Activists who organized the dormant Occupy Wall Street movement are suing another activist for control of the main Twitter account, and one of the plaintiffs says there was no other option but to turn to litigation to solve the dispute.
The conflict centers around @OccupyWallStNYC, one of the main Twitter feeds that distributed information during the movement’s heyday in 2011. The OWS Media Group filed a lawsuit against organizer Justin Wedes on Wednesday, which is also the third anniversary of the beginning of Occupy Wall Street. The group, led by activist Marisa Holmes, is seeking control of the Twitter account as well as $500,000 in damages.
Back in the days when Occupy Wall St. was stinking up public spaces from coast to coast, we were treated to narrative onslaught about the organic nature of the movement. It was supposed to have sprung from nothing more than the frustration of some college youth, all of whom seem to have been homeless rather than in school. It was often contrasted with the Tea Party movement, which the MSM and Occupy people were forever saying was astroturfed by, you guessed it, THE KOCH BROTHERS.
As with most things having to do with progressives, reality was the opposite of what they were saying. I had the chance (lucky me!) to travel around the country and encounter more than one Occupy group. Some had a heavy union presence in charge, others were run by professional organizers/agitators. I met one in Madison, WI (I’d infiltrated the camp with the Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft. We didn’t lie but we weren’t terribly open about who we were.) who rolled her eyes and laughed when I asked if she ever spent the night at the camp.
It faded out as quickly as it came into being, because it was fake. But think back and remember that almost everyone in the media, as well as the highest ranking Democrat in the House, and the President lied to us about the group.
Today’s House Select Committee hearing on Benghazi was short of fireworks or revelations. But former Obama Homeland Security official Todd Keil was asked directly whether the State Department’s Accountability Review Board, which was hand-picked by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was as “fiercely independent as she and members of that board have claimed.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) asked Keil “What’s your overall impression of the ARB report?”
Keil replied, “Ambassador Pickering referred to the ARB as being ‘fiercely independent.’ In that same hearing, Admiral Mullen admitted to Oversight and Government Reform that he was reporting on ARB proceedings to staff of the State Department, outside of the precepts and requirements of being a member of the ARB.
“I don’t think that fits anyone’s definition of being ‘fiercely independent.’”
Keil is a 27-year veteran of global security operations and management, according to his bio. President Obama tapped him in December 2009 to serve as Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection at the Department of Homeland Security. He also served in the US State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service for over 22 years.
The Daily Mail has new photos of the incident that led to Django Unchained actress Daniele Watts’ confrontation with police.
Watts initially claimed that police arrested her for kissing her white boyfriend, Brian James Lucas, in public. But then a tape of her confrontation with police came out — and it’s Watts who plays the race card, even saying that as a black actress she “raises awareness” of race issues.
The police officer simply told Watts that someone called the police about lewd activity taking place in a public area, so he had to investigate, and he had the right to ask for Watts’ identification. She refused to provide that, escalating the confrontation.
The photos in the Mail show Watts sitting on her husband, straddling him, with the car door open as it is parked on the street.
Eye witnesses have come forward to say that Watts was grinding on her boyfriend, and that she had her shirt up and her breasts exposed. See the photo on the next page and just for yourself.
The US energy industry has been warning for years that the Obama EPA’s caps on carbon emissions will lead to several bad outcomes for Americans, including skyrocketing energy prices and even brownouts and blackouts.
The EPA’s Janet McCabe was testifying in the House today on the agency’s plan to cap carbon emissions. And then the power went out.
Robert Gates was President Barack Obama’s first Secretary of Defense.
On CBS this morning, Gates made his first public comments on the Islamic State since Obama announced his strategy for “degrading and destroying” ISIS without putting any US troops in ground combat against them.
Gates said, ”The reality is, they’re not going to be able to be successful against ISIS strictly from the air or strictly depending on the Iraqi forces or the Peshmerga or the Sunni tribes acting on their own. So there will be boots on the ground if there’s to be any hope of success in the strategy. And I think that by continuing to repeat that [there won't be troops on the ground], the president in effect traps himself.”
After predicting that there will be US boots on the ground if we’re to defeat ISIS, Gates continued: ”I’m also concerned that the goal has been stated as ‘degrade and destroy’ or ‘degrade and defeat’ ISIS. We’ve been at war with al Qaeda for 13 years. We have dealt them some terrible blows, including the killing of Osama bin Laden, but I don’t think anybody would say that after 13 years we’ve destroyed or defeated al Qaeda. And so I think to promise that we’re going to destroy ISIS or ISIL sets a goal that may be unattainable. as opposed to devastating it or as the vice president would put it, following them to the gates of hell and dealing them terrible blows that prevent them from holding territory. Those are probably realistic goals.”
The Islamic State currently holds territory that is roughly the size of the United Kingdom. The UK itself might shrink if Scottish voters approve a referendum to secede from the union.
Watch Gates’ comments on Obama’s anti-ISIS strategy.
Gates’ comments come alongside a new CBS News/New York Times poll showing that Obama’s approval rating on handling terrorism is at a new low.
Running back Adrian Peterson will not play for the Minnesota Vikings until his legal issues are resolved, the team said early Wednesday.
It’s a reversal of course for the Vikings. The team had earlier said that Peterson, who is facing a child abuse charge, would practice this week and could play in Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints
In a statement early Wednesday, the team said Peterson has been placed on the NFL’s Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list, which will require him to “remain away from all team activities.”
Vikings: Peterson won’t play on Sunday Should fans stop watching NFL games? Lemon: I don’t condone what Peterson did
“While we were trying to make a balanced decision (Monday), after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian,” said a statement from owners Zygi and Mark Wilf. “We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right.”
The “balanced decision” on Monday came before the Vikings’ main sponsor, Radisson, backed off from its financial involvement with the team.
This is just another response from the NFL’s upper echelon that shows how remarkably out of touch they are with the people who spend money on their product. Roger Goodell shouldn’t have had to see the second Ray Rice video to know what Rice did was heinous, and the first allegation against Peterson should have been enough for the Vikings to keep Peterson suspended for a while. It seems as if they’re all trying to gauge the public’s tolerance for off the field violent behavior.
Or they’re just kind of dumb.
The top beer sponsor is weighing on the NFL for its handling of a string of highly-publicized abuse scandals involving star players.
On Tuesday, Anheuser-Busch — a big spender in Super Bowl advertising whose Bud Light brand is the official beer of the league — issued a highly critical statement of the NFL.
“We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season,” said the beverage maker in a statement released by a spokesperson. “We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code. We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league.”
Those “expectations” were not disclosed in the statement. However, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been widely criticized over his handling of the domestic abuse scandal involving Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice and child abuse allegations leveled at Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson.
The company’s brand, Bud Light, has been the official beer of the NFL since 2010, when it replaced MillerCoors as the premier sponsor. Anheuser-Bush has been a top spending brand with the league from 2009 to 2013, spending $149 million during five Super Bowls, according to Nielsen statistics released in January.
