Donald Trump told host Chuck Todd of Meet the Press that he would deport all illegal aliens if he were elected president. “They have to go,” he told Todd.
“We’re going to keep the families together, but they have to go,” he said in the interview, which will air in full on NBC’s “Meet the Press” this Sunday.
Pressed on what he’d do if the immigrants in question had nowhere to return to, Trump reiterated: “They have to go.”
“We will work with them. They have to go. Chuck, we either have a country, or we don’t have a country,” he said.
Speaking on Trump’s gilded private plane as it idled on a runway in Des Moines, Iowa, the real-estate mogul and Republican presidential frontrunner offered the first outlines of the immigration policy proposals he’d implement from the Oval Office.
Trump said, to begin, “we have to” rescind Obama’s executive order offering those brought to the U.S. illegally as children — known as DREAMers — protection from deportation, as well as Obama’s unilateral move to delay deportation for their families as well.
“We have to make a whole new set of standards” for those immigrating to the US.
The comments are certain to further inflame already fierce opposition from Latino activists and advocacy groups. They’ve been critical of Trump’s candidacy from the start, when he kicked off his campaign with a speech that accused Mexico of sending “criminals” and “rapists” to the U.S.
Trump was hazy on the details of his deportation plan. Presumably it would be legal, which means amending the Constitution to make it possible to deport so-called “anchor babies” — children born in the U.S. of illegal parents. Either that, or simply allow anchor-baby families to remain in the U.S. and grant them legal status.
Somehow, I doubt he would employ that option.
Arizona Senator Jeff Flake announced that he would oppose the Iran nuclear deal. Flake had been the subject of heavy White House lobbying as President Obama sought to put a patina of bi-partisanship on the agreement.
The agreement that Iran reached with the United States and other world powers on July 14 “does contain benefits in terms of limiting Iran’s ability to produce sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon for a period of time, particularly at its known nuclear facilities,” Flake said in a statement.
“But these benefits are outweighed by severe limitations the (agreement) places on Congress and future administrations in responding to Iran’s non-nuclear behavior in the region,” Flake added.
The White House had held out some hope that Flake, a Senate Foreign Relations Committee member, would buck his party and possibly bring some other Republicans with him in support of the agreement.
Flake was the only Republican lawmaker who traveled with President Barack Obama to Africa in July. White House officials lobbied him during that trip to support the deal. Flake had backed Obama’s moves on another important foreign policy initiative, establishing warmer relations with Cuba.
White House officials declined comment on Flake’s decision but noted seven Democrats had come out in favor of the deal in the past week.
When Congress returns to work on Sept. 8, debate will begin on a Republican-sponsored “resolution of disapproval” against the deal. That resolution is expected to pass. Obama is poised to veto such a measure, and would need 34 votes in the 100-seat Senate to block the override of that veto and preserve the Iran agreement.
The latest whip list shows 20 Democratic Senators in favor of the deal, 14 short of upholding the president’s expected veto. There are 7 more Senators leaning toward supporting the deal — all very liberal or reliable Obama supporters.
Only one Democrat — Chuck Schumer — has declared himself opposed to the agreement. That leaves 18 Democratic Senators, of which the president needs at least 7 to have his veto upheld in the upper chamber.
But opponents will probably need 12 of the remaining 18 undecided Senators to override. It’s an uphill climb, but not entirely out of the question. A couple of the Democratic undecideds may surprise and Schumer is still working the phones trying to bring a few other Senators along with him.
Both sides are saying the final vote to override the president’s veto will be close — two or three votes being the difference either way. Considering the stakes, it may be the most important vote some of those Senators will ever cast.
From the Gang that Brought Us the Obamacare Website: ‘NextGen’ Air Traffic Control Computer System Blows Up
Flight delays are being reported up and down the East Coast, courtesy of a glitch in the new air traffic control computer system. The system went down Saturday morning and initially affected airports in Washington, D.C., and New York. But the outage quickly spread to Baltimore and other points, causing the cancellation of more than 200 flights and leaving passengers scrambling on a busy weekend. The Washington Post describes the system affected:
ERAM stands for En Route Automation Modernization and is the computer “system that processes flight and surveillance data, provides communications and generates display data to air traffic controllers.”
ERAM is part of a larger infrastructure update called NextGen, with the rollout beginning about 18 months ago. It was designed to allow air-traffic controllers the ability to handle many more flights and to improve guidance of flights throughout the country.
NBC News reports that the computer system, years behind schedule and massively over budget, was installed in the last 18 months. Aviation Today reported in 2012 on the problems being experienced by ERAM that set back installation of the system by 3 years. The emphasis is mine. Tell me these guys didn’t help design the healthcare.gov website:
Noting Lockheed Martin’s “unique expertise” in the en route automation environment, FAA intended to award it the ERAM upgrade in 2002 as a sole source, 10-year contract. However, Raytheon protested, causing FAA to establish an inquiry that subsequently upheld the protest, with Raytheon becoming a Lockheed Martin team member when the $2.1 billion contract was finally awarded in 2003.
The inquiry report revealed, however, that neither FAA nor Lockheed Martin appeared sure how the upgrade was to be accomplished, other than it would be an “incremental decomposition,”a term that evaded clear definition.Three officials gave three different views, while FAA’s integrated product team lead for en route said she did not understand how it could be accomplished or how often one would have to go into the system at any or all of the ARTCCs to perform the incremental modifications. “There’s nothing practical about this,” the FAA integrated product team lead testified. “This is the most complex thing that the agency will ever undertake.”
Her ERAM product team lead also did not know how the “fairly complex technical task” of decomposing old software to get it to run on a new platform in a modern language might be performed. FAA did not conduct a risk assessment to examine the potential costs and benefits of incremental decomposition, nor did it know exactly what had to be incrementally decomposed, although it did acknowledge that “this will necessitate multiple transitions of deployed ERAM functionality.”
Yet, as the integrated product team lead explained, one must know what the software is in order to decompose it. Unfortunately, the Host system had been built in stages, with new functions and capabilities progressively added.
Consequently, it consisted of a set of separate hardware and software components physically interfaced together, but without a common design, infrastructure or software environment: a software “bowl of spaghetti” as both FAA’s integrated product team lead and the associate administrator for research and acquisitions described it to the inquiry.
I will agree with the project lead on this point: it’s an enormously complex system that’s bound to have a lot of bugs to work out. But don’t you get the feeling reading the above that the FAA made this more complex than it should have been? That it proceeded without a full understanding of what it wanted to accomplish? That they were riding by the seat of their pants so that errors were magnified?
The FAA’s chickens came home to roost today on the East Coast.
Veteran Welsh actor John Rhys-Davies, who appeared as Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, had a few choice words to say about the future of western civilization.
Appearing on The Adam Carolla Show podcast, Rhys-Davies pulled no punches about why he believed the west is in mortal danger.
Rhys-Davies said: ‘Basically, Christianity in the Middle East and in Africa is being wiped out – I mean not just ideologically but physically.’
He warned of how ‘people are being enslaved and killed because they are Christians’ and claimed that Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf is ‘a bestseller in the Middle East’.
He told his American interviewer: ‘Your country and my country (Wales) are doing nothing about it. We have lost our moral compass completely.’
Carolla suggested political correctness was the culprit, saying: ‘Why is it so evolved not to judge?This notion that we’ve evolved into a species that’s incapable of judging other groups and what they are doing, especially when it’s beheading people or setting people on fire or throwing acid in the face of schoolgirls… I like that kind of judging. That’s evolved!’
Rhys-Davies replied: ‘This is a unique age. We don’t want to be judgmental. Every other age that’s come before us has believed exactly the opposite. I mean, T.S. Eliot referred to “the common pursuit of true judgement”. Yes, that’s what it’s about. Getting our judgments right, getting them accurate.
‘I think (this is) an age where politicians don’t actually say what they believe. They are afraid of being judged as being partisan. Heaven forbid we should criticize people who, after all, share a different “value system”.
‘But it’s all relevant, it’s all equally relative. We’re all the same. And God and the devil, they’re the same, aren’t they, really? Right and wrong? It’s really just two faces of the same coin.
‘We have lost our moral compass completely, and unless we find it, we’re going to lose our civilization.
‘I think we’re going to lose Western European Christian civilization anyway.
I have read very few clear-headed analyses of the west’s predicament from Europe and even fewer from artists and entertainers. This is significant because, along with intellectuals, authors, and other cultural leaders, it is they who should be front and center in the battle to save the west. Instead, they have lost faith in the goodness and necessity of western civilization and its ultimate triumph over the evil threatening it.
This self-loathing used to be “trendy” and “cool” back in the day. Now, it has placed us all in mortal danger. Can you imagine this bunch of dilettantes and hedonists standing up to the Nazis? Hitler would have made mincemeat of these people.
Rhys-Davies is a lonely voice in the wilderness in Europe, and it’s hard to see how that situation will change. As long as suicidal political correctness dominates the culture, Europe will remain asleep with its head on the chopping block.
Nothing to see here….Move along….
Ordered by Judge Emmett Sullivan to explain, in writing, what it is doing to recover Hillary Clinton’s emails from her private server, the State Department said in a report filed late yesterday afternoon that it wasn’t doing anything because it wasn’t in possession of the emails. They feel no obligation to do anything else in the search for answers regarding Clinton using a private server for official business.
Sidney Powell, writing at the New York Observer:
With astonishing disregard for the truth, the Judge’s questions, or its responsibilities to Congress or the citizens of the United States, the State Department advised that it “is not currently working with DOJ, the FBI or other agencies” for two reasons. “First, the FOIA does not require an agency to search for and produce records that are not in its possession and control.” And, it claims that it is neither in possession nor control of the Clinton’s server.
Obviously, that is precisely the cause of the entire outrage in the first place. The initial legal violations exist because the State Department did not require, and Mrs. Clinton did not use, the secure State.gov for her official emails. Mrs. Clinton should never have had any official State Department information in her personal account or on her server—most especially any sensitive, classified information or any information “respecting the national defense” such as drone signal intelligence. See 18 USC Section 793.
Everyone at the State Department who knew she conducted all of her business on a private address and had the unsecured server at her home is part of this problem and violation. Thus, all at the State Department of any ranking during her tenure may very well be implicated in her conspiracy to violate numerous statutes, including 18 USC Sections 793(d), (e), (f), & (g)—each of which carries a possible 10 year term of imprisonment.
The second and equally appalling reason the State Department is doing nothing to respond to Judge Sullivan’s request is because it is taking Mrs. Clinton’s carefully-worded sworn declaration to mean that she actually provided all of the relevant emails, and it has found nothing responsive in what the culprits have already provided. It is content to let the proverbial “fox guard the henhouse” and let Mrs. Clinton dictate what everyone sees. If that is allowed, rest assured there will be no evidence of the Benghazi murders or Huma Abedin’s conflict of interest, because those emails were not produced by Mrs. Clinton and are no doubt among those she may have successfully destroyed.
No problem. No need to look further. We always let the person being investigated limit the evidence that can be reviewed—right?
Ms. Powell has called for a special prosecutor, but that’s just not going to happen unless some kind of smoking gun emerges from all these investigations. Few journalists are even covering the email scandal as it should be covered — a criminal conspiracy to violate the law.
From our “What was she thinking” file, Chicago Tribune columnist Kristen McQueary really put her foot in it on Thursday when she wrote a column saying that she wished a storm like Katrina would hit Chicago because of how the disaster forced the city of New Orleans to reform:
Envy isn’t a rational response to the upcoming 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
But with Aug. 29 fast approaching and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu making media rounds, including at the Tribune Editorial Board, I find myself wishing for a storm in Chicago — an unpredictable, haughty, devastating swirl of fury. A dramatic levee break. Geysers bursting through manhole covers. A sleeping city, forced onto the rooftops.
That’s what it took to hit the reset button in New Orleans. Chaos. Tragedy. Heartbreak.
Residents overthrew a corrupt government. A new mayor slashed the city budget, forced unpaid furloughs, cut positions, detonated labor contracts. New Orleans’ City Hall got leaner and more efficient. Dilapidated buildings were torn down. Public housing got rebuilt. Governments were consolidated.
