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Bryan Preston

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.
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Liberals Risk Losing Their Own Video Contest, So They Change the Rules

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

A week ago we reported that conservative group American Commitment was poised to win a video contest organized by leftwing groups and MAYDAY.US.

At that point, American Commitment’s video was well ahead of all of the competition.

As of now, it has earned roughly 15 times the votes of its nearest competition. and MAYDAY.US apparently don’t like losing their own contest to a conservative video that skewers one of the left’s big money men, Tom Steyer.

Suddenly, the contest rules have changed!

American Commitment released a statement on the trickery.

The contest rules previously stated: “Contest ends at 5:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, October 16, 2014.  The sooner you post your video, the more time you’ll have to get votes.”

The contest rules have now been altered to say: “Contest submissions ends [sic] at 5:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, October 16, 2014.  The sooner you post your video, the more time you’ll have to get votes.  The 24-hour voting period begins on Thurdsday [sic] at 5pm ET, and ends on Friday at 5pm ET, October 17th, 2014”

That’s a major change in the voting period for the video contest. It negates all of the votes that the videos racked up since the contest actually began.

“ and have unfairly changed the rules in the middle of the game in a desperate attempt to stop our video from winning the competition,” said Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment in a statement emailed to the Tatler.  “Our entry about America’s number one fatcat campaign contributor, Tom Steyer—shines a spotlight on him and on the role hypocritical liberal billionaire contributors play in stoking feigned outrage about conservative donors.  Americans have overwhelmingly supported our ad with their votes, and and should respect the democratic process by letting these votes stand—and then put some of their own big money behind airing the ad on TV.”

Here is American Commitment’s video entry, which has pulled in 15 times the votes of any of its competitors — before moved to change the rules.

This episode is just a small window through which we can see the contempt that many on the left actually have for fair voting, and even for rules that they establish that later become inconvenient to them.

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Ebola Nurse Pham to be Transferred to Maryland

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The United States has just four Ebola-equipped hospitals. One of those is in Bethesda, Maryland, and Nina Pham is being transferred to there from Texas Presbyterian today.

DALLAS — Nina Pham will be transferred from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas to a hospital in Bethesda, Md., family members confirmed Thursday morning.

A 26-year-old nurse, Pham was the first person to contract Ebola on U.S. soil.

Family confirmed they didn’t request the move. Sources say the decision was made due to staffing issues at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. The family says they’re OK with the move.

Pham will surely get the best care there. She has been given a blood transfusion from Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly and is reported to be doing well. She has even Skyped with family from the Dallas hospital.

The staff issues that WFFA’s story mentions but doesn’t detail are very serious.

Ebola puts a heavy burden on hospitals. It takes about 20 full-time and fully trained and fully protected ICU staff to care for just one Ebola patient. Texas Presbyterian reportedly had to ship several ICU patients to other area hospitals while it cared for Thomas Duncan, because of the staffing issues that Ebola creates and for the safety of those other patients. If Texas Presbyterian doesn’t send Pham and Vinson to other, Ebola-ready hospitals, its ICU is effectively shut down. And Pham and Vinson would not get the best care that is available.

Three of the four Ebola-ready hospitals currently have Ebola patients, or will once Pham arrives in Maryland. She will be there, Vinson is now at the one in Georgia, and NBC photographer Ashoka Mukpo is at the one in Nebraska. That just leaves the one in Missoula, Montana without an Ebola patient.

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CDC Ponders Blaming Ebola Nurse #2 Now

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Obama White House is scrambling.

And it’s about to make a couple of bizarre, yet consequential, decisions.

One — Obama is considering sending more US troops to western Africa to fight Ebola.

While at the same time, he keeps ruling out sending troops to fight ISIS.

This should be too obvious to have to bother pointing out, but if Obama sends additional US troops to fight Ebola, he will have deployed more boots on the ground to fight a virus than he has deployed to fight an Islamist army that threatens to take Baghdad.

Obama has insisted that there is no military solution to ISIS.

But there is a military solution to Ebola…?

Only one of the two threats actually consists of an army on the ground that uses weapons to kill people. The other is a microscopic thing that replicates itself. The US military’s engineering, security and medical capabilities are considerable. But even they cannot shoot or bomb Ebola.

Two — the Obama CDC is looking into blaming Ebola nurse #2 for getting on that commercial airplane that the CDC allowed her to get on. Fox got wind of that blame game move today.

White House correspondent Ed Henry reports that the CDC now says that Amber Joy Vinson was “not entirely forthcoming” about the fever that she had before boarding that flight from Cleveland to Dallas.

It’s difficult to see how that could be the case. The CDC itself reported that her fever was 99.5 and that it therefore did not meet the CDC threshold of 100.4. The CDC knew that Vinson had been exposed to Ebola. What could she have withheld when she called the agency, more than once, to see if she would be allowed to fly?

Watch the segment.

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Charlie Crist Sneaks His #1 Fan Behind His Debate Podium

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (What is he today? Riiiiight, Democrat) were supposed to debate last night.

Crist snuck a little fan behind his podium, which is an odd thing to do.

Crist has a destructive history. As a Republican, his 2008 endorsement foisted John McCain on America to go up against Barack Obama. McCain was nearly half a century older than Obama at the time. Then he switched from Republican to Independent to Democrat because Marco Rubio was about to clean his clock, and Charlie Crist has no principles, other than promoting Charlie Crist.


I was told a few years back that a certain very famous talk-show host always had a fan behind his desk, to drive noxious fumes that emanated from him, away from his guests. Not sure if that’s relevant to the Crist situation. It’s a weird call, sneaking a fan behind your podium and placing it by your feet, aimed straight up at your mid-section. Whatever could it be for?

In any case, Gov. Scott at first refused to debate after learning that his opponent had a fan advantage. There were boos and general rancor. The moderators debated among themselves whether they had ever seen anything of the like.

They had not.

Gov. Scott did eventually come out and debate Crist.

Take a look.

YouTube Preview Image

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Houston’s Mayor Backtracks on Church Subpoenas, Tosses Her Own Lawyers Under the Bus (Updated)

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Houston’s power-mad Mayor Annise Parker has backtracked on those subpoenas that she had the city issue to five city pastors, at taxpayer expense.

The mayor made the move as Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sent a letter to Parker asking that she withdraw the subpoenas “immediately.”

Attorney General Greg Abbott Asks Houston City Attorney to Withdraw Subpoenas Seeking Sermons, Other Documents from Houston-area Pastors

AUSTIN — Attorney General Abbott today asked that the Houston City Attorney to immediately withdraw the subpoenas sent last month to several Houston-area pastors seeking sermons, notes and other information.

In his letter to the city attorney, Attorney General Abbott said, “Whether you intend it to be so or not, your action is a direct assault on the religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment. The people of Houston and their religious leaders must be absolutely secure in the knowledge that their religious affairs are beyond the reach of the government.”

Abbott is the Republican nominee for Texas governor and is widely expected to win in November.

Houston’s KTRH radio reports that Parker is shifting her position.

The mayor says the subpoenas were too broad, and should not have included actual sermons.

“It’s not about what did you preach on last Sunday,” Parker told reporters Wednesday.  “It should have been clarified, it will be clarified.”

Actually it was very much about what pastors preached, and how they communicate with each other and with ministry staff.

Parker added:

“When I looked at it I felt it was overly broad, I would not have worded it that way myself,” he said.  “It’s unfortunate that it has been construed as some effort to infringe upon religious liberty.”

City Attorney David Feldman now claims that he did not even review the subpoenas before they were issued.

Both are remarkable climb-downs from the position that Parker herself took just Tuesday night, when she defended the subpoenas of sermons themselves as “fair game.”

