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VIDEO — Obama Receives Tepid Applause from the American Legion

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

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

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

Posted at 2:08 pm on August 26th, 2014 by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted at 1:43 pm on August 26th, 2014 by

A Shockingly High Number of French Citizens Support ISIS

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

isis-france-poll

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted at 1:28 pm on August 26th, 2014 by

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

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

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

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

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

Sofia-Vergara-2             Sofia-Vergara--06

 

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

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

Moon_Bloodgood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted at 12:21 pm on August 26th, 2014 by

Obama Tells American Legion U.S. Leads with ‘Strength and Confidence and Wisdom’

President Obama lauded the U.S. for being a leading force for peace and security in the world while assuring that pulling out of Afghanistan wouldn’t let the country become a haven for terrorists.

Obama told the American Legion convention that “the United States is better positioned to lead in the 21st century than any nation on Earth.”

“It’s not even close. We have the most powerful military in history. That’s certainly not close. From Europe to Asia, our alliances are unrivaled. Our economy is the most dynamic. We’ve got the best workers. We’ve got the best businesses. We have the best universities and the best scientists,” he said.

“…Nobody else can do what we do. No other nation does more to underwrite the security and prosperity on which the world depends. In times of crisis, no other nation can rally such broad coalitions to stand up for international norms and peace. In times of disaster, no other nation has the capabilities to deliver so much so quickly. No nation does more to help citizens claim their rights and build their democracies. No nation does more to help people in the far corners of the Earth escape poverty and hunger and disease and realize their dignity.”

The president continued by noting “even countries that criticize us, when the chips are down and they need help, they know who to call.”

“They call us. That’s what American leadership looks like. It’s why the United States is and will remain the one indispensable nation in the world,” he said. “Now, sustaining our leadership, keeping America strong and secure means we have to use our power wisely. History teaches us of the dangers of overreaching and spreading ourselves too thin and trying to go it alone without international support or rushing into military adventures without thinking through the consequences.”

“And nobody knows this better than our veterans and our families, our veteran families because you’re the ones who bear the wages of war. You’re the ones who carry the scars. You know that we should never send American sons and daughters into harm’s way unless it is absolutely necessary and we have a plan and we are resourcing it and prepared to see it through.”

He added the U.S. “has to lead with strength and confidence and wisdom.”

“And that’s why after incredible sacrifice by so many of our men and women in uniform, we removed more than 140,000 troops from Iraq and welcomed those troops home. It was the right thing to do,” Obama said.

He praised his administration’s drive against “al-Qaeda’s leadership in the tribal regions in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” and stressed that the war would be coming to a close for the U.S. in four months with the pullout from Afghanistan.

“And now, as Afghans continue to work towards the first democratic transfer of power in their history, Afghan leaders need to make the hard compromises that are necessary to give the Afghan people a future of security and progress. And as we go forward, we’ll continue to partner with Afghans so their country can never again be used to launch attacks against the United States.”

He waited for applause after this line; he got a smattering of claps after the pause.

Obama said he’s “always made clear” that “the blows we’ve struck against al-Qaeda’s leadership don’t mean the end to the terrorist threat.”

“Al-Qaeda affiliates still target our homeland. We’ve seen that in Yemen. Other extremists threaten our citizens abroad, as we’ve seen most recently in Iraq and Syria. As commander in chief, the security of the American people is my highest priority, and that’s why, with the brutal terrorist group ISIL advancing in Iraq, I have authorized targeted strikes to protect our diplomats and military advisers who are there,” he continued.

“And let me say it again, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq. We’ll not allow the United States to be dragged back into another ground war in Iraq. Because ultimately, it is up to the Iraqis to bridge their differences and secure themselves.”

The president referenced the parents of American journalist James Foley, stressing prayers were with them.

“But our message to anyone who harms our people is simple: America does not forget our reach is long. We are patient. Justice will be done. We have proved time and time again we will do what’s necessary to capture those who harm Americans to go after those who harm Americans. And we’ll continue to take direct action where needed to protect our people and to defend our homeland. And rooting out a cancer like ISIL won’t be easy, and it won’t be quick,” Obama said.

“But tyrants and murderers before them should recognize that kind of hateful vision ultimately is no match for the strength and hopes of people who stand together for the security and dignity and freedom that is the birthright of every human being.”

