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Ezra Levant Gets a Makeover — Texas Style

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Since he literally wrote the book on fracking and “ethical oil,” TheRebel.media‘s Ezra Levant gets invited to talk about the energy industry all over North America.

Not surprisingly, the people of Texas are especially eager to hear what this boy from Alberta (that is, the Texas of Canada) has to say, since he’s an expert on debunking environmentalist talking points about the evils of oil and gas extraction.

Levant’s first stop in Fort Worth this week was to Ryon’s Western Wear, where they’ve been outfitting cowboys since 1919.

What do you think, Texas readers and viewers?

Is this Canadian city boy missing anything in terms of “Lone Star” fashion and accessories?

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Posted at 7:24 am on April 23rd, 2015 by

Obama Takes Cheap Shot at FL Gov. Rick Scott During Sparsely Attended Everglades Speech

President Barack Obama could not resist taking a cheap shot at Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) while he was visiting the governor’s state Wednesday afternoon.

The thinly veiled insult came during the president’s speech at the Florida Everglades, which only a small handful of Floridians attended.

The speech was televised by Al Jazeera America but none of the major cable news networks, according to Mediaite.

As the president made his case for taking action on climate change, he scoffed at one denier in particular who supposedly refuses to even allow the words “climate change” to be said in his state. A key component of the left’s strategy to impose their policies on the populace is to mock and ridicule those who don’t go along with the program. The idea is to force everyone into accepting their hard- left agenda through peer pressure. So it was important for Obama to isolate and  mock a powerful governor who doesn’t buy their hysterical claims about global warming. It’s Alinsky 101:

Describing climate change as a “bipartisan” issue, Obama said that people all over the country know “simply refusing to say the words ‘climate change’ doesn’t mean that climate change isn’t happening,” laughing as he made the remarks and drawing applause. “If you’ve got a coming storm, you don’t stick your head in the sand, you prepare for the storm.”

“Protecting the one planet we’ve got is what we have to do for the next generation,” Obama continued, saying he wants his grandchildren — “a long time from now” — to enjoy the Everglades just like those who lived before them.

Obama’s  audience understood that the reference was meant for Governor Scott, who has allegedly banned the words “climate change” from being used by state workers in any official correspondence — which is kinda funny, if true.  (Those of us who don’t live in Florida, and/or don’t watch MSNBC, had to Google that stunning Chris Hayes scoop because it hasn’t exactly gone viral.)

Gov. Scott, who is one of many Republicans to remind the world he’s “not a scientist,” has denied that there is any written policy banning the words “climate change,” but others who worked in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection said that is was expressed verbally.

Meanwhile, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham had the best come-back line for the trash-talking president:

Posted at 6:07 am on April 23rd, 2015 by

Obama Administration Refuses to Recognize Armenian Genocide

As the world commemorates the 100th anniversary of the slaughter of nearly 2 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, President Obama and his administration are refusing to refer to the massacre as a genocide – the term most historians use to describe the event, as well as the same language Obama used before taking on the office of president.

“President Obama’s surrender to Turkey represents a national disgrace. It is, very simply, a betrayal of truth, a betrayal of trust,” Ken Hachikian, the chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America, said.

Officials decided against calling the massacre a genocide after some opposition from the State Department and Pentagon.

“We know and respect that there are some who are hoping to hear different language this year,” CNN quoted an administration official.

“We understand their perspective, even as we believe that the approach we have taken in previous years remains the right one — both for acknowledging the past and for our ability to work with regional partners to save lives in the present,” the official said.

On April 24, 1915, the Ottoman Empire set out to expel the Armenians from their region. Armenians had lived in what is now Turkey for 3,000 years, but by the early 1920s, a million and a half of them were dead, with many more expelled from the country. In 2010, a Congressional committee voted to recognize the massacre as a genocide, but the Obama administration still has not done so.

This move by the White House may not have stirred up so much passion had then-Senator Obama not made a campaign promise to call the incident a genocide. Critics suggest that Obama has performed his about-face as an act of loyalty toward Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan.

CNN reports that even California Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic leader of the House Intelligence Committee, expressed disappointment with the White House decision.

“How long must the victims and their families wait before our nation has the courage to confront Turkey with the truth about the murderous past of the Ottoman Empire?” Schiff wrote in a statement.

“If not this president, who spoke so eloquently and passionately about recognition in the past, whom? If not after 100 years, when?” he asked.

Posted at 5:51 am on April 23rd, 2015 by

How Much More Can Hillary! Take? The New York Times Strikes Another Blow at the Dowager Empress

As I’ve been saying for months now, she’s toast:

The headline in Pravda trumpeted President Vladimir V. Putin’s latest coup, its nationalistic fervor recalling an era when the newspaper served as the official mouthpiece of the Kremlin: “Russian Nuclear Energy Conquers the World.” The article, in January 2013, detailed how the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, had taken over a Canadian company with uranium-mining stakes stretching from Central Asia to the American West. The deal made Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers and brought Mr. Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.

But the untold story behind that story is one that involves not just the Russian president, but also a former American president and a woman who would like to be the next one. At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.

A criminal organization masquerading as a political party; even the Daily Beast has had it with the Clintons. It’s over.

Get your bets down now: Hillary!s last day as a presidential candidate. Bonus: Hillary!s first day as a federal inmate.

 

Posted at 5:50 am on April 23rd, 2015 by

Pistol-Packing Granny Stops Would-Be Robber

A grandmother in Fort Worth, Texas, shut down an attempted robbery when she pulled out her concealed firearm and frightened off her would-be assailant.

Jewell Turner, 74, was approached and asked for directions by the man, when he pulled out a knife and told her he wanted her money.

“He stood there and we talked for a while, [him] just asking for directions and me giving them to him,” Turner recalled. “Never thought that when I turned my head that that young man would stick a knife to my throat.

“He said, ‘I don’t want to hurt you, but I want your money. And I will hurt you if I have to,’” Turner said.