Parker defended the subpoenas, and specifically subpoenaing sermons, in this tweet:


Now she claims that they were “overly broad.” More likely, the reaction that her move got was overly hostile — forcing her hand.

Update on next page.

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Ebola Latest: CDC Look Like Idiots, Again

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

After news broke that the second Ebola nurse flew on a commercial flight a day before she officially came down with symptoms — but she had a 99.5 fever and Ebola is a viral hemorrhagic fever — CDC Director Tom Frieden said that she should never have traveled on a commercial flight.

What he did not say was that the CDC allowed her to travel on a commercial flight, because her fever was not quite high enough.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that Vinson called the agency several times before flying, saying that she had a fever with a temperature of 99.5 degrees. But because her fever wasn’t 100.4 degrees or higher, she didn’t officially fall into the group of “high risk” and was allowed to fly.

Officials in the U.S. have been trying to calm fears over the Ebola crisis, but time and again events have overtaken their assurances.

Less than a full degree of difference, and the CDC says A-OK? That doesn’t make a lot of sense.

“Events have overtaken” the CDC’s assurances mostly because they keep saying and doing stupid things. Americans would be a whole lot less worried about Ebola if it appeared that we even had one person in charge who possesses a clue. So far, that person has not emerged. President Obama is trying to be that person, but he’s President Obama. He’s already a proven, bonafide dope who leads from behind and plays word games about everything. Swapping out an attack-minded fundraiser for a Washington meeting won’t cut it. That’s not leadership.

Dallas County will hold an emergency meeting this afternoon. The subject: Emergency!

Dallas County Commissioners are set to meet Thursday afternoon to discuss whether to call on Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) to declare an emergency to deal with Ebola. The declaration would give officials greater authority to impose travel restrictions on health-care workers who are being monitored for Ebola symptoms, NBC-DFW reported.

Separately, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called on President Barack Obama to consider a ban on travel to the United States from Ebola-stricken countries. In a statement, Boehner said “a temporary ban on travel to the United States from countries afflicted with the virus is something the president should absolutely consider along with other appropriate actions as doubts about the security of our air travel systems grow.”

Such calls are growing increasingly bi-partisan, but a travel ban is probably the last thing that the Obama White House will allow. Not because the science is really against it.

Gov. Perry returns from his economic trip overseas to deal with the emergency.

And everyone went nuts about this photo last night. It shows Amber Vinson, Ebola nurse #2, being moved from Texas Presbyterian to Emory, one of the four American hospitals that actually is ready for Ebola patients.


Reaction to this picture shows just how badly the U.S. is handling Ebola at this point — not the American people, but the American government.

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Houston Mayor’s Subpoenas Aimed at Shutting Churches Up, or Shutting Them Down

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Houston Mayor Annise Parker has revealed her purpose behind subpoenaing pastors.

Despite protestations from her office that they cannot comment on ongoing litigation, Parker did, here.


As we reported earlier, the sermons in question are accessible online without a subpoena. Parker did not need to unleash lawyers to obtain them. She is asking for much more than just sermons. Her subpoenas demanded that the pastors appear in person. They also demanded internal communications within and among the churches that were involved in the petition drive.

But the above tweet reveals her purpose. She wants to build a case that the pastors engaged in politics from the pulpit.

Which means that she is building a case to attack their tax-exempt status.

That’s the threat here, and it’s real. Mayor Annise Parker wants to shut churches out of political and cultural discussions because she disagrees with them, or shut them down if they refuse to comply with her diktats. That will intimidate other churches to either agree with her, or self-censor out of fear.

That is an abuse of power.

h/t Joshua Trevino

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The Obama Administration’s Ebola Response Focus-Grouped Word for the Day is ‘Tenacious’

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

During today’s 45-minute White House press briefing, Josh Earnest repeatedly rolled out a word to describe the Obama administration’s response to Ebola.

You and I could probably come up with several words to describe that response. The administration clearly went with “tenacious.” Before long, reporters even started using “tenacious” in their questions back to Earnest.

Take a look.

The Obama administration likes to play word games. War is not war, it’s “kinetic action.” Terrorism is a “man-caused disaster.” Nidal Hasan is not a terrorist, he engaged in “workplace violence.” The Muslim Brotherhood is “mostly secular,” begging at least one question — Well, what about its non-secular aspects?

What we have here is an administration that wants to convince you to credit it for merely showing up. It’s the “everyone gets a trophy” crowd at work atop our government, again.

The definition of tenacious is “tending to keep a firm hold of something; clinging or adhering closely,” or “not readily relinquishing a position, principle, or course of action; determined.”

“Tenacious” =/= “effective.” Or “intelligent.” It can mean “stubborn.”

In fact, looking at that first definition, “tenacious” fits the “bitter clingers” Obama denounced years ago. And we’ve come full circle with the “everyone gets a trophy” crowd.

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Since When Is Fever Not a Symptom of a Viral Hemorrhagic Fever?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Americans would be a whole lot less concerned about Ebola if the government showed any amount of competence at any level.

Instead, we’re getting Judge Jenkins gallivanting around in the same shirt after entering the first Ebola patient’s apartment, and “breach of protocol” when there was no protocol, from an administration headed by a man who had to be shamed into changing his travel plans — and appear to do his job.

Changing the president’s travel plans, by the way, is one that Major Garrett pointed out today is a move that the Obama White House has previously condemned — after Russian proxies shot down a passenger airliner over Ukraine.

So today, after the world learned that there is a second Ebola nurse, and that she flew on a commercial airplane while she should not have, the CDC director says this. (h/t Ace)

Update at 12:28 p.m.: During a teleconference with reporters Wednesday, Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said passengers on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 are at “extremely low risk” of being exposed.

That’s probably true. Only those who sat close to her are at most risk, and few of them probably actually touched her. Well, and any flight attendant who might have touched her. And any passenger who might later have been touched by the flight attendant. And those who had to decontaminate the airplane later…

What was I saying…?

Health-care worker Amber Vinson, who’d gone to Ohio to visit her mother, was not symptomatic when she boarded the return flight to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. But, Frieden said, Vinson did have a low-grade fever of 99.5 at the time. And because of her contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, Dallas’ initial Ebola patient, she should not have been traveling at all.

Fever, we have been previously told, is an Ebola symptom. Ebola is, in fact, a “viral hemorrhagic fever.” 99.5 is a low-grade fever, but it’s still a fever, which is an Ebola symptom. Vinson is a nurse and therefore knows what a fever is, and that it’s a symptom of Ebola, the viral hemorrhagic fever to which she knew that she had been exposed.

But the CDC director says that Vinson was not symptomatic, even though she had a symptom, a fever, of Ebola, which is a fever. Where does he come up with that? Did the WeSaySo corporation stealthily take over the CDC while no one was looking?

I’m not a doctor. I don’t even play one on cable access. But that man is not ready for prime-time in a crisis. Anyone can drive trucks through the holes in his logic.

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Second Ebola Nurse Worked with Duncan’s Bodily Fluids

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Today we’ve learned that there was no real Ebola protocol in place at Texas Presbyterian in Dallas, and that the second nurse to have contracted Ebola flew on a plane while she had a mild 99.5 degree fever.

That’s a mild fever. Some people might not even feel it, or shrug it off. But the fact that she had the fever indicates that she was beginning to be symptomatic. She appears to have flown on a commercial airline as she became symptomatic, which calls into question again how effective the new TSA screening regime can ever be.

