“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes,” said Mark Twain. And in the age of social media, that lie can get to Mars and back before the truth can bestir itself.
Perhaps it’s a little much to compare the story that bombed Twitter and the internet yesterday with a “lie.” After all, police did actually respond to the disturbance at a suburban pool and apparently roughed up some black teenagers, with one officer pulling a gun.
The “lie” is one of omission — as in, what really happened at that pool and why the police response had absolutely nothing to do with race.
Apparently, the pool was hosting an end-of-the-school-year party for teenagers in the subdivision, when dozens of uninvited guests showed up. The pool is semi-private as it is only open to residents of the subdivision and guests. But the event was promoted on Twitter and apparently non-residents began crashing the party by climbing the fence. When asked to leave by residents and pool management, they refused. They also refused to refrain from smoking pot and drinking.
What happened next was predictable.
Police were called to the scene and attempted to get some of the trespassers to sit down while they investigated. Many of the teens fled and police chased some of them down. This is when the video of the incident with police began. There does not appear to be any video of the initial police contact with the teens.
One resident, Benet Embry, a black man, posted on Facebook about the events leading up to the police call. “Look, I LIVE in this community and this ENTIRE incident is NOT racial at all,” Embry wrote. “A few THUGS spoiled a COMMUNITY event by fighting, jumping over fences into a PRIVATE pool, harassing and damaging property. Not EVERYTHING is about RACE. WE have other issues that NEED our attention other flights of made up make believe causes.”
In another post he is critical of media coverage of the incident. “I’ve never seen such irresponsible reporting and miss management of media resources in my life,” he said.
Another McKinney resident, Bryan Gestner, posted on Facebook, “This was a Twitter party that turned into a mob event. Jumping pool fence. Assaulting 2 security guards, attacking a mother with three little girls. The video doesn’t show everything.” He continued saying the kids were drinking and “smoking weed” and they would not listen to any of the adults around the pool.
“This isn’t about race,” he continued. “This is about outside kids invading our neighborhood and had no respect for authority or the residents here. I have a target on my back now and I have been threatened by these punks that they are gonna shoot up my house when all I did was try to control the mob and actually tended to the girl and the boy that had a bloody lip.”
“Yall don’t know the whole story,” Gestner continued. “I commend the officer for handling this situation.”
Gestner wrapped up his post alleging that these same kids came back into the neighborhood Saturday night. They were “kicking in people’s front door, stole a truck and crashed it into many vehicles. They vandalized dozens of cars and were stealing things.”
I am not excusing the behavior of police — one of whom pulled a gun on unarmed teenagers. But this was a situation that easily could have spiraled out of control into a riot. Police applied the force they thought appropriate — something that can be debated among reasonable people.
Neither can I excuse the behavior of the media who sought to blow up a clear case of trespassing and hooliganism into a racial confrontation. This is what you get when you have agenda-driven journalism. The only “facts” reported are those that fit the narrative and it was apparently too inconvenient to include facts that would have broadened the context of the incident for their audience.
Will this context be given by the liberals who have been on fire for the last 24 hours since this story broke? Or, like all racial incidents in recent memory, will the facts and the truth be ignored in slavish devotion to a false narrative?
Trying to follow the machinations of Greek creditors and the Greek government over the past week was like being caught in the spin cycle of a washer; everyone went round and round without getting anywhere.
The perpetual Greek debt crisis is once again roiling markets and making everyone nervous. The Greek government needs an infusion of bailout cash to avoid default, but creditors are refusing to supply it until they make at least a gesture toward the idea of responsible governance.
In truth, the real show is in Athens where the Prime Minister, Alex Tsipras, keeps telling his far left Syriza party in parliament one thing, while telling the rest of Europe something completely different. He told the parliament that a deal was close, while blasting Greece’s creditors in the press for their “absurd” demands. I suppose to a leftist nutcase like Tsipras, it is “absurd” for the creditors to expect to be repaid, or the rest of Europe to refuse to subsidize the Greek’s massive welfare state.
One of Tsirpas’s few allies in Europe, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, is at his wits end trying to deal with his unstable friend.
In unusually sharp terms, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker accused Tsipras of distorting proposals by international creditors for a cash-for-reform agreement and of dragging his feet in putting forward alternative proposals.
He urged Athens to put its own ideas on the table swiftly to enable talks to resume on the sidelines of an EU-Latin America summit on Wednesday in Brussels.
In Athens, a government official said Greece wanted to continue to negotiate “at a political level” to find convergence with the lenders. However, the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund have made clear the numbers must first add up in technical negotiations before there can be a political deal.
Tsipras had been expected to return to Brussels last Friday to resume negotiations. But faced with a backlash against the creditors’ proposal in his Syriza party, he went to parliament in Athens instead and denounced the offer as “absurd.”
Juncker came close to accusing him of duplicity.
“I don’t have a personal problem with Alexis Tsipras, quite the contrary. He was my friend, he is my friend. But friendship, in order to maintain it, has to have some minimum rules,” he told a news conference at a summit of the Group of Seven leading industrial democracies in Germany.
Juncker was essentially accusing Tsipras of lying because the PM said twice last week that reform proposals were coming — and then they didn’t come.
Tsipras’s notion that he can wiggle out from under his obligations by appealing to the politicians is about as delusional as it gets. Do you think Angela Merkel gives a rat’s posterior about Tsipras’s political problems?
Tsipras is drowning and no one is in any mood to throw him a lifeline. He has strutted arrogantly across the stage in Europe since his election, claiming a mandate that doesn’t exist except in his fevered imagination, and making thinly veiled references to Chancellor Merkel as a Nazi.
Whatever happens to him and Greece will be only what they deserve.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker told This Week that if he were elected president, he wouldn’t rule out a reinvasion of Iraq.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he wouldn’t rule out a full-blown re-invasion of Iraq if he were to become the next commander-in-chief.
The likely Republican presidential candidate and early frontrunner in several polls said he would consider a re-invasion if it were deemed necessary to protect American national security at home and abroad.
“It would not be limited to anything out there,” Walker told ABC’s Jonathan Karl in an exclusive interview with for “This Week.” “Once we start saying how far we’re willing to go or how many troops we’re willing to invest, we send a horrible message, particularly to foes in the Middle East who are willing to wait us out.”
Walker has been critical of President Obama’s handling of Iraq and Syria for its limited scope but also qualified that he does not believe in “open-ended, limitless engagements.” Though he has been sparse in offering specific changes to U.S. policy in the fight against ISIS, the likely presidential candidate said he has been deepening his understanding of international affairs in recent months.
“My belief is if I’m gonna, I’m even thinking about running for president of the United States, it’s not about preparing for debates,” he said. “It’s about being prepared to be the president of the United States.”
Walker stumbled out of the gate on foreign policy, making the bizarre claim that his experience fighting the unions in Wisconsin had helped prepare him to take on Islamic State.
But he got in a good zinger against Obama when he responded to the president’s pithy observation that he needed to “bone up” on foreign policy after he said that he would abrogate any agreement with Iran on their nuclear program his first day in office.
“I thought it was interesting for the president to say that — the guy who called ISIS the JV squad and Yemen a success story somehow suggesting someone else should bone up on foreign policy,” Walker said.
There is nothing controversial about Walker’s Iraq statement — it’s standard political boilerplate not to rule any military action out or in. But for some Republicans, it might be a problem. Iraq is a tar baby for both the Republicans and Hillary Clinton, and avoiding any discussion that suggests escalating US involvement is probably the smart play. There just isn’t much upside to it.
On the other hand, events may overtake both party’s reluctance to discuss Iraq. The Iraqi army still hasn’t been able to stop IS from advancing, and now they appear to have Baghdad in their sights. Needless to say, the total collapse of the Iraqi army and government would change a lot of minds about re-invading Iraq very quickly.
The state of Hawaii has shut down its Obamacare insurance exchange, citing the inability of the site “to generate sufficient revenues to sustain operations,” Gov. David Ige’s office said in a statement.
Hawaii is the latest state to see it’s Obamacare exchange bite the dust. Oregon, Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, New Mexico and Nevada have also been forced to pull the plug on their exchanges for a variety of reasons.
“The state is working with the Connector and CMS to determine what functions can be transitioned to state oversight to ensure compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by the next Open Enrollment in November 2015,” Ige said.
Ige said that Hawaii will maintain a Supported State-based Marketplace in which the state would provide local customer support.
Grant funds had been restricted in March after the exchange told officials it was not in compliance with the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare, due to fiscal instability and tech issues.
The shutdown comes after federal taxpayers dropped more than $200 million into the exchange, which critics called a waste of taxpayer money.
“The $200 million was a complete waste of tax dollars that could have been used for much more productive efforts,” Reg Baker, a well-known CPA in Hawaii who for many years was the chief financial officer for the health insurance plan, HMAA, told FoxNews.com last month.
While many of the state’s Democrats praised the ObamaCare exchange when it launched in October 2013, it was riddled with trouble from the start. The web portal never worked properly despite the state spending $74 million on a contract with CGI to build and maintain it.
The exchange experienced tremendous staff turnover, with three executive directors appointed in two years. Enrollment reached just over 8,500 in the first year, and as a result, Hawaii was ranked the most costly exchange in the nation at more than $23,899 per person.
Enrollment never reached the 300,000 number then-Gov. Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat, enthusiastically predicted at the opening press conference launching the Connector. The enrollment number also never hit 70,000, the minimum needed to stay financially solvent. At its peak, enrollment reached 37,000, a fraction of the state’s 1.4 million people. Hawaii’s uninsured population, at 8 percent when the exchange opened, dropped just 2 percent.
The common thread that runs through all of these closings is that the website simply didn’t work as it was supposed to. In a nation full of extraordinarily talented IT people, these state governments couldn’t find anybody to make their websites functional?
Maybe they couldn’t. Maybe the federal government’s parameters for designing these websites was flawed. Given the problems with Healthcare.gov, this shouldn’t be surprising.
Minnesota’s MNsure and Connect for Health Colorado are also in big trouble and lawmakers in those states appear to be doubling down on funding them. But given the history of these exchanges, that really isn’t very wise. If the exchange is not breaking even by this time, when will it?
The decline in revenue from state exchanges was inevitable. There are only so many uninsured people and so many consumers who would use the state exchanges to get it. With the limited universe of potential customers, a reduction in revenue should have been expected. Instead, like Hawaii who only reached 10% of its enrollment goal, exaggerated expectations were the norm.
A group of senators led by New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen have written a letter to President Obama urging him to use his executive authority to remove Andrew Jackson’s likeness from the $20 bill and substitute it with that of a woman.
On Thursday, eight Democratic senators led by Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire wrote to Obama to get on with it and not wait for Congress to act on bills led in the Senate by Shaheen and in the House by Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill.
An online poll from Women on 20s, a group advocating for a woman to replace Andrew Jackson on the bill, gathered 600,000 votes, with Harriet Tubman edging out Eleanor Roosevelt as the choice in the final round.
Shaheen separately put a legislative bill in the hopper directing the Treasury secretary to put Tubman on the bill by 2017.
Obama sounded positive in July about putting a woman on the currency.
“Last week, a young girl wrote to ask me why aren’t there any women on our currency, and then she gave me like a long list of possible women to put on our dollar bills and quarters and stuff — which I thought was a pretty good idea,” Obama said then.
The White House of late has been asked about it a few times but offered no definitive answer. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, who has the authority to implement the change, ducked the question in March.
Ole Hickory would probably have challenged Shaheen to a duel, but frankly, if a portrait of a president has to be taken off one of our bills to give into political correctness, Jackson is the one to go.
Andrew Jackson was a product of his environment — the American frontier, where death from attacks by Native Americans was not uncommon. It is not surprising that Jackson grew into manhood hating Indians. He was a virulent racist, despite adopting a Native American child.