An underperforming public school system saw a complete makeover. A new schools chief, Paul Vallas, designed a school system with the flexibility of an entrepreneur. No restrictive mandates from the city or the state. No demands from teacher unions to abide. Instead, he created the nation’s first free-market education system.
Hurricane Katrina gave a great American city a rebirth.
Just for the record, New Orleans is still no bed of roses. Note that she didn’t mention the city’s corrupt, violent, and yes, racist police department. And it’s a little naive to believe that the corrupt government there has been “overthrown” — more like, submerged.
But her nightmare daydream was interrupted by an avalanche of white-hot criticism from residents of the Gulf Coast, which was devastated by Katrina. Twitter blew up with outrage:
To demean the lives lost in the flood of Katrina to promote a political view is blasphemous evil. Disgrace http://t.co/Z2URtGhSv7
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) August 14, 2015
I got two sentences into that Chicago Tribune Katrina piece before going “no no no no no no no no”
— Oliver Sava (@OliverSava) August 14, 2015
McQueary was trying to make a point summed up by her waxing wonderful about the annual Air and Water Show that will be in town this weekend. “Chicago is so good at hiding its rot,” she writes. And then, she proceeds to tick off the massive problems in the city that are simply not being addressed, especially the budget and debt problems that threaten the city’s future.
Any brainless twit can break up a rally, screaming incoherently about “justice” while interfering in the democratic process of choosing the next president.
Common sense would dictate that such disruptive protestors should be dealt with firmly. At the very least, they should be given a good talking to by their elders about the proper legal and democratic channels to work for change.
But what happens when the elders side with the youngsters, whose desire to shout down those who don’t agree with them while throwing an infantile tantrum because their issues are not being given the priority they think they deserve threatens an orderly and thoughtful democratic process of choosing our next leader? Such veiled threats of violence have no place in an American presidential campaign.
No one was more shocked than socialist Bernie Sanders when protesters charged the stage from which he was just beginning to speak last Saturday and began to shout gibberish and seized the microphone so he couldn’t continue. They refused to relinquish the stage, much to the chagrin of a crowd who did not come to the rally to hear raving lunatics who don’t care a rat’s ass about democracy
The Gestapo couldn’t have done a better job.
So instead of responsible adults in the Democratic Party — indeed, all Americans — standing together in opposition to these kinds of undemocratic tactics, some black lawmakers are actually egging the protestors on.
The activists have employed the controversial tactic of interrupting stump speeches and other public forums, which has drawn ire from many Democrats as an uncivil and misguided effort that targets allies, rather than opponents, of such reforms.
But a number of black Democrats disagree, arguing that race-based problems have been neglected for too long, even by liberal policymakers, and the activists have tapped into a vein of frustration that justifies their methods.
“They really are speaking to the issues, and we’re really long overdue responding to those issues,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said in a phone interview. “They’ve been pointed, nonviolent and strong, and I’m not offended.
“They’re asking for nothing more than to lift up a system to treat them with justice.”
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) echoed that message, alluding to recent high-profile cases of young unarmed blacks killed by police officers as proof that America’s racial problems persist and demand a specific response from the presidential candidates — liberal and conservative alike. The public debate that’s followed the recent protests, he suggested, merits their controversial tactics.
“For Black Lives Matter activists, the issue is literally a matter of life and death as evidenced by the continued killing of unarmed Black men and women by police officers across the nation,” Johnson said in an email. “When presidential candidates fail to acknowledge how the current criminal system detrimentally impacts Black lives, they [the activists] resort to disruptive tactics to force attention to the issue.
“While disruption is uncomfortable, it does result in candidates acknowledging and addressing the issue with policy proposals,” he added. “When that happens, the need to protest is abated.”
Black Lives Matter, a national but largely decentralized movement, arose in response to the rash of recent police killings around the country, including in New York City, Baltimore, Cleveland and Ferguson, Mo. The nonpartisan group bills itself as “an ideological and political intervention” aimed at pressuring lawmakers of all stripes to adopt specific policy prescriptions for advancing “the needs and dreams of black people.” Central to its message is a push to overhaul the criminal justice system and combat the structural racism it says pervades American politics and the culture at large.
Yes, the killings of unarmed kids by the police are tragedies. But what kind of “criminal justice reform” would have saved those lives? Most activists looking at reform say there are too many black men in jail. All the criminal justice reform in the world will not substantially impact the black prison population. The only thing that will accomplish what the protesters want is if blacks commit fewer crimes.
And while the death of unarmed blacks — and whites — at the hands of police is serious, it is extremely myopic to want to address that problem at the expense of the much larger issue that blacks are killing other blacks at an astonishing rate.
It’s ludicrous to buy into the narrative being advanced by protesters that police deliberately set out to kill black men, or target them intentionally. There may, in fact, be bias in law enforcement directed against blacks. But the idea that police want to kill them all is an evil fantasy deliberately being advanced to put fear and loathing in the hearts of other blacks directed against the police.
Ask the black residents of Baltimore how that’s working out for them.
Just when you think the Islamic State can’t do anything that would outrage civilized humanity any more than we already are, along comes this story in the New York Times that goes into excruciating detail about how rape is being used to recruit ISIS members and the twisted justification for it that ISIS says comes directly from the Koran.
The report also details how the sex-slave market works — its bureaucracy, its logistics, and its organization.
The article starts with a horrific description of an ISIS fighter raping a 12-year-old girl:
In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her — it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted.
He bound her hands and gagged her. Then he knelt beside the bed and prostrated himself in prayer before getting on top of her.
When it was over, he knelt to pray again, bookending the rape with acts of religious devotion.
“I kept telling him it hurts — please stop,” said the girl, whose body is so small an adult could circle her waist with two hands. “He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God,” she said in an interview alongside her family in a refugee camp here, to which she escaped after 11 months of captivity.
The systematic rape of women and girls from the Yazidi religious minority has become deeply enmeshed in the organization and the radical theology of the Islamic State in the year since the group announced it was reviving slavery as an institution. Interviews with 21 women and girls who recently escaped the Islamic State, as well as an examination of the group’s official communications, illuminate how the practice has been enshrined in the group’s core tenets.
The trade in Yazidi women and girls has created a persistent infrastructure, with a network of warehouses where the victims are held, viewing rooms where they are inspected and marketed, and a dedicated fleet of buses used to transport them.
A total of 5,270 Yazidis were abducted last year, and at least 3,144 are still being held, according to community leaders. To handle them, the Islamic State has developed a detailed bureaucracy of sex slavery, including sales contracts notarized by the ISIS-run Islamic courts. And the practice has become an established recruiting tool to lure men from deeply conservative Muslim societies, where casual sex is taboo and dating is forbidden.
A growing body of internal policy memos and theological discussions has established guidelines for slavery, including a lengthy how-to manual issued by the Islamic State Research and Fatwa Department just last month. Repeatedly, the ISIS leadership has emphasized a narrow and selective reading of the Quran and other religious rulings to not only justify violence, but also to elevate and celebrate each sexual assault as spiritually beneficial, even virtuous.
The Islamic State is not stupid in the ways of marketing and public relations. I used to think that much of the gruesomeness of their executions was due to a savvy understanding of how to get maximum exposure, and play on the visceral fear of westerners.
That may have been part of it. But what this sex-slave story reveals goes far beyond the usual misogyny of fundamentalist Muslims. It is a direct assault on civilization — all civilizations, not just western. Committing mass executions using horrific methods is a means to justify to themselves the holiness of their cause — the bloodier, the more sacred the act.
What makes ISIS so dangerous is that, like the Nazi Party, sociopaths are attracted by the inherent violence and are welcomed with open arms. In the case of ISIS, there is the added incentive of doing God’s will — even as you’re raping a 12-year-old girl.
Muslim nations don’t realize the threat ISIS poses both militarily and spiritually to their religion and culture. In truth, ISIS is a problem for Islam, not the west. It’s clear now that they have millions of supporters in Islamic countries around the world — and that is only going to grow in the years ahead.
Judging by how Islamic countries have dealt with ISIS so far, and how the west has responded, I am not confident that they can be stopped. Unless there is a radical change in how the threat is perceived and confronted, there appears to be little chance that the idea that is ISIS can be defeated.
No one knows yet what caused the two massive explosions that ripped through the warehouse district in the Chinese city of Tianjin, one of the busiest ports in the world yesterday, throwing hundreds of huge shipping containers dozens of yards and mangling hundreds more.
Chinese officials are still trying to assess the extent of the damage, but 50 are known dead and at least 500 injured — 71 critically. Rescuers are still digging through the wreckage looking for survivors. Firefighters have suspended their efforts, fearing the volatility of some of the chemicals it is believed were the proximate cause of the explosions.
Indeed, one of the big worries now is toxic fumes. The warehouse that is believed to be ground zero for the explosions was filled with some pretty nasty stuff;
sodium cyanide (NaCN), toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and calcium carbide (CaC2), all of which pose direct threats to human health on contact. NaCN in particular is highly toxic. Ca(C2) and TDI react violently with water and reactive chemicals, with risk of explosion.
Thousands of cars waiting to be shipped are little more than charred hulks:
The Wall Street Journal reports that a supply problem now exists of raw materials being shipped into the port, including iron ore for China’s massive steel industry:
Tianjin and its port are at the center of one of China’s economic zones—regions with special laws and ownership restrictions to facilitate international trade. Along with numerous Chinese-owned manufacturing facilities, major Western corporations, including Airbus Group SE, John Deere and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. operate factories or distribution centers in the area. Factories across the region rely on Tianjin to export their goods and to import iron ore, coal, oil and other commodities. The port is also one of the top importers of cars in China.
Tianjin ranks 10th globally in container traffic, handling about 14 million twenty-foot-equivalent units, the standard measure for containers, according to Alphaliner, a research firm. That’s about the same number as the combined volume at Los Angeles and Long Beach, the largest U.S. port complex, though it lags the busiest southern Chinese ports, including Shanghai and Shenzhen.
Tianjin “is absolutely an enormous port … it’s of huge importance in respect to the distribution of goods around the northern region of China, especially the Beijing metropolitan area,” said John Manners-Bell, chief executive of U.K.-based logistics research firm Transport Intelligence Ltd.
He said even minor delays could have a vast impact on supply chains because major ports like Tianjin serve as focal points for global shipping as well as transportation inland. He added that it’s too early to know how the explosions will affect logistics for companies that use the port.
“This is a huge, huge risk … ports are transport nodes within the supply chain,” Mr. Manners-Bell said.
The explosions could potentially have an immediate effect on the price of iron ore imported by steelmakers, according to Nicolai Hansteen, an analyst with shipbroking firm Lorentzen & Stemoco AS in Oslo.
The port has been expanding its iron ore import capabilities in recent years to accommodate the largest ore ships. In 2008, China Cosco Holdings Ltd., a state-owned shipping line, established a new headquarters for its dry bulk shipping operations in Tianjin. The port imported 25 million tons of iron ore in the first half of 2015, or roughly 6% of China’s projected total imports this year, according to data analyzed by Lorentzen.
Government data also show that Chinese steel mills have drawn down stocks of iron ore to roughly 80 million tons, or about 20 days’ supplies, Mr. Hansteen said.
“It’s fallen to a very precarious levels. Any disruption in that respect will be felt as a shortage, and it will be felt as high prices.”
The death toll is expected to rise dramatically. The company that runs the port says that dozens of its employees are missing, and they are still expecting to find bodies in the rubble.
It is expected to take many weeks for operations at the port to get back to normal. Meanwhile, you have to wonder if there isn’t a similar time bomb of toxic chemicals being stored at an American port just waiting for one careless worker, or one unlucky occurrence to cause a similar tragedy.
That’s the title of a fascinating Reason TV interview with Whole Foods founder and CEO John Mackey.
I have to say that since I never shopped at Whole Foods, my perception of the company was always shaped by only what I read about it. My impression of Mackey was of an aging hippie dedicated to liberal causes whose target customers were metrosexuals and self-conscious health nuts.
