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Graham: ‘No Military Member…Should Expect Our Country to Release Hardened Terrorists to Secure Their Release’

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is a colonel in the Air Forces Reserves focusing on military law, was opposed to the trade of five high-ranking members of the Taliban for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from the moment it happened last May.

But he’s also opposed to the administration reasoning that, after Bergdahl’s five years in captivity, they had no choice because they couldn’t leave a man behind.

“No military member, up to and including a Medal of Honor recipient, should expect our country to release hardened terrorists to secure their release,” Graham said in a statement Wednesday after the Army announced Bergdahl would face charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. “There is a general understanding that the mission and national interest come ahead of any individual.  This is particularly true while hostilities are still raging as they are today in Afghanistan.”

Graham, who is considering a run for the White House in 2016, called the swap “a politically motived maneuver designed to help achieve the Obama administration’s goal of emptying the Guantanamo jail of some very dangerous terrorists.”

“My concerns about the swap were never related to the quality of Sergeant Bergdahl’s service, but to the nature of the transfer and how it undermined the war effort,” the senator said. “President Obama’s ill-conceived decision to release the ‘Taliban 5’ put our men and women in uniform at increased risk. I have no doubt that in the future the ‘Taliban 5’ will return to the fight against the United States.”

Graham told CNN he has “nothing but disgust” for the deal.

“This undermined the war effort. These people are going to go back to the fight. And what do you tell a family member that may be killed by one of these guys down the road?”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), a Air Force pilot who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, told Fox that he was told in survival training “your country will never leave you behind, and we take a lot of heart in that.”

“But it’s a two-way street. Your country will not leave you behind but you can never leave your country behind either. A lot of people, probably even in Bowe Bergdahl’s unit, that looked at the mountains and truly wanted to leave base and go out and explore but, at the end of the day, they knew they had a bigger obligation,” Kinzinger said. “…Look, if we had had sent a Special Forces team in to rescue him or something like that, that’s one thing. But trading five of among the biggest enemies of the United States. And by the way, we are getting reports that at least three of them are starting their kind of pre-confinement activities again.”

The White House, however, stands by the swap despite the desertion charges.

“The commander in chief will not allow a member of the United States armed forces to be left behind,” press secretary Josh Earnest told CNN.

“It was an important message for this president to deliver to the American people, but also to people all around the world, that the United States and their commander in chief stands squarely behind our men and women in uniform and with the commitment we have made to not leave them behind,” Earnest said.

Posted at 10:14 am on March 26th, 2015 by

Leaked Report Reveals EU’s 40-Point Plan to Force Israel’s Hand

Israeli newspaper Yediot got their hands on the European Union’s 40-point plan to “pressure Israel into negotiations” in the wake of Netanyahu’s re-election.

An EU diplomatic source told Ynet that there was a definite chance that the recommendations in the report, which the member states have yet to approve, were more likely to be implemented following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement during his election campaign that a Palestinian state would not be created under his rule.

“We are on a collision course,” said the European diplomat. “It’s clear to everyone in Brussels that there must be a response to these statements.”

…”If Israel continues its policy beyond the Green Line, it will affect the relationship between European nations and Israel,” he warned.

Headings of the 40-point plan include, “Preserving the viability of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states” and “Strengthening the role, visibility and policy of the European Union.” The full report has been scanned and is linked via the Ynet story.

Posted at 10:07 am on March 26th, 2015 by

Shocker: Hillary! Campaign Kickoff Delayed by Scandal

Yes, I know: hard to believe that a Clinton could be involved in scandal.

Many of the key figures cited in a scathing inspector general’s report this week are allies of Hillary Rodham Clinton, marking the latest in a series of stumbles for the former first lady and secretary of state that likely forced her to delay her planned presidential campaign announcement.

A Democratic strategist familiar with her team’s thinking said they are scrambling to limit the damage and readjust the campaign rollout schedule after the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general revealed an apparent cronyism scandal that ensnared Mrs. Clinton’s brother, Anthony Rodham, and two of her political confidants, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell.

The accusation that a top Obama administration official did favors for the three politically connected Democrats follows other damaging revelations swirling around Mrs. Clinton, including that the Clinton Foundation pocketed foreign donations while she was secretary of state and that she exclusively used a private email account that concealed official business while she was in office.

Let me make this simple for the media: there isn’t going to be a Clinton campaign, not if you guys do your job. Hillary Clinton is as corrupt as they come, and if you think she’s got scandal problems now, just wait until Lady Macbeth is back in the White House. Finish her now and do your country a service.

Posted at 9:40 am on March 26th, 2015 by

DEA Agents Gone Wild: ‘Sex Parties’ with Drug Cartel Prostitutes, Report Claims

A new report released by the Justice Department today has found that “agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration reportedly had ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes hired by drug cartels in Colombia.”

And it gets worse. The Colombian police provided “protection for the DEA agents’ weapons and property during the parties,” the report says.

Was anyone punished for this behavior? Not really. Ten DEA agents admitted to participating in the parties, and some agents received between two and ten days suspension. Oh. Well then.

The stunning allegations are part of an investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general into claims of sexual harassment and misconduct within DEA, FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the U.S. Marshals Service. The IG’s office found that DEA did not fully comply with its probe.

Moreover,the report states that DEA, ATF and the Marshals Service repeatedly failed to report all risky or improper sexual behavior to security personnel at those agencies.

“The foreign officer allegedly arranged ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes funded by the local drug cartels for these DEA agents at their government-leased quarters, over a period of several years,” the IG report says.

The DEA Office of Professional Responsibility became aware for the allegations in 2010, but the bad behavior dates back to 2005.  But some supervisors were aware of a “problem” when the building management for the DEA Building in Bogota complained.

“Although some of the DEA agents participating in these parties denied it, the information in the case file suggested they should have known the prostitutes in attendance were paid with cartel funds. A foreign officer also alleged providing protection for the DEA agents’ weapons and property during the parties,” the report said. “The foreign officers further alleged that in addition to soliciting prostitutes, three DEA SSAs [special agents] in particular were provided money, expensive gifts, and weapons from drug cartel members.”