But history totes up the entirety of a man’s life before making a final judgment. We named an entire age after Jackson — the Age of the Common Man, or the Jacksonian Era. Our first true populist, Jackson had no use for the powdered wigs and stuffed shirts of the early republic, believing in the power and wisdom of the common people.
To judge Jackson solely based on his faults as a human being is unfair. I daresay liberals don’t judge Teddy Kennedy, Robert Byrd, or other Democrats who demonstrated unlovely traits by that standard, nor should we. Jackson was a great man who put his imprint on an important time in American history.
Does he deserve to be unceremoniously dumped? Especially for the specious reasoning that we don’t have a woman on any of our currency? Did Harriet Tubman have as much impact on history as Andrew Jackson? A laughable notion, but hardly relevant now that the feminists have gotten it in their heads that one more corner of American tradition can be invaded and destroyed. I have a better idea.
Social Security inspector general has issued a report saying that nearly half of all Americans receiving Social Security disability benefits were overpaid.
While SSA has been able to recover about half the overpayments, some of the money went to the dead and felons.
The inspector general followed a randomly selected sample of 1,532 over that 10-year period who either received disability benefits or supplemental security income for the poor.
Auditors found that 45 percent of the beneficiaries were overpaid at some point during the decade by $2.9 million. Based on that result, the inspector general estimated Social Security overpaid $16.8 million from 2003 to 2014.
The report comes just a year before the Social Security Disability Trust Fund is projected to be exhausted, and lawmakers on Capitol Hill are divided over how to handle the shortfall. If Congress fails to act, beneficiaries would receive a nearly 20 percent cut in benefits.
Republicans largely oppose keeping the disability fund afloat by reallocating revenue from the Social Security retirement fund to the disability fund. The GOP-led House in January approved a rule that would make a reallocation of the payroll tax more difficult.
Instead, GOP lawmakers have said they’d like to focus on program integrity initiatives to weed out fraud and abuse to find savings.
It’s been known for years that the Social Security disability system is the easiest program to scam in government. People supposedly too crippled to work are routinely caught playing golf or other sports, or working easily around the house. A clever scammer can bamboozle a couple of doctors to sign off on his “disability” and the lucky scofflaw can collect disability the rest of his life.
Of course, there are legitimate cases of disability — or disabled vets come to mind — but the record number of Americans currently on disability suggests that there are a lot of criminals out there raking in the cash.
Few narrative historians have been able to capture the essence of war quite like Stephen Ambrose. The Eisenhower biographer published several books on the war later in his life, including Citizen Soldiers, Band of Brothers, and perhaps the best one volume treatment of the Normandy invasion, D-Day: June 6, 1944.
One theme running through all of those books was the sheer ordinariness of the American GIs and how, when confronted by the greatest challenges of their lives, they outperformed, outfought, and outsmarted the seemingly invincible Nazi war machine.
From a blurb advertising D-Day:
They wanted to be throwing baseballs, not hand grenades, shooting .22s at rabbits, not M-1s at other men. But when the test came, when freedom had to be fought for or abandoned, they fought. They were soldiers of democracy. They were the men of D-Day. When Hitler declared war on the United States, he bet that the young men brought up in the Hitler Youth would outfight the youngsters brought up in the Boy Scouts.
Hitler lost, largely because “the Boy Scouts had been taught to figure their way out of their own problems,” writes Ambrose. Americans were trained to use their own initiative and not blindly follow orders, like the Germans. This proved decisive on Omaha Beach, as nothing went as planned, and the first and second waves of the landings were being slaughtered. And then, one by one — mostly NCOs — they began to realize that staying put was death and they began a slow, painful climb up the bluffs. There was no mass charge, but rather small groups of two and three soldiers taking it upon themselves to get the job done.
Ambrose points out that never could have happened in the German army.
In an interview on Brian Lamb’s C-SPAN show Booknotes, Ambrose expanded on this theme:
LAMB: Why was it a great day?
AMBROSE: You know, you can’t exaggerate it. You can’t overstate it. It was the pivot point of the 20th century. It was the day on which the decision was made as to who was going to rule in this world in the second half of the 20th century. Is it going to be Nazism, is it going to be communism, or are the democracies going to prevail? If we would have failed on Omaha Beach and on the other beaches on the 6th of June in 1944, the struggle for Europe would have been a struggle between Hitler and Stalin, and we would have been out of it. If Stalin had won, the Iron Curtain would have been on the English Channel. If Hitler had won, I don’t think he would have been able to take Britain, at least not in the immediate future, but he would have gone all the way to the Urals. Hitler’s plan was to turn the problem of conquering America over to the next generation, utilizing the resources that he intended to have as a part of the greater German Reich as a result of victory. It really did turn on getting ashore and penetrating that Atlantic Wall. Now, once that Atlantic Wall was penetrated and we had a beachhead and you could begin to move from England into the continent, this tremendous outpouring of America’s factories that we had managed to get over to England by winning the battle of the Atlantic in 1943, if you penetrated the Atlantic Wall then it was no longer a question of who was going to win. It was when is the end going to come. Germany could not possibly prevail against — but if Rommel stopped them cold on the beaches — this was an all-or-nothing operation. Eisenhower, when he took command in January of 1944, said, “This operation is being planned as a success. There are no contingency plans.” Had they stopped him — and they came very close to stopping him — we would not have been able to mount another operation in 1944. This was Hitler’s great chance to win the war — stop them in June of 1944 on the Atlantic coast, then he can move 11 panzer divisions to the east. Eleven panzer divisions might well have swung the balance on the eastern front, or they might have had another effect. They might have led Stalin to conclude, “Those blankety-blank capitalists. They’re up to their old tricks. They’re going to fight till the last Red Army soldier. To hell with that. I’m going to cut a deal with my friend Adolph again, just like we did in 1939. We’ll divide Eastern Europe between us.” That wouldn’t have lasted. Sooner or later they would have clashed, but the democracies wouldn’t have been in on it anymore.
I’m surprised that D-Day is trending on Twitter given the ignorance of the past couple of generations about the significance of June 6. But those of us old enough to remember when commemorating D-Day was a big deal should take the responsibility for passing on the feelings that all of America experienced that day, summed up in Eisenhower’s D-Day address to the troops, and FDR’s heartfelt prayer.
Great offer! Today and tomorrow only, 50% off World War II Complete Series at PJ Media Store:
An unidentified woman sustained life threatening injuries when she was struck in the head by a piece of a broken bat at a game between the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics.
The woman was reportedly attending the game with her husband and young son.
The incident occurred in the top of the second inning when Oakland’s Bret Laurie grounded to second, breaking his bat in the process. Part of the bat flew into the stands between home plate and third base where the woman was sitting in the second row.
Stadium officials rushed to treat her while her husband and young son were being comforted by neighboring fans. She was eventually wheeled out of the stadium on a stretcher, bleeding profusely from the head, and screaming in pain.
(Warning: Graphic video)
“You try to keep her in your thoughts and, hopefully, everything’s all right and try to get back to the task at hand,” Lawrie said when asked how he was able to refocus after what happened. “Hopefully everything’s OK and she’s doing all right.
“I’ve seen bats fly out of guys’ hands [into] the stands and everyone’s OK, but when one breaks like that, has jagged edges on it, anything can happen.”
Alex Merlis, of Brookline, Massachusetts, said he was sitting in the row behind the woman when the broken bat flew into the stands just a few rows from the field.
“It was violent,” he said of the impact to her forehead and top of her head. “She bled a lot. A lot. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that.”
Merlis said the woman had been sitting with a small child and a man. After she was injured, the man was tending to her and other people were trying to console the distraught child, he said.
Concerned about a rash of flying broken bats and the danger they posed, Major League Baseball studied the issue in 2008 and made a series of changes to bat regulations for the following season.
Multi-piece bat failures are down approximately 50 percent since the start of the 2009 season, MLB spokesman Michael Teevan said.
Although dozens of baseball fans are struck by foul balls each season, there has been only one fatality, according to baseball researchers — a 14-year-old boy killed by a foul line drive off the bat of Manny Mota at Dodger Stadium in 1970.
In professional hockey, a horrible incident in 2002, where a teenage girl sitting behind the goal was struck in the stands by a deflected puck and died caused the NHL to put up netting in a semi-circle around each goal. Would Major League Baseball consider doing something similar? The question will be studied carefully in the wake of this tragic incident.
Part of the problem of broken bats turning into deadly projectiles has been a switch by hitters in the majors from using bats made of white ash to bats made of maple. When ash bats break, they tend to splinter or shatter, which is a danger to players on the field but rarely to fans in the stands.
Maple bats, on the other hand, break into large pieces with one or two shards of the bat capable of flying many yards. Maple is a lighter wood, favored by players because ash bats that are the same length are heavier. The lighter bat allows the hitter to generate greater bat speed through the hitting zone and, theoretically, send the ball farther when struck.
MLB and the Forest Service examined the problem of broken bats back in 2008 when the league was averaging one broken bat a game. Since then, that rate has been cut in half as the league developed strict standards on manufacturing bats with a “straight grain” in the wood compared to a “slanted grain” that used to be found in many maple bats.
The controversy of wood bats vs. aluminum bats, which are used at every level of amatuer baseball, will probably be reignited by this incident. But even aluminum bats can slip out of a player’s hands and sail into the stands, presenting a danger to anyone not paying attention to the game.
Senatobia Municipal School District Superintendent Jay Foster wants everyone in town to know that he will have order at graduation ceremonies — or else.
Foster issued a diktat prior to the graduation ceremony that there would be no screaming during the event and that the audience should hold their applause to the end.
Four violators of this ridiculous policy were kicked out of the ceremony. And now Foster has had them served them with warrants for “disturbing the peace.”
“My 18-year-old daughter, Lanarcia Walker, graduated from Senatobia High,” Linda Walker said.
The pomp and circumstance did not last long for some Mississippi families.
“He said ‘you did it baby’, waived his towel and went out the door,” Walker explained.
“When she went across the stage I just called her name out. ‘Lakaydra’. Just like that,” Ursula Miller said she shouted about her niece.
Miller and Henry Walker were two of the four people asked to leave Senatobia High School’s graduation ceremony for cheering.
Police at Northwest Mississippi Community College, where the high school ceremony was held, said the superintendent asked the crowd not to scream and to hold their applause until the end.
Otherwise, they would be asked to leave.
However, that wasn’t the end of it.
“A week or two later, I was served with some papers,” Miller explained.
The papers threatened to throw them in jail.
Senatobia Municipal School District Superintendent Jay Foster filed ‘disturbing the peace’ charges against the people who yelled at graduation.
Officers issued warrants for their arrests with a possible $500 bond.
“It’s crazy,” Henry Walker said. “The fact that I might have to bond out of jail, pay court costs, or a $500 fine for expressing my love, it’s ridiculous man. It’s ridiculous.”
Superintendent Foster said the charges were far from ridiculous.
While Foster declined an on-camera interview with WREG, he said he’s determined to have order at graduation ceremonies.
“Okay,” Miller said. “I can understand they can escort me out of the graduation, but to say they going to put me in jail for it. What else are they allowed to do?”
“Why assign papers on someone? We don’t have money for anything like that,” Linda Walker said.
The families said they were only trying to support their loved ones and should not be forced to go to court.
Methinks Mr. Foster has a Hitler complex. And what were the police doing accommodating this tyrant? Why the delay in issuing the summons? Is it customary for cops to do the bidding of any authority figure who asks them to arrest someone?
Questions that hardly matter to the four citizens who are going to be forced to get a lawyer and probably pay a fine because a school official with control issues decided to show everyone who was boss.