Posted at 10:03 am on August 26th, 2014 by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted at 9:36 am on August 26th, 2014 by

A Palestinian Attack on Jews in New York

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

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

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

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

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

Posted at 9:10 am on August 26th, 2014 by

Rubio Tells Obama Unilateral Action on Immigration Will Kill Bipartisan Legislative Progress

One of the Senate Republicans in the gang of eight who forged a bipartisan immigration reform bill that passed the upper chamber last year urged President Obama to not take unilateral action in the face of House inaction.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wrote in a letter to Obama today that he hoped “Senate action on this matter could serve as a catalyst for a humane but responsible reform that could ultimately achieve bicameral, bipartisan support,” but acknowledges the effort is now at a stalemate.

“After the experience of the last 18 months, I have become convinced that there is no realistic path forward on comprehensive reform for the foreseeable future. Instead, it is clear to me now that the only approach that has any chance of success is one that addresses our immigration problems in a series of sequential pieces of legislation,” Rubio wrote.

Those components, he said, would have to address the problems of illegal immigration and a guest-worker program.

“It is my sincere belief that if we can bring illegal immigration under control and modernize our legal immigration system, then the American people and a majority of their representatives in Congress would be willing to reasonably and responsibly address the issue of millions of people currently in this nation illegally. It will not be easy. And it will not be unanimous. But if we can make real progress on stemming the tide of illegal immigration, I am convinced we will have the support necessary to address this serious issue once and for all,” the senator continued.

“All of this is why I have grown increasingly alarmed by news that your administration is considering sweeping executive action to give work permits to millions of people here illegally. If indeed you move forward on such a decision, I believe it will close the door to any chance of making progress on immigration reform for the foreseeable future.”

Rubio offered as example Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) decision in 2012, which “was a major impediment to passage of the kind of immigration reform our nation needs.”

“No matter what we tried to do to institute meaningful enforcement measures in the Senate bill, opponents pointed to DACA as evidence of your unwillingness to enforce the law. They argued that no matter what we wrote into law on enforcement, your administration would simply ignore it,” he said. “Furthermore, your pursuit of unilateral action in the midst of an election year, without any concern for the policy ramifications, has played a significant role in the humanitarian and security crisis that has been occurring on our border with Mexico.”

Rubio said he understood Obama ”inherited a broken system created after years of poor decisions made by both political parties in Washington.”

“But the cumulative result of six years of your administration’s approach on immigration reform is that, for all intents and purposes, America no longer has an immigration system. Instead, we have unsettling chaos,” he added. “I know you are receiving tremendous political pressure from certain activists to grant another unilateral, temporary and uncertain legal status to millions of additional undocumented immigrants. But to do so, without first taking any serious steps to address the border or protect American workers, will increase the perception of ambiguity in our laws, incentivize more people to immigrate here illegally, and significantly set back the prospects of real reform.”

Rubio stressed that “it saddens me that a nation of immigrants is divided by the issue of immigration.”

“At the heart of this issue are the people who are affected by it: the American worker whose wages are undercut by illegal workers. The rancher who lives in fear from the cartels and the coyotes. The brilliant young chemist who got her Ph.D. but can’t get a green card. The young mother risking everything to give her child a chance at a better life. The ‘dreamers’ who graduated at the top of their class but face an uncertain future. The Border Patrol agent who brought diapers and formula from his home to care for the children that have been pouring over the border. And the men and women across this country who ask, ‘If Washington can’t get this right, can they get anything right?’” he wrote.

“As someone who believes sincerely in the need for reform, is the son of immigrants, and lives in a community of immigrants, I still reserve some optimism that you’ll reject the politics of the moment and remember that the decisions you make will impact the people at the heart of this issue long after your duty to serve them has come to an end.”

Posted at 9:04 am on August 26th, 2014 by

Pryor Campaign Ad: Don’t Vote for GOP Challenger Because Ebola

You know campaign season has started in earnest when an incumbent accuses his challenger — Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) vs. Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) — of leaving us all vulnerable to Ebola:

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Posted at 8:38 am on August 26th, 2014 by

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

Oops.

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

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

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

Posted at 8:34 am on August 26th, 2014 by

The IRS Destroyed Lois Lerner’s Blackberry, Too

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

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

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

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

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

The New York Observer picks up the story:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted at 7:42 am on August 26th, 2014 by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted at 7:17 am on August 26th, 2014 by

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

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

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

I blame the teachers unions.