Naturally, the DEA was not cooperative with the Inspector General’s Office.

“We were also concerned by an apparent decision by DEA to withhold information regarding a particular open misconduct case,” the report states. “The OIG {Office of Inspector General] was not given access to this case file information until several months after our request, and only after the misconduct case was closed. Once we became aware of the information, we interviewed DEA employees who said that they were given the impression that they were not to discuss this case with the OIG while the case remained open.”

The report adds: “Therefore, we cannot be completely confident that the FBI and DEA provided us with all information relevant to this review. As a result, our report reflects the findings and conclusions we reached based on the information made available to us.”

Your tax dollars at work, ladies and gentlemen.

 

 

Posted at 9:27 am on March 26th, 2015 by

Kansas Set to Allow Concealed Carry Without Permit

The Kansas House and Senate have passed legislation that would allow residents to carry concealed firearms without a permit. The bill is now headed to the desk of Governor Sam Brownback.  Currently, Kansas requires eight hours of training before someone can carry a concealed firearm.

Kansas would be the fifth state to allow concealed carry without a permit.

“Carrying a gun is a lifestyle,” said Republican Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady. “The government should trust its citizens.”

All states allow some form of concealed carry, but the NRA says only Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming allow it everywhere in the state without a permit, though Montana allows it without a permit outside of cities, which is most of the state. In West Virginia, lawmakers passed a bill, but Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed it.

The NRA and the Kansas State Rifle Association support the new bill, while the Brady Campaign opposed it. Of course.

Kansas already allows residents to open carry without a permit or training.

“Kansans already have two documents granting them the right to concealed carry — the Constitution of the United States and the Kansas Constitution,” Couture-Lovelady said. “That should be all they need.”

After Brownback signs the bill, and there is no reason to think that he won’t, Kansas will still continue to issue permits so that residents can carry concealed in the other states that recognize Kansas’ permits.

 

Posted at 8:57 am on March 26th, 2015 by

The Mass Murderer Used the Safety Door to Slaughter: How Evil Foils Our Best Defenses

Germanwings plane takes off the day after the crash in the Alps.

AP Image

A pilot I know once told me he tried to pass through security to fly a plane across the ocean forgetting that he had a pen knife in his pocket. The TSA said he couldn’t take the small blade on the plane. The irony was rich, since the pilot would soon have several hundred souls aboard his incendiary-laden missile, the path of which he controlled from inside a locked flight deck.

Every crime show, or terror drama, portrays the villain using the good guy’s reasonable safety protocols to enhance the chance for success of his nefarious plot. But what screenwriters and novelists take as second nature, governments, and many people, have yet to learn.

A predictable safety regimen presents opportunity and simplifies planning for the wicked. A shield becomes a weapon.

So, it’s not surprising that French authorities now believe the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 intentionally flew his incendiary missile packed with 149 other souls into an Alpine hillside at some 430 miles per hour. . . AFTER electronically barring the safety door, locking the captain out of the flight deck.

The door did its job. It prevented a flight deck breach. All of the engineering worked to prevent access to the most dangerous place on the plane.  And thus, the best laid plans of engineers and regulatory officials actually helped the wicked man to carry out his murderous scheme.

The very security device instituted after the 9/11/2001 attacks to deter evil-doers from turning a passenger jet into a weapon became the ideal tool for allowing an evil-doer to do just that.

With the touch of a button — really no effort at all — one person can absolutely foil millions of hours of planning devoted to preventing the very act that he’s determined to commit.

The most effective deadly weapon a man can carry is a non-networked three-pound supercomputer called the human brain. It takes instruction only from an intangible, non-geolocatable command apparatus sometimes called “the heart.”

The heart is deceitful above all things,

and desperately sick.

Who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17:9

 

Posted at 8:17 am on March 26th, 2015 by

Rubio: Republican Party ‘Blessed’ with Caliber of 2016 Candidates

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said his colleague’s entrance into the 2016 presidential race only makes the field stronger, and the party is “blessed” to have strong candidates.

Rubio told Fox last night that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) “will be a very strong candidate.”

“You can see in the past he has made a lot of people excited about the things he stands for. We are blessed as a party. We have a lot of really good candidates,” Rubio said. “The Democrats are struggling to come up with even one. I think our country will be better for it at the end.”

It hasn’t been possible to view Cruz’s interaction on the floor with his colleagues — and potential challengers — since his Monday announcement. Cruz has not shown up for any votes this week as the Senate works through hundreds of budget amendments.

Rubio said he understands the date is approaching when he needs to announce his own 2016 decision.

“As I said, we are getting closer to that date and we understand that if I decide to run for president it’s going to take time and energy to do it. So we will make an announcement here fairly soon,” he said.

How soon?

“Probably not months, but certainly multiple weeks. And that’s important,” Rubio said. “Like soon means when we are ready to make the decision. There is a lot that goes into something like that and a lot this to announcing whatever direction we go.”

“But it’s something I’m increasingly excited about and look forward to sharing with you and others here fairly soon.”

Posted at 8:11 am on March 26th, 2015 by

Mecca, Medina. . . Dabiq? Why This Syrian Town Is Key to Understanding ISIS

Dabiq

Dabiq – the ISIS propaganda magazine.

 

At TheRebel.media, Marissa Semkiw interviews world religions professor Dr. Tony Costa.

He explains why, next to Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem, the otherwise unremarkable Syrian town of Dabiq is one of the key places in Islamic mythology.

As the Muslim equivalent of “Armageddon,” Dabiq is the alleged site of the final battle between Islam and the infidels.

That’s why ISIS considers it so important.

(Note that they named their propaganda magazine after it.)

This concise video gives you a terrific layman’s overview of Muslim end-times theology.

(It’s especially timely for Canadians, since today Parliament begins debating Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s proposed extension of Canada’s mission in Syria.)

