At Vox.com, Matt Yglesias has one job. He’s the editor. He’s supposed to make sure that whatever goes up on the “explanatory journalism” site, or at least the content that he directly touches, is accurate.
Yeah, those aren’t provinces. The United Kingdom only has one of those, Northern Ireland, along with a couple of kingdoms, England and Scotland. What you’re looking at on that map above are England’s and Wales’ counties. Sort of. Since that map is based on 1881 data, the lines on it don’t always line up with the current county lines. I’d explain more than that if I understood it all, but frankly I don’t and neither does the BBC.
It takes all of about 90 seconds Googling about to figure out that those lines are or were county lines, not province borders. Editor Matt Yglesias couldn’t bestir himself to do that much before publishing, on the self-described “explanatory” Vox.com.
The site that sports this self-congratulatory graphic.
Well, his view is unique. So there’s that.
I’m unable to feign surprise at LifeNews’ story about the latest from the provocateur in chief.
President Barack Obama has nominated a new “Religious Freedom Ambassador,” but his nominee opposes protecting the religious freedoms of the owners of Hobby Lobby, who don’t want to be forced to pay for drugs for their employees that cause abortions.
Obama announced that he will nominate Rabbi David Nathan Saperstein as Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom at the State Department. Saperstein is a longtime pro-abortion advocate whose group has opposed pro-life legislation.
Secretary of John Kerry also introduced him at a press briefing late Monday morning, saying that religious freedom is an “integral part of our global diplomatic engagement.”
However, Saperstein is strongly opposed to the Supreme Court’s decision protecting Hobby Lobby’s religious freedoms and, in an interview, Saperstein called the decision “deeply troubling.”
The Hobby Lobby case turned on whether owners of closely held corporations can object to government forcing them provide four drugs deemed to cause abortions, against their religious beliefs. Sapperstein believes that the government does have that right and can force family business owners to have to choose between their livelihoods and their faith.
Is this more of that “smart diplomacy” we’ve heard so much about?
The Obama administration pushed back strongly Monday at a torrent of Israeli criticism over Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest bid to secure a cease-fire with Hamas, accusing some in Israel of launching a “misinformation campaign” against the top American diplomat.
“It’s simply not the way partners and allies treat each other,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Her comments were echoed by the White House, where officials said they were disappointed by Israeli reports that cast Kerry’s efforts to negotiate a cease-fire as more favorable to Hamas.
“Israel has no better friend, no stronger defender than John Kerry,” said Tony Blinken, President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser. He said the criticism of Kerry was based on “people leaking things that are either misinformed or attempting to misinform.”
Does an ally try to impose a cease-fire when its friend is making good progress in defeating terrorists? That’s what the U.S. is doing to Israel right now. Does an ally try to force its friend back to indefensible borders? That’s what President Obama has been doing to Israel for years.
The U.S. is angry over reports that are being written in Israeli media. Would the U.S. want Israel’s government to stifle the independent media?
As Kerry returned from the region over the weekend, Israeli media commentators leveled almost nonstop criticism of his attempts to bring Qatar and Turkey — two countries viewed by Israel as strong Hamas supporters — into the cease-fire negotiations. Kerry was also accused of abandoning some of Israel’s key demands during the negotiations, including demilitarizing Gaza.
In trying to implement the cease-fire over the weekend, “U.S. Secretary of State of State John Kerry ruined everything,” wrote columnist Ari Shavit in Monday’s Haaretz, Israel’s leading liberal newspaper. “Very senior officials in Jerusalem described the proposal that Kerry put on the table as a ‘strategic terrorist attack.’”
Jen Psaki, State Department spokeswoman of “promise of hashtag” infamy, doesn’t seem to understand how real diplomacy works.
U.S. officials disputed the notion that Kerry had formally presented a proposal and cast the document in question as a draft given to the Israelis as part of an effort to gain their input in seeking a weeklong cessation of hostilities. Officials said the draft was based on an earlier Egyptian cease-fire proposal that Israel had accepted but Hamas had rejected.
Psaki said the U.S. was “surprised and obviously disappointed” to see the draft proposal made public. She also argued that there was a difference between the characterization of Kerry’s handling of the negotiations by Israeli media and what government officials were telling the U.S. privately.
“No one is calling to complain about the secretary’s handling of the situation,” Psaki said.
Right. They’re showing the world what you’d planned as a way of protesting it without having to call you up and directly, formally protest it. That’s a mild protest that signals displeasure but does not put the alliance itself at risk. Israel will call up a few steps from now, if it sees Kerry continuing to act against Israel’s interests.
Psaki and her sidekick, Marie Harf, continue to show why it’s inadvisable to put campaign operatives in charge of diplomacy. Their attack and respond style just is not suitable to the job of managing America’s alliances and less amicable relationships around the world.
Pelosi: Qatar Tells Me that ‘Hamas Is a Humanitarian Organization’ (Update: Pelosi’s Hamas Connection)
The Democrats’ leader in the House wants to “have a discussion” over whether Hamas is a terrorist or a humanitarian organization.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi appeared on CNN Sunday and commented on the ongoing war in Gaza. While defending Israel’s right to defend itself and stating that the US must support Iron Dome, Pelosi also noted that many Palestinians live in her district, and “We have to support the Palestinians and what they need.” She also made a strange comment on the nature of Hamas.
“We have to confer with the Qataris,” Pelosi told CNN’s Candy Crowley, “who have told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization.” She added her hope that the Qataris could use their “influence” over Hamas to “calm” the situation.
“The US thinks they’re [Hamas] a terrorist organization, though.” Crowley responded, then asked “Correct? Do you?”
Pelosi reluctantly managed to say “Mmhmm.”
Watch the video of Pelosi’s remarks.
Qatar, a US ally, also is one of a handful of countries that publicly supports Hamas with words and money. Israel has singled Qatar out as a state sponsor of Hamas terrorism. Qatar is also a longstanding supporter of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is an offshoot.
Update: In May 2012, Pelosi had a secret fundraiser with Hamas-linked groups and figures.
The donors at the undisclosed May 16 event included Nihad Awad, the co-founder of the Council on American Islamic Relations, according to data provided by the nonpartisan Investigative Project on Terrorism.
The CAIR group was named an unindicted conspirator in a 2007 trial of a Hamas money-smuggling group.
A covertly-taken photograph provided by the IPT shows Pelosi standing near Awad at the fundraiser. Roughly 30 people attended the fundraiser, according to the IPT.
The cheapest tickets cost $5,000, and the most expensive were $30,800 per couple, according to the event invite from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which used the cash to fund Democratic candidates. (View the invite here)
The hosts of the event were DCCC chairman Rep. Steve Israel and two Muslim representatives, Rep. Keith Ellison and Rep. Andre Carson.
Last week we took a look at how tech and culture site Mashable.com is reporting the war in Gaza. Hamas terrorists started that war with kidnappings, murders, and then by launching rockets from Palestinian civilian areas into Israeli civilian areas.
Mashable has reported the war almost entirely from the Hamas/Palestinian point of view, refusing to label Hamas as terrorists, and playing up civilian casualties in Palestinian areas while failing to report on the fact that Hamas’ tactics constitute war crimes.
