In Detroit, tens of thousands of people are facing a deadline tomorrow that could cost some of them their homes. That’s when homeowners have to make arrangements to either pay delinquent property taxes — or risk losing their home at a county auction.
When Detroit emerged from bankruptcy last year, it did so with a razor-thin financial cushion. It desperately needs every bit of tax revenue it can muster.
Earlier this year, county officials sent out 72,000 foreclosure notices to homeowners behind on property taxes — 62,000 of them in Detroit alone. They say about 18,000 of these properties are occupied, but fewer than half of those homeowners have paid all of their tax.
A tax moratorium has been discussed by some politicians but those pending “revenues” are already budgeted:
We pledge all the penalties and fees in our bond pledges to borrow money,” he says. “We can’t do a moratorium on police protection or fire protection.
The Democrats who drove Detroit off of the cliff for half a century probably planned on get some grand scale federal assistance, much like New York received in the mid 1970′s. A slightly more fiscally responsible approach was taken, however, and the city is far from being out of the woods.
According to this piece, a thriving slumlord market is opening up.
The glitch here is obvious: kicking these people out and taking over the properties for nonpayment doesn’t solve the revenue problem. Can the city really expect to quickly sell over 60,000 properties for back taxes in time to take care of budgetary needs?
Is that Donald Trump at the door?
The country’s largest death row has run out of room.
As NPR member station KCRW reports, that’s because a legal fight has meant that the state has not put an inmate to death in nearly a decade, leaving more than 750 of them on death row in the state.
Can it really be called a “death penalty” if they don’t really put criminals to death? California taxpayers suffer from the double whammy of funding automatic appeals for death sentences which then aren’t even carried out if upheld, so we get to pay for life imprisonment too. Add to all of that the need for additional funding to expand death rows in prisons and these murderers are getting pretty expensive.
Also, where are the supposed deterrent effects of the death penalty if criminals know the “death” part isn’t in play?
Canada’s little Maritime province of New Brunswick has chronically high unemployment — and huge reserves of shale.
Sounds like the perfect place to start fracking, right?
As Ezra Levant — who literally wrote “the case for fracking” – explains, the province’s anti-fracking moratorium starts today.
The government’s excuses for adopting this ban are pretty pathetic, but the silliest comes down to “social license.”
Levant explains what that is, so listen carefully in case your state legislature tries to pass that one off on voters.
Apple CEO Tim Cook isn’t happy with Indiana’s new bill to restore religious freedom. He explains why in an op-ed for the Washington Post:
There’s something very dangerous happening in states across the country.
A wave of legislation, introduced in more than two dozen states, would allow people to discriminate against their neighbors. Some, such as the bill enacted in Indiana last week that drew a national outcry and one passed in Arkansas, say individuals can cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer or resist a state nondiscrimination law.
There’s certainly an argument to be made for the view that discriminatory practices towards gays are morally unacceptable. I believe, for instance, that people should be able to live the life they want to live, whether others think it wrong or not. As long as they aren’t hurting anyone else, leave them alone. If gays, therefore, want to marry or live together: have fun.
However, that isn’t the real subject here. In its very essence, this is about religious freedom: the very foundation of liberty in general. You can’t pretend to be a free society and take the freedom of religion away at the same time. It’s either/or: either you allow people to live according to their religious views, or you establish a know-it-all, oppressive government. There’s nothing in between.
So Cook is wrong. We shouldn’t sacrifice the freedom of religion in order to shove “tolerance” down people’s throats (it isn’t even possible to force people to be tolerant, but that’s neither here nor there). If we do, we end up living in a society that’s considerably less free and eventually even less tolerant than the one we currently have. Cook’s probably fine with that, but rational human beings are not.
Luckily, federal law already agrees with that. Indiana’s so-called “controversial law” is based on SCOTUS’ Hobby Lobby decision in which the Supreme Court ruled that religious employers can choose not to provide certain services if they are in breach (a “substantial burden”) with their religious views. Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act builds on that decision; it’s not a new law, but an affirmation of SCOTUS’ ruling.
The New York Times reports:
The Arab states said on Sunday that they had agreed to form a combined military force to counter both Iranian influence and Islamist extremism, a gesture many analysts attributed in large part to their drive for more independence from Washington.
