Get PJ Media on your Apple

The PJ Tatler

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.
Follow Bryan:

Judicial Watch: Four ISIS Terrorists Arrested in Texas in the Last 36 Hours

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Fort Bliss, near El Paso, may be their target.

Islamic terrorists have entered the United States through the Mexican border and Homeland Security sources tell Judicial Watch that four have been apprehended in the last 36 hours by federal authorities and the Texas Department of Public Safety in McAllen and Pharr.

JW confirmed this after California Congressman Duncan Hunter, a former Marine Corp Major and member of the House Armed Services Committee, disclosed on national television that at least ten Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) fighters have been caught crossing the Mexican border in Texas. The veteran lawmaker got the astounding intel straight from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Homeland Security agency responsible for guarding the 1,933-mile southern border.

“If you really want to protect Americans from ISIS, you secure the southern border,” Hunter proclaimed on a national cable news show this week. “It’s that simple. ISIS doesn’t have a navy, they don’t have an air force, they don’t have nuclear weapons. The only way that ISIS is going to harm Americans is by coming in through the southern border – which they already have.” The three-term congressmen went on: “They aren’t flying B-1 bombers, bombing American cities, but they are going to be bombing American cities coming across from Mexico.”

Judicial Watch first reported that the Islamic State was operating in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico — which is just across the border from El Paso — back in August. That report indicated that ISIS terrorists were looking to launch attacks inside the United States “imminently.”

Read bullet |

BREAKING: Dallas May Have a Second Ebola Case, Identified as a Deputy Sheriff

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Fox News and others are reporting that Dallas, Texas may have a second case of Ebola.

According to Fox, a person who came into contact with Thomas Eric Duncan has been monitored and is now showing symptoms of the deadly virus.

No other details were available.

Update: Ebola case #2 — still unconfirmed — is apparently in Frisco, north of Dallas.

FRISCO (CSBDFW.COM) - An afternoon news conference has been called in Frisco, a suburb of Dallas, to discuss a possible second case of Ebola.

The patient claims to have had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, referred to as Dallas ‘patient zero.’

It is not clear how the patient had contact with Duncan or if the patient was one of the about 50 people being monitored by federal, state and local health officials.

Complete Coverage Of Ebola In Dallas

The call came in shortly after noon from Care Now, 301 Main Street, where the patient was “exhibiting signs and symptoms of Ebola.”

All of the staff at that clinic will now have to be tested. Patients who happened to be there at the same time are being looked at too.

Update: During its press conference this afternoon, the director of the Centers for Disease Control said that very little about the second patient has actually been verified.



More details from the Dallas Morning News:

The Department of State Health Services says the Dallas County sheriff’s deputy exhibiting Ebola-like symptoms at a CareNow in Frisco is not among the 48 people under close monitoring.

Frisco officials say the patient claimed to have come in contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, but the state says there was no direct contact between the two men.

“We understand that anyone near the Dallas response will be very concerned about any health issues they experience, and we want them to report those issues so we can check them out quickly,” the state agency said in a written statement.

A Dallas County sheriff’s spokeswoman said the deputy, whose name is not being release, expressed concern about his health Wednesday.

“We directed that deputy to the Dallas County Health & Human Services for care,” spokeswoman Carmen Castro said. “We now wait for further information as medical staff attends to the deputy. “

Sgt. Chris Dyer, president of Dallas County Sheriff’s Association told our colleagues at KXAS-TV (NBC5) that the deputy is not exhibiting classic symptoms of Ebola such as a a high fever. Rather, he said the deputy didn’t feel well and went to see a doctor.

Dyer said that the deputy and four other deputies accompanied Dallas County health director Zachary Thompson into the apartment, most without protective gear.

“…without protective gear…” Just like Judge Clay Jenkins.

Update: The second potential patient has been identified as Sgt. Michael Monning, deputy in the Dallas County Sheriff’s department.

The patient was identified as Sgt. Michael Monning, a deputy who accompanied county health officials Zachary Thompson and Christopher Perkins into the apartment where Thomas Eric Duncan stayed in Dallas.

The deputy was ordered to go inside the unit with officials to get a quarantine order signed. No one who went inside the unit that day wore protective gear.

According to Christopher Dyer, with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Association, Monning said he was feeling sick to his stomach before his visit to the clinic. Dyer expressed concern for Monning and his family.

The CareNow is located in the 300 block of Main Street. Patients are currently being held inside the clinic as crews at the scene examine staff and others inside the building.

“The patient claims to have had contact with the Dallas ‘patient zero,’” according to a statement from Dana Baird-Hanks, a spokeswoman with the city of Frisco.

Health officials said the transportation of the patient was done with an abundance of caution.

“We are being very cautious and are in contact with the health department to ensure we follow proper protocol,” said Vicki Johns, with CareNow. “Our concern is for the safety and well being of everyone in our clinic.”

Read bullet |

Duncan Family Plays the Race Card After Ebola Patient Zero Dies

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who lied on his exit forms and brought Ebola to the United States, died today.

It took less than half a day for his family to come out and blame racism for Duncan’s death.

Jesse Jackson entered the story earlier this week. Today, Duncan’s nephew, Josephus Weeks, appeared on MSNBC with Ronan Farrow. Weeks clearly blamed the care that his uncle received on race.

Farrow interviewed Weeks before Duncan had even died, on Monday, but Jackson had already become part of the story by then. Farrow asked Weeks whether he believed that discrimination played a role in Duncan’s death.

“Well, yeah,” Weeks responded, “go in there and, like, you know, ostracized, you know, like we didn’t belong there.”

“The hospital? By who?” Farrow asked.

“The hospital, the staff, initially,” Weeks said. “We call, get hung up on, stay on hold for 30 minutes. Sometimes we call, get bounced around the hospital about 15 minutes get told we can’t speak. And after Reverend Jackson stepped in, and a lot of people started changing their minds and coming in to assist and, you know, more receptive to our needs.”

It’s hardly unusual for a hospital to bounce an incoming call around. It’s also hardly unusual for Jackson to suddenly start getting “results.” The threat of an expensive shakedown looms whenever he turns up. None of that speaks to racial discrimination.

Farrow asked Weeks why he believes that his uncle was turned away after his first visit to the hospital.

Weeks again played the race card: “I mean, again, he didn’t have insurance. And he’s a poor black man. And I believe they didn’t believe he deserved the care that, you know, everybody else should get. And you don’t treat people like that.”

It sounds like Jackson is coaching him, and that the family is setting up to bring a lawsuit against the hospital.

It should be pointed out that Duncan lied on his exit form from Liberia regarding whether he had been exposed to Ebola. It should also be pointed out that that probably made him an illegal alien in the United States. It should also be pointed out he failed to disclose his exposure to the virus during his first visit to the hospital.

It should also be pointed out that hospitals are legally obliged to care for patients even if the patients show no ability to pay for that care. Texas Presbyterian cared for Duncan until he died, despite the fact that it is not one of the four hospitals in America that are outfitted to care for Ebola patients.

It should also be pointed out that health care workers who come into contact with Ebola victims are disproportionately likely to come down with the disease. Duncan’s mere presence at the hospital that his family is now calling racist exposed health care workers there to the deadly virus.

Update: Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, Democrat, also thinks that Duncan died because of racism. Judge Clay Jenkins, Democrat, says that that’s a “fair question.”

Price believes that “black hole” is a racist term. What’s Jenkins’ excuse?

Read bullet |

Kurdish Youth ‘Occupy’ Busy London Tube Station to Protest Against ISIS

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

This is nice to see, but…

…”occupying” a London tube station will do precisely nothing to stop ISIS from taking Kobane, Syria.

Only military action on the ground will do that. It takes people who are willing and able to fight.

Among those “occupiers” are several able-bodied young men and women who could be doing quite a bit more than annoying Londoners and posing for pictures in a tube station. They could be taking up arms to defend their homelands against ISIS. Instead of asking able-bodied Americans to do it for them.

While I favor putting US troops on the ground to wipe out ISIS — because it’s inevitable that it will take Americans to do the job, and it’s naive to think that anyone else can or will do it — this protest makes me favor that a little bit less. The people in that photo are enjoying life in London while at least some of them expect Americans and others, including other Kurds, to fight on their behalf. After the protest, they will head off to dinner or back to class or whatever.

Job done? Hardly — the fighting rages on, and will for a long time.