How? Well, how long does it take to get from western Africa to the United States? About a day or two, depending on connections. Duncan flew from Monrovia, Liberia, to Brussels, Belgium, to Washington Dulles, and then to DFW from September 19 to September 20. During that roughly 24-hour travel period, a person who doesn’t even know that they are carrying the virus could go from asymptomatic to feverish, and therefore symptomatic. Duncan knew that he had been exposed.

Amber Joy Vinson, 29, heroically treated Duncan but also knew that she had been exposed to Ebola. Yet she flew to Cleveland and back to Dallas. She became symptomatic more or less in concert with her flight back to Dallas. Enhanced screening is not even being done at Dallas-Fort Worth or Cleveland, but if it had been it may not have caught her.

The AP reports that we do know now what she was doing to care for Duncan. Vinson was doing what an ICU nurse does.

Medical records provided to The Associated Press by Thomas Eric Duncan’s family show Amber Joy Vinson was actively engaged in caring for Duncan in the days before his death. The records show she inserted catheters, drew blood, and dealt with Duncan’s body fluids.

That last part is vague. Ebola victims become explosive. Everyone within range deals with their bodily fluids.

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Remember When Obama Said that the US is ‘Ready to Lead’ Ebola Fight?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Just under one month ago, the president of the United States weighed in on Ebola. At that time, there were no Ebola cases inside the United States.

CNN reported, September 16, 2014.


“Right now, the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is very low,” [Obama] said, “but that risk would only increase if there were not a robust response on the part of the United States.”

Was there a “robust response?”

The President noted a number of precautionary steps that are being taken in the United States to prevent the disease from spreading here.

The government has stepped up screening at West African airports. It has increased education for flight crews to teach them what to watch for with people who may be sick. It has worked with hospitals and health care workers to prepare them in case there is a domestic Ebola problem.

How did those precautionary steps work out?

The president also touted a UN meeting on Ebola.

“This is a daunting task, but here’s what gives us hope. The world knows how to fight this disease. It’s not a mystery. We know the science. We know how to prevent it from spreading. We know how to care for those who contract it. We know that if we take the proper steps, we can save lives. But we have to act fast,” Obama said.

“We can’t dawdle on this one. We have to move with force and make sure that we are catching this as best we can, given that it has already broken out in ways that we have not seen before.”

“The science is settled,” in other words. But viruses mutate, and government seldom has every single answer, and humans tend to do what they want — especially when they don’t know that they’re carriers.

We may “know how to prevent it from spreading,” but we did not actually prevent it from spreading. It spread from one patient to two more so far, in a major hospital in a major city. What if Mr. Duncan had not gone to Dallas, a city with world-class healthcare, but to a much smaller city? What if he had ended up in any of the rural county hospitals in the United States?

This is how Obama “leads.” He visits a place that’s central to a story (unless it’s politically inconvenient to him, as during the border crisis, in which case he derides “photo-ops”). At that place, he makes strong remarks that could have been written by any press release writer. He touts a meeting. He calls on the world to act.

Then he heads out either to a fundraiser or to play golf.

And the band plays on.

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CDC Director’s Credibility Collapses: A Series of Tweets

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Tom Frieden, is reacting to news that a second Dallas nurse contracted Ebola from Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who flew to the United States after he knew that he had been exposed to the deadly virus.

TIME’s Zeke Miller is live-tweeting Frieden’s remarks. Let’s listen in virtually.



She wasn’t symptomatic at that point…


It’s that third remark wherein lies the problem, though all three are coming in for criticism already.

Frieden is not in a position to ensure that what he pronounces will actually be carried out. Already, at least two Americans who were exposed to Ebola have broken isolation — the second Dallas nurse, and NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman. Neither was symptomatic at the time. The latter broke isolation to get dinner. She is supposed to be a person of science, and therefore ought to know better. That’s what other people of science keep telling us, anyway.

Dr. Snyderman is “deeply sorry,” by the way.

Additionally, as Mr. Duncan proved, the CDC can say whatever it wants about the Americans that it knows about who are exposed. It can do nothing at all about people outside the country are exposed, unless it enacts a travel ban from those Ebola-stricken countries to this one. And that, the CDC maintains, it will not do.

Those people can continue to use air travel according to their means and their whims, as long as they do not have or can conceal their symptoms.

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Wendy Davis Suddenly Spends A Lot of Time Appearing and Being Photographed with Disabled People

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Coincidence, I’m sure. This has absolutely nothing to do with her widely criticized wheelchair ad.

Surely Wendy Davis is not treating people as human props. That cannot be. Right? People would see right through that, if she did that.

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Why Is Houston Mayor Annise Parker Subpoenaing Pastors for Sermons that are Already Publicly Available?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Tuesday news broke that the city of Houston is subpoenaing area pastors who opposed the city’s “bathroom ordinance.”

The city is being sued after it tossed out a petition that would have put repealing the ordinance up to a referendum. The petition garnered 50,000 signatures, about three times the number it needed, yet Houston tossed it citing “irregularities.”

That’s an awful lot of “irregularities.”

The city has refused to comment on the subpoenas, citing “ongoing litigation.”

But the subpoenas themselves appear to be entirely unnecessary, if the city really just wants to check on sermons. Not that the city has any business monitoring sermons in churches where no illegal activity has been alleged, and none has in this case.

Most churches of any size now post full videos of all of their services, including sermons, online for anyone to watch on demand. They maintain extensive archives. They conduct tape and mp3 ministries to help people who cannot attend services for any reason.

For instance, one of the subpoenaed churches is Grace Community Church of Houston, pastored by Rev. Steve Riggle. That church has an extensive website, here. As it’s a network of churches, the link to the Houston campus church is here. Right up top is a link to “Watch Online.” Click on that link, and you’ll be taken here. Over on the right is an archive of past sermons that anyone can watch on demand. Its Podcast link has an archive that goes all the way back to January 2013, more than a year before Houston passed its ordinance that the pastors opposed. No subpoena required.

Rev. Dave Welch was also subpoenaed by the city. He is pastor of Bear Creek Church in Houston. Bear Creek’s online sermon archive also goes all the way back to January 2013. Anyone can download and listen, at any time they desire, no subpoena required.

I didn’t go through the web sites of all the churches and groups that the city of Houston has subpoenaed. Just by going through the two above, it’s clear that the subpoenas are questionable as a matter of legal discovery. The city did not need subpoenas to get the information — sermons — that it claims it wants. The subpoena to Riggle even mentions electronic or videotape recordings, which are available free of charge, no subpoena required.

The subpoena goes farther than merely requesting sermons, by the way. It commands the pastors to appear, in person, at a city law office — Susman Godfrey, LLP. It also commands the reverends to produce internal church communications related to the sermons. That, in turn, might produce communications between the churches.

That the churches communicate with each other is no secret. Churches engage in interfaith activities with each other all the time, especially in large cities like Houston. In this case, these pastors had allied with each other for a cause, so they surely emailed and texted one another. As they have every right in this country to do.

These subpoenas appear to have several purposes outside the court case, then — to call out and intimidate the pastors, and to fish for information from within and among the church staffs. Complying with the subpoenas may also cost money and tie up church staff who will be tasked with gathering up the materials demanded, rather than attend to their churches’ ministries.


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Bono Apologizes for Giving You Free Music

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

U2 and Apple engaged in a heinous conspiracy to give millions of people a free copy of a terrific music album. Alright, not everyone agrees with the “terrific” part. U2 remain popular enough to fill huge arenas, but not everyone likes them.

But the album was free, and a whole lot of people complained about the fact that Apple made owning it an opt-out rather than an opt-in.

In a fan Q&A video posted on Facebook, lead singer Bono was asked by a site user to never release an album in the way that the band and Apple released Songs of Innocence ever again. “It’s really rude,” the Facebook user wrote.