It turns out that Mackey is 180 degrees opposite of what I expected. Nick Gillespie of Reason fills in the missing pieces on Mackey and Whole Foods:
More than any other outlet, Whole Foods has reconfigured what and how America eats and the chain’s commitment to high-quality meats, produce, cheeses, and wines is legendary. Since opening his first store in Austin, Texas in 1980, Mackey now oversees operations around the globe and continues to set the pace for what’s expected in organic and sustainably raised and harvested food.
Because of Whole Foods’ trendy customer base and because Mackey is himself a vegan and champions collaboration between management and workers, it’s easy to mistake Mackey for a progressive left-winger. Indeed, an early version of Jonah Goldberg’s best-selling 2008 book Liberal Fascism even bore the subtitle “The Totalitarian Temptation from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton and The Totalitarian Temptation from Hegel to Whole Foods.”
Yet nothing could be further from the truth—and more distorting of the radical vision of capitalism at the heart of Mackey’s thought. A high-profile critic of the minimum wage, Obamacare, and the regulatory state, Mackey believes that free markets are the best way not only to raise living standards but also to explore new ways of building community and creating meaning for individuals and society. At the same time, he challenges all sorts of libertarian dogma, including the notion that publicly traded companies should always seek to exclusively maximize shareholder value (go here to read a 2005 Reason debate about the social responsibility of business featuring Mackey, Milton Friedman, and Cypress Semiconductor CEO T.J. Rodgers). Conscious Capitalism, the book he co-authored with Rajendra Sisodia, lays out a detailed case for Mackey’s vision of a post-industrial capitalism that addresses spiritual desire as much as physical need.
Mackey doesn’t pull any punches when railing against the anti-business attitudes of intellectuals:
Mackey: Intellectuals have always disdained commerce. That is something that tradesmen did; people that were in a lower class. And so you had minorities, oftentimes did it, like you had the Jews in the West. And when they became wealthy and successful and rose, then they were envied, then they were persecuted and their wealth confiscated, and many times they were run out of country after country. Same thing happened with the Chinese in the East. They were great businesspeople as well. So the intellectuals have always sided kind of with the aristocrats to maintain a society where the businesspeople were kind of kept down. You might say that capitalism was the first time that businesspeople kinda caught a break, because of Adam Smith and the philosophy that came along with that, and the industrial revolution began this huge upwards surge of prosperity.
reason: Is it a misunderstanding of what business does? Is it envy? Is it a lack of capacity to understand that what entrepreneurs do, or what innovators do, is take a bunch of things that might not be worth much separately and then they transform it? What is the root of the antagonism towards commerce?
Mackey: It’s sort of where people stand in the social hierarchy, and if you live in a more business-oriented society, like the United States has been, then you have these businesspeople, who they don’t judge to be very intelligent or well-educated, having lots of money, and they begin to buy political power with it, and they rise in the social hierarchy, whereas the really intelligent people, the intellectuals, are less important. And I don’t think they like that. And I think that’s one of the main reasons why the intellectuals have usually disdained commerce: they haven’t seen it, the dynamic, creative force, because they measure themselves against these people, and they think they’re superior, and yet in the social hierarchy they’re not seen as more important. And I think that drives them crazy.
Mackey is an innovator, but is he a capitalist? Twenty years ago, I might have dismissed him as someone who wanted “capitalism with a human face.” But Mackey’s ideas about capitalism are more subtle and nuanced. You don’t need a union, for instance, to create a cooperative workplace where management and workers establish collaborative relationships that feed innovation and creativity. That kind of “post industrial” capitalism is already here.
The question of capitalism satisfying “spiritual desires” is more problematic. Clearly, we are headed for an era where there will be great competition for the best minds and the best talent as the world shrinks even further. An American graduating with an advanced engineering degree might be just as likely to end up working overseas as he would in the U.S. The same will hold true for the Chinese and other big economies. But more than a job, a company can create an atmosphere where spiritual satisfaction in the work is encouraged. The idea that the worker is making an impact beyond his own company is something that young workers are telling pollsters today.
Nevertheless, this is a great interview.
As PJM’s D.C. Editor Bridget Johnson reports, Donald Trump once again hurled a personal insult at a rival for the nomination that questions the candidate’s intelligence.
Now he comes out and says Rand Paul is “a spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain.”
What is it with these sandbox epithets? Five year olds shout “stupid” and “dummy” at one another, not grown men seeking the most powerful office in the world.
The obvious explanation is that Donald Trump has a massive insecurity when it comes to his own intelligence. He uses the insults to try to prove to himself that he is the equal of the mostly accomplished men and women who are running for the presidency. He also constantly refers to himself a “smart”or “a really smart person,” trying to convince himself of his own intellectual gifts.
He could prove it to us all — if he would only release his college transcripts.
As the Daily Caller pointed out in an article last month, Trump is oblivious to the hypocrisy of his refusal to release his college grades:
Calling President Barack Obama “the least transparent president in the history of this country” back in 2012, Trump offered to give $5 million to the charity of the president’s choosing if he released his college application and transcript.
“The check will be given within one hour after he releases all of the records,” Trump declared in a video.
But now that Trump himself is a candidate for president, he is not exactly volunteering the same transparency he once demanded of Obama. Asked by The Daily Caller if Trump was willing to release his college records before he officially entered the race for the White House, a spokesman for Trump said Team Trump would “pass” on the opportunity in April. Emails Tuesday and Wednesday to the Trump campaign to see if the candidate had reconsidered now that he is officially a candidate went unreturned.
Trump’s refusal to release his transcript is especially peculiar since he regularly touts his brilliance and phenomenal college success on the campaign trail.
“I went to the Wharton School of Business,” Trump routinely notes during campaign speeches. “I’m, like, a really smart person.”
He often adds, as he did in a recent speech in Las Vegas attended by TheDC, that Wharton is the best business school in the country and that he did great there.
And yet, for some reason, Trump doesn’t want to show the American people just how great he did.
Not all candidates release their college grades. But what happens when a candidate’s intelligence — or lack of it — becomes an issue? In the case of President Obama, his campaign was touting his “brilliance,” so requesting that he release his college grades was entirely reasonable, and indeed, expected.
The same could be fairly said of Donald Trump. By questioning the intelligence of his rivals, he is implying that he is smarter than they are. Very well, put your grades where you mouth is, Trump. Let us have a peek at how “great” you did at Wharton, and the other college you attended for two years, Fordham.
Trump’s infantile insults aside, he should also release his grades to show he isn’t a liar. I suspect it will hardly matter to the Trumpbots who mindlessly cheer this idiotic clown on.
Report: Talks on Iran’s Nuclear Program Began in 2011 with U.S. Acknowledging Tehran’s Right to Enrich Uranium
A report from the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) offers some shocking revelations on when negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program began and the point at which we abandoned the long-time American policy that no talks would take place until Iran stopped enriching uranium.
The ostensible reason for beginning the P5+1 talks in 2013 was the election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani — the supposed “moderate” leader. Instead, a letter sent in 2011 via Oman from the then-chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator John Kerry, was directed to the government of former fanatical president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In it, the U.S. guaranteed the right of Iran to enrich uranium on its own soil.
In a speech he delivered on June 23, 2015, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said that the American administration had initiated the nuclear talks with Iran during Ahmadinejad’s term in office, based on a U.S. recognition of a nuclear Iran: “The issue of negotiating with the Americans is related to the term of the previous [Ahmadinejad] government, and to the dispatching of a mediator to Tehran to request talks. At the time, a respected regional figure came to me as a mediator [referring to Omani Sultan Qaboos] and explicitly said that U.S. President [Obama] had asked him to come to Tehran and present an American request for negotiations. The Americans told this mediator: ‘We want to solve the nuclear issue and lift sanctions within six months, while recognizing Iran as a nuclear power.’ I told that mediator that I did not trust the Americans and their words, but after he insisted, I agreed to reexamine this topic, and negotiations began.”
Hossein Sheikh Al-Islam: Kerry Sent Iran A Letter Via Oman Recognizing Iran’s Enrichment Rights
In an interview with the Tasnim news agency on July 7, 2015, Hossein Sheikh Al-Islam, an advisor to Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, said that John Kerry had relayed a letter to Tehran recognizing Iran’s enrichment rights: “We came to the [secret] negotiations [with the U.S.] after Kerry wrote a letter and sent it to us via Oman, stating that America officially recognizes Iran’s rights regarding the [nuclear fuel] enrichment cycle. Then there were two meetings in Oman between the [Iranian and U.S.] deputy foreign ministers, and after those, Sultan Qaboos was dispatched by Obama to Khamenei with Kerry’s letter. Khamenei told him: ‘I don’t trust them.’ Sultan Qaboos said: ‘Trust them one more time.’ On this basis the negotiations began, and not on the basis of sanctions, as they [the Americans] claim in their propaganda.”
Salehi: Obama Appointed Senator Kerry To Handle The Nuclear Dossier Vis-à-vis Iran; Later He Was Appointed Secretary Of State
Iranian Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi and head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, who was restored to the nuclear negotiation team this year, served as Iran’s foreign minister in 2010-2013. In interviews he has given on Iranian media since April 2014, he too claimed that the Americans initiated the secret talks with Iran in 2011-2012, and stressed his role in jumpstarting the process from the Iranian side.
If true, this explains a lot. Was Kerry really the best choice for secretary of State? I, and I’m sure many others, thought not. Kerry was not nominated by the president for his brains. He was nominated because his confirmation would be a snap.
But how many senators would have voted for him if they knew he was in secret negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program?
The secrecy behind the initiative is not surprising, given the depth of enmity between the two countries. But starting out negotiations by giving up your hole card is outrageously stupid. We had been telling Iran for 10 years or more that we would not begin talks to lift sanctions until they gave up their enrichment program. Instead of dangling that bait in front of Iranian noses, Obama tossed it into the pot without even thinking.
Indeed, as Andrew McCarthy p0ints out in NRO, the president constantly misled the public on this issue:
The Obama administration has repeatedly signaled to Congress and the public that it was holding the line against a right to enrichment. In fact, as Henry Sokolski and Greg Jones of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center noted here at National Review when Obama announced the “interim agreement” with Iran in late 2013, the administration made a point of assuring that the interim agreement “does not concede that Iran has a right to enrich uranium.”
There is, moreover, good reason to conclude that the Iranians are a reliable source on this point. Since the “right to enrichment” has been their top agenda item from the start, it was undoubtedly a key consideration in the regime’s decision to engage in the negotiations Obama was so anxious to have. Furthermore, Iran has been consistent in its public statements about this issue, while the Obama administration has been slippery to the point of embarrassment.
Obama’s capitulation is a national-security disaster. Not only will it inexorably arm the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism with nuclear weapons. There is no conceding Iran’s right to enrich uranium without conceding every nation’s right to enrich uranium.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I really hope President Obama’s first post-presidency job is as a used car salesman. Given his penchant to give the store away during negotiations, I might just walk off the lot with a free car.
A father in Dubai took his family to the beach for a picnic and some fun in the sun, only to have the day turn into needless tragedy.
The father’s daughter began to drown a short distance from shore when lifeguards began the attempt to rescue her. But the father — who is apparently very strong — restrained the lifeguards from doing their job because “he prefers his daughter being dead than being touched by a strange man.”
Speaking to Emirates 24|7, Lt. Col Ahmed Burqibah, Deputy Director of Dubai Police’s Search and Rescue Department said that this incident took place at a beach in Dubai.
“This is one of the incidents which I cannot forget.
“It shocked me and many others who were involved in the case.
“The Asian father took his wife and kids to the beach for picnic and fun.
“The kids were swimming in the beach when suddenly, the 20-year-old girl started drowning and screaming for help.
“Two rescue men were at the beach, and they rushed to help the girl.
“However, there was one obstacle which prevented them from reaching the girl and helping her.
“This obstacle was the belief of this Asian man who considered that if these men touched his daughter, then this would dishonour her. It cost him the life of his daughter.”
Lt. Col. Burqibah added that the father of the girl did not want the rescue men to touch his daughter as they were strange men.