Read bullet |

Walmart Cuts Health Benefits for 30,000 Part-Timer Workers Because of Obamacare

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

President Obama’s signature legislation continues to harm American workers by the thousands. Monday afternoon, Walmart announced that it is cutting health plans for 30,000 of its part-time workers.

The reason: Obamacare.

Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, says that healthcare costs unexpectedly rose, and specifically cites Obamacare as the cause. So starting on January 1, 2015, 30,000 Americans join the ranks of the uninsured thanks to a program that was sold as a way to achieve universal health insurance.

If the long-term goal of Obama and his administration is not to achieve “universal” care in the private sector, but by creating a government-run system, Walmart’s decision may advance that goal. Many of the workers who are losing their employer-based insurance are going to be able to obtain insurance that is subsidized by the government — taxpayers whose employers still offer coverage, in other words.

Read bullet |

Kerry on Ebola Patient’s Death: We Must Keep the Borders Open

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s business as usual for the Obama administration. The administration that infamously doesn’t want to let a crisis go to waste is pretending that there are no crises at all.

One case in point: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel surely has a great deal on his plate. Russia continues its aggression by proxy against Ukraine, and the air war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria continues, as the terrorist army continues its advances on Kobane, on the Turkey-Syria border. Should Kobane fall, Turkey and therefore NATO may be drawn into the war on the ground to stop ISIS.

In our own hemisphere, we’re told that unrest and violence in Central America is causing thousands to leave their homes every month and make the dangerous journey across Mexico to enter the United States illegally. And then there’s Ebola and its spread beyond western Africa. It has already appeared in the United States and Europe. It’s only a matter of time before it shows up in Central or South America.

None of these crises are evidently on Hagel’s mind as he gets set for a diplomatic trip to Peru next week.

For his part, Secretary of State John Kerry reacted to Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan’s death in Dallas today by pre-emptively shooting down any talk of securing the borders or restricting air travel from the Ebola-stricken countries in western Africa.

Kerry, speaking from the US State Department, noted the urgency of the situation but said “We need airlines to continue to operate in West Africa, and we need borders to remain open.” Video of Kerry’s remarks is at the link above.

Kerry also called for strengthening medevac capacity and for more countries to contribute more to fight the disease, which has killed thousands including the Liberian man who brought it with him to Dallas. That man, Thomas Eric Duncan, lied on his exit form when he left Liberia and did not disclose his exposure to the virus even when he first came down with symptoms.

Kerry offered no health reason for keeping airlines operating in the Ebola zone or for keeping borders open.

The virus has been spread in part by people traveling back and forth across the borders of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone for many reasons, including trade, visiting healthy family and burying the corpses of those who have died of the disease. Several African countries have closed their borders to keep the virus out, and Air France and British Airways have stopped flights into the Ebola-stricken countries in order, they say, to protect their workers.

Read bullet |

BREAKING: Ebola Patient Thomas Eric Duncan Dies

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, died at 7:51 this morning according to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas.

Duncan was exposed to Ebola on September 15 in his native Liberia, when he transported a pregnant woman stricken with the virus to several local hospitals to help her get treatment. She was turned away because the hospitals were already full. She died of Ebola early the following morning.

On September 19, Duncan flew to Brussels, Belgium en route to Washington, DC’s Dulles International Airport, en route to his eventual destination, Dallas, Texas where members of his family live.

Duncan showed no Ebola symptoms during his travels, and apparently lied to Liberian officials and claimed that he had not been exposed to the virus.

A few days after arriving in Dallas, Duncan showed symptoms of Ebola and went to Texas Presbyterian to receive treatment. He was sent home and given a prescription for antibiotics — which are not effective against viral infections.

Two days later his symptoms had worsened. His family called an ambulance, which transported him back to the hospital. He was admitted and tested for Ebola, and tests confirmed that he had the deadly virus.

Duncan exposed as many as 100 people to the virus, including his family, children, the ambulance crew, a homeless man, and staff at the hospital that treated him. Dozens of those potentially exposed are being monitored, but so far none of them have come down with any Ebola symptoms.

Update: Duncan had been put on dialysis after his kidneys failed, and he was also being administered an experimental drug. But his family, some of whom he also exposed to the Ebola virus, now charge that he was not being adequately cared for.

A nephew, Josephus Weeks, said earlier today that Duncan did not receive any serum from Ebola survivors, a treatment given other survivors. Kent Brantly, a U.S. doctor who recovered after being infected, has donated serum to at least two other patients.

Asked in a text-message interview if the family thinks blood serum derived from disease survivors should have been used, Weeks said, “We begged and pleaded several times. They said it’s too late in his treatment. They didn’t try any other options but saline, oxygen and water.”

A hospital spokeswoman, Candace White, did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment.

Read bullet |

Spanish Nurse Has No Idea How She Caught Ebola

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Dallas Judge Clay Jenkins ought to be far more careful than he has been to date. The Dallas Democrat entered the home of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan last week, before it had been sanitized, without any protective gear on. He also transported Duncan’s family to a new home while they wait out their quarantine, also while not wearing any protective gear.

Jenkins piled up another error when he wore the same clothing to a press conference, where was in close proximity to numerous reporters and others.

Judge Jenkins is no Ebola expert or health safety expert. His actions may have exposed himself, his family and others to the deadly Ebola virus.

Bottom line: He and others who come into contact with Duncan’s family must be extremely careful, not cavalier as he has been.

The Spanish nurse who contracted Ebola was careful. According to CNN, she observed every safety protocol while she was treating a priest who contracted the virus, and died of it.

In a phone conversation with Spanish newspaper El Mundo, she said she had followed all necessary protocols and had no idea how she got the deadly virus. “I can’t tell you, I haven’t the slightest idea,” she was quoted as saying.

The woman helped to care for a Spanish missionary who was infected with Ebola in West Africa and who died after being brought to the hospital where she worked.

Was she worried she might have contracted the disease after helping with his care? “Well, no, not at all,” she told El Mundo.

She speculates that she may have gotten the disease while she was taking her protective clothing off.

She and another westerner, American photojournalist Ashoka Mukpo, contracted the disease in mysterious circumstances. While the Spanish nurse did come into contact with an Ebola patient, Mukpo apparently did not. He may have come into contact with fluids left in a car by someone who died of Ebola. He participated in sanitizing the car while working in Libera, and may have been splashed.

He knew that he was sanitizing a car in which an Ebola patient had been transported. He was certainly being careful. Yet he and the nurse both contracted the disease. Mukpo is now being treated in one of just four American hospitals that are fully equipped to handle Ebola patients. He is reportedly going to receive a blood transfusion from Dr. Kent Brantley, an American missionary who also contracted Ebola in Liberia but has beaten the virus.

Judge Jenkins has been far less careful, and far too flippant, about being in proximity to Ebola. He still seems to be prioritizing the family’s feelings over the public good and just being smart. He may also intend to project confidence to show that it is difficult to get the virus, which is true, but obviously some who have taken every precaution against getting Ebola still have gotten it.

Instead of projecting confidence, Judge Jenkins is projecting rank incompetence.

Read bullet |

Report: Producer of Anti-Obamacare Film Slapped with IRS Audit

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Logan Clements, producer of the anti-Obamacare film Sick and Sicker: Obamacare Canadian Style, says that he has never been audited by the IRS in his entire life.

But now he tells the Washington Times that it’s happening. The IRS is auditing him, and in a way that suggests politics is at work.

[H]e says the IRS is demanding a “ridiculously long list” of documents, including “a detailed description of all transactions related to all prior year returns and supporting documentation.”

“It sounds like a fishing expedition by the IRS to tie me up for a very long time in retaliation for making a movie against Obamacare,” Mr. Clements says. “Perhaps they were hoping that voters wouldn’t see my movie before the election by keeping me tied up in a battle with the IRS. Well, in fact, their action is going to have the complete opposite effect.”

Clements says that thanks to the audit, he intends to release the film early. And he needs help. Take a look.

YouTube Preview Image

Clements’ audit comes just a month after Breitbart announced that it is being audited by the IRS.

Read bullet |

Obama Spokesman Responds to Leon Panetta’s Accusations by Calling Him Names

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has lobbed a series of damning accusations against his old boss, President Barack Obama.