But Turner didn’t have much money on her, only $1.62. When the wanna-be robber demanded “what she had in her purse,” she remembered that she had a gun in there. At first, Turner thought to pull out a knife she keeps with her but instead she took out her pistol. The grandmother had just put the pistol in her purse that morning.

“I seen the gun laying there. And I figured that would work better than the knife,” Turner said. “I just reached down, got the gun and turned around and pointed it to his face. And I told him, I said, ‘You back off, or I’ll blow your head off.’ And his eyes got big and he just backed up and he took off walking down the street like nothing happened.”

Turner told NBC5 she felt taken advantage of after helping out a stranger. “This let me know there is a dark side,” Turner said. “I noticed there was a dark side in me, too. Because when I first pulled that gun on him I actually wanted to shoot him. But I stopped and thought about it.”

 

 

 

Posted at 5:50 am on April 23rd, 2015 by

Obamacare: the Issue the GOP Needs to Be Ready for in 2016

I’m not a big David Frum fan, but he’s right about this one:

“Will you take away my health insurance?” That question does not get asked often at Republican presidential forums. Yet it will be the most decisive question in the 2016 presidential election.

Since the last presidential election, the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act have taken effect. Millions of people are now enrolled in Medicaid, or are receiving health insurance subsidies through state exchanges, who were not enrolled or subsidized in November of 2012. Obamacare skeptics may disparage these benefits as inefficient, counter-productive, and excessively costly. Fine. Those who receive them won’t cherish them any less. The mortgage-interest deduction is not exactly a model of economic rationality. Try taking it away. Go ahead. Try.

It doesn’t matter than the Patient Deflection and Unaffordable Care Act is a complete sham, a welfare program funded by a tax on the middle class that nobody needed and nobody asked for. What matters is that the Dependency Brigades vote every four years to keep the gravy flowing:

Exact numbers of Obamacare beneficiaries are difficult to compute. However, healthcare economists estimate 11.2 million added to the Medicaid program since open enrollment under ACA began, and 10 million receiving subsidies through exchanges. And, since 2010, an estimated 5.7 million young adults between the ages of 19 and 25 gained coverage, mostly through their parents’ plans. If the ACA were repealed without a replacement, one would expect most or all of these people to lose their coverage.

“Coverage” they likely didn’t have before. But these days, “entitlements” are apparently engraved in stone, unrepealable from the moment of issue from the Great White Father in Washington. That’s why the upcoming Supreme Court decision in the Burwell case is so important:

Unless the Supreme Court strikes down subsidies in the federal exchange in the pending case of King v. Burwell, ACA insurance subsidies are paid everywhere in the country. As the next map shows, eligibility for subsidy is concentrated in the red states. Not all of those eligible claim the subsidy. Many of those who do receive subsidies might be expected to vote Democratic in 2016 even if healthcare were not an issue. But some Republican-leaning voters will feel the hit—and especially in a tightly balanced state like Florida, that hit could have real consequences.

The Court would be doing everybody a favor by torpedoing the “subsidies,” so that the nation might be able to soberly re-assess the nasty present the Democrats and Obama foisted on the country during the administration’s early days. Otherwise, we will have to live with this lie forever.

Posted at 5:05 am on April 23rd, 2015 by

Cornered, Clinton Crime Family to Prepare New Tax Returns for Family ‘Charities’

The media is begging Hillary to get out before they have to really hurt her and their beloved Bubba. Reuters has the scoop:

Hillary Clinton’s family’s charities are refiling at least five annual tax returns after a Reuters review found errors in how they reported donations from governments, and said they may audit other Clinton Foundation returns in case of other errors.

The foundation and its list of donors have been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. Republican critics say the foundation makes Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, vulnerable to undue influence. Her campaign team calls these claims “absurd conspiracy theories.”

The charities’ errors generally take the form of under-reporting or over-reporting, by millions of dollars, donations from foreign governments, or in other instances omitting to break out government donations entirely when reporting revenue, the charities confirmed to Reuters.

The errors, which have not been previously reported, appear on the form 990s that all non-profit organizations must file annually with the Internal Revenue Service to maintain their tax-exempt status. A charity must show copies of the forms to anyone who wants to see them to understand how the charity raises and spends money.

What a difference is makes who’s the head of the crime syndicate.

For three years in a row beginning in 2010, the Clinton Foundation reported to the IRS that it received zero in funds from foreign and U.S. governments, a dramatic fall-off from the tens of millions of dollars in foreign government contributions reported in preceding years.

Those entries were errors, according to the foundation: several foreign governments continued to give tens of millions of dollars toward the foundation’s work on climate change and economic development through this three-year period. Those governments were identified on the foundation’s annually updated donor list, along with broad indications of how much each had cumulatively given since they began donating.

If you’re a “progressive,” it’s always an “oversight,” a “misstatement” or an “error.” But we all know what it really is, and who these people really are. See also: “For Clintons, speech income shows how their wealth is intertwined with charity.”

 

Posted at 4:53 am on April 23rd, 2015 by

Dog Bites Man: Lefty Senator Just Makes Stuff Up. Man Bites Dog: WaPo Busts Him

The Leftoid in question is Ohio’s Sherrod Brown; the Post writer is Glenn Kessler:

“President Bush, who I don`t quote that much — the first President Bush said a billion dollars in trade surplus or deficit turns into 13,000 jobs. So, if you have a billion dollar trade deficit, it means 13,000 lost jobs. Multiply that times 5 and 600, and you get a huge number of lost jobs.” –Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), interview on MSNBC, April 21, 2015

President Obama’s request for enhanced congressional authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation trade deal for the Pacific Rim, has divided Democrats in Congress. Appearing on MSNBC, Sen. Sherrod Brown argued the case against the deal by quoting a Republican, former President George H. W. Bush, as saying that a $1 billion trade deficit would mean 13,000 lost jobs.

Given that Bush was an avid promoter of free-trade deals, that did not sound like anything that George H.W. Bush would say. So we decided to investigate.

The answer, of course, is that Brown is full of it.