Bono replied, “Oops. I’m sorry about that. Had this beautiful idea. Might’ve got carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that kind of thing. Drop of megalomania. Touch of generosity. Dash of self-promotion. And, deep fear that these songs, that we poured our life into over the last few years, mightn’t be heard.”

U2, still among the biggest bands in the entire world, fears that their songs might not be heard? It’s quite human to feel that one is toiling in obscurity, so much so that even Bono can’t escape it.

Bono continued: “It’s a lot of noise out there. I guess we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it.”

As a large-scale social experiment, the release of Songs of Innocence might teach us quite a bit about human nature. Free gifts are not always received with gratitude, are they?

True story: My TV provider called me up yesterday out of the blue. The man on the line said that, as a way of thanking me for subscribing, they were turning on a bunch of premium channels for a few months, for free. I thanked him, set a note in my calendar for when the free period expires so I could cancel if I want, and then checked my listings. None of the free premium channels were there. And I was annoyed at my TV provider.

Putting all of the First World complaints about getting free music forced onto phones aside, Songs of Innocence is an awesome rock album that ought to have had no trouble cutting through the noise with lots of good noise of its own. If you like U2, which I happen to. It rates among U2′s best work, easily.

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No, the Republicans Did Not Cut the NIH Budget

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Democrats and some members of the media allege that Republicans are to blame for what may turn into an Ebola outbreak, because they supposedly cut funding for the National Institutes of Health.

That is not true, and every media member who says otherwise must get their facts straight. Here is the brief history of NIH funding, according to the Congressional Research Service. (h/t Powerline)

Attached [at the link] is a CRS analysis of the actual NIH budget for the last several years in inflation adjusted (real) dollars. It’s worth noting that after the Republican takeover in ’94, the NIH budget rose until the Dems took over Congress in 2006. The Pelosi/Reid congress was the first to flatline the NIH budget in nominal dollars.

Some will leap from that to blame Bush, as he was still president after 2006. Presidents don’t write and pass budgets; Congress does. At worst, the NIH budget flatline was bi-partisan. There are lots of bad things that enjoy the veneer of bi-partisanship.

I’m speculating here, but we may be seeing one of the fundamental differences between the two parties at work. Republicans tend to oppose most government spending, but tend to favor government spending on security-related issues. Defense and disease-prep and protection fall under that description. Democrats tend to favor increasing spending on social programs, and tend to take those increases in two ways — by raising taxes, or by cutting other areas of the budget. Defense is usually the first place that Democrats look to cut.

In addition to the above, it was the Obama administration that scuttled Bush-era CDC quarantine regulations that were aimed at diseases like avian flu and Ebola. The USA Today reported at the time, in 2010 (when Democrats still controlled all of Washington):

The Obama administration has quietly scrapped plans to enact sweeping new federal quarantine regulations that theCenters for Disease Control and Preventiontouted four years ago as critical to protecting Americans from dangerous diseases spread by travelers.

The regulations, proposed in 2005 during the Bush administration amid fears of avian flu, would have given the federal government additional powers to detain sick airline passengers and those exposed to certain diseases. They also would have expanded requirements for airlines to report ill passengers to the CDC and mandated that airlines collect and maintain contact information for fliers in case they later needed to be traced as part of an investigation into an outbreak.

The ACLU was happy about the scuttling at the time.

Here’s a fun time capsule from that story.

Jennifer Nuzzo, at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for Biosecurity, said the rapid worldwide spread of swine flu showed flaws in the proposed regulations’ premise.

“They probably learned during H1N1 that this hope of preventing diseases from entering the country by stationing people at airports is unrealistic,” she said.

Funny, stationing more people at airports is exactly what the government is doing now.

Since taking power in 2006, Democrats have cut two areas of government spending that have become relevant now — NIH and the Pentagon — while increasing social spending in other areas. Flatlining a budget is a “cut” in Washington-speak. Obviously, one cannot then directly blame Democrats for both Ebola and the rise of ISIS solely because of those cuts. In the case of ISIS, Obama’s politically-driven withdrawal of American forces from Iraq has had quite a lot to do with the rise of ISIS. Drawing a red line over Syria’s WMD and then not enforcing it has also eroded American authority.

But you shouldn’t kid yourself about how the media would draw bright red lines between those budget cuts and the current state of the world if the Republicans had held power during those years.

In fact, don’t be shocked if the media wait until after the elections, when Republicans re-take the Senate, and then start blaming them for the cuts anyway.


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Nurses Union: There Was No Ebola Protocol; Duncan Left in ER for Hours

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The nation’s largest nurses union fired back at Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Tom Frieden today.

Frieden initially claimed that nurse Nina Pham contracted Ebola due to a “breach in protocol.” He had to apologize and walk that back, for the simple reason that as he could not specify what protocol had been breached, he was not in a position to claim that one had been breached.

In a statement, the National Nurses United union alleges that there was a series of poor decisions and breakdowns in Texas Presbyterian hospital that endagered staff who provided care for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan.

Among the items on the union’s list of terribles:

— Duncan was kept in a non-isolated area of the emergency department for several hours, potentially exposing up to seven other patients to Ebola;

— Patients who may have been exposed to Duncan were kept in isolation only for a day before being moved to areas where there were other patients;

— Nurses treating Duncan were also caring for other patients in the hospital;

— Preparation for Ebola at the hospital amounted to little more than an optional seminar for staff;

— In the face of constantly shifting guidelines, nurses were allowed to follow whichever ones they chose.

“There was no advance preparedness on what to do with the patient, there was no protocol, there was no system,” Burger said.

Even today, Burger said, some hospital staff at the Dallas hospital do not have proper equipment to handle the outbreak.

“Hospital managers have assured nurses that proper equipment has been ordered but it has not arrived yet,” she said.

No protocol. An optional briefing, not actual training. No proper gear. And now the hospital has two Ebola patients. Both provided care for Duncan.

While Duncan was left in the open ER, he continued to have “explosive diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and projectile vomiting.” During those early hours, hospital staff were not wearing gear to protect themselves from Ebola. Disposable protective shoe covers were “recommended.”

CBS reports that the nurses at Texas Presbyterian are not members of any union, and were warned by the hospital administration not to speak to media or they would be fired.

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Second Dallas Hospital Staffer Tests Positive for Ebola (Update: Yikes)

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

And then there were two. CNN reports that there is a second Ebola case at Texas Presbyterian in Dallas.

(CNN) – A second health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan has tested positive for Ebola, health officials said Wednesday, casting further doubt on the hospital’s ability to handle Ebola and protect employees.

The worker reported a fever Tuesday and was immediately isolated, health department spokeswoman Carrie Williams said.

A preliminary Ebola test was done late Tuesday at the state public health laboratory in Austin, and the results came back around midnight. A second test will be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

“Health officials have interviewed the latest patient to quickly identify any contacts or potential exposures, and those people will be monitored,” the health department said.

As of yesterday, the CDC said that it was monitoring about 125 people who had come into contact with the first patient and/or Nina Pham, the second patient. Many of those are now nearing the end of the Ebola incubation period without showing symptoms, which is obviously good news. Now that we have a new patient, the number of people who are being monitored for signs of Ebola will likely grow again. Additionally, if what we heard from Betsy McCaughey yesterday is accurate, the strains on Texas Presbyterian’s ICU just increased again.

Update: The nurse has been identified, as has her recent travel by air. Her name is Amber Joy Vinson. She is 26 years old.

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The CDC has announced that the second healthcare worker diagnosed with Ebola traveled by air Oct. 13, the day before she first reported symptoms.