In his new book, Panetta says that Benghazi was always an obvious terrorist attack. He says that Obama approaches the world like a law professor, meaning that he does not usually see reality if it does not comport with his preconceived notions. Panetta writes that Obama’s decisions on Syria and Iraq have paved the way for the rise of of the Islamic State. Panetta writes that Obama has given up on the job, rather than continue to try working with Republicans in Congress.

The merits of some of these charges, as well as Panetta’s timing in launching them, can be debated. Obama never showed any interest in working with Republicans in Congress, for instance. In his first meeting with the opposition party, then in the minority in both houses of Congress, Obama declared “I won” and shut off debate. He lurched farther left after his overreaches, including Obamacare, led to the Republicans taking over the House in 2010. It is also probable that some of Panetta’s charges, whether correct or not, are being lodged now in order to pave the way for his friend Hillary Clinton’s run for the White House. He has revised Clinton’s role in Syria and ISIS, for instance, in a way that makes her look better and Obama look worse.

All of that said, the seriousness of Panetta’s charges isn’t debatable. He writes, essentially, that Obama is unfit for the job of president for multiple reasons. That means nothing will change for the rest of Obama’s term. He might be dragged into fighting ISIS more vigorously, which Panetta supports, but only after the world’s richest terrorist group has accumulated more territory and troops, and only after it has killed even more innocent people and become even more dangerous than it already is. By the time Obama gets around to launching more than four airstrikes per day against ISIS, the group may have further destabilized the Middle East and could even have obtained weapons of mass destruction.

So Panetta’s charges are serious, and they come from a serious man who served in Congress and who led both the CIA and the Defense Department. A man who perhaps could have done more, sooner, to make the case that he is making now — but he is serious.

President Obama is not, and he sent spokesman Bill Burton out to CNN to deflect Panetta’s accusations. Not refute, just deflect.

With childish name-calling. Watch the video on the next page.

Read bullet |

Denver Census Whistleblower: Unemployment Numbers Are Being Faked (Again)

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

If the headline seems familiar it’s because we have heard the East Coast version of this story before, and it was a couple of years ago.

In 2012, a whistleblower in the Philadelphia census office said that unemployment data in that region was being faked. (NY Post report):

Just two years before the presidential election, the Census Bureau had caught an employee fabricating data that went into the unemployment report, which is one of the most closely watched measures of the economy.

And a knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond that one employee — that it escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012 and continues today.

“He’s not the only one,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous for now but is willing to talk with the Labor Department and Congress if asked.

The Census employee caught faking the results is Julius Buckmon, according to confidential Census documents obtained by The Post. Buckmon told me in an interview this past weekend that he was told to make up information by higher-ups at Census.

Ironically, it was Labor’s demanding standards that left the door open to manipulation.

That hole wasn’t closed up.

Two years later, we’re heading into the mid-terms and here’s another census worker in another region claiming that the unemployment numbers — which have been going down in recent weeks — are being faked (NY Post report, again).

When I spoke with this whistleblower earlier this year as part of my investigation of Census, she told me that hundreds of interviews that go into the Labor Department’s unemployment rate and inflation surveys would miraculously be completed just hours before deadline.

The implication was that someone with the ability to fill in the blanks on incomplete surveys was doing just that.

The Denver whistleblower also provided to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform the names of other Census workers who can spill the beans about data fraud in other regions.

Census is broken up into six regions. Cheating has already been proven in the Philadelphia region. And with this whistleblower’s letter, Census authorities now have allegations that the same kind of nonsense was going on in Denver — that office covers Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

I asked recently the Denver whistleblower her opinion on the surveys Census is providing. “When the question is asked about data quality, my answer would be simple, there is none,” she said.

“I wouldn’t trust any data from the Census Bureau,” she added.

It’s the Census Bureau that conducts the interviews that the Labor Department turns into the unemployment numbers. So the information that the bureau is or is not gathering is critical.

Two years ago, President Obama used the Census Bureau’s information to make the case for his re-election.

YouTube Preview Image

Two years later, the president is doing the same thing.

The president’s claims have been based on bogus numbers, both times.

Read bullet |

VIDEO: State Department Spokeswoman Literally Cannot Find Evidence of Successes Against ISIS in Iraq

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

During Tuesday’s State Department press conference, the Associated Press’ Matt Lee asked spokeswomen Jen Psaki if the Obama administration is “distressed” by the fact that ISIS forces continue to gain ground while the US-led coalition conducts airstrikes against it.

Psaki disputed that that’s what is happening on the ground: “There have been certainly gains made by the Iraqi security forces in Iraq, I can go through some of those with you if that would be useful.”

Psaki noted that the coalition is “going after” a number of ISIS targets but did not specify whether the airstrikes have actually hit or destroyed any of them.

At that point, Psaki says “Let me just tick through these and then we can go to your next question. Some of the, uh, successes we have seen on the ground by the, uh, Iraqi security forces.”

Psaki flips through a few papers on the podium. Pauses. “Sorry. Um. I’ll find these. I wanted to highlight them.”

Lee asked, laughing, “Does that mean that there aren’t any?”

“It does not mean that at all,” Psaki responded, pledging to find that list of Iraqi successes and get them to Lee at the end of the presser.

Watch video of the embarrassing moment.

Read bullet |

Report: ISIS Targets US Air Force Pilot’s Family Online

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

According to this Fox report, the war against the Islamic State has taken an ominous turn.

An Air Force pilot posted a photo from a bombing mission over Iraq. Soon after that, ISIS supporters online traced his Facebook profile to his son, said to be in his early teens. The ISIS supporters then slammed the boy with harassing messages.

“This is the real deal,” the counterterrorism source said, referring to the posts. “They want to find them [U.S. military], raise their profile, in the eyes of a potential ‘lone wolf.’”

The militants apparently encouraged others to join in the digital harassment.

A post on one ISIS-linked Twitter account, translated for Fox News, said: “We have a raid on an American pilot account at 9:00 evening Mecca time who is participating in the crusaders’ bombing. Retweet this if you are ready to be part of the raid.”

An Army bulletin warns that ISIS jihadists may engage not only in cyber attacks, but in actual attacks.

The Army intelligence bulletin, obtained by Fox News, had warned that Islamic State militants were calling on supporters to scour social media for addresses of U.S. military family members and “show up [at their homes] and slaughter them.” The assessment urged U.S. military personnel to be vigilant.

The US could be degrading ISIS’ online accounts and activities, but Jeff Bardin of the cyber intelligence service Treadstone 71 writes that we are not. US intelligence is barely even engaged in that part of the battle.

Read bullet |

Panetta: I Immediately Knew that Benghazi Was a Terrorist Attack

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Former Obama Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has dropped what may be the biggest bombshell yet on his former boss.

Panetta appeared on MSNBC today and explained that he knew, from the beginning, that the attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, was a terrorist attack. President Obama did not see it that way, and his actions that night remain a mystery.

Host Andrea Mitchell asked Panetta, “You wrote in the book that you disagreed with David Petraeus and told the situation room he thought it was a spontaneous demonstration outside the consulate that night. Why did you disagree. What didn’t ring true about that?”

Panetta fired: “I didn’t have any specific information, but the fact was that when you bring grenade launchers to a demonstration, something else is going on. From the very beginning I sensed that this was an attack, a terrorist attack on the compound. I remember saying look, based on the ones I see and the nature of the attack, I think this was a terrorist attack. He said look, the information we are getting from intelligence sources is that it really was a demonstration. I said you know, David, i don’t see it that way.”

Both President Obama and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took the protest point of view. For weeks after the attack both Clinton and Obama blamed the attack on an obscure YouTube video. The producer of that video was later arrested and spent a year in prison on parole violations.

Up to now, Panetta’s criticisms of Obama’s handling of foreign policy, in particular his handling of Iraq and the rise of the Islamic State, could be seen through the lens of Panetta tearing away at Obama to help his longtime friend Hillary Clinton distance herself from the unpopular president as she gears up to run for president in 2016.

But Panetta’s Benghazi comments are different. Clinton stood before the bodies of the four Americans who were killed in the Benghazi attack and blamed the protest. She reportedly told the parents of one of the slain Americans that a video was to blame, and its producer would be prosecuted. He was.

During congressional hearings on Benghazi, Clinton shouted “What difference, at this point, does it make?” when she was questioned about whether the attack was a terrorist assault or grew out of a protest.