You’ll feel smarter after watching it:

YouTube Preview Image

 

Posted at 7:56 am on March 26th, 2015 by

Issa on Yemen: Obama ‘Must Acknowledge’ Any ‘Real Settlement with Iran is Impossible’

The “Operation Decisive Storm” coalition that bombarded Yemen overnight now has full control of the country’s airspace, said Saudi officials, who unleashed 100 fighters jets, 150,000 soldiers and naval units in the operation.

The only regional country that stayed out of the fight was Yemen’s neighbor Oman. The United Arab Emirates pitched in 30 fighter jets, Bahrain contributed 15, Qatar sent 10, Kuwait deployed 15 and Jordan contributed six. Even North Africa got into the game, with Sudan sending three fighter jets, Egypt supplying four warships and air support, and Morocco sending six fighter jets. Pakistan also provided naval and aerial support in the attack on the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told MSNBC this morning that the Saudis decided “on their own” to launch the attack, “and the reason is simply that Saudi Arabia and Yemen share a long border.”

“And they have enlisted the support of other partners and allies of theirs in region, and they have asked the United States for some intelligence support that we can provide. And the president has agreed to that request and we are providing them support,” he said. “But the Saudis are in the lead in this military action they are taking to protect the interest they have along their border with Yemen.”

The White House has been urging a UN-backed diplomatic solution to the Houthi overthrow in Yemen.

But Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) made clear that it was the administration’s policies that allowed this mess in the first place.

“The takeover of large swaths of Yemen by Iranian-backed Shia militants has forced our Saudi allies to take military action. Months of fairy tale negotiations and appeasement by this administration have led Iran to believe that it can act with impunity on an international scale,” Issa said in a late-night statement as the Saudis bombarded targets.

“Now, more than ever, it is clear that any real settlement with Iran is impossible, and the president must acknowledge this fact,” he said. “The continued easement or outright removal of sanctions against this rogue state will only further embolden Iran and facilitate its belligerent behavior. We must make it clear that we will support our allies and punish our enemies through steadfast resolve and decisive action.”

Earnest said this morning that the Iran-fomented instability and Saudi reaction shouldn’t affect nuclear negotiations in Switzerland. “There’s no doubt that we believe that it’s in the best interest of the United States, our allies in Israel, and our partners in the region, including Saudi Arabia, for us to try to find a diplomatic resolution to the concerns that the world has about Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” he said.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), though, stressed to Fox that “this is about Iran, again, the source of instability in the region and many parts of the world.”

“These are Shia militias and Shia rebels making advances there. They are equipped, protected and supported by Iran. It’s part of their strategy to become the dominant regional power. It’s part of encircling Saudi Arabia, Sunni country. So you see their presence in Yemen. They basically invaded Iraq. Obviously, their influence they have in Lebanon. They control Assad in Syria. So, slowly but surely they are carrying out their master plan of regional dominance and Yemen is the latest piece of that puzzle,” Rubio said.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said “clearly, the Saudis and their gulf partners have determined the situation in Yemen presents further danger to regional stability and their own territorial integrity.”

“I hope their intervention helps to restore some sense of security, but I fear Yemen may be too far gone to prevent an all-out civil war,” Burr said.

Posted at 7:55 am on March 26th, 2015 by

French Prosecutor: Germanwings Co-Pilot Deliberately Crashed Plane Into Alps

Andreas_Lubitz_3246487b

Germanwings pilot Andreas Lubitz in a photo from his Facebook page

French prosecutors said that the 28-year-old co-pilot of the Germanwings flight that plowed into the French Alps deliberately crashed the plane.

Lufthansa officials confirmed in a press conference moments ago that an analysis of the black box recording shows that the pilot left the cockpit for a few, then was unable to get back into the cockpit as the door was locked. The Airbus has a keypad where flight crew can enter a code to gain access to the cockpit, unless a “lock” switch on the console is manually activated by someone inside the cockpit.

The pilot is heard trying to kick the door down as the breathing of the co-pilot continues, and passengers are heard screaming just before the plane hit the mountain.

The co-pilot was identified as Andreas Lubitz, a German who was recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2013 with inclusion in the “prestigious”FAA Airmen Certification Database with others “who have met or exceeded the high educational, licensing and medical standards established by the FAA.” He joined Germanwings in September 2013 after graduating from the Lufthansa Flight Training School in Bremen.

Officials said he left his training for a short time but returned. The French prosecutor said his religion was “unknown.”

“We hear the flight attendant asking the copilot to start taking the commands and then we hear a door closing after a chair has been moved. So we assume that he left the cockpit in order to use the restroom. So at this point, the copilot is the only one in the cockpit. So it’s while he’s alone that he has somehow manipulated the buttons on the flight monitoring system to manage the descent of the plane,” Marseille Public Prosecutor Brice Robin told reporters at a news conference.

“So again, I repeat, he was alone at the helm of this plane in the Airbus 320. Again, I’ll repeat. The copilot was the one who was manipulating the flight monitoring system, who managed the descent of the plane. So again, all of these actions were completely voluntary. Then we hear the pilot calling, asking to regain access into the cockpit. This is through a certain type of phone between cabins. So again, we can assume he was identified, however, the copilot just didn’t respond. He’s knocking. He’s asking to be let in. Zero response from the copilot. We hear human breathing within the cabin, and we hear this breathing up until the final point of impact, which we assume means that the copilot was living, was alive, in the cockpit,” Robin continued.

“Then we hear contact from the control tower in Marseille, however, there was zero response from the copilot. So air control traffickers start asking for a distress signal. Again, zero response. This means that this flight became a priority compared to every other flight at the time. Control tower even asked other planes to try and signal, contact this Airbus. Again, zero response. So after that, alarms were put into place to try and alert the people to how close the plane was to the ground. Then we start hearing banging, someone trying to actually break the door down. That’s why the alarms were let off, because these were protocols put in place to prevent any terrorist attacks,” he said.