The CDC is now reaching out to all passengers who flew on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth. The flight landed at 8:16 p.m. CT.

The CDC is asking all 132 passengers on the flight to call 1 800-CDC INFO (1 800 232-4636). Public health professionals will begin interviewing passengers about the flight after 1 p.m. ET.

More: Nurses Union: There Was No Ebola Protocol; Duncan Left in ER for Hours


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Question for Wayne Slater: Why Are You Misleading People About Greg Abbott’s New Ad?

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Dallas Morning News reporter Wayne Slater appeared on Ronan Farrow’s MSNBC show today.

Slater has done some excellent work over the years, but today he took off the mask and revealed a solid leftward tilt.

The segment was about the “politics of Ebola.” Fair enough, the virus unfortunately has become a political issue.

But listen carefully to how Slater describes the state of play.

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“Republicans are saying it’s all Obama’s fault,” Slater begins. “I heard over on the far right, some of the talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh saying, in fact, it’s Obama’s fault because he wants America to suffer just like the people in Africa suffer.”

Rush Limbaugh =/= the GOP, as Mr. Slater knows. He doesn’t work for the party and is not its spokesman. As for the words in question, Limbaugh was quoting an author who proffered the theory about Liberia, slavery, suffering and Ebola. Limbaugh described the author of that theory as an “oddball” and made it clear that he does not believe it. He did add that political correctness is hampering response to Ebola. Slater did not address that point.

Here is the full audio, which many on the left including Wayne Slater have misinterpreted.

Slater continued.

“On the left, the Democrats and some more progressive folks point out that it’s Republicans who have severely cut the budget for response to Ebola, so it is a political issue.”

See the bias? Slater sets up a comment from talk show host to use against all Republicans, then it’s the Democrats who “point out” — meaning in his mind, what they’re saying is actually true — budget cuts.

He didn’t stop there.

Discussing local and state issues, Slater says “There’s plenty for Democrats to point to that Republicans have done badly” — again, a fact claim on behalf of Democrats — while “There are some things that Republicans can point to that they claim, if they can claim, it’s Obama’s fault.”

Slater just said that whatever Democrats say against Republicans is true, while whatever Republicans say against Democrats is a mere “claim.”

He didn’t stop there.

“As the gubernatorial candidate, Greg Abbott, in our governor’s race, is now charging in a new ad today, it’s all his Democratic opponent, Wendy Davis’ fault, because she’s just like Obama.”

Yeah. That’s false. What Wayne Slater just said is totally false.

The new ad to which Slater refers is this one, which debuted today. See if you can spot any mention of Ebola in it.

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That was a trick lead-in. The ad doesn’t mention Ebola at all. Remember, the segment was about the “politics of Ebola.” Slater tied that ad to Ebola and Greg Abbott. But the ad doesn’t mention Ebola.

The ad does paint Wendy Davis as being just like Obama, because she does support Obama’s policies. The ad makes that claim on several issues and provides sources for its claims. It does not blame Wendy Davis for Ebola.

It does say that she is just like Obama, which is a very typical charge in an election year — to tie a candidate to an unpopular member of that candidate’s party. Slater himself did something similar when he equated all Republicans to Rush Limbaugh, who is one of the left’s major hate figures. Mentioning his name elicits a near Pavlovian response among liberals.

So Wayne Slater made out that the ad is false, and further, he put words in Greg Abbott’s mouth for the MSNBC audience that Abbott did not say. The ad does not mention Ebola, and Slater knows that.

Slater probably assumes, and probably correctly, that most of the MSNBC audience will never see the ad. Therefore they will never fact-check him on this.

So the Dallas Morning News’ chief political reporter just misled that entire audience.

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Houston Mayor Subpoenas Pastors’ Sermons for Opposing ‘Anti-Discrimination’ Ordinance

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The mayor’s office of the city of Houston, Texas is abusing its power.

Todd Starnes reports that the city of Houston has demanded that area pastors must turn in their sermons to the city or face contempt of court charges. It’s not a strongly worded request, it’s a subpoena. For sermons.

At issue is the city’s “anti-discrimination” ordinance. The city passed it in June.

Many area churches and leaders opposed it, because critics argue that it

…potentially would open women’s restrooms to male sexual predators dressed in women’s clothing and force businesses to serve clients whose sexual practices they oppose on religious grounds.

Having gotten the ordinance passed, the city is now retaliating against those who opposed it. And that is after the city mangled the process to get the result that it desired. The group opposing the ordinance gathered 50,000 petition signatures, when it only needed a little over 17,000 to get the ordinance on the ballot as a referendum. The city claimed that it based its decision to toss the petition on “irregularities.”

That was in August. In October, the city is going after the pastors.

The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.

“The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christina Holcomb said in a statement. “The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions.”

ADF, a nationally-known law firm specializing in religious liberty cases, is representing five Houston pastors. They filed a motion in Harris County court to stop the subpoenas arguing they are “overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious.”

Mayor Annise Parker must explain the city’s actions. She refused to, today, when Starnes called the mayor’s office for comment.

This is an abuse of power. It also appears to be weaponizing government to exact revenge on political dissenters. That is un-American and wrong.


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Texas’ Voter ID Law Stands

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Last week, a Democrat district judge ruled Texas’ voter ID law unconstitutional.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) appealed.

Today, the law stands.

The State of Texas can use its new voter ID law again in next’s month’s election, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday, putting on hold an order a district court issued just last week barring enforcement of the law.

“Based primarily on the extremely fast-approaching election date, we STAY the district court’s judgment pending appeal,” 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Edith Clement wrote, in a ruling joined by Judge Catharina Haynes (and posted here). “This is not a run-of-the-mill case; instead, it is a voting case decided on the eve of the election….The judgment below substantially disturbs the election process of the State of Texas just nine days before early voting begins. Thus, the value of preserving the status quo here is much higher than in most other contexts.”

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Ebola Preparation ‘Will bankrupt my hospital!’ Director Reacts to CDC Prep Call

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Dr. Betsy McCaughey appeared on Fox just after she had attend a CDC conference call with hospitals this afternoon.

Host Stuart Varney asked her what it would take to set up 50 hospitals to be ready for Ebola.

McCaughey’s answer is stunning.

According to her, after the CDC outlined its preparation strategy, one hospital administrator responded, “What you’re telling us would bankrupt my hospital!” She said that that administrator represents a Southern California hospital.

McCaughey noted that there was no word on the call of who would pay for hospitals to get themselves ready for Ebola patients.

And then she added: “Treating one Ebola patient requires, full time, 20 medical staff. Mostly ICU (intensive care unit) people. So that would wipe out an ICU in an average-sized hospital.”

In the case of Texas Presbyterian, McCaughey says that the hospital cordoned off its ICU to care for Thomas Eric Duncan and sent the rest of its ICU patients to other area hospitals. She added that many communities will not have multiple hospitals to choose from, so one Ebola case could cripple ICUs in small towns.

“But the most important thing,” McCaughey said, “is that doctors and nurses are not ready for the challenge of using this personal protective equipment even if you see them with the helmet, the respirator, the full suits, as the CDC said on the call today, even all that equipment is not enough to guarantee the safety of health care workers because it is so perilous to put it on and particularly to remove it once it’s become contaminated.”

McCaughey said many of those on the call were “daunted by the expectations, the separate laboratory next to the isolated patients, all kinds of — all kinds of adjustments, where to put the waste. Many states won’t even let you dispose of this waste from such a toxic disease.”

Watch McCaughey’s segment.

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Andrea Mitchell Asks Wendy Davis About Abbott’s ‘Supposed Disability’

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

During an interview with Wendy Davis on MSNBC today, host Andrea Mitchell asked the Democrat about the wheelchair ad that has caused a firestorm for her campaign.