In our research, we found no evidence that Bush had ever made this remark. In fact, we found that there was only one person who ever quoted Bush as saying this—and that was Sherrod Brown.

This is an excellent example of how Washington politicians live in their own invented reality, with a self-perpetuating feedback loop. Even if Brown had quoted Bush accurately on exports, rather than trade surpluses, the numbers would have been woefully out of date. Given that Bush was president about a quarter-century ago, you’d think Brown would have checked to see if the ratio of jobs to exports had remained the same. You can’t “do the math” with ancient information.

Brown earns Four Pinocchios.

Remember: with the Left, every single word out of their mouths is a lie, and that includes “and” and “the.” And we have nearly two more years of this…

Posted at 4:33 am on April 23rd, 2015 by

With Executive ‘Orders,’ Emperor Hussein Puts Pedal to Metal

Please, America, never, ever, ever vote for a presidential candidate again solely because of the color of his skin, or the fact that the leftist media tells you it’s “time” for one of their in-groups to occupy the White House:

“Since the election, the president has had a pretty explicit strategy,” said Brian Deese, a senior Obama adviser. “And it has consisted of trying to stay on offense, trying to push where he can to move the agenda through executive action. You’re going to keep seeing the president in that posture going forward.”

“Executive action” — a phrase Obama never uttered publicly in the first two and a half years of his presidency — has now become so routine that new announcements come several times a week. The actions can take many forms, from formal executive orders and presidential memoranda to more routine reports, meetings and internal bureaucratic changes. That makes any definitive count of lower-level executive actions difficult.

But by one measure, such policy rollouts are actually increasing in pace. The White House often announces executive actions with a fact sheet from the press office, and those spiked last year during what Obama called the “Year of Action.” The White House issued 228 fact sheets in 2014, more than the first three years of his presidency combined.This year, the White House has already issued three more fact sheets than last year at the same time.

The Obama strategy on executive actions closely parallels that of the Clinton White House. In Bill Clinton’s last two years in office, chief of staff John Podesta launched what would become known as “Project Podesta.” In an effort to flex presidential authority, Podesta canvassed executive agencies for actions Clinton could take without going to Congress.

Remember: like all Leftists, Obama won’t stop until he’s stopped. There is no appeasing them, no waiting them out, no appeal to the lesser devils of their natures. There is only victory or defeat. Congress and the courts must act immediately.

Posted at 4:14 am on April 23rd, 2015 by

Remember That Stupid (Racist, Misogynist, Threatening) Thing You Tweeted Five Years Ago?

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A former aide to Jeb Bush who was fired after posting offensive tweets has created Clear, an app that will clean up social media posts that could result in negative consequences at work, with potential employers, or with your new romantic interest.

Ethan Czahor, Bush’s former chief technology officer, was fired in February after some offensive tweets he posted were uncovered. In one tweet Czahor called female students “sluts.” In another he said, “When I burp in the gym I feel like it’s my way of saying, ‘sorry guys, but I’m not gay.’” Czahor said he launched “Clear“ to ensure what happened to him won’t happen to others.

“Clear” searches for keywords like “gay,” “black,” or swear words in your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram updates that might indicate offensive content. Posts that include those words are flagged and you’re given the option to keep or delete them.

Czahor told Time magazine: “Why wasn’t I smart enough to take care of this before it happens?”

download

 

Posted at 7:36 pm on April 22nd, 2015 by

Hillary Camp Blasts Timing of Benghazi Report as Proof Probe ‘Solely’ a 2016 Game

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign charged that the delay of the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s report into the 2012 terrorist attack is proof that the probe is purely politicized.

Bloomberg first reported that the release of the findings of Chairman Trey Gowdy’s (R-S.C.) committee would be pushed into campaign season, but Republicans contest that’s because of uncooperative figures in the investigation.

Asked today if that “reeked” of politics, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Gowdy is doing “fine work” and “they’ve got a lot more work to do.”

“They could clean this up a whole lot quicker if the administration and Secretary — former Secretary Clinton were in a position to actually cooperate with the committee and turn over the kind of information that we’ve been seeking for some time. But the administration has made it virtually impossible to get to the facts surrounding Benghazi,” Boehner told reporters. “And so when we have the facts, we’ll have a report.”

Boehner said he sees Gowdy “from time to time to get a little update on how they’re doing. That’s close enough.”

But in a statement moments ago, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta charged that “sadly, Republicans are determined to continue to exploit this tragedy in an effort to try and hurt her campaign.”

“The Gowdy Committee’s admission today that it will not finish its investigation until 2016 is the most telling evidence yet that their investigation is solely about playing politics in the 2016 presidential campaign. This action is the latest example in a broad concerted effort by Republicans and their allies to launch false attacks against Hillary Clinton’s record and deep experience on foreign affairs and national security,” Podesta said.

“There have already been 21 congressional hearings, five independent or bipartisan reports, and millions of tax dollars spent in the process of investigating this three year old tragedy. This investigation would now be longer than the investigations of Iran-Contra, the Kennedy Assassination, Watergate and 9/11,” he added.

“Hillary Clinton has already spent five hours testifying at two congressional committee hearings but, as she’s been saying since last year, she’s happy to do it again. Unfortunately, Republicans insist her testimony is done behind closed doors, where the American public is unable to see their true, politically motivated intentions.”

Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which came during the final weeks of the last presidential campaign. Much of the recent committee activity has been around Clinton’s missing emails.

A month ago, Gowdy requested that Clinton turn over to a neutral third party for analysis the home server she used for work and personal emails.

“As I have said many times, we have no interest in Secretary Clinton’s personal emails, but the American people have a clear right to the public records from her time as secretary of State,” Gowdy said then. He had suggested perhaps a retired judge or an archivist to comb through the server that Clinton said her staff sorted into emails that should be turned over to the State Department and those which should be deleted.

Today, Gowdy said he received a response from Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall.