The agreement came as American and other Western diplomats in Lausanne, Switzerland, were racing to beat a self-imposed deadline of Tuesday to reach a deal with Iran that would restrict its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of economic sanctions. In response, Saudi Arabia and other American allies in the region have made clear that they are seeking to bolster independent regional security measures because they see the proposed accord as a betrayal of Washington’s commitment to their security.
In other words, not only does Congress not trust Barry. Not only does Netanyahu not trust Barry. Now nearly the entirety of the Arab world doesn’t trust Barry to the point that they’re uniting and forming their own military force?
Could it be that they feel Obama has declared a War on Muslims?
This wouldn’t be the first iteration of an Arab League coalition force. First formed in 1945, the force quickly disbanded after attacking and losing to the nascent Israeli Army in 1948.
Results of a recent British study published in the Guardian reveal that if you’re a woman, the more middle class you are, the more sexual partners you have:
Given the number of headlines about teenage single mothers from deprived backgrounds, you’d be forgiven for assuming that being in a lower social class equals an increased likelihood of promiscuous behaviour.
But you’d be wrong, because, in fact, having more than ten sexual partners in your lifetime is associated with higher social class and educational status, with nearly double the rates in professional women compared with those in routine occupations.
However, it is correct that the lower down the social scale you are, then the earlier you will start having sex.
…By contrast, women from higher socio-economic groups start their sexual activity later, but go on to have more partners throughout their lifetime.
One possible explanation is that highly educated women tend to forge careers before settling down, and so have more years on the singles market.
The real question is, have white, middle-class feminists become so singularly focused on birth control and abortion in order to advocate for their “deprived” sisters, as they claim? Or are they so sex-obsessed in their politics solely in order to sustain their seemingly insatiable, promiscuous lifestyles?
As the commemorative mass for the 21 Christians beheaded by ISIS in Libya was held on the 40th day after their deaths in the village of Al Our in the Minya region of Upper Egypt this past Friday, a mob identified by witnesses as Muslim Brotherhood protestors attacked the home of one of the martyr’s families, set fire to the car of one of the mourners, and later lobbed molotov cocktails at the site of the church being constructed in their memory. Al Our village was the home of 13 of the Egyptian Coptic martyrs.
Daily News Egypt reports:
On Friday, scores of mostly young Muslims gathered in the Minya governorate after midday prayer, demonstrating in front of a church under construction there. They chanted that there is no way the church would be built.
After a while, the crowd vanished, but later in the night a smaller number of anonymous militants attacked the church with Molotov cocktails. In the attack, seven people were injured, and one car was left burning.
In February, Copts in Minya’s Our Village called for a church to be established in the village honouring 20 Coptic Egyptian workers beheaded in Libya. They died at the hands of Islamic State militants in Libya, according to religious freedoms researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) Ishak Ibrahim.
Thirteen of the beheaded Coptic workers were from the village. Ibrahim told Daily News Egypt that, during their funeral, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb said President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi agreed for the church to be built.
Coptic residents bought land and started the church’s construction, sparking protests from Muslim residents who were angered by the church. The Muslim residents were unhappy at the church’s proposed presence and its position at the entrance to the village.
A report yesterday by Al-Masry Al-Youm (AR) stated that the mob attacked the home of one of the martyr’s families with bricks and stones, and that a car belonging to a mourner who had traveled to the village for the memorial mass was set on fire. The article cited witnesses identifying the mob participants as members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that seven protesters had been arrested.
Protesters surround Virgin Mary Church, set fire to car, & attempt to storm home to stop construction of Minya Church http://t.co/2dkinX6CMR
— إشهد | Eshhad (@SectarianAttack) March 27, 2015
— إشهد | Eshhad (@SectarianAttack) March 28, 2015
13 of the Copts beheaded in Libya were from the same village in Minya. A church is being built there now and it was attacked last night.
— Basil الضبع (@basildabh) March 28, 2015
— betsy hiel (@betsy_hiel) March 28, 2015
7 ppl were arrested in Menya clash with Copts. They attempted to burn home of a Copt slaughtered in Libya & attempt 2 burnt car of mourner.
— marlyn (@virtualactivism) March 28, 2015
Some youth in Samaloot, Minya, demonstrated agnst Sisi's decision to build a church for Libya's martyrs & resulted in rampage.
