Austria and Germany have decided to open their borders to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, thus temporarily easing a crisis for the EU.
But human rights advocates point out there are several countries closer to Syria that could help the situation even more. They are rich, Muslim, and could certainly give a big assist to other countries who are taking in hundreds of thousands of the refugees, by donating money to the cause.
The fabulously wealthy Arab states of the Persian Gulf have, so far, not accepted a single Syrian refugee. You read that right. Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain have refused to admit one single Syrian migrant. Combined, they have contributed about $1 billion to the relief effort, compared to America alone which has given more than $4 billion.
So why would Muslim Arabs turn away their brethren?
Gulf states have cited possible security concerns, and worries that Syrians might eventually compete for jobs. But to the Syrians, the answer is simple: they are not welcome.
“Gulf countries have closed their doors in the face of Syrians,” Yassir Batal, a Syrian refugee who fled to Germany, told Bloomberg.
The voyage to Europe necessitates a dangerous and often disastrous ending for the refugees. They must pay smugglers exorbitant fees for space on either overcrowded rubber dinghies or unseaworthy vessels, and thousands end up drowning in the Mediterranean Sea.
But the only Arab countries Syrians may enter without a visa are Algeria, Mauritania, Sudan and Yemen.
In theory, Syrians can enter the Gulf states if they have either a work permit or a tourist visa, but the refugees believe that there are unwritten restrictions in place that make it difficult or impossible to obtain a visa in practice, BBC Monitoring reported. Even in the best of conditions, the process of obtaining a visa is costly.
The Gulf states say they aren’t open to accepting more refugees because of security concerns. Most Syrian refugees that are in the Gulf states are there because they’ve overstayed their work visas.
It is virtually impossible to gain citizenship in a Gulf state, and these countries favor hiring unskilled workers from Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, the BBC reported. The Syrians, who are usually fairly well educated, would compete with jobs with Gulf state locals.
Despite these barriers being put in place by Gulf states, there are also reasons why Syrians aren’t seeking out refuge in those countries. Although they are escaping the terror of Islamic State militants and a country wrecked by chemical weapons from an ongoing, five-year civil war, Syria was a remarkably free and educated country in its heyday. Syria’s capital, Damascus, was once the “playground” in the region, a city where alcohol, Western dress and education were freely available.
The Gulf states, on the other hand, have harsh laws restricting citizens’ freedoms to talk, dress, and interact. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, women are not allowed to drive cars. And in Qatar, people can be fined for uncovering their knees, cuddling, or playing a song with “indecent phrases.”
And Syrian refugees might tempt young Arabs in those countries to loosen their ties, kick back, and maybe have some fun. Can’t have that, can we?
The real reason these Gulf Arab states are not taking in refugees is the same one worrying many politically incorrect Europeans in places like Hungary and Serbia, whose “right-wing” governments are resisting the settling of the refugees: the migrants would change the national character of their nation.
Nearly 90% of residents in those 6 Arab countries are guest workers, mostly from East Asia. They are held, for all intents and purposes, as slaves. Most are indentured servants, unable to leave until their contract is up. They are kept in horrible conditions, sometimes beaten, sometimes worked to death. To add a couple of hundred thousand more foreigners to the mix would make for an incendiary situation.
In short, the Gulf Arabs are terrified that taking in their fair share of refugees would lead to chaos, even revolution. But that doesn’t mean they can’t open their overstuffed coffers and feed the refugees living in squalor in Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon. The World Food Program just announced that they are forced to cut food rations to one third of Syrian refugees due to lack of funds.
The monarchies of the Gulf states are being exposed as pious hypocrites, preaching that Islam is love while cynically withholding assistance to people in dire need. It’s time they got off their thrones and did something useful with their riches.
Hillary Clinton aide Bryan Pagliano’s attorney said last week that his client would not cooperate with the FBI and would exercise his Fifth Amendment rights. What does he have to hide?
In fact, he may have already hidden information that will get him into a pile of legal trouble if he admits it.
It was revealed today by the Washington Post that Pagliano was paid to run Hillary’s private server — out of Hillary Clinton’s own pocket. She paid Pagliano an initial sum of $5,000 to set up the server. Pagliano dutifully reported the sum on his financial disclosure form in 2008.
But campaign officials now tell the WaPo that Clinton continued to pay Pagliano to maintain the server until Hillary left the State Department in 2013. The paper could find no record of Pagliano reporting any income from Clinton on his disclosure forms during the intervening years, and the State Department says they had “found no evidence” of Pagliano earning outside income.
Filing a false financial disclosure form is a felony — reason enough for Pagliano to plead the 5th.
Pagliano’s attorney, Mark MacDougall, declined to comment.
MacDougall sent a letter Monday to the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which had subpoenaed Pagliano, informing the panel that his client would invoke his constitutional rights not to answer questions.
There are multiple congressional inquiries into Clinton’s e-mail use, and the FBI is looking into the security of the setup.
A spokeswoman for the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was inquiring about Pagliano’s outside employment, said that Pagliano’s lawyer informed the committee that his client would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights.
Lawmakers interested in hearing Pagliano’s account of the server’s setup and security protocols are considering whether to offer him immunity in exchange for his testimony. If they take the step, Pagliano would be compelled to appear.
State Department officials have declined to explain which agency officials knew about Clinton’s server and whether any had raised questions or concerns about how it was being handled.
“My unsatisfactory but necessary answer to that is, again, that’s not our role in this process to really answer that question publicly; that there are reviews and investigations underway that will look at possibly some of these issues is for other entities to speak to,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters this week.
Asked by NBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Friday whether anyone in her inner circle ever expressed concern about the setup, Clinton responded, “I was not thinking a lot when I got in.”
“There was so much work to be done,” Clinton continued. “We had so many problems around the world. I didn’t really stop and think — what — what kind of e-mail system will there be?”
E-mails released this week show that members of the State Department IT department’s help desk were unaware of the setup and sought information about why a correspondent was getting a “fatal error” when sending messages to Clinton’s address. The tech support team “didn’t know it was you,” an aide e-mailed Clinton.
Federal regulations allow employees at Pagliano’s level to have outside employment but require that the extra income not exceed 15 percent of their government salary. Employees must also ensure that their outside work not create a conflict of interest with their government job.
Another possible area of criminal exposure for Pagliano is that he wasn’t cleared to have access to classified information. If true, by granting him access, Hillary Clinton may be criminally liable as well.
Pagliano was an IT expert employed by the State Department. One can imagine several areas of overlap that would represent a conflict of interest.
In short, Mr. Pagliano is in deep trouble with the law and if the Clinton machine is looking for a fall guy, he would seem to fit the bill perfectly.
More at PJ Media:
Americans for Tax Reform has dug into some Census data to uncover a long-suspected fact: residents from high-tax blue states are leaving for lower-tax red states.
But what might surprise you are the numbers taking part in the exodus. In just one year — 2013 — more than 220,000 residents of states with Democratic governors moved to states with Republican governors.
In 2013, more than 200,000 people on net fled states with Democrat governors for ones run by Republicans, according to an analysis of newly released IRS data by Americans for Tax Reform.
“People move away from high tax states to low tax states. Every tax refugee is sending a powerful message to politicians,” said ATR President Grover Norquist. “They are voting with their feet. Leaders in Texas and Florida are listening. New York and California are not.”
That year, Democrat-run states lost a net 226,763 taxpayers, bringing with them nearly $15.7 billion in adjusted gross income (AGI). That same year, states with Republican governors gained nearly 220,000 new taxpayers, who brought more than $14.1 billion in AGI with them.
Only one-third of states with Democrat governors gained taxpayers, compared to three-fifths of states with Republican governors.
Top 5 loser states for Democrat governors in 2013:
· New York (114,929 people with $5.7 billion in AGI)
· Illinois (68,943 people with $3.8 billion in AGI)
· California (47,458 people with 3.8 billion in AGI)
· Connecticut (14,453 people with $1.8 billion in AGI)
· Massachusetts (11,915 people with $1 billion in AGI)
Top 5 winner states for Republican governors in 2013:
· Texas (152,912 people with $6 billion in AGI)
· Florida (74,094 people with 8.3 billion in AGI)
· South Carolina (29,176 people with 1.6 billion in AGI)
· North Carolina (26,207 people with $1.5 billion in AGI)
· Arizona (16,549 people with $1.5 billion in AGI)
A couple of recent examples will serve to illustrate the point.
Rahm Emanuel just proposed a $500 million property tax increase for the city of Chicago — the largest tax increase in modern Chicago history — which will add about $400 to the tax bill of the average property owner. The city has been bleeding population for 3 decades, and this move should only accelerate that trend. And California Governor Jerry Brown just proposed his own massive tax increase, including a whopping 11 cent a gallon increase in the tax on diesel fuel, 6 cents on regular gasoline, and a $65 registration fee for every vehicle, doubling the current cost.
With policies like these, is it any wonder taxpayers in blue states are crying “uncle” and heading for the hills?
What the Census numbers don’t include is the loss of businesses and jobs — the most tangible result of the increases in taxes. The Illinois income tax increases in 2011 resulted in a bonanza for next-door states Indiana, Missouri, and Wisconsin. as hundreds of Illinois businesses and thousands of jobs left the Land of Lincoln.
It’s no accident, either, that those top 5 blue states losing population are also among those in the worst fiscal shape. Four of the bottom six states in fiscal solvency are New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Illinois. California is number 44 with Kentucky — a red state governed by a Democrat — coming in at 45. New Jersey is number 49.
Establishment Republicans have been wringing their hands for months about what to do about Donald Trump. They alternate between despair and hope. Despair that the longer Trump remains atop the GOP field, the crazier the party appears to the public. Hope that, eventually, Trump will melt down and destroy himself, clearing the way for a more establishment candidate like Jeb Bush or Scott Walker.
Their major argument is “Trump as GOP nominee can’t win the general election against Hillary Clinton.” And previous polls seem to bear that out. Quinnipiac had Trump trailing Clinton 45-41 while the Democrat-leaning pollster PPP had Clinton ahead 46-44.
Now, a new poll from the respected SurveyUSA shows Donald Trump beating every Democratic candidate in the general election — including Hillary Clinton.
The poll by SurveyUSA finds that matched up directly, Trump garners 45 percent to Clinton’s 40 percent.
In other head-to-head matchups, Trump beats out Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) by 44 percent to 40 percent; Vice President Joe Biden by 44 percent to 42 percent; and former Vice President Al Gore by 44 percent to 41 percent.
The poll also found that 30 percent of respondents believe Trump will eventually be the Republican nominee, leading the field.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush came in second, with 20 percent saying they expect him to win the nomination. Following Bush in order were retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
The poll surveyed 1,000 adults across the nation Sept. 2-3, and it had a margin of error of 3.3 percent.
The cross tabs to this poll are fascinating and reveal an opening for any Republican candidate in 2016.
Although the poll surveyed 1000 Americans, fully 900 of them were registered voters. Some highlights:
* Clinton wins among women 44-35. Trump wins men 50-35.
* The only age group Clinton wins is the 18-34 bracket, 50-31. Trump wins the 35-49 group by 47-35; 50-64 by 50-35; and 65+ by 55-37. Guess which age groups vote the most in elections? The 50-65+ brackets.
* Trump wins the white vote by 51-34 and gets an encouraging 25% of the black vote. Hillary wins the Hispanic vote 50-31.