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

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

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

 

Posted at 7:07 am on August 26th, 2014 by

AP Reporter Reveals the Story Behind Anti-Israel Media Bias

mattifriedman

Matti Friedman, a former AP Correspondent, has written a brilliant, must-read analysis of why the mainstream media’s reporting on Israel is skewed, biased, and downright reprehensible:

The lasting importance of this summer’s war, I believe, doesn’t lie in the war itself. It lies instead in the way the war has been described and responded to abroad, and the way this has laid bare the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought and its migration from the margins to the mainstream of Western discourse—namely, a hostile obsession with Jews. The key to understanding this resurgence is not to be found among jihadi webmasters, basement conspiracy theorists, or radical activists. It is instead to be found first among the educated and respectable people who populate the international news industry; decent people, many of them, and some of them my former colleagues.

While global mania about Israeli actions has come to be taken for granted, it is actually the result of decisions made by individual human beings in positions of responsibility—in this case, journalists and editors. The world is not responding to events in this country, but rather to the description of these events by news organizations. The key to understanding the strange nature of the response is thus to be found in the practice of journalism, and specifically in a severe malfunction that is occurring in that profession—my profession—here in Israel.

The 3 page story explains a number of popular misnomers that are the result of mainstream media reporting techniques, including:

  • In all of 2013, for example, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict claimed 42 lives—that is, roughly the monthly homicide rate in the city of Chicago. Jerusalem, internationally renowned as a city of conflict, had slightly fewer violent deaths per capita last year than Portland, Ore., one of America’s safer cities. In contrast, in three years the Syrian conflict has claimed an estimated 190,000 lives, or about 70,000 more than the number of people who have ever died in the Arab-Israeli conflict since it began a century ago.
  • The West has decided that Palestinians should want a state alongside Israel, so that opinion is attributed to them as fact, though anyone who has spent time with actual Palestinians understands that things are (understandably, in my opinion) more complicated. Who they are and what they want is not important: The story mandates that they exist as passive victims of the party that matters.
  •  Most reporters in Gaza believe their job is to document violence directed by Israel at Palestinian civilians. That is the essence of the Israel story. In addition, reporters are under deadline and often at risk, and many don’t speak the language and have only the most tenuous grip on what is going on. They are dependent on Palestinian colleagues and fixers who either fear Hamas, support Hamas, or both. Reporters don’t need Hamas enforcers to shoo them away from facts that muddy the simple story they have been sent to tell.

Concluding with, “Many in the West clearly prefer the old comfort of parsing the moral failings of Jews, and the familiar feeling of superiority this brings them, to confronting an unhappy and confusing reality,” the story is a must read for anyone willing to confront the mess of mainstream media and the reality of life in Israel and the Middle East.

Posted at 6:50 am on August 26th, 2014 by

Ferguson: To Kill a Mockingbird’s Epilogue

During a wide-ranging interview on the topic of Ferguson on The Midday Show on KFAB radio in Omaha, host Clint Bellows offered the following remarkable insight:

You know, Walter, back in the fifties, one of my favorite actors – Gregory Peck – played Atticus Finch in the film adaptation of Harper Lee’s great novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch defended Tom Robinson, an African-American man in the deep south who was accused of assaulting a lower-middle class white woman… of course, he was found guilty and he was sent to prison. Along the way, the officers that were holding him claimed that he tried to escape and they shot and killed him…

This [situation in Ferguson] is To Kill a Mockingbird in reverse, isn’t it? We’ve got a white police officer who has been found guilty in the court of public opinion, including the former attorney general and governor of the state who says the Brown family needs justice. What about this police officer’s situation? We don’t know what happened there, do we?

Indeed, the rush to prejudgment regarding the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson demonstrates precisely the same form of racially-fueled bias critiqued by Lee in her novel. Unchecked, such prejudice portends injustice. It should not matter whether the victim of such injustice is white or black. What should matter is the recognition and protection of each individual’s rights, regardless of their background.

As articulated in the interview, which you can listen to at the link below, the blatant politicization of a criminal justice incident should chill the blood of anyone concerned with the essential guarantees of due process and equality under the law. The adoption of a mob mentality by many in the mainstream media, and – worse yet – highly placed government officials like Attorney General Eric Holder, flies in the face of each institution’s purpose. Government and the press each exist to cut through bias, administrating blind justice and reporting objective fact respectively. When they fail to do so, they become no different then Tom Robinson’s racist persecutors.