— marlyn (@virtualactivism) March 28, 2015
Following the murder of the 21 Christians by ISIS in Libya, senior government officials, including the prime minister, flocked to the village to give their condolences, and announced that that “the Church of the Martyrs of Faith and Country of al-’Our” would be built in their honor at state expense with the permission of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
And yet after this weekend’s attacks, the Coptic community in Al Our were forced by local authorities into an extra-judicial Islamic “reconciliation” meeting, where it was “agreed” that the church would be relocated, submitting to the violent protesters’ demands, and that the seven arrested protesters would be freed, prompting criticism on Twitter:
Egyptian government resorts to reconciliation session in Al Our village after attack on Church https://t.co/dAOyeEkOB0 No accountability
— Samuel Tadros (@Samueltadros) March 29, 2015
— salamamoussa (@salamamoussa) March 29, 2015
— Mai El-Sadany (@maitelsadany) March 29, 2015
#Egypt: Violent protesters attack church to stop construction of new church. Reconcil session. Church location moved & protesters acquitted.
— Mai El-Sadany (@maitelsadany) March 29, 2015
Instead of providing justice, reconciliation sessions like yesterday reward violent protesters & make the minorities compromise. #egypt
— Mai El-Sadany (@maitelsadany) March 29, 2015
Minority communities complain that the “reconciliation” meetings in Egypt almost always result in minorities having to make concessions while Muslim offenders are freed without having to face any judicial proceedings, as appears true in the present case.
Non-Muslims also complain about the active discrimination built into the Egyptian constitution stemming from the Ottoman era that prohibits the construction of any new church building, or even the repair of existing buildings, without a presidential decree.
Islamist groups use this constitutional provision to instigate sectarian attacks, and continue to use it in several cases to prevent the rebuilding of churches burned down or damaged by the Muslim Brotherhood across the country in August 2013 after the government’s dispersal of Muslim Brotherhood protests in Cairo.
Want to know what’s happened this week in the Middle East and the War on Terror? Here are some articles to keep you up to date:
Operation Charlie Foxtrot: Obama admin's strategic incoherence is aiding and abetting Middle East chaos http://t.co/f32EQWrbUn
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) March 28, 2015
Final battle for Tikrit: 'we won’t let the Americans take the glory' http://t.co/v2MonV4QUA
— The Guardian (@guardian) March 26, 2015
— Foreign Policy (@ForeignPolicy) March 28, 2015
The Shia crescendo – Shia militias are proliferating in the Middle East http://t.co/2OnfkfCylV
— A.M.H. (@alimhaider) March 27, 2015
AEROTERROR: A regular flight from Caracas to Tehran carried more drugs and money than people http://t.co/TrMURg7yuT
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) March 28, 2015
How the U.S. caved on every promise it made about preventing an Iranian nuke. Scoop here: http://t.co/yq8C1qL0zb
— Adam Kredo (@Kredo0) March 26, 2015
Nusra Front quietly rises in Syria as Islamic State targeted http://t.co/4Gv3njazcC
— Blogs of War (@BlogsofWar) March 24, 2015
— Oren Kessler (@OrenKessler) March 27, 2015
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) March 27, 2015
— J Lester Feder (@jlfeder) February 6, 2015
Nigeria Holds Elections Amid Threats of Violence Between Factions, Boko Haram – U.S. News & World Report http://t.co/URWB1HOyc6
— El Globalista (@El_Globalista) March 28, 2015
Obama: U.S. to maintain current level of 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through 2015 instead of reducing as planned. http://t.co/ABvMapaCKL
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) March 24, 2015
Well, I couldn’t keep it to a dozen this week, so here’s a few more:
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) March 24, 2015
— El_Grillo (@El_Grillo1) March 25, 2015
“Their bathrooms are bigger than our living rooms" Taliban leaders are living in luxury in Qatar http://t.co/dWXpcvhF9e
— Alessandria Masi (@AlessandriaMasi) March 24, 2015
— Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) March 24, 2015
Saudi gov't proxy argues that it's a Sunni-Shia conflict for years to come. Saddest thing is he might be right. http://t.co/N1z7NKYtGi
— Evan Hill (@evanchill) March 28, 2015
Bill Whittle is awesome. No. That’s an understatement and too generic. He’s the greatest videoblogging conservative the world has ever seen. Case in point? This hilarious, spot-on and intelligent video about the hardcore Left’s new idea to let 16 year olds vote.