Today, Mashable runs a story on how Hamas is “showing off” an armed drone that it claims is an Israeli craft that it shot down. While casting some doubt on the overall story, here is how Mashable reports casualty figures in the ongoing war.
The drone war between Hamas and Israel is playing out against a bloody conflict on the ground. The Israeli military has killed more than 1,000 Palestinians in the last three weeks, according to Palestinian health officials. During the same period, 44 Israeli soldiers and three civilians have died.
“…according to Palestinian health officials.”
That’s a key caveat, but Mashable fails to delve into it at all.
According to Hamas videos translated by MEMRI, the group instructs social media to report casualties in certain ways. Mashable appears to be following at least some of Hamas’ guidelines.
Following are excerpts from the guidelines:
“Anyone killed or martyred is to be called a civilian from Gaza or Palestine, before we talk about his status in jihad or his military rank. Don’t forget to always add ‘innocent civilian’ or ‘innocent citizen’ in your description of those killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza.
“Beware of spreading rumors from Israeli spokesmen, particularly those that harm the home front. Be wary regarding accepting the occupation’s version [of events]. You must always cast doubts on this [version], disprove it, and treat it as false.
“Avoid publishing pictures of rockets fired into Israel from [Gaza] city centers. This [would] provide a pretext for attacking residential areas in the Gaza Strip. Do not publish or share photos or video clips showing rocket launching sites or the movement of resistance [forces] in Gaza.
Mashable, like most of the Western media, makes little to no distinction in its reporting between the number of Hamas operatives killed and true civilians killed. The Israeli point of view gets no pixels at Mashable.
Hamas also instructs its social media advocates to “Avoid entering into a political argument with a Westerner aimed at convincing him that the Holocaust is a lie and deceit; instead, equate it with Israel’s crimes against Palestinian civilians.” Shorter Hamas: Stay away from Holocaust denial!
Hamas wants its social media advocates to emphasize Palestinian casualties in human terms.
“The narrative of life vs. the narrative of blood: [When speaking] to an Arab friend, start with the number of martyrs. [But when speaking] to a Western friend, start with the number of wounded and dead. Be sure to humanize the Palestinian suffering. Try to paint a picture of the suffering of the civilians in Gaza and the West Bank during the occupation’s operations and its bombings of cities and villages.
That instruction in mind, take a look at this Mashable piece by Jon Snow, which we dissected last week. It is written entirely from the point of view of Palestinians, and especially Palestinian children. Any piece on Palestinian children should note what that society teaches them — namely, that killing Jews is their duty. Mashable never reports on videos like this, from Palestinian media, and it never reports that Hamas continues to publicly advocate for the total destruction of Israel.
Mashable appears to be following much of the Hamas social media playbook, including how it portrays pro-Palestinian protests in the West. Mashable reports on them with a neutral to positive take, ignoring or downplaying the strong evidence of ant-Semitism that pervades the protests.
Update: Mashable’s editorial position has consistently been anti-Russia in the Ukraine crisis. The site evidently doesn’t see all intolerant autocracies as equal.
Its man in Gaza, Jon Snow, had this bizarre take after the shootdown of MH17, which involved Russian technology and training.
Awful danger that the shooting down of flight MH17 will provide cover for an intensification of Israel's ground war in Gaza
— Jon Snow (@jonsnowC4) July 18, 2014
Update: Apparently Jon Snow knows nothing about Hamas’ abuse of journalists who report the truth.
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) described President Barack Obama as “AWOL.”
Graham said “I said last week, America is the glue that holds the free world together. When you see us missing our AWOL, as President Obama’s been, you see fracturing on multiple fronts. Russia is more aggressive, not less. The sanctions clearly are not working. Hamas is demanding open borders. Show me a statement by Hamas leadership that recognizes the right for Israel to resist, then I would consider their request. These are stark contrast and we’re not responding. Passive responses to naked aggression all over the world is our foreign policy. Look what ISIS has been able to do in Syria and Iraq. Without American leadership, the world gets to be a very dangerous place and our allies, like Israel and Ukraine, suffer.”
How can Sen. Graham have spent the past six years dealing with Barack Obama and not know who the man really is? Graham still doesn’t understand the kind of man he is dealing with, and why the president does what he does.
Crises — serious, consequential crises — are building from the Texas-Mexico border, to Libya, to the Ebola outbreak in Africa, to Israel, to Iraq, to Ukraine and Russia. With these crises building, an American president ought to be reaching out to Congress and reaching across the aisle to build national unity. Instead, this president is stirring up anger, picking fights over contraception, and doing nothing useful to the nation.
President Obama’s response to the crises themselves is mostly to appear to ignore them, while he golfs, fundraises for the Democratic Party, and launches mischief domestically. And by mischief, I actually mean constitutional crises over the separation of powers.
President Obama is not only not truly interested in stemming the tide of illegal aliens at the border, to pick just one of the crises for detailing, he is about to go out of his way to make it worse. The LA Times reports that he is about to use executive authority to lawlessly grant legal status to about 5 million illegal aliens who are already here.
The president has every intention, according to his own advisers, of creating yet another crisis with this move. The president has shirked his role as commander in chief to become the provocateur in chief.
That move will come by the end of the summer, White House senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer told reporters Friday. Some officials had advocated waiting until after the November midterm election.
Any such move would prompt a major clash with congressional Republicans, and at least some White House officials appeared to relish the prospect that the GOP might overreach in its response and act in a politically self-destructive manner.
When the decision is announced, it will “increase the angry reactions from Republicans,” Pfeiffer said.
“I would not discount the possibility” that Republicans would seek to impeach Obama over his next immigration moves, he said, adding that House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) had “opened the door to impeachment” by his plans to sue Obama for allegedly exceeding his executive authority.
Not only does Obama not fear impeachment, he is actively courting it. The Democrats are fundraising off of impeachment. Obama has his advisers out stoking impeachment, an idea that the majority of Republicans in office have no interest in pursuing. Sen. Graham, for one, was a central figure in the impeachment of Bill Clinton and has no interest in launching another one against Obama, whether the president deserves it or not.
None of this is out of character or outside Barack Obama’s playbook. Obama began his presidency by appointing policy czar after policy czar in order to bypass Congress and create a cabinet within the cabinet that would answer to him alone and would be in power without having to submit to the Senate’s approval. That was when the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate with supermajorities. Now, with Republicans poised to control both the House and the Senate, Obama is gearing up to spend the final two years of his presidency doing everything he can possibly do to demonize Republicans, gather as much power to himself as he possibly can, and render Congress entirely irrelevant.
None of this is accidental. Barack Obama is not AWOL. He has not checked out of the responsibilities of his office. He intends to play down every overseas crisis as much as he possibly can, knowing full well that his low-information voter base doesn’t care about those crises and the rest of America does not vote on foreign policy, while he stokes domestic crises to maneuver Republicans and Congress into a kind of checkmate.
Barack Obama wants Republicans overreacting usefully to his provocations. He wants division and he wants to and will intentionally stoke rage. He wants Americans divided and hating each other, and he wants American power overseas diminished. He doesn’t view any of this as failure in any way. Because these crises are not failures, from his point of view. They are crises he does intend to allow to go to waste.
