernick

kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick’s own other had harsh words for the bratty quarterback.

For the past two days, it seems that every person in American has shared an opinion about Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the National Anthem.

The latest voice in the crowd is Kaepernick’s own mother, who weighed in on the subject publicly today.  What she has to say may just surprise even the most ardent fans of the beleaguered quarterback.

“San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s birth mother had some harsh words for her son on Twitter.

‘There’s ways to make change w/o disrespecting & bringing shame to the very country & family who afforded you so many blessings,’ Heidi Russo tweeted at Kaepernick after he decided to sit out the national anthem this past weekend.”

Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the anthem, citing the flimsy excuse of “oppression” by white people, has been on the receiving end of march criticisms, but coming from his own mother, this has to sting.

You can read more here.

 

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CARTOON: Miss Me Yet?

by Andrew West on August 30, 2016

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nixon

nixon

Nixon is a saint compared to Hillary Clinton. Nixon missing 18 1/2 minutes of tape vs 30,000 emails. Cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2016.

More A.F. Branco Cartoons at Net Right Daily.

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Satirical Cartoonist Defends Anti-Hillary Piece

by Andrew West on August 30, 2016

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cartoon

One satirical cartoonist is defending his work against crybaby liberals who failed to understand the intent of his nuanced work.

cartoon

One satirical cartoonist refuses to back down in the face of liberal whiners.

Tony Branco, the cartoonist responsible for the cartoon in question that depicts Hillary Clinton in blackface, spent some time speaking with the Washington Post recently about his work, and about the overreaction that he faces from liberals on a regular basis.

“After posting a cartoon Monday that depicts Hillary Clinton in blackface, pastor Mark Burns, a Donald Trump surrogate, quickly deleted the image from his Twitter account and apologized for spreading it. But the cartoonist who drew it, Tony Branco, is standing by his caricature.

“‘Political cartoons are supposed to rile people up, get people talking, have a discussion about issues,’ Branco told me. ‘It’s supposed to focus people’s attention on the issue, and that’s what the cartoon did. And I’m pretty proud that it did that.’

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October Surprise Coming, But From Who?

by Andrew West on August 30, 2016

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october

While the 2016 election drags on, and Americans are still as disgusted as ever with their choices, an October surprise is certainly in the wings.

october

The democrats are desperately attempting to paint Wikileaks’ promised October surprise as a Russian conspiracy.

Julian Assange of Wikileaks has already promised that a new trove of Clinton-related emails will be available before November’s general election, but the liberals are attempting to paint that promise as coming from the Russians and not from the well-intentioned whistleblower.

“The October surprise is almost certainly going to come from Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, who has repeatedly challenged those who accuse him of using Russian sources to provide proof.

“By trying to entrench the narrative that any and all negative leaks about Hillary are based on fake documents released by a hostile foreign government, the establishment is trying to discredit the October surprise weeks before it even emerges.

“Whatever form the ‘October surprise’ takes, it should be judged on its individual merits, but the Clinton mouthpiece media has already settled on a strategy of tying any and all damaging information about Hillary into its vast, sprawling and gargantuan conspiracy theory that Vladimir Putin is the evil genius behind Hillary’s downfall.”

This form of nonsensical, preemptive discrediting of information is the last line of defense that the democrats have against the powerful and poignant leaks coming from Assange’s camp.  Hillary Clinton is on her last legs as a candidate, her health not withstanding, and attempting to paint any further leaks as wild, accusatory falsehoods may be the only reprieve she’ll have before November.

You can read more here.

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