“So alarms start ringing and right before the final point of impact we hear something that we assume was some kind of first point of impact. So we assume that the plane actually glided a little bit on some kind of slope before it actually finally hit the mountain. Again, zero distress signal. Zero signal of emergency, zero ‘help me’ or SOS. Nothing of this sort was received by any air traffic controllers. Nothing like ‘help me, help me, SOS,’ nothing was received by the air traffic controllers. And no response, no response. There was zero, zero response to any of the air traffic controllers’ attempts to contact the people inside the plane.”

Robin called it “some kind of deliberate action and willingness to destroy this plane.”

He said the “completely human, classic, normal” breathing heard on the recorder shows the co-pilot wasn’t “in the middle of having a heart attack, for example. He uttered not one word. Complete and total silence.”

Robin said Lubitz was an ethnic German with “no prior terrorist history.”

He stressed that the co-pilot wouldn’t have been able to program the descent by passing out. “The button to lever that you turn, you turn several times according to how much altitude you want to lose. It’s a deliberate thing. It can’t be done automatically. So, well, if his head was to hit it, maybe it would move by a quarter of a turn, but it won’t do anything. It won’t turn it 15 times.”

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr was asked if he would brand the crash as suicide. When you take down a plane full of people with you, Spohr said, “another word should be used, not suicide.”

Posted at 7:12 am on March 26th, 2015 by

Would You Let Apple Store Employees Give You Fashion Advice?

As the debut of the Apple watch approaches, Apple is training its employees to offer consumers fashion advice.

In order to showcase and sell the Apple Watch, retail employees will be trained to provide personal fashion and styling advice to customers, according to employees briefed on the plans.

Apple is training its retail force to “build trust, enabling the employee to serve as a valued fashion advisor during the purchase process.” The  new sales techniques will “encourage iPhone upgrades, assist with gifting, and guide customers in watch and strap choices.”

Some of the things you might hear if you approach an salesman in an Apple store are:  “you seem to have a fun style. I think the Pink Sport band would match your style perfectly,” or “the white strap looks great on you.”

Other sales guidelines:

  • Make comments about why you think an option is a good choice rather than discussing why an option may not be a good choice.
  • Explain how earlier customers made decisions between models.
  • Use other accessories [already] on a customer as examples for which model would look best.
  • If the customer is with another person, make sure to get the opinion of that person on which model should be purchased.
  • Don’t focus on price as a reason to recommend an option because many customers may be willing to spend more for a model that makes them feel good.

The Apple Watch will go on sale April 24th.

Posted at 5:37 am on March 26th, 2015 by

How Do You Rank the Top 10 Greatest Conservative Talk Radio Hosts Today?

Here are the hosts in the top 10, along with clips from the five of them that I like enough to include in my own top 10 (the order of which I’m still weighing and would appreciate your input on. Who are your favorites? Hannity or Limbaugh? Beck or Levin?)

1. Rush Limbaugh

2. Sean Hannity

3. Dave Ramsey

4. Michael Savage

5. Glenn Beck

6. Mark Levin

7. Howard Stern

8. Joe Madison

9. Thom Hartmann

10. Mike Gallagher

Click here to read the rest.

A few of my favorites who should have been higher on the list, and I’ll include on my list: Dana Loesch (#24) has a lot of talent, Dennis Prager (#33) of course remains one of my regular work-time listens, Larry O’Connor (#42) has a gifted radio presence and good values, Hugh Hewitt (#62) puts on a smart show and should have been much, much higher on the list… And great to see Elisha Krauss, Ben Shapiro, and Brian Whitman making the list too at #82. I listen to them every morning on KRLA while editing PJM.

Well, I suppose with those five in bold from the top ten and then the other four and Elisha/Ben/Brian as one, then I have my top 10, though the order shall remain a mystery for the time being. I’ll want to weigh commenter suggestions. Who do you regard as the 10 best?

Posted at 5:00 am on March 26th, 2015 by

The Radical Left Fishes for Israel, Uses Jewish Americans as Bait

Jewish Americans are being baited by a radical Left that has sharpened their anti-Bibi fangs in the ready to rip apart the nation of Israel and the entire body of world Jewry. It’s a bold statement, but it’s an honest one. If you thought V15 would dissolve, their participants cashing in the last of the State Department’s change for a defeat party in Vegas, you’re wrong. The ideological fervor is stronger than ever. It has to be, because ideology is the only thing they have fueling their “hope and change” community-organizing momentum that is anything but.

Jonathan Mark at the New York Jewish Week succinctly catalogs the radical-Leftist Jewish bias against Bibi, noting that this isn’t the first time a right-wing leader’s victory has been condemned in the American media. “Begin as in Fagin” a 1977 Time magazine article explained, conjuring up one of the most insulting anti-Semitic stereotypes in history.

Today it is the J Street crowd sacrificing their pound of flesh by cutting themselves off from the “Jewish establishment” in a radical attempt to “directly take on Jewish organizations …complicit with Israel’s occupation” via the Obama method. If Israel won’t directly negotiate, they’ll just be forced into a solution …and what? Be told to deal with it, or else? According to reports, the conference was keynoted by Obama’s chief of staff and fueled nothing more or less than the “Bibi is racist” tagline.

Hannah Senesh wrote about the power of one match to light a fire. In this instance, the blaze is burning out of control in this radicalized segment of the Jewish world.

Mark adopts the Israeli attitude toward the radical Left’s recent drumming up of hostilities, concluding:

If Israel has to go alone, so be it, writes The Wall Street Journal’s Brett Stephens: “Repay contempt with contempt. Mr. Obama plays to classic bully type. He is abusive and surly only toward those he feels are either too weak, or too polite, to hit back…. The Israelis will need to chart their own path of resistance…. Israel survived its first 19 years without meaningful U.S. patronage. For now, all it has to do is get through the next 22, admittedly long, months.”

In the end, he is right. Israel has the self-determination and autonomy to weather the storm. The question is, will the Jewish American community rise to the occasion, or be consumed in the fires of its own outrageous fury, drummed up by a mad man who has no problem negotiating the Jewish people’s terms of destruction on an international scale?

