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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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VIDEO — Obama on ISIS: ‘We don’t have a strategy yet.’

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

President Barack Obama delivered a press conference on foreign policy crises this afternoon. While the president apparently did not have an overarching message in mind for either the crisis in Ukraine or ISIS’ rise in the Middle East, he did make one admission that is bound to be the headline.

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” Obama said. “We don’t have a strategy yet [for dealing with ISIS].”

Obama did allow that he may consult with Congress at some point, and the United States might “cobble together” some kind of coalition to combat ISIS.

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Is There a ‘Debate’ Now Over Handing 9-Year-Olds Fully Automatic Firearms?

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Wall Street Journal reports that there is a new “debate” over firearms, in the wake of a terrible fatal accident at a gun range this week.

The death of a shooting instructor at an Arizona gun range when a 9-year-old girl lost control of a powerful automatic weapon has raised the issue of age limits at such operations.

The girl, on vacation with her parents at the Last Stop shooting range in White Hills, Ariz., accidentally shot and killed the instructor, 39-year-old Charles Vacca, while firing an Uzi submachine gun Monday, officials said. The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said the gun’s recoil sent the weapon over the girl’s head, its bullets striking Mr. Vacca, who stood next to her.

Mr. Vacca, who was shot in the head, was airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, where he died from his injuries Monday evening, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Video of the incident released by the sheriff’s office shows Mr. Vacca adjusting the girl’s stance and then saying, “All right, now go ahead and give me one shot,” apparently before the gun was set on fully automatic. With her back to the camera, the girl successfully fires a single round at a target.

“All right, full auto,” Mr. Vacca then says before the girl releases a series of shots, apparently losing control of the gun before the video ends.

The shooting touched off a debate on social media among gun-control advocates, parents and gun-rights supporters, with many questioning why the girl’s parents would let her fire such a powerful weapon.

I’m about as pro-Second Amendment as one can get, but this was irresponsible. The instructor evidently had the girl fire a single shot from the Uzi before telling her to go full auto. If that’s standard practice, then the practice needs to change.

I was an adult male when I joined the Air Force, and received training on the M-16 at full auto during basic training.

In that training, the instructors did not allow us to fire on full auto until we had fired several rounds on semi. I don’t recall the exact number or rounds we fired, it was probably around 10. We had to get used to the weapon’s weight and feel, and get accustomed to the recoil, and we had to get used to using the weapon to put lead on target downrange. Then we were instructed to fire on full auto, but only in three-round bursts. Anyone who fired more in a burst got the classic military training instructor hair dryer treatment.

Firing on full auto is a different experience from firing a single round on semi. Weapons on full auto can have a tendency to “climb,” or go up at the muzzle end the longer you hold the trigger down to fire. If the operator is not prepared for that, it can surprise the operator and a loss of control can occur.

The last thing you want is surprise, when you’re handling a fully automatic weapon. Or any firearm.

This firearm in this terrible case clearly climbed, and the girl was totally unprepared for it.

Can a 9-year-old safely fire a gun on full auto? Probably, with the proper instruction. Is it a good idea? I don’t think so. It would depend heavily on the child and their previous experience with firearms. A child who has never fired a gun before should not start, under any circumstances, with a fully automatic weapon.

When you introduce kids or anyone else to firearms, you have to drill them on safety first, safety last, safety always. If they’re not familiar with the firearm, then they need information on how they can expect the gun to behave. How to load it, how the safety works, how to tell if you have a round chambered or it’s clear, everything relevant to keeping things safe.

I don’t see a debate to be had here. It’s not a good idea to hand fully automatic firearms to kids. It’s a terrible failure to not prepare them for how the gun will behave.

The instructor failed and a fatal tragedy occurred. The girl has to live with what happened for the rest of her life. It all could have been avoided.

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Bloomberg Deputy Managing Editor Jeanne Cummings Mimics Democrat Birth Control Talking Points

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Bloomberg News Deputy Managing Editor Jeanne Cummings needs to apologize or find another line of work.

In an MSNBC segment on a recent poll detailing women’s impressions of both political parties, Bloomberg News Deputy Managing Editor Jeanne Cummings said this:

Cummings said that the GOP has “moved the debate over abortion into birth control.”

That is categorically false.

The Obama administration moved the debate into birth control, by mandating abortion-causing drug coverage under Obamacare. That’s how the debate got moved into birth control.

Cummings continued: “This is a huge step where women — that’s a threshold issue for women. That’s about birth control, controlling your life. This is being in control of your life. And they want to talk about taking that away? That’s a whole different conversation than abortion.”

That conversation, again, was spurred by the Obama administration, not any Republican. It is not and never was about “taking away” anyone’s birth control.

The Obama administration used Obamacare regulations to force abortion-causing drugs to be covered, even over the religious objections of many Americans. That coverage is not written into Obamacare. The Obama-Sebelius Department of Health and Human Services forced it.

The Hobby Lobby case, which the administration lost at the Supreme Court, only dealt with four abortion-causing drugs — not the 16 other types of birth control that the company covered and still covers without objection.

Bloomberg News Deputy Managing Editor Jeanne Cummings is ill suited to reporting facts. Perhaps writing DNC talking points is more in her wheelhouse. She is clearly good at reciting them.

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Banning God in One Part of Texas, Going ‘Gender-Free’ In Another

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In Midlothian, Texas (conservative Ellis County, south of Dallas), atheists have forced the local school district to remove plaques outside its schools that mention God.

Folks around Midlothian, Texas are raising a ruckus after the school district boarded up a pair of dedication plaques at two local elementary schools.

“Because of the plaque’s questionable constitutional nature, it has been covered,” said Jerome Stewart, the superintendent of the Midlothian Independent School District.

My goodness! I can’t imagine what was written on the plaques that would cause such a kerfuffle. Were the plaques adorned with naughty words or dancing girls?

No, my good readers – they were not.

It seems the questionable content to which the superintendent referred includes a pair of Latin crosses along with the words “God” and “Holy Christian Church.”

The plaques were erected in the dark ages of 1997. They were approved by school district attorneys at the time. They have been covered up and will be removed, under threat from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. TheFFRF didn’t even have to sue this time.

“FFRF believes that the district is in violation of the U.S. Constitution in its display of this plaque,” Stewart said. “Although MISD has not been threatened with a lawsuit, the school district’s attorney advised that it would not prevail in court if it refused FFRF’s request and a lawsuit followed.”

Midlothian’s residents were not consulted on any of this. It just happened, an outside agitation group imposing itself on a medium-sized, unsuspecting town. There was a prayer protest to save the plaques this morning.

In Austin, Texas, seat of the county that recently indicted the state’s governor for trying to get a drunk district attorney to leave and restore credibility to her office, there’s an ordinance under discussion that will create “gender-free” bathrooms in the city.

It’s good to see that the high-tax, road-needy city council has its priorities in order.

City Council today (Thursday, Aug. 28) could make Austin the first city in Texas to pass a resolution (Item 84) requiring single-stall public restrooms to be gender-neutral. Sponsored by Council Member Chris Rileyand co-sponsored by Bill Spelman and Sheryl Cole, the draft resolution directs the city manager to “process any necessary code amendments to require gender-neutral signage for single-occupancy restrooms, to create an implementation plan, and to report back to Council by September 25.”

The Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT civil rights organization, has led the call for gender-neutral restroom requirements across the country. Members of the transgender community may face harassment and even violence when using gender-segregated restrooms, when suspicious onlookers decide they’ve entered the “wrong” restroom. According to a statement from Riley’s office, “Austin has demonstrated leadership on LGBTQ issues, and gender-free restrooms are one more way that we can lead. This change will make our city safer and more inclusive, which is better for all Austinites.”