“I appreciate Mr. Kendall’s timely response to our letter but respectfully disagree with his assertion former Secretary Clinton has answered all questions surrounding the unusual email arrangement she had with herself,” Gowdy said in a statement. “The press conference held by former Secretary Clinton and the subsequent efforts at clarifying her remarks served to create more questions than answers. I also would note that if the Committee had called former Secretary Clinton when Democrats and her attorney first encouraged us to, the committee would not have had possession of the 300 emails we now have or known about her exclusive use of a personal server and email account to conduct official business.”

Gowdy said the committee “is now in possession of thousands of pages of documents from the [Accountability Review Board] review no other committee has had access to and the committee expects more ARB documents to be produced by the Department of State in the days ahead.”

“These documents, as well as other documents never before produced to any committee of Congress and transcribed interviews with witnesses never before questioned by any committee of Congress, will aid the committee as it prepares to invite Secretary Clinton to appear,” he added.

“Beyond that, the committee has Mr. Kendall’s letter under advisement and will issue a response tomorrow setting out a reasonable path forward with respect to Secretary Clinton’s appearances to discuss both Benghazi as well as congressional efforts to ensure the public record is complete with respect to her tenure as Secretary of State.”

Posted at 4:59 pm on April 22nd, 2015 by

Here Are Some Doomsday Predictions from the First Earth Day that Didn’t Quite Pan Out

Mark Perry at AEI has dug up some doomsday predictions from the very first Earth Day in 1970 that never quite lived up to their billing.

Here are a few of my favorites (remember, this is from April, 1970):

1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”

7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in his 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

Posted at 4:33 pm on April 22nd, 2015 by

‘Critical Role’ of Video ‘Undeniable’: Scott Asks for Hearing on Police Body Cameras

As protests unfolded in Baltimore after a young man suffered a fatal injury in police custody, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) is requesting a hearing on the use of police body cameras.

Freddie Gray, 25, died Sunday, a week after his arrest. He reportedly fled on foot after making eye contact with officers who were patrolling the high-crime neighborhood, and was taken to a police van after being apprehended by officers. That part of the arrest was captured on video, but officials say no video was rolling inside the police wagon. An hour later, Gray was in a coma.

An autopsy found that Gray’s spinal cord had been severed, but there were no outward signs of injuries. Court documents say Gray was carrying a knife, but “was arrested without force or incident.”

The Justice Department is probing the case for potential civil rights violations, and the mayor of Baltimore has questioned whether there was probable cause for the officers to go after Gray.

Scott called for widespread use of police body cameras after the shooting death of Walter Scott in South Carolina by a police officer during a foot pursuit.

In a letter today to Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Scott noticed that they recently discussed “the need for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement.”

“The critical role that video of the tragic and unnecessary April 4 shooting of Walter Scott, a resident of my hometown of North Charleston, SC, has played in the subsequent investigation is undeniable,” Scott wrote.

“I believe that the deployment of body-worn cameras will provide increased protections for both law enforcement officers and those they serve. At least one study shows that public complaints against officers wearing body cameras fell by almost 90% and that officers’ use of force decreased by 60%. At a minimum, we owe it to our communities and law enforcement officers to consider this study and other evidence to explore the wisdom of widespread deployment of body-worn cameras. The vast majority of our nation’s police officers are honest, hardworking professionals, and these cameras can positively impact their mission to protect and serve,” the senator continued.

“I understand that there are multiple and complex questions surrounding the use of body cameras, including privacy concerns, data retention and disclosure issues, and the effects of recording on community relationships. It is essential that we explore these and other concerns as we foster a national discussion on body-worn cameras at a public hearing in Congress.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who for decades lived just minutes from the scene of Gray’s arrest, told CNN that he believes the police report that says no force was used is “ridiculous.”

“It’s insulting to the intelligence of anybody who hears it… to neighbors and people who may have seen it, I say you don’t have the right to remain silent. You must come forward and tell what happened,” Cummings stressed. “I’m saying to the police somebody knows what happened here. They do not have the right to remain silent. We’ve got to restore trust in this city between the police and the community. We’ve got to do even more than that. We’ve got to have total transparency.”

Six officers have been suspended with pay in the Gray investigation.

“These police officers are now in a defensive mode. I’m sure by now they all have lawyers. They know that it’s quite possible that they may be charged criminally. So it’s hard to get answers from them,” added Cummings, who practiced criminal law for many years. “There are probably system-wide problems that have been going on for many years and hopefully with DOJ involved, we’ll be able to find out what they are and do a Ferguson type study to come up with exactly how the policemen operated and what the systemic problems have been and are and try to address them.”

Posted at 4:18 pm on April 22nd, 2015 by

A Win for the First Amendment: Judge Rules in Favor of ‘Killing Jews’ Bus Ads

Here you go New York City — you asked for it:

New Yorkers are used to aggressive advertising. Banners for breast implants. Billboards for condoms. But a federal judge’s ruling has opened the door for far more controversial posters on buses and subways across the city. “Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah,” reads one such ad next to the image of a young man in a checkered headscarf. “That’s His Jihad. What’s yours?”

The poster is at the center of heated legal debate over public safety and free speech. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John Koeltl ruled that New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) cannot stop the controversial ad from running on scores of subway cars and buses. The MTA has argued that the ad could incite violence against Jews, but Koeltl rejected that idea.

MTA officials “underestimate the tolerant quality of New Yorkers and overestimate the potential impact of these fleeting advertisements,” he ruled. “Moreover, there is no evidence that seeing one of these advertisements on the back of a bus would be sufficient to trigger a violent reaction. Therefore, these ads — offensive as they may be — are still entitled to First Amendment protection.”

Here’s the twist: the ads are the work not of Muslim faithful, but of Pamela Geller, a fearless Jewish anti-Muslim activist and proprietor of the new-look Atlas Shrugs website:

Making the case all the stranger is that the posters are not the work of an Islamist group, but rather a pro-Israel organization. “This is a triumph for liberty and free speech,” tweeted Pamela Geller, the president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), the group that purchased the ads and sued the MTA to run them. “#freedom #victory #shariafail.”