“The father was a tall and strong man. He started pulling and preventing the rescue men and got violent with them. He told them that he prefers his daughter being dead than being touched by a strange man.”
He pointed out that this delay and fight with the girl’s father cost the girl her life. She drowned.
“She died unfortunately, at a time when she had a chance to live, especially that the rescue men were so close to her to pull her out of the water.”
This is a brutal twist on the “honor killing” meme. In this case, it was a preemptive honor killing, since if the girl had been rescued, this fanatical father would probably have slit her throat right there.
That such barbaric beliefs exist in the 21st century is almost beyond belief. That there isn’t a worldwide outcry against this outmoded code of “honor” by feminists and human rights groups is understandable when you realize they are far more enamored of bending the knee to multiculturalism than they are in saving lives of women.
The father was later prosecuted. Not for negligent homicide or whatever its equivalent is in Dubai, but for restraining the lifeguards. Evidently, it’s not a crime to kill your daughter but it is against the law to restrain lifeguards.
Next time you’re in Target, don’t bother looking for “boys bedding” or “girls building sets.” That’s because they are being removed so that the sensibilities of some of their customers won’t be disturbed.
Target, still one of the icons of middle-America retail outlets, apparently heard from their customers that such signage could actually be “harmful.”
I’ve lived in the Midwest all my life and if one in a thousand midwesterners believes that, I’d be shocked. It appears there has been an organized campaign to get Target to change the signs — and it didn’t originate in Ottumwa, Iowa.
The big box retailer announced Friday that it will start phasing out gender-based signage in some departments. The shift comes in response to customer feedback that distinguishing between products for girls and boys is unnecessary and maybe even harmful.
Parents and gender equality advocates welcomed the news as a significant step with potential to inspire other retailers.
“This change is a step towards removing gender limitations in childhood, but when one of the world’s largest retailers does this, the ripple effect will be significant,” author Melissa Atkins Wardy said in her blog, Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies, which promotes gender-neutral toys, apparel and other products for children.
“This change will play a role in shifting the way kids see themselves as consumers and will help to shift the way adults see the role of gender in childhood,” said Wardy, author of “Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween.”
Historically, Target used signs to help customers find products faster, the company said in a statement on its website. In some cases it makes sense, like with apparel, where fit and sizing differences between the sexes come into play, the statement said.
“But shopping preferences and needs change and, as guests have pointed out, in some departments like toys, home or entertainment, suggesting products by gender is unnecessary,” the company said.
“We heard you, and we agree.”
The changes will come over the next few months, the company said. Signs in the kids’ bedding area will no longer feature suggestions for boys or girls. In the toys aisles, references to gender, including the use of pink, blue, yellow or green paper on the walls of shelves, also will be removed.
So, if you’re so inclined, you can buy your male toddler bedding that features teddy bears or the Little Princess. And your female child will no doubt love the trucks on her sheets.
And don’t buy into the idea that “boys” and “girls” clothing will long remain designated by sex. That’s the next high frontier for the gender warriors who are out to make everything “gender neutral.” Because there’s no difference — biologically or otherwise — between boys and girls, right?
As I mentioned, middle America is going to be confused by this. Their brains are wired normally. Their reality is grounded in exactly what they see around them. The idea that there are not differences between the sexes might have them thinking someone is trying to play a joke on them.
Unfortunately, it’s all too real. And if I had a child I would do everything in my power to shield them from this madness.
There isn’t a far-left issue that the Seattle City Council hasn’t passed or considered passing. So you just knew that they would get around to screwing gun owners in some novel and inventive way.
How about a $25 tax on every firearm sold? Add to that a 5 cent tax on every cartridge and you have the typical liberal assault on law-abiding gun owners.
But that’s only part of the package. There’s also a provision to require gun owners to report the theft or loss of any firearm within 24 hours.
Gun-rights advocates protested, but a Seattle City Council committee on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve a two-pronged gun-safety plan, which would tax sales of guns and ammunition in Seattle and require that gun owners report the theft or loss of any firearm within 24 hours.
The council is slated to give final approval to the measure on Monday.
Harborview Medical Center treated 253 victims of gun violence in 2014 at a cost of $17 million, $12 million of that borne by the taxpayers, so it is right to “ask the gun industry to chip in and help defray those costs,” Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess, sponsor of the legislation, told colleagues.
Actually, it’s right to ask the people who incurred the cost to pay it. But I suppose it’s a little too much to ask some gangbanger to reimburse the taxpayer for getting in the way of a bullet.
If the legislation passes, the gun lobby is certain to draw a bead on it in court. The lobby prevailed three years ago, arguing state preemption and overturning a newly enacted Seattle ordinance that banned firearms in Emerald City parks.
The $25 tax on gun purchases will cause buyers to “travel to retailers outside Seattle,” Trevor Santos, manager of government relations for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told council members. The burden of the tax, which also includes a five-cents-per-cartridge tax on ammunition, would fall on “law-abiding gun owners,” argued Santos, because criminals don’t patronize legitimate gun dealers (who run background checks).
The tax is expected to bring $300-500,000 a year to city coffers, although officials said Wednesday that the estimate is not one you can take to the bank.
The council members were unmoved. Burgess and council member Sally Bagshaw noted that Congress recently extended a ban that forbids the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from studying the underlying causes of gun violence. The ban was imposed in 1996 at the behest of the National Rifle Association.
“If we want research money, this is the only way to get it,” said Bagshaw.
Jazz Shaw takes down the silly notion that the revenue from the tax will be anywhere near what they think it’s going to be:
Supporters are claiming that this tax could bring in a half million dollars in revenue, but under the best of circumstances that sounds vastly inflated. It also doesn’t take into account how much it could affect the local market. As one local gun dealer pointed out, it’s a competitive sales space and they already sell pretty much on the margins. If he has to jack up the price of a ten or fifteen dollar box of ammunition by five dollars, shooters will simply go outside the city limits and buy their rounds where the tax is not applied. The same goes for new gun purchases. If sales plummet, the tax revenue goes down by default and if the shops close, the revenue disappears entirely.
Of course, that’s been the idea all along. This isn’t a tax intended to raise revenue for vital services. It’s a political statement. That’s why the supporters of the proposal even call it the gun violence tax. They’re not expecting to raise cash or reduce violence. They’re simply looking to show their base constituents how “serious” they are about restricting gun rights. The irony behind all of this is that the city will doubtless face a series of expensive lawsuits if the tax is put in place and they’ll probably lose. In the end they will wind up getting no revenue and the taxpayers will be stuck with the bill for the court costs and associated expenses.
But hey… this is Seattle. What did you really expect?
Former U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo has penned a piece for Breitbart that should become part of the discussion of the campaign. The article is about illegal alien crime and the silence by the press on this issue.
Illegal alien crime is a symptom of the much broader problem of our inability to control our borders — who comes in, who stays out, and how many immigrants we allow to come in.
Controlling one’s borders is a prerequisite for sovereignty. No leaders in Europe are advocating that all the African migrants washing up on the shores of Greece, Italy, and other southern European countries be allowed in. Neither should we. And thousands of Americans have paid for our weak and ineffective immigration enforcement with their lives — cut short by criminals who came here illegally.
Tancredo outlines the problem:
The mainstream media – including, sadly, major segments of the presumably conservative media, like the Wall Street Journal — are working overtime to keep the American public and the American voters in the dark on the scope of illegal alien crime. The murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco exposed only the tip of a massive iceberg, and the media establishment is desperate to avoid dealing with the iceberg underneath.
Let’s look at a few numbers. You haven’t seen them in the New York Times, Atlanta Constitution, or the Miami Herald, nor have they been featured on NBC Nightly news or CNN. So, the average American is blissfully unaware of them.
- Between 2008 and 2014, 40% of all murder convictions in Florida were criminal aliens. In New York it was 34% and Arizona 17.8%.
- During those years, criminal aliens accounted for 38% of all murder convictions in the five states of California, Texas, Arizona, Florida and New York, while illegal aliens constitute only 5.6% of the total population in those states.
- That 38% represents 7,085 murders out of the total of 18,643.
That 5.6% figure for the average illegal alien population in those five states comes from US Census estimates. We know the real number is double that official estimate. Yet, even if it is 11%, it is still shameful that the percentage of murders by criminal aliens is more than triple the illegal population in those states.
Those astounding numbers were compiled by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) using official Department of Justice data on criminal aliens in the nation’s correctional system. The numbers were the basis for a presentation at a recent New Hampshire conference sponsored by the highly respected Center for Security Policy.
There is widespread public ignorance of illegal alien crime in every state because the mainstream media does investigate such matters. Why? Because they do not want the public to think about such things. The media, from the Associated Press down to the Main Street News, does not even allow the phrase “illegal immigrant” to appear in print.
The lack of media coverage of this issue is an illustration of the power of identity politics. Portraying illegals in anything but a positive light brings a storm of criticism from Hispanic activists who claim such negative coverage is racist and unfair because it supposedly tars all Hispanics as violent criminals. It’s the same reason that the race of suspects in crime stories is never mentioned, nor are pictures of the criminal usually used. Any media outlet that changed that policy and began to report the truth would no doubt be subject to boycotts and harsh criticism from the social justice crowd.
Now here’s something you don’t see everyday — a rally by a socialist Democrat, Bernie Sanders, shut down by enraged blacks, who accused the nearly all white crowd of Sanders supporters of being racist.
The reaction of all the good little socialists was a mix of confusion and a desire to accommodate the lunatics who charged the stage just as Sanders began to speak and proceeded to scream incoherently a demand to be heard.
The look of befuddlement on the faces of Sanders’ staffers was priceless. You could tell they were asking themselves what they had done to deserve treatment usually reserved for conservatives and Republicans.
“If you do not listen … your event will be shut down,” one of the protesters told organizers, who offered to let them speak after Sanders. After a back and forth with the screaming protesters, organizers relented and said the demonstrators could go first.
Some in the largely white audience booed and chanted for protesters to let the senator talk. A few yelled for police to make arrests.
Marissa Johnson, one of the protesters, shot back, “I was going to tell Bernie how racist this city is, filled with its progressives, but you did it for me,” accusing the audience of “white supremacist liberalism.” She cited Seattle’s own police problems, including an ongoing Justice Department consent decree over use of force.
The activists demanded 4½ minutes of silence in memory of Brown, to symbolize the 4½ hours his body lay on a Ferguson street. While rally organizers raised their hands in support, some in the crowd yelled profanities.
After the few minutes of silence, the protesters said they wanted to confront Sanders for failing to address their concerns when he was similarly interrupted at a town hall for liberal activists in Phoenix last month. Johnson beckoned Sanders to stand closer as she spoke — he refused.
The Westlake protesters would not let Sanders take the microphone, prompting rally organizer Robby Stern to say the event was over because the demonstrators were determined to stop it.
Sanders left the stage and walked through the crowd, greeting supporters, before leaving in a white Jeep for a fundraiser at the Comet Tavern on Capitol Hill.
Police said later that organizers requested that no arrests be made. Indeed, this is a large part of the problem Democrats are going to have with the Black Lives Matter movement: blacks off the plantation and confronting their masters directly.
There appeared to be some resentment expressed by the sea of white faces at Sanders’ rally that these lunatic protesters didn’t recognize that progressives were on their side — usually — and that they should get credit for that. But no sane person, white or black, supports the violent, radical agenda of Black Lives Matter.
The following is from Breitbart, which offers a transcript from the Black Lives Matter disruption of the Netroots Nation meeting last month in Phoenix:
The nascent Black Lives Matter movement cannot claim that these statements were made by a few fringe members: the entire rant was orchestrated by Black Lives Matter Founder Patrisee Cullors, who can be seen in the video enthusiastically pumping her fist and shouting along with every incendiary statement.
Nor is Black Lives Matter a fringe group; they have been embraced and given fealty by the highest levels of the Democratic power structure. Cullors told a British interviewer, “We’re going into halls of power now. Many of us are meeting with mayors or meeting with local government. Some of us have met with President Obama himself to talk about the demands.”
How many Americans truly support their agenda?
If I die in police custody don’t believe the hype, I was murdered! Protect my family! Indict the system! Shut that s**t down!