Clinton’s State Department repeatedly denied requests to improve security at the facility. After the attack, Clinton appointed the Accountability Review Board, which was designed not to ask questions of Clinton or any of her close lieutenants in the State Department.

On Benghazi, Panetta and Clinton are clearly at odds on one of the most important debacles of Clinton’s tenure at the State Department.

Read bullet |

Book Review: Crapitalism — Liberals Who Make Millions Swiping Your Tax Dollars

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Investigative journalist, New York Times bestselling author and troublemaker Jason Mattera is back.

His third book, Crapitalism: Liberals Who Make Millions Swiping Your Tax Dollars, takes a searing look at dozens of liberals whose love of big government is, shall we say, less than altruistic.


They love big government because they love big money. Big government makes them big fat cats. If we shrink government, they might have to go out and earn an honest living on their own. So big-name lefty Democrats like Al Gore and Tom Steyer will hate this book. The rest of us should love it. And be enraged by it. The fact is, these one-percent leftists are costing the rest of us millions and billions. And they never show any sign of having a scintilla of a conscience about it.

Mattera is probably best known for taking down Micheal Bloomberg, Harrison Ford, Robert Redford, Hillary Clinton and others in his trademark ambush viral videos. You’ll find the same sass and wit throughout Crapitalism, but he backs up every claim with copious footnotes. In fact, he has included 26-pages of footnotes. This is one well-researched book written by a patient and accomplished investigator. Crapitalism took about a year to write, and it shows in the details that Mattera digs up and backs up on every page.

It probably seems a little weird to praise a book for the way it is laid out, but here Mattera has done readers a great service. Each crapitalist — a crony big-goverment lover who feeds at the public trough while the rest of us get to pay for it through higher taxes — gets their own chapter. Readers will not have to go hunting around for evidence that former drug dealer Jay-Z is a crapitalist. That story starts right on page 83. Jay-Z gets his own chapter, as do all the other crapitalists.

Why is Obama friend Jay-Z, who is as well known for Big Pimpin’ as big spendin,’ a “crapitalist?” Because of his involvement with the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center. Z (can I call him “Z?” I hope he doesn’t mind) joined a group that used public financing — tax dollars — to move the Nets from New Jersey to Brooklyn as its unofficial mascot (and part owner). The group secured $761 million in taxpayer subsidies to move the team and build them a new arena to play in. At the same time, Jay-Z’s other non-government funded investments, his club in Chicago and his other club in Atlantic City, have shuttered. He also lost a cool $50 million in a hotel deal. But he has the Nets, the government subsidies backing them, and he has his and Beyonce’s music careers to fall back on, so don’t worry about him. He’ll get by.


Jay-Z, Beyonce and Big Presidentin’

Mattera goes line by line and penny by penny, showing how some very familiar names and some less familiar, but very influential, people are gaming the system, getting rich, become crapitalist tycoons — all funded by American taxpayers when we’re supposedly in an era of “austerity.” Not all of them are Democrats. Some of them are former capitalists who have jumped in the sack with big government to line and re-line and re-line their pockets. That’s what crapitalism is — corrupting real, vibrant capitalism by using government and its ability to demand tax dollars at the point of a gun from some to hand out to connected crony others, to make them filthy, stinking rich.

And the way that Mattera has organized the book, giving each crapitalist their own chapter, makes this sharp, entertaining, infuriating and aggravating read a true reference book that should be in every taxpayer’s collection (but not with taxpayer funding, of course). Virginia’s new governor, Terry McAuliffe, gets his own chapter starting on page 31. Hollywood big-shot Steven Spielberg comes in for truth-telling on page 109. Jeffrey Katzenberg follows him on page 117. Algore, Warren Buffet, GE’s Jeffrey Immelt (a registered Republican), space ace Elon Musk, George Soros, Carlos Slim — they’re all here, along with others like John Podesta, Harry Reid, Zygi Wilf and Rep. Maxine Waters. Hear of a new fat cat who’s suddenly bankrolling a candidate in your state? Flip open Crapitalism. They’re probably in there. Or maybe they’ll be in the next edition. There’s no shortage of crapitalists out there.

Crapitalism will make you laugh, it will make you mad, and it will make you question just about every big-name leftist and government-hugging grifter out there. This is Jason Mattera’s best and most useful book to date.

Crapitalism: Liberals Who Make Millions Swiping Your Tax Dollars comes out in book and Kindle form October 7. See Mattera’s ambush of IRS villain Lois Lerner here.

Read bullet |

Headline of the Day: ‘Ebola-Killing Robot Developed in Texas’

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Bring your puny superbug into the Lone Star State, and we shall build a weapon and kill it.

San Antonio, TX (KENS) – A local invention may turn out to be a key piece of technology in the fight against Ebola. It’s a robot used by hospitals to disinfect and destroy bacteria and viruses.

Meet “Little Moe” the germ-zapping robot.

“What’s inside here is a xenon bulb,” said Mark Stibich, PH.D.

That bulb emits powerful UV light, which fuses the DNA of a virus and kills it. This powerful technology is now being used in 250 hospitals across the U.S. Little Moe was developed in the Alamo City by Xenex. Its customers include the University Health System in San Antonio and the Dallas hospital where doctors are treating the first man ever diagnosed with Ebola in America.

A video at the link shows the robot in action. It has a Star Wars-like domed top, but isn’t much like a medical droid in the films. It just flashes light — deadly light — and gets the job done.

We’ll need to build an army of them to defend the republic.


YouTube Preview Image

Eh. Those are clones, not droids.

Read bullet |

Bill Maher Might Provide a Service to Humanity and Freedom

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

We’ve all seen this by now, either the first or second installment. It’s Bill Maher using his show to say something that many conservatives and jihad watchers have been saying for years now — that there is a widespread, fundamental illiberalism in Islamic society and culture itself.

Ben Affleck takes what amounts to the other side, which is that any criticism of any Islamic practice or belief is “Islamophobia.” Affleck would never see progressive aversion to traditional Christian beliefs as “Christophobia,” but that’s a debate for another post.

Sam Stein of the Huffington Post takes the Maher point of view, while Nick Confessore of the New York Times unsurprisingly takes Affleck’s side. The paper of record cannot tolerate truth.

Maher and Stein are not saying anything that many others, here and elsewhere, haven’t been saying and writing (and being shunned by the mainstream media for) for years.

The fact is, while the vast majority of Muslims are not and will never be terrorists, the majority do hold views that are in direct conflict with western notions regarding individual rights and freedoms. Those views are incompatible with our beliefs — not just the Christian beliefs that most Americans claim, but with our basic political beliefs too. Too many Muslims to want to impose sharia law on the west, or at least live by it here.

Stein points out, for instance, that 78% of British Muslims believe that the Danish cartoon artists should have been prosecuted. Maher points out that Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a feminist shunned and dismissed by the vast majority of so-called feminists in America because she criticizes Islam, has to have 24/7 body guards and security. She had to leave Europe because Muslims there make it unsafe, their threats made credible by the near beheading of her filmmaking partner Theo Van Gogh on the streets of Amsterdam.

Maher points out that the majority of Egyptian Muslims believe that anyone who leaves Islam ought to be killed. Had the liberal world been awake, it would already be aware of the threat to so-called apostates when the majority of Afghanis, even after years of contact with Americans who fought to free them from the Taliban, wanted to kill a man because he converted from Islam to Christianity. He had to flee to Italy.

As I said, none of this is new, our ought to be. America has had the opportunity to learn an awful lot about Islam and the countries that it dominates over the last 30-odd years, and especially during the last 13 years.

But too many of us have squandered that opportunity. Those of us who have pointed these things out have either been ignored, or called racists — even though Islam is not a race — or “Islamophobes.”

Then along comes Bill Maher, of all people, to tell liberals what they should have already learned about the illiberalism of large numbers of practicing Muslims.

The likes of Ben Affleck may be too arrogant to ever learn a thing, but many liberals will listen to Bill Maher even though he is saying the same things that many conservatives have been saying for years. Some may even find themselves changing their minds because of him. They will listen to him say things that others have said, simply because they have a bias toward Maher and against, well, us.

If they do listen and get a little education on these issues, that can only be a good thing. Overdue by many years, but good.