That’s from the leftwing alt Austin Chronicle. KEYE-TV has a story about it as well.

The people we spoke to against the ordinance, wouldn’t go on camera, but raised the question: what’s next? Could this ordinance lead to unisex multi stall restrooms or unisex locker rooms?  We brought that question to Chris riley and to Lisa Scheps to get an answer.

“I haven’t been hearing an argument for that, so no.  I would have no idea what the future would bring but I have no reason to believe we would go down that road,” Riley said.

“We’re not talking about opening up places that have lots of people to be unisex, that’s not what this ordinance even suggests,” Scheps said.

Yet.

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The Only Things Andrea Tantaros Needs to Apologize for Are Being Whip Smart and Distractingly Gorgeous

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The other day on Outnumbered, Fox commentator Andrea Tantaros said this about ISIS and the possibility of “dialogue” with them.

Remarking about the brutality of the ISIS terrorists who beheaded journalist James Foley, Tantaros said, “You can’t solve it with a dialogue. You can’t solve it with a summit. You solve it with a bullet to the head. It’s the only thing these people understand.”

Is any part of that wrong?

The Asian American Journalists Association has a problem with it, though. They want an apology from Tantaros.

 

For journalists, the Association sure missed a huge fact. I saw the segment. Tantaros was clearly talking extemporaneously about ISIS and jihadists, not all Muslims everywhere for all time (too many of whom fail to stand up and denounce the jihadists in their midst and in their pulpits, out of a mix of fear and tacit support). She noted that historically, going back to the days of President Jefferson and the Barbary pirates, Muslim raiders have attacked Americans. That’s simply a fact. It’s not in our politically correct history books anymore, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Again, though, Tantaros was talking about jihadists and radicals in the wake of the Foley beheading.

Question: Why is an ethnic journalist association even defending a religion?

Are they playing a race card in the name of a religion?

If you go over to the AAJA apology demand page (the URL of which includes the politically correct smear “islamophobic”), take a look at the video clip they have embedded. It bears the MMFA logo in the upper right corner. That’s the leftwing Media Matters outfit, which exists to bother Fox and defend the left. AAJA captions the video as “Video Source: Media Matters” without ever identifying what MMFA really is. MMFA is an anti-Fox News, hard left, unfair and totally biased vipers’ nest.

Question: Why is the Asian American Journalists Association carrying water for a hard-left agitprop outfit?

Is there some undisclosed background arrangement? What’s going on here?

The AAJA seems to have taken its cue to attack Tantaros from Media Matters. The Association needs to apologize for that and disclose any relationship that it has with MMFA, if there is one. If they don’t, they have no credibility.

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Emanuel, Gutierrez Team Up to Get Immigrants Hooked on Government Services

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Hill reports that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, both Democrats, want to make Chicago the “model” for getting immigrants enrolled in whatever services the government offers, as quickly as possible.

The Windy City is already the “model” for gun control, albeit in a negative way. The city with some of the strictest gun control laws in the country is also persistently one of the most violent cities in America.

But this story is all about how Democrats intend to take advantage of Obama’s lawless amnesty, and turn illegal aliens into welfare recipients.

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) joined forces Wednesday with roughly 50 civic leaders to launch a comprehensive strategy for signing up those immigrants who might become newly eligible for any new benefits coming out of the administration.

“When an announcement comes, we will make sure Chicago is ready, that the community institutions in our neighborhoods are ready, and that we can efficiently inform our community about what is being announced and can help our neighbors sign up,” Gutierrez said in a statement after the meeting.

The Democrats are hoping to prevent the enrollment bottleneck that followed Obama’s 2012 launch of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which granted work permits to certain qualified illegal immigrants brought to the country as children. Thousands of applicants lined up on Chicago’s Navy Pier, surprising advocates and leading to some delays in processing.

The community leaders attending Wednesday’s meeting at Chicago’s City Hall included immigrant rights advocates, clergy members, education leaders and legal services experts.

This alliance is all about fleecing American taxpayers to get immigrants, legal and mostly illegal, hooked on big government, forever, so they and their descendants will be Democrats on the dole, forever. In a saner time, this announcement alone would be enough to get both junked from office forever.

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Ukraine: Russia Has Invaded Our Territory

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

CNN reports that Ukraine says Russia has mounted a “full-scale” invasion and is fighting alongside its proxy/separatist rebels. US officials agree; Russia is invading Ukraine.

U.S. officials said Russian troops were directly involved in the latest fighting, despite Moscow’s denials.

Rebels backed by Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers fought Ukrainian forces on two fronts Thursday: southeast of rebel-held Donetsk, and along the nation’s southern coast in the town of Novoazovsk, about 12 miles (20 km) from the Russian border, according to Mykhailo Lysenko, the deputy commander of the Ukrainian Donbas battalion.

“This is a full-scale invasion,” Lysenko said, referring to the fighting in the south.

Intelligence now indicates that up to 1,000 Russian troops have moved into southern Ukraine with heavy weapons and are fighting there, a U.S. official told CNN Thursday.

Ukraine’s National Defense and Security Council said that Russian forces were in full control of Novoazovsk as of Wednesday afternoon.

The UN Security Council is set to meet on the invasion this afternoon. But the Russians have a veto there, so any tough action against Russia won’t come out of the UNSC.

The theory that Putin’s true aim is to use ethnic tensions to seize Ukraine’s eastern energy production regions is still holding up.

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Al Qaeda Magazine Hints at Future Lone-Wolf Attacks in the U.S.

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Al Qaeda reminds the United States and the world that just because one “jayvee” terrorist group has gone varsity, doesn’t mean another  one isn’t still gunning to top the table.

The online publication, called “Palestine-Betrayal of the Guilty Conscience Al-Malahem” and put out by the media arm of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, calls for Muslims around the world to follow “the recipe” provided to set off car bombs in crowded venues. It includes a timeline of “selected jihadi operations” that the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which first flagged the slickly-produced latest edition of the terror publication, finds chilling.

“The timeline concludes with the date 201?’ and blank spaces and question marks for the photo and information of the next attack — implying that it is coming soon.” said MEMRI Executive Director Steve Stalinsky.

There is a suggested list of targets for lone-wolf, or individually executed, terror attacks, including New York’s Times Square, casinos and night clubs in Las Vegas, oil tankers and trains, the Georgia Military College, the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, and General Atomics defense contractor in San Diego.

The magazine also includes a list of targets in Britain, and a guide, “How to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom.” That’s a guide to make a pressure cooker bomb similar to the ones that the Tsarnaev brothers used in Boston.

A second American is reported to have died fighting for ISIS in Syria. That’s the kind of publicity that even al Qaeda’s own magazine can’t buy these days.

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Some of the Illegal Alien ‘Kids’ Enrolling in U.S. Schools Have Gray Hair

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Department of Justice sent out a memo to local schools in the U.S. a few weeks back. That memo ordered schools to take in illegal aliens without verifying anything about them — not their legal status, not their residential addresses, anything.

U.S. citizens cannot get away with that. When citizens move into a new school district and enroll their kids at school, they usually have to provide some form of proof of address, to ensure that their children are in the right school in the correct district. Much school money depends on enrollment and attendance.

But with illegal aliens, it’s a different story.

CNS reports that that different story is having a bizarre outcome.

The mayor of Lynn, Mass. says that some of the illegal aliens from Guatemala who are enrolled in her city’s public schools are adults with graying hair and “more wrinkles than I have.”