Posted at 4:28 am on March 26th, 2015 by

Think You Could Get Away With This Congress Member’s Astonishing Parking Fail?

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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who represents the District of Columbia, was caught on video Wednesday trying — and failing — to maneuver her vehicle into parking spot in a lot between the Longworth and Cannon House Office buildings. According to Roll Call:

Once the aide seen assisting Norton from outside the slow-moving vehicle finishes waving her into clearly disastrous position, Norton emerges from the car, clicks her remote locking device (better safe than sorry) and starts to walk away.

Then, all of the sudden, she doubles back.

Has her conscience gotten the best of her? Is she going to slide a quickly composed apology onto the now-stuck truck’s windshield? Or perhaps a business card?

Nope.

Norton simply retrieves some forgotten item from inside the car and then heads on her merry way.

Note that around the 40-second mark in the video a U.S. Capitol Police officer rides by on a motorcycle and ignores the silver car, which is obviously parked the wrong way in the slanted parking space.

According to Roll Call’s tipster, after spending twenty minutes in the Cannon Office Building, Norton simply got into her car and drove away, not even bothering to leave a note on the red car that she struck several times with her vehicle.

Her office told Roll Call that there was no damage to the adjacent cars, but said they “left a note with a business card” just in case.

The good news is that Ms. Norton, a delegate from the District of Columbia, is a non-voting member of Congress. The bad news, if you live in the District, is that she might try parking next to you the next time you’re at Trader Joe’s. And you thought the drivers with the diplomatic license plates were bad!

 

Posted at 10:07 pm on March 25th, 2015 by

Saudis Unleash Strikes on Yemen After White House Promotes UN-Led Negotiations

Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes into Yemen a short time ago, with the Saudi ambassador in Washington telling reporters that the aim is to “to protect the people of Yemen and its legitimate government from a takeover by the Houthis.”

“The Gulf Cooperation Council countries tried to facilitate a peaceful transition of government in Yemen, but the Houthis have continuously undercut the process by occupying territory and seizing weapons belonging to the government,” Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said in a statement. “…The Houthis have reneged on every single agreement they have made and continue their quest to take over the country by violent means.”

“Based on the appeal from President Hadi, and based on the Kingdom’s responsibility to Yemen and its people, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with its allies within the GCC and outside the GCC, launched military operations in support of the people of Yemen and their legitimate government.”

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates said in a joint statement that President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government had asked for help in battling the Iran-backed Houthis.

Reports Al-Arabiya:

Warplanes of the Royal Saudi Air Force bombed the positions of Yemen’s Houthi militia, destroying an airbase in Sanaa and most of the militia’s air defenses, Al Arabiya News Channel reported early on Thursday, citing Saudi sources.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz ordered the airstrikes on the Iran-backed Houthi militia on Thursday at 12 am Riyadh time, the news channel reported, adding that the kingdom’s air force was “fully in control of the Yemeni airspace.”

Shortly afterwards Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Washington Adel al-Jubeir announced that the kingdom had launched a military operation involving air strikes in Yemen against Houthi fighters who have tightened their grip on the southern city of Aden where the country’s president had taken refuge.

Al-Jubeir told reporters that a 10-country coalition had joined in the military campaign in a bid “to protect and defend the legitimate government” of Yemen President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

“We will do whatever it takes in order to protect the legitimate government of Yemen from falling,” Jubeir said.

Al-Arabiya also reported a cyberwar component, saying that several Houthi websites had crashed.

Yesterday, while appearing in Riyadh with the British foreign secretary, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal hit at Iran and the Houthis.

The prince stressed that “it is not possible to grant Iran an undeserved deal” in the P5+1 nuclear negotiations.

On Yemen, he said, the Gulf Cooperation Council’s “aim is to provide the vehicle for the president to return peacefully to Yemen and provide the leadership as required to bring this country back.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said the “takeover of southern Yemen by the Iranian-supported Houthis has led to chaos, threatening the national security interests of our regional partners and the United States.”

“Regional states, led by Saudi Arabia at President Hadi’s request, are taking action from the air,” Royce said. “The United States should support our Saudi and Gulf partners with appropriate logistical and intelligence support to combat this threat.”

National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement late Wednesday that President Obama “has authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to GCC-led military operations.”

“While U.S. forces are not taking direct military action in Yemen in support of this effort, we are establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate U.S. military and intelligence support,” Meehan said. “At the same time, the United States continues to closely monitor terrorist threats posed by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and will continue to take action as necessary to disrupt continuing, imminent threats to the United States and our citizens.”

“We strongly urge the Houthis to halt immediately their destabilizing military actions and return to negotiations as part of the political dialogue. The international community has spoken clearly through the UN Security Council and in other fora that the violent takeover of Yemen by an armed faction is unacceptable and that a legitimate political transition – long sought by the Yemeni people – can be accomplished only through political negotiations and a consensus agreement among all of the parties.”

The strikes came as the Obama administration resumed talks with Iran, which backs the Houthis, in Switzerland.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest was pressed at the briefing earlier today on whether they still consider Yemen a model for counterterrorism success.

“What the United States considers to be our strategy when confronting the effort to try to mitigate the threat that is posed by extremists, is to prevent them from establishing a safe haven. And certainly in a chaotic, dangerous situation like in Yemen, what the United States will do and has done is worked to try to support the central government, to build up the capacity of local fighters, and use our own technological and military capabilities to apply pressure on the extremists there,” Earnest replied.

“There’s no doubt that we would like to see a functioning central government in Yemen. We don’t see that right now. And that is why we’re supportive of the U.N.-led process to try to put an end to the violence and instability; to bring the sides, you know, all sides together to the table to try to resolve their differences; to build up the capacity of the central government; to build up the capacity of local forces; and to continue to apply pressure to extremists.”

But, Earnest maintained, “We do continue to enjoy the benefits of a sustained counterterrorism security relationship with the security infrastructure that remains in Yemen.”