Even if the Democrats lose the Senate 99 days from now, as seems likely, Obama will still have two years to cause problems. He will use every second of that time as mischievously as he possibly can.
Sharyl Attkisson reports that the US Customs and Border Patrol has released three Mexican police officers who strayed into Texas while pursuing cop killer suspects. The officers were armed with AR-15 rifles and Beretta 9-mm pistols.
The three claim to have had “tunnel vision” during the pursuit, when they walked across a dry section of riverbed from Juarez to El Paso. They were pursuing suspects who had shot and killed a police officer and wounded another during an ambush close to the border. A 16-year-old girl was also wounded in the firefight. The officers strayed into Texas Wednesday, and have already been released. The suspects have apparently not been caught.
Attkisson notes how differently the US treated the armed Mexican police officers, versus how Mexico continues to treat a US Marine.
Their prompt release contrasts with the case of U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, a 26-year old Afghanistan war veteran, who has been held in a Mexican jail since March after he reportedly took a wrong turn and was stopped at the San Ysidro border crossing in Mexico while carrying three registered guns in his pickup truck.
Tahmooressi was not on duty or in uniform, but also did not intend to break any laws. He did not even intend to enter Mexico. He alerted Mexican authorities immediately after he made the wrong turn into Mexico, and was quickly jailed.
According to Rep. Duncan Hunter, Wednesday’s incursion by armed Mexican officers into the United States is one of about 300 that occur each year.
Mexico’s violent drug war frequently spills over into Texas. There is no corresponding violence that spills over from the US side into Mexico.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Israel to try to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Neither side wants a cease-fire at this point, and neither side agreed to one — at any point.
Here’s how CNN reported the lack of any cease-fire deal.
— John Nolte (@NolteNC) July 25, 2014
That’s an impressive amount of propaganda to pack into one image. The crying, wounded child juxtaposed with that chyron is no accident. It puts Israel in the position of “rejecting” a deal and putting that child and others in the crosshairs.
There was never a deal.
It’s Hamas that is intentionally targeting children, and intentionally putting Palestinian children in harm’s way. Not Israel. Hamas hides its weapons in schools. Not Israel.
There never was a deal. Hamas rejected a cease-fire every bit as much as Israel did. More, really, since Hamas started the war in the first place.
So, CNN, what’s your excuse here?
The interests of both countries in securing the MH17 site are clear: The plane was flying from the Netherlands to Kuala Lumpur and many of the 298 victims were Dutch citizens. Not all of the victims’ bodies have been recovered yet. There were Australians and British citizens on the flight as well. Australia is close to hammering out a deal with Ukraine’s government to get its forces, mostly police personnel, in to help secure the site.
The Dutch are looking at sending combat-ready special forces in to secure the site, which is understandable but raises the stakes — the area around the site is still under the Russian rebels’ control and those so-called rebels have every interest in stifling the investigation. The rebels are even now reportedly using the credit cards and cell phones of the victims that were recovered from the crash.
The Netherlands is poised to send its most elite soldiers to secure the crash site of Malaysian Airways MH17, the Telegraaf reports on Friday.
The paper says all leave for the commandos of the 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade based in Schaarsbergen and Assen has been cancelled and that soldiers will leave for eastern Ukraine this weekend.
In addition, Dutch special forces currently in Mali are being recalled and sent on to the area around Donetsk, the paper says, without quoting sources.
The aim of sending troops is to ensure the 23 Dutch crash investigators and 40 unarmed military police officers can do their job, the paper says.
With Russia now firing on Ukraine military targets inside Ukraine from Russian territory, it’s not hard at all to see how this may escalate into a full blown world war.
Add to that, the British are considering sending in their forces to secure the site, too. One hit on troops from any NATO ally from Russia or its proxies and things could spiral out of control quickly.
Gallup has released a new poll on Americans’ opinions of the conflict in Gaza. It’s no surprise that Republicans tend to side with Israel, and Democrats tend to believe that Israel’s military actions against Hamas are unjustified. Fully 47% of Democrats take that view, compared with just 31% who back Israel. That, plus independent voters’ ambivalence toward Israel, helps explain why the Obama administration is not backing Israel more strongly than calling for a (now rejected) cease-fire. Their base does not back Israel.
The educational differences on the issue are found in this chart.
The more educated one is, the more likely one is to believe that Israel is taking justified action against Hamas terrorists.
Younger Americans tend to go left on everything from socialism to redefining marriage, and lack of support for democratic Israel against Hamas terrorists is no exception. This is despite Israel’s long history of supporting women’s and minority rights, while the Palestinians side with extremism that denies women and non-Muslims their rights.
This poll is a warning: If the rising millennial generation doesn’t change its attitudes in a hurry, Israel cannot count on American support for more than few more years.
Stupid and Lame: Wealthy Actress Kristen Bell Begs for Minimum Wage Increase (Update: Reason Rebuttal FTW)
According to CelebrityNetWorth, actress Kristen Bell is worth $16 million. It’s fair to say that she make far more than a “living wage” for pretending to be other people in movies and on TV.
The actress is lending her looks and voice to the Democrats’ campaign to increase the federal minimum wage, on Funny or Die. Bell stars as a Mary Poppins knock-off. Take a look.
Funny or Die has gone all in for the minimum wage campaign, mocking House Speaker John Boehner over the issue in this
ad video starring Harry Hamlin. Is the Obama administration or the Democratic National Committee paying Funny or Die for these clearly political ads videos that border on in-kind donations?
Liberals find Bell’s video persuasive, or at least politically useful. Democrat Rep. Diana DeGette is flogging it on Facebook.
In the video, Bell slams her boss for not paying her a “living wage,” despite the fact that as a live-in nanny, Poppins got full room and board in addition to pay for caring for the boss’ kids. Bell quits, mocks her boss, and curses in front of the children she is supposed to be raising, but never seems to figure out that if she is still making minimum wage, the problem may not be with her boss, but with her and her own job performance and her ability to stand up for herself.
Bell/Poppins never mentions the CBO study that found that raising the minimum wage will cost about half a million jobs.
In short, the unfunny video that barely scrapes the surface of the minimum wage issue and works in a slam on the Tea Party deserves to die.
Update: Reason rebuts with a win.
Today, Obamacare architect Jon Gruber claimed to be at a loss as to why he said in 2012 that the Obamacare subsidies were directly tied to the state exchanges. It’s quite a mystery, a typo, Gruber claims about his own statements.
It’s “unambigious that it’s a typo,” Gruber tells Chris Matthews.
It can’t be a typo, though, because Gruber said on video that the subsidies are tied to the exchanges, which is at the heart of the Halbig case against Obamacare. Call it a “speak-o,” then as is moving on Twitter.
If it’s a speak-o, it’s a recurring one. John Sexton has found more audio of Gruber saying that the Obamacare exchanges are tied to the state exchanges — that the exchanges are integral to Obamacare itself.
In addition, it’s worth pointing out that on this occasion, unlike the one revealed last night, Gruber’s statement was not in response to a question. During both speeches, Gruber listed three possible threats to the implementation of Obamacare. In both cases the third “threat” was that states would not set up exchanges. In the January 10th speech (above) he simply went into more detail about the nature of that threat. In the January 18th speech that detail wasn’t mentioned until the Q&A.