This is where the calls for Goodell’s job will really heat up. His job is to manage the league’s image so the sponsor money keeps rolling in without interruption. If one of its biggest sponsors expresses concern, the problem has become unmanageable.
On a somewhat smaller scale, Radisson “suspended” its sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings after they reinstated Adrian Peterson and another allegation of child abuse surfaced.
If more sponsors begin grumbling soon, all of Roger Goodell’s damage control to save himself will probably be for naught.
The UK Guardian has published an editorial on how to deal with the Islamic State from Bradley/Chelsea Manning.
Manning is currently serving 35 years in Leavenworth for leaking classified intelligence during the Iraq war.
The strategy itself sounds like the one Obama first offered, between the lines, last Wednesday. That may be why it got past Manning’s jail cell and out to the Guardian.
Manning counsels “containment,” allowing ISIS to maintain the territory it currently holds. That will, in Manning’s reckoning, let them fail as a state, divide and disintegrate. It may take years, even decades. Manning doesn’t specify a timeline. It only took the Soviet Union more than 70 years to fail as a state. Caliphates have come and gone in the Middle East over the years, but some of them have lasted centuries.
The Islamic State has armor (ours), aircraft that it may or may not not be able to fly (Syrian) and it pulls in about $2 million a day from oil. Its presence also exacerbates the Kurdish issue: The longer Iraq’s central government remains weak and its territory divided, the longer the Kurds have to maintain their own security — and fosters their own feelings toward independence from Iraq, Turkey, etc.
Manning never lays out what to do if ISIS decides to outgrow its boundaries, or if Syria’s secular dictator falls, or ISIS’ presence crushes the Baghdad government, or Iran intervenes on the ground, or any number of other scenarios that are far from science fiction including ISIS launching strikes outside its territory. ISIS has threatened to do that. Manning does not address that.
Obama never came out for containment, in fact he said that his strategy would eventually “degrade and destroy” ISIS. But he did hold up Yemen and Somalia as examples of what he believes are successful counterterrorism fights.
Terrorists have had free or nearly free run in both for decades now. They are occasionally degraded in drone strikes, but never destroyed.
As for Manning, he (he was a guy at the time) took it upon himself to break his oath and the law in leaking sensitive information that the military had entrusted to him. Manning did this largely out of spite against the military’s gay policies (cluebat: ISIS’ gay policies aren’t friendlier).
Why does the Guardian believe that the opinion of such a person is worth printing? Why does such a person have the ability to communicate with media?
Over the course of the last week plus, the Obama administration’s story on the Islamic State has evolved — the put it kindly. Are we at war? Is it just counterterrorism? What would success look like? What would failure look like? Who’s in the coalition and what will they be doing?
If you’re seeking a straight answer, the Obama administration is probably the last place you’d go for one.
“Saratoga Springs is not Ferguson.” That from Randall K. Edwards, lawyer to the family of Darrien Hunt, a 22-year old black man killed by white police officers last week in the town south of Salt Lake City. Hunt’s mother told media on Monday that her son was killed “because he was black,” a claim which fans embers of protest surrounding the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
The two cases bear stark contrasts, despite their thematic similarity. As Edwards points out, the population of Saratoga Springs differs from Ferguson in its racial composition. That may contribute to the relative lack of protest surrounding Hunt’s death. Another contrast, the Hunt family’s claim holds more weight in light of developing evidence. The New York Times reports:
According to [Edwards], the family paid for an autopsy that found that Mr. Hunt had suffered six bullet wounds — two to a leg, and one in a hand, an elbow, a shoulder and mid-chest. All of the bullets entered Mr. Hunt’s body from the back, Mr. Edwards said. “It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile that with the reports that he was lunging at them,” he added.
Official autopsy findings from the Utah state medical examiner will not be available for several weeks. If it comports with these independent findings, the Utah County Attorney will have some explaining to do. The office’s current position is that Hunt wielded at 2.5 foot steel bladed samurai sword and lunged at the officers who shot him. But as Edwards points out, “…it seems unlikely that you brandish a sword, you jump toward the officers, lunging toward them and end up shot in the back.”
The Hunt family claims the sword Darrien carried was a plastic toy. That’s a pretty dramatic deviation from the police claim. And even if Hunt carried a real sword, eyewitness accounts and a photograph taken by a bystander (shown above) indicate a relaxed interview. What led to the shooting, we just don’t know.
Fortunately, despite the family’s statements, no violent protest has broken out in Saratoga Springs to rival that seen in Ferguson. The community, while vocal and understandably impatient, seems content to let the system work.
(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here. 10:53 minutes long; 10.51 MB file size. Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)
Here is the headline:
Texas governor’s race heats up over new book
The race for Texas governor entered a new chapter this week with the release of a memoir from Democratic candidate Wendy Davis that rekindled attention on abortion and led to an ethics complaint from her opponent, Republican Greg Abbott.
Abbott, currently the state’s attorney general, is accusing Davis of misusing campaign contributions to promote the book called “Forgetting to Be Afraid,” in which Davis, a state senator, reveals she had terminated two pregnancies.
“Senator Davis’ book promotion has gone from ethically questionable to outright unlawful,” Abbott campaign spokesman Matt Hirsch said.
The gubernatorial race, which is set to be the most expensive in the state’s history, has heated up this month with both campaigns reaching into their war chests to start spending heavily on TV advertisements.
Davis campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas called the complaint frivolous and said it shows “how worried Greg Abbott is about the power of her story.”
The most recent RealClearPolitics polling average on this race has Abbott up by double digits, so “the power of her story” had better come with a wizard.
Wendy Davis is a creation of the abortion-on-demand obsession of the MSM. They created a gubernatorial candidacy out of whole cloth for her because she spent several hours championing their pet issue during a filibuster. Can you imagine this kind of breathless reporting about any Republican candidate who spent an entire race trailing so badly in the polls?
The purpose Wendy Davis serves is to prove that the Democrats will go to any lengths to lie about their abortion goals and that the press will dutifully aid them in doing so.
President Barack Obama’s approval numbers appear to be in freefall across the board as his most vigorous supporters in the past are now abandoning him
President Obama, plagued by growing disapproval ratings, is now losing support from his liberal base as the country appears to have given up on his administration and Washington, according new polling data.
Once their hero, now only three-quarters of African Americans and Democrats support the president.
One reason, according to Zogby Analytics: Jimmy Carter-style malaise is settling in.
“There is clearly a growing amount of angst and malaise and it appears to be nonpartisan,” said pollster John Zogby, who provides the weekly Secrets report card on the president.
In a new poll, he said that if the 2012 election were held today, Obama would tie Republican Mitt Romney at 40 percent. Zogby noted that both men have lost support among allies.
For Obama it’s obviously worse because he has the Oval Office and needs public support to push through a new anti-terrorism policy, a developing plan to grant amnesty to illegals and continued efforts to bolster the sour economy and employment.