* Among those paying “a lot” of attention to politics, Trump is beating Clinton 54-36. Clinton wins among LIVs by 43-34.
It’s hard to tell if these are anti-Hillary numbers or pro-Trump numbers. The usual Democratic constituencies are supporting Clinton; ditto Republicans. Trump is winning moderates and independents by small margins. Clinton’s “war on women” charge isn’t resonating. And her favorables are in free fall.
The important takeaway: Trump, despite claims from establishment Republicans, isn’t chasing anyone away and his style may be attracting older, established voters that are vital to Republicans for victory in 2016.
Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley thinks the U.S. response to the Syrian refugee crisis isn’t strong enough. President Obama has proposed taking in between 5,000 and 8,000 refugees this year. But O’Malley believes we need to admit nearly 10 times that number.
“I support the call from humanitarian and refugee organizations for the United States to accept at least 65,000 Syrian refugees next year,” he said in a statement Friday. “If Germany — a country with one-fourth our population — can accept 800,000 refugees this year, certainly we — the nation of immigrants and refugees — can do more.”
Syrian refugees are flooding Europe following the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians due to ethnic violence in the Middle East. The migrant crisis has engulfed Europe, leading many to ask whether the U.S. would take refugees from the continued fighting in Syria.
O’Malley said the number of refugees the U.S. is scheduled to accept next year is insufficient.
“Americans are a generous and compassionate people. But today our policies are falling short of those values. We must do more to support Syrian refugees — and we must certainly welcome more than the proposed 5,000 to 8,000 refugees next year,” he said.
The former Maryland governor said images such as that of a toddler’s body washing up on a Turkish beach should motivate the U.S. to do more.
“With more than 4 million Syrian refugees fleeing war and famine, they now comprise the second-largest refugee population in the world. As Europe is becoming increasingly aware, we are not immune from the injustices and tragedies that unfold outside our borders.” he said.
While we should recognize that this is a global problem brought about, at least partly, by the lack of leadership of the U.S. in Syria, Libya, and other conflict areas in the Middle East and Africa, the bottom line remains we can’t help everybody. The Middle East is being emptied of human beings because rancid people are doing very bad things to their own citizens, and terrorists are doing even worse things to others. The fact is, however, there are safer places for these refugees closer to home. It’s just that the fantastically rich Gulf states — and let’s include our newfound friends in Tehran — are refusing to be part of the solution and continue to be part of the problem.
The Gulf states are financing Muslim extremists all across the region, hoping to by them off so that the contagion will bypass their fabulously wealthy monarchies. They have no intention of importing hundreds of thousands of desperate Muslims who may upset the precarious balance maintained by ruthless force in their countries. They have the room. They have the cash. But they lack the courage to do what’s right and thus wait upon the western democracies to become guilty enough to take them all.
In truth, 65,000 refugees is a drop in the bucket compared to the numbers of people who sneak in illegally to the U.S. every year. But accepting that many refugees would only invite an exodus to our shores. The human smugglers are resourceful and clever. And while the ships used to make the short crossing from Africa to Greece or Turkey would never stand the gaff of a cross-Atlantic trip, welcoming so many migrants would only encourage the traffickers to find ways to reach our shores.
The numbers crossing over to Europe are growing with no end in sight. Unless a quick end is found for the Syrian civil war and a strategy is devised to deal effectively with ISIS, we risk a humanitarian calamity the likes of which have not been seen in modern times.
Yesterday, Gwen Ifill, host of PBS Newshour, celebrated the news that the Iran nuclear deal would pass by tweeting, “Take that Bibi,” referencing the Israeli prime minister’s well-known opposition to the agreement.
Not only was it insulting to Prime Minister Netanyahu, an American ally, it demonstrated rank partisanship — something that anyone claiming to be a journalist should avoid at all costs.
The resulting furor caused the PBS ombudsman, Michael Getler, to respond. He was not pleased:
So that brings me to the real self-inflicted wound, which was a tweet by PBS NewsHour co-anchor Gwen Ifill on Wednesday—after it became known that President Obama had secured the necessary number of Democratic backers in the Senate to ensure that the nuclear agreement with Iran could not be blocked by opponents—that said: “Take that, Bibi.” That was a reference, of course, to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has strongly opposed the agreement and came to Washington at the invitation of Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner to argue against it in front of Congress.
Ifill added the comment when she retweeted an illustration from an Obama administration Twitter account that is designed to support the case for an agreement.
As they say in today’s world, her tweet instantly went viral, picked up by bloggers, websites and a large number of Twitter followers and it quickly produced a lot of angry emails in the ombudsman’s inbox.
I asked Ifill and the NewsHour for a response and explanation. She explained, in an email to me and in a tweet to many others, that she was “RT’ing a @TheIranDeal tweet,” and added that she “should have been clearer that it was their argument, not mine.”
One would have to lean way over backwards to give her the benefit of the doubt that she was simply shedding light on the administration’s view of portions of Netanyahu’s arguments. But to personalize it by saying, “Take that, Bibi” is, in my book, inexcusable for an experienced journalist who is the co-anchor of a nightly news program watched by millions of people over the course of any week.
It is not the first time that I have written about Ifill and tweets. Three years ago a tweet supporting a former colleague, who made an inflammatory remark apparently unaware that his microphone had not been turned off, also brought about lots of criticism.
Ifill is a highly experienced journalist, very quick, alert, knowledgeable, and with an engaging on-air personality. She also has a talented eye for the ironies and political turnabouts in the daily flow of news that contributes to her presence. But PBS and the NewsHour are bigger than any individual and tweeting does not appear to be a tool, in these cases, that is appropriate for maintaining credibility, which is the bedrock for news organizations.
Getler basically accuses Ifill of lying in her response to his query, so his admonishment seems mild indeed. But this is PBS, where everyone expects the “journalists” to have a liberal slant on the news, so I guess “inexcusable” is as good as we’re going to get.
The pro football scandal known as “Deflategate,” where New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was accused of deliberately deflating footballs to make them easier to throw, took another turn today when a federal judge vacated the NFL’s 4-game suspension of Brady.
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman ruled that the commissioner of the league, Roger Goodell, acted improperly in suspending Brady for 4 games after an investigation revealed that the star quarterback probably knew of the scheme to deflate game balls prior to the AFC Championship game in January.
By no means does this “vindicate” Brady because Berman ruled on some technical violations, not on the matter of whether Brady was innocent or guilty.
The NFL plans to appeal the ruling.
“We are grateful to Judge Berman for hearing this matter, but respectfully disagree with today’s decision,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a written statement released by the league. “We will appeal today’s ruling in order to uphold the collectively bargained responsibility to protect the integrity of the game. The commissioner’s responsibility to secure the competitive fairness of our game is a paramount principle, and the league and our 32 clubs will continue to pursue a path to that end. While the legal phase of this process continues, we look forward to focusing on football and the opening of the regular season.”
The league’s appeal means that Brady potentially is risking having to serve the suspension, if it is reinstated, later this season or perhaps beyond. The NFL also seems intent on doing its best to avoid having Berman’s ruling stand as a precedent for future cases of player discipline.
Legal experts had said that Brady and the NFL Players Association faced a difficult task in court because judges generally are reluctant to overturn arbitration decisions. Goodell upheld Brady’s four-game suspension on appeal. The league had imposed the penalty after its investigator, Ted Wells, found that Brady probably was aware of a scheme to use under-inflated footballs during the first half of last season’s AFC title game against the Indianapolis Colts.
The league argued in court that Goodell’s authority in the matter could not be challenged under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the union. But the NFLPA contended that Goodell acted improperly, and Berman agreed.
Berman cited in particular the league’s failure to notify Brady that he faced a potential suspension, and the NFL’s failure to allow league counsel Jeff Pash to testify at Brady’s appeal hearing.
“The Court is fully aware of the deference afforded to arbitral decisions, but, nevertheless, concludes that the Award should be vacated,” Berman wrote. “The Award is premised upon several significant legal deficiencies, including (A) inadequate notice to Brady of both his potential discipline (four-game suspension) and his alleged misconduct; (B) denial of the opportunity for Brady to examine one of two lead investigators, namely NFL Executive Vice President and General Counsel Jeff Pash; and (C) denial of equal access to investigative files, including witness interview notes.”
So much for the union’s devotion to the “integrity of the game.”
The deflated balls almost certainly had no impact on the outcome of that game. But it is symptomatic of a culture where team officials don’t believe they have to play by the same rules as everyone else.
And that extends to their star quarterback as well.
A 17-year-old boy, who wants to identify as a girl, has ignited a huge controversy in a small Missouri town outside of St. Louis by insisting he be allowed to use the girls’ restroom and locker room.
Wanting to be known as Lila Perry, the teen has not undergone gender reassignment surgery. He hasn’t even begun hormone therapy, a precursor to the surgery and a pharmaceutical means of growing breasts in men and adding other feminine physical characteristics.
Instead, Lila wears a wig and a dress — and insists he’s a girl.
Not surprisingly, the girls at the school are extremely uncomfortable and parents are beside themselves.
If Jenner weren’t already a rich celebrity, would she have received the same support? How would other, less famous transgender Americans be treated?
On Monday morning, a small town in Missouri provided an answer.
For two hours, approximately 150 students stood in front of Hillsboro High School to protest a transgender teen’s use of the girls’ facilities.
And for those same two hours, the 17-year-old transgender teen huddled inside her counselor’s office — with the door locked.
“I was concerned about my own safety,” Lila Perry told the New York Times.
It’s not just her fellow students that are upset over Perry’s use of the girls’ bathroom and locker room. The issue has roiled this town, thrusting a quaint community of about 3,000 into the national spotlight. Last week, a school board meeting had to be moved after too many people attended to discuss Perry. And on Monday afternoon, the protesting students — who comprised about 13 percent of the school — were joined by angry adults.
“This needs to stop before it goes too far,” Jeff Childs, who has a niece and a nephew in the Hillsboro School System, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He and his 21-year-old son showed up to the school with “Girls Rights Matter” painted on the sides and back of his pickup truck.
“I’m not trying to be ignorant, but [the transgender student] is bringing it out in public for everybody else to deal with,” Childs said.
The controversy suggests that in some American communities, the debate over transgender rights lags behind the messages contained in glossy magazine spreads.
You mean, dealing with the reality of an anatomically correct male exposing himself in girls’ locker rooms and restrooms is something that should be “debated”? Thankfully, the parents and students protesting in Hillsboro probably never saw those “glossy magazine spreads.”
Lila’s story is hard to believe:
For Perry, her personal struggle began as soon as she could call herself a teenager. At age 13, Perry began to feel “more like a girl than a boy,” she told the Times.
By the middle of last year, her junior year at Hillsboro High, Perry was ready to come out as transgender. She was tired of pretending to be someone she wasn’t, she told the Post-Dispatch. She began wearing a wig, dresses and women’s makeup, although she has not had gender reassignment surgery.
When school began on Aug. 13, Perry told school administrators that she wanted to use the girls’ bathroom and locker room, instead of the unisex bathroom she had used as a junior.
The school consented, in accordance with guidelines from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights that say students should be allowed to use facilities in accordance with their gender identification.
So far this year, Perry has been using the girls’ bathroom and locker room, according to local TV station KTVI.
That simple act set off a firestorm of controversy.
“Simple act”? Is he kidding? There is nothing simple about a boy pretending to be a girl who is allowed to share facilities where young girls take off their clothes. In what universe is this considered “simple”?