Read bullet |

Jesse Jackson Finds an Angle to Work in the Ebola Crisis

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The thing about a grifter is, they can always find an angle. They can always find some way to turn just about any situation into a way to make themselves a little cash. In Jesse Jackson’s case, maybe that should be written “cachet.” Or modified to “cashet.” It’s a mix of both with the randy reverend, always has been and always will be.

The Dallas Ebola situation is not one that is racial in origins, makeup or trajectory. A Liberian man was exposed to the deadly Ebola virus in his home country, and he traveled to Brussels, to Washington DC and finally to Dallas, Texas knowing that he had been exposed.

He went to Texas Presbyterian Hospital once, knowing that he had been exposed, yet failed to tell medical personnel there about it. Only after he developed symptoms — and became contagious — did he enter the hospital and have Ebola confirmed by a lab in Austin. During the days between his first visit to the hospital and the second, he was contagious and exposed his own family as well as a large number of other people to the terribly deadly, but otherwise hard to contract virus.

The man, Thomas Eric Duncan, happens to be black, which is no surprise as he comes from Liberia, which is a country in Africa. He is not African-American; he is African.

Jesse Jackson has now parachuted into Dallas to make the whole situation worse, therefore making himself relevant to it. Where there is no racial division, Jackson will step in to create one.

DALLAS - The Rev. Jesse Jackson is in Dallas Tuesday to make sure Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan is getting the best medical care possible.

Jackson said on Twitter that Duncan’s family asked for his help because they feel he has been shunned. He plans to bring them comfort and “seek the best humanitarian relief America has to offer.”

Perhaps Duncan has been “shunned” because he carries a deadly disease, and because he brought it to North America and lied while he did so. It happens. People don’t want to die, and certainly don’t want to suffer the horrors of Ebola.

In any case, Mr. Duncan is not being “shunned” by American medical services. Duncan has been given an experimental drug to treat his Ebola. It may work, and it may not — it’s experimental. But he is not being “shunned.” He has caused a major and unprecedented health concern in Texas, and is being treated at taxpayer expense — he has no job, and there is no indication that he is able to pay for any of the services that he is receiving.

The family appears to live in a deep entitlement mentality. So their alliance with Jesse Jackson makes perfect sense.

“We must kill the disease and not the person,” he tweeted.

No one is arguing otherwise, though should Duncan survive he ought to face prosecution both in Liberia and the United States.

Jesse Jackson will by then have skipped off to create racism somewhere else he finds an angle to work.

More: By the way, we have a Democrat administration in Washington and Democrats hold most of the power in Dallas and the county. So if Mr. Duncan is being shunned, he is being shunned by Democrats. Jackson is extremely unlikely to point that out.

Read bullet |

McCain and Graham Want to Expand the Phony War on ISIS to Attack Assad Too

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In the Wall Street Journal, Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham write that we need to take out Syrian dictator Assad in order to take down the Islamic State.

The airstrikes and other actions President Obama is taking against Islamic State deserve bipartisan support. They are beginning to degrade the terrorist group, also known as ISIS, but will not destroy it, for one reason above all: The administration still has no effective policy to remove Bashar Assad from power and end the conflict in Syria.

That’s the edititorial’s first paragraph, and it goes off the rails quickly.

For starters, there is no evidence that the US-led airstrikes are actually degrading ISIS at all. The allied air campaign is barely a campaign. Call it a “CINO” — a Campaign In Name Only.

It only amounts to about four airstrikes per day, against a group that now occupies a huge and expanding territory. Even while the airstrikes have gone on, at that pitiful rate of about four per day, ISIS has edged closer to Baghdad in Iraq and is set to seize control of Kobane on the Syria-Turkey border. That battle may yet draw Turkey, and therefore NATO, into the war.

McCain and Graham write that they disagree with the administration when it says that Assad is a problem who can be dealt with later, because Assad empowers ISIS.

Administration officials have called their approach “ISIS first.” As for Mr. Assad, in the words of Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the administration will “defer that challenge into the future.” This is not a luxury we get to choose. And Mr. Obama himself recently said he does “recognize the contradiction” in his own policy—which is that by confronting Islamic State but not Assad, the U.S. may unintentionally benefit the ruler whose ouster he continues, rightly, to demand.

Unfortunately, this is not the only self-defeating contradiction in the administration’s Syria policy.

After Islamic State stormed into Iraq in June, Mr. Obama argued that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ’s alienation of Sunnis had strengthened the terrorist group. Destroying Islamic State in Iraq, the administration suggested, required Mr. Maliki’s removal and an inclusive new government. Why not the same urgency about Syria?

For one thing, the US has leverage in Iraq as a nominal ally that we do not have in Syria. Assad is and will likely always be an enemy of the United States and the west generally, and an ally with our adversaries in Moscow and Tehran. The United States is simply in no position to order Assad to do much of anything, and the Obama administration demonstrated its lack of seriousness with the president’s disappearing “red line.”

Mr. Assad all but created Islamic State through his slaughter of nearly 200,000 Syrians, and he has knowingly allowed the group to grow and operate with impunity inside the country when it suits his purposes. Until we confront this reality, we can continue to degrade Islamic State in Syria, but Mr. Assad’s barbarism will continue to empower it.

We are not actually degrading them strategically; see above. We are hitting them tactically, in specific circumstances, such as the Mosul Dam and now the battle for Kobane. This is a recipe for a very long and largely ineffective war.

This points to another contradiction: How can we arm and train 5,000 Syrians and expect them to succeed against Islamic State without protecting them (and their families) from Assad’s airstrikes and barrel bombs? Or expect moderate groups in Syria fighting Islamic State to take advantage of U.S. airstrikes if we do not coordinate or communicate our operations with them? This is reportedly not happening. Instead, Mr. Assad is exploiting U.S. airstrikes to kill the very people we want as our partners. This is not just a recipe for failure; it is immoral.

Our efforts to build up a viable Free Syrian Army to liberate Syria from the evils of Islamic State and Mr. Assad will surely fail if the Syrian ruler is not dealt with. To expect Mr. Assad to sit on the sidelines as the Free Syrian Army gains capacity would be a colossal mistake and doom efforts to stop Syria from sinking further into the abyss.

It’s unlikely that the U.S. can maintain public support among Syrians for the fight against Islamic State, or succeed without their support, unless it does more to end Assad’s war against them. Syrians are already asking why America is bombing Islamic State but not stopping Mr. Assad from bombing them. This only hardens their pervasive belief that America cares only for itself. This belief threatens to strengthen Islamic State and discredit our moderate partners among the anti-Assad forces.

At this point it is unlikely that the Obama administration can even maintain public support for the war among Americans. He refuses to fight effectively and has already told the enemy that the greatest ground fighting forces in the world will not trouble ISIS. The Iraqi military remains mostly useless, and the Kurds are fighting heroically but they are outgunned by ISIS.

How moderate are the Free Syrian Army and other similar anti-Assad Syrian groups? McCain, who has consistently downplayed the jihadist element among Assad’s enemies, is hardly credible on that question.

According to Patrick Poole, the Free Syrian Army has been operating openly with ISIS and another al Qaeda-linked terrorist group.

Skipping to the end of the editorial, after the senators have rightly noted that it will take American forces on the ground in order to eventually defeat ISIS…

The reality is that defeating Islamic State also requires defeating Bashar Assad. Avoiding this reality, as Mr. Obama still tries to do, will only postpone the problem at growing risk to Syrian lives and American security. And when Syria deteriorates further, as it surely will, the U.S. will be compelled to respond once again, but our options will be fewer, worse and costlier.

And what of Russia? And Iran? Will those two allies of Assad merely cut him loose in the face of Obama’s military prowess, or will they defend him if only to make more trouble for the United States? Iran is likely to do what it did in Iraq and wage a jihadist proxy war against the US-led coalition. There is already evidence of Russian intelligence working alongside Assad’s forces in Syria. Putin knows that under Obama, American military forces have been cut to the bone. We are no longer capable of fighting two wars simultaneously, as we were from the Reagan through the George W. Bush administrations. Russia may find it useful to keep violence on enough of a boil in Syria and Iraq to to keep America’s attentions thee, and allow Russia a freer hand in Ukraine and eastern Europe.