Zogby reported that Obama “is losing, at this point in time, significant chunks of his base. He won 61 percent of the vote of 18-29 year olds in 2012 but now has only 47 percent of their support. He is down nine points among Democrats (from 82 percent to 73 percent), 12 points among moderates (54 percent to 42 percent), 11 points among Hispanics (71 percent to 60 percent), and 13 points among African Americans (91 percent to 78 percent),” said Zogby on his company’s blog.
This news doesn’t necessarily work in the GOP’s favor. Republican candidates are not going to pick up 25% of the black vote, or 50% of the youth vote. The GOP may see marginal improvements in gaining votes from Obama’s base across the board, but it’s probably not going to be a difference maker.
Turnout among most of those groups is historically low in off-year elections anyway. What is worrying Republicans, though, is the same turnout machine that brought the president victory in 2012 will increase the historical share of the vote among youth, minorities, and fervid Obama supporters.The same social networking infrastructure is in place from 2012 and even a small increase in votes among the Democrats’ base supporters might save one or two vulnerable Democratic senators.
But if Zogby is right and many in the president’s base have given up on him, all the social network goosing in the world won’t matter in the end.
I thought that the recent passage in California of the “yes means yes” bill was extremely problematic — especially for males, who are basically at the mercy of women when it comes to initiating a sexual encounter. The temptation to engage in false accusations for purposes of revenge or pique will be great, and given the temper of the times, rather than an incident becoming a “he said, she said” issue, it is likely to be a “whatever she said goes as the truth” matter.
That California law defines consent as “an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.” And it covers each step of the sexual encounter — from kissing to petting, to intercourse. Madness.
But Ohio State has gone California one better. If you’re a Buckeye male, it’s not enough that you get “consent” for every sexual act. You have to agree with your partner on why you are having sex.
Have they gone bat guano crazy?
Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute writing at the Liberty Unyielding blog:
Ohio State applies an impractical “agreement” requirement to not just sex, but also to a much broader category of “touching” that is sexual (or perhaps romantic?) in nature. First, it states that “sexual assault is any form of non-consensual sexual activity. Sexual assault includes all unwanted sexual acts from intimidation to touching to various forms of penetration and rape.” Then, it states that “Consent is a knowing and voluntary verbal or non-verbal agreement between both parties to participate in each and every sexual act. . .Conduct will be considered “non-consensual” if no clear consent . . . is given. . . .Effective consent can be given by words or actions so long as the words or actions create a mutual understanding between both parties regarding the conditions of the sexual activity–ask, ‘do both of us understand and agree regarding the who, what, where, when, why, and how this sexual activity will take place?’”
College students, barely out of their teenage years with little sexual experience, are now expected to glean “consent” by the actions and supposed intent of their partner. If you kiss a girl without permission, that is considered a sexual assault — even if the girl liked it.
Bader takes us through the practical consequences of the policy:
This “agreement” requirement is impractical, because unlike sex (where there is generally an implicit agreement among the participants before it can even happen, since sex is difficult to do without active cooperation), no one agrees in advance – verbally or non-verbally – to have someone touch them in a particular place while making out. No one ever says, “may I touch your breast” before doing it while making out. They may (and usually do) welcome (and enjoy) it after it occurs, but they don’t specifically “agree” to it in advance (indeed, they may have expected the touch to occur in a different place, even if they found it pleasant). The very process of making out is a gradual escalation of intimacy step by step, without constant discussion or an endless series of agreements. That may be impossible under Ohio State’s policy, not just because it requires “agreement” (rather than mere “acquiescence”) but also because it expresses hostility to the concept of “consent to one form of sexual activity” being a signal of receptiveness to other, slightly more intimate “forms of sexual activity.” But that’s exactly what happens in making out: when you acquiesce in one form of touching or other “sexual activity” long enough, that signals a likely willingness to engage in slightly more intimate forms of touching — although you are free to rebut that presumption of willingness at any time simply by saying “no” or physically conveying your unwillingness. Such fluid interaction is threatened by Ohio State’s definition, which states that that “Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other . . . sexual activity,” that there must be “agreement between both parties to participate in each and every sexual act,” that only “clear consent” counts, and that “Consent can never be assumed, even in the context of a relationship.”
With so much going on prior to intercourse, can a woman having a sexual encounter under these circumstances ever use the excuse that she and her partner got “carried away” and had unprotected sex leading to an unwanted pregnancy and an abortion? If you’re going to slow down the process of becoming intimate, what excuse do you have for not using a rubber? Or some other form of contraception?
That’s a side issue, to be sure. But Bader’s practical guide to sex at Ohio State (and other schools that will likely adopt similar policies) is a clear warning to males; know your partner well before even initiating a kiss. Is she mentally stable? Does she have relationship issues? If you’re only interested in a casual encounter, is she OK with that? A woman who discovers that her sexual partner from the night before was not interested in a long term relationship and only wanted to “hook up” for the night, is that grounds for charging him with sexual assault?
This may be the zenith of political correctness on college campuses. To take perhaps the most joyous, fulfilling act a human being can perform and turn it into a laborious, awkward, artificial, and dangerous encounter is the height of stupidity.
You have to wonder if the people who developed this policy ever had sex themselves.
A California state senator convicted on eight felony counts of perjury and voter fraud was sentenced to 90 days in jail on Friday in one of three ethics scandals involving Democratic lawmakers in the most populous U.S. state.
Senator Roderick Wright of Los Angeles was convicted in January of lying about whether he lived in the district he sought to represent, the first in a string of criminal proceedings against three state senators this year that effectively cost Democrats their two-thirds majority in the California Senate.
“This is not what I call a victimless crime,” said Judge Kathleen Kennedy, who denied Wright’s request for a new trial in Los Angeles Superior Court.
She said Wright was no longer eligible to hold elective office in California.
It has been a rough year for California Democrats but you’d hardly know it if you kept to mainstream news sources. If three Republicans in a GOP controlled state had been indicted for voter fraud and/or public corruption the press would have nonstop, breathless “CULTURE OF CORRUPTION” coverage.
That’s good news about no being able to hold future elective office. At the moment, Wright is still employed, but leadership has asked him to step down.
Meanwhile, Richard Alarcon, the L.A. city councilman convicted of voter fraud and perjury (along with his wife-ah…family), has found a judge to buy him a little time.
Lastly, Leland Yee, who did pretty much everything but start his own al Qaeda cell, merely remains on suspension while the FBI investigates him.
Chris Matthews is skeptical. Tom Friedman wonders where the Chinese are.
And that’s just a start. Others in the mix include Chuck Todd, Ed Schultz, Tom Brokaw, and Jim McDermott.
For a mind-bender on a par with that Bill Maher clip we posted yesterday, some of the Democrats’ criticisms sound like some of ours — that the strategy that the president laid out is too wimpy, and is very unlikely to work.
Take a look.