Elizabeth Price Foley, writing at Instapundit, has the most reasonable take on the controversy:
The 17 year-old student, who goes by “Lila” Perry, has not had any surgery or medical procedures to alter his male body. He wears a wig and wears girl’s clothing. So in my book, that makes him a crossdresser, and merely because he “thinks” he is a female cannot make it so. And of course, in true “victim” mentality, Perry is accusing all of the (actual) young ladies who are protesting his presence in their locker room as bigots:
“There’s a lot of ignorance, they are claiming that they’re uncomfortable. I don’t believe for a second that they are. I think this is pure and simple bigotry,” Perry told local news station KMOV.
This is typical far-left hyperbole, branding those who disagree with you as “bigots.” Transgender should be a label confined to those who undergo surgical alteration of their physical genitalia–you know, those who actually change their gender. It should not be so broad as to encompass those who subjectively “think” they are another sex, whilst still objectively possessing the genitalia associated with their genetic makeup. If it is a term that has any meaning at all, it must be judged by objective, not subjective, standards.
And I’m sorry, but “Lila” is clearly just a dude with a wig, and I wouldn’t want my teenage daughter to share a locker room with him/her/it:
Note the inability of Perry to realize the discomfort of his classmates. That’s because he’s bought into the myth — the myth that there is no difference between the sexes and that gender is frangible and fluid. Biology is not destiny, nor even defining. And the myth makes all opposition to this gender confusion a crime of bigotry.
Is it really possible for a 17 year old to be certain that he is a different gender than his anatomy says? I think it ridiculous that we take teenagers at their word when they claim to be gay. It is common for teens to be confused about sex. It’s not uncommon for teens to be attracted to members of the same sex. But in order to know if you are truly transgendered or possess a non-traditional sexual preference, you have to know yourself very well. And I put it to you: How well does a 17-year-old boy know his own mind?
The myth is now apparently accepted on the coasts and in urban America. But for most ordinary Americans who only want to be left alone to live their lives, care for their families, pay their taxes, love their spouse and kids, and lead a normal life, Lila Perry and his ilk are jarring examples of reality trumping a myth. In their America, girls get dressed in a separate locker room than boys…period. Why this rational, reasonable position becomes bigotry says more about those accusing townfolk of being haters than it does the people of Hillsboro.
Gwen Ifill, host of the PBS NewsHour and an infamous shill for President Obama, tweeted out her joy at the news that President Obama had clinched passage of his nuclear deal with Iran.
The non-journalist from a supposedly non-partisan public television network spitefully and sarcastically rubbed the prime minister of Israel’s face into it.
Take that, Bibi. https://t.co/V9Gn9vP6xN
— gwen ifill (@gwenifill) September 2, 2015
Here’s a response to be treasured:
— EducatédHillbilly™ (@RobProvince) September 2, 2015
Others were less gracious:
@gwenifill Remind me again why you think you are a journalist. You think this was some kind of game? Obama shill.
— Mark Jacobs (@mr_markjacobs) September 2, 2015
“Unbiased” “journalist” for tax-funded news organization tells one of our closest allies to “take that” @gwenifill
— CounterMoonbat (@CounterMoonbat) September 2, 2015
And an interesting suggestion:
— Atomic Monkey Squad (@SantasTavern) September 2, 2015
Since there is a pretty good possibility that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel are likely to “take” a nuclear bomb down the gullet thanks to the ignorant naivete of the president and sycophants like Ifil, that particular tweet might come back to haunt Ms. Ifill one day.
But by then, a Republican will probably be president so Ifil and her Obama worshippers can blame them for their own towering stupidity in blindly following the dangerous legacy-building of their hero.
Abraham Lincoln was supposed to have said on the occasion of meeting Uncle Tom’s Cabin author Harriet Beecher Stowe, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”
Kim Davis, a lowly county clerk in Kentucky, has singlehandedly reignited the debate over same sex marriage. She is invoking “God’s authority” in justifying her continued denial of marriage licenses to same sex couples. And now, a federal judge has called her and her entire staff into court to explain themselves.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning moved swiftly Tuesday after a lesbian couple asked him to find Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in contempt. Davis told several couples and a crowd of supporters and protesters that her religious beliefs prevent her from sanctioning gay marriage, and then retreated again, closing her office door and blinds to the raucous scene outside.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene Monday night, leaving Davis no legal ground for her continued refusal Tuesday morning. Lawyers for the two gay couples who originally sued her asked the judge Tuesday to find her in contempt, but punish her with only financial penalties, not jail time.
“Since Defendant Davis continues to collect compensation from the Commonwealth for duties she fails to perform,” they asked Bunning to “impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous” to compel her immediate compliance without delay.
Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins says the federal court alerted him that a hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday in Ashland.
As an elected official, Davis can’t be fired; her impeachment would have to wait until the Legislature’s regular session next year or a costly special session.
Davis rejected David Moore and David Ermold’s license request for a fourth time, and then told them to leave.
“We’re not leaving until we have a license,” Ermold said as reporters and cameras surrounded them.
“Then you’re going to have a long day,” Davis told him, and then retreated into her inner office.
From the back of the room, Davis’ supporters said: “Praise the Lord! … Stand your ground.”
Other activists shouted that Davis is a bigot and told her: “Do your job.”
The sheriff then moved everyone out to the courthouse lawn, where James Yates and Will Smith Jr., who were denied a license for a fifth time, left red-eyed and shaking.
“It’s just too hard right now,” Yates said, choking back tears and holding hands as they rushed to their car.
Devout Christians will no doubt find inspiration in Mrs. Davis’s stand. But if you care a whit about the law and the Constitution, you should be upset and angry. She says her religious beliefs prevent her from carrying out her defined duties. When that kind of conflict occurs, her only recourse is to resign. And when confronted by a court order telling her to issue the licenses, she should either comply or resign.
This is not the same as a baker or a florist refusing to take part in a gay wedding. It’s a matter of a legally binding court order being flouted. You can sympathize, even admire, Mrs. Davis for her stand. But she can’t pick and choose which laws she will obey, and which she will ignore.
Davis is allowing her personal religious beliefs to interfere in the performance of her public duties. “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s,” Jesus said. A very wise man, he. And Mrs. Mills would do well to recall those words when trying to justify her stance.
President Obama has created a controversy by renaming Mount McKinley back to its original Native American name Denali.
I suppose if I were an Ohioan, I wouldn’t be pleased either. You don’t like to see a native son dissed.
Speaker John Boehner seems a bit miffed:
“McKinley served our country with distinction during the Civil War as a member of the Army. He made a difference for his constituents and his state as a member of the House of Representatives and as Governor of the great state of Ohio,” the speaker said in a statement. “And he led this nation to prosperity and victory in the Spanish-American War as the 25th President of the United States. I’m deeply disappointed in this decision.”
Senator Portman isn’t pleased either:
Pres McKinley was a proud Ohioan, and the mountain was named after him, as a way to remember his rich legacy after his assassination (2/5)
— Rob Portman (@senrobportman) August 31, 2015
But really now, why is everyone getting upset? Mountains, lakes, rivers, big rocks, and tiny streams have all been named by those that first saw them. And I hate to break it to my friends who are throwing a fit over this name change, but the ancestors of the Athabascan Indians have been in Alaska since the end of the last ice age — about 12,000 years ago. For at least the last several thousand years, the Athabascans have called the mountain Denali. This, compared to about 100 years of calling it Mount McKinley.
It looks like hypocrisy to claim the right to name a mountain when you’re about 5,000 years too late to do so.
Think of the tens of thousands of cities, towns, villages, counties, and townships that use a Native American name to identify them or, more likely, the western bastardization of the Native American word.(The official origin of “Chicago” is that it is the French version of the Miami-Illinois word “shikaakwa” [“Stinky Onion”], named for the garlic plant [not onion] Allium tricoccum common along the Chicago River.)
Even states have been named using indian names. Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and many more carry the names of tribes that populated the Midwest at the time the white man first arrived.
So what’s the big deal about restoring the proper place name to a mountain? Oh sure, it’s pure pandering by Obama as he looks to bribe another constituency. But in this case, with so many Alaskans agreeing with him, it’s hard to argue against it.
Louisiana Governor and GOP presidential candidate Bobby Jindal told ABC’s This Week that Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server for government emails presents serious security problems that may land her in jail.
“With Hillary Clinton, it just seems to be one scandal after another,” the GOP candidate said on ABC’s “This Week.” “She’s literally one email away from going to jail.”
“What I fear is that maybe we’ll have to go to the Chinese and the Russians to actually see her emails,” he said.
“What’s clear is this — if a private in the military had done what they’ve accused her of doing, there would be real consequences,” said Jindal.
The FBI is currently investigating whether Clinton’s use of a personal server exposed sensitive material.
Clinton “shouldn’t be above the law,” Jindal said. “There shouldn’t be a different set of rules for our elected leaders than for the rest of us.”
Jindal continued: “I think the bigger issue here, the bigger scandal here, is the fact that Hillary Clinton seems to think, ‘what difference does it make?’”
A Des Moines Register poll released Saturday found that Sen. Bernie Sanders is now within 7 points of Clinton in Iowa. Clinton’s commanding lead over rival Democratic presidential candidates has eroded in recent months as her email scandal continues to roil her campaign.
Although it sounds like hyperbole, Jindal is spot on. The only thing lacking for Clinton to be indicted is an email indicating she was aware of the sensitive nature of its content. As it is now, she can claim — weakly and unconvincingly — that she was ignorant that information she was passing on was classified. The law says it doesn’t matter if she knew or not, but in practical legal terms, she probably won’t be prosecuted unless there is proof she knew.
DoJ investigators are now putting together email trees trying to find recipients of Clinton emails so that perhaps some can be recovered in that manner. And this is where Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills become important to Clinton’s defense. If either aide or both take the fall for passing on classified information, Hillary will probably skate.
The contents of the emails they turned over last week to the FBI should prove to be very interesting.
Saturday, in Minneapolis, Reuters reported:
Several hundred protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement marched to the Minnesota State Fair on Saturday to bring attention to race issues ranging from policing to underrepresentation of minorities at one of the nation’s biggest state fairs.
The mixed-race crowd, including senior citizens and children, chanted slogans along the 1-1/2 mile route and briefly lay down on a bridge south of the fairgrounds
Minnesota media reported the number of marchers at 325.
A few hundred miles to the south, a throng of 20,000, led by Glenn Beck, marched in Birmingham, Alabama, along the same route marched by Martin Luther King. They were there to declare that “All Lives Matter.”
Guess which march received national media attention and which one didn’t.
Led by conservative activist and talk show host Glenn Beck, more than 20,000 people chanting “All Lives Matter” marched the historic civil rights route from Kelly Ingram Park to Birmingham City Hall this morning.
“It’s about taking our church out in the streets,” Beck said. He said marchers came from as far away as China, Dubai and the Netherlands.
Actor Chuck Norris, a conservative activist known for his martial arts, action movies and TV show “Walker, Texas Ranger,” marched about two rows behind Beck. Alveda King, a niece of civil rights activist the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., marched in the front row. Bishop Jim Lowe, pastor of the predominantly black Guiding Light Church in Birmingham, co-organized the march with Beck and marched with him at the front. As a child, Lowe attended Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where the march started, a headquarters church for the civil rights movement in Birmingham. Lowe and his sisters were in the church when a KKK bomb blew up the church and killed four little girls on Sept. 15, 1963.
“Love is the answer,” Lowe said as he marched. “God is the answer.”
