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Wednesday, Apr 01, 2015

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.

Indiana, religious freedom and the prescience of Barry Goldwater

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By Tom Jackson

The more The Right Stuff learns about the misinformation being spread as fact on behalf of manufacturing outrage in the wake of Indiana becoming the 21st state (joining, among others, Florida) to pass a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the more it wishes we’d heeded the misgivings of Barry Goldwater.

Yes, THAT Barry Goldwater. The Arizona Republican whose reward for writing “The Conscience of a Conservative” — a surprise best-seller in 1960 — was to serve as his party’s sacrificial presidential nominee in 1964 when the nation ached to venerate the memory of the slain John F. Kennedy.

It was also 1964 when Goldwater cast what has been described, uniformly, as a “reluctant” vote against that year’s sweeping Civil Rights Act. A preaching and practicing anti-segregationist, Goldwater nonetheless recoiled from two provisions in the 1964 bill — public accommodation and fair employment — he regarded as unconstitutional meddling in the private sector.

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Hillary’s well-scrubbed server; rolling over for the mullahs

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The Right Stuff

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

And then, it seems, there were none.

Having appointed herself sole arbiter over what correspondence to share from her home-brew email server while she was secretary of state — That’s how it works? Seriously? — Hillary Clinton subsequently authorized a reset that unleashes virtual scrubbing bubbles on anything older than 60 days.

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The Bergdahl fiasco: from reckless to toxic to ridiculous

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By Tom Jackson

Catching up on your current-events reading this weekend? So is The Right Stuff, and, in the wake of (hopelessly belated, but never mind) charges being filed against America’s most infamous wandering soldier, it commends to your attention “Everything The White House Told You About Bowe Bergdahl Was Wrong.”

Nancy A. Youssef ties it all together for The Daily Beast, from Bergdahl’s suspicious — possibly telegraphed — disappearance to the bizarre Rose Garden announcement to another nationally televised episode of tortured truth by Susan Rice to the wisdom of the trade of five Taliban senior operatives to the energizing principle behind it all, that the end was near for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.

An episode played, blatantly and inexplicably, for political gain — Who wouldn’t love to debrief the focus group that gave it a thumbs up? — was toxic on arrival. Now its slow implosion has begun: There’s strong evidence to support the claims of desertion lodged by troop mates at the time Bergdahl went missing; his service lacked honor and/or distinction; there are reports at least some of the freed Taliban five are angling to resume active duty; and, at the request of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, we’re postponing the drawdown of our military by five months.

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Hillary and the well-scrubbed email server

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By Tom Jackson

And then, it seems, there were none.

Having appointed herself the sole arbiter over what correspondence to share from her home-brew email server while she was secretary of state — That’s how it works? Seriously? — Hillary Clinton subsequently authorized a reset that unleashes virtual scrubbing bubbles on anything older than 60 days.

Accordingly, Clinton attorney David Kendall told the select committee investigating the slaughter of Americans in Benghazi Friday, there’s no longer anything to review. Nothing to see here. Time to move on.

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On Iran, ‘any deal for a deal’s sake’

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By Tom Jackson

About the looming deal with Iran over its nuclear-weapons-making capacity — the one that seems to grow worse for everyone but the mullahs day by the day; the one, also, President Obama appears prepared to take to the U.N. Security Council rather than Congress — National Review’s Jim Geraghty poses a pertinent question:

If the centrifuges are not for weapons purposes, why does Iran need to keep them in a fortified bunker protected from airstrikes?

The site in question, bearing a name straight out of “Lord of the Rings” — Fordo — and carved into a mountain, was originally targeted by U.S.-led negotiators for dismantling. Then it was to be allowed to continue as a research project. Now it’s not only going to remain in operation, it’s going to be expanded. Except — wink-wink — its centrifuges will be fed only non-fissile elements, says the Associated Press, “such as zinc, xenon or germanium for separating out isotopes used in medicine, industry or science.”

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Rubio’s healthcare iPhone corollary

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By Tom Jackson

Doing the other thing he does best — that is, the thing besides telling the wonder of America as seen through the eyes of the offspring of working-class immigrants — presumptive presidential candidate Marco Rubio is flooding his pre-announcement zone with ideas. On tax reform. On foreign policy. On, a little belatedly, immigration.

Now, to acknowledge the fifth anniversary of the signing (and at last revealing, which prompted postponing, recasting and/or waiving key segments) of the Affordable Care Act, the first-term U.S. senator from Miami has unveiled his three-part plan for a post-Obamacare America.

Rubio’s proposal mostly involves putting federal tax dollars into the hands of individuals and allowing them to make choices. I know; more government redistribution. But if we have decided as a nation that society — and therefore government — has a role in helping its legal residents get medical care (we have), there are worse ways to go about it. In fact, we’re living one of the worst right now.

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Hillary’s media homers

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By Tom Jackson

Just about the first thing they teach you in sports writing — right after, “Make sure you get the score right” — is this: There is no cheering in the press box.

The rule extends beyond the mere physical locality of the press box itself to wherever a working sports journalist might find himself in pursuit of his task: on the sidelines, inside the ropes of a golf tournament, even in the winning team’s champagne-soaked clubhouse or locker room after a championship.

Simply put, a proper sports journalist never, ever acts like a fan. Not even when you witness the astonishing: Kirk Gibson’s improbable homer to win Game 1 of the 1988 World Series; Joe Montana beating Cincinnati with a strike to John Taylor in the dying moments of Super Bowl XXIII; Jack Nicklaus rolling back the years to win a sixth green jacket at the 1986 Masters; Mary Lou Retton spiking that landing to win overall gymnastics gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

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Obama and the mandatory ballot-box miscalculation

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The Right Stuff

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

The remedy for money’s influence in politics, President Obama was saying the other day in Cleveland, is simple. Make voting compulsory.

Pitched a question at a town hall meeting that was unintentionally rich with irony — What can be done about the influence of big spenders on elections? — Obama, history’s all-time biggest campaign spender, replied, “It would be transformative if everyone voted.” And how to reach that happy end? Easy: Frog-march the reluctant to the polls.

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The Mandatory Ballot-Box Miscalculation

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By Tom Jackson

The remedy for money’s influence in politics, President Obama was saying the other day in Cleveland, is simple. Make voting compulsory.

Pitched a question at a town hall meeting that was unintentionally rich with irony — What can be done about the influence of big spenders on elections? — Obama, history’s all-time biggest campaign spender replied, “It would be transformative if everyone voted.” And how to reach that happy end? Easy: Frog-march the reluctant to the polls.

“Other countries have mandatory voting,” he said. And because other countries do — as many as 26 of them, according to the Institute on Democracy and Electoral Assistance — why shouldn’t the non-exceptional United States?

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The Criminal Alien Boomerang Effect

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By Tom Jackson

Remember — it was just last month — when bereaved dad Jamiel Shaw testified before a congressional committee about the murder of his son by an illegal immigrant?

In a hushed hearing room, Shaw told a story that was in every way heartbreaking and horrifying in its own right, the senseless shooting in March 2008 of a promising high school athlete for the crime of carrying a Spider-Man — that is, mostly red — backpack through a neighborhood where young thugs render instant, permanent judgments based on a flash of color.

Worse, and you’re darn right the description applies, the killer of 17-year-old Jamiel Shaw II — Pedro Espinoza, then 18 and a known gang-banger — had emerged from Los Angeles County jail only a day earlier after serving half of an eight-month sentence for displaying a firearm in a park and resisting arrest.

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