On Thursday, the Greg Abbott campaign filed a complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission. The complaint asks the Commission to look into state Sen. Davis’ (D) book tour, which she is running simultaneously with her campaign for governor against Abbott.
The complaint concerns a trip that Davis took to New York earlier this week, to launch her book. Her campaign paid for that trip, but Davis says the book was not launched now, timed to help her campaign.
Then why did her campaign pay for the trip? That’s what the TEC is being asked to look into.
Davis has dismissed the complaint as “frivolous.” Charges do tend to fly, and the TEC can find itself in the crosshairs, as elections draw near and we’re within two months of the Abbott-Davis showdown.
But do the charges have some merit? The Abbott campaign is forwarding comments by a trio of Texas election law specialists, which strongly suggests that the charge do have merit.
The first is from Tripp Davenport, a former TEC chairman. He says ”There’s definitely questions to be raised,” Davenport said. “The appearance of it, based upon what I know — I think there is some merit to it.” He even added that either Davis’ lawyers don’t know what they’re doing, or they let her “push the envelope,” knowing that any TEC action will not come until after the election.
The second is from another former TEC commissioner, Ross Fischer. He told reporter Karina Kling, “In Texas law you can’t use campaign funds and convert them to personal use.” He added that Davis may end up having to pay for the trip out of her own pocket.
The third is from election lawyer Roger Borgelt. He says that the violation is clear: “Given the facts and how things appear, with this trip being 95 percent about the book tour, I don’t know how it could be anything but a personal trip.” But her campaign picked up the bill.
The Davis campaign says that they were careful to follow the law, but the quotes above cast doubt on that. Davis, a Harvard-educated attorney herself, has already come under fire, and an FBI investigation, for other alleged ethical lapses.
Earlier this week, the left-leaning Austin American-Statesman editorialized that it’s time that Texas establish driver’s licences for illegal aliens.
In the editorial, the paper calls for Texas to join the 11 states plus the District of Columbia in granting driver’s licenses to those who are in the state illegally. This issue cost California Gov. Gray Davis his job a few years back, in that Democratic state. It’s fair to say that it would be a very controversial move in Texas as the Republican-controlled legislature gets set for its 2015 session, and presumed Gov. Greg Abbott (R) presides over his first session. Presumed Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) would also be presiding over his first session, in the Texas Senate.
The Statesman avoids the politics and pitches a case for road safety.
While not everyone who drives without insurance is living in the U.S. illegally, allowing undocumented immigrants the option to drive legally would make Texas roads that much safer.
A bipartisan bill recognized that in 2013. HD 3206 would have allowed undocumented immigrants to drive legally in Texas and addressed concerns about voting, security and other rights reserved for legal residents.
Under that measure, undocumented immigrants living in Texas would have been issued a special “Texas resident driver’s permit” that looked different from a regular driver’s license. The permits wouldn’t have been used for any federal purposes, such as going through airport security. It would have allowed undocumented drivers, who are already on Texas roads, to drive legally and get quality auto insurance, a huge problem when you consider that currently more than 2.5 million, or 14.3 percent, of vehicles in Texas lack coverage. In Travis County, 120,125 vehicles (more than 13 percent) are not insured.
Not all of those uninsured cars belong to illegal aliens, of course, in Travis County or statewide.
HD 3206 did not fare well in the last legislative session. It got out of committee but died on the calendar. But its backers intend on bringing it forward again next year, even though the state legislature is likely to be even more Republican than the 2013 edition.
There is much to unpack in what the bill proposes, and the Statesman endorses.
The mere fact that the driver’s license for illegal aliens would look different from other state driver’s licenses and would not be used “for any federal purpose” means that the state will end up creating a database of all illegal alien drivers in the state, or at least of those who apply for this particular license. The federal government might become interested in that data, if it ever gets around to securing the border. Would the state of Texas refuse to provide that information to the federal government, if it is ever asked to?
It also means that any illegal alien holding such a license would still have a reason to flee the scene of an accident in many non-sanctuary jurisdictions. Police will recognize the license and might arrest the holder to process for deportation. The fact that it could not be used for “any federal purpose” is meant to assure Texans that they will not be used in voter registration. It also means that the license cannot be used as a form of ID for entering federal buildings, boarding aircraft or writing checks.
Illegal aliens will know all of this. They will also know that in order to obtain the special license, they will have to take a driver’s ed class. They will have to either fill out a special form identifying themselves as present in the country illegally, or they will have to check a box on a form that everyone fills out, that does the same thing. Along the way of getting this special license, they will have to identify themselves to government officials as breaking immigration law.
Or they could buy a fake license on the black market, as many have done for decades. Or they could take their chances and drive without a license at all, as many have done for decades.
The special new illegal alien license would also, according to the editorial, enable them to purchase car insurance to comply with state law. In that process, they will identify themselves to the insurers as illegal aliens. Insurers will be knowingly selling products to people who are breaking the law and who might pose flight risks. Besides that, illegal aliens can already purchase car insurance, if they choose to.
The Statesman gets into none of these weaknesses in the plan it supports. Neither do any of the plan’s persistent backers.
Drudge is fronting this major story from CNN. The thrust: ISIS is even bigger than previously believed.
A CIA assessment puts the number of ISIS fighters at possibly more than three times the previous estimates.
The terror group that calls itself the Islamic State “can muster between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria,” a CIA spokesman told CNN on Thursday.
Analysts and U.S. officials initially estimated there were as many as 10,000 fighters, including those who were freed from prisons by ISIS, and Sunni loyalists who have joined the fight as the group advanced across Iraq.
“This new total reflects an increase in members because of stronger recruitment since June following battlefield successes and the declaration of a caliphate, greater battlefield activity and additional intelligence,” the spokesman said.
To put that into some perspective, a division in the US military ranges from 10,000 to 18,000. So ISIS’ numbers equal a couple of US divisions, or a corps. With the proper combined arms strategy and decisive command, the US military could wipe ISIS off the battlefield fairly quickly.
That would require a decision to put those troops in the field to do the job, of course.
ISIS doesn’t respect any secular national boundaries, and it recruits globally. Its recruitment efforts are slick and apparently effective.
A simple way to assess the strategy that President Obama outlined Wednesday is to ask, will it kill ISIS fighters faster than the group is able to recruit new ones? So far, the answer is obviously no. Their numbers may be triple the previous estimate.
Since the president touted Yemen and Somalia as models of effective counterterrorism, have we been able to kill al Qaeda and al-Shabab recruits in those countries faster than the groups find new recruits?
It doesn’t seem likely, does it? We drone kill terrorist leaders in both countries with some regularity, but the groups survive, elevate new leaders, and go on holding territory and staging attacks — and recruiting new terrorists.
This post is not one of our usual caption contests, but I can not stop you from turning it into one.
Why no official contest? Honestly, this enlarged still image from President Obama’s ISIS speech last night with the White House drapes as a backdrop scares the heck out of me, that’s why.