These posters have put AFDI on a crash course with both the MTA and Muslim advocacy groups. In 2011, the MTA refused to run the “savage” ad because it was demeaning to Muslims and Palestinians. AFDI sued, and a federal judge later ruled that MTA’s non-demeaning standard violated the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. The “savage” ads soon went up all over New York City.

AFDI’s ads have also drawn objections from Muslims. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a civil liberties group that promotes the rights of Muslims and better relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, launched its own public relations campaign to combat AFDI. In 2012 and 2013, CAIR ran posters in several U.S. cities promoting peaceful versions of Islam. “‘#MyJihad is to build friendships across the aisle.’ What’s yours?” But the ads never ran in New York due to a disagreement between CAIR and MTA.

Anything that frosts CAIR, a real fifth column viper in the American breast, is okay by me.

After AFDI’s victory, Geller posed for photos outside the federal courthouse while holding the “Killing Jews” advertisement. “With our NY win, our ads will make their debut on New York buses in the coming weeks,” AFDI’s Web site promises above a “donate” button. “We want to run 100. Help us make that happen.”

But even if the ads don’t incite violence in New York City, they could overseas. Earlier this month, Egypt’s top religious authority called AFDI’s posters “racist” and issued a fatwa, or official edict, against them. “This hazardous campaign will leave the gate of confrontation and clashes wide open instead of exerting efforts towards peaceful coexistence and harmony,” according to the edict.

To which I say: so what? The American First Amendment is not dependent on whether a bunch of savages takes umbrage at our concept of free speech. “Peaceful coxistence”? Please. Fourteen years after 9/11, how’s that “coexistence” thing working out? They plotted to attack Catholic churchgoers in Paris on Sunday.

 

Posted at 2:55 pm on April 22nd, 2015 by

Speaker Boehner: Is the Obama Administration Doing All It Can to Protect Christians?

In a post at the speaker’s blog that is well worth reading, Speaker of the House John Boehner asks: Is the Obama Administration Doing Everything it Can To Protect Christians? The answer appears to be a resounding no.

For the past several years, Christians have suffered unprecedented levels of persecution and genocide at the hands of Muslim terrorists, with the grisly execution of dozens of Ethiopian Christians in Libya only the latest in a string of horrors that have been visited upon Christians around the world.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest claimed on Monday that the administration “is working hard to counter any extremist efforts to target anybody because of their religious affiliation. So we’ve taken steps regardless of an individual’s religious identity to try to protect anybody who is being targeted because of that religious identity.”

Here are “the steps” the Obama White House has taken to date for individuals “regardless of their religious identity.”

  • Waited nearly a year to appoint an Ambassador At-Large for International Religious Freedom. President Obama finally nominated someone in July 2014 after the State Department post stood vacant for nine months.
  • Has failed since 2013 to produce the annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom, as required by law.
  • Has on more than one occasion condemned a radical Islamic terrorist attack targeting Christians without mentioning the victims’ religious identity.
  • Offended many Christians when the president himself used this year’s National Prayer Breakfast to admonish those who may “get on our high horse” and forget “terrible deeds” committed during the Crusades – comments criticized by historians.

The Washington Examiner reported Monday that activists and elected officials are urging President Obama to fill a post that was created by Congress last year to promote religious freedom around the world.

More than 50 organizations, scholars, religious leaders and human rights advocates, along with 43 members of Congress, called on Obama Monday to fill the vacant post of special envoy for religious minorities in the Middle East and South Central Asia, which has stood vacant since it was created. …

On Easter, Pope Francis expressed deep concern that the international community is standing “mute and inert in the face of such unacceptable crimes.” At a Good Friday procession, he also decried the world’s “complicit silence” while Christians are being killed in an international jihad that spans the Middle East, Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Europe and the United States.

Congress passed a bipartisan bill late last summer creating the envoy post, and the president signed it into law but has yet to appoint the special envoy. …

***

The envoy, who would report to Secretary of State John Kerry, would represent the United States and amplify the importance of religious freedom for imperiled religious minorities in the Middle East and South Central Asia. The envoy’s duties would include promoting religious freedom, monitoring religious intolerance and denouncing rights violations.

When asked Monday about the president’s delay in naming the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities, White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said, “We don’t have any personnel announcements to make at this time.”

 

Posted at 2:29 pm on April 22nd, 2015 by

GOP Wing of Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party Wants to Continue Post-9/11 Police State

Led by Mitch McConnell, of course:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill Tuesday night to extend through 2020 a controversial surveillance authority under the Patriot Act.

The move comes as a bipartisan group of lawmakers in both chambers is preparing legislation to scale back the government’s spying powers under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. It puts McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the bill’s co-sponsor, squarely on the side of advocates of the National Security Agency’s continued ability to collect millions of Americans’ phone records each day in the hunt for clues of terrorist activity.

That NSA program was revealed publicly almost two years ago by a former agency contractor, Edward Snowden. The disclosure touched off a global debate over the proper scope of surveillance by U.S. spy agencies and led President Obama to call for an end to the NSA’s collection of the records.

No point atomizing the heart of the Muslim world, thus taking the fight out of them, and cutting off immigration from a culturally alien and hostile world when you can treat Americans like suspects, is there?

In filing the bill, McConnell and Burr invoked a Senate rule that enabled them to bypass the traditional committee vetting process and take the bill straight to the floor. No date has been set for such consideration. The move provoked a swift response from Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, who has been working with other panel members on legislation to end the government’s mass collection of phone and other records for national security purposes.

“Despite overwhelming consensus that the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act must end, Senate Republican leaders are proposing to extend that authority without change,” he said in a statement Tuesday night. “This tone deaf attempt to pave the way for five and a half more years of unchecked surveillance will not succeed. I will oppose any reauthorization of Section 215 that does not contain meaningful reforms.”

This is where we are after the smashing conservative victory of Nov. 2014: rooting for the Democrats to do the right thing. Suckers!

Posted at 2:21 pm on April 22nd, 2015 by

No, Newt Gingrich, We Should Not Double the NIH Budget

Anyone who places themselves on the right side of the political spectrum has no business advocating for the blind expansion of a government agency. But that’s exactly what former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich did in an op-ed for the New York Times on April 22, 2015, and he calls himself a conservative while doing it.