State Department press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged earlier today that Saudis “have legitimate concerns about the possible impact of current events in Yemen to their security, given their proximity.”

On Yemen as a success, she said “we have had success working on counterterrorism operations, and we expect and hope that will continue.”

Posted at 6:36 pm on March 25th, 2015 by

GAME CHANGER: Hillary’s Campaign Is More Tech Savvy than in ’08

IT’S NEWS BECAUSE IT’S HILLARY, YOU SEE.

Hillary Clinton is assembling a technology team that signals a significant departure from her 2008 presidential run, led by Obama veterans and geared toward recasting her analog-era image.

With the hiring of 2012 Obama campaign alumni Teddy Goff as chief digital strategist, Elan Kriegel as analytics director and Andrew Bleeker as a top outside adviser, the campaign is indicating a greater emphasis on the kinds of cutting-edge techniques that both parties now routinely use to tap into every possible fundraising dollar and seek out every available voter. Just as important, the new hires point to a candidate who’s learned from a 2008 campaign marked by its inability to harness technology to its advantage.

It is adorable that they are trying to make it seem as if a shift in approach to technology after eight years is a big deal. In an arena that changes by the second, only the Democratic front-runner could get this many words devoted to the fact that she will be doing something every other major candidate has been doing in recent years: focusing greater resources on tech.

It’s doubly adorable for the lapdogs to pretend this is completely new, given that she already had people on staff who were smart enough to get her private servers to skirt the law while she was secretary of State.

So she’s not really doing something that can be called markedly new when compared either to other campaigns or a recent professional incarnation of herself.

Yet Politico gave it a thousand words.

No bias to see here, move along…

Posted at 5:51 pm on March 25th, 2015 by

One FCC Commissioner Has A Suggestion for Stopping Net Neutrality

Via the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

It’s not every day that a federal official goes to Congress and tells them not to fund some of his agency’s functions. But that’s what FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai did at a House FCC budget hearing:

Congress should forbid the Commission from using any appropriated funds to implement or enforce the plan the FCC just adopted to regulate the Internet. Not only is this plan bad policy; absent outside intervention, the Commission will expend substantial resources implementing and enforcing regulations that are wasteful, unnecessary, and affirmatively detrimental to the American public.

This, of course, would be dependent upon the Republicans getting a little more fortitude when it comes to exercising the “power of the purse”. Thus far, that’s something they have been a little timid about. Even when they try (executive amnesty), they don’t commit.

One thing is for certain: nothing in the president’s overreach plans will be free, it all needs to be funded. Maybe if he gets the cookie jar lid slammed on his fingers a few times some of his enthusiasm will diminish.

It’s worth a try.

And now I want cookies.

Posted at 5:29 pm on March 25th, 2015 by

Three Members of ‘Taliban 5′ Swapped for Bergdahl Tried to Reconnect to Terror Network

At least three of the Taliban 5 terror commanders who were traded for Bowe Bergdahl made attempts to make contact with their former terrorist networks, reports Fox News.

The new allegations come as Bergdahl now faces desertion charges, and as the one-year deal governing the former Guantanamo detainees’ supervised release in the Gulf nation of Qatar is set to expire — at the end of May.

The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency recently told Congress that, after that expiration, all his officers can do is warn the U.S. government if the men return to the battlefield.

“I’ve seen nothing that causes me to believe these folks are reformed or [have] changed their ways or intend to re-integrate to society in ways to give me any confidence that they will not return in trying to do harm to America,” Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., a member of the House intelligence committee, told Fox News.

The official who described the attempts by three to make contact did not identify the men by name. But the evidence came to light through intelligence from liaison services and monitored communications available to the U.S. government.

A defense official did not dispute the claim, emphasizing that one of the men has come “very close, trying to provide advice, council or inspiration” to his terror network, while the other two had not crossed that line.

In January, CNN was first to report, and U.S. officials later confirmed, that one of the five fighters was making phone calls to militants. The latest claim indicates those efforts were more widespread.

A State Department official, though, disagreed with the characterization of the intelligence and how it relates to the “Taliban Five’s” activities.

“None of the five individuals has returned to the battlefield and none of the five have left Qatar,” the official said. “Since their transfer many actions have been taken to restrict the actions of these individuals, and they are all being closely monitored by the United States and Qatar.

“We are in frequent and high level contact with Qatari government about the implementation of these measures, to ensure our concerns about these individuals are being met. For example, by enabling us to closely track their activities.”

The State Department is putting political spin on the revelation, as is the office of the DNI:

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence also uses a strict definition for re-engagement, saying they do not “consider mere communication with individuals or organizations — including other former GTMO detainees — an indicator of reengagement. Rather, the motives, intentions, and purposes of each communication are taken into account when assessing whether the individual has reengaged.”

It’s all doubletalk. They raise the bar high enough that they don’t have to do anything unless the terrorists actually carry out an attack.

This was a bad deal from the start and we still don’t have all the facts surrounding it. Was there a ransom paid? Were reports of a possible rescue operation called off true? What were the other options to get Bergdahl out facing the administration?

While Bergdahl’s case was being considered, the DoD begged off answering questions before Congress. Now that the fate of the deserter is known, maybe some of those questions will be answered.

Posted at 3:59 pm on March 25th, 2015 by

Obama’s Yemen Foreign Policy ‘Success’ Continues: President May Have Fled the Country

This is going swimmingly.

Gunfire could be heard around the city centre, and security forces allied to the Houthis have taken over the international airport.

The rebels have made rapid gains since seizing a key airbase only 60km (37 miles) from Aden on Wednesday morning.

Government officials deny reports that the president has fled the country, and say he remains in Aden.

The US State Department says it was in touch with President Hadi earlier in the day. It said he is no longer at the compound but could not confirm any “additional details” about his location.

State television, which is controlled by the rebels, announced a reward of 20m Yemeni riyals ($93,000; £62,500) for anyone who captures the “fugitive” president.