Contrast “love is the answer” with what those “Black Lives Matter” thugs were chanting yesterday:
Black Lives Matter protesters marching on the Minnesota state fair on Saturday spewed violent anti-cop rhetoric just hours after a Harris County, Tex. sheriff’s deputy was ambushed and executed at a Houston-area gas station.
“Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon,” activists with the St. Paul, Minn. branch of Black Lives Matter chanted while marching behind a group of police officers down a highway just south of the state fair grounds.
A couple of hundred activists screaming incoherent hate at America get loving, national wire service coverage (Reuters never mentioned the chant “fry ‘em’ like bacon”) while Beck and 20,000 marchers are literally ignored.
That’s 10 times the number of protestors who ever marched in Ferguson. It dwarfs Black Lives Matter demonstrations held in any big city. A dozen BLM protestors gather on a street corner and the national media is right there.
But 20,000 Americans, black and white, marching in solidarity sending the simple, obvious, message that “all lives matter” don’t exist in the media world.
You can bet if the Beck marchers had chanted anti-black slogans, the coverage would have been over the top. But I ask you what is more newsworthy: black activists threatening the lives of police — which isn’t reported anyway — or 20,000 Americans who say that love is the answer?
A 17-year old suburban Virginia teenager was sentenced to 11 years in prison for providing material support to Islamic State.
Ali Amin of suburban Washington, D.C., ran a pro-Islamic State Twitter account and assisted one of his friends in traveling to Syria in order to join ISIS. In June, he pled guilty to the terrorism charge, after cooperating with investigators. “I made my decisions, and I am prepared to bear their fullest consequences,” he said.
The 11-year sentence was less than the 15 years the prosecution asked for. The judge cited the age and lack of a previous criminal record as factors in giving the lesser sentence.
By prosecutors’ account, Amin was an active, sophisticated Islamic State supporter whose efforts not only bolstered the terrorist group’s online propaganda machine but also sent them a real-life fighter. By his own side’s telling, he was little more than a troubled kid who lost himself while seeking acceptance and respect in a sinister, virtual world.
Joe Flood, Amin’s attorney, said he was “disappointed” with the severity of the penalty but “heartened” that the judge showed some mercy. U.S. Attorney Dana Boente said the punishment “sends a serious message that these crimes are extremely harmful to the community, and they’re going to be dealt with harshly.”
Both sides asserted that the case is yet another chilling example of the Islamic State’s ability to woo American youth online: U.S. authorities have accused more than 60 people across the country of being involved in Islamic State activities. Amin’s case is, in ways, emblematic of the phenomenon and, in other ways, uniquely tragic.
Born in Sudan, Amin came to the United States with his mother before he was 2 and later became a naturalized citizen, according to letters, medical records and other materials his attorney submitted to the court.
Life in the United States was not always easy. Amin, who grew up largely in Northern Virginia, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease as a boy, and the condition was so severe that he would sometimes vomit in front of classmates at school. He was close to his mother — she wrote that he slept in bed with her until about age 13 — but their relationship was also tense at times.
When his mother remarried, Amin became disconnected from many of the extended family members he considered his friends, letters and records show.
In his teenage years, Amin became upset about what he perceived as atrocities against Muslims in the Middle East and set out on a quest, mostly online, to learn more about his faith, according to the letters and records. He did well academically, even getting into the rigorous academic program at the Governor’s School @ Innovation Park. But when health problems drove him out of the program in early 2014, he began spending more time on the Internet. By the time his parents checked his activities, he was communicating with people who seemed to be older Islamic State supporters.
Authorities said they were tipped off to Amin’s communication with Islamic State supporters in February 2014; his mother wrote that the family, at the advice of a religious leader, reached out to law enforcement later that year. Even with FBI agents closing in on him, though, Amin successfully connected a friend, 18-year-old Reza Niknejad, with Islamic State supporters abroad and helped the older teen travel to Syria.
Is this a tragedy? Or just desserts? An intelligent, troubled young man who apparently radicalized himself while searching for his Muslim roots goes over to the dark side and looks to radicalize others, succeeding in at least one instance. He knew what he was doing was wrong. He advocated murdering innocents, and urged his followers to go to war against everything his adopted country stood for.
On the other hand, there is the fact of his youth, his hardly-influential Twitter account with only 4,000 followers, and his idiot (incestuous?) mother who slept with him until he was 13 years old.
I think we were lucky to catch this kid when we did. Think of a bright young man with an engineering degree placed in service to Islamic State where his skills could have caused a lot of bloodshed. Left to his own devices, he may have even decided to carry out jihad in America some day.
So 11 years sounds about right, as does the judge’s instructions after he leaves jail. He “also imposed a lifetime of supervised release and monitoring of Amin’s Internet activities after he leaves prison.” This won’t deradicalize him, but it is likely to prevent him from causing any more trouble.
This was hardly a “tragedy.” But when you consider the young man’s obvious gifts, it’s a sad commentary on how Islamic State can ruin lives.
Deja vu all over again? It’s beginning to look like 2008 for Hillary Clinton, as the latest Des Moines Register poll shows socialist Senator Bernie Sanders pulling within 7 points of the former first lady in Iowa.
Liberal revolutionary Bernie Sanders, riding an updraft of insurgent passion in Iowa, has closed to within 7 points of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential race.
She’s the first choice of 37 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers; he’s the pick for 30 percent, according to a new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll.
But Clinton has lost a third of her supporters since May, a trajectory that if sustained puts her at risk of losing again in Iowa, the initial crucible in the presidential nominating contest.
This is the first time Clinton, the former secretary of state and longtime presumptive front-runner, has dropped below the 50 percent mark in four polls conducted by the Register and Bloomberg Politics this year.
Poll results include Vice President Joe Biden as a choice, although he has not yet decided whether to join the race. Biden captures 14 percent, five months from the first-in-the-nation vote Feb. 1. Even without Biden in the mix, Clinton falls below a majority, at 43 percent.
If this poll doesn’t send Democrats to the medicine cabinet for a dose of Alka Seltzer, nothing will. Hillary Clinton’s campaign is close to being in free fall and the major alternative that is emerging is a 73-year-old senator from Vermont who is a hyper-liberal and avowed socialist.
If there is a better scenario for a GOP landslide, I can’t think of one.
Meanwhile, Ben Carson is riding a wave of support thanks, at least partly, to his devout Christian faith.
The survey found that Carson is buoyed in Iowa by his likable public persona and his vocal Christian faith.
It said that 79 percent likely GOP caucus-goers view the retired neurosurgeon favorably, the highest score in the GOP’s entire 2016 field.
He also leads the hunt for Iowa’s evangelical demographic with 23 percent of their support.
Those numbers are similar to Mike Huckabee’s numbers in 2008 when the former Arkansas governor won the Iowa caucuses. Huckabee is still extremely likeable but his support from evangelicals has fallen precipitously.
What makes the evangelical vote so important is that they make up a disproportionate share of caucus-goers. That bodes well for the retired neurosurgeon, whose surge in Iowa matches his improving position nationally.
A federal judge ordered the IRS to turn over any documents that indicated White House requests for private taxpayer information.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued the order, eliminating the IRS argument that they couldn’t comply because taxpayer information is private.
“This court questions whether section 6103 should or would shield records that indicate confidential taxpayer information was misused, or that government officials made an improper attempt to access that information,” the judge wrote in denying the IRS’s request to close out the case.
The ruling marks yet another federal judge who has ordered the Obama administration to be more transparent when responding to open-records records. The State Department is facing a barrage of orders from federal judges demanding more cooperation in releasing former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails.
White House officials and federal agencies are allowed, under very select circumstances, to ask the IRS for protected information. But the requests must be carefully cleared.
Questions about potential White House meddling in taxpayers’ private information stretch back to the beginning of the Obama administration, when the then-White House chief economist seemed to describe the tax structure of Koch Industries during a briefing with reporters.
His description was apparently incorrect, but it left some watchdog groups wondering if the White House had quietly sought information on conservatives, such as the billionaire Koch brothers.
Cause of Action sued in 2013 to get a look at whatever requests the White House, or other federal agencies, had made.
The IRS refused, saying even the existence of those requests would be protected by confidentiality laws and couldn’t be released, so there was no reason to make the search.
The judge said Friday, however, that the agency couldn’t use the privacy protection “to shield the very misconduct it was enacted to prohibit.”
“As we have said all along, this administration cannot misinterpret the law in order to potentially hide evidence of wrongdoing,” said Dan Epstein, executive director at Cause of Action. “No administration is above the law, and we are pleased that the court has sided with us on this important point.”
Any White House aide who used an email or letter to transmit a request from the administration to view private taxpayer information belongs in jail for stupidity. If such emails or letters existed, they were destroyed long ago, along with other incriminating documents.
Unless Jackson demonstrates the kind of bulldog tenacity that Judge Emmet Sullivan has shown in leaning on the IRS to release Lois Lerner’s emails, we’re not likely to get anything of value from the IRS on this front.
Strong words from both Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malaley at a meeting of the Democratic National Committee where both candidates claimed the party was rigging the process by scheduling only six debates.
O’Malley addressed the DNC’s summer meeting and bitterly denounced the party leadership for holding only 4 debates before the early state caucuses and primaries in February.
What began as a routine forum of candidate speeches evolved into a surprisingly dramatic day at the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley issued thinly veiled attacks on Clinton and the party leadership.
Speaking from the dais, with DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz sitting a few feet away, O’Malley blasted the party’s limited number of sanctioned debates as a process “rigged” in favor of the front-runner. The DNC is holding six debates, only four before February’s first caucuses in Iowa, which O’Malley argued is a disadvantage for all the candidates and a disservice to Democrats generally.
“This sort of rigged process has never been attempted before,” said O’Malley, who has struggled to gain traction in the polls. He added: “We are the Democratic Party, not the undemocratic party.”
Sanders — who later told reporters he agreed with O’Malley — lamented low Democratic turnout in last year’s midterm elections and said the party must grow beyond “politics as usual” if it hopes to produce the level of voter enthusiasm required to retain the White House in 2016.
“We need a movement which takes on the economic and political establishment, not one which is part of that establishment,” said Sanders, who is an independent but caucuses with Democrats in the Senate.
Asked later whether he was speaking specifically about Clinton, he told reporters, “I’ll let you use your imagination on that.”
The barbs from Sanders and O’Malley came as Clinton and her campaign flexed their organizational muscle here. The front-runner and her top aides worked aggressively behind the scenes this week to secure commitments from party leaders pledging to be delegates for her in next summer’s nominating convention in Philadelphia.
Clinton’s organizational push sent a clear signal to Vice President Biden, who has been weighing a late entry into the 2016 campaign, that he would begin far behind her.
Watch the look DNC chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz gives O’Malley as she shakes his hand rather awkwardly.
Clinton, meanwhile, held herself above the fray, concentrating her fire on Republicans, saying about the GOP, “The party of Lincoln has become the party of Trump.”
She has retooled her strategy to go on the attack against Trump and the Republicans, hoping to distract people from the ever growing number of questions swirling around the use of her private email server.
It won’t work. The controversy has momentum now, impossible to keep off the front page as the FBI is now seriously looking at Clinton as a criminal suspect.
The risk for the Democrats is that they will go into the fall campaign with a candidate who may be severely damaged by suspicions she mishandled classified information. And with no credible alternative to Hillary Clinton — including Joe Biden — Democrats are becoming more fearful with each new revelation coming from the scandal.