In the wake of Bruce Jenner’s gender-bending conversion and OSHA’s order that transgender people can use whatever bathroom they feel like in the workplace, comes the next great frontier in the battle to create more human rights than there are human beings on earth.
And this one’s a doozy.
They’re called “transabled.’ And like the transgendered who feel trapped in a body with the wrong sex organ, transabled people feel like imposters in their perfectly good bodies and have an overwhelming desire to chop off a limb, blind themselves, make themselves deaf, or otherwise disable themselves.
I frantically checked the internet to see if this was some kind of a hoax — but sadly, it is not as far as I can tell. For once in my career as a writer, I really, really hope that this is some kind of parody because if not, the world has gone mad and insanity has become the norm.
When he cut off his right arm with a “very sharp power tool,” a man who now calls himself One Hand Jason let everyone believe it was an accident.
But he had for months tried different means of cutting and crushing the limb that never quite felt like his own, training himself on first aid so he wouldn’t bleed to death, even practicing on animal parts sourced from a butcher.
“My goal was to get the job done with no hope of reconstruction or re-attachment, and I wanted some method that I could actually bring myself to do,” he told the body modification website ModBlog.
His goal was to become disabled.
People like Jason have been classified as ‘‘transabled’’ — feeling like imposters in their bodies, their arms and legs in full working order.
“We define transability as the desire or the need for a person identified as able-bodied by other people to transform his or her body to obtain a physical impairment,” says Alexandre Baril, a Quebec born academic who will present on “transability” at this week’s Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Ottawa.
“The person could want to become deaf, blind, amputee, paraplegic. It’s a really, really strong desire.”
Researchers in Canada are trying to better understand how transabled people think and feel. Clive Baldwin, a Canada Research Chair in Narrative Studies who teaches social work at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B., has interviewed 37 people worldwide who identify as transabled.
Most of them are men. About half are in Germany and Switzerland, but he knows of a few in Canada. Most crave an amputation or paralysis, though he has interviewed one person who wants his penis removed. Another wants to be blind.
Many people, like One Hand Jason, arrange “accidents” to help achieve the goal. One dropped an incredibly heavy concrete block on his legs — an attempt to injure himself so bad an amputation would be necessary. But doctors saved the leg. He limps, but it’s not the disability he wanted.
For an academic in social sciences, discovering new and exciting classes of the afflicted is the way to fame and fortune. My congratulations to Profs Baril and Baldwin for not only their creativity in discovering this previously unknown sub-sub group of fakirs and charlatans, but also their balls in publishing about it.
One can imagine agitation by activists to give people the right to disable themselves while making it illegal to discriminate against the transabled worker. A whole body of law will be created to deal with this new human right. The UN will create an agency to make sure the transabled are protected. And before too long, we’ll have the first celebrity transabled person televising their transformation from able bodied to disabled.
Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders, a Democratic candidate for president of the United States, can’t seem to figure out how to get himself out from under the controversy he generated by the discovery of an essay he wrote in 1972 that describes women’s rape fantasies.
Here’s his latest “explanation”:
Longshot Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, dealing with the blowback over an unusual essay published 40 years ago about rape fantasies, clumsily backed away from the controversial piece Sunday, comparing it to the erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
“This is a piece of fiction that I wrote in 1972, I think,” the Vermont senator said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” about a bizarre essay about rape he penned in an alternative newspaper.
“That was 43 years ago. It was very poorly written and if you read it, what it was dealing with was gender stereotypes, why some men like to oppress women, why other women like to be submissive, you know, something like ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’” Sanders said.
In the essay, titled “Man and Woman” and published in the “Vermont Freeman,” Sanders describes a woman having sex while she fantasizes about being raped by three men simultaneously.
The bizarre story also claims that a man’s “typical fantasy” is having a woman “tied up” and “abused.”
“Have you looked at the Stag, Man, Hero, Tough magazines on the shelf of your local bookstores?” Sander wrote in the essay. “Do you know why the newspapers with articles like ‘Girl, 12, raped by 14 men’ sell so well? To what in us are they appealing?”
Sanders may harbor fantasies about bondage but the idea that this is a “typical” male fantasy is ludicrous. And while I’m sure there are women with “rape fantasies” of some sort, the question of how this relates to “gender stereotypes” has no rational answer.
Every time Sanders opens his mouth about this controversy, he digs himself a deeper hole. And yeah…if a Republican candidate had penned such raunch, he would have been driven from the race and probably forced to resign any office he held at the time.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker continues to lead in Iowa according to the latest Bloomberg/Des Moines Register poll.
Walker garnered the support of 17% of respondents, up from 15% in the last Register poll. Coming in second with 10% were Rand Paul and Ben Carson.
Jeb Bush polled at 9%, but more than a third of Iowans said they would not vote for him under any circumstances.
“Scott Walker’s momentum puts him solidly in first place,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of West Des Moines-based Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll. “For the time being, he’s doing the right things to make the right first impression.”
In the previous Iowa Poll, taken in January, Walker stood atop the field at 15 percent.
Walker shouldn’t count on an Iowa win just yet, especially with such a large and unsettled field. Four years ago, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and then-Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann sat atop the Iowa Poll at 23 percent and 22 percent. Romney ultimately finished a close second in Iowa, while Bachmann ended up sixth and exited the race the following morning.
The latest poll shows Rubio is the most popular second choice at 12 percent, an indication of potential strength. Among first-choice preferences, the junior senator from Florida doubled his showing since the Iowa Poll in January.
When first and second choices are combined, Rubio ranks second to Walker, 18 percent to 27 percent. “That may foreshadow growing stature,” Selzer said of Rubio.
Rounding out the rest of the declared and likely Republican field for first-choice preferences, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is at 5 percent, businessman Donald Trump and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are at 4 percent, former Texas Governor Rick Perry is at 3 percent, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Ohio Governor John Kasich are at 2 percent, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are at 1 percent. Former New York Governor George Pataki’s support was less than 1 percent.
When first and second choices are combined, those with the strongest showings after Walker and Rubio are Huckabee at 17 percent, Bush at 16 percent, and Carson and Paul at 15 percent.
At this early stage, Bush ranks first with none of the demographic groups broken out in the poll’s results, although he is second behind Walker among those 65 and older, college graduates, and Catholics.
Bush has raised $100 million and still can’t overcome his name, nor his positions on immigration reform and Common Core. Those “headwinds” mentioned in the article could become a hurricane-force gale — especially as other candidates become known to Iowans.
But Bush is still the second choice of 16% of Iowa Republicans — close enough to hold out hope if Walker were to stumble. Indeed, Jeb Bush is going to have to hope for a gaffe-filled campaign season. He’s got the cash for the long haul, but his appeal to conservatives is so limited that even if he plays the “last man standing” game, there’s a chance that he still wouldn’t get enough delegates for a first ballot win at the convention.
With 16 candidates in the poll, it’s questionable whether any survey can accurately reflect the sentiments of voters. And with seven months to go before the Iowa caucuses even convene, if the poll tells us anything, it’s that there is plenty of time for trailing candidates to change hearts and minds and climb into contention.
Beau Biden, former attorney general of Delaware, lost his battle with cancer yesterday.
The 46-year-old father of two succumbed to brain cancer, a disease he had battled for 2 years. He was once thought a shoe-in for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2016, but Beau Biden’s cancer recurred last year after he was declared free of the disease in 2013.
According to the vice president’s office, Beau Biden underwent surgery in Houston in 2013 and then followed a normal course of radiation and chemotherapy. By November 2013, he had been given a clean bill of health, but after a recurrence this spring, Biden began an aggressive treatment and was admitted to Walter Reed this month.
Biden is survived by his wife, Hallie, and two children.
President Obama released a statement late Saturday saying that he and first lady Michelle Obama were grieving and calling him “a good, big-hearted, devoutly Catholic and deeply faithful man, who made a difference in the lives of all he touched — and he lives on in their hearts.”
“But for all that Beau Biden achieved in his life, nothing made him prouder; nothing made him happier; nothing claimed a fuller focus of his love and devotion than his family,” Obama’s statement said.
Beau Biden became a national political star in 2008 after delivering a stirring introduction of his father at the Democratic National Convention in Denver the night Joe Biden accepted the nomination for vice president. A little more than a month later, Beau Biden deployed to Iraq and served there for one year — except for a trip home in January 2009 to see his father take the oath of office as vice president.
Beau Biden was awarded the Bronze Star.
Say what you will against the vice president — and there’s plenty to criticize — I would not wish to have experienced the series of tragedies in his life that he says informed his public and private personae:
In Denver seven years ago, Beau Biden told the tragic family story that became the emotional foundation for his father’s 36 years of service in the Senate and the past 6 1/2 years as vice president. Shortly after winning his Senate race, in December 1972, Joe Biden received a phone call while in Washington interviewing staff.
His wife, Neilia, and three children had been in a horrible car crash on the way home from purchasing the family Christmas tree. His wife and daughter had died, and his two sons, Beau and Hunter, were clinging to life. Having just turned 30, Joe Biden raced home to Wilmington and considered never taking the oath of office.
Through the support of other senators, Biden agreed to be sworn in the next month at the hospital bedside of Beau and Hunter. Eventually venturing to Washington, Biden decided that he would take the train every morning from Wilmington and return every night.
“As a single parent, he decided to be there to put us to bed, to be there when we woke from a bad dream, to make us breakfast, so he’d travel to and from Washington, four hours a day,” Beau Biden told the Denver crowd on Aug. 27, 2008, in the speech that introduced the world to a story that his father had told many times.
In recent weeks, the vice president’s public schedule had declined as he regularly visited his son. Two weeks ago, during Yale University’s graduation ceremonies, he delivered a deeply personal speech to thousands of students and parents who had no idea what the vice president was personally enduring.
Close advisers viewed it as the closest Joe Biden ever came to fully explaining how much his personal life and tragedy informed his own career. Of his Amtrak ride home every night to see his two sons, he said that it wasn’t for them.
Decent, honorable men are hard to come by in politics these days. By all accounts, Beau Biden was one of them. The Biden family loss is America’s loss, and despite everything, our condolences should go out to the vice president for yet another tragic death in his family.
The Justice Department is readying a dozen new rules that will restrict the freedom of gun owners and interfere with Second Amendment rights. The plan is to enact the rules before the end of Obama’s term of office in 2016.
Gun control advocates have been demanding many of the rules for years and it appears that the effort by DoJ will be a last0ditch attempt to curb the rights of gun owners by the president.
But the gun lobby contends that such a sweeping ban would unfairly root out a number of prospective gun owners who are not a danger to society.
“It’s clear President Obama is beginning his final assault on our Second Amendment rights by forcing his anti-gun agenda on honest law-abiding citizens through executive force,” said Luke O’Dell, vice president of political affairs at the National Association for Gun Rights.
The Justice Department plans to issue new rules expanding criteria for people who do not qualify for gun ownership, according to the recently released Unified Agenda, which is a list of rules that federal agencies are developing.
Some of the rules come in response to President Obama’s call to reduce gun violence in the wake of Sandy Hook. He issued 23 executive actions shortly after the shooting aimed at keeping guns away from dangerous people, and some of those items remain incomplete.
“If America worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one that occurred in Newtown,” Obama said at the time.
“We can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale,” he added.
Gun control groups have rallied around Obama’s call to action, zeroing in on polices that would keep guns away from the mentally ill and domestic abusers.
Congressional efforts to expand background checks and keep guns away from dangerous people have failed in recent years, but the legislative defeats won’t stop the Justice Department from regulating.
The Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is looking to revive a rule proposed way back in 1998 that would block domestic abusers from owning guns.
As proposed, the regulation makes it illegal for some who has been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense to own a gun.
The ATF plans to finalize the rule by November, according to the Unified Agenda.