Is there anything more comforting in these troubled times than assurances from our State Dept. that all is not as bad as it seems in a conflict-ridden region (pick one)?

If this were a Republican adminstration, the MSM would be competing to see how many “He called this a SUCCESS!” stories they could get out there each day. With this president, it’s like they’re all given daily hits of the memory zapper from the “Men In Black” series.

Oh, in case you need a real world barometer to counter the official news from our government, the rebels running roughshod over Yemen are backed by Iran.

Posted at 2:35 pm on March 25th, 2015 by

Hillary! and the Rest of Clinton Inc. Hit with RICO Lawsuit Over Emails

It’s about time:

The conservative group Freedom Watch has filed a racketeering lawsuit against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that accuses her of failing to produce documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The civil suit, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, argues that Clinton used her private emails to sell access to other officials in return for donations to the Clinton Foundation.

It alleges that, during her tenure, Clinton withheld documents requested under FOIA regarding State Department waivers given to businesses or individuals doing business with Iran, possibly undermining U.S.-imposed sanctions.

The complaint, which lists Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation as defendants, alleges the Clintons sold access to other U.S. government officials in return for donations to their organization, which they concealed, allegedly, by using a private computer server for her emails operated from their home in Chappaqua, New York.

Larry Klayman, the founder of Freedom Watch, launched dozens of lawsuits against former President Bill Clinton’s administration… In a statement, Klayman cast his lawsuit as “the first and only hard-hitting case to address the growing email scandal.”

Good for Larry Klayman. Use lawfare against them. Aside from brute force, it’s the only thing these miscreants understand.

Posted at 2:33 pm on March 25th, 2015 by

Flashback: President Poor Choices Says ‘Absolutely No Apologies’ for Bergdahl Swap

Via The Hill:

President Obama said Thursday he would make “absolutely no apologies” for ordering the controversial prisoner swap to rescue Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the last American prisoner of war in Afghanistan.

Obama said he was never surprised by “controversies that are whipped up in Washington,” but deflected criticism from members of Congress and the military over the trade of five Guantánamo prisoners for Bergdahl, who has been accused of abandoning his post in Afghanistan before his capture.

We see that Obama went with his standard “it’s all made up” dismissal. One really couldn’t blame him –the press has been letting him get away with it for the entire time he’s been in office.

Thankfully, the military is too busy protecting us to watch much cable news, so they proceeded with the investigation into Bergdahl despite the president’s assurance that it was all a Beltway fabrication.

If you ever have time to kill and want a brain teaser, try to remember any time President Obama staged a media op to address criminal activity and didn’t come down on the side of the criminal.

Posted at 2:17 pm on March 25th, 2015 by

Controversy Over ‘American Pride’ Themed Dance at High School

There was a time in America, not too long ago, when the most controversial question in the country was whether the Yankees should be broken up.

We took a lot of things for granted back then — things I wish now I had appreciated a little more. This is especially true after I read this incredible account of how school advisors in Lexington, Massachusetts, tried to talk the junior class at the local high school out of holding a dance with the theme of “American Pride.”

Yes…THAT Lexington, Massachusetts. THE Lexington, where the “shot heard ’round the world” was fired and the American Revolution got underway in earnest.

Boston.com:

A high school dance will keep its “American Pride” theme after a debate over concerns that people of other nationalities might feel excluded, the school superintendent said Tuesday.

Assistant superintendent Carol Pilarski said in an interview with Boston’s WHDH that school advisors suggested students abandon their chosen “American pride” theme in favor of “maybe a national pride theme, so they could represent their individual nationalities. Maybe it should be more inclusive and it should be national pride.”

Students complained to WHDH, which quoted one student, Ethan Embry, calling the decision “ridiculous.”

Now that the crap has hit the fan, school administrators are backtracking furiously:

But superintendent Paul Ash told Boston.com on Tuesday that as far as he knows, the theme was never officially changed. He said Lexington was “very proud of its history” and that administrators were “delighted” that students had chosen an American pride theme.

Still, he acknowledged a debate.

“There was discussion. I’m not going to deny that,” Ash said.

“Official policy is made by the high school principal. And she didn’t change it,” he added. “I talked to the high school principal and I believe her.”

He declined to comment on Pilarki’s remarks, adding that he was not involved in the discussions.

“As you can imagine, superintendents of schools don’t get involved with school dances,” he said.

Actually, we can imagine superintendents getting involved in anything if they thought it could advance the cause of multiculturalism and diversity. We’ve seen this so many times before. A school does something incredibly stupid like banning flag T-shirts, or preventing men in uniform from walking the halls, and then quickly backs down when the matter becomes public.

It doesn’t get much more politically correct than ginning up controversy over the concept of American pride. It’s one of those things we took for granted growing up. Who could have imagined otherwise?

This is the 40th anniversary of one of the most successful advertising campaigns in American history. Watch this Chevy ad from 1975 — unabashedly pro-American.

Just 25 years ago, in Field of Dreams, James Earl Jones gave a speech about America that spoke of how the country is always changing, but remains basically the same:

People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again. Oh…people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”

You couldn’t put that speech in a film today. It would be laughed out of the theater.

When conservatives talk about “taking America back,” liberals will inevitably say that what they really mean in their heart of hearts is that they want blacks in the back of the bus, women  barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, gays back in the closet, and white privilege the rule.

It may be that way for some. But for most of us, it means we want an America where “American Pride” is not now and never will be a controversial subject. Where we don’t have to walk on eggshells when we speak in public, fearing we’re offending someone — or someone who might pretend to be offended. And we want an America where we can be reasonably certain the Congress and the executive branch pay attention to the tenets and precepts found in the Constitution.

Is that really too much to ask?

Posted at 1:50 pm on March 25th, 2015 by

Bergdahl Charged with Desertion, Misbehavior Before the Enemy

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could face life behind bars for walking away from his unit and into the hands of the Taliban, the Army announced today.