Mitchell asked if Davis could have made the points that she made in the ad without pointing to Greg Abbott’s “supposed disability.”

Take a look.

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There’s nothing “supposed” about it. Davis did not challenge Mitchell’s characterization, though. Davis also defended the ad, again.


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Did you Know that USA Has an ‘Ebola Czar?’ We Do. So Why Is She Hiding?

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The United States has had an Ebola czar for about 10 years now.

The current one’s name is Dr. Nicole Lurie. She works at the US Department of Health and Human Services.

So why haven’t we seen her at any point after the first and second diagnoses of Ebola in the United States?

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway looked into that, and found a scandal.

There are a few interesting things about the scandal Lurie was embroiled in years ago. You can—and should—read all about it in the Los Angeles Times‘ excellent front-page expose from November 2011, headlined: “Cost, need questioned in $433-million smallpox drug deal: A company controlled by a longtime political donor gets a no-bid contract to supply an experimental remedy for a threat that may not exist.” This Forbes piece is also interesting.

The donor is billionaire Ron Perelman, who was controlling shareholder of Siga. He’s a huge Democratic donor but he also gets Republicans to play for his team, of course. Siga was under scrutiny even back in October 2010 when The Huffington Post reported that it had named labor leader Andy Stern to its board and “compensated him with stock options that would become dramatically more valuable if the company managed to win the contract it sought with HHS—an agency where Stern has deep connections, having helped lead the year-plus fight for health care reform as then head of the Service Employees International Union.”

The award was controversial from almost every angle—including disputes about need, efficacy, and extremely high costs. There were also complaints about awarding a company of its size and structure a small business award as well as the negotiations involved in granting the award. It was so controversial that even Democrats in tight election races were calling for investigations.

Last month, Siga filed for bankruptcy after it was found liable for breaching a licensing contract. The drug it’s been trying to develop, which was projected to have limited utility, has not really panned out—yet the feds have continued to give valuable funds to the company even though the law would permit them to recoup some of their costs or to simply stop any further funding.

The Los Angeles Times revealed that, during the fight over the grant, Lurie wrote to Siga’s chief executive, Dr. Eric A. Rose, to tell him that someone new would be taking over the negotiations with the company. She wrote, “I trust this will be satisfactory to you.” Later she denied that she’d had any contact with Rose regarding the contract, saying such contact would have been inappropriate.

But she did have the contact.

There’s much more at the link. It looks like America’s Ebola czar was playing politics with our money when she should have been preparing the United States for a potential outbreak.

In recent years across Republican and Democrat administrations, but especially during Democratic ones, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has strayed far from its core mission, which is obviously disease control. It got into gun control, which has nothing to do with disease, and even played around with zombie preparedness, despite the fact that zombies do not exist.

It appears that the taxpayer-funded agency was bored with its core mission, and crept into new ones. But what about Dr. Lurie? As they says these days, “You had one job!” And that job was not to use taxpayer money to make rich leftists even richer.

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Dallas Nurse’s Boyfriend in Isolation for Possible Exposure to Ebola

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

There is some good news today for Dallas nurse Nina Pham. The 26-year-old has Ebola, but has released a statement in which she says that she is “doing well.” She received a blood transfusion from Dr. Kent Brantly, the American missionary who contracted Ebola but survived it. Brantly survived in part thanks to a blood transfusion that he got from a fellow Ebola survivor. The blood of Ebola survivors has antibodies in it that fight the deadly virus, which kills about 70% of its victims.

There is also bad news. Pham’s boyfriend works at Alcon in Fort Worth, Texas. The CEO of Alcon, Jeff George, sent out an email today to all employees. The email says that an Alcon employee, Pham’s boyfriend, is now in isolation and is being monitored for Ebola symptoms.

According to the emailed note, the Alcon employee was admitted to the hospital on Sunday and is being monitored for Ebola symptoms. However, the man has not shown any signs of being sick. The name of the Alcon worker was not released.

The email also said that, after consulting with state health officials, Alcon is confident that no other employees were ever put at risk.

Isolating him is precautionary, but it highlights the fact that the potential for the virus to spread is great, to anyone who has had contact with Pham and any of the other healthcare workers who provided care to Thomas Eric Duncan — and anyone else who had contact with him once his symptoms appeared.

Ebola patients — not to be graphic here — erupt at both ends once symptoms appear. The fluids that emanate from them carry death. Pham’s case demonstrates clearly that our hospitals are not ready for Ebola, despite the CDC’s bland promises otherwise. The United States still has just four Ebola-ready hospitals, and the airport screening for fever is nothing more than Ebola screening theater.

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Democrat Billionaire Bankrolls Effort to Suppress Republican Votes

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Democrats like to accuse Republicans of trying to “suppress” votes. It’s an inflammatory thing to say, it angers and therefore motivates some Democratic voters, and voter suppression also happens to be an activity in which the Democrats have a long history and continue to be experts.

In September, Politico ran this story on a Democrat group called NextGen. It is funded by leftwing billionaire Tom Steyer, a former hedge fun manager who is now using his vast wealth gained in part from coal to push for extreme “green” policies. Politico’s story tees up a strategy that Steyer and NextGen intend to use to help Democrats avoid catastrophe in the coming mid-term elections.

NextGen’s Chris Lehane, a veteran Democrat strategist going back to the 1990s and defending Al Gore and the sexual predator Bill Clinton, spells out that strategy in this memo, which formed the basis for Politico’s story.

Politico’s Maggie Haberman explains that according to the NextGen memo, billionaire Steyer’s well-funded group will use “climate issues” to motivate voters whom the group calls “Super Shifters.”

“The Super Shifters are primarily voters with children who earn an annual income of less than $100,000 and are profoundly unhappy with the gridlock in Washington,” Lehane writes in the memo. “These are voters that are continuing to dig out from the 2008 Great Recession. For these Super Shifters, economic issues are the electoral dominant driver.”

The Super Shifters “believe that the system is rigged against them — and that there are powerful interests, the corporate ‘fat cats’ — a phrase that came out of a focus group — who exercise undue influence over the political process,” Lehane adds.

“Fat cats” such as Tom Steyer, who is using his billions to impact multiple races in key states in ways that no ordinary voter can? Of course not. He’s the right kind of fat cat, meaning he is on the left. Plus, he controls NextGen and pays Lehane a lot of money to come up with its strategies. The libertarian-minded Koch brothers are the wrong kind of fat cats, so the billionaire-funded NextGen, led by consummate Beltway insider Chris Lehane, is pushing Democrat candidates to attack them.

Haberman does detail why Democrats keep attacking the Koch brothers — it appears to be working for them. Construction monsters and then creating fear of them taps into basic human instincts — and means of obtaining and holding onto power. But she missed a key component of the NextGen strategy, though. It’s on pages 8 and 9 of the Lehane memo. It’s called the “Republican Haircut Strategy.” Politico’s Haberman never mentions it in her story.

Which is interesting, as it occupies the penultimate and final pages of the Lehane memo. It’s not buried. It is the point of the memo. The preceding pages lead up to it.

So what is the “Republican Haircut Strategy?” It’s an effort to suppress Republican votes in key races.

According to the Lehane memo:

“In virtually every state NextGen is electorally engaged, there is an issue where the Republican candidate”s anti-climate, anti-basic science beliefs has manifested itself in policies with harmful consequences for all voters in state, including Republican voters. Our Republican Haircut Strategy – a precision focus on a specific harm in target Republican markets – we will seek to degrade Republican performance.”