“They are not all children,” Judith Flanagan Kennedy told reporters at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

“One of the things that we did notice when we were processing some of these students coming in was that they were adults,” she said.

One of these “kids” turned out to be 35 years old.

Kennedy said that the majority of those from Guatemala who are enrolling in the Lynn Public Schools claim to be between 14 and 17 years of age.

“But there were people with graying temples, hair around the temples,” said Kennedy, adding that although she did not see these individuals in person, she saw photographs of them in registration paperwork. “There were people with more wrinkles than I have around their eyes.”

However, the school district was directed by the federal government not to verify the age of the foreign enrollees, Kennedy said.

Enrolling adults as “kids” in public schools full of actual kids. No, surely, nothing can go wrong from this.

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It’s Getting So Bad that You Can’t Believe Anything You Read on the Internet

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Do you want to know why I tend not to post the Hero of the Day story that everyone else on the Internet runs with? Because these days, they usually fall apart within 48 to 72 hours. I just skip their arc from fame to infamy to the dustbin of pop culture history.

USC football player Josh Shaw admitted to USC officials that his story about heroically rescuing his nephew is a lie.

In a statement, USC says … “Shaw came to USC athletic department officials this afternoon (Wednesday, Aug. 27) and admitted that he had lied about how he suffered his ankle injuries over the weekend.”

“He said that the story he told of rescuing his nephew in a pool in Palmdale, Calif., was a complete fabrication. He apologized for misleading his coaches, teammates, athletic department officials and the public.”

I guess we’ll get one of these cynicism-building college football scandals every year or two from now on. Last year it was Manti Te’o and the fake dead girlfriend. This year it’s a guy who lies about saving his drowning nephew. Plus the usual assorted shoplifting and alumni gift stories.

Anyway, Miley Cyrus stunned America, with her touching tribute to homelessness. But it turns out that “Jesse” is a wanted man. His choices led to his being domicile challenged.

Tuesday, the world learned a little about “Jesse” and how he ended up on the streets of Los Angeles. Here’s a synopsis via Billboard:

Not long after the VMAs, his mother confirmed to The Oregonian that Miley’s Jesse was her son, Jesse Helt, a native of Salem, Oregon. And on Tuesday, Inside Edition spoke with an Oregon court official who revealed that Jesse Helt was arrested for attempting to break into an apartment four years ago. Billboard contacted the Salem police department and confirmed the 2010 incident.

Courts documents obtained by Inside Edition and shared with Billboard detail Helt’s attempt to break into a Salem apartment in Oct. 2010. Helt was charged with criminal trespassing and criminal mischief. According to the AP, a warrant is currently out for his arrest.

Months later, Helt’s probation officer filed documents stating that Helt skipped a probation check-in appointment and failed a drug test. Helt admitted to smoking marijuana, writing and signing a statement in March 2011 concerning his probation violation. The statement ended with the following promise: “For the sake of my freedom I have chosen to stop smoking weed and from now on I will not violate my probation.”

Since then, Spin reports that he briefly attended community college and worked at the Oregon State Fair. While attempting to start a modeling career in Los Angeles, the AP reports that Helt lived on the streets.

So Jesse has a criminal record, an open warrant for his arrest, a drug problem, and is homeless because he took the brilliant career path into the safe and secure world of modeling.

The intended lesson of Miley’s charity, there but for the grace of God goes you, eh, isn’t all that.

Want another lie exposed? Another downer for the day? Ok, try this: Hello Kitty isn’t even a cat.

Or, if it’s a cat, since it owns a pet cat, Hello Kitty is really Hello Slavery. But it’s not a cat.

According to Sanrio, Hello Kitty — whom you have seen on literally every consumer product at an increasing rate over the past 40 years — is in fact a human child.

“Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.”

Thank goodness that Hello Kitty is not in fact a cat. Because that would be awk-ward.

Let’s end on something a little less shocking, a little more predictable.

Remember the Boston bomber brothers? Their sister got picked up for…prepare not to be shocked…making a bomb threat.

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No, Texas Taxpayers Are Not Paying for Gov. Rick Perry’s Legal Defense

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

There is a smear going around on the interwebs, to the effect that Gov. Rick Perry is using state taxpayer funds to pay for his defense against the August 15 indictment of him by a Travis County grand jury.

Headlines such as this one, on FitsNews (which describes itself as “Unfair. Imbalanced.”) are giving the tale some legs.

fits-perry-lying-headling

 

They did say they’re “unfair” and “imbalanced.” The pic and the headline prove it.

Let’s cut this story’s legs off well above the knee.

The very same story headlined above contains this nugget:

According to Perry, the taxpayers of Texas [should pay for his defense].  In fact in an interview with the Associated Press prior to embarking on a pre-campaign swing to early-voting South Carolina, Perry said taxpayers should cover the bill – but he’s instructed his campaign accountants to pay it “to keep from having folks grouse about it.” (emphasis added)

So the taxpayers of Texas are not actually paying for it. Yet the grousing continues.

Here’s Perry again, this time after an interview with Dallas radio host Mark Davis. Perry tells Davis who is paying for his legal defense.

He calls the decision to pay his attorneys with campaign funds rather than taxpayer funds “a straight-up judgment call, rather than having to defend every day” against disapproving voters and political writers who would gladly harp on who’s paying the legal fees. (emphasis added)

So the taxpayers of Texas are not paying for Perry’s defense from the political indictment of him. His judgment certainly seems sound. The media would carp endlessly about the conservative who is milking taxpayers to fight off his indictment. That’s a given. They would get louder and louder the closer the case drags to Perry making a decision about running for president.

Look, I’ve raised a question about Perry’s defense team. Right here.

But this case over who is paying for his defense should be closed. It won’t be, of course. Political axes don’t grind themselves.

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Well, a Constitutional Crisis Over Immigration It Will Be

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Here’s the current state of play on President Obama’s threat to break immigration law in three steps.

Step One: The threat. Here’s Josh Earnest, saying that yes, Obama will go it alone on immigration.

Step Two: Sen. Marco Rubio sends Obama a letter advising him against this heinous act.

As if Obama is listening to Rubio anyway. Rubio presents an existential threat to the Democrats, or did before he waffled on immigration. He still presents a threat. Obama is likely to trash the letter, or read it and do the opposite purely out of spite.

Rubio’s letter advises Obama that granting amnesty to five million by fiat will wreck “comprehensive immigration reform” for the foreseeable future.

As if Obama cares about that. In his strategy, he gets credit from the left over his sweeping and unilateral amnesty, and if Congress doesn’t pass the law he wants, he gets to blame that on Republicans and shore up the Hispanic vote for the Democrats.

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Russian Hackers Broke Into American Banks

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

And it looks like a government job. The hackers hit JP Morgan Chase and another unidentified US bank, according to Bloomberg News. The FBI is investigating.

The attack, which occurred in mid-August, resulted in the loss of gigabytes of sensitive data, and authorities are investigating whether recent infiltrations of major European banks using a similar vulnerability are also linked to the attack, one of the people said.

In one case, the hackers used a zero-day vulnerability in one of the banks’ websites, then plowed through layers of elaborate security to steal the data, a feat several security experts said appeared far beyond the capability of ordinary criminal hackers. The incidents occurred at a low point in relations between Russia and the West, as Russian troops continue to mass on the Ukrainian border and the West tightens sanctions aimed at crippling Russian companies, including some of the country’s most important banks.

Rogue retaliatory sanctions?

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CNN: Hey, Our Suspicious Shooting Audio with More Shots than a Battle in Fallujah Might Be Real!

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Well, this is funny — and a little too representative of today’s so-called mainstream media.