The exchanges and subsidies are at the heart of the Halbig case:
In brief, these cases claim the IRS has exceeded its statutory authority in authorizing tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies on federal exchanges because the PPACA only authorizes tax credits for the purchase of insurance on an exchange “established by the State under Section 1311.” Section 1311 instructs states to create exchanges. Federal exchanges are established under Section 1321 of the Act.
At one level these cases present a straightforward statutory interpretation question. The text is clear and does not contradict any other provisions in the Act. That would seem to settle the matter. On the other hand, the PPACA is a complicated and poorly drafted statute and, because over 30 states refused to set up their own exchanges, invalidation of the IRS rule could have a significant effect on its implementation. So the federal government has pushed back hard and has sought to argue that what the statute says cannot be what it means.
The administration is arguing that the plain text of the law does not mean what it says. Gruber has tried to make that case too, but his own words keep coming back to argue against him.
Update: Gruber lied in court.
Radio jock Howard Stern went off on a listener who took Hamas’ side against Israel earlier this week. “If you’re anti-Israel, you’re anti-America!” Stern said, which is both true and probably doesn’t bother Hamas’ staunchest defenders.
Now Joan Rivers is coming to Israel’s defense too. TMZ asked Rivers about the ongoing fight in a street interview. Rivers pulled no punches, saying repeatedly that Hamas started the war, that it hides its weapons in civilian homes, schools and hospitals, and Israel has to defend its people.
“Palestinians, you cannot throw rockets and expect Israel not to defend themselves,” Rivers said. TMZ asks about civilian casualties, and Rivers responds “Don’t you dare put weapons stashes in private homes.” Rivers also slams Selena Gomez for her pro-Palestinian tweet. Rivers goes on to hammer CNN, the BBC and other media who have played up Palestinian casualties without noting that Hamas started the war by firing rockets at Israeli civilians.
The Palestinians project an image of poverty and powerlessness to the world. While most Palestinians do live in poverty, especially when compared to their Israeli neighbors, Globes profiles several Hamas leaders who have used their positions to amass incredible wealth while their own people suffer.
Hamas’ terrorist tycoons include Dr. Musa Abu Marzook. He was a US-based Hamas fundraiser who was arrested for supporting terrorism in 1995. After serving two years in prison, he was freed and allowed to leave. Marzook kept the money he raised for Hamas, left the US and resides in Gaza. He is estimated to be worth $2 to $3 billion now and maintains numerous ties to terrorists including al Qaeda, according to the Globes report.
Marzook is followed closely in wealth by Khaled Mashaal, who is estimated to be worth about $2.6 billion.
Following them is one of Hamas’ most public faces, Ismail Haniyeh. He is said to be worth about $4 million, which he has registered in the names of various family members to conceal the true size of his fortune.
According to Globes:
The question of where these officials got their money exposes the corrupt system used by Hamas through its control of the money pipelines in the Gaza Strip. They treated the money as their own personal possession. “Most of the money that went into the pockets of people in the Gaza Strip was obtained through tunnel deals and the creation of a flourishing smuggling market, which it is believed has created several hundred millionaires in the Gaza Strip, although most of the people there don’t live like that. The man pulling the strings from Egypt with the tunnels is none other than the number two man in the Muslim Brotherhood, Khairat el-Shater. His connection with Hamas was ostensibly for Islamic religious purposes, but they actually built a prosperous business, which earned phenomenal profits,” Elad says.
The Arshaq Al-Awsad (Middle East) newspaper, one of the most prestigious in the Arab world, recently reported that at least 600 millionaires were living in the Gaza Strip – the same people sitting on the money pipelines there.
Elad describes how the system worked and to how much money (huge amounts) Hamas leaders were exposed: “Senior Hamas leaders charged a 25% ‘tax’ and $2,000 on every disassembled vehicle coming through the tunnels. There are hundreds of smuggling tunnels from Egypt to Gaza, and these are the types of tunnel Israel has been less busy in destroying, because Egypt has destroyed many of them. From June 2007 until 2010, $800 million in cash was transferred in tunnel deals (according to information from Hamas money traders). Hamas also taxes Gaza merchants on everything traded, from boxes of vegetables to luxury cars, and the leaders scoop the money into their pockets.”
In summary, Elad says, “This is corruption at the highest level… What has united the Palestinian leaders all throughout the years is the saying, ‘We have to get rich quick.’ This is how the regime sees it. Their leaders have no shame.
The PLO’s Yasser Arafat was reportedly worth $1 billion when he died.
In addition to its graft, oppression and corruption, Palestinian leaders also live on money provided to them by the United States and Europe. The US and Europe pay hundreds of millions in aid to the Palestinians every year, mostly through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Some of that aid ends up in the hands of the Palestinian government, including Hamas, despite US law against supporting terrorism and despite the fact that Hamas is still a designated terrorist organization. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel this week pledging $47 million more aid to the Palestinians, while calling for a cease-fire as Israel pounds Hamas forces, tunnels and weapons caches.
They’re not coming back to TV, though, to extend the series from its original 14-episode run. And they’re not making a movie sequel to Serenity. Which is too bad, because that movie was one of the best sci-fi films of the century so far.
The cast — Captain Mal, Inara, River Tam, Jane, the whole gang — are reuniting for Firefly Online, the long-promised MMORPG that carries the ‘verse to PC, Mac, iOS and Android. Even characters who were killed off in the movie have come back for the game set in the Firefly ‘verse.
The news seems to have crashed the game’s site.
Getting the cast together for a full series might be impossible, since most of the originals have gone on to have longer running hit series or promising new series including Homeland (Morena Baccarin), Castle (Nathan Fillion) and The Last Ship (Adam Baldwin). Baldwin also has a solid gaming career going, with voiceover work in major titles including Injustice: Gods Among Us and Batman: Arkham Origins.
Firefly Online will let players captain and outfit their own ships, hire crews, run from Alliance heavies, smuggle stuff, explore worlds and aim to misbehave. With the entire cast reprising their roles, FO is about as close as we’re ever likely to get to more true content. If it follows the lead of other MMORPGs like Star Wars: The Old Republic and DC Universe Online, the series characters will turn up in downloadable content including new storylines.
While crises build from Ukraine to the Middle East to the Texas-Mexico border, President and First Lady Obama have checked out on the presidency to continue their manic fundraising tour. Last night they stopped in Chicago, and Mrs. Obama made no secret of why they were there.
“We need you to write the biggest, fattest check that you can possibly write,” Mrs. Obama told a crowd of donors in Chicago, her hometown. “Writing those checks is the single-most impactful thing that you can do right now.”
The president and first lady, along with Vice President Joe Biden, have stepped up their fundraising schedule in recent weeks as November’s congressional contests approach. Democrats’ chances of taking control of the House appear slim, and Republicans badly want to pick up the six Senate seats they’ll need to take over that chamber.
While Obama’s approval ratings hover at record lows — leaving many incumbent Democrats wary of campaigning alongside him — the President remains a draw at high-dollar fundraisers, which he’s attended in New York, Texas, Colorado, Washington state and California just in the past month.
His journey west this week included two stops in Seattle, two in San Francisco, and two in Los Angeles, including a star-studded afternoon event at the home of “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes.