There’s a lot of loaded language in that — “anti-climate, anti-basic science beliefs” could describe anyone who ignores the fact that the climate scare-mongers keep being proved wrong, and that the data shows that the earth has not warmed in the past 15 to 18 years. Climate hysterics systematically rule out the role that the Sun plays in climate stability and change. Which is a very large thing to omit. And we cannot control it with any carbon trade scheme, tax, regulatory regime or any other means.

The final phrase there is the most loaded: “[W]e will seek to degrade Republican performance.”

Suppress Republican votes, in other words, by tarring and smearing Republican candidates using pseudo-science as a weapon.

The memo spells out how billionaire-funded NextGen and Washington insider Chris Lehane did in fact suppress Republican votes in Virginia in 2013 (Democrat Terry McAuliffe won that race, with Steyer’s backing) and how they intend to do the same in key states in 2014.

Those states are Florida, which has a close governor’s race; Iowa, which has a close Senate race; and Michigan, which also has a close Senate race. NextGen could create just enough noise to tip some of those races toward the Democrats, thereby holding onto the United States Senate.



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President Who Derided Photo-Ops Now Doing ISIS and Ebola Photo-Ops

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

CNN reports that the White House is eager to show the president “hard at work” so they are running Obama through a series of photo-ops.

CNN says: “The White House appears eager to show the President taking action, showing him at work. Today he heads to Andrews Air Force base to discuss the war against ISIS with 20 foreign defense chiefs. That meeting, of course, comes after the President held a conference call on a federal holiday with top advisors along with the CDC director on the fight against Ebola and allowed this picture to be taken; both of these events following a high-profile strategy session on ISIS at the Pentagon last week — another photo-op.”

All presidents do photo-ops. It’s part of the job, though President Obama gives off the impression that he believes that photo-ops are the job. Pose here, shake these hands, attack Republicans with these lines, collect a pile of money, call it a day.

Only, back in July, the Photo-Op President dismissed photo-ops during the border crisis. That was when Obama refused to visit the Texas-Mexico border, which was being overrun with thousands of illegal aliens, despite the fact that he was in Austin for a fundraiser hosted by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez.

That refusal ended up begetting this photo-op, when politics of the moment forced Obama to meet with Texas Gov. Rick Perry.


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Turkey Joins the War! Wait…Against Its Own People?

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Turkey chose a side in the ISIS-Kurd-Syria-Iraq war today.

It bombed its own people — Kurds who live inside Turkey’s borders but are independence-minded.

(Reuters) – War against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraqthreatened on Tuesday to unravel the delicate peace in neighbouring Turkey after the Turkish air force bombed Kurdish fighters furious over Ankara’s refusal to help protect their kin in Syria.

Turkey’s banned PKK Kurdish militant group accused Ankara of violating a two-year-old cease-fire with the air strikes, on the eve of a deadline set by the group’s jailed leader to salvage a peace process aimed at halting a three-decades-long insurgency.

The Kurds represent the only credible and legitimately non-Islamist anti-ISIS fighting force on the ground in Syria and Iraq. They have not folded in the face of fights, as the Iraqi military has repeatedly. They also have not aligned or made any peace with ISIS, as various flavors of the Syrian rebellion have.

Kurds also live in Turkey, where they are largely oppressed and their political groups are considered terrorists. Building up the Kurds to fight against ISIS right up to the Syria-Turkey border therefore creates another challenge to fighting ISIS coalition-style. Turkey wants no part of any moves that strengthen the Kurds anywhere. America wants a strong Kurdish force to fight ISIS. Turkey disagrees. That’s a fundamental problem for the United States.

Turkey is there in the region, while America so far just drops bomb while flying over it.


Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran may not agree on much, but they all agree that they don’t want Kurdistan to become a country.

Kurdistan as seen in the map above very roughly overlays the territory now occupied by the Islamic State.


As you can see in the second map, Kurdistan or ISIS could become a key energy power if either were to become a bonafide state. Both would have to accomplish that by dismembering Iraq and Syria, along with some of Turkey’s present territory, at least. Neither would have much of a problem with that. Iraqi Kurds at least pay lip service to Baghdad, but Syria’s and especially Turkey’s Kurds want their independence. Iraq’s Kurds would likely join them if either were able to carve out Kurdistan as a country.

While ISIS does not yet threaten the increasingly Islamist Turkey, dreams of Kurdistan as a nation-state for the Kurdish people definitely do, at least in Ankara’s point of view. And in Tehran’s.

So, with ISIS threatening to take control of Kobane on the Syria-Turkey border, but with Kurds fighting heroically to keep that city out of ISIS hands, Turkey elects to bomb the Kurds living within Turkey, not ISIS over on the Syrian side of the border.

At the same time, Turkey is destroying what’s left of the tattered credibility of one Susan Rice, national security adviser to the President of the United States.

Ankara might, at some point, allow US use of our bases within Turkey to battle ISIS. But that’s only likely once Turkey is assured that Kurdistan will not grow into a country by battling ISIS on its own. Who is in a position to give Turkey such assurances — President Nine Iron, the champion of hot air who heroically battles climate change between Hollywood fundraisers?

Bottom line: The Islamic State is here to stay.

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‘That is so ridiculous!’ — MSNBC Mocks Democrat Who Keeps Refusing to Say that She Voted for Obama

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Kentucky Democratic Senate nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes has refused, again, to answer a simple question: Did she vote for Barack Obama for president?

When everyone knows that she did.

Grimes has been asked by media, by an opposition tracker, and now in a debate whether she voted for Obama. Obama is waging war on coal, a key Kentucky industry, and overall he is very unpopular there.

That last asking happened Monday night in a debate, and Grimes claimed some constitutional principle to try bullying her way out of answering.

It didn’t work. Even MSNBC isn’t buying it. Take a look.

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They Refuse to Wake Up

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gave a speech Monday.

The secretary was in Peru, where in a few weeks there will be a United Nations conclave on “climate change.” The data says that global temperatures actually have not risen in the past 15 years or so. The arctic ice that Al Gore predicted would have melted by now is growing. The climate doomsayers’ predictions have not come to pass, so much so that they have had to change their language. Out with “global warming,” in with the more generic, and harder to track scientifically, “climate change.”

The climate always changes. Always has, always will. No matter what humans do or don’t do.

But you’re dreaming if you think that the Obama administration or anyone who works for it will ever acknowledge any of that.

The region is, we are told by Hagel’s boss, in sufficient turmoil that thousands of migrants have made the choice to leave their homes in Central America and make the hazardous journey north to enter the United States illegally.

The world is certainly in sufficient turmoil that it ought to have Hagel’s full attention. Russian troops continue their proxy war in Ukraine. Ukraine is a non-NATO country, but it is an American ally. Our military conducts war exercises with theirs.

The Middle East and Africa might also have Hagel’s attention. At this moment, the United States has deployed roughly equal numbers of troops to fight against the Islamic State in what were Syria and Iraq, and to fight Ebola in western Africa.

The Islamic State threat rose for many reasons. Among them is the rapidity with which President Obama withdrew forces from Iraq, and the stupidity with which he consistently sides with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Throw in the Iranian and North Korean nuclear issues while we’re at it. The world is a dangerous place, with many security threats requiring the Defense secretary’s full focus.

But Hagel revealed in that Peru speech that he is focused on “climate change.”

The Defense secretary addressed the issue during a speech in Peru, as the Pentagon released a comprehensive report on the “national security” challenges posed by rising global temperatures and “extreme weather events.”

Hagel described climate change as a “threat multiplier,” saying it “has the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges we already confront today — from infectious disease to armed insurgencies — and to produce new challenges in the future.”