Instead, I will just report what Drudge has posted on his site:
That’s it. Enough said. Is it getting hot in here?
But wait, your temperature will rise too when you refer back to our last caption contest.
Remember the doctored ISIS video with Obama’s resemblance to “that guy” in the History Channel’s Bible miniseries? (Cue The Twilight Zone music.)
Today, I was planning on posting all the winners from that contest (there were so many great ones), but now there is a mysterious knock at my door and some black helicopters have just landed on my lawn…..
Texas Public Policy Action has announced the Texas Government Waste Contest. The contest runs from September 3 through November 14, 2014.
“Even in Texas there is an incredible amount of wasteful spending, political favoritism, and crony capitalism. This contest will help to expose waste and cronyism,” said TPPA Executive Director Nathanael Ferguson. “By creating a compendium of government waste we will arm taxpayers with the information they need to focus elected officials on solving problems and working to affect change.”
According to TPPA’s press release, contestants will submit their story of government waste in an essay or a original creative video. Entries should be submitted here: www.TexWaste.com. You can also find out more about the contest at that link.
Winners in each category will get $4,000 for first place, $2,000 for second and $1,000 for third.
All entries are limited to Texas, either state or local government.
Where’s my prize?
During today’s White House press briefing, a reporter asks spokesman Josh Earnest a simple question: “What does victory (over ISIS) look like here?”
Earnest turns the serious question into a joke: “I didn’t bring my Webster’s Dictionary with me.”
Let’s briefly go over what we’ve learned recently.
The president does not believe that the Islamic State is Islamic.
The president claimed that national security is his highest priority, yet he has not secured the border and has no intention of doing so.
The president has replaced “Don’t do stupid sh*t,” his previous foreign policy guidestar, with “If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.” That’s hardly a new principle to American foreign policy, though it is evidently new to Barack Obama.
The president believes that Yemen and Somalia are models for effective counterterrorism against Islamic State. Terrorists freely operate in both countries, though they are subject to the occasional setback via US drone strike. Drone operations in both countries, using that term loosely, show no signs of actually destroying the terrorist groups operating in them.
The president who accused Bush of “going it alone” in Iraq refuses to consult Congress, and is going into his non-war versus Islamic State with a much smaller coalition than Bush had going into Iraq.
Among the coalition he has assembled is the Free Syrian Army, which is known to be in alliance with IS — the enemy.
The president, through his spokesman, has not even defined what victory over IS will look like.
Oh yeah, this is going to work out real well.
Secretary of State John Kerry is in Saudi Arabia, where he announced that 10 Arab nations including Iraq have signed on to support the fight against the Islamic State. Kerry’s announcement comes a day after President Obama announced that the US would build a coalition for the fight, but would not seek congressional approval and apparently will not seek any authorization from the United Nations.
President George W. Bush sought both congressional and UN approval, and won both, and built a coalition of some 40 nations for the war to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Kerry and Obama, then in the Senate, described Bush’s actions as “going it alone.”
Russia has reacted to Obama’s speech, with a warning, according to the BBC.
Russia has warned that US air strikes against militants in Syria would be a “gross violation” of international law.
A Russian foreign ministry spokesman said any such action, without the backing of the UN, would be “an act of aggression”.
“The US president has spoken directly about the possibility of strikes by the US armed forces against Isil (IS) positions in Syria without the consent of the legitimate government,” ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich was quoted as saying.
“This step, in the absence of a UN Security Council decision, would be an act of aggression, a gross violation of international law.”
Syria also repeated its warning that the US had to co-ordinate with the Syrian government before launching air strikes on its territory.
“Any action of any kind without the consent of the Syrian government would be an attack on Syria,” National Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar said on Thursday.
If anyone knows about acts of aggression and violations of international law, it would be Russia.
Russia’s announced position all but forecloses any UN Security Council action on ISIS, as Russia holds a permanent seat and veto power. Russia is one of Syrian dictator Assad’s few allies.
China has yet to weigh in one way or the other.
Kerry is working on plans to train the Free Syrian Army rebels on Saudi soil, despite the fact that the FSA is working with ISIS.
Transcript of the audio above…
[October 2000] We are getting word just now that Osama Bin Laden, the Muslim terrorist leader who declared war on the United States two years ago, has been killed by U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan. President Bill Clinton reportedly gave the order to take out bin Laden after viewing a live CIA video feed from a Predator drone. While some of his friends on the Left had urged Clinton’s Justice Department to indict bin Laden, and bring him to trial, the president said today, “This evil man declared war on us, had a track record of slaughter, billions of dollars in funding and a global network of slavishly-devoted suicidal soldiers. You don’t send lawyers after a man like that — you send Seals, Marines and Green Berets.”
[May 1991] President George H.W. Bush, in a triumphant speech from downtown Baghdad, Iraq, today announced the unconditional surrender of Saddam Hussein’s government and his Baathist Army. The president said that nothing short of total surrender can save Iraq. Bush added that the coalition that conquered Saddam, would stay on the job until Iraqis build a constitutional republic, under the rule of law.
As President Obama laid out his “strategy” last night for dealing with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and as bipartisan leadership in Congress pushes to approve as much as $4 billion to arm Syrian “rebels,” it should be noted that the keystone to his anti-Assad policy — the “vetted moderate” Free Syrian Army (FSA) — is now admitting that they, too, are working with the Islamic State.
This confirms PJ Media’s reporting last week about the FSA’s alliances with Syrian terrorist groups.
On Monday, the Daily Star in Lebanon quoted a FSA brigade commander saying that his forces were working with the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate — both U.S.-designated terrorist organizations — near the Syrian/Lebanon border.
“We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front by attacking the Syrian Army’s gatherings in … Qalamoun,” said Bassel Idriss, the commander of an FSA-aligned rebel brigade.
“We have reached a point where we have to collaborate with anyone against unfairness and injustice,” confirmed Abu Khaled, another FSA commander who lives in Arsal.
“Let’s face it: The Nusra Front is the biggest power present right now in Qalamoun and we as FSA would collaborate on any mission they launch as long as it coincides with our values,” he added.
In my report last week I noted that buried in a New York Times article last month was a Syrian “rebel” commander quoted as saying that his forces were working with ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra in raids along the border with Lebanon, including attacks on Lebanese forces. The Times article quickly tried to dismiss the commander’s statements, but the Daily Star article now confirms this alliance.
Among the other pertinent points from that PJ Media article last week was that this time last year the bipartisan conventional wisdom amongst the foreign policy establishment was that the bulk of the Syrian rebel forces were moderates, a fiction refuted by a Rand Corporation study published last September that found nearly half of the Syrian “rebels” were jihadists or hard-core Islamists.
Another relevant phenomenon I noted was that multiple arms shipments from the U.S. to the “vetted moderate” FSA were suspiciously raided and confiscated by ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, prompting the Obama administration and the UK to suspend weapons shipments to the FSA last December.