I wanted to use the term “chaos” to describe the state of the Bush campaign today, following the abrupt departure of three key fundraising aides.
But it’s not that bad — yet. Although fundraising has slowed in recent weeks, Jeb is still sitting on a nice stash of cash. And the reasons the fundraisers left have as much to do with personality conflicts as they do with disillusionment with the candidate’s chances.
That doesn’t mean the Bush campaign is humming along smoothly. There are indications that unless fundraising picks back up in the near future, the candidate will be in serious trouble.
There are different versions of what transpired. The Florida-based fundraising consultants — Kris Money, Trey McCarley, and Debbie Aleksander — have said that they voluntarily quit the campaign and were still working with Bush’s super PAC, Right to Rise Super PAC. Others said the three, who worked under the same contract, were let go because they were no longer needed for the current phase of the campaign.
None of the three responded to requests for comment. Bush spokesman Tim Miller would only say that “Governor Bush has the widest and deepest fundraising operation of any candidate in the field. Ann Herberger — a longtime aide with more than two decades of experience in state and national politics — will continue to lead the operation in Florida with our team in Miami.”
The departures came at a time of uncertainty for the Bush. While he has had massive success raising money for his Super PAC, he is overseeing an official campaign that has many more staffers but far less money. Earlier this week, the New York Times revealed that it had taken steps to rein in some of its spending and had gone so far as to cut some employee salaries. And POLITICO reported one Bush fundraiser expressed concerns about the slowing pace of the campaign’s fundraising after Bush’s shaky debate performance.
The Bush campaign wasted no time seeking a replacement for the three fundraising consultants and has reached out to Meredith O’Rourke – one of Florida’s top Republican fundraisers who briefly worked for Chris Christie’s campaign in May but left it in July. O’Rourke, who wouldn’t comment, helped Gov. Rick Scott raise about $100 million for his 2014 reelection campaign and also works for Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who’s likely to run for governor in 2018.
One source attributed the departures to personality conflicts in the campaign, some involving Bush’s finance team.
“They were glad to go. This wasn’t a shock to anybody,” said one campaign source. “There were just some personality problems. It happens when you have a big organization like this, a big campaign. Some of the national people are tough to work for.”
Another campaign source, though, said the three fundraising consultants – who worked on contract and were not staffers – were let go because they weren’t raising enough money relative to how much they had been raising during the last financial quarter.
The drop off in fundraising may just be a seasonal lull, so this is no time for the campaign to hit the panic button. But reading between the lines, you can tell they are very worried. With Trump pulling away in the polls and apparently immune to the normal gaffes that would torpedo any other candidate, they are husbanding their resources while hoping for a Trump meltdown.
Trump may indeed lose support over time but, given what we’se seen so far, a meltdown is improbable. So is Jeb whistling by the graveyard in thinking he can get back in the race?
The remaining debates will be extremely important. As popular as Donald Trump is, he is still getting only about a quarter of the total GOP vote. A strong debate performance by Bush or another candidate coupled with a less than stellar debate by Trump might narrow the gap some.
It’s possible to envision several lesser candidates dropping out even before the first of the year, leaving more money and support for the survivors. It’s not much to hang your hat on if you’re Bush. But at this point, it’s just about all he’s got.
Training camps turning out thousands of Islamic State fighters a month are not being targeted by the Pentagon because of the potential collateral damage.
Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon reports that defense and intelligence officials question the Obama administration’s commitment to destroying ISIS. “If we know the location of these camps, and the president wants to destroy ISIS, why are the camps still functioning?” one official critical of the policy asked.
The camps are regarded by U.S. intelligence analysts as a key element in the terror group’s successes in holding and taking new territory. The main benefit of the training camps is that they are providing a continuous supply of new fighters.
An additional worry of intelligence analysts is that some of the foreign fighters being trained in the camps will eventually return to their home countries in Europe and North America to carry out terror attacks.
A White House spokesman declined to comment on the failure to bomb the terror camps and referred questions to the Pentagon.
Pentagon spokesman Maj. Roger M. Cabiness declined to say why no training camps have been bombed. “I am not going to be able to go into detail about our targeting process,” he said.
Cabiness said the U.S.-led coalition has “hit ISIL [an alternative abbreviation for the Islamic State] with more than 6,000 airstrikes.”
“The coalition has also taken out thousands of fighting positions, tanks, vehicles, bomb factories, and training camps,” he said. “We have also stuck their leadership, including most recently on Aug. 18 when a U.S. military airstrike removed Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, also known as Hajji Mutazz, the second in command of the terrorist group, from the battlefield.”
Efforts also are being taken to disrupt IS finances and “make it more difficult for the group to attract new foreign fighters,” Cabiness said in an email.
A Central Command spokesman also declined to provide details of what he said were “operational engagements” against IS training camps.
“Once a target is identified as performing a hostile act, or is part of an obvious hostile force, a training camp for example, we prosecute that target in accordance with the coalition rules of engagement and the law of armed conflict,” the spokesman said.
According to the defense and intelligence officials, one reason the training camps have been off limits is that political leaders in the White House and Pentagon fear hitting them will cause collateral damage. Some of the camps are located near civilian facilities and there are concerns that casualties will inspire more jihadists to join the group.
However, military officials have argued that unless the training camps are knocked out, IS will continue to gain ground and recruit and train more fighters for its operations.
What’s the difference in the number of fighters that will join ISIS if we bomb the camps or don’t bomb the camps? On the one hand, we might anger a few jihadists because we kill a few civilians. On the other hand, ISIS military campaigns meeting with success because we don’t bomb the camps attract large numbers of fighters as well. I would bet the difference is negligible, which leaves the desire to avoid civilian casualties as the number one reason we’re not bombing the camps.
In nearby Yemen, Saudi Arabia is killing civilians by the bushelful, as is the Syrian government and Iran through their proxy Hezb’allah. Modern war guarantees dead civilians. The question isn’t whether civilians die, it’s whether you deliberately target them that creates the moral dilemma.
I guess it depends whether you see the war against Islamic State as a battle to save western civilization or not. If you approach the conflict as trying to rid the world of a nuisance, you might hesitate to risk civilian casualties.
But if you think your future is at stake, it’s a no brainer.
Proponents of the Iran agreement have made a lot of silly arguments in support of the deal but none more ridiculous than the only alternative to the agreement is war. The extension of that argument is that anyone who opposes the deal actually wants war with Iran — a ludicrous construct born out of truly magical and spurious thinking.
The White House made that point again in a statement criticizing the joint rally to be held by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz September 9 in Washington.
The White House on Friday blasted Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz for planning a protest against the Iran deal on Capitol Hill, labeling it a “pro-war rally.”
“Senator Cruz and Donald Trump have announced they are going to hold a big pro-war rally on the steps of the United States Capitol,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
The phrase is a familiar one for Earnest, who also used it to dismiss an anti-Iran deal event organized by Cruz in July.
The spokesman noted former Vice President Dick Cheney’s plan to slam the Iran deal in a speech next week.
“The same people making the same arguments against the Iran deal were the people who advocated for us getting into the war in Iraq in 2002 and 2003,” Earnest said. “The fault lines of this debate should be familiar to anybody who has been covering American politics for the past 12 or 13 years.”
Supporters and opponents of the Iran deal are ramping up lobbying efforts to sway lawmakers and the public ahead of a key congressional vote in mid-September.
The White House has sought to frame the debate as a choice between diplomacy or military force to cut off Tehran’s path to a nuclear weapon.
Opponents, such as Cruz, say the agreement doesn’t permanently prevent Iran from building a bomb. And they argue the country will use billions of dollars in sanctions relief to destabilize the region and fund terrorist groups that threaten Israel.
The Trump-Cruz event will take place on Sept. 9 on the West Front of the Capitol, giving two of the biggest names in the GOP presidential field a megaphone to attack the deal.
Cheney’s speech will take place one day earlier at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington.
What possible connection does support for the Iraq War have with the Iran deal? “The same people making the same arguments…”? In fact, the half or more of the Democratic Party that were making the pro-Iraq War arguments are supporting the Iran agreement. And unlike the other major pieces of legislation the Obama claims credit for that were passed by a straight party line vote, opposition to the Iran deal is deep, and broad, and bi-partisan.
The president is trying to make this a partisan issue, despite the fact that in opposing the deal, there are already 14 more Democrats in the House and two more in the Senate than there were Republicans supporting Obamacare.
The “pro-war rally” smear is typical of the administration’s argument to support the deal. But in a few years, we are very likely to discover which side was working to avoid a war, and which side was stupid enough to encourage one.
The International Atomic Energy Agency says that Iran has apparently built an extension on its controversial military base at Parchin. The base has been a much discussed issue recently as it is part of one of the side deals Iran made with the IAEA in the nuclear agreement.
The news raises more questions about just who is going to be inspecting the base and what kind of access the IAEA will have to do its job.
A resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Parchin file, which includes a demand for fresh IAEA access to the site, is a symbolically important issue that could help make or break Tehran’s July 14 nuclear deal with six world powers.
The confidential IAEA report, obtained by Reuters, said:
“Since (our) previous report (in May), at a particular location at the Parchin site, the agency has continued to observe, through satellite imagery, the presence of vehicles, equipment, and probable construction materials. In addition, a small extension to an existing building” appeared to have been built.
The changes were first observed last month, a senior diplomat familiar with the Iran file said.
The IAEA says any activities Iran has undertaken at Parchin since U.N. inspectors last visited in 2005 could jeopardize its ability to verify Western intelligence suggesting Tehran carried out tests there relevant to nuclear bomb detonations more than a decade ago. Iran has dismissed the intelligence as “fabricated”.
Under a “road map” accord Iran reached with the IAEA parallel to its groundbreaking settlement with the global powers, it is required to give the Vienna-based watchdog enough information about its past nuclear activity to allow it to write a report on the long vexed issue by year-end.
“Full and timely implementation of the relevant parts of the road-map is essential to clarify issues relating to this location at Parchin,” the new IAEA report said.
According to data given to the IAEA by some member states, Parchin might have housed hydrodynamic experiments to assess how specific materials react under high pressure, such as in a nuclear blast.
“We cannot know or speculate what’s in the (extended) building … It’s something we will technically clarify over the course of the year,” the senior diplomat said. The report said the extended building was not the one that some countries suspect has housed the controversial experiments.
“It’s funny that the IAEA claims there has been a small extension to a building … Iran doesn’t need to ask for the IAEA’s permission to do construction work on its sites,” Reza Najafi, Iran’s envoy to the agency, was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency.
Anyone who wasn’t convinced that Iran is thumbing its nose at the rest of the world as this agreement is implemented need only look at their reaction to the IAEA revelations. And the six powers are so committed to seeing this agreement implemented that Iran could send in a report on past nuclear activities written by 10 chimpanzees and it would be meekly accepted by the UN.
If the issues surrounding Parchin are not going to blow up the deal, nothing will. The Obama administration’s eagerness to get the UN to sign off on the deal before Congress now looks like a blunder of epic proportions. The momentum is irreversible and nobody — not the IAEA, the P5+1, or the U.S. Congress — is going to stop the party before it starts.
The National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling that revised its “joint employer” standard, making the parent company of independently owned franchises responsible for many labor practices.
The case at issue involved a California Teamsters local who asked the NLRB to declare Browning-Ferris and a staffing agency “joint employers.” The staffing firm, Leadpoint Business Services out of Phoenix, had been supplying Browning-Ferris with temporary workers and the Teamsters wanted the board to recognize the bargaining rights of the subcontracted labor.
