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Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014

The Right Stuff

A politics blog by Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson's baseball card - if he had one - would report he throws left, writes right. In his columns and blog, "The Right Stuff," southpaw Jackson provides insight into the evolving human condition from a distinctly conservative point of view.

‘Viable third party’ fantasyland

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By Tom Jackson

The Right Stuff ran across a thread on its Facebook news feed where people largely in harmony regarding what ails the world and its appropriate cures had nonetheless managed to become sidetracked. One was extolling what he regarded as the incremental but persistent shifting of Republicans toward more sensible positions; the other declared his impatience and said he’d abandon the GOP in a heartbeat if only there were a — you know where this is going — viable third party.

Obviously, you don’t have to be a Republican or a conservative to have this conversation with someone who shares your general political philosophy. Democrats who find common cause with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s string-up-the-rascals bluntness would break from the world’s oldest political party to coalesce around her if she gave so much as a nod.

But not only are third-party successes rarer than Chicago Cubs World Series victories, we’ll sooner see the Cubs triumphant than a third party take hold. The Cubs, at least — now in their second century of rebuilding since winning the 1908 World Series — have equal access to baseball’s well-established winning formula. Third-party dreamers, however, have the entirety of the U.S. Constitutional architecture working against them.

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9th Circuit affirms ‘hecker’s veto’ against American flag

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By Tom Jackson

The idea that school administrators do and should have broad authority to set peacekeeping rules strikes The Right Stuff as self-evident. In this, it finds itself in rare agreement with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. But, as the saying more or less goes, with great authority comes great responsibility.

If only what the 9th Circuit did Thursday was as simple as that. It is anything but.

By declining to rehear, en banc (that is, an 11-member panel) the case decided by three judges in February, the court affirmed that by declaring an activity a safety hazard, school officials needn’t be rational or balanced or even particularly concerned with the rights of the students whom they regard as posing the threat. In this case, the provocateurs were a handful of students who wore T-shirts bearing the American flag to Live Oak High School, near San Jose, Calif., on Cinco de Mayo, marking an unlikely victory of Mexican forces over the French in the 1862 Battle of Puebla.

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Obamacare as Jenga

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By Tom Jackson

Another Obamacare shoe dropped Tuesday, but because it happened in faraway Minnesota, you might not have noticed. Although Minnesota’s NFL team idled one of the league’s top running backs over a charge of child abuse, and everybody noticed that. So maybe it’s something else. Lefty pundits have been saying for a while Obamacare has slipped off the radar as a campaign issue for Republicans in competitive midterm races, so perhaps that’s it.

It’s also conceivable that things have gotten so much worse in so many other areas (ISIS, the border, Ebola, disappointing jobs numbers, flagging middle class incomes) that Obamacare, though still as unpopular as ever, had shrunk to mildly irritating background noise.

Well. Brace yourself for a comeback.

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Maxwell vs. Gillibrand: The Veracity Algorithm

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By Tom Jackson

Whatever else anyone makes of his tale of suspicion about what went down in the Foggy Bottom basement in the tumultuous days after the Benghazi massacre, we know this: Raymond Maxwell identified at least four people who could readily confirm or refute part or all of his allegations. There’s the unnamed office director he encountered that pivotal Sunday afternoon; the State Department secretary who, Maxwell says, told him the maneuvering was all about keeping then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton viable for 2016; and the two Clinton allies, Cheryl Mills and Jake Sullivan.

Their sides of the story are certain to come out, and when they do we will know better whether Maxwell was trafficking in scary fact or self-serving fantasy. Never satisfied to let events take their course toward truth, however, even now opinion-slingers on the reliable left have decided he’s lying.

That’s OK. That’s their right. Their efforts would enjoy more credibility, however, if their skepticism was consistent.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson, serial fabulist

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By Tom Jackson

Neil deGrasse Tyson might be a scientist, but he seems to have only a nodding acquaintance with the truth. Having previously analyzed Tyson’s routine pretzelizing of quotes and outright fabrication of events to suit his narrative of the moment, Sean Davis (The Federalist) returned mercilessly — because none was warranted — to the topic Tuesday.