In short: no. Just no. In fact, it could very well be the most horrific idea of the last ten years. Yes, that includes Obamacare and the president’s plans to negotiate with the Islamonazis in Iran.
Whittle says that he considers voting a “civic duty,” but I disagree with that. It’s a civic privilege. We’ve made a major mistake in the West — in both Europe and America — by allowing people who live on the dole to vote. General voting rights — without any requirements except for being a citizen — have enabled the lazy and incompetent to live entirely off of people who actually try to be successful and take care of their families. Considering man’s natural inclination to do as little as possible to get by, it isn’t exactly illogical that most Western countries have become social democracies, if not downright socialist.
Sixteen year olds aren’t capable of taking care of themselves (which is why their parents do it for them). Letting them vote would undoubtedly result in more unaffordable government programs that will, in the years to come, bankrupt the country. I understand Obama and his ilk don’t have a problem with that, but those of us who actually love America beg to differ.
So Senator Harry Reid is set to retire. Apparently he wants to enjoy the rest of his life with his wife and children, which won’t be difficult to do since he’s worth an estimated 10 million dollars nowadays. How he did that as a career politician is anyone’s guess, but that’s neither here nor there.
He says he’ll be in the Senate for 22 months more, promising to continue to do as much damage to the country as he can. Apparently, he’s quite proud of that.
Well, I have a slightly different take on the senator’s career. He started out as a supposedly conservative Democrat who was all about fiscal responsibility, but over the years he has (d?)evolved into a liberal hack who’s one of the main reasons that America is currently on the brink of bankruptcy. I can’t wait for this guy to go home and spend “more time” with his family.
Good riddance! Let’s hope he’s privately more principled than he was in the Senate. Because if he isn’t, his wife will have her hands full with him and the many problems he’ll create.
What’s your fare thee well message for Senator Reid? Leave it here, in the comment section.
European media report that German authorities have found “importance evidence” in Andreas Lubitz’s home. Lubitz was the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9595, which he purposefully crashed in the French Alps.
Although the German police don’t want to share any details at this moment, they say that the evidence explains why he committed this horrendous mass murder.
In the meantime, it has become clear that Lubitz had serious psychological issues. He was hospitalized in a mental hospital back in 2009. When he was 27 years old, Lubitz apparently suffered from regular panic attacks. He was still being treated by a psychiatrist and had to pass “special psychological tests” by his employer. He received his last treatment only weeks before he purposefully flew the plane into the ground, thereby killing himself and all other 149 people on board.
Israeli newspaper Yediot got their hands on the European Union’s 40-point plan to “pressure Israel into negotiations” in the wake of Netanyahu’s re-election.
An EU diplomatic source told Ynet that there was a definite chance that the recommendations in the report, which the member states have yet to approve, were more likely to be implemented following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement during his election campaign that a Palestinian state would not be created under his rule.
“We are on a collision course,” said the European diplomat. “It’s clear to everyone in Brussels that there must be a response to these statements.”
…”If Israel continues its policy beyond the Green Line, it will affect the relationship between European nations and Israel,” he warned.
Headings of the 40-point plan include, “Preserving the viability of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states” and “Strengthening the role, visibility and policy of the European Union.” The full report has been scanned and is linked via the Ynet story.
At TheRebel.media, Marissa Semkiw interviews world religions professor Dr. Tony Costa.
He explains why, next to Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem, the otherwise unremarkable Syrian town of Dabiq is one of the key places in Islamic mythology.
As the Muslim equivalent of “Armageddon,” Dabiq is the alleged site of the final battle between Islam and the infidels.
That’s why ISIS considers it so important.
(Note that they named their propaganda magazine after it.)
This concise video gives you a terrific layman’s overview of Muslim end-times theology.
(It’s especially timely for Canadians, since today Parliament begins debating Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s proposed extension of Canada’s mission in Syria.)
You’ll feel smarter after watching it:
Jewish Americans are being baited by a radical Left that has sharpened their anti-Bibi fangs in the ready to rip apart the nation of Israel and the entire body of world Jewry. It’s a bold statement, but it’s an honest one. If you thought V15 would dissolve, their participants cashing in the last of the State Department’s change for a defeat party in Vegas, you’re wrong. The ideological fervor is stronger than ever. It has to be, because ideology is the only thing they have fueling their “hope and change” community-organizing momentum that is anything but.