So CNN was asking two guys who know nothing about the case to speculate about an unconfirmed alleged audio from an unidentified man.

The experts both expressed their strong doubts that the audio was real.

The CNN time-waster had a strong rebuttal, though.

After the first guest says it’s most likely a hoax, and might just be a Howard Stern prankster, he allows, more out of politeness than conviction, “But it could be real.”

And it could very easily be fake. No one knows, which is the point.

If you haven’t heard the audio in question, it’s here. And here.

YouTube Preview Image

The sound is suspect for several reasons.

  • The public doesn’t know who recorded the audio.
  • No one on the recording reacts to the supposed gun shots.
  • There are at least ten audible “shots,” more than any autopsy of Michael Brown has revealed (Officer Wilson may have missed some, but police will know from the number of shell casings at the scene, testimony, etc).
  • Did I mention that no one on the recording reacts to what we’re to believe is ten gun shots just outside?
  • The shots are really loud, almost as loud as the voice, even though they’re fired outside and at some distance.
  • And no one on the recording reacted to them.

Perhaps hearing a hail of gunfire is normal in that neighborhood when you’re video sex chatting someone?

It’s all too easy to doctor a recording. Someone with minimal know-how can get a free audio editor here, and free gunshot sound effects here. Upfront cost: $0.

We know that whoever made the recording is capable of recording their video sex chat sessions.

Downloading and dropping the gun shot sound effect into a timeline of saying “You’re so pretty!” is trivial. It takes seconds.

I’m not saying that that’s what happened here. We don’t know. That’s the point.

But it could be real! That’s the new standard at CNN.

I suppose it’s progress, of a sort. At least CNN didn’t falsify evidence as both ABC and NBC did in the Trayvon Martin case.

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Will Democrats Retaliate Against Burger King for Abdicating to Canada?

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

By now you’ve undoubtedly seen and read Democrats getting in a high dudgeon over Burger King’s purchase of Tim Horton’s, a Canadian donut company.  After the $11.4 billion acquisition, Burger King will move its headquarters to Canada. The King will be a Canuck in the eyes of the law.

Democrat backer Warren Buffet is financing the deal. Democrat officeholders and pundits are outrageously outraged about it. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is being outrageously opportunistic, using Burger King’s move north to promote burger chains based in his home state.

His complaint: the merger could be an ‘inversion,’ in which a corporation shifts its profits abroad to avoid U.S. taxes.

“Burger King’s decision to abandon the United States means consumers should turn to Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers or White Castle sliders. Burger King has always said ‘Have it Your Way’; well my way is to support two Ohio companies that haven’t abandoned their country or customers,” Brown said. Read the rest of his release here.

Following suit, I’ll be outrageously opportunistic and promote Texas-based Whataburger. Which has better burgers anyway. And spicy ketchup if you ask for it.

Burger King’s smoothies, though…not bad. Not bad at all.

The subject of “inversions” has come up in direct relation to US corporate taxes being hiked to the point that they’re the highest in the developed world. This should not be.

In an age of multinational corporatism, it’s counterproductive to tax corporations too hard. They can, and will, move their operations to more favorable locations. Canada under its Conservative government has become one of the more favorable countries to do business.

If Democrats really wanted to do the economy some good, they would look long and hard at sweeping tax reform, including corporate taxes.

For what it’s worth, Burger King says re-locating to Canada isn’t about taxes. It’s about not ripping Tim Horton’s, which is apparently in icon north of the border, from Canada and making it another grubby Yank operation.

Is the Burger King move an “inversion” or just another decision made by one of those things that are made up of people, but the left refuses to recognize as artificial people for the purposes of perpetual existence and organization?

I don’t know. But I do know that the Democrats have a direct avenue to retaliate against Burger King if they want. And that’s through the US armed forces.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Services has existing contracts with a number of vendors of Americana. Burger King is one of them. There are Burger King (and Popeye’s, and a few other) restaurants at US bases all over the world. At home bases, they’re convenient stops for military personnel and their families to grab a cheap bite. Overseas, they’re little slices of America in foreign lands. They’re also nice ways to introduce the local citizens to a little bit of American culture.

I doubt that I’m giving the Democrats any ideas here. Anyone on any of several congressional committees, and staffers of course, has to be aware of the AAFES contract with Burger King. I wouldn’t put it past them to be looking into the contract right now, seeking a way to strike the King off US bases.

It wouldn’t actually hurt Burger King’s bottom line. The base restaurants are surely a tiny fraction of the chain’s overall spread. It would be symbolic. Democrats like nothing better than symbolic strikes.

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Democrats Hate Big-Money Special Interests, Unless They’re On Their Side…

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Daily Beast’s anti-Second Amendment crusader Cliff Schecter is full of praise for Microsoft founder, billionaire Bill Gates, because Gates wants to force every gun transaction in Washington State to go through a government check.

It was reported Monday that Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and incredibly wealthy guy, and with his wife, Melinda, have given $1 million to Initiative 594 in Washington state. The ballot initiative, if passed by voters on November 4 (and it currently enjoys overwhelming support), will require universal background checks for all firearm purchases in the state.

Gates is only the latest Washington billionaire to give to the effort, with original Amazon investor Nick Hanauer providing crucial early funding, and more recently upping his overall donation to $1.4 million. Additionally, Gates’s Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, has provided $500,000 for the cause.

But Gates’s fame brings more attention and further legitimizes the initiative in a way that almost nobody else could. Once the Gates Foundation made it a priority to combat malaria around the world in 2000, it brought down deaths due to the insect-borne disease by 20 percent in 11 years, saving the lives of 1 million African children in the process.

Gun ownership is a civil right, at least if you respect the Constitution.

Universal background checks won’t stop criminals. Universal checks, like the related “gun show loophole,” is a red herring to combat a problem that is decreasing.

Overall gun-related violence is down, and it is sharply down in Chicago — after concealed carry permits were forced on the state’s Democratic leadership. More guns, less crime, because criminals can no longer count on their victims being disarmed.

Bill Gates, like Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer, and George Soros, is a special interest kingpin. But he’s the right kind of one-percenter special interest donor, so the Beast praises him.

Bloomberg is worth $33 billion, but if that’s not enough, Gates is worth well over two times that amount. Who knows, with that kind of dough, maybe even measures that “only” enjoy 56 percent support like bans on assault weapons and/or high-capacity magazines could pass via direct voting by uncorrupted American citizens. Or perhaps state legislators and members of Congress who bend easily to the will of these Lords of War could be swapped out for those who live in a closer neighborhood to the best interests of the American populace.

That’s packed full of emotional nonsense. The “Lords of War” have nothing to do with the Second Amendment. The left’s “Lords of Cash,” on the other hand, keep attacking the Second Amendment rights of everyday Americans.

Likely the NRA will try to do to Gates what it has attempted to do to Bloomberg for a few years now, and seek to make this fight about him and not its right-wing radicalism in the service of avarice. He’s a billionaire trying to influence our political process, after all, unlike Manhattan resident David Koch, who along with his brother Charles has polluted our political process to no end, including funding the NRA.

See, Gates is just the right kind of special interest.

Bill Gates is welcome to waste his money on this. He might even succeed, in Washington State, and the failure of a universal check to have an impact on gun crime ought to serve as evidence that the entire effort is a ruse to disarm average non-billionaire Americans bit by bit.

At the same time, it should be pointed out that billionaires tend not to live by their own anti-gun rhetoric. Don’t expect the likes of Cliff Schecter to call them out on that.

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Desperate Democrat Blames His Republican Opponent for the Ebola Outbreak

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

You can’t make this stuff up.