If I die in police custody. Avenge my death! By any means necessary!
If I die in police custody burn everything down! Because no building is worth more than my life! And that’s the only way motherfu**ers like you listen!
If I die in police custody make sure I’m the last person to die in police custody by any means necessary!
If I die in police custody do not hold a moment of silence for me! Rise the f**k up! Because your silence is killing us!
Bernie Sanders can’t afford to diss the violent extremists because, as the BLM founder notes, they have embedded themselves in the mainstream of the Democratic Party. For future rallies, there may be an effort to keep them off the stage, but that will hardly shut them up.
The Democrats’ situation is analogous to what happened to Hubert Humphrey in 1968. No candidate represented liberalism the way that Humphrey did, but he was shouted down by radicals for his support of the Vietnam War. Night after night, the news featured video of Humphrey being prevented from speaking by scruffy looking hippies. Those images helped Nixon to build a huge lead, which ultimately shrank but do doubt contributed to Nixon’s final victory.
The mainstream media won’t touch Black Lives Matter and their violent agenda. No matter how extreme or violent, the nets will maintain the fiction of a “protest movement” to avoid being branded “racist.”
It remains to be seen if other Democratic candidate rallies will become targets of their rage.
Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansour, the new Taliban leader, may be trying to prove something to those in the organization who don’t support him. Or, it could be one of the groups opposed to him who is responsible for the carnage in Afghanistan.
Either way, the results of these attacks that killed more than 70, do not bode well for the Afghan government who have been trying to negotiate a peace agreement with the Taliban.
The Taliban claimed responsibility Saturday for another deadly suicide car bombing in Afghanistan, a day after a series of terrorist blasts killed dozens in and near Kabul.
In a statement sent to VOA, the Taliban said it was behind the explosion in the Khanabad district of northern Kunduz province. Police said the blast killed at least 22 members of a pro-government militia.
Kabul was already on edge following one of its worst outbreaks of violence this year.
Insurgents carried out a series of suicide bombings in and around the Afghan capital Friday that killed more than 50 people, including nine people at a U.S. military base.
The civilian death toll was the highest the United Nations mission in the country had recorded for Kabul in a single day since 2009.
U.N. mission chief Nicholas Haysom bluntly blamed the attackers for civilian casualties.
“Those responsible for suicide and complex attacks in civilian-populated areas can no longer shrug off the disproportionate harm to the civilian population they cause,” Haysom said in a statement.
It was the first major wave of violence since the Taliban recently confirmed the death of its founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar.
The developments are calling into question the future of the insurgent group’s peace talks with the government.
What makes this very worrisome is that the Taliban may fight their internal battles by trying to outdo one another in civilian body counts. President Ghani himself is barely in control of his government, and a series of concerted attacks isn’t going to do anything to strengthen his position.
So far, Ghani has relied on American influence to maintain his position. But a few more days like today and the Afghan people will lose total confidence in his regime, making the Taliban’s job a lot easier.
No word from President Obama on these horrific attacks. He is on vacation at Martha’s Vineyard.
Wired website has the results of a study by two scientists at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology that shows the algorithm used by Google in its search engine could accidentally determine the outcome of a close presidential race.
Specifically, the ranking of negative and positive stories about a particular candidate vastly influences the decision on whom to vote for by individual voters.
IMAGINE AN ELECTION—A close one. You’re undecided. So you type the name of one of the candidates into your search engine of choice. (Actually, let’s not be coy here. In most of the world, one search engine dominates; in Europe and North America, it’s Google.) And Google coughs up, in fractions of a second, articles and facts about that candidate. Great! Now you are an informed voter, right? But a study published this week says that the order of those results, the ranking of positive or negative stories on the screen, can have an enormous influence on the way you vote. And if the election is close enough, the effect could be profound enough to change the outcome.
In other words: Google’s ranking algorithm for search results could accidentally steal the presidency. “We estimate, based on win margins in national elections around the world,” says Robert Epstein, a psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology and one of the study’s authors, “that Google could determine the outcome of upwards of 25 percent of all national elections.”
Epstein’s paper combines a few years’ worth of experiments in which Epstein and his colleague Ronald Robertson gave people access to information about the race for prime minister in Australia in 2010, two years prior, and then let the mock-voters learn about the candidates via a simulated search engine that displayed real articles.
One group saw positive articles about one candidate first; the other saw positive articles about the other candidate. (A control group saw a random assortment.) The result: Whichever side people saw the positive results for, they were more likely to vote for—by more than 48 percent. The team calls that number the “vote manipulation power,” or VMP. The effect held—strengthened, even—when the researchers swapped in a single negative story into the number-four and number-three spots. Apparently it made the results seem even more neutral and therefore more trustworthy.
Google’s algorithm is proprietary, so forget about anyone seeing it to determine the cause of this effect. But it would be interesting to see if one party or the other was usually or always negatively impacted by the ranking of search results.
The rankings of positive and negative stories are a by-product of the algorithm — not the intent of Google managers. But could Google — or a campaign — actually game the system to manipulate a desired result?
What they call the “search engine manipulation effect,” though, works on undecided voters, swing voters. It’s a method of persuasion.
Again, though, it doesn’t require a conspiracy. It’s possible that, as Epstein says, “if executives at Google had decided to study the things we’re studying, they could easily have been flipping elections to their liking with no one having any idea.” But simultaneously more likely and more science-fiction-y is the possibility that this—oh, let’s call it “googlemandering,” why don’t we?—is happening without any human intervention at all. “These numbers are so large that Google executives are irrelevant to the issue,” Epstein says. “If Google’s search algorithm, just through what they call ‘organic processes,’ ends up favoring one candidate over another, that’s enough. In a country like India, that could send millions of votes to one candidate.”
Conservatives have been claiming for years that Google has an anti-conservative bias. But in recent years, Google has been contributing to conservative organizations like the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society. Of course, that doesn’t mean much, but it raises questions as to whether Google’s bias against conservatives and conservative issues translates into a deliberate effort to create an algorithm that would penalize the right when it comes to elections.
I don’t even know if that’s possible. People use Google to search for everything from baby clothes to candidates’ positions on issues. Could they actually write a program that would always rank negative stories about conservative candidates first?
There’s no doubt Google, the company, has a liberal bias. But whether they could — or would — consciously use their search engine to advance their agenda can’t be proved and would seem to be impossible.
You have to think that Senator Chuck Schumer had an inkling of what he was in for from members of his own party when he announced on Thursday that he was going to defy his president and vote against the Iran nuclear agreement. He is, after all, an experienced politician and he almost certainly was under no illusions about what the White House and other Senators thought of his defection.
But the hysterical, over the top response by left wing extremists is probably a surprise. And the threat by some White House aides to oppose his replacing Harry Reid as party leader in the Senate is probably leading to thoughts of betrayal simply for voting his conscience.
Activists and former top officials within the Obama administration are openly contemplating whether Schumer’s stance disqualifies him from serving as the next Senate Democratic leader — which he is primed to do — and seeking to temporarily cut off money to Democrats in the upper chamber.
It’s unclear whether Schumer’s announcement will have a devastating effect on the White House’s efforts to prevent Democrats from killing the deal when it comes up for a vote in Congress next month.
But it’s clear that he will be Public Enemy No. 1 for liberal activists throughout the August recess, as they aim to rally support from Democrats on the agreement.
“This is a real and serious backlash, one that comes from deep within the Democratic Party’s base, and I think we’re only going to see it grow,” said Becky Bond, the political director for Credo Action.
Liberal groups including Credo, MoveOn.org and Democracy for America are rallying supporters to flood congressional mailboxes and town halls over the course of the next month to demand lawmakers support the agreement. On Friday, they launched a new website, 60DaysToStopAWar.com, to list upcoming town halls and aid in the push.
Late on Thursday evening, Schumer upended the congressional debate over the Iran agreement by announcing in a lengthy statement that he “must oppose the agreement” and “will vote yes on a motion of disapproval” when it comes up for a vote in September.
He also will vote to override President Obama’s veto of legislation to kill the deal, Schumer’s office confirmed.
The move puts Schumer at odds on the most significant foreign policy issue of the year with both Obama and Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.
That left many liberals furious, and stunned at how the presumptive next Senate Democratic leader could break with virtually every other leader of their party.
Even though the No. 3 Senate Democrat released his statement in the middle of the first GOP presidential debate — practically ensuring it would be buried in the media — activist groups including MoveOn and Credo pounced within moments.
“No real Democratic leader does this,” MoveOn.org political action executive director Ilya Sheyman declared less than 30 minutes after Schumer’s statement was posted online. “If this is what counts as ‘leadership’ among Democrats in the Senate, Senate Democrats should be prepared to find a new leader or few followers.”
Moveon is instructing its members not to donate to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, as well as any Democratic Senators who oppose the deal.
#60daystostopawar? What a massive exaggeration. Obama stood idly by for 3 years while Iran was working on a bomb. Why should he attack Iran if Congress won’t approve the deal? The answer is, he won’t. Whatever the Congress does, he will ignore.
But what about 2016 and the possibility of a Republican president taking a more realistic view of Iranian intentions? Attacking Iran will probably not be one of the first items of business, although abrogating the agreement will be right up there. Still, with the rest of Europe standing by the deal, whoever is president is going to have to go it alone in preventing Iran from possessing nuclear weapons by any means necessary.
I’d feel sorry for Schumer except he is one of the architects of the modern Democratic party and helped create these monstrous extremist groups who have now set their sights on him.
I don’t care much for Frank Luntz and his live focus group shows following debates. The “ordinary Americans” who populate the audience echo points made by some famous pundit or another, turning the focus group into an exercise in sophistry.
But even without focus groups, he’s a lousy political analyst.
Republican nominee Donald Trump may have outscored his fellow candidates in talk-time during Thursday night’s GOP primary debate, but Republican strategist and CBS News contributor Frank Luntz said he saw the “destruction of a candidacy.”
“Trump was the number one person walking into that debate. Almost all of his supporters (of the focus group) abandoned him because of what he said,” Luntz said Friday on “CBS This Morning.”
Trump’s stand-out remarks included his response to Fox News host and debate moderator Megyn Kelly about comments he’s made in reference to women as “fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals,” and his insistance to not necessarily support another GOP nominee.
“When you’re talking about a Republican presidential nomination, when these people want to defeat Hillary Clinton. That’s not the language, that’s not the strategy, that’s just not what they want to hear,” Luntz said.
Luntz gathered a group of Ohioans to watch the debate and used dials to register whether they liked or disliked what they were hearing.
“Make no mistakes, his popularity may even go up slightly, but the negativity around him — because in the end you still have to be liked by the majority of Republicans to get the nomination,” Luntz said.
Heh. How’s that for hedging your bets? His candidacy is destroyed, but his popularity may go up?
Trump isn’t going anywhere. His supporters don’t care about the “negativity.” In fact, that’s what they love about him. Trump could commit cold-blooded murder on national TV and his support would remain pretty much where it is.
I don’t know what Trump’s bottom is, but I suspect it’s between 10-20%. In a 17-candidate field, that puts him at or near the top of the heap. We’ll see what happens when the thinning out process gets underway, but as Trump has a fairly high bottom, he’s probably got a low ceiling as well.
Luntz is engaging in some wishful thinking when he predicts Trump’s demise. A Tweet by The Donald after the debate cuts Luntz down to size.
.@FrankLuntz, your so-called “focus groups” are a total joke. Don’t come to my office looking for business again. You are a clown!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 7, 2015
“I’ve been called a lot of things in my life but I’ve never been called a clown and those focus groups are accurate,” Luntz said. Trust me, Frank. You’ve been called a clown before. It’s just that you weren’t listening.
The ink wasn’t even dry on the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal when U.S. intelligence officials said satellite imagery clearly showed Iran beginning the process of removing evidence of nuclear activity at the Parchin military base.
Parchin has long been suspected of conducting nuclear research, specifically an attempt to develop a “nuclear trigger.” A building on the base has been used for explosives research and it is believed that as far back as 2003, Iran was conducting implosion experiments there.