Jonathan Mark at the New York Jewish Week succinctly catalogs the radical-Leftist Jewish bias against Bibi, noting that this isn’t the first time a right-wing leader’s victory has been condemned in the American media. “Begin as in Fagin” a 1977 Time magazine article explained, conjuring up one of the most insulting anti-Semitic stereotypes in history.
Today it is the J Street crowd sacrificing their pound of flesh by cutting themselves off from the “Jewish establishment” in a radical attempt to “directly take on Jewish organizations …complicit with Israel’s occupation” via the Obama method. If Israel won’t directly negotiate, they’ll just be forced into a solution …and what? Be told to deal with it, or else? According to reports, the conference was keynoted by Obama’s chief of staff and fueled nothing more or less than the “Bibi is racist” tagline.
Hannah Senesh wrote about the power of one match to light a fire. In this instance, the blaze is burning out of control in this radicalized segment of the Jewish world.
Mark adopts the Israeli attitude toward the radical Left’s recent drumming up of hostilities, concluding:
If Israel has to go alone, so be it, writes The Wall Street Journal’s Brett Stephens: “Repay contempt with contempt. Mr. Obama plays to classic bully type. He is abusive and surly only toward those he feels are either too weak, or too polite, to hit back…. The Israelis will need to chart their own path of resistance…. Israel survived its first 19 years without meaningful U.S. patronage. For now, all it has to do is get through the next 22, admittedly long, months.”
In the end, he is right. Israel has the self-determination and autonomy to weather the storm. The question is, will the Jewish American community rise to the occasion, or be consumed in the fires of its own outrageous fury, drummed up by a mad man who has no problem negotiating the Jewish people’s terms of destruction on an international scale?
Via the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:
It’s not every day that a federal official goes to Congress and tells them not to fund some of his agency’s functions. But that’s what FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai did at a House FCC budget hearing:
Congress should forbid the Commission from using any appropriated funds to implement or enforce the plan the FCC just adopted to regulate the Internet. Not only is this plan bad policy; absent outside intervention, the Commission will expend substantial resources implementing and enforcing regulations that are wasteful, unnecessary, and affirmatively detrimental to the American public.
This, of course, would be dependent upon the Republicans getting a little more fortitude when it comes to exercising the “power of the purse”. Thus far, that’s something they have been a little timid about. Even when they try (executive amnesty), they don’t commit.
One thing is for certain: nothing in the president’s overreach plans will be free, it all needs to be funded. Maybe if he gets the cookie jar lid slammed on his fingers a few times some of his enthusiasm will diminish.
It’s worth a try.
And now I want cookies.
Gunfire could be heard around the city centre, and security forces allied to the Houthis have taken over the international airport.
The rebels have made rapid gains since seizing a key airbase only 60km (37 miles) from Aden on Wednesday morning.
Government officials deny reports that the president has fled the country, and say he remains in Aden.
The US State Department says it was in touch with President Hadi earlier in the day. It said he is no longer at the compound but could not confirm any “additional details” about his location.
State television, which is controlled by the rebels, announced a reward of 20m Yemeni riyals ($93,000; £62,500) for anyone who captures the “fugitive” president.
Is there anything more comforting in these troubled times than assurances from our State Dept. that all is not as bad as it seems in a conflict-ridden region (pick one)?
If this were a Republican adminstration, the MSM would be competing to see how many “He called this a SUCCESS!” stories they could get out there each day. With this president, it’s like they’re all given daily hits of the memory zapper from the “Men In Black” series.
Oh, in case you need a real world barometer to counter the official news from our government, the rebels running roughshod over Yemen are backed by Iran.
President Obama said Thursday he would make “absolutely no apologies” for ordering the controversial prisoner swap to rescue Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the last American prisoner of war in Afghanistan.
Obama said he was never surprised by “controversies that are whipped up in Washington,” but deflected criticism from members of Congress and the military over the trade of five Guantánamo prisoners for Bergdahl, who has been accused of abandoning his post in Afghanistan before his capture.
We see that Obama went with his standard “it’s all made up” dismissal. One really couldn’t blame him –the press has been letting him get away with it for the entire time he’s been in office.
Thankfully, the military is too busy protecting us to watch much cable news, so they proceeded with the investigation into Bergdahl despite the president’s assurance that it was all a Beltway fabrication.