Democrat Sen. Mark Pryor (AR) has the unenviable task of running for re-election as a Democrat in a red state against a very strong Republican opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton.

A glance at the RCP average over at the Grid shows that the race is a toss-up, but Cotton has a narrow lead on any given day. Arkansas is a likely pick-up for the GOP, meaning that Pryor is likely to be looking for work on the Obama economy come January.

Pryor is desperate. So desperate that he has launched an ad blaming Cotton for not getting America ready for the Ebola virus outbreak.

That would be the Ebola outbreak that is currently underway in Africa, and for which a pair of American missionaries were recently brought back to the United States and treated successfully.

Even MSNBC isn’t buying what Democrat Mark Pryor is selling, in what may be the worst, most dishonest ad this cycle. Take a look on the next page.

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Obama Set to Prove the Maxim that If You Give Democrats an Inch, They’ll Shred the Constitution

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In 1992, McDonald’s opened its first franchise in Beijing, Microsoft released Windows 3.1, AT&T released a video telephone that cost about $1500, Space Shuttle Endeavor completed its maiden voyage into space, and President George H. W. Bush signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Senate ratified that treaty as it was written at that time, as the Constitution specifies must happen for any treaty to be valid, and President Bush signed it on October 15, 1992 — just a couple of weeks before he would lose to Bill Clinton (and spoiler Ross Perot).

Decades later, President Barack Obama is seeking to use that treaty as a Trojan Horse to push his extreme environmental agenda onto an unsuspecting, and ailing, US economy, according to the New York Times.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.

In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

Our adjunct constitutional law professor in the Oval Office knows that. He has a plan to get around it.

“There’s a strong understanding of the difficulties of the U.S. situation, and a willingness to work with the U.S. to get out of this impasse,” said Laurence Tubiana, the French ambassador for climate change to the United Nations. “There is an implicit understanding that this not require ratification by the Senate.”

American negotiators are instead homing in on a hybrid agreement — a proposal to blend legally binding conditions from an existing 1992 treaty with new voluntary pledges. The mix would create a deal that would update the treaty, and thus, negotiators say, not require a new vote of ratification.

That’s probably illegal, but our adjunct constitutional law professor in the Oval Office isn’t overly concerned about that.

Aware that the Democrats are likely to lose the Senate, Obama will pursue his agenda without the people’s representatives, and will knowingly set up a constitutional controversy, maybe even a crisis, for the sake of “climate change.”

The Obama administration’s international climate strategy is likely to infuriate Republican lawmakers who already say the president is abusing his executive authority by pushing through major policies without congressional approval.

“Unfortunately, this would be just another of many examples of the Obama administration’s tendency to abide by laws that it likes and to disregard laws it doesn’t like — and to ignore the elected representatives of the people when they don’t agree,” Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and minority leader, said in a statement.

Obama can do this because he’s a scofflaw who knows full well just how unlikely even a Congress under full Republican control is to discipline him, and because of that 1992 treaty that Bush signed in a futile attempt to burnish his own environmental credentials.

Obama will do this because he will never face the voters again, and because jobs and a strong US economy are the farthest things from his mind and his agenda.

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Has Gov. Perry Made a Mistake with His Advisory Team?

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In the days immediately following his indictment by a Travis County grand jury, Texas Gov. Rick Perry saw support rally to his side from all across the political world. Conservatives here and at National Review and everywhere else noted how weak and political the indictment is. Liberals like Jonathan Chait, the New York Times, David Axelrod, Lanny Davis and Alan Dershowitz questioned the indictment from the left. Perry became an unlikely unifying figure, and much of the early news about the indictment focused not on him but on Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg and her drunk driving arrest — the arrest that ended up getting Perry indicted for exercising his constitutional veto power over state funding for an office that Lehmberg controls.

Even Perry’s mugshot turned out to be a victory.

Gov. Perry built up a solid legal team that has pushed back against the indictment vigorously, a team that includes Texas defense attorneys and Mark Fabiani, as liberal a Democrat attorney and political strategist as there is. Fabiani’s hire signaled just how outrageous the indictment truly is.

But following that hire, Gov. Perry has added two Republicans strategists to his team and their additions are stirring up skepticism and opposition on the right — Steve Schmidt and Henry Barbour.

Schmidt is best known among the conservative grassroots for bashing former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin years after her and Sen. John McCain’s failed run for the presidency in 2008. Both Schmidt and Nicole Wallace were 2008 McCain campaign advisers whose bashing of Palin and other conservatives in the years since has made them unpopular figures among Tea Party supporters and the GOP grassroots.

Wallace recently joined ABC’s The View. Wallace’s and Schmidt’s actions following the 2008 defeat have not been forgotten, not by a long shot. Both seem happy to resurrect problems from that campaign and blame them on others, either Palin or conservatives, not themselves for running a terrible, flaky, indecisive, and ultimately unsuccessful campaign.

Henry Barbour is known for a more recent transgression, smearing conservatives during the controversial Mississippi primary battle between Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Breitbart, usually a Perry supporting conservative news operation, is reminding readers today of Barbour’s role in that race, and of efforts to get the Republican National Committee to censure Barbour.

Conservative leader Brent Bozell has called for Barbour’s censure.

“Mr. Barbour and his allies in the Mississippi political establishment smeared State Senator Chris McDaniel and his conservative supporters as racists and hired Democratic operatives to engage in scare tactics to turn out Democrats to vote for incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran.  These are the tactics of the radical left and must not be tolerated by the Republican Party.

“What was done to Senator McDaniel and Mississippi conservatives was dishonest and disgusting and must not stand.  Using the tactics of the far left to wage a character assassination campaign against a Republican state senator and his supporters is unconscionable.

“Those who were involved in any way must be held accountable.  We call on Chairman Priebus to remove Mr. Barbour to send a clear message that there is no place in the Republican Party for this kind of character assassination and smear campaign.  Should further investigation uncover other accomplices, they, too, should be held accountable for their despicable actions.”

Conservative radio titan Mark Levin is also angrily questioning the decision to hire Schmidt, “conservative-attacker and Palin-hater?”

While Schmidt has been brought on board to help out with Perry’s indictment defense, Barbour has been hired to help with the burgeoning Perry campaign. Barbour has a direct political role at a time when conservatives are calling for the RNC to discipline him.

Fabiani’s hire made political sense, as it demonstrates that even many prominent Democrats believe that the Travis County indictment of Perry is outrageous and dangerous. But Barbour and Schmidt are causing Perry an unnecessary headache on the right, where up to now he has found strong support against the indictment while voters in key early primary states are taking a second look at him.

Adding Schmidt and Barbour to his legal team also exposes Perry to criticism on the right from potential presidential rivals, who up to now have been supportive as well.

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Trolling the Wackos at Jezebel Yields Expected Result (Update)

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Jezebel — I won’t link, you can find it if you want — is one of those feminist sites that got all bothered by Sofia Vergara’s star turn on the Emmys Monday night.

On Twitter I trolled them a little bit. Just having a little fun. It’s what Twitter is for.

Well, trolls are attracted to trolling.

Yeah, way to miss the point. Also, way to be a blatant sexist.

So who is Erin Gloria Ryan?

None other than a news editor at Jezebel. I’m not kidding.

jezebel-editor

Update: A tweep just jogged my memory. This Jezebel news editor is the same one who wished death on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Not kidding.

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VIDEO — Obama Receives Tepid Applause from the American Legion

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

President Obama spoke to the American Legion’s annual convention today. Bridget Johnson wrote up the president’s remarks, which were notable for a couple of things. Obama seems determined not to use the US military against the Islamic State, no matter what. He told the veterans group that no US troops would be involved in ground combat against the Islamist force.