(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here. 32:16 minutes long; 31.05 MB file size. Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)

Posted at 3:44 am on August 26th, 2014 by

NC Teachers Win Battle To Keep Poor Kids In Lousy Schools

With a judge’s help, of course.

North Carolina County Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood blocked the state’s new school voucher program, saying it unconstitutionally diverted money from public education to private schools, some of them religious schools.

The state’s Opportunity Scholarship program, expands school choice in North Carolina by providing education scholarship grants of up to $4,200 per year for eligible children who choose to attend private school. The program is designed to give low-income families public funds to help pay private school tuition. It was passed by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature last year and had already begun operating.

About 5,500 students applied for the annual grants of up to $4,200 per child. More than 1,800 students were chosen by lottery have already accepted Opportunity Scholarships, but not all have enrolled in private schools.

Those supporting the so-called voucher program, say it offers low-income children a choice for a private-school education that better meets their individual needs after the public schools failed to do so. To be eligible, parents had to have their children enrolled in a public school and meet federal income requirements for their children to receive subsidized lunches.

The program was challenged in lawsuits by the N.C. Association of Educators and the N.C. Justice Center, a left-wing advocacy group, and the N.C. School Boards Association, which was joined by 71 of the state’s 115 school districts.

This is essentially a fight to keep doing an awful job and trap poor students in difficult situations. Of course, trapping the poor forever is the cornerstone of liberal politics so that shouldn’t surprise anyone. The leftist response on all matters of education is the one-note, “MORE MONEY!” cry.

There is no moral, or even economic, argument to be made to keep perennially under-performing schools as the only education options for poverty-stricken or at-risk youth.

Unless you’re a school administrator who needs some vacation money, right?

Posted at 7:36 pm on August 25th, 2014 by

British Libs: Start Sex-Ed At Age 7

Just creepy.

All schoolchildren from the age of seven should be offered sex education lessons to help them make “informed decisions” as they grow up, the Liberal Democrats have said.

David Laws, the Liberal Democrat schools minister, said that both primary and secondary schools should be required to provide sex and relationship education.

The Liberal Democrats want to lower the age at which children are given sex education lessons from 11 to seven, while extending the requirement to hold the classes to all free schools and academies. At present academies and free schools are exempt from having to hold the lessons, which Mr Laws warned is “depriving children of important life lessons”.

It is always worth watching what the socialist freaks are up to in Europe because American liberals slobber over all things Leftist across the pond.

This is one of those issues where I find myself completely overcome with incredulity over the fact that it even came up in the first place. Yes, children need to learn “important life lessons” but sex isn’t one of them at age seven. There is a reason that these things are phased in throughout childhood.

There is a disturbing tendency to hyper-sexualize children in society now. We frown upon cultures that marry kids off in arrangements all the while watching “Toddlers and Tiaras” and little girls painted up like Mardi Gras hookers. It’s time for people to resoundingly scream, “NO!”

Posted at 7:10 pm on August 25th, 2014 by

Keep Talking Like This, Councilman Scott Sherman, and You’ll Be My Pick for the 2016 GOP Nominee

On August 18, 2014, San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman showed in just five minutes that he communicates basic principles more effectively than any Republican presidential candidate in recent memory.

His brief, unscripted remarks came in support of the mayor’s veto of a Democrat effort to force city businesses to increase their minimum wage to $11.50 per hour.

Sherman, perhaps the only member of council who has “signed the front of a paycheck,” found himself in a two-person minority on the veto-override vote, against six Democrats.

Watch the video below, and then help me to understand why this eminently reasonable position fails to persuade Democrats who say they care about jobs.

Posted at 2:52 pm on August 25th, 2014 by

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

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

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

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

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

“Jaw-dropping” is right.

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

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

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

Posted at 2:28 pm on August 25th, 2014 by

Has Russia Opened a Second Front Against Ukraine?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted at 2:11 pm on August 25th, 2014 by

How Much of a Threat Are ISIS?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted at 1:55 pm on August 25th, 2014 by

Is White House Pressuring Pentagon to Downplay ISIS Threat?