If you ever have time to kill and want a brain teaser, try to remember any time President Obama staged a media op to address criminal activity and didn’t come down on the side of the criminal.
On yesterday’s episode of The O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck clashed with each other about Beck’s statement that he no longer supports the Republican Party. It was an interesting debate, although O’Reilly didn’t appear to grasp Beck’s point about defunding the Republican leadership and supporting individual candidates instead:
Beck’s point is well-taken. Why fund the Republican Party itself if you only support certain conservative candidates — and those candidates are being attacked by their own party’s leaders?
Increasingly, voters try to find candidates they support, not a specific party. Parties played a major role in organizing campaigns on every level (local, state, federal) in the past, but that’s increasingly less the case nowadays. Also, when you donate your hard-earned dollars to a party rather than to an individual, part of your donation ends up helping candidates you don’t support or even actively hurting the ones you do.
Both the Democratic Party and the GOP are “big tents” now, with people who often have conflicting views. See how Elizabeth Warren Democrats think compared to Hillary supporters, or how Cruz supporters think compared to Mitch McConnell and his ilk. They often have opposing — not complementary — goals.
Political parties are outdated, so why not stop supporting them?
We know that ISIS will stop at nothing to take as much land as they can and claim it for Islam. Now the Tunisian town of Tataouine, where George Lucas filmed part of Star Wars (and for which he named the film’s planet Tatooine), has reportedly fallen under ISIS control.
This struggling town on the fringes of the Sahara still draws a few fans of the movie but now finds itself part of a real conflict, as a way-station for jihadists crossing the Libyan border 60 miles to the east.
Earlier this month, before the gun attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis, three young men were arrested here as they allegedly made plans to cross into Libya to join a terrorist network. A local official told CNN they had since been taken to Tunis for questioning.
Two arms caches have also been found in the region this month, one of which included rocket-propelled grenade launchers and more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition, thought to have been removed from a Libyan armory in the aftermath of Moammar Gadhafi’s ouster in 2011.
Tunisians worry about the frail state of neighbor Libya and the presence of ISIS all over North Africa. The country recently celebrated the anniversary of its independence from France, but now the mood among residents is less than celebratory.
The mood among many Tunisians seems much harder and more pragmatic than it was four years ago. A shopkeeper in a small village between Tataouine and Remada said there needs to be a security crackdown. He said people in the area led simple lives — but they knew each other and noticed strangers.
Bassim, a taxi driver on the island of Djerba, some 60 miles to the north of Tataouine, was of a similar view.
“The people need to be the third eye of the security forces” he said. “And we need to think of the safety of visitors like we think of the safety of our families.”
Tunisians say their country is at a crossroads as it tries to fend off the jihadist contagion seeping across North Africa. Their democracy is young and vulnerable.
“We want to be the hope of the Arab world,” said Bassim, “like we were four years ago.”
“We still have hope, but now we have fear too.”
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / Adisa
A Taliban spokesman says the U.S. decision to delay the reduction of troops in Afghanistan will badly undermine the chances for peace.
Meeting with Aghan President Ashraf Ghani at the White House on March 24, President Barack Obama said the United States would leave 9,800 troops in Afghanistan though the end of 2015 instead of cutting the number to 5,500, and would decide on plans for 2016 later this year.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on March 25 that Obama’s announcement “damages all prospects for peace.”
Mujahid said the U.S. decision “means the war will go on until they are all defeated.”
It really doesn’t take a hyperactive imagination to draw a mental picture of what a peace negotiation on the part of the Taliban looks like when they are not held in check militarily. There are people who can remember fifteen years ago, after all.
If the bad guys are in a hurry for you to get out of town, it generally isn’t because they just want to relax in your absence. The Unites States shouldn’t be there forever, obviously, but troops may need to be there longer than what is necessary for President Obama’s legacy-building plan.
The newly announced Republican presidential candidate told CNN’s Dana Bash on Tuesday that he will sign up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act — a law he has been on a crusade to kill.
It’s a deeply ironic development for the Texas conservative firebrand, who vaulted to fame during his few years in the Senate in large part by denouncing President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law. He led an effort to defund the law that contributed to the 2013 government shutdown.
“Deeply ironic?” Please explain how, dear liberal hacks at CNN. He explains that he believes in obeying the law even when he disagrees with it. That’s not “ironic,” that’s a man living by his beliefs.