Titled “Double the NIH Budget,” Gingrich’s piece glorifies the bipartisan era of NIH expansion in 1994, when both Democrats and Republicans doubled the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget. The result: a welfare program for government workers along with the researchers and university system that pays for decade-long “science” involving macabre animal experimentation yielding little in useful results, all at taxpayer expense.

No thank you, sir.

This opinion piece is quite a switch from just last November – six months ago — when Gingrich posted on his Facebook page: “Perhaps the Left should take a look at how the #NIH is spending their current budget—funding projects like rabbit massages—before making another claim that budget cuts have prevented NIH scientists from discovering a cure for #Ebola”

Perhaps you should too. What changed, Mr. Speaker?

gingrichNIHtesting

Now, let’s get back to the current position Mr. Gingrich is advocating.

A key argument Gingrich makes is that the cost of healthcare for the government has skyrocketed and so, consequently, should the cost to the taxpayers to find cures for the diseases draining the government bank account. But the idea that government needs to pick up the tab for healthcare simply goes unchallenged here. What kind of conservative idea champions expanding the responsibility of a government-operated healthcare system?

The government is a bloated, monstrous entity that wastes millions if not billions of taxpayer dollars each year. The NIH is certainly no exception and it should not be allocated a single cent more until a full external audit of its activities is completed.

Many people believe that the NIH is doing the noble work of finding cures for AIDS, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Maybe in some cases, but certainly not in all. At least $12B (47 cents on the dollar) is spent a year on perpetual, hideous animal experiments that yield virtually no useful results for the taxpayers subsidizing them. We are underwriting “science for its own sake.”

Don’t believe me about the success of such endeavors? The government’s own FDA reports that 92% of the animal-based drug experiments on animals don’t work in humans.

The example Gingrich gives is AIDS research. “The N.I.H. recently discovered a vaccine that appears to cure an AIDS-like virus in monkeys,” he writes.

Appears? Aids-Like?

Here’s how many times the NIH has said it is approaching some kind of breakthrough on AIDS (2013, 2000, 1999, 1994) — and that’s just a cursory search.  We’ve been experimenting on animals while doing AIDS research since the ‘80s. Where is our AIDS vaccine? All we have is a lot of dead monkeys.

googleaidsvax

Here are some of the ways the NIH is currently spending the money it gets from taxpayers in the name of science:

Posted at 2:14 pm on April 22nd, 2015 by

Rep. Royce: ‘Not Confident’ if Iran is Caught Cheating that Sanctions will ‘Snap Back’

Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, held a hearing today on the difficulties in verifying the proposed Iran nuclear deal.

In his opening statement, Royce nailed the reasons why it’s folly to enter into an agreement without the world community fully prepared to punish Iran if it cheats.

Now, Iran’s long history of clandestine activity and intransigence prevents the U.S. from holding any trust whatsoever in the clerics who run Iran. Indeed, deception has been a cornerstone of their nuclear program since its inception. So when it comes to negotiating and inspections regime over the next two months, the U.S. must gain ground, not retreat, keep a key piece of verification which includes Iran coming clean on its past bomb work. We recall that the IAEA asked those 12 questions about their testing. They got an answer back of half of the first question and none of the others were were responded to.

That still has not happened despite long-overdue commitments on the part of Iran to international inspectors. The IAEA remains concerned about about signs of Iran’s military related activities, including designing a nuclear payload for a missile, a new killer weapon, an ICBM missile. Iran hasn’t even begun to address these concerns and last fall 350 members wrote to the secretary of state expressing deep concerns about this lack of cooperation. Yet the framework agreement is vague on this critical verification step. Intrusive inspections are even more critical when you consider a recent Department of Defense study. It points out that the U.S. capabilities to locate undeclared nuclear facilities or convert nuclear programs are either —in the words of the Department of Defense study —inadequate or more often do not exist.

And critically, that study also reminds us that verification is principally the political judgment in the words of the study to which monitoring and other means contribute. The IAEA and its inspectors will play an essential role in monitoring Iran but it will ultimately be up to the administration and its negotiating partners, which includes Russia and China, likely acting through the UN Security Council or another international body to decide whether Iran is complying with its commitments, and this is another weak link.

If Iran is caught cheating, will this or the next administration be prepared to call them out? I’m not confident. Why? Because during the interim negotiations when Iran was caught testing advanced supersonic centrifuge, it faced no consequences. As one witness will testify, international inspectors can be no tougher than the countries that back them. The history of arms control inspections is that they are easy for political leaders to tout as a solution, but are difficult to fully implement. What looks good on the chalkboard often fails in the real world. (Emphasis mine)

Couple that with the propensity of the IAEA to give the subjects of their inspections the benefit of the doubt when it comes to violations and you can immediately see the problem. Iran’s cheating must be so clear-cut, so obvious that no leader — including and especially President Obama — can spin their way out of re-imposing sanctions.

But, in the “real world” as Royce points out, things are rarely black and white. Even if the IAEA is able to confirm Iranian cheating — by no means a certainty given statements from Tehran regarding access to all their nuclear sites — the government will no doubt throw up a lot of smoke, trying their best to give western leaders the opportunity to ignore the transgressions and continue their work toward a bomb.

So in this case, it’s not only a question of trusting the Iranians. It’s also a matter of trusting western leaders to take a firm stand against Iranian cheating and reimpose sanctions if necessary. At this point, and with President Obama as desperate for a deal as he apparently is, trust is a commodity in short supply.

Posted at 2:08 pm on April 22nd, 2015 by

Hillary and How Hollywood Turned Menopause into a Curse

Language warning: NSFW

Praised for her raw take on women’s body issues, comedian Amy Schumer hosted Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Julia Louis-Dreyfus for a sketch taking on Hollywood’s treatment of middle-aged women on the latest episode of her Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer. It was a well-timed take on a rote discussion aired in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s declaration and the ensuing #HillarySoOld Twitter trend. Millennial voters barely old enough to remember Sally Field will never know that famed star Myrna Loy already covered this territory in the mid-40s when she went from being Cary Grant’s sexy career-woman love interest to his dowdy middle-aged wife in the span of one whole year.