Assad is a very bad guy, he is backed by very bad guys, but ISIS is worse, and removing him at this stage runs the strong risk of opening up a vacuum into which any number of people and groups who might be better, but will probably be worse, would step in.  Without any American ground forces in the fight, the US will be in no position even to contemplate getting a leader as good/bad as Maliki was in Iraq. It’s more likely that a post-Assad Syria gets led by a puppet of Iran or Russia (or both), or by an Islamist dictator, or it becomes another Libya or Somalia — a failed feudal state in which Islamist terrorists thrive.

The strategic situation in Syria is as complex and volatile as any that the United States has ever faced. It’s a terrible moment to have one of the most ineffective, inexperienced, duplicitous and indecisive presidents that America has ever had. But that is what we have, and what we are stuck with until January 2017.


Read bullet |

Must-See VIDEO — Lois Lerner Dislikes Being Targeted So Much She Tries to Bust into a Neighbor’s House

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Lois Lerner, the retired IRS functionary who remains at the center of the scandal in which that agency targeted conservatives and Tea Party groups, doesn’t like to be targeted. She likes collecting her $100,000 a year pension, though.

Jason Mattera caught up with Ms. Lerner in her well-to-do neighborhood recently just to get her to answer a few questions. Such as, “Do you feel bad about turning the government into a weapon to crush political dissent?”

Ms. Lerner, who subjected conservatives to numerous invasive questions from her perch at the most feared domestic agency in the United States government, did not want to answer any of the questions regarding her own actions that Mattera posed to her.

Isn’t that something? The inquisitor doesn’t want others to be inquisitive about her.

Try running away from the IRS when it wants to question you.

The malignant mandarin resented being questioned so badly that she tried busting into a neighbor’s house just to avoid having to answer for what she and her partisan colleagues did.

Lerner wanted law enforcement to come down on Mattera just for asking a few questions. It’s comforting to know that that’s what IRS officials think — real questions should be met with police force.

Take a look at the video on the next page.

Read bullet |

This Unhinged Woman’s Tearful Rant Will Change Your Mind About Food Forever, or Something

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Hey speciesist, put down the moist brisket sandwich and listen up. That omelette that you ate for breakfast was not “food.” It was violence! And you’re a dirty rotten speciesist unless you agree now and stop eating anything that extremist vegans don’t approve of.

You speciesist!

Yeah, “speciesist.” Apparently some people are trying to make that a thing now.

YouTube Preview Image

Speciesism might not become a thing, but “Her name is Snow!” might become a meme. Because it’s hilarious.

The woman at the center of attention — surely that’s not on her mind at all here — calls herself Kelly Atlas. You may see her or her fellow (sorry, I guess that’s a sexist word now) #DisruptSpeciesism activists at a steakhouse, rib joint, sandwich, fish, chicken, pizza, burger, or other joint that serves up tasty animals near you.

If you see them, be polite because they’re clearly more than a little bit emotional, don’t look them directly in the eye if you can help it, and order up another helping.


Read bullet |

Wendy Davis: ‘I truly do not understand how women can support’ Greg Abbott

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

And as they say on Mythbusters, there’s your problem right there.

Women sponsored the bill that state Sen. Wendy Davis filibustered to fame. Their names are Donna Campbell and Jodie Laubenberg. The former, a state senator herself, is also an emergency room physician. So Dr. Campbell might know a thing or two about why it’s a good idea to make sure that abortion clinics in Texas have their standards upgraded, and why doctors who perform abortions at those clinics should have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

Should something go wrong, the doctor will be better positioned to get patients more extensive care than is available at most abortion clinics.

The media never ever delve into the fact of that law, preferring instead to cheerlead for the most radical abortion politicians and policies on offer.

Isn’t it interesting, by the way, that Democrats are hardly bothered when government regulations hurt and even destroy other industries? They only seem to muster themselves to fight when Planned Parenthood or their union allies are involved.

State Sen. Wendy Davis gave an interview on the network that most suspect will employ her after the election, MSNBC, today and admitted that she really has no idea why women, such as Dr. Campbell and Mrs. Laubenberg, support Republican Greg Abbott for governor. Hint: Many women are pro-life, and many who aren’t have other issue priorities that Wendy Davis has not adequately addressed.

Soon-to-be MSNBC colleague Alex Wagner noted that Davis trails to Abbott among men and women in the Texas governor’s race.

Davis just doesn’t get why.

“You you know, I truly do not understand how women can support his candidacy,” Davis said, clearly putting abortion ahead of every other issue across the spectrum. “He not only supports the closure of these clinics that will endanger women’s health across the state, but he’s also said that he wants to roll back the law even further. He wants to make women’s access to reproductive health care illegal even ifn cases where a woman has been brutally raped, where young girl might be impregnated by her father. And his positions on these things are not in keeping with the positions of most people in our state. And he’s further shown himself to be against women’s interests in other regards. He has said that he will veto an equal pay for equal work bill if one lands on his desk.”

We can take all of that on piecemeal. The fact is, Davis strongly supports Planned Parenthood, which has been caught time after time giving terrible, nearly criminal advice to young girls who posed as victims of sex crimes to see how Planned Parenthood would react. That equal pay issue was supposed to be fixed by the law that President Obama signed. Is Davis saying that Obama’s signing that law was inadequate hype, or that the state of Texas should just follow everything that Obama and the left-wing Democrats want? Which is it?

Wendy Davis is trailing badly with a month to go. Admitting her own cluelessness will not help her catch up.

Update: The Abbott campaign responds–

AUSTIN – In an interview this afternoon on MSNBC, Sen. Wendy Davis said she cannot understand why women support Greg Abbott’s candidacy. Texans for Greg Abbott Deputy Communications Director Amelia Chasse [a woman, by the way -- ed.] today released the following statement on Sen. Davis’ insulting remarks:

“Sen. Davis’ baseless, distasteful and quite frankly – offensive – tactics have truly reached a new low. This disgusting personal attack only proves one thing – that Sen. Davis is a desperate candidate grasping at straws, making any and all futile attempts to save her flailing campaign. At this point it should serve as no surprise, but women and all Texans deserve better than what Sen. Davis so far has to offer.”

Read bullet |

Democrat Congressional Chairman: We’d Win If Not for Ebola and ISIS!

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

And they’d have pulled off the insanely complicated caper if not for those meddling kids…

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Rep. Steve Israel laments the intrusion of issues that require actual leadership into the mid-term elections, stomping all over the Democrats’ hopes to convince America to go back to sleep.

In a perfect world, Democrats would love to the 2014 midterm elections to be all about the economy.

But in 2014, the world has been far from perfect. And Democrats say it’s hard to grab the public’s attention and focus it on a slowly improving economy with crises popping up at home and abroad.

“August was Ebola. It was ISIS. It was Ukraine,” Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told a small group of reporters Monday morning.  ”Global issues dominated. And in September, those issues continued to dominate. And so, part of the headwind was it did make it a little more difficult for us to break through on those middle-class economic contrasts when people were so focused on global issues.”

Just out of the frame, a man stood by playing a dirge on the world’s smallest violin.

The Republicans pounced quickly.

You think you’ve heard it all and then the chairman of the DCCC goes and blames Democrats’ electoral fortunes on Ebola. It’s time for Democrats to look in the mirror and realize they’re losing because President Obama’s unpopular policies are ‘on the ballot’ this fall,” said Matt Gorman, Republican House campaign spokesman.

And why is Obama unpopular? In part because as his own former Defense Secretary now recognizes, President Obama failed to secure the peace in Iraq, and he drew a “red line” on Syrian chemical weapons without any plan to enforce it, eroding American credibility and creating the vacuum from which ISIS rose. And in part because Obama is a divisive figure and the Democrats have followed him in intentionally creating divisions that they incorrectly thought would benefit them at the ballot box.

Read bullet |

19-Year-Old Chicago Man Arrested En Route to Fight for ISIS

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

A young Muslim man from Chicago was arrested Saturday and charged today with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization — the Islamic State.

Mohammed Hamzah Khan was arrested while trying to fly from O’Hare International Airport to Vienna, then to Istanbul, from which he allegedly intended to join ISIS fighters.

Khan appeared in U.S. District Court Monday morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Cox in Chicago and remains in federal custody pending a Thursday morning detention hearing.

According to the complaint affidavit filed Monday, a round-trip ticket was purchased for Khan on Sep. 26, from Chicago to Istanbul. He was scheduled to depart Saturday and return on Thursday.

Khan was stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at O’Hare while passing through the security screening checkpoint Saturday afternoon and interviewed by FBI agents at the airport.