Besides, unlike some in Congress — who exempted themselves from Obama’s horrendous health plan despite having voted for it — he shows that he’s actually willing to live a life similar to that of most Americans. He fights to ease their burden of a horrendous health plan — but as long as they have to live with it, so will he.
It’s not that difficult to comprehend, but CNN’s leftist propagandists are having none of it. It’s way too much fun to “freeze” Cruz, “isolate” him, and “polarize” him. Just like Saul Alinsky taught.
A week or so ago, everyone was having lots of Footloose-joke fun at the expense of Canada’s “The Town That Dreaded Curse Words”:
Taber, Alberta — population around 8,000 — has not only banned swearing, but “yelling and screaming” are now also against the law in the small community.
Serious questions came up, too, like whether the bylaw violated (admittedly comical) Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
But what nobody dared to report, until Maclean’s did just now, was just who all these anti-social miscreants were, the ones that necessitated the passing of such a wacky-sounding law in the first place.
Turns out, they’re young Mennonites.
Huh? That sounds like a bigger joke than the original story, right?
But even Maclean’s buries the (other) lede until mid-way through their piece:
These troublemakers aren’t just Mennonites.
They’re Mexican Mennonites.
Who’ve brought with them their culture’s well-documented indifference to such uptight Anglo-Saxon values as prioritizing higher education; cooperating with one’s neighbors to maintain a safe, clean, quiet, civilized public square; and interacting with (surprisingly non-bribable!) authorities in a respectful, law-abiding fashion.
Victor Davis Hanson, please pick up the (off-) white courtesy phone.
And press #2 for Spanish.
Dozens of “medical refugees” from Georgia could make their way back home soon as the state Senate passed a bill allowing cannabis oil for certain medical conditions on Tuesday. The only hurdle between the bill and the desk of Governor Nathan Deal is a vote in the House, which may come this week.
Senate supporters have handed over legislation likely to make that happen — especially since it is already supported by the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon.
The compromise was made last week, after Senate Health and Human Services Chairwoman Renee Unterman, R-Buford, rewrote HB 1 as a way to merge a restrictive medical marijuana measure already approved in the Senate and a much broader effort already approved by the House.
The new version would allow cannabis oil to be used to treat eight of the nine disorders sought by the House in that chamber’s own medical marijuana proposal: cancer, Crohn’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), mitochondrial disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, seizure disorders and sickle cell disease.
And it would set a higher bar for what type of oil would be allowed: The oil could contain no more than 5 percent THC — the high-inducing chemical associated with recreational marijuana use — and must include at least a matching amount of cannabidiol to ensure better purity and quality of the drug.
The initial Senate version of the bill restricted usage to children under 18, which the bill’s supporters found unacceptable. Deal also faced considerable pressure from proponents of the measure before finally agreeing to sign a bill when it passed. This news obviously comes as welcome relief for the families who sought hope for their children but had to leave home to do so.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / urbans
Last week, the Black Lives Matter chapter in Minneapolis was up in arms over the use of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag by a non-profit called Better Ed. The conservative education-policy group printed the hashtag and a black-fist image on mailers drawing attention to the achievement gap in Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools. The local Fox affiliate reported:
… the appropriation of the hashtag and fist image by an organization that has no people of color on its staff [has] drawn the ire of activists associated with Black Lives Matter…
Much of that ire came from University of St. Thomas law professor Nekima Levy-Pounds, who faces charges in connection with an unlawful protest by Black Lives Matter at the Mall of America on December 20. One of her tweets appears below.
— Nekima Levy-Pounds (@nvlevy) March 12, 2015
This week, Black Lives Matter has appropriated a hashtag created by the Mall of America for marketing. From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
A Mall of America social media campaign urging shoppers to share some of their favorite experiences at the Bloomington megamall was quickly hijacked by supporters of the group Black Lives Matter.
What began as a few messages reminiscing about Camp Snoopy on Twitter spiraled into an outlet for demonstrators and their supporters to commandeer the hashtag #itsmymall.
Double-standards have become a trademark of the Black Lives Matter movement. The manic transition from violating the Mall of America’s property right by staging the December protest, to claiming a property right over a hashtag, to then appropriating the mall’s hashtag for their own purposes is enough to trigger whiplash in a rational observer.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday that Canada intends to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham for as long as the militant group poses a threat.