But gun rights advocates are concerned the Obama administration will use this rule to unfairly target certain gun owners.
“That could be a person who spanked his kid, or yelled at his wife, or slapped her husband,” warned Michael Hammond, legislative counsel for the Gun Owners of America.
Some of those rules will be tied up in court for years, but Obama senses that the next president will not have a favorable view of gun control and wants to stamp his anti-gun legacy on as much as possible before he leaves.
The restrictions on high-powered pistols have nothing to do with mass murders, of course, since none of them have ever been used in school shootings or other mass killings. And the “gun safety” requirements are already practiced by responsible gun owners without the nanny state looking over their shoulders. As with most gun control efforts, the rules are not about safety or security, but rather about control. Some people believe that others shouldn’t be able to own guns and if they do, they are going to make their lives miserable for them.
In front of the mosque in Phoenix that the two jihadists who attacked the Mohammed cartoon exhibit in Texas earlier this month attended, anti-Muslim protestors — many of them armed — faced off against a larger crowd of pro-Muslim demonstrators for several hours on Friday night.
Police in riot gear kept the two sides apart, as the protest also featured its own Mohammed cartoon contest.
The New York Daily News reports that the organizer of the rally has received so many death threats that he sold his house and moved his family for safekeeping:
The ex-Marine who organized an anti-Muslim rally outside the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix Friday evening said he’s going into hiding after receiving several death threats.
“This is proof tyranny is in America,” said Jon Ritzheimer, revealing he’s come under siege since taking to Facebook to organize the event.
Up to 500 protesters gathered in 100-degree heat — some clutching assault rifles, American flags and placards — in the latest flashpoint in the U.S. anti-Islam movement.
Ritzheimer planned the protest, billed as “Freedom of Speech Rally,” in response to an ISIS-inspired attack outside a controversial Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest May 3 in Texas.
Two gunmen were shot dead by SWAT team members as they attempted to storm the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, an event organized by anti-Islamic activist Pamela Geller.
But now Ritzheimer claims he’s been targeted by terrorists.
I’m having to sell my house. My family is going into hiding,” an armed Ritzheimer, flanked by burly men wearing “F— Islam!” T-shirts, told reporters at the rally. “They’re calling for lone wolves to behead me. That’s terrorism right here in America.”
Interestingly, Ritzheimer says that he realizes the protest was “stupid and ridiculous” but thinks it was necessary to combat Islam:
The rally was to start about the same time evening prayers were taking place inside the center. The rally was to feature its own cartoon contest, similar to the one targeted in Texas.
“I think the whole thing, the cartoon contest especially, I think it’s stupid and ridiculous,” Ritzheimer said beforehand, “but it’s what needs to take place in order to expose the true colors of Islam.”
D.C. Metro ending issue-oriented ads after Mohammed submission
Local Muslim leaders say they won’t be intimidated.
“The Muslim community in America is here to stay and we are also well aware of the right to speak our mind and worship how we please,” Dr. Yasir Shareef, a board member of the Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said at a press conference.
The White House says there’s no justification for violence at the rally.
“Even expressions that are offensive, that are distasteful, and intended to sow divisions in an otherwise tight-knit, diverse community in Phoenix cannot be used as a justification to carry out an act of violence,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Islamic State threats turned out to be empty bluster, but who knows if any would-be martyrs were deterred by the presence of so many weapons among the anti-Muslim protestors. We’ll never know.
This was not an exercise in free speech — unless you consider expressing your hatred for a religion a matter of freedom. You can certainly disagree with the tenets and beliefs of Islam — especially as they are imported into a poisonous and dangerous political ideology.
But it is un-American to single out any religion for persecution. And that’s exactly what these protestors were doing. They wish to make it impossible for Muslims to practice their religion — just like Islamic State is doing with Christians in the Middle East.
Celebrating free speech is one thing. Using it to undermine one of the fundamental principles of the Constitution is quite another.
The agitation against local police departments by activists who have portrayed law enforcement as racist thugs who routinely shoot black Americans for no reason has led to a big spike in murders and shootings across the country.
Heather McDonald, writing in the Wall Street Journal has a shocking report on the devastation wrought by a radical shift in attitude about police departments and how that shift is playing into the hands of criminals.
The nation’s two-decades-long crime decline may be over. Gun violence in particular is spiraling upward in cities across America. In Baltimore, the most pressing question every morning is how many people were shot the previous night. Gun violence is up more than 60% compared with this time last year, according to Baltimore police, with 32 shootings over Memorial Day weekend. May has been the most violent month the city has seen in 15 years.
In Milwaukee, homicides were up 180% by May 17 over the same period the previous year. Through April, shootings in St. Louis were up 39%, robberies 43%, and homicides 25%. “Crime is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said St. Louis Alderman Joe Vacarro at a May 7 City Hall hearing.
Murders in Atlanta were up 32% as of mid-May. Shootings in Chicago had increased 24% and homicides 17%. Shootings and other violent felonies in Los Angeles had spiked by 25%; in New York, murder was up nearly 13%, and gun violence 7%.
Those citywide statistics from law-enforcement officials mask even more startling neighborhood-level increases. Shooting incidents are up 500% in an East Harlem precinct compared with last year; in a South Central Los Angeles police division, shooting victims are up 100%.
But can you really blame the increase in violence on the atmosphere of hate and suspicion toward police that has arisen since the Michael Brown killing 2 years ago? McDonald thinks you can:
Since last summer, the airwaves have been dominated by suggestions that the police are the biggest threat facing young black males today. A handful of highly publicized deaths of unarmed black men, often following a resisted arrest—including Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y., in July 2014, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014 and Freddie Gray in Baltimore last month—have led to riots, violent protests and attacks on the police. Murders of officers jumped 89% in 2014, to 51 from 27.
President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, before he stepped down last month, embraced the conceit that law enforcement in black communities is infected by bias. The news media pump out a seemingly constant stream of stories about alleged police mistreatment of blacks, with the reports often buttressed by cellphone videos that rarely capture the behavior that caused an officer to use force.
Almost any police shooting of a black person, no matter how threatening the behavior that provoked the shooting, now provokes angry protests, like those that followed the death of Vonderrit Myers in St. Louis last October. The 18-year-old Myers, awaiting trial on gun and resisting-arrest charges, had fired three shots at an officer at close range. Arrests in black communities are even more fraught than usual, with hostile, jeering crowds pressing in on officers and spreading lies about the encounter.
Acquittals of police officers for the use of deadly force against black suspects are now automatically presented as a miscarriage of justice. Proposals aimed at producing more cop convictions abound, but New York state seems especially enthusiastic about the idea.
The atmosphere in which law enforcement must perform their duties has become fraught with danger. This has resulted in police scaling back their efforts:
This incessant drumbeat against the police has resulted in what St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson last November called the “Ferguson effect.” Cops are disengaging from discretionary enforcement activity and the “criminal element is feeling empowered,” Mr. Dotson reported. Arrests in St. Louis city and county by that point had dropped a third since the shooting of Michael Brown in August. Not surprisingly, homicides in the city surged 47% by early November and robberies in the county were up 82%.
Similar “Ferguson effects” are happening across the country as officers scale back on proactive policing under the onslaught of anti-cop rhetoric. Arrests in Baltimore were down 56% in May compared with 2014.
“Any cop who uses his gun now has to worry about being indicted and losing his job and family,” a New York City officer tells me. “Everything has the potential to be recorded. A lot of cops feel that the climate for the next couple of years is going to be nonstop protests.”
Protests against “mass incarceration” of blacks and pro-active law enforcement methods like “broken windows” policing are also contributing to the sense of lawlessness in cities. In some states, dozens of felonies have been reduced to misdemeanors so that local criminal justice systems don’t have to put blacks in jail. “There are no real consequences for committing property crimes anymore,” Los Angeles Police Lt. Armando Munoz told Downtown News earlier this month, “and the criminals know this.”
Madness. The answer to the problem of black males going to prison in disproportionate numbers to whites is not to minimize the crimes they commit — that’society turning its back on the problem — but by rebuilding the black family structure which will instill strong values in black children. Even President Obama has made mention of the need for black children to have a strong male role model in their lives — someone to guide a child and keep him away from gangs, drugs, and the criminal element found in the inner city.
Policies that discourage black women from having children out of wedlock and encourage black couples to stay together would be a good start toward addressing the problem of urban violence. But this flies in the face of the racialist’s agenda that seeks to pile guilt on the backs of whites — and, increasingly, the police — in order to exact tribute from the federal government for black communities.
Admitting that the problem of inner city violence is a cultural problem as much as it is a policing problem must be the first step toward making black neighborhoods safe for living and working.
Senator Ted Cruz threw down the gauntlet to the Palestinian apologists on college campuses, urging that any university that adopts a “boycott, divest, and sanctions” policy toward Israel be denied federal funding.
The senator also called Iran’s march toward a nuclear weapon the greatest threat to the national security of Israel and the U.S.
Cruz had harsh words for BDS proponents, calling the movement to force universities and companies to pull their money out of Israel “anti-Semitism plain and simple.”
Cruz never mentioned his presidential candidacy but sure talked a lot about what America’s next president needs to do when it comes to Israel and Iran. That includes imposing sanctions on Iran, transferring bunker bombs to Israel if “Iran has not stopped marching toward nuclear weapons,” moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and no longer fund the Palestinian Authority “as long as its engages in incitement” and is in a unity government with Hamas.
“If Iran is on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons that president in 2017 should stand up to the world and explain very simply either Iran will stop or the United States of America will stop it,” Cruz said.
Cruz continued to call the prospect of Iran securing a nuclear weapon the greatest threat to the security of the United States and Israel.
“The next 19 months are going to be perilous,” he said. “But I commit to you to do everything in my power to speak out and stop any deal that will allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.”
Cruz praised Sheldon Adelson, who spent $92 million on Republican candidates in 2012, and his wife Miriam as “fearless warriors standing for the United States and standing for the nation of Israel.” Cruz was seated at the same table as Adelson, who gave $1 million to the World Values Network, which put on the gala, and shed some light on how he allocates his fortune.
“We don’t just pledge it, we give it,” he said of his money, adding that if a gift is made on a Monday, the check goes out Tuesday. He also said he’s not the one with the money.
“I don’t have the money. My wife’s got all the money,” Adelson said.
Denying federal funding to schools who adopt a BDS policy is certainly a strong statement, but Congress would be sailing in uncharted waters by passing such legislation. It’s not even clear that there would be a legal basis for denying funds to individual school on the basis of a policy adopted by a school administration unless it was clearly discriminatory against students or faculty. Since BDS is directed at entities outside of the school, it may be problematic for the federal government to tell a university what it must do with its money.
BDS is a “civilized” way for the left to express its anti-Semitism. The movement holds itself up as a successor to the divestiture movement aimed at South Africa in the 1980s. But the parallels between South Africa and Israel drawn by BDS proponents are ludicrous and, as Cruz says, are “based on a lie.”
To date, no university has adopted BDS as a policy, although some academic organizations like the American Studies Association have done so. But the hysteria against Israel is growing and it may be that soon, some colleges and universities will be unable to resist the pressure to divest.
(Alert: Some spoilers. But you’re not going to watch this piece of crap anyway, right?)
(Trigger Alert: Stop if you’re liable to throw up if you read about Occupy Wall Street’s rancid worldview and agenda.)
USA Network’s original series Mr. Robot, which premieres on June 24, may be the most objectionable series on TV. The pilot episode, available for viewing here, could have been written by an Occupy Wall Street activist. Perhaps it was. The plot involves a conspiracy by the “top 1% of the top 1%” — the people that the protagonist, a cyber security expert named Elliot who is a “vigilante hacker” by night, says control the world and everybody in it.