Implosion is the trigger used on the Nagasaki plutonium bomb. A sphere of plutonium the size of a grapefruit is squeezed down to the size of a tennis ball using conventional explosives and special “lenses” that uniformly direct all the explosive energy inward. The squeezing brings the plutonium mass to criticality, and along with other initiators, detonates the bomb.
Iran has consistently refused access to Parchin by the IAEA, but as part of the nuclear agreement, will allow an inspection before October 15.
Intelligence officials and lawmakers who have seen the new evidence, which is still classified, told us that satellite imagery picked up by U.S. government assets in mid- and late July showed that Iran had moved bulldozers and other heavy machinery to the Parchin site and that the U.S. intelligence community concluded with high confidence that the Iranian government was working to clean up the site ahead of planned inspections by the IAEA.
The intelligence community shared its findings with lawmakers and some Congressional staff late last week, four people who have seen the evidence told us. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence briefed lawmakers about the evidence Monday, three U.S. senators said.
“I am familiar with it,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr told us Tuesday. “I think it’s up to the administration to draw their conclusions. Hopefully this is something they will speak on, since it is in many ways verified by commercial imagery. And their actions seem to be against the grain of the agreement.”
Burr said Iran’s activities at Parchin complicate the work of the IAEA inspectors who are set to examine the site in the coming months. IAEA’s director general, Yukiya Amano, was in Washington on Wednesday to brief lawmakers behind closed doors about the side agreements.
“They are certainly not going to see the site that existed. Whether that’s a site that can be determined what it did, only the technical experts can do that,” Burr said. “I think it’s a huge concern.”
A senior intelligence official, when asked about the satellite imagery, told us the IAEA was also familiar with what he called “sanitization efforts” since the deal was reached in Vienna, but that the U.S. government and its allies had confidence that the IAEA had the technical means to detect past nuclear work anyway.
Another administration official explained that this was in part because any trace amounts of enriched uranium could not be fully removed between now and Oct. 15, the deadline for Iran to grant access and answer remaining questions from the IAEA about Parchin.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker told us Tuesday that while Iran’s activity at Parchin last month isn’t technically a violation of the agreement it signed with the U.S. and other powers, it does call into question Iran’s intention to be forthright about the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program.
Nuclear research could have been conducted at Parchin without using any enriched uranium. Bomb designs, estimated yields of weapons, and a dozen other computer simulations could have been carried out at Parchin along with the implosion tests, and it’s problematic whether or not the IAEA would be able to find evidence of it.
Iran has remained steadfast in its refusal to tell the IAEA what kind of atomic bomb research they have done previously. Supposedly, they finessed the issue in one of the side deals by allowing limited inspections of Parchin and other military sites that are suspected of being part of the Iranian bomb program. With all the gaps in our knowledge of Iranian research and testing in their bomb program over the years, we’re only guessing how really close they are to possessing one.
It’s one thing to read extensively about the nuclear agreement with Iran and realize that the U.S. and the West come out losers in the deal.
But when the details of the deal are presented using a chart showing what Iran, the U.S./West, and our regional allies get out of it, it’s very easy to see at a glance just how abysmal the U.S. fared at the negotiating table.
The chart linked to below was created by American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, a non-profit organization located in Jerusalem.
It was established during the Festival of Chanukah 36 years ago by Matityahu HaCohen Dan, a young, idealistic veteran of the Israel Defense Forces. The aim of Ateret Cohanim was and still is to fulfill a generations old dream of rebuilding & securing a United Jerusalem, strengthening our Jewish roots and reestablishing thriving Jewish communities that are centered around educational institutes in and around the Old City of Jerusalem.
A chilling example of the double standard applied by the Obama Justice Department to hate speech was on display when Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan called on his followers to “rise up” and “kill those who kill us” if the federal government fails to “intercede in our affairs.”
His speech was delivered in Miami before an enthusiastic crowd, many of whom stood up and applauded when he suggested “retaliation” against whites.
This, from his Facebook page:
Retaliation! If the federal government won’t intercede in our affairs, then we MUST rise up and kill those who kill us; stalk them and kill them and let them feel our pain.
Farrakhan is planning another “Million Man March” for October. In connection with that event, he has created a social media campaign with the charming hashtag #JusticeOrElse
The radical Muslim is calling for 10,000 men “among the million” who are willing to die in order to carry out this “retaliation.” Here’s the relevant snippet from the speech. (Note the segregation of women, who are relegated to the back of the church.)
Meanwhile, media outside of Miami didn’t seem particularly interested in Farrakhan’s hate-filled rant. The local CBS affiliate covered the speech but couldn’t bring themselves to quote anything from it. The Miami Herald story is also notable for what it doesn’t say:
According to the Twitter feed of Brother Jesse Muhammad, a blogger and member of the Nation of Islam who attended Thursday night’s gathering, Farrakhan spoke about respect for women, religion and race relations in America. Journalists from mainstream media outlets such as the Miami Herald, WLRN-FM, CBS 4 and others were not allowed into the church for the event.
“Every time they kill a black man, beat a black woman, we’re being radicalized,” Muhammad quoted Farrakhan as saying.
God forbid the Herald does anything like honest reporting. Perhaps they could have hung around outside the venue and interviewed people leaving the speech? I’m sure they would have gotten an earful.
The ride sharing app Uber started in New York City barely three years ago and already has 26,000 cars driving for them, compared to just 13,400 city taxis.
AP has an analysis of the advantages and drawbacks for riders, cab drivers, and passengers:
On a muggy summer evening, a woman stood on a midtown Manhattan street corner and switched between raising her hand for a taxi and glancing at her phone, possibly for an Uber car.
“She’s going to take whoever comes first,” yellow cab driver Jatinder Singh speculated as he scouted out the scene.
While New York City riders have increasingly more choices in how to get from here to there with the rise of e-hailing apps — and lawmakers grapple with how to regulate the booming industry — the drivers who keep cars moving are stuck in the middle.
Uber, a service that allows riders to choose a car type and pay by credit card from a mobile phone, has in four years gone from nearly non-existent to more than 26,000 drivers, joining the city’s 13,437 taxis.
Some traditional yellow cab drivers say that since the arrival of Uber, the increased competition has cost them about 30 percent of their earnings.
Uber drivers also have complained the crowded streets are hurting their bottom line, a notion disputed by the company, which is moving forward with a goal of adding 10,000 drivers by the end of the year. The plan alarmed New York City lawmakers who later backed off a plan to cap the number of cars on the street in exchange for ridership data to study the issue.
Uber was recently valued at $50 billion, and they’re going to need those deep pockets. Lawsuits against the company are multiplying as traditional cab companies, drivers, and even customers have attacked the company for a wide variety of perceived abuses. And Uber isn’t the only representative of the new “sharing economy” that has been targeted. Several other companies, including the growing housecleaning service Homejoy, have been hit with lawsuits:
The assault on Homejoy is part of a much larger and increasingly organized attack on sharing economy startups by plaintiffs attorneys, Big Labor and the political left. No less than Hillary Clinton bowed to this movement last month when she lamented that the “so-called ‘gig’ economy” is “raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.”
In the last year such companies as Uber, Lyft, HandyBook, Instacart, Postmates and Try Caviar have been slapped with lawsuits arguing that they have misclassified workers as “independent contractors,” which aren’t covered by most federal and state labor regulations. The lawsuits demand backpay for overtime, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, unpaid meal breaks and business expenses. Homejoy was accused of not providing 30-minute meal breaks every five hours.
This can raise labor costs by upward of 20%, and far more in California where workers-comp premiums exceed 14% of payroll in the transportation industry. Companies with 50 or more full-time workers would also have to provide health insurance under ObamaCare’s employer mandate. Some lawsuits claim that the time workers spend driving to jobs and making phone calls counts as “work” and must be compensated under minimum-wage and overtime laws.
Labor groups are driving this assault because independent contractors can’t unionize. Startups are also disrupting the market for services, providing efficiencies and cost savings that often out-compete unionized businesses.
Lawfare writ large. If you can’t beat ‘em, kill ‘em. The enemies of what some observers are calling “The Next Big Thing” are looking to strangle this derivation of the sharing economy in its infancy.
There are other, more traditional “sharing” aspects to the sharing economy. In Maine, a new tool-sharing company has sprung up, warehousing items like chain saws, drills, even kitchen gadgets and lending them out on a weekly basis to members who pay $50 a year to join. This model is more like the communes of the 1960s and will probably remain small and local.
Documents obtained by two international media outlets show that between 2001 and 2012, about 1/3 of the medals awarded in long distance events at the Olympics and World Championships were won by athletes who were probably guilty of blood doping.
Blood doping is a technique to improve the ability of blood to carry oxygen to the muscles. It’s used primarily by long distance runners and cyclists to improve performance.
The extent of the cheating is shocking and a damning indictment of international sports governing bodies who apparently knew of the doping but failed to do anything to stop it.
The Sunday Times and ARD said they were given access to the results of over 12,000 tests of more than 5,000 athletes taken between 2001 and 2012.
Parisotto and another scientist, Michael Ashendon, concluded that more than 800 athletes had recorded one or more “abnormal” results, defined as a result that had less than one chance in 100 of being natural.
Such athletes accounted for 146 medals at top events, including 55 golds, the Sunday Times said. Russia accounted for by far the most, with 415 abnormal tests, followed distantly by Ukraine, Morocco, Spain, Kenya, Turkey and others.
“A remarkable 80 percent of Russia’s medal winners had recorded suspicious scores at some point in their careers,” the Sunday Times said.
Russia’s sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, said the scandal had “nothing to do with Russia”, but reflected a “battle for power” ahead of an upcoming election to lead the IAAF: “Russian athletes are being checked for doping the same way as athletes from other countries are.”
The reports also drew attention to Kenya, a power in distance running. The Sunday Times said Kenyans accounted for 18 of the medals won by athletes with suspicious results.
Athletics Kenya called ARD’s documentary “an attempt to smear our runners with unwarranted suspicion as they prepare to undertake their duty for their country” at the world championships.
While the news organizations did not name the athletes with suspicious tests, The Sunday Times listed some whose results were clean, including Britain’s 2012 Olympic double gold medalist Mo Farah, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and British heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill.
The IAAF said in a statement the allegations its database of private and confidential medical data had been “obtained without consent.” It reserved the right “to take any follow up action necessary to protect the rights of the IAAF and its athletes”.
Athletics officials spoke in general of the need to fight doping while avoiding direct comment. IAAF Vice President Sergey Bubka said: “There will be zero tolerance, this is clear.”
This is an issue that has been at the forefront of complaints about international athletics for more than 35 years. It’s believed that Soviet bloc athletic programs were among the first to employ blood doping on a massive scale. But it didn’t take long for the rest of the world to catch on. Another huge athletic event, the Tour de France, has been ruined by doping. Seven time Tour winner Lance Armstrong being only the most recent example of cyclists caught cheating.
International athletic governing bodies have swept the problem under the rug for fear of losing all that corporate money. Well, now it has hit the fan and it will be interesting to see how corporations like Nike, Adidas, Coca-Cola, and others react. Do they really want their brand associated with athletes who cheat and organizations who tolerate it?
With billions of dollars at stake, the answer will determine the fate of big-time, spectacle athletic events.
Gee, am I glad we signed that agreement with Iran. Otherwise we’d be in big, big trouble.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has published a new book called “Palestine,” a 416-page screed against the Jewish state. A blurb on the back cover credits Khamenei as “The flagbearer of Jihad to liberate Jerusalem.”
A friend sent me a copy from Iran, the only place the book is currently available, though an Arabic translation is promised soon.
Obama administration officials likely hope that no American even hears about it.
Khamenei makes his position clear from the start: Israel has no right to exist as a state.
He uses three words. One is “nabudi” which means “annihilation.” The other is “imha” which means “fading out,” and, finally, there is “zaval” meaning “effacement.”
Khamenei claims that his strategy for the destruction of Israel is not based on anti-Semitism, which he describes as a European phenomenon. His position is instead based on “well-established Islamic principles.”