The speech was also notable for the tepid response that the president received from the group. Grabien has compiled a montage of the polite applause that Obama received.

The American Legion is a veterans group, and as such, tends to be conservative. Obama could not rely on his usual applause lines in which he turns insult comic against Republicans. The Legion is not a group that is impressed by celebrity. Obama was obviously far out of his element today.

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CA Gov. Jerry Brown Clearly Breaks the Law. He Will Not Be Indicted.

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Via Breitbart, California Gov. Jerry Brown declares that he is no longer interested in enforcing federal or state immigration law.

In introducing [Mexico President] Peña Nieto on Monday, Brown spoke about the interwoven histories of Mexico and California and nodded to the immigrants in the room, saying it didn’t matter whether they had permission to be in the United States.

“You’re all welcome in California,” he said.

Brown nonverbally called all legal immigrants “suckers” at the same time. They’re suckers for respecting American law, paying the fees, standing in line and raising their hand to swear loyalty to their new home. Those who broke the law are just as welcome as those who respected it.

Suckers. According to California Gov. Jerry Brown, Democrat.

Governors do not have the power to abrogate federal immigration law, anymore than presidents do. And they don’t.

Gov. Brown is both a scofflaw and a racist, favoring Mexican immigrants over immigrants from anywhere else in the world. But the left won’t indict him for the former, and won’t excoriate him for the latter. The left will praise him for both.

We live in scofflaw times, when the President of the United States considers granting unilateral amnesty outside the law to 5 million illegal aliens, a few years after his government sued Arizona for attempting to enforce immigration law.

California is running out of water and is all but out of jobs. Yet its governor welcomes a deepening of the labor pool, and an increase in the population.

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A Shockingly High Number of French Citizens Support ISIS

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Via Vox (I know) comes a new poll that sheds new light on the phrase “French cheese eating surrender monkeys.”

isis-france-poll

 

You’re reading that correctly. The percentage of Frenchmen who rate the Islamic State is higher than the percentage of Palestinians who rate them, in a different poll. By a decent three points.

France is about 10% Muslim. So some of those who favor the child-murdering, sex-slave-selling, head-chopping thugs who literally power their war against the 21st century on stolen oil are not jihadists. They’re ordinary Frenchmen.

The French dropped out of NATO ages ago just to be a pain, but they got back in in 2009. They’re supposed to be a member of the western alliance.

Younger French support ISIS even more strongly, up to 24% of French ages 18 to 24.

As is their wont, Vox tries blaming the rise of pro-ISIS sentiment on the rise of “far right” politics in Europe. That makes no sense. Anti-Semitism, which is probably related to pro-ISIS beliefs, is mainly on the far left both in Europe and the US. It’s the far left that tends to coddle Palestinian terrorism while blaming Israel for defending itself, while the right supports Israel. And the younger generations tend to be more left than right. Why would young Frenchmen be left left left left left on the issues and then go “far right” on this one thing?

Whatever the cause, if the poll is accurate, it’s alarming — even more alarming than polls showing that younger Americans tend not to support Israel.

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Gorgeous Sofia Vergara Looks Gorgeous at the Emmys, Annoys All the Right People

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

I didn’t watch the Emmy Awards last night. Honestly I can’t remember the last time I did watch the Emmys. It was probably when I was producing Laura Ingraham, and had to watch all the awards shows to edit the most ridiculous bits for the show. That was a couple of jobs ago now.

The Emmys, the Oscars, MTV’s awards show for videos that MTV doesn’t even air anymore…it’s all about the 1% televising their self-congratulation. I caught up with DVR’d Falling Skies while the Emmys were on.

So last night during the Emmys, Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara did a cute little bit where a bore from the awards show droned on while she stood on a rotating platform looking like, well, herself, so everyone would pay attention.

In case you don’t know who Sofia Vergara is, well, here.

Sofia-Vergara-2             Sofia-Vergara--06

 

I’ll probably get in trouble if I post any more, but you get the idea. She’d catch the eye of a drone circling overhead at 15,000 feet. And she’s out of your league.

So she does this little bit on the Emmys, which makes fun of herself and also makes a little fun of TV, the medium that the Emmys are all about. Not a ROFL funny bit, but harmless. Anyone who doesn’t think that TV is more about appearance than anything else is kidding themselves. Even on Falling Skies, Noah Wyle’s Tom Mason character is complex and great, and Wyle plays him well. But the producers wouldn’t have hired a homely man for the lead in that series. They didn’t hire an average woman to play his wife, either, they hired Moon Bloodgood. Who looks like this.

Moon_Bloodgood

Don’t get me wrong, she’s a fine actress.

Vergara’s pedestal joke was self-referential and harmless. Unless you’re the left’s scolds. These people are incapable of getting through a day without getting outrageously outraged about something.

The gag was immediately slammed on Twitter and some news sites: “A very troubling turn,” wrote HuffPo. “She was treated like a literal object,” fumed Jezebel. “A bizarre, objectifying Emmy moment,” headlined Salon.

Yet when asked whether the stunt was sexist and demeaning, Vergara shot back: “I think its absolutely the opposite. It means that somebody can be hot and also be funny and make fun of herself. I think it’s ridiculous that somebody started this—I know who she was—who has no sense of humor [and should] lighten up a little bit.”

The same people cheer when entertainers go out of their way to slam America or offend, say, Christians. So, you know, they’re just being babies.

As Mollie Hemingway and Ace point out, the same people who are blasting Vergara for her charming and harmless little joke are all about the “empowerment” of Beyonce strutting around on stage wearing barely anything in a sexualized stage performance that’s ultimately aimed at teenage girls.

Both Beyonce and Sofia Vergara have become very powerful women in entertainment, in similar ways: They’re both scorching hot and have talents beyond their looks. Did Beyonce have any more or any less say in her act, than Sofia Vergara had in hers? That’s unlikely. They both know what they’re doing.

It would be nice if the scolds of the left could at least be consistent. But that would take away the advantage of surprise, I guess.

More: Trolling the Wackos at Jezebel Yields Expected Result (Update)

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Since We’re So Flush with Cash, the Federal Government is Funding a Study of ‘Misinformation’ on Social Media

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Remember “AttackWatch,” the Obama campaign meme to get friends and families to rat each other out for the sake of politics?

Well, it’s back. Only, this time you and I are paying for it, as it has been brought inside the federal government.

The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” and what it considers “false and misleading ideas,” with a major focus on political activity online.

The “Truthy” database, created by researchers at Indiana University, is designed to “detect political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution.”

The university has received $919,917 so far for the project.

“The project stands to benefit both the research community and the public significantly,” the grant states. “Our data will be made available via [application programming interfaces] APIs and include information on meme propagation networks, statistical data, and relevant user and content features.”

“The open-source platform we develop will be made publicly available and will be extensible to ever more research areas as a greater preponderance of human activities are replicated online,” it continues. “Additionally, we will create a web service open to the public for monitoring trends, bursts, and suspicious memes.”

“This service could mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate,” the grant said.

“Subversive memes”…? Who gets to define what’s subversive, what is “hate speech” and what is and is not “propaganda?”

There’s a big clue in the name — Truthy — which is taken from Stephen Colbert’s leftwing parody of Bill O’Reilly.

There’s another big clue in what the government wants people to do with Truthy.

The government-funded researchers hope that the public will use their tool in the future to report on other Twitter users.