In what many are viewing as a walkback from last week’s comments warning of ISIS’ “apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told reporters en route to Afghanistan over the weekend that he would recommend military action against the group only when a threat to the U.S. is substantiated.

Dempsey said, according to the Associated Press, that U.S. officials have seen no ”active plotting against the homeland, so it’s different than that which we see in Yemen.”

“I can tell you with great clarity and certainty that if that threat existed inside of Syria that it would certainly be my strong recommendation that we would deal with it,” said Dempsey. “I have every confidence that the president of the United States would deal with it.”

This morning, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told Fox that Dempsey wasn’t told by the White House to soften last week’s tone about the threat.

“There’s been no direction from — from the White House or anybody else to tone down the way we’re speaking about ISIL. And I think we’ve all been very consistently talking about the very real and growing threat that ISIL poses,” Kirby said.

“ISIL is a growing network. They are well resourced. They’re well led. They do pose a regional threat. And to the degree that they are supported by foreign fighters from nations all over the world, including the United States, there is an immediacy to the threat that they pose,” he said. “While, you know, while I think the general feeling is they’re not capable of a 9/11- like-style attack on the homeland right now, they certainly could through the use of foreign fighters impact Western targets, including American targets, if they so choose.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) accused President Obama of ”becoming derelict in his duties as commander in chief to protect our homeland by not aggressively confronting ISIL wherever they reside, including Syria.”

“The White House is trying to minimize the threat we face in order to justify not changing a failed strategy,” Graham said in a statement this afternoon. “I fear their foot dragging in confronting increased radical Islamic threats is setting the stage for the creation of an even more powerful ISIL which further terrorizes the region and poses even graver threats to the American homeland.”

“I also fear political pressure is being applied to the military and others to justify President Obama’s reluctance to aggressively confront the threat.”

Graham stressed that Dempsey’s change in tone is “demoralizing to our friends and allies in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Israel who are worried about the continued strengthening of ISIL.”

“The case has been made.  ISIL is a direct threat to the American homeland,” he said. “They must be defeated and they cannot be beaten without attacking their safe haven in Syria. To do otherwise is ignoring reality and placing the American homeland at risk. The stronger they grow over there, the more in danger we are over here.”

At last week’s press conference, Dempsey said they think ISIS “can be contained, not in perpetuity.”

“This is an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision and which will eventually have to be defeated. To your question, can they be defeated without addressing that part of their organization which resides in Syria? The answer is no. That will have to be addressed on both sides of what is essentially at this point a nonexistent border,” Dempsey continued.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned that the Islamic State is “beyond anything that we’ve seen.”

“ISIL is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen. They’re beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded,” Hagel said. “…So we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is that you take a cold, steely, hard look at it and– and — and get ready.”

Posted at 12:00 pm on August 25th, 2014 by

Obama Reportedly Waited 30 Days to Launch Rescue Mission for Foley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted at 11:44 am on August 25th, 2014 by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RickPAC_Donate_Wanted-Tshirt_400x400_v1.1

Posted at 10:59 am on August 25th, 2014 by

Thank Heaven! Rochester Institute of Technology is Safe from a Guy Wielding an Umbrella

It’s tempting to knee-jerk condemn all this, but look — a guy carrying an umbrella could be a supervillain.

Penguin1

 

(CBS/WROC) ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A gun scare on the Rochester Institute of Technology campus is over, with the sheriff’s office saying an umbrella had been mistaken for a rifle.

According to WROC, sheriff’s office gave the all clear at around 9:15 a.m. Friday.

The Great Umbrella Scare put the campus on lockdown. And the police are taking no chances with the budding, umbrella-carrying supervillain.

Authorities were able to track the first year photography student to his residence hall. Stella says he was cooperative and showed authorities an umbrella he had with a samurai-style handle that was mistaken for that rifle.

Stella said the RTS bus driver did exactly what he was supposed to do.

“The good thing is with the RIT alert system we are able to reach out to everybody, all the key stakeholders on campus, to let them know there is a situation,” said Stella.

“It makes me feel safer. I like the whole system we have,” said Kelsey Full, student.

Stella says authorities confiscated the umbrella and the student will only get that back at the end of the school year.

Riddle me this: What right to authorities have to confiscate a harmless umbrella?

Posted at 10:39 am on August 25th, 2014 by