Bergdahl, who has been pulling desk duty at Fort Sam Houston since last summer, was charged with counts of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

Taken in 2009, Bergdahl was the only American POW held by the Taliban. They received five high-level Guantanamo prisoners in exchange for his return.

Bergdahl will now face an Article 32 proceeding similar to a grand jury where the charges will be weighed. There was no word on whether Bergdahl’s defense team would try to work out a deal.

“This case has been made more difficult by the administration’s failure to follow the law surrounding the release of the Taliban 5,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said in a statement. “But, Sgt. Bergdahl’s conduct should be considered under the Uniform Code of Military Justice as would any other service member’s, and I trust it will be.”

Qatar agreed to keep the Taliban 5 for a year, which will be up in a couple of months.

“I don’t have anything to discuss about it at this point in time. As you mentioned, it’s a couple of months from now. Obviously, we’ll continue consultations, as will many in the United States government, but I don’t know,” State Department press secretary Jen Psaki said today when quizzed about that looming date.

“As you know, the incidents of recidivism have dropped dramatically over the last couple of years,” she added. “We work closely with the government of Qatar on these issues. But I don’t have any predictions for you on what will happen several months from now.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest was asked whether the administration knew the charges would come today, when Afghan President Ashraf Ghani addressed a joint session of Congress.

“I’m not aware of any plans for them to do that, but this is a process that’s being run by the United States Army, so I’d direct you to the Pentagon for an answer,” Earnest said.

President Obama threw a White House Rose Garden ceremony last May with Bergdahl’s parents to laud the sergeant’s release. Members of Congress, though, fumed that they weren’t notified of the trade. The administration said they had to move forward without notification as required by law because they feared Bergdahl’s life was in danger.

A week later, National Security Advisor Susan Rice defended the swap, as well as her defense of Bergdahl. “I realize there has been lots of discussion and controversy around this,” Rice said. “But what I was referring to was the fact that this was a young man who volunteered to serve his country in uniform at a time of war. That, in and of itself, is a very honorable thing.”

In January, the White House said the Bergdahl swap didn’t qualify as negotiating with terrorist groups.

“The Taliban is an armed insurgency. ISIL is a terrorist group. So we don’t make concessions to terrorist groups,” spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters.

“As you know, this was highly discussed at the time, and prisoner swaps are a traditional end of conflict interaction that happens,” the spokesman said. “As the war in Afghanistan wound down, we felt like it was the appropriate thing to do. The president’s bedrock commitment as commander in chief is to leave no man or woman behind. That’s the principle he was operating under.”

Then, he said the Taliban — hosts of al-Qaeda camps, suicide bombers, throwers of acid on schoolgirls — didn’t qualify as terrorists.

“The Taliban is an armed insurgency. This was the winding down of the war in Afghanistan. And that’s why this arrangement was dealt,” Schultz continued. “Our view is, as the president said at the time, which is, as the commander in chief, when he sends men and women into armed combat, he doesn’t want to leave anyone behind. That was the commitment he was following through on this.”

Posted at 1:27 pm on March 25th, 2015 by

Beck and O’Reilly Clash: Are Political Parties Outdated?

On yesterday’s episode of The O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck clashed with each other about Beck’s statement that he no longer supports the Republican Party. It was an interesting debate, although O’Reilly didn’t appear to grasp Beck’s point about defunding the Republican leadership and supporting individual candidates instead:

Beck’s point is well-taken. Why fund the Republican Party itself if you only support certain conservative candidates — and those candidates are being attacked by their own party’s leaders?

Increasingly, voters try to find candidates they support, not a specific party. Parties played a major role in organizing campaigns on every level (local, state, federal) in the past, but that’s increasingly less the case nowadays. Also, when you donate your hard-earned dollars to a party rather than to an individual, part of your donation ends up helping candidates you don’t support or even actively hurting the ones you do.

Both the Democratic Party and the GOP are “big tents” now, with people who often have conflicting views. See how Elizabeth Warren Democrats think compared to Hillary supporters, or how Cruz supporters think compared to Mitch McConnell and his ilk. They often have opposing — not complementary — goals.

Political parties are outdated, so why not stop supporting them?

Posted at 12:49 pm on March 25th, 2015 by

ISIS Reportedly Claims Town Where George Lucas Filmed Part of Star Wars

We know that ISIS will stop at nothing to take as much land as they can and claim it for Islam. Now the Tunisian town of Tataouine, where George Lucas filmed part of Star Wars (and for which he named the film’s planet Tatooine), has reportedly fallen under ISIS control.

This struggling town on the fringes of the Sahara still draws a few fans of the movie but now finds itself part of a real conflict, as a way-station for jihadists crossing the Libyan border 60 miles to the east.

Earlier this month, before the gun attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis, three young men were arrested here as they allegedly made plans to cross into Libya to join a terrorist network. A local official told CNN they had since been taken to Tunis for questioning.

Two arms caches have also been found in the region this month, one of which included rocket-propelled grenade launchers and more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition, thought to have been removed from a Libyan armory in the aftermath of Moammar Gadhafi’s ouster in 2011.

Tunisians worry about the frail state of neighbor Libya and the presence of ISIS all over North Africa. The country recently celebrated the anniversary of its independence from France, but now the mood among residents is less than celebratory.

The mood among many Tunisians seems much harder and more pragmatic than it was four years ago. A shopkeeper in a small village between Tataouine and Remada said there needs to be a security crackdown. He said people in the area led simple lives — but they knew each other and noticed strangers.

Bassim, a taxi driver on the island of Djerba, some 60 miles to the north of Tataouine, was of a similar view.

“The people need to be the third eye of the security forces” he said. “And we need to think of the safety of visitors like we think of the safety of our families.”

[...]

Tunisians say their country is at a crossroads as it tries to fend off the jihadist contagion seeping across North Africa. Their democracy is young and vulnerable.

“We want to be the hope of the Arab world,” said Bassim, “like we were four years ago.”

“We still have hope, but now we have fear too.”

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / Adisa

Posted at 12:45 pm on March 25th, 2015 by