But Elliot suffers from a debilitating anti-social disorder that makes him extremely shy and withdrawn from people. Is the conspiracy a figment of his imagination?
Enter Mr. Robot, who wants to bring down the banking system — “The single biggest instance of wealth redistribution in history.” In one of the more ludicrous plots ever to be broadcast on TV, Mr. Robot and his hacker minions want to attack the servers of a huge conglomerate called E Corp. The company happens to hold 70% of consumer debt in the world and Mr. Robot thinks that he can destroy all digital traces of ordinary people’s debt, including student loans.
Could someone really do that? If you believe they could, go join Occupy Wall Street. All large companies back up customer records, usually to disk, storing them elsewhere. What they are suggesting is not only impossible, but insults the intelligence of the viewer.
And not mentioned, at least in the pilot, is what would happen to those hundreds of millions of people when their credit goes up in smoke. The resulting economic catastrophe would cause massive job losses and lead to societal chaos. Yes, but at least the rich would get what’s coming to them.
Another objectionable element in this series is the immorality of making a hacker into the hero. Elliott hacks the financials, emails, and personal information of his childhood friend (who is dating a womanizer), and his psychologist (who is dating a married man). He also hacks the accounts of the man who owns the cyber cafe he visits regularly. The fact that the owner also runs a child porn site is beside the point. Elliot had no idea of the illegal actions of the owner before he hacked into the man’s private, proprietary information. Looking for dirt on someone and exposing it are not the actions of a hero, no matter how awful the crimes being hidden are.
Why make someone like this a hero? Hackers are rapists. What else do you call someone who hacks your personal email and becomes privy to your most personal and private information? They are not modern-day Robin Hoods, nor are they knights doing battle with evil. They are evil for making the concept of privacy online a joke. Gangs of criminal hackers is one thing. Individuals who take pleasure in exposing the private lives of their targets is quite another.
Series creator Sam Esmail will probably be speaking at an Elizabeth Warren rally near you:
Esmail himself is no stranger to computer criminality. He was once fired from his student job at a computer lab at NYU for hacking into another school’s server and sending out a campus-wide email blast decrying the “conformist bull—-” of college culture.
He may be a little more mature now, and smart enough not to do illegal things from his work computer, but the same disgust with conformist bull—- is still very much at work in Mr. Robot.
“It’s an indictment of the current capitalist system,” he explained. “I don’t think capitalism is a bad idea, but we’ve perverted it so that it’s actually not even capitalism anymore … it’s heavily regulated in a corrupt way that benefits the wrong people.”
Esmail is aware of the irony in a show that attacks corporate power but is on a network owned by Comcast, one of the largest media corporations on the planet. In fact he’s “shocked” that the company hasn’t asked him to tone down any of the Occupy Wall Street rhetoric in the show.
“But,” he asks, “if you have an opportunity to do a TV show like this, why not try to talk about some of these issues?”
Because these “issues” are idiotic fantasies. If you’re paranoid enough, stupid enough, to believe you are being controlled by rich people, you deserve Elizabeth Warren as president.
There’s an edginess to the series that young people will find attractive and engaging. No doubt, it will be a huge success. But the fantasy world portrayed on the series, as well as the hero worship of people who hack citizens’ private lives and look to cause massive economic dislocation, is as troubling as it is entertaining to some.
One of the most unusual Memorial Day commemorations occurred in Nettuno, Italy, on May 30, 1945. Lt. General Lucian Truscott was dedicating the American cemetery where thousands of soldiers who lost their lives in Italy were buried.
About 3,000 of those American lives were lost during the battle of Anzio. Truscott commanded the 3rd Infantry Division at the time — the spearhead of the attack. The plan called for a combined British-American landing in January, 1944 at Anzio-Nettuno and a breakout from the beaches into the hills beyond where the allies would be able to cut off the German retreat from the Gustav line further south and eventually flank the German Winter Line.
There were questions about the landings from the start, especially from Truscott who believed that unless the allies were to move quickly, they’d be cut to pieces by German defenders ringing the hills surrounding the beaches.
And that is essentially what happened. Commanding the landing forces was General John Lucas, who got his wires crossed with overall commander General Mark Clark, and apparently didn’t understand that speed was of the essence. While Lucas was carefully arranging his troops on the beaches, preparing studiously for the breakout, German Field Marshall Kesselring was rounding up every soldier who could walk or crawl and rushing them to the hills surrounding Anzio. Three German divisions surrounded the beachhead before Lucas could get organized.
The resulting blood bath was one of the more avoidable catastrophes of World War II. A month after the landings, Lucas was relieved and sent home, Truscott taking his place as commander of VI Corps. After a hard, slogging fight, Truscott’s men were able to capture Rome two days before D-Day.
Anzio haunted Truscott to the end of his life. While blaming his superiors, he didn’t spare himself when it came to criticism. Hence, his remarkable action during the Memorial Day commemoration in 1945.
It seemed like the perfect crime. Thieves broke into the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Box company and spent the entire Easter weekend leisurely going through the boxes, making off with an estimated $300 million.
The complicated plan worked to perfection. The thieves cut through the roof to gain access to Hatton Garden offices, rappelled down an elevator shaft to the basement, disabled a state-of-the-art security system, stole the hard drive of the CCTV system, and cut through an 18-inch thick metal wall.
Everything worked — except the part where they get away scot free. More than 200 Scotland Yard officers swooped down on the 9 thieves and arrested them, along with at least part of their booty. The crooks were between the ages of 43-76 — three of them were ages 67, 74, and 76 — which makes them something of an “Over the Hill” gang.
The police had come under withering criticism in the tabloids for first, missing an alarm tripped by the thieves on Good Friday, and second, for the halting, unsure manner in which the investigation seemed to be carried out.
During a press conference, the Met said it felt officers had been portrayed as the Keystone Kops, while a relative of a victim said finding some of the haul could actually make things worse for those affected, as it could delay insurance pay-outs.
Thieves used heavy cutting equipment to break into a vault at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd, where they ransacked about 70 boxes.
The men were arrested in Enfield, east London and Dartford.
Police said bags containing a significant amount of high-value property were recovered at one of the addresses and they were confident some were items stolen during the burglary.
Head of the Met’s Flying Squad, Det Supt Craig Turner, urged victims of the crime to “stay patient”, adding police officers would be in contact with them in order “to restore this property back to its rightful owners”.
He said the investigation had been “complex and exceptional”.
In response to questions about why police did not respond to an alarm that went off at the premises during the time of the heist, Det Supt Turner, said: “We are now in a position to confirm that on this occasion our call handling system and procedures for working with the alarm monitoring companies were not followed.
“Our normal procedures would have resulted in police attending the scene and we apologise that this did not happen.”
There has been no official detail of what was stolen but it is believed jewellery worth up to £200m was taken during the raid.
Cdr Peter Spindler said: “At times we have been portrayed as if we’ve acted like Keystone Kops.
“But I want to reassure you that in the finest traditions of Scotland Yard, these detectives have done their utmost to bring justice for the victims of this callous crime.”
I guess the “finest traditions of Scotland Yard” now include failing to following procedures when an alarm is tripped. Tally Ho!
It would be easy to admire the crooks for their audacity, until you realize there were genuine victims of their crime who lost everything:
A relative of one of the victims said those affected were “probably worse off after this morning’s raids”.
“With the stolen goods vanished, there was pressure on insurance companies to settle quickly to enable holders to trade again,” the relative, who did not want to be identified, said.
“But now, with a whole mess of stuff to sort out, it may drag on for months.
“If batches of the stones were mixed up, it may be impossible to reunite them with their owners.”
Many of the boxes belonged to pensioners who lost their life savings in the heist. Most didn’t carry insurance.
The thieves are apparently non-descript working class types with no known skills in high end robberies. But with a decent plan and a little luck, they managed to carry out what will probably end up being the largest heist in British history.
A recently hired Boston University professor, whose racist tweets were defended by the school’s administration, is now being accused of going off on and taunting a white rape victim on Facebook.
Saida Grundy eventually apologized for tweeting that she deliberately avoided white businesses and thought that white males were “THE problem” on campuses. The tweets were made last January, soon after she was hired, but didn’t come to light until earlier this month.
But in February, the good professor may have committed an act so egregiously offensive that even the academic-freedom stalwarts at BU might be forced into action. A young woman had a Facebook encounter with Grundy so jarringly inappropriate and insensitive that the professor’s basic humanity can be called into question.
Saida Grundy, a newly hired professor at Boston University who recently said she regrets tweeting that white males are a “problem population,” and other racially charged comments, is now accused of Facebook posts in which she appeared to taunt a white rape victim. That victim, Meghan Chamberlin, told FoxNews.com that the posts, made in a February public chat, felt “like a kick in the stomach.”
The woman who identified herself as Grundy posted the comments after Chamberlin took issue with a controversial article on race that the Facebook thread had linked to.
“I LITERALLY cry and lose sleep over this,” Chamberlin wrote, adding she had been raped as a child and felt that: “what this article did was tell me that I’m not aloud (sic) to ask for help… Because I am a WHITE woman… So when I read this article… you do understand what that does to me, right? It kills me…”
The woman, who identified herself as Sai Grundy in the Feb. 25 thread and uses the same photo the professor uses on tweets she acknowledged last week, responded by making fun of the victim’s crying.
“’I literally cry’…. While we literally die,” she said before adding, “try this article. A white woman explaining this issue to other white women… who manages NOT to cry while doing it!”
Chamberlin, the rape survivor, responded: “No really. I got it. You can take your claws out, thanks.”
To which Grundy exploded:
“^^THIS IS THE S**T I AM TALKING ABOUT. WHY DO YOU GET TO PLAY THE VICTIM EVERY TIME PEOPLE OF COLOR AND OUR ALLIES WANT TO POINT OUT RACISM. my CLAWS?? Do you see how you just took an issue that WASNT about you, MADE it about you, and NOW want to play the victim when I take the time to explain to you some s**t that is literally $82,000 below my pay grade? And then you promote your #whitegirltears like that’s some badge you get to wear… YOU BENEFIT FROM RACISM. WE’RE EXPLAINING THAT TO YOU and you’re vilifying my act of intellectual altruism by saying i stuck my “claws” into you?”
Whoa. I don’t know what’s more outrageous. Her massive insensitivity to a rape victim or the fact that a university is willing to pay this racist nutcase $82,000 a year.
It gets better/worse:
Chamberlin responded by trying to leave the discussion. “I am choosing to “exit” this conversation,” she wrote.
But Grundy posted again, finishing with: “go cry somewhere. since that’s what you do.”
Chamberlin responded: “Will do.”
Grundy then responded to others: “am I mocking her tears or am I saying that her tears are meaningless displays of emotions because they don’t reflect at ALL an intention to understand the issue from the prospective (sic) of women of color or queer women.”
She added, “my name is *Sai*, but you can call me Dr. Grundy.”
You will be forced to care. Even if you’re a rape victim.
Once Grundy discovered the jig was up, she began a mad dash to delete all the offending entries. Finally, she simply took down her Facebook page — but not before screen shots of the postings were taken by several sources.
Some people have a dead spot in their souls where empathy resides in the rest of us. In most walks of life, an individual so afflicted can function like a normal human being. But a teacher? Boston University would do well to withdraw their invitation to her to teach and allow her to gravitate to some other organization more suited to her beliefs and temperament.
The daughter of racialist Al Sharpton is suing the city of New York for a sprained ankle she suffered on a city street.
Dominique Sharpton is asking for $5 million from New York city taxpayers because she was “severely injured, bruised and wounded” after stumbling over her own feet at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway downtown last year.
Wish I had the balls to do this.