In April, the Obama administration again turned on the CIA weapons spigot to the FSA, and Obama began calling for an additional $500 million for the “vetted moderate rebels,” but by July the weapons provided to the FSA were yet again being raided and captured by ISIS and other terrorist groups. Remarkably, one Syrian dissident leader reportedly told Al-Quds al-Arabi that the FSA had lost $500 million worth of arms to rival “rebel” groups, much of which ended up being sold to unknown parties in Turkey and Iraq.
At the same time U.S.-provided FSA weapons caches were being mysteriously raided by ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, one of the senior FSA commanders in Eastern Syria, Saddam al-Jamal, defected to ISIS. In March, Jabhat al-Nusra joined forces with the FSA Liwa al-Ummah brigade to capture a Syrian army outpost in Idlib. Then in early July I reported on FSA brigades that had pledged allegiance to ISIS and surrendered their weapons after their announcement of the reestablishment of the caliphate. More recently, the FSA and Jabhat al-Nusra teamed up last month to capture the UN Golan Heights border crossing in Quneitra on the Syria/Israel border, taking UN peacekeepers hostage.
But the Free Syrian Army is not the only U.S.-armed and trained “rebel” force in Syria that the Obama administration is having serious trouble keeping in the “vetted moderate” column.
Earlier this week I reported on Harakat al-Hazm, which was the first of the “vetted moderates” to receive U.S. anti-tank weaponry earlier this year. Harakat al-Hazm is reportedly a front for the Muslim Brotherhood as well as Turkey and Qatar, its Islamist state sponsors.
An L.A. Times article was published this past Sunday from the battle lines in Syria. The reporter recounted a discussion with two Harakat al-Hazm fighters who admitted, “But Nusra doesn’t fight us, we actually fight alongside them. We like Nusra.”
Despite a claim by the L.A. Times that Harakat al-Hazm had released a statement of “rejection of all forms of cooperation and coordination” with al-Nusra Front, I published in my article earlier this week an alliance statement signed by both Jabhat al-Nusra and Harkat al-Hazm forging a joint front in Aleppo to prevent pro-Assad forces from retaking the town.
As the Obama administration began to provide heavy weaponry to Harakat al-Hazm, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy published an analysis hailing Harakat Hazm as “rebels worth supporting,” going so far as to say that the group was “a model candidate for greater U.S. and allied support, including lethal military assistance.”
Look, I have to be honest here. I had about as much interest in watching a Barack Obama foreign policy speech as I’d have in watching a 48-hour Young and the Restless marathon hosted by Rosanne Bahr and Carrot Top.
It’s not that Barack Obama has lost me on foreign policy. He never had me. He has always come off as the worst combination of rank opportunist and clownish amateur on foreign affairs. This is a man who went to Berlin and declared himself a citizen of the world, and he is the same man who sincerely believed that his mere election would sate the jihadists’ thirst for American blood.
When it comes to dealing with the Islamic State, I believe that we have to be swift, overwhelming and ruthless. But in Barack Obama we have a man who fills his gassy speeches with “Let me be clear, it’s all Bush’s fault,” and who believes that American power is more a force of bad than good. Any action he orders is unlikely to get the job done.
And so we arrive at the eve of the 13th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. 9-11 is a twin mile marker now. There’s the original al Qaeda attack of 9-11-2001, and the follow-on attack in Benghazi on 9-11-12. About the second, we still do not know where Barack Obama was that night and what he was doing. We do know that he blamed a movie and refused, for weeks, to blame the terrorists. Most of the animals who attacked and killed four Americans that night are still at large.
On this eve of 9-11 memorials and remembrances, Barack Obama asked for network time to explain his strategy to defeat the Islamic State.
President Obama laid out a strategy that does the bare minimum. He wants to combine American air power with Iraqi boots and Free Syrian Army sandals on the ground, along with the courageous Kurds. IS probably laughed at two of those. It has defeated the Iraqi military already and has infiltrated the so-called “moderate” FSA. The Kurds are fighting IS bravely and have acquitted themselves well.
That leaves us with American air power, perhaps combined with the air forces of the British and the French.
Given enough time, air power might knock IS loose and might even defeat them. That’s not the way to bet, but air power did work in Bosnia during the Clinton years. IS is a different enemy, though, the best funded terrorist force in history, we’re told, and the most savvy social media terrorists around. They can fight air power with digital propaganda, with kidnappings, with beheadings, and with those attacks across the Texas-Mexico border that they’re threatening.
Syrian dictator Assad has already said that he views American airstrikes in his country as an act of war. That might complicate the picture.
President Obama had nothing to say about the US-Mexico border tonight, despite opening his speech with a claim that our national security is his “highest priority.” Skepticism of that claim, with an unsecured border and a president who downplayed the IS threat for months, is well justified.
“ISIL is not Islamic,” Obama claimed, despite the long history of Islamic terrorism and the fact that the first I in the name stands for “Islamic.”
Strange claim, that. ISIL ultimately derives its ideology from the Muslim Brotherhood. Perhaps they’re not Islamic too.
Stranger still, Obama touted Somalia and Yemen as models for the action to destroy IS. Somalia is a chaotic failed state, where the occasional droning of a terrorist leader seldom makes much strategic difference. Yemen is a longstanding haven of al Qaeda’s, where also, the occasional droning makes some, but not a great deal, of strategic difference.
The president was more energetic in tonight’s delivery than in his previous several speeches on terrorism. But his tone still contrasts with the passion, even power, he shows when speaking at party fundraisers and attacking Republicans. This is a president for whom foreign policy is a foreign language.
Well, the border is largely unguarded, to the point that children can walk across. If they can, and if coyotes and drug cartel operatives can (and they can, and do), so can ISIS. The Free Beacon reports that ISIS has figured this out.
A senior Homeland Security (DHS) official confirmed to Congress on Wednesday that militants associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) are planning to enter the United States via the porous southern border.
Francis Taylor, under secretary for intelligence and analysis at DHS, told senators during a hearing that ISIL supporters are known to be plotting ways to infiltrate the United States through the border.
“There have been Twitter, social media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility,” Taylor told Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) in response to a question about “recent reports on Twitter and Facebook of messages that would urge infiltration into the U.S. across our southwestern border.”
“Certainly any infiltration across our border would be a threat,” Taylor said, explaining that border security agents are working to tighten measures that would prevent this from taking place.
Such as? The flood of illegal aliens across the border has slowed, but every time President Obama talks about amnesty or even speaks on the subject of “comprehensive immigration reform,” he attracts more people to cross illegally.
Prediction: Obama will ignore this reality in tonight’s speech. What will it take for him to recognize the border not as a political football, but as a serious national security issue that he as commander-in-chief must deal with?
University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall is a hero. He ought to be given a medal and there ought to be a parade through downtown Austin in his honor.
Hall was appointed regent by Gov. Rick Perry, and he soon found serious corruption in the admissions process at the UT Law School. He also found a slush fund and some large off-the-books sweetheart loans to faculty, which is a whole other story.