The Pentagon’s new report maps out four areas of climate change deemed the most threatening to the U.S. military — rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, more extreme weather and rising sea levels. And it warns about the impact they could have on food and water supplies, the environment and American security itself.

“Our militaries’ readiness could be tested, and our capabilities could be stressed,” Hagel said, addressing a conference of military leaders.

“Could be”? Our military’s readiness is being tested right now, by the threats noted above. Hagel himself has presided not over an increase in readiness, but in a dramatic decrease in the number of troops who wear the American uniform.

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Texas Nurse Who Contracted Ebola ID’d

Monday, October 13th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The NY Post says that her name is Nina Pham. She is a 26-year-old graduate of Texas Christian University.

The Texas nurse who was infected with Ebola while caring for a patient who has since died has been identified as 26-year-old Nina Pham, according to reports Monday.

Pham’s family confirmed her identity and released a photo of her posing with her pet dog, according to USA Today.

USA Today has more, including an apology from the CDC director for saying that she got infected due to a “breach in protocol.”

Frieden also apologized to officials at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. He said his comments Sunday that Pham’s infection was the result of a “breach of protocol” did not reflect on Pham or the hospital’s efforts.

“I apologize if people thought I was criticizing the hospital,” Frieden said at a press conference Monday. “And I feel awful that a health care worker became infected while helping an Ebola patient.”

It also came off as speaking too soon. The fact that Frieden could not identify the “breach” says that he does not actually know that one occurred.

The World Health Organization’s head is making a class warfare issue out of Ebola.

World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan issued a statement Monday at a conference in Manila calling the outbreak “the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times.”

She said development of a vaccine or cure for Ebola has lagged because the virus is prevalent in such poor nations.

“The outbreak spotlights the dangers of the world’s growing social and economic inequalities,” Chan added. “The rich get the best care. The poor are left to die.”

So let’s equalize and give everyone the worst care?

Given that the nurse’s last name is Vietnamese, chances are she either came to the United States as a toddler while escaping the murderous Communists, or her parents escaped and came to the US before she was born — the terrible consequences of the war we lost. We’re losing another one now.

One photo shows her with her pet dog. If the US follows the same Ebola protocols that Spain does, that dog will have to be put down.

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Obligatory ‘Wendy Davis Staffer Handles Handicapped Man Awkwardly’ Post

Monday, October 13th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

At any other moment in the vast history of time, this video probably wouldn’t matter at all. Not a bit.

But since it comes on the heels of Wendy Davis and her slimy wheelchair ad, everyone is going to talk about it. So here’s the clip.

There is one good point to be made about this, and a whole lot of bad points. The one good point is that Davis’ ad has put her so far on the defensive that she may as well suit up for the New York Giants (who got whooped last night in Philly, in case you don’t follow football). Davis’ choice to produce and run that ad has made it so that everyone is watching her and everyone on her campaign for signs of insensitivity, which is a no good, terrible place to be. And it’s a place that she deserves to occupy after running that ad. You don’t really recover from that even if you’re in a favorable place and have lots of time. Davis is running as an Obama Democrat in Texas, with about three weeks to go. You can do the math.

There’s a secondary point that could be made, about disabilities and the late-term, unregulated abortion that Wendy Davis enthusiastically supports.

At any rate, here we have the defensive Davis campaign now having their candidate share the stage with some disabled Texans, and one who is not in a wheelchair gets moved off to the side in an awkward way. At any other moment, that would be fine. But in this moment, Wendy Davis appears to be using them clumsily as props to try to deflect everyone from the wheelchair ad. And that’s not fine. Not fine at all.

The “Look, I can find people who should be mad at me to pose with me!” trick never works. It just reminds everyone of the wheelchair ad again. Lots of writers will put this video in the same space with that ad, and bring the whole thing up for another round of criticism — justified, in the case of the ad, which is terrible.

Which is all very bad for Wendy Davis.

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CDC Director Says Ebola Protocol Was ‘Breached,’ But Doesn’t Know How

Monday, October 13th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Centers for Disease Control’s director, Dr. Tom Frieden, doesn’t know what happened in Dallas.

A Dallas nurse who provided care for Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan has contracted the virus. She reportedly followed all of the CDC’s protocols while caring for Duncan.

Dr. Frieden can’t explain that. He might as well be Insane Clown Posse postulating on how magnets work, in this clip from today’s CDC press conference.

Ok, maybe the clip below isn’t quite that bad. But it’s bad.

This is the Top. Man. who is defending us from Ebola.

Reporter Ariel Hart asks Frieden to clarify how the nurse breached protocol. Dr. Frieden doesn’t physically shrug, but he may as well have.

“We have not identified a specific problem that led to this infection,” Frieden said, but insisted that the CDC has come up with some new things that healthcare practitioners can do now the proverbial horse has fled the proverbial barn.

Which doesn’t really help that nurse in Dallas, and does mean that the CDC has not determined what happened.

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VIDEO — Democrat Senators Scurry Away from Obamacare Questions

Monday, October 13th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Health insurance premiums are going up under Obamacare for millions of Americans — those who still have health insurance. Obamacare has also cost millions of Americans the healthcare plans that President Obama and the Democrats promised them they could keep.

Jason Mattera, author of Crapitalism, recently caught up with two Democrat senators who voted for Obamacare. They are Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska and Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Watch them do everything they can to avoid answering questions about the law that they passed.

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At least there was no assault this time.

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Texas’ Second Ebola Case Makes Mockery of Those Who Downplay Its Threat

Monday, October 13th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

A nurse who provided care to Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Presbyterian Health Hospital has tested positive for the virus. The nurse, now identified as Nina Pham, 26, is reported to also be showing symptoms of the disease.

A Dallas neighborhood was greeted with the scary news over the weekend, with flyers and broadcast messages and a house-to-house search for anyone who may have come into contact with America’s second Ebola case, and the first reported transmission of the virus on U.S. soil.

By the nurse’s and the hospital’s accounts, all protocols were observed while Duncan was receiving care after he was admitted on September 28 and tested positive, on September 30. The Centers for Disease Control, though, claims that there was some breach of protocol, only, it doesn’t know what that breach may have been or when it may have happened. The CDC appears to be falling back on bureaucrat-speak to explain something that, so far, it cannot.

What if the protocols aren’t good enough?

The fact is, Duncan could have and may have transmitted the virus to others anytime after September 24-25, when he first went to the hospital with symptoms. The search for everyone who came into contact with him is always going to be incomplete. Memories fail and government is just not all that competent most of the time.

Had he not been in the United States at all, of course, he would not have brought it here. That nurse would not be infected, her neighborhood would not be on edge, and Dallas would not be the epicenter of what may be an outbreak.

For all that we know about the Ebola virus, which is quite a lot, the United States still has just four hospitals that are fully equipped to care for Ebola victims. Four. They are in Montana, Nebraska, Georgia and Maryland. Obviously, Texas Presbyterian is not in any of those states. The vast majority of the country has no hospitals that are Ebola-equipped. The Texas case, especially the early misdiagnosis and communication failure(s), indicates that we have multiple potential points of failure — the victims, the hospitals, etc.

Because flights continue from the Ebola-stricken countries to the United States, carrying an average of 150 passengers per day, the threat remains that there will be more carriers of the virus who get here and transmit it to others. On average, an Ebola victim transmits the virus to two other people.

The screening regime that the Obama administration has set up is clearly inadequate. Even if we could adjust Duncan’s timeline so that if he left Liberia today and entered the U.S. through JFK under the new screening procedures, the first airport to begin the new screening procedures, it would miss him again. He would defeat it by arriving ahead of showing any Ebola symptoms, and by lying on his Liberia exit form.

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