It takes fat cats to write fat checks. Fat cats don’t write fat checks without expecting something in return.
The Obamas are spending more and more time among the left’s fat cats even as they denounce right-leaning donors like the Koch brothers, accusing them of “buying democracy.”
Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, Democrat, once demanded an apology because a fellow commissioner used the scientific term “black hole.”
Today Price finds himself in a hole of an entirely different kind, jail, with the probability of heading to federal prison.
The loudmouth commissioner who answers just about every inquiry into his outrageous conduct with versions of “That’s racist!” was taken into custody by the FBI early this morning. Charges will be announced today.
WFAA TV in Dallas reports that Price’s arrest means that the federal grand jury that has been investigating him for years has completed its work, handed down indictments and now the commissioner will stand trial. Other defendants are being arrested around Dallas today, ahead of the 11 AM news conference the FBI has called.
Price has been under FBI investigation since 2011, on myriad corruption charges. The FBI searched his home that year, and turned up $229,000 in cash and expensive watches. One bag of cash that was allegedly found in Price’s home was full of $100 bills, and marked “cheerleaders.” Let’s hope the FBI tells us what that was about.
Price has been in office since 1984, becoming one of the most powerful politicians in north Texas over the years.
2011 was an auspicious year for Commissioner Price. That’s the year that the FBI started taking a close look at him, and it’s also the year that he told constituents to “all of you are white, go to hell.” He also called one constituent a “fat boy.”
“Go to hell”? How about “go to jail”…
Update: The Dallas Morning News sheds some light on the charges Price faces.
Conspiracy to Commit Bribery Concerning a Local Government Receiving Federal Benefits
Deprivation of Honest Services by Mail Fraud and Aiding and Abetting
Conspiracy to Defraud the Internal Revenue Service
Subscribing to a False and Fraudulent U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
Hm, tax fraud. Perhaps Price will be the first to try claiming that his hard drive crashed on the IRS. And then shout “That’s racist!” when the IRS doesn’t buy its own excuse.
Mashable.com, one of the largest tech and culture websites on the planet, appears to be taking a side in the ongoing war in Gaza.
The site best known for posts about things buried in software user agreements and happy photo ops with the president who claims that he isn’t interested in photo ops is taking a decidedly pro-Hamas editorial point of view as it and Israel fight in Gaza.
That war started when terrorists linked to Hamas, which is itself categorized as a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department and the European Union, kidnapped three Israeli teenagers and later executed them. One of those teenagers, 16-year-old Naftali Frankel, also had American citizenship.
On June 14, when Mashable reported on the boys’ kidnapping, in describing Hamas it put “terrorist group” in scare quotes.
Even after the boys’ bodies were discovered, Mashable made sure to distance Hamas from the murders.
Hamas soon began to launch some of its estimated 10,000 to 20,000 rockets at Israeli population centers. Israel has responded with an air, land and sea campaign to destroy Hamas’ tunnels and its rocket arsenal.
Israel is going out of its way to avoid civilian casualties, while Hamas places civilian casualties at the center of its strategy. Hamas targets Israel’s civilians, and it places its weapons close to Palestinian schools and hospitals to force Israel to choose between risking killing Palestinian civilians to destroy those weapons, or leave its own civilians at risk if it does not destroy those weapons. If Palestinian civilians die in Israeli attacks, they become part of the group’s propaganda. If Israel decides not to strike Hamas weapons caches near civilian targets, then some Israelis will be attacked with those very weapons.
Mashable’s coverage of the conflict has tilted away from Israel, the Middle East’s sole democracy and one in which Arabs can become full citizens, and toward Hamas terrorists. Where Hamas rules, as in much of the Islamic world, Christians and Jews are at best second-class, are systematically persecuted and are often subjected to pogroms.
In an Associated Press story on the “disappearance” of rockets that Hamas hid in UN schools to which Mashable contributed reporting, the AP and Mashable hide the lead down in the sixth paragraph, and even then avoid calling Hamas what it is.
UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. secretary-general on Wednesday said he was “alarmed” to hear that rockets were placed in a U.N.-run school in Gaza, and now “have gone missing.” He also demanded a full review of such incidents.
A spokesperson for Ban Ki-moon expressed the U.N. chief’s “outrage and regret” at the placement of weapons at a site run by the global organization. This has happened at least twice so far in the current conflict, according to the U.N.
“Those responsible are turning schools into potential military targets, and endangering the lives of innocent children,” U.N. staff and anyone seeking shelter, the statement said.
The rockets had been placed at one of the schools run by the U.N. refugee agency for Palestinians, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza (UNRWA).
Once they were found, “in accordance with standard practice, UNRWA handed them over to the local authorities. Since then, they have gone missing,” Ban’s deputy spokesperson, Farhan Haq, said in an email Wednesday evening.
The Islamic militant group Hamas controls Gaza. The U.S., Israel and the European Union all consider Hamas a terrorist organization, but the U.N. does not.
The entire story is written to hide what Hamas was doing — hiding its rockets in UN-run schools, rockets it uses against Israel’s civilian population. Both of those acts are war crimes.
In the most biased story Mashable has run on the conflict to date, the site takes cues from Pallywood and puts a dying Palestinian child front and center. This is the kind of propaganda story Hamas hopes comes from Israel exercising its duty to defend its people.
In “‘Am I Going to Die, Daddy?’ The Child in Gaza Asked,” reporter Jon Snow states that “If the Israelis have proved anything, it is that there is no such thing as a forensic strike.” Snow never allows for the fact while Israel tries to avoid civilian casualties, while Hamas feeds on them.
After chronicling several heart-breaking cases of kids caught up in the crossfire, Snow rhetorically asks “Can they really be the acceptable collateral damage of targeting militants?”
The tone of the entire piece puts the moral responsibility for all casualties in Gaza not on Hamas, the terrorist group that is still dedicated to destroying Israel and which started the current conflict, but on Israel.
Snow ends his piece with this:
I was amazed to find a small sachet of shampoo as I went to a cold shower tonight — salty again. Obviously, you cannot make bombs out of shampoo and so there is no embargo on it. But clearly you can make bombs from paint because there isn’t any. This is the most wretchedly unpainted urban place I have ever been.
And beyond it all, why won’t they talk? This cannot go on. It is the children, tomorrow’s Palestinians, who are paying the price.
Today’s and tomorrow’s Israelis are paying a price too, are they not? You wouldn’t know it from reading Jon Snow, or indeed anything published at Mashable.
Snow’s piece fits well within Hamas’ anti-Israel propaganda. Why is a tech site like Mashable publishing it?
The closest that the site gets to fair reporting is probably this piece on Jews and Arabs who are making friends and more despite the conflict. Even this piece, though, plays up Arabs’ peaceful intent and ignores the anti-Semitism that pervades Arab culture and communications around the world.
The fact is, whether Mashable is aware of it or not, Palestinian voters elected Hamas to power knowing full well that that would mean war with Israel. And polls find that Palestinians continue to want to destroy Israel.
In the current war, Hamas and the Palestinians who still support Hamas are getting what they want.
Fox reports on the latest from Government Motors.
General Motors issued six more recalls on Wednesday, bringing its annual total to 60 recalls covering almost 30 million vehicles.