Davis was righteously inspired by Tyson’s regurgitating of a favorite lie he tells about George W. Bush, most recently Sunday during a presentation at the Paramount Theater in deep-blue Seattle. The lie weaves in God, religion, bellicosity and prejudice, but most of all it involves stars.

As an astrophysicist, celebrity director of the Hayden Planetarium and host of National Geographic’s “Cosmos” TV series, you have to figure, when it comes to stars, Tyson is going to know what he’s talking about. Right? Turns out, he’s not even close.

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What went down in that Foggy Bottom basement?

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By Tom Jackson

The Right Stuff isn’t saying the Benghazi scandal has finally identified its John Dean, exactly. The complaint lodged by career diplomat Raymond Maxwell, a former deputy assistant secretary of state under Hillary Clinton, does not rise to the level of the long-ago White House counsel’s chilling “cancer on the presidency” debriefing with Richard Nixon.

Still, if we are to believe what the investigations to date have had to say about the higher-ups’ lack of culpability in foreseeing, heading off and/or responding to the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate that ended with the massacre of four Americans — including Ambassador Christopher Stevens — then we also must believe investigators had all pertinent materials at their disposal, and also were not predisposed to a convenient political conclusion.

What Maxwell told Daily Signal reporter Sharyll Attkisson — yes, her again — combined with her previous reporting throws the worthiness of those conclusions into serious question. Reports Attkisson:

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White House ‘transparency’ revisited

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By Tom Jackson

The most transparent administration in history, the one without a smidgen of corruption, rolls on. The Daily Caller has been alerted to fresh evidence that the Department of Labor was coordinating with the White House to cover evidence that then-Labor Sec. Hilda Solis raised funds for President Obama’s reelection campaign while performing official business, a serious federal elections no-no.

New emails provided to The Daily Caller from the nonprofit legal research firm Cause of Action show the White House thanking the Department of Labor for “flagging” a public information request for “withheld” portions of Solis’ schedule. (SEE THE EMAIL CHAIN). The White House then asked for the name of the conservative group making the request — information that Labor officials were eager to give up.

As TheDC previously reported, Solis illegally fundraised for the Obama campaign and headlined a Latino-themed Obama fundraiser while on a trip in her official capacity as a Cabinet member, which is forbidden by the Hatch Act.

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The conundrum found in Obama’s definition of Islamic

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By Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson updates “The Right Stuff” blog throughout the week at TBO.com.

It’s days later, yes, but The Right Stuff simply has to get this on the record.

What in the name of a pilgrimage to Mecca is President Obama thinking? He can’t possibly think, really, he’s such a gifted orator we’ll believe every last outlandish thing he says. Can he?

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A bromance made in rugby heaven, sealed with a trip

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By Tom Jackson

This is amusing. Two straight New Zealand men, taking vows to each other — but mostly to rugby — “married” Friday morning to win the ultimate rugby fan honeymoon: A trip to see their team play in the 2015 Rugby World Cup in the United Kingdom.

And, as Katherine Timpf of National Review Online discovered, gay marriage activists are not amused.

“Something like this trivializes what we fought for,” said Neill Ballantyne, coordinator of Queer Support. “The competition promoted the marriage of two men as something negative, as something outrageous that you’d never consider.”

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The Islamic definition conundrum

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By Tom Jackson

The Right Stuff simply has to get this on the record.

What in the name of a pilgrimage to Mecca is President Obama thinking? He can’t possibly think, really, he’s such a gifted orator we’ll believe every last outlandish thing he says. Can he?

I mean, even after “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” and “Not even a smidgen of corruption” and “As a general proposition, vouchers have not significantly improved the performance of kids that are in these poorest communities”? Of course, it is possible to go on, but the point about what flows like so much snake oil from the president is plain: It simply cannot be trusted.

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