While executing a search warrant at Khan’s residence, federal agents found “multiple handwritten documents that appeared to be drafted by Khan and/or others, which expressed support for ISIL,” according to the affidavit.

Between 12 and 100 Americans are believed to either be currently fighting for ISIS, or to have been killed fighting for ISIS. A wealthy American is also believed to be managing the Islamic State’s social media.

Read bullet |

Ebola Discoverer: ‘This is a humanitarian catastrophe’

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

If you’d like to get your fear on regarding Ebola, just read this Guardian interview with the man who discovered the Ebola virus.

Peter Piot of Belgium was working in Zaire in 1976 when a blood sample from a mysteriously ill nun arrived. Testing ruled out known diseases, and eventually Piot and the team he was working with found a new virus — large, long, worm-like and incredibly deadly. The US Centers for Disease Control later confirmed that the virus in question was new. Piot’s team named it after what they believed was the nearest river to where the first known outbreak was occurring — Ebola.

Piot says that the current outbreak is unlike any that has come before (Guardian questions in bold).

There is actually a well-established procedure for curtailing Ebola outbreaks: isolating those infected and closely monitoring those who had contact with them. How could a catastrophe such as the one we are now seeing even happen?

I think it is what people call a perfect storm: when every individual circumstance is a bit worse than normal and they then combine to create a disaster. And with this epidemic there were many factors that were disadvantageous from the very beginning. Some of the countries involved were just emerging from terrible civil wars, many of their doctors had fled and their healthcare systems had collapsed. In all of Liberia, for example, there were only 51 doctors in 2010, and many of them have since died of Ebola.

The fact that the outbreak began in the densely populated border region between Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia …

… also contributed to the catastrophe. Because the people there are extremely mobile, it was much more difficult than usual to track down those who had had contact with the infected people. Because the dead in this region are traditionally buried in the towns and villages they were born in, there were highly contagious Ebola corpses travelling back and forth across the borders in pickups and taxis. The result was that the epidemic kept flaring up in different places.

Piot adds that in the cities, taxis have been used to transport Ebola-stricken patients to hospitals, rendering the vehicles contaminated.

Have we completely lost control of the epidemic?

I have always been an optimist and I think that we now have no other choice than to try everything, really everything. It’s good that the United States and some other countries are finally beginning to help. But Germany or even Belgium, for example, must do a lot more. And it should be clear to all of us: This isn’t just an epidemic any more. This is a humanitarian catastrophe. We don’t just need care personnel, but also logistics experts, trucks, jeeps and foodstuffs. Such an epidemic can destabilise entire regions. I can only hope that we will be able to get it under control. I really never thought that it could get this bad. (emphasis added)

What can really be done in a situation when anyone can become infected on the streets and, like in Monrovia, even the taxis are contaminated?

We urgently need to come up with new strategies. Currently, helpers are no longer able to care for all the patients in treatment centres. So caregivers need to teach family members who are providing care to patients how to protect themselves from infection to the extent possible. This on-site educational work is currently the greatest challenge. Sierra Leone experimented with a three-day curfew in an attempt to at least flatten out the infection curve a bit. At first I thought: “That is totally crazy.” But now I wonder, “why not?” At least, as long as these measures aren’t imposed with military power.

A three-day curfew sounds a bit desperate.

Yes, it is rather medieval. But what can you do? Even in 2014, we hardly have any way to combat this virus.

Piot says that he would expect the US and the developed world to be able to contain any potential outbreak. He worries more about place like India.

Do you think we might be facing the beginnings of a pandemic?

There will certainly be Ebola patients from Africa who come to us in the hopes of receiving treatment. And they might even infect a few people here who may then die. But an outbreak in Europe or North America would quickly be brought under control. I am more worried about the many people from India who work in trade or industry in west Africa. It would only take one of them to become infected, travel to India to visit relatives during the virus’s incubation period, and then, once he becomes sick, go to a public hospital there. Doctors and nurses in India, too, often don’t wear protective gloves. They would immediately become infected and spread the virus.

Piot says that the virus is continuing to mutate, but that its becoming airborne transmissible remains extremely unlikely.

Read bullet |

Court Rules You Can be Served a Summons on Facebook

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Be careful how much you “like” on Facebook. A New York city court has ruled that court summons can be served on social media.

According to WXIA, a Staten Island man wanted to modify his child support but his ex-wife proved difficult to find. Her address was not current and calling and texting failed.

But he could see her interacting with people on Facebook, liking and commenting on items posted by mutual friends.

Judge Gregory Gliedman ruled that because all the usual means of reaching her had failed, the man could send her the summons and petition via her active Facebook account. Judge Gliedman noted that this is the first such decision in New York or the United States.

Read bullet |

Spanish Nurse Tests Positive for Ebola After Treating Patient

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

A nurse in Spain has tested positive for the Ebola virus after she treated a patient who has the disease. If the preliminary tests are confirmed, she will be the first person believed to have contracted Ebola outside Africa, according to the BBC.

The nurse tested positive for Ebola in initial tests and doctors are awaiting final results, according to reports.

She was a member of the team that treated Spanish priest Manuel Garcia Viejo, who died of Ebola on 25 September.

Some 3,400 people have died in the outbreak – mostly in West Africa.

The priest died in the hospital Carlos III de Madrid after catching Ebola in Sierra Leone.

Read bullet |

ISIS Offensive May Force NATO Intervention to Protect Turkey

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Right now, NATO’s largest security concern is Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its threats against other NATO states in eastern Europe.

But that may change very soon.

Turkey is a NATO member. While its Islamist government has become an unreliable partner for both the US and Israel, an Islamic State offensive on the Turkey-Syria border may force Turkey to call on NATO for support.

ISIS forces have advance onto and into the border town of Kobane, which is just on the Syrian side of the border.


Jenan Moussa, a reporter for Al Aan TV in Dubai, tweets that ISIS is defeating the Kurdish forces defending Kobane.







Moussa and a Wall Street Journal reporter both report that ISIS forces have pushed into Kobane and that they see the ISIS flag flying over hills on the outskirts of the city.

NATO says that it stands ready to intervene and protect Turkey if it become necessary. Kobane is barely on the Syrian side of the border, but ISIS has proven that border mean very little to it.

The US-led airstrikes appear to be having very little, if any, effect as ISIS advances.

Read bullet |

CNN to CDC Director: Who’s in Charge of the Ebola Response?

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Michaela Perierra flummoxed Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Tom Frieden with a simple Ebola scenario last week involving three feet of distance and a cough or a sneeze.

Today, Gupta asked Frieden another simple question: Just who’s in charge of the Ebola response?

Frieden inspired about as much confidence this time as last time.

GUPTA: “Dr. Frieden, I’m curious about — I know you’ve had a very busy week. Who is in charge? And if you’re in charge — I mean, can you mandate things to happen? We know what’s going on in Dallas. Could you say, ‘Look, here’s what you absolutely need to do in Dallas, this is required, I’m enforcing this to happen?’And if you can’t do that, why can’t you do that? Somebody needs to have some leadership, it seems, over the whole situation.”
FRIEDEN: “Absolutely. And we work very closely with state and local governments. And when there’s an episode in a state or local government, they are in charge and we support them in every way. They assign an incident manager; they establish an emergency operations system; they outline every aspect and we work very closely with them. There’s a great collaboration. I think the issue that we’ve been challenged by is what do you do with the waste?”
GUPTA: “Is it necessary to have somebody who is absolutely in charge — sort of a czar, if you will, over this? Who doesn’t just provide guidance or recommendations, but provides mandates?”
FRIEDEN: “In every place, where Ebola is spreading, our number one recommendation is to establish what we call an incident management system, where one person is in charge and you break down the tasks into smaller tasks to make sure that everything gets done and followed up. And that’s been done in Texas. They’ve done exactly what we’ve recommended. They have an incident manager in place. We’re supporting that person. The state of Texas is supporting that person and I’m confident we’ll break the chain of transmission there.”

That all sounds sort of good from a federalism perspective, though a local official is far less likely to have a grip on the epidemiology of any particular disease than the CDC ought to have. In Dallas, the incident manager is Judge Clay Jenkins. And that’s a problem.