Pretty much everything that comes out of Barack Obama’s mouth is subversive propaganda. Some of his more acerbic attacks on Republicans can qualify as “hate speech.” But it doesn’t sound like that’s what Truthy is looking for.

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A Palestinian Attack on Jews in New York

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The New York Post reports that last night, a young Jewish couple were assaulted in New York City. The assailants made it clear that the attack was racially motivated.

A gang of anti-Semitic thugs roughed up a Jewish man and his wife on the Upper East Side on Monday evening before fleeing in cars flying Palestinian flags, police sources told The Post.

Two cars and multiple motorcycles pulled up to the couple on East 63rd Street near Third Avenue just after 8 p.m., and the assailants began yelling “anti-Jewish statements,” the sources said.

There were no serious injuries. There have been no arrests so far.

Last week, someone hung a gigantic Palestinian flag off of the Brooklyn Bridge. That flag had “Boycott,” “Divest,” “Sanction,” and “Gaza in our Hearts” written on it. There have been no arrests in this breech of security at the bridge.

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Nebraska Man Takes Ice Bucket Challenge. You Won’t Believe What Happens Next.

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Oops.

Jesean Morris, 20, who was wanted in Nebraska for violating the terms of his parole, was arrested Friday after he posted to Facebook a video of himself dumping a bucket of ice water on his head. A tipster who saw the online post and recognized the house shown in the video provided Omaha police with Morris’ exact address, Officer Aaron Thompson told NBC News. Two officers then went to the house and arrested Morris, 20.

The suspect allegedly gave the cops a false name and birth date, knocked out a safety partition in the police cruiser, and spit in the one of the officer’s face, according to an incident report. Morris was booked into jail on the warrant and on suspicion of criminal impersonation, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.

So…he acted like Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, more or less.

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The IRS Destroyed Lois Lerner’s Blackberry, Too

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

After Monday’s bombshell about the federal government’s system-wide email back-up system broke, there was yet another bombshell.

The IRS “recycled” — destroyed — Lois Lerner’s hard drive in June 2011, just 10 days after Rep. Dave Camp had sent a letter to the IRS inquiring about the targeting of conservative groups that Lerner knew about and may have orchestrated.

The IRS destroyed Lerner’s Blackberry device, too. Even though there is no suggestion that it ever “crashed,” as the agency claims about her hard drive.

Even worse, the IRS destroyed Lerner’s Blackberry after it knew of the crash, and while the congressional investigation was underway.

The Blackberry would have contained all of Lerner’s emails.

The New York Observer picks up the story:

In two elusive and nebulous sworn declarations, we can glean that Ms. Lerner had two Blackberries. One was issued to her on November 12, 2009. According to a sworn declaration, this is the Blackberry that contained all the emails (both sent and received) that would have been in her “Outlook” and drafts that never were sent from her Blackberry during the relevant time.

With incredible disregard for the law and the Congressional inquiry, the IRS admits that this Blackberry “was removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012.” This is a year after her hard drive “crash” and months after the Congressional inquiry began.

The IRS did not even attempt to retrieve that data. It cavalierly recites: “There is no record of any attempt by any IRS IT employee to recover data from any Blackberry device assigned to Lois Lerner in response to the Congressional investigations or this investigation,” according to Stephen Manning, Deputy Chief Information Officer for Strategy & Modernization.

Lerner was issued another Blackberry for Valentine’s Day 2012—also after she came under fire for her targeting of conservative groups.

The IRS was engaged in criminal destruction of evidence. It is engaged in a game of running out the clock and extending the investigation as long as possible now. Lerner’s current Blackberry is apparently in the possession of the Inspector General of the Treasury. Even that Blackberry might have access to Lerner’s old emails. If she used “ghost” accounts, as the head of the EPA did, the Blackberry may show evidence of that too.

We’re learning all of this not because of any congressional investigation, by the way, but because Judicial Watch has gone to court and gotten a judge, Emmet Sullivan, who is not taking the Obama administration’s spin at face value.

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Obama is Just Now Getting Around to Authorizing Drone Flights Over Syria

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Always late to the party, except when it’s an actual party.

The U.S. has started flying surveillance drones over Syria after President Obama authorized the missions, two senior Defense officials told Fox News, in a move that could pave the way for eventual airstrikes against Islamic State targets in the country.

A decision still has not been made, at least publicly, to launch airstrikes in Syria. But the Obama administration would likely need additional intelligence on possible targets should the president take that step.

Sources told Fox News that Obama approved surveillance missions in Syria for the first time over the weekend; they have since begun.

Why is Obama just now doing this? Or, why is he publicizing that he is just now doing this? He is letting the PR get ahead of strategy, supposing that there is a strategy. The world doesn’t need to know when the US is conducting drone flights over ISIS and when it isn’t. But a president with flagging poll numbers who is even taking golf grief from Maureen Dowd needs to look like he’s working on something other than his tee shot.

The ISIS crisis is headed to a bizarre probability — that the United States will end up conducting airstrikes on ISIS positions in Syria that will aid the Assad regime that Barack Obama declared “had to go” not too long ago.

Of course, Obama wanted to intervene in Syria’s civil war early on, to oust Assad, an intervention which would have ended up helping the Islamists — some of whom are now ISIS.

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No Big Deal. But 66% of Democrats Support Prosecuting Rick Perry for Doing What Governors Are Constitutionally Allowed to Do.

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Two out of three Democrats apparently have no idea what constitutional powers a governor has, and have no idea what the legal system is for (and what it’s not for).

It’s not for jailing people because you do not like them.

I blame the teachers unions.

YouGov’s latest research shows that the public is far more divided over the prosecution of Rick Perry than commentators. 40% of Americans approve of the decision to persue criminal charges against Perry, while 37% disapprove. Opinions on the man himself are similarly split, though opinions tend to be unfavorable (39%) rather than favorable (31%).

Most Democrats (66%) support prosecutors charging Perry with abuse of power, while only 13% disagree. Independents tend to disapprove (42%) rather than approve (32%) of the charges, while Republicans overwhelmingly (67%) oppose the prosecution.

Looking at these numbers, the wrong person could come along and as long as they have a D attached to their name, they could get away with just about anything…

 

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Justice Department Admits that the Federal Government Has ALL of Lois Lerner’s Emails

Monday, August 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Judicial Watch just dropped a bombshell in the IRS targeting investigation.

Department of Justice attorneys for the Internal Revenue Service told Judicial Watch on Friday that Lois Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe.  The Obama administration attorneys said that this back-up system would be too onerous to search.  The DOJ attorneys also acknowledged that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is investigating this back-up system.

We obviously disagree that disclosing the emails as required would be onerous, and plan to raise this new development with Judge Sullivan.

This is a jaw-dropping revelation.  The Obama administration had been lying to the American people about Lois Lerner’s missing emails. There are no “missing” Lois Lerner emails – nor missing emails of any of the other top IRS or other government officials whose emails seem to be disappearing at increasingly alarming rate. All the focus on missing hard drives has been a diversion. The Obama administration has known all along where the email records could be – but dishonestly withheld this information. You can bet we are going to ask the court for immediate assistance in cutting through this massive obstruction of justice.

“Jaw-dropping” is right.

The IRS has been telling a tale about the emails not only of Lois Lerner but also several other key IRS targeting scandal figures. That tale has been coming from no less than the current director of the IRS.

In disclosing that Lerner’s (and others’) emails still exist, the DOJ also said, essentially, that it thinks searching for those emails would be too much work.

Would that excuse fly with the DOJ or the IRS, or would they frog-march anyone who used that excuse straight to a squad car?

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Has Russia Opened a Second Front Against Ukraine?