In the corrupt admissions case, politicians in both parties were using their clout to get their unqualified family members and others admitted to the school. Hall has fought against the university’s administration, against politicians and against the state media — who have repeatedly called for him to resign or for Perry to fire him or for the legislature to impeach him — to get the facts.
A week ago, the Dallas Observer published this thorough take on Hall’s exploits. Hall comes off as the hero that he truly is, and nearly everyone else in Texas who was involved comes off as corrupt or wagon-circling around the network of the powerful and connected. The university’s administration comes off as whiny and dishonest, along with shady and corrupt.
To his credit, Gov. Perry never once wavered in supporting Hall, even in the face of the university’s drive to impeach Hall via the legislature.
To their shame, just about every major newspaper in the state called for Hall to step down at some point. His crime, according to them, was that he asked for too much paperwork and information. This was the media lobbing that accusation — that Hall wanted too much information. Apparently the media can find a reason to oppose the freedom of information.
Their ears were being tickled by politicians who had things to hide, that Hall was bound to uncover. Meanwhile, Watchdog.org’s Jon Cassidy owned the story. That surely annoyed the drive-by media even more. He ran circles around the media, as they circled around and nuzzled up to the powerful.
Cassidy is back with another doozy. Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, the nation’s most infamous drunk-driving DA, has convened a grand jury to criminalize Hall’s actions as regent. Actions, it’s worth pointing out again, that have uncovered real corruption at UT — and which were not illegal.
Lehmberg has found that Section 39.02 of the Texas Penal Code has a magic property. It turns the rest of state law— property code, education code, water code, etc.—into a vast extension of the criminal code. So long as Lehmberg can claim that the Republican was trying to “harm” someone, then just about anything can be turned into a crime. That’s how Perry’s exercise of his veto power became a crime (you can supply the air quotes). And that’s how a regent of the University of Texas System is facing actual jail time for supposed failure to “enhance the public image” of the university, or “nurture” it, or “achieve the maximum operating efficiency.”
If those don’t sound like crimes, it’s because they’re not. They’re bits of boilerplate from the state Education Code on the duties of a regent. But the magic paragraph makes a knowing violation of any “law relating to the public servant’s office” a crime if it’s done “with intent to harm or defraud another.”
The same law makes it a crime to knowingly misuse government property with intent to harm, which is the farfetched theory being employed against Perry’s veto of funding for Lehmberg’s office.
Read the rest. The potential indictment turns on some emails.
Hall found some emails between [UT President Bill] Powers’s office and the dean of the law school discussing whether or not to admit the son of the state House Appropriations Committee chairman, despite his poor scores on the Law School Admissions Test. (They admitted him; he’s flunked the bar three times since.) Hall showed the email to an official investigator from the state attorney general’s office, and to his defense attorney, who cited it in a letter to the legislative committee, naming no names. The name came out when a reporter bluffed the chairman into outing his son.
Those emails are the proverbial smoking gun in the corrupt admissions investigation. But –
The persecutors and prosecutors contend that the emails are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and by nearly identical state law as well, and that Hall committed some sort of crime in showing it to his attorney or the investigator. One theory is that this “leak” is the real “abuse of office,” rather than the whole non-enhancement of the public image theory. But that would involve proving that Hall “intentionally or knowingly” leaked FERPA-protected information, when the emails are almost certainly not FERPA-protected “education records” in the first place. The Supreme Court has ruled that “FERPA implies that education records are institutional records kept by a single central custodian, such as a registrar,” or that they’re “kept in a filing cabinet in a records room at the school or on a permanent secure database.” That wouldn’t include every last email or assignment that might include the student’s name. But that’s the sort of thing a motivated prosecutor never tells a grand jury.
Travis County grand juries don’t seem to be bothered with the implications of granting full felony indictments for, in Perry’s case, saying what he intended to do and then doing it using the constitutional power of his office, and in Hall’s case, seeking information from the university that he had every right to seek as regent. That the information Hall uncovered did point directly to actual corruption doesn’t seem to bother Lehmberg. She has not convened any grand juries to look into that. She is investigating Hall for investigating UT.
Perry’s speech and actions, both legal and protected, do not become a crime because he combined them. Hall’s actions, seeking information in accord with his duties as regent and consulting with investigators and his own lawyer, are not crimes either. Not separately, and not together. They just aren’t. And Lehmberg surely knows that, just as she surely knew that driving around with an open bottle of vodka in her car was, in fact, a crime.
The s0-called Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County DA is going to have to be removed from the county. Drunk-driving Rosemary Lehmberg is on a war path against the rule of law and common sense. In attacking Hall, Lehmberg is defending corruption at one of Texas’ most prestigious public universities. Indicting Hall is another way of attacking Perry and escalating the Democrats’ lawfare against Republicans.
The Texas legislature is going to have to take action, but it does not return to session until 2015. By that time, Lehmberg’s office may well have indicted every single Republican of note in the state.
Let’s take one last look at the media here, too.
But of course. He’s being cautious because “BUT BOOOOOOOOSH!” Gibbs also mentions a “decade” of the policy that’s driving The Idiot King’s caution. Um…Bush was president for eight years and Obama has almost a full six under his belt now so it’s unclear which ten Gibbsy is referring to here.
As an uproar grows over a video showing star player Ray Rice’s ferocious blow on his now-wife, calls for the firing of the NFL’s leader are getting louder.
An increasing number of critics think National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, the man in charge of disciplining the star player, should be next.
“The NFL has lost its way. It doesn’t have a Ray Rice problem; it has a violence against women problem,” said Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women. “The NFL sets the example for college, high school, middle school and even elementary school football programs. And the example it is setting right now is simply unacceptable. New leadership must come in with a specific charge to transform the culture of violence against women that pervades the NFL.”
Goodell told CBS News on Tuesday that he was sickened by what he saw on a newly released video that showed Rice knocking out his now-wife with a ferocious punch.
Goodell’s bumbling on this was mystifying. He’s been micromanaging the league and obsessed with optics and image so it’s difficult to figure out how he was caught so off guard by this. For a man who has been trying to remove so much of the violence from an inherently violent game (much to the chagrin of many devoted fans) to not grasp the import of illegal real world violence seems problematic. The whole, “We hadn’t seen the newest video yet…” excuse is nonsense. The first video showed Rice dragging Janay Palmer out of the elevator after he knocked her out. Does anyone really need to see further video evidence to know that the knocking out part was bad? Do we really need pictures at all to know that a man knocking a woman out is bad? The league and the Ravens management still sound pretty tone deaf.
Still, the league did institute a new, much harsher policy to deal with domestic violence once Goodell realized that his initial response was weak. He also admitted he’d screwed up, which you don’t get from big ego higher-ups a lot.
As a hardcore fan, I have a number of football-specific reasons I don’t like Roger Goodell and I do think he has been mostly awful in his handling of the Rice situation. Would it be better for someone new to come in and deal with this or might there be more progress if a chastened, contrite Goodell were still in charge?