The latest recalls cover nearly 823,000 cars, trucks and SUVs mostly in North America but including a small number of exports. The largest is for faulty seats in just over 475,000 cars and small SUVs. Other problems include incomplete welds on seat brackets, turn signal failures, power steering failures, loose suspension bolts and faulty roof rack bolts.
GM is conducting a companywide safety review as it tries to correct a dysfunctional corporate culture in which safety was a low priority.
So was quality.
GM has recalled 30 million of the 41.6 million cars recalled by all automakers this year so far. It sold 1.46 million cars in the first six months of 2014.
The federal government has allocated $10 million to build robot minders for our children. Or someone’s children.
The robots are being developed for the express purpose of messing with our kids’ minds.
The project will develop a “new breed of sophisticated ‘socially assistive’ robots,” designed to help children “learn to read, appreciate physical fitness, overcome cognitive disabilities, and perform physical exercises,” according to a news release by Yale University when the grant was first announced in 2012.
“Just like a good personal trainer, we want the robots to be able to guide the child toward a behavior that we desire,” said Brian Scassellati, a computer science professor at Yale and principal investigator for the study.
“…guide the child toward behavior that we (government bureaucrats) desire…”
Which you can bet means supporting Obamacare, thinking Barack Obama is the bestest president ever, being ever so tolerant of all things gay while being ever so disdainful of all traditional values, being open-minded to the Muslims while being closed to Christianity, opposed to ideas about strong national security, disbelief in American exceptionalism, disdain for support for Israel, soft like a metrosexual and of course against the Second Amendment. Robots against Republicans…
Plus, eat your veggies.
They’re coming to your local communities, eventually.
“What we want to do is move these robots out of the laboratory and into schools and homes and clinics, places where we can directly help children on a day-to-day basis,” he said.
The NSF grant said the project is necessary due to “critical societal problems.”
“The need for this technology is driven by critical societal problems that require sustained, personalized support that supplements the efforts of educators, parents, and clinicians,” the grant said.
Scassellati envisions the robots influencing nearly every aspect of children’s lives.
Of all the things government ought not be doing, building robots to “guide” kids has to be pretty high up on the list.
Vox’s Sarah Kliff dismissed the Gosnell abortion slaughterhouse trial as a “local story” that was not worth her time. That was when she wrote for the Washington Post. The Gosnell trial implicated more than just his own abortion mills. Planned Parenthood referred clients to him.
Could Kliff’s inattention to Gosnell have been because she is an ardent, militant supporter of unrestricted abortion, and Gosnell’s horrors inconvenience her politics?
Now Kliff writes for Vox, the prog explanatory journalism site that can’t seem to get anything right, and apparently local stories are in her bailiwick.
Kliff has a sad that Texas’ 2013 HB2 has increased regulation and improved standards in the state’s abortion clinics, and some clinics have closed as a result.
For many Texas clinics, these types of restrictions have proved too burdensome to comply with. ”It’s heartbreaking for us,” Amy Hagstrom Miller, the chief executive of Whole Woman’s Health, told the New York Times shortly after her clinic closed this May. “It’s been a very difficult decision. I tried everything I can. I just can’t keep the doors open.”
Obamacare hurts businesses and kills jobs.
The EPA’s war on coal is ravaging the American coal industry. It’s also raising energy prices, which hurts businesses and makes our money worth less. Raising energy prices is inflationary.
Vox supports Obamacare and all of Obama’s energy regime, despite the fact that both hurt businesses and families.
Generally speaking, progs like Sarah Kliff have no problem with government enacting regulations that end up hurting businesses — as long as those businesses don’t abort babies.
Abortion mills remain the only businesses that progs want to leave almost entirely unregulated, and the abortion lobby is never ever described by progs for what it is — a cash-rich special interest that buys access by donating to Democrats. Even though that’s exactly what the abortion lobby is.
By the way, check out Kliff’s correction:
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the year that House Bill 2 passed. It passed in 2013, not 2011.
How does an explanatory journalist get such a basic fact wrong before hitting the publish button?
Yours truly appeared on Newsmax TV’s Midpoint today with host Ed Berliner. Along with Morgan Chalfant of Red Alert Politics, we discussed Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to send the National Guard to protect the Texas-Mexico border.
Gaffes and hipster glasses came up too. Click to watch.
Russia is now directly militarily the “pro-Russian rebels” in eastern Ukraine. The US State Department, the Pentagon and Reuters have all confirmed that the Russian military is firing artillery at targets inside Ukraine from the Russian side of the border.
“We have new evidence that the Russians intend to deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers to the separatist forces in Ukraine, and have evidence that Russia is firing artillery from within Russia to attack Ukrainian military positions,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.
Harf, speaking at a regular media briefing, said the information was based on intelligence reports. “I can’t tell you what the information is based on,” she said.
Up to now, Russia has maintained an implausible deniability on the war in Ukraine, supporting the rebels (many of whom are former and current Russian military and intelligence operatives) with words and equipment but not direct fire. That has changed today, just a week after a Russian-made BUK missile was used to shoot down MH17 over Ukraine, killing all 298 civilians aboard.
He’s just, you know, mingling.
While the world is burning down.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) July 24, 2014
Pudgy North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un can dance. He can ride a pig. He can kung fu fight. He can sit next to Obama with a cast on his broken arm.
Or someone is very good at Photoshopping and motion tracking, and they digitally glued Kim’s head onto bodies doing those things.
The result is this viral video that has the hermit Communist monarchy fuming.
NPR reports that Kim is so unhappy with the video, which was apparently made in China, that he demanded that China’s Communist government take it down.
China responded that it is “unable to do so.” Which means that they don’t want to. Which is interesting.
There is no “war on women” in the United States. Those who claim that there is are either cynical are woefully misinformed.
There is a very real war on women in Iraq.
The Irish Times says that the Islamofascists are behaving like Islamofascists in the lands they now hold in Iraq.
Militant group Islamic State has ordered all girls and women in and around Iraq’s northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), the United Nationssaid today.
The “fatwa” issued by the Sunni Muslim fighters would potentially affect 4 million women and girls, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Iraq Jacqueline Badcocktold reporters in Geneva by videolink from Arbil.
“This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is of grave concern and does need to be addressed,” she said.
Obviously the caliphate’s thugs are most directly to blame for this. Maliki bears some blame as well.
But President Obama deserves a share of the blame for abandoning Iraq. This real and brutal Islamist war on women has his fingerprints on it.
Alaska Democrat Sen. Mark Begich has an editorial on the Hobby Lobby decision in today’s Juneau Empire.
You won’t be surprised that Begich precisely apes the Democrats’ dishonest talking points on the case completely. His editorial is entirely devoid of any originality or independence from the Obama orthodoxy.
Talking point #1: Gender renders the court’s decision illegitimate.
In late June, a narrow majority of five male justices issued an opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, in which for-profit companies challenged the guarantee that women receive health insurance coverage of birth control of her choice without cost-sharing.
The Democrats’ consistent slamming of the SCOTUS majority is sexist and anti-male.
Talking point #2: Letting some Americans who own closely-held corporations set their own insurance policies somehow constitutes putting government into your healthcare.