But as Reuters points out, the impact of the ruling will severely impact the franchise industry.
The board, in a 3-2 decision that will likely be appealed in U.S. court, said the existing standard, under which companies had to have “direct and immediate control” over employment matters such as hiring and firing to be considered employers, was outdated and did not reflect the realities of the 21st century workforce.
“We will no longer require that a joint employer not only possess the authority to control employees’ terms and conditions of employment, but also exercise that authority,” Board Chairman Mark Pearce wrote.
The decision means large companies that use a franchise model or staffing agencies will in many cases be required to bargain directly with unions and employees, potentially making it easier for them to win higher wages and better working conditions.
Business groups have said such a ruling, which came in the case of waste management company Browning-Ferris Industries Inc, would endanger companies that rely on franchising, contracting and supply chains, and kill jobs.
“Every business-to-business relationship is at risk,” said Michael Lotito, a lawyer at Littler Mendelson in San Francisco who works with industry groups.
The decision came as McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N) is facing a series of NLRB cases brought against dozens of its franchisees around the country. The fast food giant has argued that it is not a joint employer because it does not hire and fire franchise workers, and Thursday’s decision may make it more difficult for the company to make its case.
Unions and others who support the change say it is necessary to bring companies that indirectly control working conditions to the bargaining table and to curb the use of “permanent temps” who are paid less and do not get the same benefits as ordinary employees.
The ruling also means franchises and smaller companies that provide workers will be insulated from liability when labor violations are triggered by corporate policies, said Jeanne Mirer, a lawyer who authored a brief in the case on behalf of the Communication Workers of America and workers’ rights groups.
“Now the arrangement can be put back into balance in a way that gives fuller protections to workers and the leased company,” she said.
The dissenting NLRB members on Thursday said the board had exceeded its authority by redefining employment, and that the ruling would create uncertainty for businesses nationwide.
Just who and what is the NLRB screwing with? Franchises account for more than $2 trillion of America’s economy. There are more than 800,000 franchises nationwide with more than 18 million employees. All of that is threatened by the ruling of the labor board that seeks to destory independent franchise business owners. Why should McDonald’s or Burger King allow any independent actions by a franchisee if they are the ones who are going to be on the hook for any potential labor law violations?
There’s always a chance a federal court won’t see it the way that the NLRB sees it, but in the meantime, if you were thinking about opening a franchise operation, wouldn’t a ruling like this give you second thoughts? The uncertainty generated by this ruling will almost certainly have a negative impact on the franchise industry, thus placing another drag on an already sluggish economy.
The man who killed two journalists on live television in Virginia sent a suicide note to ABC News claiming the killings were in response to the shootings at a Charleston, SC, church that killed 9 people in June.
Bryce Williams, AKA Vester Lee Flanagan, contacted ABC News several times over the last several weeks saying he wanted to pitch a story to them. He never gave them an idea what the story was. Then today, Williams faxed what he called a “suicide note” in which he claimed the shooting of the reporters was a response to the Charleston killings and that he desired a race war.
This morning, a fax was in the machine (time stamped 8:26 a.m.) almost two hours after the shooting. A little after 10 a.m., he called again, and introduced himself as Bryce, but also said his legal name was Vester Lee Flanagan, and that he shot two people this morning. While on the phone, he said authorities are “after me,” and “all over the place.” He hung up. ABC News contacted the authorities immediately and provided them with the fax.
In the 23-page document faxed to ABC News, the writer says “MY NAME IS BRYCE WILLIAMS” and his legal name is Vester Lee Flanagan II.” He writes what triggered today’s carnage was his reaction to the racism of the Charleston church shooting:
“Why did I do it? I put down a deposit for a gun on 6/19/15. The Church shooting in Charleston happened on 6/17/15…”
“What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them.”
It is unclear whose initials he is referring to. He continues, “As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …(deleted)!!!” He said Jehovah spoke to him, telling him to act.
Later in the manifesto, the writer quotes the Virginia Tech mass killer, Seung Hui Cho, calls him “his boy,” and expresses admiration for the Columbine High School killers. “Also, I was influenced by Seung–Hui Cho. That’s my boy right there. He got NEARLY double the amount that Eric Harrisand Dylann Klebold got…just sayin.’”
In an often rambling letter to the authorities, and family and friends, he writes of a long list of grievances. In one part of the document, Williams calls it a “Suicide Note for Friends and Family.”
- He says has suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work
- He says he has been attacked by black men and white females
- He talks about how he was attacked for being a gay, black man
“Yes, it will sound like I am angry…I am. And I have every right to be. But when I leave this Earth, the only emotion I want to feel is peace….”
Perhaps someone should point out the vicious, hateful rhetoric coming from some “activists” following the Charleston tragedy as a motivating factor for Williams’ act. But I won’t.
This man is obviously mentally ill, but is he responsible for his actions? Like the Aurora, Colorado, shooter James Holmes who was found fit to stand trial despite mental illness, Williams demonstrated no outward signs of an illness that would disqualify him from facing justice.
By taking his own life, Williams closed off any official investigation of his actions and will remain something of a mystery.
Presidential candidate Ted Cruz criticized Fox News’ Megyn Kelly for asking a question about deporting illegal immigrants that “every mainstream media liberal journalist wants to ask.”
“If you have a husband and wife who are illegal immigrants, and they have two children here who are American citizens — would you deport all of them? Would you deport the American citizen children?” Kelly asked.
“Megyn, I get that that’s the question you want to ask,” Cruz said after repeatedly listing the steps Congress should take for addressing the issue. “That’s also the question every mainstream media liberal journalist wants to ask. They focus exclusively on 12 million people.”
Kelly then took issue with Cruz’s response, insisting that her question was fair.
“Is it an unfair question?” she asked the Texas lawmaker.
“It is a distraction from how we actually solve the problem,” Cruz responded. “You know, it’s also the question that [President] Barack Obama wants to focus on.”
“But why is it so hard? Why don’t you just say yes or no?” Kelly countered.
Cruz argued that the U.S. must secure its borders and overturn Obama’s executive order on immigration before addressing the issue of birthright citizenship and related deportations.
Cruz’s remarks come as Kelly is also feuding with GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination next year.
Trump has repeatedly challenged Kelly’s credibility as a journalist following her questioning of him during the first GOP presidential debate earlier this month.
Cruz and Trump have repeatedly struck a friendly tone toward one another while campaigning for next year’s election.
Cruz has vowed he is avoiding Republican-on-Republican attacks because it is counterproductive to the conservative cause.
Kelly asked a question that many people want an answer to; i.e., specific policy proposals regarding how deportation is going to work. Sure it’s a hard question, but Cruz was obviously unprepared to answer it. So instead of making a fumbling and mumbling response, he attacked the messenger. No doubt good politics but it hardly recommends him as a candidate who can stand the gaff of a long campaign.
The idea that it’s a “liberal journalist” question to wonder how deportation is going to work in the real world is laughable. Are reporters not allowed to ask for any specifics regarding policy? Are they supposed to be fawning sycophants like news personalities at MSNBC and CNN?
Kelly is not going to put on a short skirt and wave pom-poms for the GOP base. She is doing her job, and judging by her ratings, she is doing it well enough for millions of people to tune in every night. She asked a perfectly fair question of someone who wants to be elected to the highest office in the land. Perhaps it’s time for Cruz and Trump to abandon the cheap applause lines attacking journalists and speak intelligently to the issues.
What a change that would be.
A report issued by the Stockholm Environment Institute says that a UN plan to reduce emissions by allowing countries to create carbon credits from activities that actually increased emissions pumped more than 600 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere.
Under the UN scheme, called Joint Implementation, they then were able to sell those credits to the European Union’s carbon market. Companies bought the offsets rather than making their own more expensive, emissions cuts.
But this study, from the Stockholm Environment Institute, says the vast majority of Russian and Ukrainian credits were in fact, “hot air” – no actual emissions were reduced.
They looked at a random sample of 60 projects and found that 73% of the offsets generated didn’t meet the key criteria of “additionality”. This means that these projects would have happened anyway without any carbon credit finance.
“Some early projects were of good quality, but in 2011-2012, numerous projects were registered in Ukraine and Russia which had started long before and were clearly not motivated by carbon credits,” said Vladyslav Zhezherin, a co-author of the study.
“This was like printing money.”
According to the review, the vast majority of the offset credits went into the European Union’s flagship Emissions Trading Scheme. The authors estimate these may have undermined EU emissions reduction targets by 400 million tonnes of CO2, worth over $2bn at current market prices.
Unlike the Russian and Ukrainian projects, similar offsetting plans in Poland and Germany were said to meet very strict criteria.
“We were surprised ourselves by the extent, we didn’t expect such a large number,” co-author Anja Kollmuss told BBC News.
“What went on was that these countries could approve these projects by themselves there was no international oversight, in particular Russia and the Ukraine didn’t have any incentive to guarantee the quality of these credits.”
Because Germany and Poland had tougher emissions targets to meet, they were very careful with their certificates. This wasn’t the case in Russia and the Ukraine.
With zero oversight by the UN, Russia and Ukraine were able to game the system, gobbling up tens of billions of dollars in the process. China, too, has been caught in the fraud, which garnered them more than $2 billion.
The Russian scheme involved destroying chemicals that contribute to warming, but only after massively increasing their manufacture just to take advantage of the carbon credits:
It concerns the activities of projects that made money from the removal of chemicals HFC-23 and sulphur hexafluoride, which add significantly to global warming.
They found that, in 2011, all three projects in the study significantly and simultaneously ramped up the amount of the chemicals they were destroying.
“As researchers we can not prove the fraud, we can just point to the facts so in the HFC case at the moment when they could gain credits they immediately increased production of this greenhouse gas in order to destroy them, and that lead to them getting many more credits than if they had produced it like they did before,” said Anja Kollmuss.
A green Ponzi scheme. Brilliant.
You have to think that if two or three countries are playing games with the carbon trading market, dozens more are probably doing it as well. What do you expect with no oversight and incompetent bureaucrats overseeing a system that was designed to maximize cheating and fraud?
Saving the world from global warming is in the very best of hands.
Donald Trump reignited his war with Megyn Kelly and Fox News last night when he fired off a series of tweets that made it clear he wasn’t about to forget what he believes was rough treatment by Kelly at the GOP debate 19 days ago.
Kelly returned from an 11 day vacation last night and, following the airing of her show, The Kelly File, Trump let loose with a few haphazardly aimed volleys.
I liked The Kelly File much better without @megynkelly. Perhaps she could take another eleven day unscheduled vacation!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2015
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2015
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2015
“The bimbo back in town”? I’d say any other candidate who used that term to describe any woman would be on a train back to Hoboken by day’s end. But Teflon Don isn’t just another candidate — he’s immune to gaffes. Meanwhile, a tipping point may have been reached with Fox News. The high-profile meeting between Trump and Fox News President Roger Ailes, where a truce was declared between the warring parties, has apparently gone for naught as Fox personalities let loose with a few of their own attacks on Trump.
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) August 25, 2015
— Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) August 25, 2015
Indeed, it’s puzzling why Trump would attack someone with a nightly audience that exceeds by a factor of 10 the total number of fans who have jammed the candidate’s rallies since he announced his run for the presidency. Like Mark Twain said, “Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.” Trump should avoid continuing a feud with the most popular personality on cable news. The only explanation I can think of is that Trump believes his support increases the more he is seen as being under attack — under siege if you will — by the powers that be.
