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Morning Musings

  • The Telegraph penned a story this week about the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC). It makes for an interesting read. The deck reads: “The US State Department has launched an experimental unit to fight al-Qaeda ideologists on Twitter across the web. But can it actually stop terrorism?” The unit was created in the Fall of 2011 via Executive Order to fill a void and not, as the Telegraph suggests, ‘stop terrorism’. The CSCC works interagency and, for a rather small amount of taxpayer money, it appears from Congressional oversight hearings that the CSCC does a great deal of good work. They are limited mostly by the unit’s imagination to message and engage some really bad seeds. The unit should be expanded to include other language capabilities, including Spanish. There is plenty to do in troll-rich the Western Hemisphere.
  • The Select Committee on Benghazi pre-game politicking is over. The Democrats announced five of their own to serve on the panel including Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), Rep. Linda T. Sánchez (D-Calif.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.). Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the fellow who will lead the panel, issued a statement that he look forward to working with “members of the committee toward an investigation and a process worthy of the American people and the four brave Americans who lost their lives in service to our country.” The combination of GOP and Democratic personalities will make for an interesting few weeks. By the way, former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner chimed in a tweet: “Not crazy about Pelosi picks for Benghazi panel. Seems like we are going into a knife fight carrying library books.”
  • The Hill newspaper reports “CNN chief: People don’t watch climate coverage.” I’m certain one reason CNN’s ratings are so low is because they’ve long lost their hard news edge and are more focused on advancing Leftist quixotic crusades, such as this climate change hooey. It’s Capitalism 101, free markets work when you provide the consumer what he or she wants. And in CNN’s case, they’ve been voting with their feet for some time. Hard news with an edge, that used to be what the mainstream media did. I doubt we’ll ever see that again anytime soon.
  • According to The Miami Herald, the United Nations may ‘go lightly‘ on Cuba for violating the UN arms embargo on North Korea. Did we expect any less from Cuba’s Turtle Bay pals? If the UN is not interested in fostering an environment of compliance with its own rules and regulations, and of listening to their own experts who in February 2014 said there were violations, the U.S. government can, and should, unilaterally take steps to send Cuba a clear message that the Western Hemisphere is not a playground for North Korean and Cuban adventurism. For starters, additional designations of Cuban, and other entities, can be added the Treasury Department Office of Assets Control SDN lists. The Obama Administration could go a few steps further and cut remittances, travel, and other Cuban regime supporting policies; however, that, too, would be one bridge too far for this crowd.
  • Is there a budding Teddy Roosevelt in the House? The House Financial Services Committee Chairman, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) sure sounded like the old trust buster earlier this week. “business’s interests are not necessarily freedom’s interests” and “we may have to tell some people on K Street ‘No’” are a just a few of Hensarling’s Roosevelt-sounding remarks. My favorite was his blunt jab at “soviet-style sugar,” calling out sugar growers in Florida, and other states, for taking taxpayer subsidies year after year after year. The Washington Examiner penned a good story about Hensarling’s plan to put an end to the Ex-Im bank. Something that should have been shelved a long time ago, he faces an unfortunate uphill fight. Why? Because there are many Republican sticks in the mud who can’t see beyond the next election. The Democrats are not too far behind either, but the Grand Ol’ Party is supposed to be the party of free market capitalism, not crony capitalism.
  • For friends and colleagues on the Hill, here is a legislative idea of special interest to economic sanction reformers and others who otherwise dislike crony capitalism. For every dollar an American company makes from trading with a sanctioned country, deduct a proportional amount from any agricultural subsidy that the company receives from the taxpayer. The great majority of businesses impacted by this little tweak in the law would involve agriculture sales made pursuant to the Trade Sanctions Reform Act (TSRA). For example, if you want to sell corn, rice, or soy products to Cuba, go ahead. You’re free to do so. However, that choice will cost you. Less federal subsidies for your crops. U.S. taxpayers should not be forced to pay for trading with the enemy.
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