As Alaskans, we don’t want the government intruding into our lives and telling us how to make personal decisions. Bosses should not be able to dictate family planning and birth control options for Alaska women.
The kindest response to that is that it is total BS. Obamacare is one, gigantic and permanent government intrusion into Americans’ personal healthcare decisions, which includes millions of ways that government intrudes on personal healthcare decisions. Begich voted for all of that and continues to support it. The abortifacient mandate was created under Obamacare. The above talking point is dishonesty from end to end.
Talking point #3: Choosing not to fund 4 of 20 kinds of contraception somehow constitutes “discrimination.”
That is why I recently cosponsored the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, also known as the Not My Boss’ Business Act. The bill makes it illegal for any company to deny its workers specific health benefits, including birth control, required to be covered by federal law.
This makes it clear that bosses cannot discriminate against their female workers, ensuring equal treatment under the law. This bill was recently blocked from moving forward on the Senate floor, but I remain undeterred in my efforts to ensure women have the right to choose the birth control and reproductive care options that are best for them.
It simply is not “discrimination” in any way, shape or form. The mandate can be seen as discrimination against Americans who oppose abortion. But a company choosing not to pay for a particular kind of controversial abortifacient drug is not discrimination.
The real reason Begich supports that bill, which has no chance of passing, is because the Democrat base is fired up by it as a wedge issue. The Democrats, including Begich, are using bedrock religious and property rights as a wedge issue for the mid-terms. That’s how little the Democrats as a party consider those fundamental rights. They put those rights up for grabs for the sake of trying to hold onto the Senate.
Begich also supports a bill that would discriminate against religious people who own businesses, and object to abortifacient drugs.
In an effort to make sure women are informed about their employer’s stand on this issue, I am the lead co-sponsor of The Preventive Care Coverage Notification Act. It ensures that current employees and job applicants at for-profit corporations are informed in advance if the corporation intends to deny birth control coverage.
Again, even Hobby Lobby is not “denying birth control coverage.” It objects to paying for four abortifacient drugs. It does cover 16 types of contraception.
The rest of Begich’s piece just rehashes the Democrats’ other talking points against the Hobby Lobby decision.
The Obamacare bill would not have passed if the abortifacient mandate had been included when it was up for consideration. The Obama administration wrote it into regulations after passage. It’s a regulation that can be unwritten at any time. But it’s clear that the mandate’s purpose all along was to generate a phony “war on women” when anyone objected to the mandate, and it’s clear now that it’s a phony issue built to stir up the hard left, anti-religious Democrat base and its ill-informed hangers on.
And dishonest Washington partisans like Mark Begich.
Energy prices are rising for Americans because Barack Obama wants it that way. He told the San Francisco Chronicle that he would use energy prices hikes to socially engineer energy use, and that is one promise on which he is following through. His EPA’s war on coal alone stands to jack up power prices 70 to 80 percent, according to Dr. Julio Friedmann, of the US Department of Energy.
In recent remarks to the League of Conservation Voters, Obama said that he expects the rest of the world, including developing countries and the largest economies, to do what he is doing to their own energy consumers.
“[W]e’ve got to lead by example. They’re waiting to see what America does.” Obama said on June 25. “And I’m convinced when America proves what’s possible, other countries are going to come along.”
Asia’s two largest economies are not waiting to see what America does, and they’re showing no sign of following Obama’s anti-coal lead.
China says it shares Obama’s goal, but it is following its own lead.
China’s chief climate official Xie Zhenhua said China should not be subject to the same rules for greenhouse gas emissions as the United States and other rich countries, signaling that Beijing will oppose any attempt to impose them at next year’s world climate conference.
“We are in different development stages, we have different historical responsibilities and we have different capacities,” Xie told reporters.
Japan is not only not following Obama’s war on coal, it is increasing coal use in new domestic energy projects, according to Mari Iwata in the Wall Street Journal today.
Japan said Wednesday it would step up support for coal-fired power plants in developing nations, challenging a U.S. policy that seeks to discourage such plants in an effort to fight global warming. […] The move represents a repudiation of the Obama administration’s strict stance of carbon emissions. Washington is talking to members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a club of developed nations, about a rule that would ban national export-credit agencies from financing new overseas coal power plants.
Japan understands that coal can safely power its economy.
Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s growth strategy, Tokyo seeks each year to back overseas coal power-plant projects worth about $4 billion. Typically those projects have Japanese investors and use at least some Japanese equipment. While the annual target hasn’t been reached yet, several major projects have recently gotten under way.
Japan has long supported energy efficiency. Unlike Barack Obama, who claims to support an “all-of-the-above” strategy that in reality only supports the development of expensive so-called “clean” or “green” energy, Japan actually does support all-of-the-above.
China and Japan are the world’s second and third largest economies respectively.
They’re not buying the Luddite, anti-energy radicalism that Barack Obama is selling on energy.
The US FAA has extended the ban on flights into Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, citing increased risk after a Hamas rocket landed within a mile of the airport. Hamas is calling the ban a “great victory,” while several European countries are following up with flight bans of their own.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is now asking, is the FAA’s decision really based on risk, or is it a stealth economic boycott of Israel?
In a press release, Cruz notes that the FAA still allows flights into Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, all of which are under constant terrorist threat.
Sen. Cruz also notes that so far in the current battle with Hamas, the terrorist group has launched over 2,000 rockets. Only one has landed anywhere near Ben Gurion.
Mindful of the shootdown of MH17 last week, Cruz also notes that that shootdown was accomplished by a sophisticated BUK anti-aircraft missile made by Russia. Yet the FAA still allows flights into Ukraine.
According to Sen. Cruz’s statement, tourism is an $11 billion industry in Israel. Thanks to the FAA’s ban, though, tourist charters are canceling trips at a 30% rate, costing the Israeli economy enormously. At the same time, Secretary of State John Kerry arrive in Israel — at Ben Gurion, incidentally — pledging $47 million in aid for the Palestinians, which really means more money for Hamas.
Taking the impact of these decisions together with Kerry’s previous statements, in which he has accused Israel of being an “apartheid state,” Cruz wonders what is behind the FAA’s decisions — true risk or politics?
Read Sen. Cruz’s full statement on the next page.
Hamas launched a powerful rocket that landed within a mile of Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport. Israel has opened an alternative airport in Negev.
The US Federal Aviation Administration overreacted to the Hamas rocket, by banning American carriers from landing at Ben Gurion, temporarily. Secretary of State John Kerry has flown to the Middle East to try and arrange a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
Michael Bloomberg, of all people, showed stronger leadership by flying into Ben Gurion and publicizing his flight, to show that it is still safe.
Hamas is believed to possess from 10,000 to 20,000 rockets. The terrorist group has used that arsenal to start the current round of fighting by firing those rockets at Israeli civilian population centers.
Israel has responded by going after Hamas in as precise a manner as possible, to avoid civilian casualties. That is no easy feat when Hamas deliberately hides its weapons in schools and when its fighters do not wear uniforms and who themselves hide among civilians, using them as human shields. When those civilians are inevitably killed, Hamas then uses them for propaganda against Israel.
At this point, what would a cease-fire achieve?
For Israel, a temporary and untenable “peace.” For Hamas, it would achieve quite a lot. A cease-fire would leave its rocket arsenal intact. It would also leave the threat that Hamas could shut down Israel’s main international airport, at any moment, intact.