Monday, August 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

To date, most of the fighting between Russia’s proxies and Ukraine has been in the north. That changed today.

KIEV, Ukraine –  A column of Russian tanks and armored vehicles has crossed into southeastern Ukraine, away from where most of the intense fighting has been taking place, a top Ukrainian official said Monday.

Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security Council, told reporters that the column of 10 tanks, two armored vehicles and two trucks crossed the border near Shcherbak and that the nearby city of Novoazovsk was shelled during the night from Russia. He said they were Russian military vehicles bearing the flags of the separatist Donetsk rebels.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday he had no information about the column.

Russia’s move comes as the Ukrainian government forces have retaken territory from the pro-Russian separatists/proxies. Russia tried to obtain a cease-fire which would essentially have left the proxies in control of the territory they had taken.

Russia sent another convoy of trucks into the north on Friday, and is said to be readying another convoy of Trojan horses — 200 of them.

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How Much of a Threat Are ISIS?

Monday, August 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Islamic State may have achieved something that no terrorist group before them has managed — they may be a fully fledged combined-arms capable fighting force powered by the use of indigenous natural resources it controls.

Over the past few months, as if to defy President Barack Obama’s characterization of them as “jayvee,” ISIS spread swiftly from Syria deep into Iraq, sweeping through territory that had been controlled or at least patrolled by the Iraqi army.

That army proved to be so weak that its personnel fled their posts. ISIS scooped up American vehicles and weapons left behind by the Iraqi security forces. By July, the Islamic State had reportedly taken 52 155mm M198 Howitzer artillery guns. They have a range of up to 20 miles and can be used in conjunction with GPS for fine targeting. US airstrikes in recent weeks have focused on ISIS artillery, among other things, suggesting that US airmen are targeting some of those former US guns.

It’s also possible that in addition to picking up US vehicles and weapons, ISIS picked up some undeclared Syrian chemical weapons.

Over this past weekend, ISIS attacked and took over a Syrian air base in Raqqa. That has been widely reported. What has not been widely reported is that leading up to the assault, ISIS used drone aircraft for surveillance of the base. Whether or not ISIS captured any usable aircraft at the base (and apparently, they did), and whether they have any trained pilots to operate them or not, the Islamic State already has drone aircraft at its disposal.

The success of the mission in Syria shows that ISIS can coordinate the movements of its ground troops on foot and in vehicles, and its airborne drones. That is a combined-arms capable force. They only thing they’re missing is a navy, but they don’t need that where they are currently operating. If things continue on their current path, ISIS could steal a navy either from Iraq or Syria.

In addition to all of that, ISIS now controls an area that is larger than Britain. It is sparsely populated compared to Britain — about 4 million in ISIS territory versus about 64 million in Britain — but ISIS territory is oil-rich.

A Businessweek article compares ISIS to the “Taliban with oil fields.” The Islamic State may be raking in $2 million a day in revenue from oil sales alone, making it a self-financed and largely self-sufficient terrorist entity that happens to be armed chiefly with captured American-made weaponry. Additionally, ISIS is not as vulnerable to sanctions as previous terrorists groups have been.

“The Islamic State is probably the wealthiest terrorist group we’ve ever known,” said Matthew Levitt, a former U.S. Treasury terrorism and financial intelligence official who now is director of the counterterrorism and intelligence program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “They’re not as integrated with the international financial system, and therefore not as vulnerable” to sanctions, anti-money laundering laws and banking regulations.

In contrast, the late al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was from a wealthy family and enjoyed a network of foreign patrons, and his funding sources were squeezed by financial intelligence officers. The Islamic State “makes their money primarily — if not entirely — locally,” said Patrick Johnston, a counterterrorism specialist at the Santa Monica, California-based Rand Corp.’s Pittsburgh office and co-author of a forthcoming analysis of declassified documents on the Islamic State’s finances.

In addition to all that, an unknown number of ISIS fighters are citizens of the West and carry western passports.

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Obama Reportedly Waited 30 Days to Launch Rescue Mission for Foley

Monday, August 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In the days following ISIS’ beheading of American journalist James Foley, rumors that President Obama dragged his feet on the military mission to rescue him have surfaced. Well, those rumors surfaced once the administration leaked the mission itself.

The mission failed, according to the Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in a briefing last week, because the terrorists had moved their captives.

Toby Harnden reports that the US had developed good intelligence regarding where ISIS was holding Foley. But President Obama delayed the mission by a month.

Pentagon sources said Foley and the others might well have been rescued but Obama, concerned about the ramifications of US troops being killed or captured in Syria, took too long to authorise the mission.

Anthony Shaffer, a former lieutenant-colonel in US military intelligence who worked on covert operations, said: “I’m told it was almost a 30-day delay from when they said they wanted to go to when he finally gave the green light. They were ready to go in June to grab the guy [Foley] and they weren’t permitted.”

Another US defence source said: “The White House constantly goes back and forth on these things. These people are a bunch of academics who endlessly analyse stuff and ordering up another deep-thinking paper but can’t decide what to order for lunch.”

According to Harnden’s report, when US forces arrived they did find a swarm of terrorists there. The captives themselves had been moved to another location.

ISIS emailed a threat to Foley’s life on August 13, five days after President Obama ordered airstrikes on ISIS positions in Iraq. The emailed threat said that Foley would die in retaliation for the airstrikes.

Harnden also reports that President Obama has not viewed the video of Foley’s beheading. Obama was “briefed on its contents” as he flew to Martha’s Vineyard for vacation and several rounds of golf. Obama did make a public statement on the brutal murder, minutes before he made his way to the golf course again.

Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit wonders why Obama would drag his feet on this mission for a month. Obama wasn’t facing re-election, and unlike the bin Laden mission, the mission to rescue Foley would have been in enemy territory — meaning that it carried fewer potential diplomatic downsides. True enough.

Obama reportedly dragged his feet on the bin Laden mission, too. This president seems to be very uncomfortable with command, and with authorizing missions that showcase the power and prestige of the US military. Plus, as the military types note above, Obama is an academic and not a leader. He voted “present” by habit in the Illinois Senate and was a partisan backbencher in the US Senate. Barack Obama is much more comfortable ordering verbal strikes on Republicans than he is ordering air and SEAL strikes on our actual enemies.

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Perry’s Legal Team Calls for Indictment to be Thrown Out

Monday, August 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Late last week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s legal team signaled its intent to file a formal challenge to the August 15th indictment against him. They made good on the promise today, filing a writ of habeas corpus.

A press release from the governor spells out the nature of the challenge:

AUSTIN — Today, Gov. Rick Perry’s legal team filed a pretrial application for writ of habeas corpus seeking to bar the prosecution of Gov. Perry on multiple constitutional grounds.

“Thus, for reasons of constitutional magnitude, including the separation of powers doctrine fundamental to our democratic system of government, Governor Perry should have the same opportunity for relief through habeas corpus in this case if the provisions are merely void as applied as he would have if they were facially unconstitutional,” Governor Perry’s legal team noted in the writ. “Subjecting any sitting Governor to a criminal prosecution and injecting the judiciary into a political dispute would be an unprecedented assault on this cherished separation of powers, and would impose an intolerable and incalculable chilling effect on the free exercise of legitimate constitutional powers by future governors.”

The Texas Tribune has more, including this line from the lawyers’ brief: “This court should not hesitate to dismiss both counts of the indictment and bar the prosecution, immediately if not sooner.”

The Perry team is cashing in on last week’s mugshot. RickPAC is selling this brilliant mugshot T-shirt in its online store.

RickPAC_Donate_Wanted-Tshirt_400x400_v1.1

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