Six years ago, if anyone had made a campaign issue out of the potential for welfare users to buy pot with their food stamps, the media would have made great sport and mockery of that.
Yet here we are, six years later, with more Americans than ever on SNAP and various forms of welfare, and pot stores going up in a couple of states. The Washington Times reports that the two things have been connected.
Welfare recipients can’t use their EBT cards at liquor stores but they can at marijuana dispensaries in states such as Colorado that have legalized pot, Sen. Jeff Sessions revealed Tuesday.
The Alabama Republican announced that he was drafting legislation to close the welfare-for-weed loophole after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed to him that marijuana shops were not off limits to EBT cards, which replaced food stamps, or other federal benefits.
There’s no word on how many welfare users actually have used their EBT cards at pot stores.
Under current law, HHS claims that it has no power to stop welfare recipients from using their EBT cards at pot stores.
This is the same HHS that believes it does have the power to force nuns and everyone else to pay for other people’s birth control and abortion-inducing drugs.
Wisconsin prosecutors asked a federal appeals court on Tuesday for approval to restart an investigation into possible illegal coordination between Governor Scott Walker’s campaign and special interest groups during elections in 2011 and 2012.
A federal judge in May halted the investigation after a lawsuit by the Wisconsin Club for Growth, a conservative organization, accusing investigators of sidelining it from political activities, violating its rights to free speech, association and equal protection.
Prosecutors appealed the judge’s ruling shutting down the probe launched in 2012 by Milwaukee County Democratic District Attorney John Chisholm.
After Walker’s thorough running-over of Big Labor in Wisconsin, Democrats may very well harass him for the rest of his days, even long after he is out of office. One simply does not challenge the entrenched 1900′s order of things that, um, progressives, long for and get away with it.
When angry Democrats are in the mix, there is always a very good chance that they will eventually find a judge or a court that’s willing to fight their battles for them, no matter how far they have to overstep their boundaries to do so. Even if (BIG “if”) they manage to eventually wound Walker, his legacy is secure after what he’s accomplished the past few years and should remain a beacon of hope for conservatives in other blue-ish states.
Actor From Country That Coddles Muslim Rape Gangs Whines About Homophobic ‘Christian Far Right’ in America
(h/t The Truth Revolt)
There’s still a lot of homophobia in the U.S., as well.
Oh, the Christian far right? Yes. Very homophobic. You need to have a female president next, and then after that, a gay president. That’s the full journey from Obama’s legacy onwards. There’s a great Morrissey lyric from “America Is Not the World” from You Are the Quarry that goes, “In America, the land of the free, they said / And of opportunity, in a just and truthful way / But where the president is never black, female or gay, and until that day / You’ve got nothing to say to me, to help me believe.” It’s quite an old song from before Obama took office, but you’ve done black, then you need to do female, then the next, gay.
Of course, that’s the mature, intellectual approach to picking a leader: based on a quota checklist from Morrissey.
I will wager good money that Benedict Cumberbatch wouldn’t be satisfied with a conservative gay or female (or gay female) POTUS. In the narrow-minded, limited reference world of the average entertainer, such a combination can’t possibly exist. In fact, your average high-profile liberal is basically a savage animal when dealing with powerful conservative females.
So he doesn’t really mean what he is saying.
Or he doesn’t understand it.
Which is why he should stick to scripts.
Forty percent of all pilots killed in noncommercial airplane crashes in recent years have medication in their systems — a marked increase over previous decades, according to a draft government study obtained by CNN.
The most common drugs: antihistamines, which can cause drowsiness, and heart medications.
The most worrisome: illicit drugs found in nearly 4% of the deceased pilots.
All told, pilots tested positive for some sort of drug — be it over-the-counter, prescription or illicit — in 40% of fatal accidents in 2011, up from 10% in 1990, according to the study.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which conducted the study, called the jump “significant,” saying it mirrors medicine use in society as a whole.
It cautioned that the mere presence of drugs does not necessarily mean drugs contributed to the accident. Indeed, investigators say drugs contribute to about 3% of all fatal plane crashes — a level that has remained constant for two decades.
This brings up a question about just how superhuman we expect pilots to be. It seems that the only real solution would be individual assessment of side effects on every pilot, hardly a practical approach.
The antihistamines are worrisome, though. The sleep-inducing ingredient in many over the counter sleep aids is an antihistamine (diphenhydramine) and can really have powerful effects. I’d much rather a pilot be sneezing a lot than dozing off.
Members of the 9/11 Commission are criticizing Congress for the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), arguing lawmakers have not taken the threat seriously enough.
In interviews with The Hill, veterans of the blue-ribbon panel rebuked lawmakers for a generally lax approach toward oversight and said Congress fell down on the job by not implementing the recommendations they made 10 years ago.
“Nobody can be very impressed by the congressional record here. You don’t go on a five-week vacation if you think the threat to the United States is imminent. Or, at least, I hope you don’t,” said former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), the vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission.
Hamilton ripped Congress for failing to fulfill President Obama’s request for $500 million, made in late June, to train and equip moderate opposition forces in Syria. Obama said the money would help build up a rebel alternative to ISIS while helping to keep the conflict in Syria from spilling over into Iraq.
Hamilton was giving some partisan cover to the president by implying that the belated request is a huge difference maker, but he was right about the vacation. If we’re going to beat up on the president for golfing during all of this, Congress should be held accountable too.
Another member of the panel, Tim Roemer, got to the real heart of the problem (albeit while still running some interference for President Obama) when he said this threat should have been identified long ago.
Most of us in the real world don’t really care which American leaders ID the threat and take it seriously, just as long as somebody does. That we’re at this point a mere thirteen years later is surreal. It’s as if those charged with protecting the country have an MTV generation attention span on matters of national security.
Can we just get an adult in the room?
I’m partially stealing the title from the folks a Grabien for this post.
Ahead of announcing that he finally does have a strategy for dealing with the Islamic State (maybe?), President Obama dined with a group that included Sandy “Docs in Socks” Berger and other foreign policy experts. Let’s hope Democrat strategist Donna Brazile wasn’t there, or if she was, someone explained what a caliphate is. Hey, we’re only 13 years into the war on terrorism…
As for the other guests, even MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell couldn’t help notice that she talks to Obama’s big foreign policy guest on her show nearly every day.
MITCHELL: “Reaching out: Widely criticized for ignoring outside advice in the past, President Obama had a wide-ranging dinner last night with foreign experts from both sides of the aisle. He and Joe Biden brought in Sandy Berger, Zbigniew Brzesinsky, Tom Donilon, Michelle Flournoy, Richard Haas, Steve Hadley, Jane Harman, Strobe Talbot — looks like a review of our guest list here at Andrea Mitchell Reports.
Unfortunately, Mitchell is correct. Obama did turn to frequent guests on cable’s most ridiculous news network for advice.
We’re in the very best of hands…