Currently on vacation in Bali, the membership director for her gadfly dad’s National Action Network claims she “still suffers and will continue to suffer for some time physical pain and bodily injuries,” according to the suit filed against the city departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection.
“I sprained my ankle real bad lol,” she wrote in a post to Instagram after the Oct. 2 fall.
She was pictured in a walking boot in the weeks following the tumble, but by December, Dominique was good to go for NAN’s Justice for All march in Washington, DC, and for a New Year’s Eve jaunt to Miami Beach.
And despite claiming “permanent physical pain” in a breathless notice of claim, there are social-media shots of her in high heels, and another of her climbing a ladder to decorate a Christmas tree.
The legal shakedown is right out of her dad’s pay-to-playbook.
Al Sharpton has used threats of protests and boycotts against large companies as a way to generate huge corporate donations, his critics charge.
Everyone from McDonald’s, Verizon, Macy’s, General Motors, Chrysler and Pfizer have forked over cash to the elder Sharpton.
The Rev on Saturday said he didn’t know the status of his daughter’s legal claim. “She’s 29 years old. Why would she have to talk to me about that?” he said of Dominique, whose mother is Sharpton’s ex-wife, Kathy. “I just know that she was hurt and that she got a lawyer and she’s a grown woman. [Where] she goes from there, I have no idea.”
Suing the city can be a hugely profitable endeavor for citizens. While you can see where it’s justified when cops beat a confession out of someone, or frame them for a crime they didn’t commit, there are dozens of lawsuits every year against cities for accidents involving buses and trains, icy pavement, as well as even more lawsuits where the city is named as a co-defendant.
Of course, you aren’t suing the city as much as you are suing taxpayers — your friends, neighbors, and family members. If Ms. Sharpton had suffered a serious injury, it might be justifiable to sue for medical bills and lost wages.
But $5 million? It’s partly a legal maneuver, hoping the city will settle for a lot less. But it still rankles when someone makes such outrageous claims of injury when you know they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.
The Department of Homeland Security is blaming a “technology glitch” for approving thousands of work authorization permits, allowing illegal aliens the right to hold a job in the US for three years, despite an injunction issued by a federal judge that prevented them from doing so.
A “technology glitch”? Yeah, right. And the dog ate my homework.
The Obama administration blamed a technology glitch for why it continued to approve new amnesty applications in February, even after a federal judge issued an injunction, telling the court late Friday that they are now begging about 2,000 illegal immigrants to tear up their three-year work authorizations.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Homeland Security agency that approved the deportation amnesty applications for Dreamers despite the judge’s order, insisted it’s corrected the immigrants’ records at headquarters, but said it’s also asking the immigrants themselves to send back their three-year documents and accept two-year papers instead.
The agency also told Judge Andrew S. Hanen that more botched cases could still be found as employees dig through tens of thousands of applications.
President Obama’s lawyers are desperately trying to head off punishment by Judge Hanen after several embarrassing missteps.
First, the lawyers misled the court as to more than 100,000 three-year amnesty applications that were approved between Nov. 20 and Feb. 16, when Judge Hanen issued his injunction. The lawyers said they didn’t intend to mislead, and they assumed the judge knew those applications were being approved.
Then the Homeland Security Department announced it had approved the 2,000 or so three-year applications even after the injunction — a clear violation of the judge’s order, and raising questions about the lawyers’ excuses for the first 100,000 botched applications.
“As the director of USCIS, I accept full responsibility,” agency chief Leon Rodriguez said in an affidavit filed with Judge Hanen. “In retrospect, I believe that USCIS should have exercised greater management oversight of the efforts to halt the production and issuance of three-year notices and [Employment Authorization Documents] once the court issued its injunction.”
Judge Hanen has halted Mr. Obama’s expanded deportation amnesty, announced in November, that would grant tentative legal status and work permits, or Employment Authorization Documents, to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants. The amnesty expands an earlier 2012 program Mr. Obama announced that covers so-called Dreamers, or young illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
You are not going to believe — and neither should the judge — this explanation for the administration’s violation of the injunction:
Donald Neufeld, the agency employee who is overseeing the deportation amnesty, said when the inunction came down, they stopped all amnesty applications. A few days later they began processing two-year approvals again, but didn’t catch thousands of three-year cases that were in the pipeline.
“The February 20 instruction to resume production of EADs led to the issuance of three-year EADs for the previously held EAD-pending cases, although the intention had been for only the two-year EADs to proceed to production,” Mr. Neufeld said in an affidavit. “IT personnel had implemented a system-wide pause on the production of all DACA-related EAD requests in the queue. They had not removed production requests for three-year EADs from the queue.”
Blah, blah, blah…it’s double talk. The only question I have is, are we really to believe no one was watching as these 3 year authorizations were being spit out by the thousands? Who cares if they were already in the pipeline when the process was suspended? They didn’t just magically appear in the mailboxes of illegal aliens. The lawyers are trying to convince the judge that the authorizations went from being buried in the pipeline directly to the recipient with no human intervention.
The judge should throw the book at the lawyers and the administration. Too bad the rack has gone out of style.
The left-wing newsite Vox is reporting that even prior to running for president and while she was seeking a Senate seat, Hillary Clinton granted favors to huge corporations, which then invited Clinton to speak — often for fees in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Almost a decade ago, as Hillary Clinton ran for re-election to the Senate on her way to seeking the presidency for the first time, the New York Times reported on her unusually close relationship with Corning, Inc., an upstate glass titan. Clinton advanced the company’s interests, racking up a big assist by getting China to ease a trade barrier. And the firm’s mostly Republican executives opened up their wallets for her campaign.
During Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, Corning lobbied the department on a variety of trade issues, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The company has donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to her family’s foundation. And, last July, when it was clear that Clinton would again seek the presidency in 2016, Corning coughed up a $225,500 honorarium for Clinton to speak.
In the laundry-whirl of stories about Clinton buck-raking, it might be easy for that last part to get lost in the wash. But it’s the part that matters most. The $225,500 speaking fee didn’t go to help disease-stricken kids in an impoverished village on some long-forgotten patch of the planet. Nor did it go to a campaign account. It went to Hillary Clinton. Personally.
As this chart shows, there were several other companies that paid Clinton to speak and whose donations went to both the foundation and to Clinton personally.
The entities that paid a Clinton for a speech, lobbied Hillary Clinton’s State Department and donated to the Clinton Foundation
That’s not the end of it:
There’s a solid set of companies and associations that had nothing to do with the foundation but lobbied State while Clinton was there and then paid for her to speak to them. Xerox, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, in addition to Corning, all lobbied Clinton’s department on trade matters and then invited her to earn an easy check.
Indeed, the long list of companies that were seeking favors suggests that Clinton hung out a shingle that all but announced her office was for sale for the right amount.
The fact that this story appeared on a reliable Democratic Party organ is interesting, but not surprising. As more and more revelations emerge about Clinton, Inc., the left is getting more antsy about the “inevitability” of Hillary. It’s also why there is a mini-boomlet for Martin O’Malley. Nervous Democrats fear that the cumulative effect of these revelations will damage Hillary Clinton in the general election.
Not too many voters can understand the ins and outs of the Clinton Foundation finances. But just about everyone can see the cynical corruption of companies paying Clinton for favors. This is exactly the sort of thing voters hate about the Clintons — and reminding them of how they operate could inflict significant damage on her.
A great story from York, South Carolina, where Peyton Robinson, a senior at York High School, fought back against a school administration who wanted to force him to remove two large flags from his pickup truck bed — the American and POW-MIA flags.
Robinson’s truck is known throughout the county as he proudly displays those flags in his travels. He’s a volunteer firefighter, a bull riding enthusiast, a devout Christian — and someone willing to stand up to the politically correct school administration that sought to curtail his free speech rights.
On Wednesday, May 13, he was pulled from class and sent to meet an administrator in the parking lot, where he discovered his flags had been removed and placed in the bed of his truck. He was told by school officials, “Do not return to school with these flags.”
After school, Robinson drove home, re-mounted the flags, and decided that he was not going to allow anybody to mess with his truck, or his patriotism. He posted a photo of the American flag in his truck on social media with the promise: “Still flying, and it ain’t coming down.”
What happened next warms the cockles of the heart:
When word got out around York County and the town of McConnells, Robinson’s hometown, that one of their own was going to take a stand for the American flag, folks came from every direction to support him.
On Thursday, An impromptu parade of more than 70 vehicles filled with flag-waving friends, classmates, and local patriots made its way through town and then parked in front of the school for a demonstration, country-style.
The story topped the news all over this conservative-leaning South Carolina county, and was soon picked up by national media.
Robinson told a radio reporter that school officials gave him three different reasons for their anti-flag action. “First they told me that somebody had complained about it,” he said. “Then they said there was a rule against flags. Finally they said it was a safety hazard.”
The school’s superintendent, Vernon Prosser, cited a ‘standing policy’ against flags, but Robinson said no official policy was ever produced, and flags are neither mentioned in the student handbook nor on the school’s website.
“I’d understand if it was the Confederate flag or something that might offend somebody,” Robinson told WBTV news. “I wouldn’t do that. But an American flag? That’s our country’s flag. I have every right to do it.”
We see this sort of thing all the time in other idiotic incidents of school administrators arbitrarily enforcing political correctness. They claim there’s a written policy when there isn’t. They claim someone might be offended and nobody is. And then, when forced to change direction, they say they supported the action all the time.
“We appreciate the passion and pride of all who have called or come by YCHS over the past 24 hours,” the statement read. “America was founded by patriots who led positive change in a myriad of ways. We believe today is a great example of peaceful demonstration leading to positive change.
“This is the very process we advocate in our Social Studies classrooms and the fabric of American citizenship. Thank you for helping us as we educate the students of our community.”
Maybe there’s hope for the next generation yet.
In the days following the release of the book Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer, ABC News’s Democratic party operative George Stephanopoulos vigorously defended Hillary Clinton against charges that she sold her influence as Secretary of State for cash donations to the Clinton Foundation.
Washington Free Beacon points out that Stephanopoulos was making this defense of Hillary and the Clinton Foundation on a variety of programs without telling anyone that he had donated $75,000 to the Foundation.
Watch the video after the copy and tell me if that’s a journalist or a shill for the Clinton gang?
Stephanopoulos, a former Bill Clinton communications aide, interviewed Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer on the April 26 edition of This Week, where he pushed back against his reporting and Schweizer himself, repeating Democratic attacks that he had a “partisan interest” in disparaging the Clintons.
“They say you used to work for President Bush as a speech writer. You are funded by the Koch brothers,” he said. “How do you respond to that?”
“As you know, the Clinton campaign says you haven’t produced a shred of evidence that there was any official action as secretary that supported the interest of donors,” he asked later. “We’ve done investigative work here at ABC News, found no proof of any kind of direct action. An independent government ethics expert at the Sunlight Foundation Bill Allison wrote this: ‘There’s no smoking gun. No evidence that the changed policy based on donations to the foundation. No smoking gun.’ Is there a smoking gun?”
Stephanopoulos did not point out that the Sunlight Foundation is funded by left-wing billionaire George Soros.
In an interview with Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart after his interview of Schweizer, Stephanopoulos called the case of allegations against the Clinton Foundation “a tough one.”
“I read the book that this is based on, Clinton Cash, and I actually interviewed the author on Sunday,” he said. “This is a tough one. Because when you actually look at, look closely at it, he even says there is no evidence of any direct action taken on behalf of the donors … But everybody also knows when those donors give that money, President Clinton or someone, they get a picture with him, there is a hope that is going to lead to something.”
That interview with Schweizer was shameful. Stephanopoulos peppered the writer with questions, interrupting him, talking over him, not giving him time to respond in his attempt to discredit him. What kind of “journalism” is that?
