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Common Core and The 2016 GOP Nomination

Sunday, December 28, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

My Monday column for the Washington Examiner will focus on the same subject as does the lead op-ed in today’s New York Times opinion section: Common Core.

The early link to my column is here.  The link to the Times’ column, “Rage Against The Common Core,” is here.  Read them both and listenNew Year’s Day for a comprehensive look at the issue that will drive a lot of candidate’s forums in the next year as a dozen or more Republicans fan out across the country looking for votes and dollars.

The Hoover Institution’s Lanhee Chen sits in for me tomorrow but I will be back Tuesday through the balance of the week.   Don’t miss Lanhee on tomorrow’s broadcast as Mitt Romney’s former senior policy advisor is now helping out any number of the would-be GOP nominees from his post in Palo Alto.  For an early understanding of what will shape the year in Congress and on the campaign trail, listen Monday.

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What News Does White House Leak At 5 PM The Friday After Christmas….

Saturday, December 27, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

I covered this on my show Friday.  I suspected a story like this one was coming, buried deep in the news dump day of the year.

Perhaps the new Senate Armed Services Committee will work with its House counterpart and the Appropriations Committees of both chambers to block?

Read these three graphs from the CNN story carefully:

Once a detainee is deemed no longer a risk, they are either transferred back to their country of origin, or a third country that is willing to take them.

Sixty-four of the 132 remaining detainees have been ruled eligible for transfer.

Of the 64 eligible, 54 are from Yemen. But the United States is not willing, at this point, to send them back to Yemen because of concerns that the government — under pressure from al Qaeda and Houthi militants — cannot ensure they do not join al Qaeda elements there. The administration for the last several months has been trying to find a country that will take the Yemenis and provide security and human rights assurances for them.

So, breaking it down: Gitmo terrorists can only be released if they are “no longer a risk,” but the 54 Yemenis cannot be released to Yemen because they are a risk.  Check.

Then there are the president’s four reasons for pushing closure:

“It is something that continues to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world, the fact that these folks are being held,” Obama said. “It is contrary to our values and it is wildly expensive. We’re spending millions for each individual there. And we have drawn down the population there significantly.”

Any evidence anywhere for #1?  Australia, France, ISIS-land?

What “values,” the president should be asked, are compromised by holding terrorists indefinitely?

#3 says Gitmo is too expensive, but what value is put on the lives they will take if they return to battlefield, and what cost will the killers we don’t cost incur wherever else they go?  KSM isn’t coming stateside after all.

Finally the last reason –“we have drawn down people there significantly”– is no reason at all, but in fact an indictment of the increasing difficulty in justifying the release of the hardened terrorists left at Gitmo.  Only the hard core are left, but POTUS wants them shipped off to, to kill and maim another day.

In short, an absurd, serial set of non-sequitors, about par for this president’s command of logic and persuasive argument. Windy and without logic or fact to back it up.  The new Congress should block him not only from closing Gitmo, but from expending money to relocate prisoners –a classic appropriations’ rider.  Given the way the world is going, we are going to need the facility for decades into the future, and a full throated defense of the necessity as well.


“Race And The Race”

Friday, December 26, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Politico’s Katie Gluecjk and Tarini Parti anticipate a lot of the coverage of the GOP’s 2016 field with an early focus on the diverse backgrounds of the GOP field.  This storyline has been hiding in plain sight for a long while, but when Jeb Bush started the race in motion the week before Christmas he cued all the subplots.  Welcome to the 2016 presidential race.

Wars and Rumors of War

Friday, December 26, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

If you are headed to the mall today to make returns and use the gift cards before you misplace them, and you are stopping by a Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million or any of the independents, be sure to read this New York Times’ essay by Michiko Kakutani on the long list of excellent memoirs, novels and non-fiction assessments of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Kakutani misses some of the best, including Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s Imperial Life In The Emerald City and Little America as well as Toby Harnden’s Dead Men Risen, but the selections offered include many titles I haven’t seen and a helpful look at the literature produced from the first decade-plus of what is going to be a very long war.

Speaking of the long war, the head of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) had a press call Tuesday to alert reporters about what he expected would be a sizable pile of drones under Christmas trees.  None were under mine, and certainly I have long caught the occasional glimpse of an enthusiast flying a small plane from the top of a bluff or off of the California coast, but the prospect of “hundreds of thousands” of drones operating in private hands, unregulated except for prohibitions similar to speed limit signs in Montana is at best very interesting and not a little sinister.

Meanwhile, keep an eye on Australia where Prime Minister Abbott has called another terror attack “likely,” and where security forces are on the highest alert possible as New Year’s Eve approaches.  Similar warnings have been issued in France and Great Britain, the result of ISIS calls for “self-starters” to launch attacks with any weapon at hand, including cars and trucks.  Three attacks in three days in France brought home the reality of the threat but it was obscured in the U.S. by coverage of the murders of the NYPD officers and the near-constant cut-aways to demonstrators in New York and in the aftermath of a shooting of an armed robber in St. Louis, where a Christmas Eve murder and shooting of three others put a grim backdrop to the discussion of the police and the dangers they face..

Finally, the Wall Street Journal covers the cyber-security threat with the above-the-fold treatment it deserves.  Key graphs:

Businesses, for their part, have long argued for more help from Washington in combating hackers. If Delta Air Lines Inc. planes were being attacked by foreign fighter jets, no one would expect Delta to solve the problem on its own, many companies’ executives argue. After J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. this summer suffered one of the worst known hacks on a bank, Chief Executive James Dimon said, “The government knows more than we do.”

Such requests from the private sector are likely to increase following the hack on Sony, cybersecurity experts say. One cybersecurity investigator said that since the Sony incident, executives at insurance and energy companies have fretted that hackers may now be more likely to destroy troves of data.

At the same time, companies are trying to keep the government at arm’s length on certain parts of cybersecurity. For instance, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other lobbying groups have successfully fought off attempts to set minimum cybersecurity standards for industries such as energy, banking and public utilities. Those standards, the companies say, would be too burdensome and, some say, could be used against firms in litigation following a breach.

Business concerns about overregulation, among other factors, have played a role in the collapse of efforts in Congress in recent years to pass legislation that would create incentives for companies to take additional security precautions and share information. Some proposals have paired liability protection for businesses in exchange for meeting tougher security standards.

It seems clear that companies are going to need a “safe harbor” guarantee and the pre-emption of conflicting state statutes and liability levels to get deep into the business of serious cyber-security.  Right now the prevailing attitude is delegation to a VP of IT and hope for the best.  When hackers wipe out a bank’s records or pull serial Snowdens on more than Hollywood’s elite, that will change overnight.


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