Judge Jenkins first tried “requesting” that the family of the Ebola-infected man stay home. They broke that request and Jenkins then, after they might possibly have exposed others, ordered them into quarantine. The apartment where they lived and Patient Zero came down with symptoms was not cleaned for several days, and residents of that complex only learned about their neighbor’s infection days later as well. All along, Jenkins has prioritized the family’s feelings over the safety of their neighbors and the Dallas area.

Over the weekend, Jenkins personally moved the family to a new home because the apartment they had been living in was a quarantine zone and needed cleaning. So Jenkins personally drove them to the new home. He was not wearing any gear to protect himself from hazardous materials when he entered the apartment. He later bragged to reporters that he was wearing the same shirt for a press conference later.

Jenkins is obviously trying to inspire confidence, but the fact is, it is possible for someone to become infected with Ebola without ever touching a person who is showing symptoms of the disease (which none of the family are). An NBC photographer appears to have contracted Ebola when he was sanitizing a car in Liberia. Evidently some fluids with the virus had gotten into that car, and onto that reporter. The apartment Jenkins visited may have had Ebola in any number of places.

The CDC, though, has Judge Jenkins in charge of the local Ebola response.

Read bullet |

Report: Massive Explosion at Iran Nuclear Facility

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Times of Israel reports that there was a massive explosion at the Parchin nuclear explosives plant last night.

The BBC, citing a report from the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), reported on Monday that the incident happened in an “explosive materials production unit” at the site south-east of the capital Tehran.

According to ISNA the blast was so powerful it shattered windows up to 12 kilometers away and the glare from the explosion lit up the night sky.

Several arms facilities and military bases are located east of the Iranian capital, including Parchin. UN nuclear inspectors have been seeking to visit the site to answer concerns about Iran’s atomic program.

Parchin is one of the plants that the International Atomic Energy Agency has sought to visit, but Iran has denied access to it. IAEA inspectors are due to hold talks on Iran’s nuclear program tomorrow in Tehran.

More from Michael Ledeen: 

Unscrewing Inscrutable Iran

Read bullet |

CNN Reporter ‘Shocked and Horrified’ at Lack of Ebola Screening on Return from Liberia

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

There is good news and bad news on the Ebola front today.

For the good news first — none of those other potential Ebola victims in the U.S. have tested positive so far. Not the one in DC or Hawaii or Utah or anywhere else.

That’s not stopping Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas — which is the largest event of its kind in the world, and is now getting underway — from encouraging fairgoers to wash their hands before eating any of the fair’s turkey legs, hot dogs, etc.

Authorities also caught up with that homeless man who had come into contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who has Ebola. Duncan’s health has taken a turn for the worse, by the way.

Now for the bad news. Screening at airports has not improved. CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen went to Liberia in September to report on the outbreak there, and returned to the U.S. last week. What she says about her return should have everyone concerned.

Cohen says “I expected that they were going to take my temperature. They’re going to ask me lots of questions. They didn’t. I said ‘I’m a journalist. I was covering Ebola.

“The gentleman who was helping me, the officer, he started to hand my passport back. Instead, he said, ‘I got an e-mail about passengers like you. Hold on.’ He conferred with someone. In the end he said ‘You need to watch yourself for signs of Ebola.’”

“As if that western bad enough, Robin, I was traveling with two colleagues. They weren’t told anything. They said they were journalists. We were all shocked and horrified at the lack of screaming.”

So…great. It’s obviously possible for reporters to get Ebola while covering it. A photog for NBC has, and he has been taken to Nebraska under quarantine for treatment.

Meanwhile the Obama administration is keeping all flights from the outbreak zone to the United States going as scheduled, and insists that securing the border would do no good.

Read bullet |

Colorado Democrat Declares Obamacare a ‘Success,’ But He Won’t Run On It

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Obamacare, President Obama’s landmark unpopular legislation, puts Democrats in a tough spot. They all voted for it, at least in the Senate, and they have all continued to justify that vote.

That nearly none of them bothered to read the 2000-plus page bill before voting on it isn’t brought up enough. That the pathway to force it through Congress included a detour through “demon pass” isn’t brought up enough anymore either. The Democrats were so hell-bent on passing that law that they were prepared to do an end run around normal congressional procedure. And they did end up passing the bill against the wishes of the majority of the American people.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) is one of those Democrats who voted for Obamacare. Because of that, he is now in a tough spot. He has a credible Republican opponent in Rep. Cory Gardner. Gardner has been hammering Udall for supporting Obamacare, and the best that Udall has managed to come up with in response is to attack Gardner’s conservative voting record in the House. Gardner hits back effectively, charging Udall with voting in support of the unpopular Barack Obama 99% of the time.

One thing Udall refuses to run on, is that vote of his to pass Obamacare. It is not showing up in his ads. He barely mentions it in his campaign speeches.

Denver reporter Eli Stokols asked Udall about that over the weekend.

Stokols notes that Obamacare is “the biggest legislative accomplishment” of Udall’s time in the Senate. Udall voted for it, but is “reluctant” to talk about it.

Udall hauls out the Democrat talking points on health care before and after Obamacare — that previous system “discriminated against women” and that Americans “could be thrown off your policy at a moment’s notice.” We still can, and millions have been, directly because of Obamacare, as Udall surely knows.

Udall also touts, without specifically naming, Obamacare success stories and says that the law is “far from perfect” but improves things.

If it’s so great, why isn’t he running on it then? Because “there’s a lot of issues on the campaign trail,” or something.

Read bullet |

Thomas Eric Duncan May Face Charges in the US

Friday, October 3rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Dallas district attorney is considering whether to bring charges against Ebola patient zero Thomas Eric Duncan, a citizen of Liberia, according to KDFW-TV in Dallas.

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins says his office is considering whether to charge Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S.

“We are actively having discussions as to whether or not we need to look into this as relates to a criminal matter,“ Watkins said during a recording of NBC 5’s Lone Star Politics Friday. “If it warrants a Dallas County prosecution then we will pursue it. But it may be more of a federal issue.”

After the recording, Watkins admitted he does not know exactly what the DA’s office could charge Duncan with.

Duncan traveled to Dallas knowing that he carried the virus, and he left the hospital after his first visit without telling personnel there that he had been exposed to it.

Numerous other people have been charged in infection cases, mostly with infecting others with the AIDS virus. In 2013, David Magnum was charged in Missouri with recklessly infecting as many as 300 people after he knew that he had contracted the AIDS virus. He could face life in prison.


Read bullet |

ISIS Beheads British Hostage Alan Henning; Threatens to Kill Another American Hostage

Friday, October 3rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Islamic State had threatened to behead British captive Alan Hennings. They have carried out that threat, with U.S.-led airstrikes supposedly hitting them in Iraq and Syria.

Islamic State militants have published a video that is said to depict the murder of a British aid convoy volunteer Alan Henning three weeks after warning that he would be the next to die.

If the video is found to be authentic, Henning will be the fourth western hostage to have been killed by the group, following the video-taped beheadings of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and Scottish aid worker David Haines.

The latest crime comes after the UK launched air strikes against Isis, joining the US and its Arab allies – Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – which had been targeting the group for several days.

He leaves behind a wife and two teenage children.

Henning’s is the first ISIS beheading of a western hostage to be done while the U.S. and its allies are conducting airstrikes against the group. So far, though, the U.S.-led alliance has conducted just over 300 strikes across several days. ISIS’ capabilities have apparently not been degraded at all. The group entered Kobani, Syria today and are approaching the Syria-Turkey border.

The Islamic State is now threatening to behead another American hostage.

Read bullet |

Gov. Bobby Jindal: Ban Flights from Ebola Outbreak Zone

Friday, October 3rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Before the United States is included in the Ebola outbreak zone. Politico reports:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Friday called on the Obama administration to impose a travel ban on flights to the U.S. from countries with Ebola outbreaks.

“We should stop accepting flights from countries that are Ebola stricken,” the Republican governor said in a statement.

“President Obama said it was ‘unlikely’ that Ebola would reach the U.S. Well, it has, and we need to protect our people,” he said. “But the Obama administration keeps saying they won’t shut down flights. They instead say we should listen to ‘the experts.’ In fact, they said it would be counterproductive to stop these flights. That statement defies logic. How exactly would stopping the entry of people potentially carrying the Ebola virus be counterproductive? This seems to be an obvious step to protect public health in the United States.”

President Obama has the authority to ban such flights right now. He doesn’t even need Congress for this one.

Read bullet |