ABC must be shamed into shelving Stephanopoulos for the campaign. Republicans can help by refusing to appear on any ABC News program until they do.
One of the nation’s largest public school systems is contemplating introducing the concept of “gender fluidity” into its curriculum. In case you’re not up to speed on the latest in the gender identity nonsense, gender fluidity posits the notion that biology doesn’t matter — that no one is 100% girl or 100% boy.
The radical gender-identity crowd is determined to mainstream transgenderism. In this campaign, science doesn’t matter. Biology is a fraud. Only personal feelings and fulfillment is what counts.
I know that kids are growing up faster these days, but is this really an appropriate subject for middle schoolers?
Fairfax County Public Schools released a report recommending changes to their family life curriculum for grades 7 through 12. The changes, which critics call radical gender ideology, will be formally introduced next week.
“The larger picture is this is really an attack on nature itself – the created order,” said Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council.
“Human beings are created male and female. But the current transgender ideology goes way beyond that. They’re telling us you can be both genders, you can be no gender, you can be a gender that you make up for yourself. And we’re supposed to affirm all of it.”
The plan calls for teaching seventh graders about transgenderism and tenth graders about the concept that sexuality is a broader spectrum — but it sure smells like unadulterated sex indoctrination.
Get a load of what the kids are going to be learning in middle school:
“Students will be provided definitions for sexual orientation terms heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality; and the gender identity term transgender,” the district’s recommendations state. “Emphasis will be placed on recognizing that everyone is experiencing changes and the role of respectful, inclusive language in promoting an environment free of bias and discrimination.”
Eighth graders will be taught that individual identity “occurs over a lifetime and includes the component of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“Individual identity will also be described as having four parts – biological gender, gender identity (includes transgender), gender role, and sexual orientation (includes heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual).”
The district will also introduce young teenagers to the “concept that sexuality is a broader spectrum.” By tenth grade, they will be taught that one’s sexuality “develops throughout a lifetime.”
This is not a new movement. It has been on the fringes of the LGBT community for years. But trying to mainstream completely unproven theories about gender identity is political, not educational — and certainly not scientific.
The idea that there is more to gender than biology is not without merit. Under very rare and specific circumstances, people born male have been shown to have female biological characteristics and vice versa. This doesn’t mean these people should all be given free sex change operations under Obamacare. Neither does it mean that any of these gender-conflicted individuals will become gay, or bi, or have any sexual orientation beyond their biological attraction for the opposite sex.
But the scientific basis for transgenderism is still weak — especially as it is defined by the radicals. Like most of human sexuality, gender identity is poorly understood with much to learn. One thing is certain, however: it is a topic that should be approached with a lot more care and concern if it is going to be taught to middle schoolers.
Besides, the county schools recently passed a measure that would allow boys and girls to choose whatever bathroom or locker room they felt like using:
School Board spokesman John Torre told the Washington Times the proposed curriculum changes have nothing to do with last week’s vote to allow boys who identity as girls to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice.
He would have us believe it was purely coincidental.
To make matters worse, Lafferty contends parents will not be able to opt their children out of the classes because the lessons will be a part of the mandatory health curriculum.
However, Torre told me that parents will indeed be able to opt out of those classes “including the sexual orientation and gender identity lessons.”
“They are not being forthright with the information,” Lafferty said. “They are not telling people the truth. They are bullying parents. They are intimidating and they are threatening.”
So what’s new from this crowd? Bullying is their MO, as is intimidation and threats. Your kids will be forced to tolerate transgenderism as it is being promoted by the LGBT community, even though it has far more to do with politics than “health education.”
What would possess Pope Francis to call PA President Mahmoud Abbas an “angel of peace”?
It’s like Francis announcing that Satan is just a misunderstood archangel, and really isn’t such a bad sort after all.
Francis said he thought the gift was appropriate since “you are an angel of peace.” During his 2014 visit to Israel and the West Bank, Francis called both Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres men of peace.
Abbas is in Rome for the canonization Sunday of two 19th-century nuns from what was then Ottoman-ruled Palestine. The new saints, Mariam Bawardy and Marie Alphonsine Ghattas, are the first from the region to be canonized since the early days of Christianity.
Abbas on Saturday offered Francis relics of the two new saints.
Church officials are holding up the new saints as a sign of hope and encouragement for Christians in the Middle East at a time when violent persecution from Islamic extremists has driven many Christians from the region of Christ’s birth.
Abbas’ visit also comes days after the Vatican finalized a bilateral treaty with the “state of Palestine” that made explicit its recognition of Palestinian statehood.
The Vatican said it had expressed “great satisfaction” over the new treaty during the talks with the Palestinian delegation. It said the pope, and later the Vatican secretary of state, also expressed hopes that direct peace talks with Israel would resume.
“To this end, the wish was reiterated that with the support of the international community, Israelis and Palestinians may take with determination courageous decisions to promote peace,” a Vatican statement said.
Since the pope insists on ignoring the record, allow me to fill in some details about Mr. Abbas:
* Wrote his dissertation on the supposed collaboration between Nazis and Zionists and claims that the actual number of dead Jews as a result of the Holocaust was less than a million.
* Was named “Anti-Semite of the Year” by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in 2011.
* While acting as Yassar Arafat’s “moderate” face for the PLO in order to placate western complaints about PLO terrorism, Abbas funded the terror attack at the Munich Olympics and played a shadowy role in the attack on the cruise ship Achille Lauro with some former PLO members claiming he was the mastermind behind the attack.
Abbas is not only corrupt, he has been accused of murdering Syrian intelligence officers in 1966. And this is a man the pope has called an “angel of peace”?
The pope’s warped worldview forgives all in Abbas’ past because Francis takes the terrorist at his word today that he wants “peace” with Israel. In the cuckoo land of leftists, despite all evidence to the contrary, Abbas is believed because his views line up with those who wish to blame Israel for the failure to achieve peace.
The Vatican formally recognized the “state” of Palestine for the first time earlier in the week. I don’t think this means that the pope actually wants to see Israel destroyed. But he has obviously bought into the lie that giving Palestinians their own country will allow everyone in the Middle East to live happily ever after.
The pope should stick to saving souls and leave the hard stuff to the grownups.
Meet our very own Baghdad Bob — Brig. Gen. Thomas D. Weidley, chief of staff for Combined Joint Task Force Operation. General Weidley wants to convince us that Islamic State forces are “on the defensive” and that the situation is going just as they planned it — despite the fact that the enemy has just taken Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.
The Islamic State on Friday took control of the provincial government center of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s largest province, and appeared to be in control of most of the city in a major defeat for the Iraqi government.
Islamic State forces also appeared to be closing in on government positions in two other key locations in Anbar province, the towns of Baghdadi and Karmah, in a broad offensive that if successful would end the government presence in any of the province’s major population centers. The capture of Baghdadi also would cut the supply lines to the Iraqi garrison protecting the strategic Haditha Dam.
At Ramadi, government troops were still fighting in some isolated areas. But the city was essentially under the control of the Islamic State after a fierce assault that began with a series of car bombs on Iraqi government security facilities overnight. By late afternoon, security forces appeared to be in full flight as militants consolidated control over the area and prevented anyone from leaving.
The Islamic State’s black flag was flying over the governor’s compound, witnesses said, and a Ramadi resident reported that an Islamic State victory statement was being read from the public address systems atop mosque minarets in the city, warning people not to try to leave. Cell phone service appeared to have been cut in much of the area.
Associated Press all but called out General Weidley for his propaganda campaign:
Weidley appeared to be pressing his own “information campaign” designed to counter the militants’ message of defiance. While conceding the militants’ were managing “episodic control” of certain terrain in Iraq, he insisted their advances were minor and unsustainable.
The State Department offered a similar assessment. “There will be good days and bad days in Iraq,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said. “ISIL is trying to make today a bad day in Ramadi. We’ve said all along we see this as a long-term fight.”
Weidley said IS fighters had launched a complex attack Friday on Ramadi as part of an effort to “feed their information and propaganda apparatus.” He called Ramadi a “critical city” but said he could not confirm how much of the city had been lost to IS on Friday or what percentage remains in Iraqi control. He said his command had seen Islamic State social media postings of photos that depict a successful Ramadi offensive.
“This is similar to the (techniques) they’ve used in the past where they’ve conducted attacks trying to gain social media gains by taking photos and documenting small-term gains and then using it for propaganda purposes,” Weidley said, adding that IS was inflating the importance of its success.
“We’ve seen similar attacks in Ramadi over the last several months for which the ISF (Iraqi security forces) have been able to repel, and we see this one being similar to those,” he said, adding that the U.S. is confident the Iraqi government will be able to take back the terrain it has lost in Ramadi.
In fact, the Iraqi army fled in terror from Islamic State forces in Ramadi. And it appears from their attacks on Baghdadi and Karmah that there is strategic depth to this attack that Weidley isn’t acknowledging. In short, it doesn’t appear that this attack and seizure of Ramadi has much to do with a social media propaganda campaign at all; it appears to be a concerted effort on the part of IS to overrun key strategic points in Anbar province.
Nor is Islamic State “losing” in Syria. Since joining forces with al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, they have pushed back Syrian government forces across the board. We should be used to the military sugar-coating the situation in Iraq by now, but this is a particularly egregious example of U.S. statements bearing little resemblance to the reality on the ground.
I wonder if any college level literature courses teach George Orwell’s 1984 anymore. They evidently don’t teach it at the University of Colorado-Boulder, judging by a new campaign launched by the school to urge students to report the names of those responsible for any “bias-motivated incident” via an online form.
The “Bias Incident Reporting” effort aims to “address the impact of demeaning and hurtful statements as well as acts of intolerance directed towards protected classes,” CU Boulder’s website states.
Examples of bias, according to a corresponding poster campaign highlighting the reporting system, include calling people names or making fun of their culture.
“This in no way is meant to curtail free speech,” campus spokesman Ryan Huff told The College Fix in an email. “We support the First Amendment and want our students to challenge one another in academic ways. We don’t support, however, the use of racial slurs and other demeaning bias-motivated acts.”
Students who perceive or witness “bias-motivated incidents” are asked to report them immediately by filing a “student of concern” report.
Is Mr. Huff a lunatic? Of course the policy is meant to “curtail free speech.” It’s truly frightening that so many people in positions of power have no clue what “free speech” actually means, and think they aren’t squelching it when they threaten people with being reported for saying anything anyone doesn’t much care for.
The reporting effort is designed to “ensure timely and appropriate responses to incidents that appear to be bias-motivated involving University of Colorado students,” the university’s website states. Bias reports are not treated as confidential, it adds.
The diversity commission of CU Boulder’s student government launched the Bias Motivated Incident poster campaign in late April, marked by a slew of posters hung up around campus.
One poster reads, “Go back to Africa, you don’t belong here.” Another says, “Your mom must be the janitor ‘cause that’s the only job for dirty Mexicans.” The student 2883D8F300000578-0-image-a-51_1431235643381government claims both statements, along with others used on various posters, originated from real incidents of bias that have occurred on campus.
“The purpose behind the campaign is two-fold,” student government officials stated on their Facebook page. “One of the objectives is to encourage and inform students to report bias motivated incidents on our campus and the surrounding community. The other purpose of this campaign is to highlight the fact that indeed BMI’s [Bias-Motivated Incidents] happen here on our very own campus and that we are not immune to acts of racism, sexism and overall discrimination toward people’s identities.”
It will be like walking on egg shells on that campus. You can well imagine activists claiming racism, sexism, homophobia and the like against people who disagree with them politically. Conservatives will probably have to wear specially colored armbands as a trigger warning for sensitive liberals who can’t abide anyone disagreeing with them.