It’s back-to-school time for America’s colleges, which means another tiresome year of enduring the howls of outrage and cries of despair when someone, somewhere, somehow does something that this aggrieved group or another finds fault with.
Like night follows day or fall follows summer or Laurel follows Hardy, The Ivory Tower Outrage Brigades are once again picking up the cudgel of political correctness and are salivating at the thought of beating some poor miscreant over the head with it.
In this case at Old Dominion College, the party started even before classes began. The Eta Chi chapter of the Sigma Nu fraternity decided to live up to the reputation of frat boys everywhere and hung some banners welcoming freshmen girls to the school.
“Rowdy and Fun. Hope your baby girl is ready for a good time.”
“Freshman daughter drop off.”
“Go ahead and drop off mom too.”
These banners are no doubt in bad taste. And if I had a freshman daughter attending ODU, I might have seriously considered getting out of the car and tearing the banners down myself.
But observe the over-the-top, hysterical reaction.
Now the Sigma Nu Fraternity has suspended the Eta Chi Chapter at ODU pending an investigation into the banners.
Sigma Nu released a message stating their displeasure with the banners saying they condemn the “derogatory and demeaning language used on the banners.”
“Such language has no place in our Fraternity or within any caring community, such as that of ODU. Any Fraternity member found to be responsible for this reprehensible display will be held accountable by the Fraternity,” said Brad Beacham, Sigma Nu Fraternity’s Executive Director in a statement.
ODU officials say they believe the people who live at the private residents are students and say they are investigating. The University sent this statement in full:
“Messages like the ones displayed yesterday by a few students on the balcony of their private residence are not and will not be tolerated. The moment University staff became aware of these banners, they worked to have them removed. At ODU, we foster a community of respect and dignity and these messages sickened us. They are not representative of our 3,000 faculty and staff, 25,000 students and our 130,000 alumni.
Ours is a community that works actively to promote bystander intervention and takes a stand denouncing violence against women. The “It’s on Us” video is just one example of ODU students’ leadership on this topic.
In addition, the University ensures all students receive education on the prevention of sexual harassment and relationship violence.
Any student found to have violated the code of conduct will be subject to disciplinary action.”
Note first that the banners were hung in front of private residences where officials “believe” students live. And the Sigma Nu frat didn’t even wait to find out who was at fault. They pulled the plug on the chapter without even investigating.
The statement from the Student Government Association was even more bizarre:
“An incident occurred this weekend that does not reflect the University’s commitment to the prevention of Sexual Assault and Dating Violence. Not only do these actions taken by a few individuals undermine the countless efforts at Old Dominion University to prevent sexual assault, they are also unwelcoming, offensive, and unacceptable,” said Chris Ndiritu, President of the Student Government Association.
You have to be out of your mind to believe that the banner-hangers had sexual assault or dating violence in mind when they put them up. They may be insensitive louts, but why assume they’re criminals?
The Jewish rapper/reggae artist known as Matisyahu demonstrated an unusual degree of courage yesterday when he performed at a Spanish music festival in front of a sea of Palestinian flags and hecklers from the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.
Previously, Matisyahu had been disinvited to the festival because he refused to take part in a pro-Palestinian video and did not respond to questions about whether he believed in a Palestinian state. But the Spanish foreign minister along with the American and Israeli embassies lobbied the festival organizers and the artist was reinvited.
What happened when he mounted the stage should be made into a Hollywood movie:
Far from boycotting the reggae artist’s gig, the “hate Israel” crowd showed up en masse. And they came bearing flags, immense Palestinian flags, which they waved with gusto from every corner of the 20,000-strong crowd.
As Matisyahu took the mike and looked out to the audience, he was presented with an unmistakably hostile message. It was clear that those who sought to have him banished stood before him in protest. Then the catcalls started, with some chanting, “out, out.” It might easily have been unnerving, disorienting.
But then he began to sing about Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem, if I forget you, fire not gonna come from me tongue. Jerusalem, if I forget you, let my right hand forget what it’s supposed to do.”
And then, as he bounced and twirled around the stage, the most defiant lyrics of all: “3, 000 years with no place to be, and they want me to give up my milk and honey.”
“Tonight was difficult but special,” he later posted on Facebook, along with a clip of the performance.
What courage. Not to be intimidated when the concert organizers demanded he pacify the BDSers, and then to return to the festival’s schedule in defiance of the opposition, and chant Jerusalem on stage with such gusto.
Reggae is not my cup of tea but to sing this song with hecklers screaming at him and the flag of the enemy waving in his face is a special moment.
The video is of a live performance so I included the lyrics below:
Jerusalem, if I forget you,
fire not gonna come from me tongue.
Jerusalem, if I forget you,
let my right hand forget what it’s supposed to do.
In the ancient days, we will return with no delay
Picking up the bounty and the spoils on our way
We’ve been traveling from state to state
And them don’t understand what they say
3,000 years with no place to be
And they want me to give up my milk and honey
Don’t you see, it’s not about the land or the sea
Not the country but the dwelling of his majesty
Rebuild the temple and the crown of glory
Years gone by, about sixty
Burn in the oven in this century
And the gas tried to choke, but it couldn’t choke me
I will not lie down, I will not fall asleep
They come overseas, yes they’re trying to be free
Erase the demons out of our memory
Change your name and your identity
Afraid of the truth and our dark history
Why is everybody always chasing we
Cut off the roots of your family tree
Don’t you know that’s not the way to be
Caught up in these ways, and the worlds gone craze
Don’t you know it’s just a phase
Case of the Simon says
If I forget the truth then my words won’t penetrate
Babylon burning in the place, can’t see through the haze
Chop down all of them dirty ways,
That’s the price that you pay for selling lies to the youth
No way, not ok, oh no way, not ok, hey
Aint no one gonna break my stride
Aint no one gonna pull me down
Oh no, I got to keep on moving
Not all fighters for Israel wear the uniform of the IDF.
The terrorist who was thwarted in carrying out an attack on a French train by three Americans told his lawyer that authorities have it all wrong. He’s not a terrorist at all, but was only hungry and wanted to rob passengers.
That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.
A gunman who attacked passengers on a high-speed train in France two days ago is “dumbfounded” at having been taken for an Islamist militant and says he only intended to rob people on board because he was hungry, his lawyer said on Sunday.
As details emerged of the gunman’s early adult life in Spain, lawyer Sophie David said her client — now in detention near Paris — also looked ill and malnourished.
French and Spanish sources close to the case have identified him as a 26-year-old Moroccan named Ayoub el Khazzani who was known to European authorities as a suspected Islamist militant.
“(I saw) somebody who was very sick, somebody very weakened physically, as if he suffered from malnutrition, very, very thin and very haggard,” David told BFMTV.
“He is dumbfounded by the terrorist motives attributed to his action,” she added.
David said the man was barefoot and wore only a hospital shirt and boxer shorts for the police interrogation in Arras, northern France, where the train stopped after the incident.
The Moroccan told David he had found the Kalashnikov he had taken onto the train in a park near the Gare du Midi rail station in Brussels where he was in the habit of sleeping.
“A few days later he decided to get on a train that some other homeless people told him would be full of wealthy people traveling from Amsterdam to Paris and he hoped to feed himself by armed robbery,” David said.
The lawyer said the Moroccan had untreated wounds on his face when he spoke to her through an interpreter. He also told David he did not think he had fired any shots before his gun jammed.
Ah! A thousand pardons, Mr. Khazzani. Every thief walks around with an automatic weapon, 200 rounds of ammo, a pistol, and box cutters. Please accept our humble apologies for even thinking you were a terrorist.
Ms. David should be given credit for using a defense that’s never been tried before: the hungry jihadist who only wanted some rich people to spot him a meal. I must say, that kind of thinking takes some moxie for David to think she can pull off.
Khazzani apparently went to Syria last year — I’m sure it was to visit the Roman baths in Bosra.
Not to be outdone by David in absolving Khazzani of being a terrorist, the president of the Muslim community in the Spanish town where the terrorist had lived said, “He was an ordinary young man, he played football, went fishing, he worked to make a living.”
Just the jihadist next door.
This guy’s trial may bear watching if the lawyer and character witnesses are going to be this entertaining.
In 2013, as Detroit sank into bankruptcy, Chief of Police James Craig made the controversial suggestion that, given shrinking police resources and a spike in violent crime, residents should take a hand in their own personal security by purchasing a firearm.
Since then, there has been a substantial increase in gun ownership in the city and there is some indication that this has led to a decrease in some categories of crime.
“When you look at the city of Detroit, we’re kind of leading the way in terms of urban areas with law-abiding citizens carrying guns,” Craig said recently.
The chief’s call to arms, which first came in December, 2013, has been answered by thousands of men and women tired of being victims and eager to reclaim their beleaguered city. In 2014, some new 1,169 handgun permits were issued, while 8,102 guns were registered with Detroit’s police department – many to prior permit holders who bought new firearms. So for in 2015, nearly 500 permits have issued by the department and more than 5,000 guns have been registered.
“There’s definitely been a “Chief Craig” effect,” Rick Ector, a firearms instructor who runs the blog Legally Armed in Detroit. “His support and endorsement has been helpful.”
Obtaining a concealed-carry permit in the state of Michigan is not difficult compared to states with stricter gun laws. Eligible citizens can meet the state’s training requirement in eight hours, and firearms academies and gun shops within the city offer one-day courses for as little as $99.
Ector said that he and other instructors have seen a steady rise in locals looking to get a permit, to protect themselves either on the street or in their homes. While data showing a relation between increased gun ownership and the crime rate is not available, Ector said legally armed residents are having an effect.
Home invasions have gone down,” he said. “A huge reason was that there was a huge spate of homeowners using their guns against intruders. More people have guns and it’s making burglars cautious.”
The firearms instructor said women are driving growth in his business.
“It used to be that we would only have one or two women in a class,” he said. “Now we are seeing much, much more. This past May, I held a class where we trained 300 ladies.”
Detroit is more than 80% black and there has been a remarkable change in the attitude of black people toward gun ownership:
With a population of about 680,000, some 83 percent of which is African-American, Detroit’s growing embrace of Second Amendment rights has a racial component that is not unique to the city. According to a recent survey from Pew Research Center, 54 percent of African-American residents nationwide now see legal gun ownership as more likely to protect people than to put their safety at risk. That figure was up from 29 percent two years ago.
“If anyone should have the right or need to carry a gun, it should be the African-American community,” Philip Smith, founder of the National African American Gun Association, told Reuters.
What’s changed in 2 years? There has been a spike in crime in big cities the last few years and blacks, like any Americans, see their personal safety in terms of what they can do for themselves. Relying on the police to come save you when someone is trying to break into your home is suicidal. Better to have protection at hand to deal with an intruder yourself.
Is this a trend? Zealous, anti-gun prosecutors will prosecute citizens who use their personal firearm for protection, but that doesn’t seem to deter people from exercising their Second Amendment rights. Restrictive gun laws aside, citizens will almost always choose being safe over getting in trouble with the law.
In Detroit, that appears to be a motto to live by.
A federal judge in California has confirmed a decision made last month that illegal alien children currently held in detention must be released.
The ruling is based on a 1997 settlement where the minors could not be held more than 72 hours unless they posed a flight risk or danger to the community.