For Israel, that is an intolerable threat. Hamas could cut Israel off from the rest of the world, or at least from its strongest ally, any time it wants, just by firing one of its thousands and thousands of rockets near the airport.
Kerry should not have gone to Israel to mindlessly try to broker another cease-fire.
He should have gone to Israel to tell Hamas unambiguously that the United State supports Israel’s right to self-defense, and that if Hamas does not turn over all of its rockets immediately, that the United States supports Israel’s right to destroy the entire arsenal by means and methods of its choosing.
In other words, Kerry should have gone to Israel to tell Hamas and the world that the United States supports Israel and its right to defeat Hamas once and for all.
Negotiating with Hamas has proven to be futile. It’s time to let Israel win.
Detroit has a water crisis.
Actually, no, it doesn’t. Detroit has a deadbeat crisis.
The broke down Motor City has announced that it is suspending shutting off water to those who don’t pay their water bills, for 15 days. Just about half of the city’s residents are actually paying their water bills.
Detroit, which by the way is bankrupt, made that decision because the United Nations pressured it to.
How did Detroit get to be bankrupt? Well, it has a deadbeat problem. And a corruption problem.
The United Nations claims that access to clean water is now a “human right.” And because of that, the city should not cut off the water to people who are using the city’s water service, but are refusing to pay for it.
Most of the same people who are refusing to pay for the water they use are on taxpayer-supported public assistance. Public assistance is meant to help them pay for food, shelter, and of course, water.
But instead, many of them are paying for cell phones and satellite or cable TV service.
They are making choices in what they pay for. If they prize other things over clean water, well, there ought to be consequences for that. The United Nations, which itself lives off of the public assistance of member states including the United States, disagrees.
Potable water doesn’t clean itself and, for the most part, doesn’t exist in nature in the quantities that we need to support our cities. Humans have to process water to make it drinkable. That processing costs money. Somebody has to pay for it. If that somebody is not the people who are actually using the water, then who ought to pay for it?
The United Nations has taken the position that it doesn’t care, and it doesn’t matter, who pays for water.
They’re not going far enough.
Food is just as important to our health as water. If clean water is a human right, why isn’t food? And if food is a human right, why should anyone ever have to pay for food?
Why shouldn’t farmers just give away all of the crops, beef, milk, and other products that they generate? Why shouldn’t all restaurants serve everyone whatever food they want, free of charge? Aren’t they violating our human rights if they force us to pay for the food that we eat? Steak and lobster for everyone, every day, whenever they want — since it’s a human right. Why shouldn’t the United Nations make this happen?
Then no one would have to choose between food and their smartphone.
Because having to make choices isn’t fair. Or something.
The House Ways and Means Committee’s IRS targeting scandal investigators have tracked down some IRS information technology specialists who contradict the agency’s official line regarding the spoiled hard drive of Lois Lerner.
According to the IRS, Lerner’s hard drive “crashed” and the data on it was not recovered. That data, according to the IRS, included all of Lerner’s emails to and from people outside the IRS itself. Those so-called lost emails could shed light on who Lerner was communicating with outside the IRS and who outside the agency may have been aware of the targeting of conservative groups, and what the purpose of the targeting was.
But the IRS says that those emails are “lost,” and Lerner’s “crashed” hard drive was later “recycled,” meaning it was destroyed entirely.
But the IRS IT specialists tracked down by Ways and Means tell a different story.
According to them, Lerner’s hard drive was merely “scratched,” and most of the data on it was recoverable. The IT specialists tell the Committee’s investigators that they recommended the IRS seek outside assistance to recover the data on Lerner’s drive. Forensic experts consulted by the Committee agree that most of the data would have been recoverable.
The IRS apparently never followed that advice to seek outside experts for help with the drive.
But the IRS’ record-keeping on Lerner’s hard drive may not be complete or accurate itself. Paperwork discovered by the committee says that at one point, Lerner’s computer was described as “recovered.” The IRS has also failed to provide a paper trail for the destruction of the hard drive. To date, IRS officials have testified that it was destroyed. But the agency systematically tracks the disposition of hard drives. There ought to be paperwork tracking Lerner’s hard drive to its demise, but there is no such paperwork.
President Barack Obama is spending three of this week’s five work days fundraising for the Democratic Party. At a fundraiser last night, he contradicted everything he has ever said about how he learns about scandals in his own government.
POLITICO reports that Obama said he’s fighting however he can to combat cynicism from becoming a dominant theme in the upcoming midterm elections. And when the president brought up the media as partly to blame, he remarked, “Whatever they’re reporting about, usually I know.”
That’s a funny thing to say for a guy who claims that he learned about Fast and Furious, the Veterans Administration secret waiting lists, the NSA spying on foreign leaders, the terrorist capture of much of Iraq, Russia’s invasion of Crimea, the IRS targeting scandal and the failure of Healthcare.gov from the news media.
Or maybe he was just lying about not knowing about any of that beforehand…
Here are the facts: Debra Harrell works at McDonald’s in North Augusta, South Carolina. For most of the summer, her daughter had stayed there with her, playing on a laptop that Harrell had scrounged up the money to purchase. (McDonald’s has free WiFi.) Sadly, the Harrell home was robbed and the laptop stolen, so the girl asked her mother if she could be dropped off at the park to play instead.
Harrell said yes. She gave her daughter a cell phone. The girl went to the park—a place so popular that at any given time there are about 40 kids frolicking—two days in a row. There were swings, a “splash pad,” and shade. On her third day at the park, an adult asked the girl where her mother was. At work, the daughter replied.
The shocked adult called the cops. Authorities declared the girl “abandoned” and proceeded to arrest the mother.
The state has taken the nine-year-old girl away from her mother. Which is abusive, if you ask me.
So if you let your kid play unsupervised at a park for any length of time, you’re subject to arrest by the minions of the state now?
Can we really describe ourselves as the “land of the free” anymore?
Father does what fathers are supposed to do.
A Daytona Beach father beat an 18-year-old man unconscious after finding him sexually abusing his 11-year-old son early Friday morning, police said.
The father called 911 around 1 a.m. after he walked in on the alleged abuse, police said. When officers arrived, they found Raymond Frolander motionless on the living room floor. He had several knots on his face and was bleeding from the mouth.
“He is nice and knocked out on the floor for you,” the father told the 911 dispatcher. “I drug him out to the living room.”
The father used no weapons, other than “my foot and my fist.”
The child told investigators that he was playing video games with friends but after the friends left, Frolander asked the boy to sit in his lap and then took him to a back room, the report states.
Frolander then pulled the boy’s pants down and started sexually battering him, the boy told police, adding that Frolander had been abusing him since he was 8 years old, investigators said.
He told police that “I got him in a bloody puddle for you officer.”
The father had stepped out of the house for a moment, came back, and discovered that the house was “too quiet.” So he looked around and found out what was happening to his son and did what he had to do.
The police are not going to charge him with anything.
“Dad was acting like a dad. I don’t see anything we should charge the dad with,” Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood said. “You have an 18-year-old who has clearly picked his target, groomed his target and had sex with the victim multiple times.”
The beaten perp admitted his guilt and faces serious charges.