President Obama’s attempt to get fast track authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive free trade agreement with most of the countries in Asia, was shot down in the Senate when it failed to get to the 60 vote plateau to shut off debate.
Fast track authority, also known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), would allow the administration to negotiate the trade agreement with the assurance that there would be no attempt to amend the treaty in Congress. It would limit the House and Senate to a straight, up or down vote.
Democrats abandoned the president at the urging of Minority Leader Senator Harry Reid who was seeking to combine the TPA with 3 other trade-related pieces of legislation. One of them, the customs bill, is opposed by most Republicans who want to separate the trade bills into 4 different pieces of legislation.
But there are also Democrats who oppose the entire TPP agreement, saying it would ship jobs overseas. Senator Elizabeth Warren was the most prominent opponent of the treaty, believing it would keep wages low as well.
The White House downplayed the defeat, with press secretary Josh Earnest describing it as a “procedural snafu.”
“It is not unprecedented for the U.S. Senate to encounter procedural snafus,” he said. “We’re going to continue to work through these challenges.”
Earnest dismissed the notion that the vote is a sign the president’s aggressive sales pitch to Democrats on trade has fallen flat.
“I would urge you to withhold judgement about the president’s persuasion ability … until we’ve had a chance to advance this legislation,” Earnest said.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the panel, tried to hash out a last-minute agreement to allow the trade package to come to the floor but were unsuccessful.
Hatch said he would urge McConnell to pull the trade package from the floor if Democrats block it.
It could return in the next two weeks but Tuesday’s setback means it will be very difficult to pass trade legislation before the Memorial Day recess.
Two Republican presidential candidates, Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rand Paul (Ky.), voted in favor of moving to the trade bill.
Another, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), missed the vote, as did Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is considering a White House run. Rubio and Graham also missed Monday’s votes.
Most Democrats oppose the TPP, but there are probably a baker’s dozen of them who would vote for a final agreement. But in addition to fast track, Reid wants the customs bill, a trade adjustment assistance measure that would compensate workers and companies put at a disadvantage by the treaty, and a package of trade incentives for sub-Saharan Africa. Republicans are not likely to go along unless there are substantial revisions to the customs bill, and perhaps a separate vote on the trade adjustment assistance legislation.
Fast track is even more problematic in the House with many Republicans believing that it takes away some of the prerogatives of the legislative branch. Other conservatives believe they had been taken in by President Clinton on NAFTA and don’t want a repeat.
The TPP would create the largest free trading bloc in the world. Almost every nation in Asia except China is ready to sign on. It is, to quote Joe Biden, a big, effing deal and the fact that the president has failed largely as result of his inability to bring his own party along with him marks a low point in his second term.
George Zimmerman, the man who killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense in 2012, was slightly injured during a road rage incident in Lake Mary, Florida.
Zimmerman apparently suffered a minor gunshot wound, CNN affiliate WESH-TV reported, citing the police chief.
The affiliate spoke with one witness, Ricardo Berrare, who also said Zimmerman’s injuries didn’t look serious.
“He walked normally into the ambulance, so he wasn’t being helped or nothing,” Berrare told WESH.
The shooting is under investigation, but it appeared to be some type of road rage incident, Gillett told CNN.
Police said there were no fatalities in the shooting and said the department would not release additional information until a briefing planned for Monday afternoon.
An employee at a nearby business, Kenneth Cornell, said he was exiting his car after lunch when a man drove up and started yelling about the shooting.
The man shouted to Cornell: “I shot George Zimmerman, call 911. I don’t have a phone.”
Cornell said the man didn’t know whether Zimmerman was hurt. He called 911.
According to Cornell, the man told him that he and Zimmerman have had three disputes. This time, Zimmerman waved a gun and the man shot at him, according to Cornell.
Police arrived minutes after he called 911, Cornell said.
Police have not verified Cornell’s account to CNN.
This is only one side of the story. We should wait until Zimmerman has a chance to weigh in before judging what happened.
It looks like trouble is going to follow Mr. Zimmerman for the rest of his life. And he will be a target as well. Last year, a woman claimed that Zimmerman threw a wine bottle at her. She later recanted the claim and charges against Zimmerman were dropped.
Houthi rebels in Yemen have accepted an offer for a 5 day cease fire from Saudi Arabia to facilitate the distribution of critical humanitarian supplies.
Neighboring Saudi Arabia had said on Friday that the ceasefire could begin on Tuesday if the Iranian-allied militia agreed to the pause, which would let in badly needed food and medical supplies.
Backed by the United States, a Saudi-led coalition has been conducting air strikes against the Houthis and army units loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh since March 26 with the aim of restoring the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
“We will deal positively with any efforts, calls or serious and positive measures that would help lift the suffering and allow aid, supplies and ships to move safely to Yemen,” the Houthis said in a statement carried by state media Saba.Colonel Sharaf Luqman, spokesperson for the Houthi-allied army, said on Sunday Yemeni forces had agreed to the truce but would confront any attacks by Hadi loyalists on battlefronts which stretch across much of the impoverished country.
The Houthis say their campaign is aimed at defeating al Qaeda militants based in Yemen and accuse Hadi’s forces of supporting the group.
Arab planes bombed for a second day in a row the vast compound in the capital Sanaa which is home to ex-president Saleh, a key player in Yemen’s political crisis whose loyalists in the army fight on the Houthis’ side.
Saleh, a wily political operator, appeared unscathed and stood before the ruins of his political residence to taunt Saudi Arabia in remarks televised by his TV channel, Yemen Today.”It isn’t just me who is being targeted but every citizen … This aggression is cowardly. Go ahead and come by land, we’ll make a welcome for you,” Saleh, wearing sunglasses, said calmly.
Arab air strikes also hit weapons caches at a military base and a presidential palace in the southern city of Aden, the epicenter of fighting for more than six weeks, and southern fighters questioned the proposed pause.
“We doubt that the Houthis would stick to a ceasefire or truce because they have repeatedly broken political commitments they have made in the past,” a pro-Hadi militiaman in the city told Reuters.
The United Arab Emirates said on Sunday it had dropped 55 tons of food and medical supplies over the city, in the largest such airdrop by a coalition country since the campaign began.
This is the second effort to halt the fighting to allow food and drugs to be distributed to civilians. The first cease fire ended almost immediately as some Houthi tribesmen didn’t recognize it. Also, the deal does not include al-Qaeda or ISIS fighters who are also battling the Iranian-backed Houthis.
Houthis said previously that they would not give up ground during the cease fire, so it is likely that some fighting will continue. Meanwhile, civilians are without food or shelter in many cases and neither side is taking any pains to keep them out of the line of fire.
Double standard. Identity politics. Awful journalism. That just about covers Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin’s interview with Ted Cruz.
Ruben Navarrette called it “painful,” “uncomfortable,” and “nauseating.”
The online interview show that Halperin co-hosts on BloombergPolitics.com is called “With All Due Respect.” But there was nothing respectful about the line of questioning. It started off innocently enough with Halperin asking the 2016 GOP presidential candidate about whether he thinks Hispanics will vote for him. He also mentioned a speech that Cruz had given to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and gave Cruz the chance to explain his argument that Republican economic policies help Hispanics.
Nothing wrong with that. But then Halperin made it personal, and the interview careened into a ditch. He told Cruz that people are curious about his “identity.” Then, the host asked a series of questions intended to establish his guest’s Hispanic bona fides. What kind of Cuban food did Cruz like to eat growing up? And what sort of Cuban music does Cruz listen to even now?
I’ve known Ted for more than a decade and I could tell he was uncomfortable. But he played along, listing various kinds of Cuban food and saying that his musical taste veers more toward country.
I kept waiting for Halperin to ask Cruz to play the conga drums like Desi Arnaz while dancing salsa and sipping cafe con leche — all to prove the Republican is really Cuban.
Just when I thought I’d seen the worst, it got even more offensive. Earlier that day, independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, had entered the presidential race. So, Halperin said: “I want to give you the opportunity to directly welcome your colleague Sen. Sanders to the race, and I’d like you to do it, if you would, en español.”
What nerve, treating a U.S. senator like a trained seal! Who does this guy think he is, trying to evaluate how well a Hispanic speaks Spanish? And what does that have to do with being authentic anyway?
You know who, by their own admission, don’t speak espanol well? Housing Secretary Julian Castro and his twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, both friends of mine. You could bet Halperin would never put those questions to the Castros because, as Democrats, they’re assumed to be closer to the masses than Cruz is.
Asking Cruz to say something in Spanish is akin to asking a black person to eat watermelon or start dancing.
Amid all the hoopla and self-congratulatory accolades coming from Vladimir Putin during the celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, there is one subject that is carefully and completely avoided: the fact that the Soviets assisted Hitler in starting the war.
In the history of diplomacy, there may be no more outrageously cynical and shocking deal than the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union, signed in Moscow a week before Germany invaded Poland. It gave Hitler a free hand in the west, allowing him to avoid a two-front war.
In a secret protocol appended to the treaty and discovered after the war, the two dictators carved up Eastern Europe like a roast. Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland were divided into German and Soviet “spheres of influence.”In the north, Finland, Estonia and Latvia were assigned to the Soviet sphere. Poland was to be partitioned with the Soviets seizing the western third of the country and Germany, the east.
The Soviets negotiated this treaty with the Nazis while also negotiating with France and England to coordinate a response to what everyone knew would be the turn of Poland to be victimized by Hitler. No one was more shocked than Neville Chamberlain when the pact was announced on August 24, 1939.
Vladimir Putin ignored this history in his remarks at the anniversary celebration of the end of the war:
“In recent decades the basic principles of international cooperation have been ignored ever more frequently. We see how a military-bloc mentality is gaining momentum,” said Putin.
While Putin thanked “the people of Great Britain, France and the United States for their contribution to victory” in World War II he said the West has tried to minimize Russia’s contribution to the war effort, contending that nations like the U.S. have tried to “rewrite history” regarding World War II.
Putin said World War II demonstrated the strengths of international cooperation but, likely in a nod to U.S. visibility in world affairs, warned that “in the past decades we have seen attempts to create a unipolar world,” according to the Associated Press.
The Russian people are apparently resentful at the west for raining on their victory parade:
Jill Dougherty, a Russia expert at the Wilson Center and CNN’s former Moscow bureau chief, said social media and TV reports indicate that many ordinary Russians feel insulted by the absence of Western leaders from the commemoration.
They feel it’s a victory that primarily Russians won with their deaths and are angered that it is not being marked by other Allied nations, she said.
“There’s a feeling of insult and anger,” she said. “Unfortunately that plays very much into the feeling that’s going on in Moscow right now, which is exactly about that — insult by the West, a feeling that the West has become the enemy once again.”
World War II is extremely important to Russians, she said, and provokes strong emotions in them.
It is amazing that there is no sense of responsibility by Russians from Putin on down for helping to start World War II. The Russian people have been told that Stalin made the deal because he didn’t trust the British and French. The tale is told that Stalin believed the allies wanted the Soviets to bear the major burden of facing Hitler and he needed time to rearm.
There is a germ of truth in that, but what made the deal so odious was the partition of Poland, and the subsequent invasion by the Soviets of Finland and the Baltic states. Certainly, that had absolutely nothing to do with not trusting the allies, but everything to do with Stalin’s manic desire for territory, which was almost as insatiable as Hitler’s.
There will be no apologies coming from Putin for Russia’s major assist in starting the war. Nor will there be any apologies for the hundreds of thousands of German prisoners of war who perished, or the half a million German women raped by Soviet soldiers as they advanced on Berlin and after the war. These uncomfortable truths are not brought up on these celebratory occasions lest they dampen the mood of triumphalism in Russia.
But you can bet that the Poles, the Finns, the Germans, and others who fell victim to Stalin’s cynicism and avarice will never forget it.