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Thursday, Feb 26, 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.

Obama’s Keystone veto: The game is afoot

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By Tom Jackson

With an unceremonious sweep of his trusty Cross Townsend rollerball Tuesday, President Obama made good on an old promise. No, not that one. You still can’t keep your plan, or your doctor. This one: He vetoed a bill authorizing commencement of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would link to a network in Nebraska to bring crude oil from Canadian tar sands to refineries along the Gulf Coast.

The explanation was a howler: “[T]his act of Congress ... cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment.” Executive agencies have been reviewing Keystone more than six years. It’s been endorsed five times by the State Department.

Then again, if it’s any Obama knows, it’s how to shortchange consideration of issues.

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Oscars, we have a problem

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By Tom Jackson

It will not come as a shock to nearly nine in 10 Americans that this year’s Academy Awards show — which ended only a few minutes ago with Neil Patrick Harris launching a new line of hard-to-open briefcases — scored historically awful viewership numbers.

Roughly 36.6 million watched in the U.S., which sounds healthy enough, but not only did it mark a 16 percent dip from last year, it was the lowest tune-in rate since 2009.

There was plenty of blame to go around, some of it actually deserved.

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Family: Kayla doomed after Bergdahl swap

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By Tom Jackson

For months after she was abducted in August 2013, the family of Prescott, Ariz., aid worker Kayla Mueller was in routine contact with her ISIS kidnappers, who gave every impression they were eager to negotiate her release. While the price was steep — $6.2 million — and against United States law to pay in the first place, the Muellers clung to the hope that something reasonable could be worked out.

This was not entirely delusional. ISIS has a history of releasing hostages to wealthy western Europeans who pay fat ransoms.

Then last May, the White House struck the controversial swap in which five former Taliban commanders were released from the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay for, putting it generously, AWOL Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, and, regarding Kayla, everything changed.

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Hillary’s tangled web; violence about nothing in particular

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The Right Stuff

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

Remember back before Christmas when former Florida governor Jeb Bush declared he was exploring a run for the presidency? And how in short order Bloomberg dropped a bomb on his coming out party about the financial ties to offshore investors he might have trouble explaining?

And remember how much fun Democrats had with that? Why, Jeb was nothing more than Mini-Mitt.

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Hillary Clinton’s tangled web

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By Tom Jackson

Remember back before Christmas when Jeb Bush declared he was exploring a run for the presidency? And remember how almost immediately Bloomberg dropped a bomb on his coming out party about the financial ties to offshore investors he might have trouble explaining?

And remember how much fun Democrats had with that? Why, Jeb was nothing more than Mini-Mitt.

Good times.

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What ISIS really wants isn’t at all new

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By Tom Jackson

Graeme Wood’s piece for the March edition of “The Atlantic” magazine, “What ISIS Really Wants,” has earned every shred of praise and, indeed, gratitude that has greeted it since its online release Monday — not coincidentally on the eve of President Obama’s squishy summit on combatting Violent Extremism About Nothing In Particular.

Richly reported, authoritative and sparingly written, Wood’s article debunks the notion aggressively retailed by the Obama White House that, its name notwithstanding, ISIS has nothing to do with Islam. Or, to the extent that it does, its terroristic practices, as Obama said Wednesday, “pervert[] Islam.”

That’s not what Wood found. At all.

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The Summit Identification Insufficiency

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By Tom Jackson

It goes without saying not every orchestrated act of murder carried out in the world today can be traced to adherents of a single ideology or, indeed, religion. If that’s what President Obama intends to get at during the White House seminar — uh, summit — on violent extremism that began Tuesday (with comic relief provided by Vice President Joe Biden), he doesn’t need three days.

But that’s not what the administration is after at all, it appears, given the backdrop against which this latest in a series of White House confabs is unfolding, which is denial blended with silliness.

A president who cannot plainly identify either the victims of recent atrocities — Coptic Christians on the shore of the Mediterranean in Libya, Jews in a kosher supermarket in Paris — or the animating ideology of the perpetrators is more interested in blurring the image than bringing it into sharp relief.

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One awesome paragraph

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By Tom Jackson

Bret Stephens’ “Global View” column in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal (“President BuzzFeed”) presents thoroughgoing revulsion of the nation’s chief executive who, at last, reveals he is only about himself. Almost accidentally — or was it? — Barack Obama with a selfie-stick will become the enduring image of “this most self-infatuated of presidencies.” Those with subscriptions will want to read it all, maybe twice. But this tossed-off paragraph, a bridge to what really irks Stephens — bully-boy coercion at home, disinterest in the burning world beyond — is too good not to share.

Ostensibly, the point of the video was to alert BuzzFeed’s audience to the Feb. 15 deadline for ObamaCare enrollment. If communicating with 20-somethings as if they are 11-year-olds is a way to get them to behave like grown-ups, then maybe the White House has at last found a way to make good on its make-believe enrollment numbers.

Just. Plain. Brilliant.

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It’s just Scott Walker’s turn in the barrel

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By Tom Jackson

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

The siege of Scott Walker, until recently largely confined to Wisconsin — where he remains governor despite furious efforts of public unions backed by activist progressives — went global last week. In London on a “trade” mission, Walker was asked by a BBC reporter whether he was “comfortable with the idea of evolution.”

What evolution has to do with the price of Wisconsin Colby, or even the state of the special bond between the United States and United Kingdom, is elusive. But it wasn’t a surprise, even if Walker’s response — “I’ll punt on that one” — suggested otherwise.

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It’s just Scott Walker’s turn in the barrel

Published:
By Tom Jackson

The siege of Scott Walker, until recently largely confined to Wisconsin — where he remains governor despite furious efforts of public unions backed by activist progressives — went global this week. In London this week on a “trade” mission, Walker was asked by a BBC reporter whether he was “comfortable with the idea of evolution.”

What evolution has to do with the price of Wisconsin Colby, or even the state of the special bond between the United States and United Kingdom, is elusive. But it wasn’t a surprise, even if Walker’s response — “I’ll punt on that one” — suggested otherwise.

First of all, “to punt” in England means propelling a flat-bottomed boat by use of a long pole pressed against the river/stream/lake bottom. Second, even though Americans knew what Walker meant, it wasn’t the sort of question that should have left him acting as if it were fourth-and-long.

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