Why has Hollywood never been kind to middle-aged women? For the same reason men get sexier as they age. Both have a lesser chance of being capable or inclined to reproduce. Angelina Jolie may have been more than willing to surrender her lady parts in the name of science, but the reality is that a lifetime of hormone replacement therapy will not be kind to her looks or her figure. (Fortunately for her she can afford to hide all that the way most menopausal women anxiously hoarding Oil of Olay in Wal Mart cannot.) At the same time, a man whose hair is embracing that touch of gray has gone from sexual threat to father figure. (See: George Clooney’s resume.)

This double standard is fueled by a goddess feminism obsessed with the idea that a woman’s ability to bear children is a biological curse that must be overcome if she is to obtain equality. Instead of embracing fertility, we drug it, abort it, or demand federal dollars to daycare it out of existence so we can get back to work, our beauteous forms intact. Therefore, why should it be any surprise that menopausal years are seen as our last “f**kable” golden hour of life before the only thing working in our favor — our beauty — fails us?

The grand irony is, of course, that one of the greatest cultural institutions presumed to support Hillary in 2016 will, once again, inevitably work against her. In the end, she just doesn’t fit their type.

Posted at 2:07 pm on April 22nd, 2015 by

Steve King Legislation Aims to Block Federal Courts from Hearing Any Marriage Cases

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced a bill today to block federal courts from hearing cases on same-sex marriage in an effort to “stop the court from destroying traditional marriage and preserve the votes of millions of voters in states that have passed bans on same-sex marriage.”

King’s Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act amends U.S. Code to say “no court created by an Act of Congress shall have any jurisdiction, and the Supreme Court shall have no appellate jurisdiction, to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, any type of marriage, section 1738C, or this section.”

“No Federal funds may be used for any litigation in, or the enforcement of any order or judgment by, any court created by an Act of Congress, on any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, any type of marriage, section 1738C, or this section,” the bill continues.

King said in a statement that “for too long, federal courts have overstepped their constitutionally limited duty to interpret the Constitution.”

“Rather, federal courts have perverted the Constitution to make law and create constitutional rights to things such as privacy, birth control, and abortion. These unenumerated, so-called constitutionally protected rights were not envisioned by our Founding Fathers,” the congressman said.

“I urge the House to bring this bill to the Floor.”

Earlier this month, Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Jim Lankford (R-Okla.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) along with 51 House members filed an amicus brief on four same-sex marriage state bans the Supreme Court is set to weigh with arguments on April 28.

“As Members of Congress, amici have a compelling interest in defending the principles of federalism and the separation of powers implicated in these cases. Federalism and the separation of powers provide critical structural guarantees of the liberty of all American citizens, including amici’s constituents. Amici thus have an interest in defending the division of authority between the federal government and the States, and in preserving the separation of powers between this Court and the political branches,” the brief states.

“Amici believe that a judgment of this Court imposing a judicially mandated revision of state laws defining marriage would circumvent the proper resolution of these profound and divisive issues through state democratic processes. Such a decision could damage the rights of a self-governing people. It would set an unwarranted precedent, with effects far beyond this case, of federal encroachment into a traditional area of state concern, and of judicial pre-emption of an area that the Constitution allots to democratic process.”

Posted at 1:11 pm on April 22nd, 2015 by

FORTY-THREE U.S. States Recognize Armenian Genocide … But Obama Won’t

The Los Angeles Times reported this morning, in an article titled “Armenian Hopes Crushed as Obama Decides Not To Use the Word ‘Genocide’“, that Obama was in fact breaking a campaign pledge with his decision.

His 2008 promise could not have left less wiggle room:

The decision, revealed Tuesday in a meeting with Armenian American groups, backs down from a previous Obama pledge.

As president I will recognize the Armenian Genocide,” Obama said while running for president in 2008.

Obama’s decision is a continuation of federal policy, though no prior U.S. president had made a specific promise of recognition.

The federal refusal to recognize is certainly not in step with the states. According to the Armenian National Committee of America, 43 U.S. states, by “legislation or proclamation,” have recognized the 1915 genocide since New York and New Jersey first did in 1975:

Untitled

More on Obama’s campaign promise, from the LA Times article:

Obama, as a senator and a candidate for president, supported using the term to describe the killings and criticized the George W. Bush administration for not doing so.

“Armenian genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence,” Obama said in 2008. “The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy.”

Posted at 12:46 pm on April 22nd, 2015 by

Defense Secretary: ‘Stamp Out’ Dirty Jokes to Fight Sexual Assault in Ranks

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told Georgetown University students today that dirty jokes are among the military behaviors that need to be corrected to stop sexual assault in the ranks.

“Our military is based on an ethos of honor, and this is dishonorable,” Carter said of the military’s sexual assault problem. “And second, we’re based on trust. We have to have trust. You have to trust in the soldier in the foxhole next to you. You have to trust in the sailor you’re underway with. You have to trust in the airmen on your wing. And you have to trust in the Marine on your flank. And these violations and these assaults are not just violations of the law, they are violations of that trust, which is essential to our mission.”

“Next, we, of course, have to put people in situations that are unlike any other. You serve all serve in a rigid chain of command, and for good reasons. You’ll likely be separated from your families for extended periods of time. And you’ll probably, at some point, live and work in austere conditions. Those types of environments are essential. But unfortunately, they present opportunities for predators to put our people at risk and compromise our missions and our values. And so, our institution has a particular reason to combat sexual assault.”

Carter cited the Pentagon’s 2014 estimates: at least 18,900 service members, including 10,400 men and 8,500 women, experienced “unwanted sexual contact.”

“Too few of them, particularly men, reported these incidents as assaults,” he said, adding that “prevention requires us not just to stop assaults, but also to stamp out permissive behaviors like tolerance for degrading language, inappropriate behavior, and sexual harassment that too often contribute to and lead to sexual assaults.”