Gee gave federal agencies until next Oct. 23 to comply with her order, though the government is expected to appeal the decision, according to the daily Los Angeles Times.
The judge’s ruling comes after an appeal filed weeks ago by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, which defended the policy of holding the families of undocumented immigrants in detention centers.
That appeal was in turn a response to a court order last July ordering the release of children in the detention centers of Karnes City and Dilley, both in the state of Texas, and which together have the capacity to hold 2,932 people.
The judge considered that the government had broken the extrajudicial Flores agreement of 1997, stipulating that children should live in the “least restrictive” conditions possible.
The government argued in its appeal that if such a judicial decision were executed, it would eliminate the government’s ability to deport families under any circumstances, which could cause another surge of parents crossing the border with their children. EFE
The difference in the numbers of illegal alien minors in 1997 and today is staggering. There are tens of thousands of children crossing into the country illegally compared to just a few hundred in 1997.
The government would prefer to release the kids to a relative in the US — probably here illegally also — but it is a time consuming process and the numbers of minors flooding over the border are increasing.
Ideally, immigration judges should be hearing these cases almost immediately and deportation should follow shortly thereafter. But the docket for all immigration judges is jammed up for years, making it more likely these kids will see the inside of Donald Trump’s mansion than their home country again.
I don’t know how much more incentive Central American parents need to send their kids here. We’ve already rolled out the red carpet and are placing tens of thousands of them in communities all across the country. We’re even flying them here so they don’t have to run the gauntlet of coyotes and human traffickers in Mexico.
Until an administration takes office that is serious about border security, the problem is only going to get worse.
Jeff Greenfield has a thoughtful piece in Politico dealing with President Obama’s political legacy, and how the party he leads has gone precipitously downhill since he took office.
When you move from policy to politics, the task is a lot simpler—just measure the clout of the president’s party when he took office and when he left it. By that measure, Obama’s six years have been terrible.
Under Obama, the party started strong. “When Obama was elected in 2008, Democrats were at a high water mark,” says David Axelrod, who served as one of Obama’s top strategists. “Driven by antipathy to George W. Bush and then the Obama wave, Democrats had enjoyed two banner elections in ’06 and ’08. We won dozens of improbable congressional elections in states and districts that normally would tack Republican, and that effect trickled down to other offices. You add to that the fact that we would take office in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, and it was apparent, from Day One, that we had nowhere to go but down.”
The first signs of the slowly unfolding debacle that has meant the decimation of the Democratic Party nationally began early—with the special election of Scott Brown to Ted Kennedy’s empty Senate seat in Massachusetts. That early loss, even though the seat was won back eventually by Elizabeth Warren, presaged the 2010 midterms, which saw the loss of 63 House and six Senate seats. It was disaster that came as no surprise to the White House, but also proved a signal of what was to come.
The party’s record over the past six years has made clear that when Barack Obama leaves office in January 2017 the Democratic Party will have ceded vast sections of the country to Republicans, and will be left with a weak bench of high-level elected officials. It is, in fact, so bleak a record that even if the Democrats hold the White House and retake the Senate in 2016, the party’s wounds will remain deep and enduring, threatening the enactment of anything like a “progressive” agenda across much of the nation and eliminating nearly a decade’s worth of rising stars who might help strengthen the party in elections ahead.
While the Senate is definitely in play in 2016, the GOP has a virtual lock on the House at least until 2020 and perhaps beyond. The last round of redistricting was mostly favorable to Republicans and has given them an enormous advantage in state legislatures across the country. Republicans now control 70% of upper and lower chambers nationwide and 31 governorships. Fully 24 states have a GOP governor, and Republican upper and lower houses.
One of the consequences of so few Democrats in state government is that the pool of promising candidates for federal office is vastly reduced. Hence, the Democratic Party has now become a party of candidates all eligible for Social Security:
Eight years later, when he leaves office in 2017 at 55, he’ll actually be one of the party’s only leaders not eligible for Social Security. Even as the party has recently captured more young voters at the ballot box in presidential elections, its leaders are increasingly of an entirely different generation; most of the party’s leaders will fade from the national scene in the years ahead. Its two leading presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are 67 and 73. The sitting vice president, Joe Biden, is 72. The Democratic House leader, Nancy Pelosi, is 75; House Whip Steny Hoyer is 76 and caucus Chair James Clyburn is 75, as is Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, who will retire next year. It’s a party that will be turning to a new generation of leaders in the coming years—and yet, there are precious few looking around the nation’s state houses, U.S. House or Senate seats.
In truth, President Obama did not pay particular attention to building the Democratic Party during his time in office. His own re-election took precedence in his first term, and legacy building has occupied his attention in his second. Then there is the fact that his approval in many congressional districts that aren’t deep, deep blue meant that he would have done more harm than good in appearing beside a candidate.
The Republicans are in much better shape generationally,but the civil war wracking the party now threatens to rend the GOP asunder. And it appears that no matter who is the nominee for president, a whole lot of people are going to be bitterly disappointed.
When Obama leaves office, it is possible that Republicans will be in no better shape than Democrats.
That quote is from a Syrian illegal alien squatting in a no man’s land near the Macedonian-Greece border. Today, thousands of illegals looking to make their way to western European countries, broke through a police barrier and began to stream northward — a human tide not to be denied that a growing number of countries are at a loss to figure out how to deal with.
Thousands of migrants stormed across Macedonia’s border on Saturday, overwhelming security forces who threw stun grenades and lashed out with batons in an increasingly futile bid to stem their flow through the Balkans to western Europe.
Some had spent days in the open with little or no access to food or water after Macedonia on Thursday declared a state of emergency and sealed its borders to migrants, many of them refugees from war in Syria and other conflicts in the Middle East.
Hundreds remained in a rain-soaked no-man’s land and authorities said they would continue to enforce a regime of rationed access despite the even greater pace of arrivals from the other side in Greece.
Migrants had been pouring across the border into Macedonia at a rate of some 2,000 per day, en route to Serbia then Hungary and Europe’s Schengen zone. Some 50,000 hit Greek shores in July alone by boat from Turkey.
“In this Europe, animals are sleeping in beds and we sleep in the rain,” said 23-year-old Syrian woman Fatima Hamido on entering Macedonia. “I was freezing for four days in the rain, with nothing to eat.”
Thirty-two-year-old Saeed from Syria said of the blocked border: “We know this was not Macedonia and the Macedonian police. This was the European Union. Please tell Brussels we are coming, no matter what.”
Greece, Macedonia, Turkey, Serbia, Hungary — the numbers of illegal aliens are staggering. More than 50,000 illegals came through Greece just last month. Hungary is building a wall to keep them out while the EU bickers about how many illegals each country will take.
This latest wave of illegals comes mostly from the Middle East. There is also an exodus from Africa as tens of thousands of people from Libya and other countries make the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean looking to reach Italy. The EU began a fierce crackdown on human smugglers two months ago which seems to have reduced the flow somewhat, but the crisis refuses to go away.
About 107,500 migrants crossed the EU’s borders last month, with even more expected in August. The conditions that have led to this mass migration of people are, if anything, getting worse. War in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, the Congo, Nigeria — most of the poorest places on earth are emptying out, apparently believing that the European’s inexhaustible goodwill can feed, clothe, house, and employ all of them. The backlash by EU taxpayers has already begun as nativist parties in France and Hungary are making headway.
When will the limit of EU beneficence be reached? Probably when ordinary citizens put their foot down and say, “no more.”
The children’s care company Huggies is responding to some complaints by parents that their popular baby wipes contain shards of glass or fiberglass.
Within hours of the first complaints appearing on its Facebook page, the company issued a statement:
Hello Huggies Parents,
As some of you may have heard, a concern about our wipes was raised recently on Facebook. We take any concerns about our products very seriously and we are working directly with this parent to learn more about what happened and how we can help. Nothing is more important than the safety of the little ones who use our products.
Families put their trust in Huggies wipes every day, and all of our Huggies products have been thoroughly evaluated to ensure they are safe. In addition, we have stringent quality controls in place, and no glass is used during the manufacture of our wipes. As parents ourselves, we know you may have additional questions or concerns. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at http://bit.ly/8ZuAUH or by phone at 1-888-485-6839.
A mother in Guam was the first to report the problem and made a video that looks pretty convincing:
A mother in Denver also reported glass in her Huggies wipes.
Several other parents also reported the problem so it doesn’t seem to be an isolated incident:
The post was met with more complaints by parents questioning why their babies have rashes since using the wipes.
“We need to check Paisley’s wipes!!” one mother wrote. “That explains the little cuts we’ve been getting and the red rash she has in her diaper area!”
“I found them in my sons wipes as well!” wrote another. “I went to use one to take my makeup off and could feel it scratching my face. Threw the whole pack away.”
“No wonder why my son always crying and avoiding to change the diapers and the rash ….no more Huggies,” wrote another.
Without proof, it’s hard to discover if any of these parents’ claims are true. That last comment is especially dubious, given that babies cry for many reasons and just because the infant has diaper rash doesn’t mean he got it from Huggies wipes.
But there is enough smoke to guarantee a fire unless Huggies can be more convincing. Product tampering is a possibility, as is employee sabotage. There’s even a possibility of parents seeding the wipes with glass shards in order to get a big payday from Huggies.
As a lesson in crisis management, Huggies has so far acted responsibly. But this is the sort of thing that can snowball very quickly unless Huggies can convince parents of the safety of their products.
Three unarmed U.S. Marines foiled a potentially serious terrorist attack on a bullet train between Amsterdam and Paris when they tackled a Moroccan gunmen armed with an AK-47 and at least 200 rounds of ammunition.
At least one of the Marines was shot and is in critical condition. Two others were also shot, including a Briton and a Frenchman.
The 26-year-old Moroccan national, who was known to security services, came out of the toilet brandishing the gun and opened fire. Fortunately, two US Marines were nearby and overpowered him before he could massacre passengers.
The suspected terrorist had at least nine full magazines of ammunition holding almost 200 rounds. He was also carrying a knife.
Unfortunately, one of the Marines was shot and is believed to be in a critical condition.
Speaking in Arras, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve praised the Marines for their timely intervention.
He said: ‘Thanks to them we have averted a drama.
‘(The Americans were) particularly courageous and showed extreme bravery in extremely difficult circumstances.’
The man was arrested by police near the town of Arras in northern France.
Train company Thalys confirmed the incident happened. A spokesman said: ‘The situation is under control, the travellers are safe. The train stopped and the emergency services are on site.’
No one at the SNCF French railways was immediately available to comment on the report.
A report on Twitter said that three US Marines detained the gunman until emergency services arrived.
The incident happened at approximately 6pm local time.
French newspaper Le Monde is reporting that one Briton may be among the injured.
The motives behind the attack were not immediately known, although a spokesman for the interior minister said: ‘It is too early to speak of a terrorist link’.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has been active in Morocco in recent years, so you have to think authorities will be looking closely for any links to that terrorist group.
But this could have gotten extremely bloody without the intervention of the Marines. A moving train is a perfect place for a mass-casualty terrorist attack. Passengers are trapped in a narrow corridor with no place to hide. They can’t get off either. One could easily imagine dozens of dead and wounded passengers before the gunman would have run out of targets.
Kudos to our Marines who performed courageously under fire.
Well, they weren’t Marines — an airman and a national guardsman from Oregon — but their actions were certainly heroic enough. This Wall Street Journal story has the details of their efforts to disarm the terrorist before he could get started.