One such principle is that a land that falls under Muslim rule, even briefly, can never again be ceded to non-Muslims. What matters in Islam is ownership of a land’s government, even if the majority of inhabitants are non-Muslims.
Khomeinists are not alone in this belief.
Dozens of maps circulate in the Muslim world showing the extent of Muslim territories lost to the Infidel that must be recovered.
These include large parts of Russia and Europe, almost a third of China, the whole of India and parts of The Philippines and Thailand.
However, according to Khamenei, Israel, which he labels as “adou” and “doshman,” meaning “enemy” and “foe,” is a special case for three reasons.
The first is that it is a loyal “ally of the American Great Satan” and a key element in its “evil scheme” to dominate “the heartland of the Ummah.”
The second reason is that Israel has waged war on Muslims on a number of occasions, thus becoming “a hostile infidel,” or “kaffir al-harbi.”
Finally, Israel is a special case because it occupies Jerusalem, which Khamenei describes as “Islam’s third Holy City.”
Just how does Khamenei think he can destroy Israel? He is going to make the cost of supporting Israel so high that the west will impose a “one state solution” — Muslim Palestine.
In Khamenei’s analysis, once the cost of staying in Israel has become too high for many Jews, Western powers, notably the US, which have supported the Jewish state for decades, might decide that the cost of doing so is higher than possible benefits.
Thanks to President Obama, the US has already distanced itself from Israel to a degree unimaginable a decade ago.
Khamenei counts on what he sees as “Israel fatigue.” The international community would start looking for what he calls “a practical and logical mechanism” to end the old conflict.
Khamenei’s “practical and logical mechanism” excludes the two-state formula in any form.
“The solution is a one-state formula,” he declares. That state, to be called Palestine, would be under Muslim rule but would allow non-Muslims, including some Israeli Jews who could prove “genuine roots” in the region to stay as “protected minorities.”
How very Christian of him.
That this nutjob is however close to getting his hands a on nuclear weapon should chill the bones of anyone not named Kerry or Obama. But it’s far more comfortable to pretend that Khamenei and his goons in Tehran are just normal folk, wouldn’t harm a fly, and don’t want a nuclear weapon anyway. Contemplating reality in this case opens a chasm beneath our feet that apparently not enough people in Washington are willing to acknowledge.
Charles Koch told the bi-annual meeting of his donor base that corporations should be encouraged to “start opposing rather than promoting corporate welfare.”
“Will you stand with us to help save our country?” Koch implored, standing on a riser as he addressed the attentive crowd. “It can’t be done without you and many, many others. So I pray that you will help us in this, I think, long-term, life-or-death struggle for our country.”
That cause, Koch told them, was eliminating obstacles to create a “truly free society.” He ticked off several pressing goals, such as reducing irresponsible government spending and doing away with corporate welfare, and lambasted big banks for their reliance on government bailouts.
Left unmentioned was the role the network will play in shaping the 2016 elections through its deeply funded political nonprofit groups, which do not have to disclose their donors. But the operation’s might was clear in the array of prominent GOP figures who flocked to Dana Point for the network’s summer conference, including five presidential candidates and a group of U.S. senators and governors.
“Your help over the last election cycle produced the numbers that we have today,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told attendees Saturday night during an alfresco dinner held on one of the resort’s palm-tree-fringed lawns. “The major contributions and investments that you have made have played a major role.”
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a freshman who benefited from significant investment by Koch-backed groups in his race, said that “the group you helped us elect — and I’ll speak for my class — it’s a great group.”
Twelve years after Koch hosted a gathering of like-minded libertarians frustrated by the growth of government, the political and policy network he and his brother David Koch helped set in motion is entering its most ambitious phase yet, with plans to spend $889 million by the end of 2016.
Some of Koch’s remarks were a long way from his brother’s Libertarian Party positions, where he ran as vice presidential candidate on a ticket with Ed Clark.
In his own remarks, Charles Koch focused on wealth inequality, lamenting what he views as the country’s drift to a “two-tiered society” that is “destroying opportunities for the disadvantaged and creating welfare for the rich.” The comments represent something of a contrast to Mr. Koch’s public image as the head of a vast donor network that consistently fights to reduce regulations and federal spending, including on programs that benefit the poor.
“Misguided policies are creating a permanent underclass, crippling our economy and corrupting the business community,” he said.
But his comments about big banks are right out of the economic populist playbook and will be echoed by many conservative candidates in this election cycle:
The press-shy 79-year-old chief executive of Koch Industries took the nation’s biggest banks to task for accepting “massive bailouts” and cheap loans from the Federal Reserve in return for the federal government wielding increased influence over how they run their businesses.
The comments came at a cocktail reception kicking off the latest gathering of wealthy conservatives assembled by Mr. Koch and his brother David. In brief remarks welcoming donors to the event at the St. Regis Monarch Beach resort, Charles Koch challenged the assembled business leaders to encourage other corporate chieftains to “start opposing rather than promoting corporate welfare.”
Several GOP candidates will appear at the confab, and why not? The collective net worth of the 450 donors probably exceeds that of dozens of countries around the globe.
The event is referred to as a the “Koch Primary,” but it’s more than a candidate dog and pony show. There are real policy discussions and a feeling out process between donor and politician that is important to candidates looking for a leg up over the competition. And the networking that goes on between donor organizations and individuals will prove valuable going forward.
Of course, Democrats are having knipshits seeing all these rich Republicans together. Too bad they don’t throw a similar tantrum when their own billionaire donors meet. Then they might thought a little less hypocritical.
A gun used by one of the terrorists in the attack on the Garland, Texas, Draw Mohammed contest may be linked to the botched gun-walking operation known as Fast and Furious.
The gun was purchased by Nadir Soofi, who authorities believe was radicalized online by the Islamic State. Incredibly, a seven-day hold was placed on the purchase because of Soofi’s criminal record. But inexplicably, the hold was lifted 24 hours later and Soofi walked out of the gun shop with the firearm.
It appears that the 9MM handgun, bought at a Phoenix gun shop , was identified almost immediately by the Justice Department as one of the firearms associated with the gun-walking program. Ever since then, the government has been trying to cover up the connection.
A day after the attack, the Department of Justice sent an “urgent firearms disposition request” to Lone Wolf, seeking more information about Soofi and the pistol he bought in 2010, according to a June 1 letter from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, to U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch.
Though the request did not specify whether the gun was used in the Garland attack, Justice Department officials said the information was needed “to assist in a criminal investigation,” according to Johnson’s letter, also reviewed by The Times.
The FBI so far has refused to release any details, including serial numbers, about the weapons used in Garland by Soofi and Simpson. Senate investigators are now pressing law enforcement agencies for answers, raising the chilling possibility that a gun sold during the botched Fast and Furious operation ended up being used in a terrorist attack against Americans.
Among other things, Johnson is demanding to know whether federal authorities have recovered the gun Soofi bought in 2010, where it was recovered and whether it had been discharged, according to the letter. He also demanded an explanation about why the initial seven-day hold was placed on the 2010 pistol purchase and why it was lifted after 24 hours.
Asked recently for an update on the Garland shooting, FBI Director James B. Comey earlier this month declined to comment. “We’re still sorting that out,” he said.
Officials at the Justice Department and the FBI declined to answer questions about whether the 9-millimeter pistol was one of the guns used in the Garland attack or seized at Soofi’s apartment.
It remains unclear whether Soofi’s 2010 visit to Lone Wolf is a bizarre coincidence or a missed opportunity for federal agents to put Soofi on their radar years before his contacts with Islamic extremists brought him to their attention.
The explanation for the lifting of the hold on Soofi’s purchase is simple enough: authorities wanted to track the gun because they believed it was bought by a member of a drug cartel. Fast and Furious was still active at the time of Soofi’s purchase. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was murdered later that same year, which eventually brought an end to the program.
What this attempt at covering up the provenance of Soofi’s weapon shows is that the Justice Department and associated federal agencies are still engaged in trying to hide facts about Fast and Furious from Congress. They’ve been stonewalling the investigation for more than four years — not out of concern for the safety of Americans (and Mexicans for that matter), but because they fear the political fallout that would ensue once their incompetence was exposed.
The most expensive weapons system in the history of the Pentagon is being deployed after 13 years of development.
The Marine Corps version of the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35B, has been approved for combat and the first squadron of planes is now operational.
They are calling the F-35 a fifth generation fighter. But given how long it’s taken to bring to the flight line, it seems they may have skipped a generation or two.
The program has numerous critics who complain about everything from its cost to questions about its safety. No doubt, it’s expensive. The army version of the plane, the F-35A comes in at a relatively cheap $148 million per plane. The Marine’s F-35B skies to $251 million. And the Navy’s F-35C is costing the American taxpayer $337 million. Most versions of the F-18 Hornet, on the other hand, cost about $80 million each.
The Marine Corps announced Friday that the first squadron of 10 stealthy F-35B Joint Strike Fighters is ready for worldwide deployment.
The announcement marks a significant step in the largest weapons program in history. A total of nearly 2,500 planes are planned in three versions for the Marines, Navy and Air Force, and many foreign countries are buying the fifth-generation aircraft as well.
“The decision was made following a thorough operational readiness inspection, which assessed the Marine Corps’ ability to employ this complex weapon system in an operational environment,” said Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. “This achievement is a testament to the efforts of the F-35 joint program office and industry team, as well as the hard work and support from the Marine Corps.”
The Lockheed Martin-built F-35B, also known as the Lighting II, can take off vertically from assault carriers and fly at supersonic speed while its stealth design hides it from enemy radar. It will eventually replace the Marines’ AV-8B Harrier, F/A-18 Hornet and the EA-6B Prowler.
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 based in Yuma, AZ, is the first to be operational. Marine Corps Commandant Joseph F. Dunford Jr. said the squadron “is capable of conducting close air support, offensive and defensive counter air, air interdiction, assault support escort and armed reconnaissance as part of a Marine air-ground task force, or in support of the joint force.
“The F-35B’s ability to conduct operations from expeditionary airstrips or sea-based carriers provides our nation with its first fifth-generation strike fighter, which will transform the way we fight and win,” Dunford added.
The Pentagon plans to buy more than 2400 of these fighters, and American allies are lining up to purchase them. But its projected $1.4 trillion operating cost over the plane’s lifetime might cause some sticker shock.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s presidential ambitions all but ended yesterday when he made the radical, shocking proposal that he might use federal troops to halt abortions in America, despite Supreme Court rulings that they are legal.
At two separate stops in Iowa, Huckabee suggested that he would defy the Supreme Court and use federal troops or the FBI to stop abortions.
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee indicated Thursday that if elected, he wouldn’t rule out employing federal troops or the Federal Bureau of Investigation to stop abortion from taking place in the United States.
Though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against bans on abortion, Huckabee said past presidents have defied Supreme Court rulings.
Jesse Choper, professor emeritus of public law at the University of California-Berkeley School of Law, said in a phone interview Friday that Huckabee’s statement was “way off-base,” adding, “it does rival Donald Trump.”
“I think he’d better more carefully examine what he’s saying, because it is totally unprecedented,” Choper said Friday.
No matter how much the Supreme Court’s decisions over the years were disliked, Choper said, presidents did very little to fight them. He pointed to civil rights decisions of the 1950s as an example.
“It was simply noncompliance,” Choper said of previous presidential responses. “That’s very different than calling out the troops for abortion.”
Huckabee’s comments came at two public speaking stops on a tour of Iowa.
In response to a question from the audience at the Pizza Ranch in Jefferson, Iowa, Huckabee said he would “invoke the Fifth and 14th Amendments for the protection of every human being.”
Both amendments contain due process protections against depriving people of life without due process of law.
“Would that be a huge controversy?” the former Arkansas governor asked. “Yes.”
But he argued that scientific advancements have now verified that unborn babies are human beings — information he said wasn’t necessarily available when the Supreme Court issued its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
“I will not pretend there is nothing we can do to stop this,” Huckabee said at the event, where a Topeka Capital-Journal correspondent was present.
At his next stop, in Rockwell City, Huckabee answered follow-up questions from the correspondent, saying: “All American citizens should be protected.”