“…One key to prevention is to understand that sexual assaults often occur in environments where crude and offensive behavior, unwanted sexual attention, coercion, and sexual harassment are tolerated, ignored, or condoned. These behaviors detract from our mission and put our people at risk, and you have to be a part of the solution.”

Carter challenged the students, which included ROTC cadets from Georgetown, the University of Maryland, Howard University, George Mason, and George Washington University, “to say ‘enough’…enough to dirty jokes, to excessive drinking, to hazing, to sexual advances, and to any suggestion that coercion is appropriate.”

“I need you to intervene when you think an assault may occur.  And, if for some reason you’re concerned about taking action, I need you to get help… from a friend, law enforcement, a chaplain, or from a more senior officer. Sadly, for too many of those assaulted, the crime is made worse by how he or she is treated after the attack…after they’ve reported it,” he said.

“When victims are most vulnerable, their leadership and their fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines need to stand by them in solidarity, not turn their back or turn away. We need those assaulted to have people they can count on.  It may not be easy, but I need you to be one of them…in person and also online.”

Posted at 12:18 pm on April 22nd, 2015 by

DMV Employee in Kansas Arrested for Giving Fraudulent Licenses to Undocumented Workers

An employee at the Kansas Department of Revenue is face dozens of charges relating to a scam in which driver’s licenses were given to undocumented workers for bribes.

Samantha Jo Moore, 28, who worked at the Mission DMV office, was arrested Tuesday for allegedly taking bribes to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. According to Johnson County prosecutors,  she had been taking the bribes since 2012.

Via KCTV 5 News:

Undocumented workers would allegedly pay $2,500 to get a driver’s license. Moore would receive bogus documents and process the paperwork as if it were valid, according to prosecutors.

Moore and two others are suspected of running the scam. In court Tuesday afternoon, Shaylynn Celedon and Luis Contreras were called ring leaders of the scheme. The bond for the three was set at $250,000.

Altogether, 10 people face dozens of charges, which include bribery and making a false statement. More people are expected to be charged as part of the scheme. Moore was placed under surveillance months ago, authorities said.

No word yet on how many fraudulent driver’s licenses were handed out, but if the scam went on for three years, the number could be in the hundreds — even thousands. Now multiply that by all the similar schemes that go on undetected at DMVs all across the nation, and it adds up to huge, election-changing number of new Democrat voters.

A similar cash-for-driver’s-license scam was broken up in Las Vegas several years ago.  In less than a year — from June 10, 2010 to April 21, 2011 – 187 fraudulent state driver’s licenses were issued.

Claude Arnold, a special agent for the Department of Homeland Security based in Los Angeles, which covers Las Vegas, said the case was handled by the feds because it’s a matter of national security.

“This could be taken advantage of not just by the illegal immigrants who want to work but by a terrorist who wants to get on an aircraft,” Brown said.

He added that fraud involving DMV officials is often seen nationwide.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of the story incorrectly reported that there were 10 DMV employees arrested and facing charges.

Posted at 11:38 am on April 22nd, 2015 by

NSA’s Creepy Earth Day Video Inadvertently Reveals Something Very Disturbing About the Agency

YouTube Preview Image

In a video created in honor of Earth Day, the National Security Agency features “Dunk,” a creepy ’70s-era mascot that encourages kids to recycle. In the eight-minute version, Dunk — a recycle bin — brags that “diverting items away from landfills has become a primary goal for NSA employees.” Seems like their “primary goal” should be protecting Americans, but perhaps I’m misinformed.

Dunk also reveals that the nation’s top spy agency “has operated recycling programs for decades” and that the agency recycles 13-14 million pounds of garbage every year. That’s a staggering amount of trash for a federal agency. With an estimated 30,000 employees, that’s around 325 pounds of trash per person.

I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation, but all I can picture in my mind is NSA employees spending hours each day shredding government files related to cell-phone snooping and demolishing hard drives and backup tapes containing information that would be damaging to elected officials. I’m sure it’s mostly soda cans and outdated government manuals. But really, why so much trash?

Posted at 11:00 am on April 22nd, 2015 by

High Court Mulls Federal Power to Steal Your Stuff: All Your Raisin Are Belong to Us

Raisins U.S. Govt. Property

Should the federal government have power to take a farmer’s raisin crop without just compensation?
The Supreme Court faces that question today.

I had a bowl of delicious Raisin Bran Crunch for breakfast today, but those two scoops of raisins cost me dearly, thanks in part to a federal price-fixing scheme dating back to the Great Depression. That could all change soon.

Today (4/22), the U.S. Supreme Court is called upon to decide, in Horne v. USDA, whether a farmer’s raisin crop belongs to her, or if the federal government may seize it “for public use without just compensation.”

Constitution geeks (a remnant surely remains of what used to be called simply “American citizens”) will recognize the snippet in quotations drawn from the 5th Amendment, which says, in part:

No person shall…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board notes that according to the Raisin Administrative Committee, created in 1949 under the authority of the 1937 Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act, Marvin and Laura Horne, of Fresno, California, must surrender large chunks of their crop to the government each season.

In 2002, their “offering” on the altar of Uncle Sam amounted to 47 percent of their bounty, for which they received less money than it cost to produce the raisins. They refused to submit to what they viewed as a violation of rights ostensibly secured by the 5th Amendment.

The Horne case is one of the most significant property rights cases in years—probably since the Court’s infamous 5-4 ruling in 2005 in Kelo v. New London, which allowed the government to take Susette Kelo’s home so a developer could replace it with condos and stores near a Pfizer Corp. office. The majority Justices in Kelo have a lot to answer for. This is a chance to make partial amends.
– The Wall Street Journal, 4/20/2015

It’s anyone’s guess how the court will rule.

Why should you care? What if the federal government decided to treat smartphones the same way?

For my part, I think I’ll start stockpiling Raisin Bran Crunch.

Posted at 10:01 am on April 22nd, 2015 by