Asked by another reporter how he would stop abortion, and whether this would mean using the FBI or federal forces to accomplish this, Huckabee replied: “We’ll see, if I get to be president.”
He said he would use all resources available to protect U.S. citizens.
Huckabee said past presidents also have defied Supreme Court rulings. He cited Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, and said Lincoln had ignored the court’s 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford decision — which found that black Americans weren’t citizens — when he emancipated slaves. He didn’t clarify in what way Jefferson had violated any court rulings.
Huckabee’s radical proposal will resonate with those GOP voters who take the most extreme position on abortion. But for most Republicans — and a majority of Americans who may not support abortion on demand but favor limiting it — defying the Supreme Court and using federal troops or agents in American cities to enforce his diktat is going way too far.
Huckabee’s chances of being elected president have dropped to zero.
Yeah, you stay classy you MSNBC hosts.
MSNBC announced on Thursday that three of their more incendiary liberal shows were being cancelled. “The Ed Show” with Ed Schults, “Now with Alex Wagner,” and “The Cycle” all had their final shows yesterday. “The Cycle” signed off with what might be termed a normal final production.
But Ed Schultz refused to show up for his final show, leaving substitute host Michael Eric Dyson to bid his 25,000 viewers a fond farewell.
First and perhaps most importantly, Ed Schultz wasn’t even present to give his final MSNBC farewell — due to “pre-existing scheduling conflicts,” MSNBC told us.
Instead Michael Eric Dyson guest-hosted the full hour and saved the goodbyes for a question to progressive journalist John Nichols: “What has The Ed Show meant for middle-class Americans over the past six years?”
“If this show wasn’t around, I think some fundamental issues — like trade policy — wouldn’t have been explored,” Nichols replied. At its nadir, The Ed Show only had 25k demo viewers watching.
“He’s a big fellow with an even bigger heart,” Dyson responded. “He’s given his life and devoted commitment to the causes of working-class and middle-class people. That’s something that’s pretty extraordinary.” Nichols added a few words about Schultz’s “courage,” noting that the host had made the humility to change his heart on issues like the Keystone XL pipeline.
“That’s the last Ed Show,” Dyson concluded. “Please follow my brother Ed at WeGotEd.com, goodnight.”
And Alex Wagner, with infantile pique, signed off with an barnyard expletive:
MSNBC’s Alex Wagner, in closing the final edition of her canceled liberal commentary program Now With Alex Wagner, said “Woo! Sh*t,” as the camera faded to black one last time.
It is unknown at this time why she did this.
Wagner finished the broadcast by thanking the behind-the-scenes crew of the show, inviting them on-set with her.
”For one last time, that is all for now,” she said, amidst applause. “The Ed Show is up next. We did it! Oh my God, that was massive. Woo! Sh*t.”
Yes, it’s against the rules to utter that word, even on cable. No doubt the FCC will fine the network for allowing such an immature display to go out live, over the air. And if the network has any balls, it would make Wagner pay it.
The situation in the French port town of Calais has gone from bad to worse as striking ferry workers have added to the problem of massive numbers of illegal aliens desperate to use the chunnel to reach England.
The ferry workers are protesting job cuts and have set hundreds of tires on fire to block the road leading to the passage under the English Channel. Meanwhile, thousands of illegal aliens, desperate to reach England, are easily evading the temporary security fence that was hastily put up and swarming on to trains and trucks headed under the channel.
It’s estimated that 6,000 trucks are lined up on the English side waiting to cross to France, but can’t because of the human tidal wave.
David Cameron spoke to French President Francois Hollande on the telephone on Friday and said the pair had agreed to work to tackle illegal immigration.
The PM has warned the situation will be a “difficult issue” throughout summer.
There have been thousands of attempts by migrants to access the Eurotunnel terminal, affecting train services.
The crisis has led to major congestion on both sides of the Channel, with passenger services disrupted and 6,000 lorries parked in queues along the M20 in Kent as part of Operation Stack.
Ministers said they were considering setting up temporary lorry parks to ease the pressure on roads, but the Road Haulage Association said the measures were not enough.
And there were further problems in Calais on Friday when former MyFerryLink workers protesting against job cuts blocked road access to the port area by burning tyres.
On Friday evening, Downing Street said the prime minister and Mr Hollande had “both expressed concern about the immediate security challenges and reiterated their commitment to continue working closely together to tackle the problems”.
“Both leaders agreed on the need to work with Eurotunnel to monitor and secure the area and for respective ministers to continue discussions over the coming days to implement additional measures that could further improve the situation on the ground.”
Speaking earlier after he chaired a meeting of the government’s Cobra emergency committee, Mr Cameron said the provision of extra French police at the Eurotunnel site had already had “some effect” on disruption.
British PM David Cameron has been viciously attacked for describing the swarm of humanity trying to invade his country as a “swarm.” Not much different on both sides of the Atlantic.
What the euro-press euphemistically refers to as a “migrant crisis” isn’t much different than the crisis we’re facing. At bottom, a lot of people don’t like where they’re living and want to move to a better neighborhood. It doesn’t matter what color they are, or what god they worship. What matters is that they have bypassed the laws and regulations set up to provide an orderly process for people to emigrate — something every nation on earth has a sovereign right to enforce.
Heather Wilhelm wrote a good piece on the “keyboard kops” who patrol the internet, waiting for the “Most Despicable Person in the World” to emerge. This week, it’s that Minnesota dentist who shot the pretty lion, and man — the solipsists of social media went berserk.
This week, Cecil’s story exploded, inciting batten-down-the-hatches outrage. Animal rights group PETA, for instance, declared that Dr. Palmer should be “extradited, charged, and preferably hanged” for killing such a beloved creature. In a heated op-ed, former CNN host Piers Morgan proposed a new sport, “Big Human Hunting,” in which he would kill Dr. Palmer with a crossbow, torture him, and skin him alive, which sounds normal if you just had a brain transplant from, say, Jeffrey Dahmer.
Actress Debra Messing argued for revoking Dr. Palmer’s citizenship; Sharon Osborne, who is married to a man who once bit the head off a bat, called for the eradication of Palmer’s home, business, and money. On Tuesday night, an emotional Jimmy Kimmel questioned Dr. Palmer’s erectile abilities before a chortling television audience, called him “vomitous” and “the most hated man in America who never advertised Jell-O pudding on television,” and then helpfully noted that we probably shouldn’t “start a witch hunt for the guy.” Oh. Okay. We’ll just ignore those first parts, broadcast to millions!
Dr. Palmer, meanwhile, is in hiding. His business is closed, piled with threats and hate mail. Cecil’s killing, the embattled dentist declared in a statement, was a terrible mistake: “I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.” This may or may not be true; Dr. Palmer may or may not be an unsavory and unethical character. It’s a sad situation; we’ll have to wait and see. One thing, however, seems indisputable: The world is, as is its eternal wont—and here I shall quote an eminent showbiz bat-biter—going off the rails on a crazy train.
Paying $54,000 to kill a wild, beautiful animal seems like a strange and questionable hobby at best; at worst, it seems downright cruel. On the other hand, some conservationists applaud the practice, at least when it’s done legally. What’s telling, however, is that the great Cecil conflagration of 2015 occurred on the same day undercover operatives released the third in a series of graphic, disturbing Planned Parenthood videos. This video, unlike the former two, featured body parts. Tiny body parts. Detailed, well formed, and unmistakably human.
But never mind. Let’s talk about Cecil, a lion that has emerged as a benevolent, finely sketched cartoon creature in the global moral imagination, setting our hyperactive but wildly misfiring outrage meter into a wild, chaotic spin.
I don’t buy into the theory that Cecil is a manufactured distraction to pull people’s attention away from the Planned Parenthood videos — just a sad coincidence. But given the ideological proclivities of most internet hooligans, they wouldn’t have become outraged at Planned Parenthood anyway. If it hadn’t been Cecil, it would have been something else making the bile rise in their throats.
That said, how much longer can they keep this up? Each succeeding search-and-destroy mission is more vicious, more over the top than the previous one. Each new target’s demolition more spectacular than the last.
To the normal eye, they’ve already become parodies of themselves. I mean, really now. PETA’s suggestion that Palmer be hanged, and the numerous wild, bloodcurdling death threats — these would be humorous if you didn’t know that it is exactly the end result desired by this scum of what should happen to Dr. Palmer.
Eventually, many of them may wander off, their ant brains focused on something else. Many will no doubt succumb to outrage fatigue. Even the most committed activists burn out over a period of time.
Perhaps we’ll learn to ignore them, or tune them out. It’s possible a counter-army will be raised to do battle on more equal terms. Of this I am certain: these ad-hoc campaigns of personal destruction are not going away anytime soon, and they are likely to become more organized and more vicious.
I had a revelatory moment when reading this story. Someone was actually paid to write this “language guide” that recommends not using certain words because they aren’t “inclusive” enough, or don’t reflect “diversity.” Someone sat around dreaming up reasons why some words that were historically innocuous, or even generated pride, had suddenly become objectionable.
What kind of loon would apply for a job like that?
No matter. The University of New Hampshire’s “Bias Free Language Guide” reinforces the notion that the elites at our universities have gone stark, raving mad, with the promise that their insanity will only get worse.
“American,” “illegal alien,” “foreigners,” “mothering,” and “fathering” are just a handful of words deemed “problematic” by the University of New Hampshire’s Bias-Free Language Guide.
According to the university’s website, the guide “is meant to invite inclusive excellence in [the] campus community.”
Terms also considered problematic include: “elders,” “senior citizen,” “overweight,” “speech impediment,” “dumb,” “sexual preference,” “manpower,” “freshmen,” “mailman,” and “chairman,” in addition to many others.
The guide defines words such as “homosexual” as “problematic,” offering “Same Gender Loving” as a more inclusive substitute. Similarly, a lack of gender-neutral bathrooms is, according to the university, “ciscentrism.”
The university defines “ciscentrism” as “[a] pervasive and institutionalized system that places transgender people in the ‘other’ category and treats their needs and identities as less important than those of cisgender people.”
“Ciscentrism,” according to the university, “includes the lack of gender-neutral restrooms, locker rooms, and residences.”
Saying “American” to reference Americans is also problematic. The guide encourages the use of the more inclusive substitutes “U.S. citizen” or “Resident of the U.S.”
The guide notes that “American” is problematic because it “assumes the U.S. is the only country inside [the continents of North and South America].” (The guide doesn’t address whether or not the terms “Canadians” and “Mexicans” should be abandoned in favor of “Residents of Canada” and “Residents of Mexico,” respectively.)
The guide clarifies that saying “illegal alien” is also problematic. While “undocumented immigrant” is acceptable, the guide recommends saying “person seeking asylum,” or “refugee,” instead. Even saying “foreigners” is problematic; the preferred term is “international people.”
Using the word “Caucasian” is considered problematic as well, and should be discontinued in favor of “European-American individuals.” The guide also states that the notion of race is “a social construct…that was designed to maintain slavery.”
The guide also discourages the use of “mothering” or “fathering,” so as to “avoid gendering a non-gendered activity.”
Even saying the word “healthy” is problematic, the university says. The “preferred term for people without disabilities,” the university says, is “non-disabled.” Similarly, saying “handicapped” or “physically-challenged” is also problematic. Instead, the university wants people to use the more inclusive “wheelchair user,” or “person who is wheelchair mobile.”
Using the words “rich” or “poor” is also frowned upon. Instead of saying “rich,” the university encourages people to say “person of material wealth.” Rather than saying a person is “poor,” the university encourages its members to substitute “person who lacks advantages that others have” or “low economic status related to a person’s education, occupation and income.”
Creating an entirely new vocabulary that makes communication far more difficult than it need be just to assuage the supposed “offended” feelings of anyone except white male Christians would be hysterically funny — if the authors had any sort of a sense of humor.
But they don’t. They live their lives examining language under a microscope, burrowing ever deeper into meaning and intent, looking for microagressions and transgressions against their rigid, formulaic codes of speech, while slaying imaginary dragons of racism, sexism, and all the other evil “isms” out there.
If there goal is to make it impossible to have a rational discussion about anything, they are almost there.