The government introduced a motion to extend the current six-month mission in Iraq for up to a year, ending in March 2016. But the expiry date is apparently flexible.
In one of their terse exchanges in question period, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair asked the prime minister if the military campaign had an exit strategy. Mr. Harper did not provide one.
What’s that? A leader not telling the enemy when he will stop fighting? What kind of madness is this?!?
This guy has obviously not read Obama’s “Cut and Run” playbook:
“Our goal here is to deal with the threat to [Canada],” Mr. Harper said, “and we will deal with it for as long as it is there and we will not stop dealing with it before that.”
Some may say that I am making an apples and oranges comparison here, but it’s the differences in focus between Obama and Harper that are interesting. Obama is in it for as long as he deems necessary, and Harper realizes that things like this have a messiness and fluidity about them.
In other words, he’s a grown-up. One who has perhaps read a history book or two, rather than gobble up the words of Alinsky and Bill Ayers.
They’ve got good beer up there…road trip, maybe?
The No. 2 official at the Homeland Security Department improperly intervened on behalf of foreign investors seeking U.S. visas in three cases involving prominent Democrats, including a company run by the youngest brother of likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, the agency’s inspector general said Tuesday.
Investigators said Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas helped efforts to secure the visas in ways that created the appearance of favoritism and special access and caused resentment among career government employees, managers and lawyers.
The agency’s inspector general, John Roth, said he could not suggest a motive for Mayorkas, a longtime Democrat who served on President Barack Obama’s transition team after his 2008 election and was U.S. attorney in California under President Bill Clinton. Roth did not accuse Mayorkas of violating any laws and acknowledged that Mayorkas sometimes declined to become involved in cases because he said he did not think it would be appropriate.
Maybe it was just an oversight and this is all much ado about nothing, right?
Could be plausible, until you find out that Terry McAuliffe was involved.
Not long before he became governor of Virginia, Democrat Terry McAuliffe received special treatment on behalf of his electric-car company from a top official at the Department of Homeland Security, according to a new report from the department’s inspector general.
McAuliffe was among several politically powerful individuals from both parties, including Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), seeking special visas for foreign investors through a program administered by the department. But intervention on behalf of McAuliffe’s GreenTech Automotive company by Alejandro Mayorkas, now the department’s No. 2 official, “was unprecedented,” according to the report.
A good rule of thumb when dealing with any appearance of impropriety in which a Clintonista is involved is “guilty until proven much guiltier than you could possibly imagine.”
Alas, when the Clinton folk are involved they always find a way to not make anything criminal stick, largely because they are such practiced criminals.
President Barack Obama is delaying the pace of his planned troop withdrawal from Afghanistan but has not changed his commitment to remove nearly all U.S. troops by the time he leaves office.
The White House cited a newly productive relationship with Afghanistan’s new co-leaders, President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, as one key reason why Obama agreed to grant what they called “flexibility” in the planned departure.
Story Continued Below
Another reason, Obama suggested to reporters Tuesday at the White House, are the lessons learned from the collapse of security in Iraq following his withdrawal of U.S. forces in 2011, which ultimately necessitated the return of nearly 3,000 American troops this year to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, along with an air war costing $8.5 million a day.
“We’re doing everything we can to help the Afghan Security Forces succeed, so we don’t have to go back,” Obama said, “so we don’t have to respond in an emergency because terrorist activities are being launched out of Afghanistan.”
You read that correctly. He learned so much from the Iraq debacle that he is going to do exactly the same thing in Afghanistan, he’s just going to take longer to do it.
Naturally, the press is treating this like a measured response on the part of the president. The problem, however, wasn’t just with how quickly troops were removed from Iraq, but that the enemy knew exactly when they would do so.
ISIS has proven to be patient and savvy, and they have been co-opting some Taliban warriors to gain a foothold in Afghanistan.
And now they know just how long they have to hang around.
Earlier this month I reported here at PJ Media that U.S.-backed Syrian rebel group Harakat al-Hazm had disbanded, and their U.S.-provided TOW anti-tank missiles had ended up in the hands of Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria.
Today a video posted on YouTube by al-Nusra shows their operatives using the U.S. TOW missiles to attack Syrian army positions in Idlib. They also posted a statement to that effect on Twitter:
— Harald Doornbos (@HaraldDoornbos) March 24, 2015
Here’s the video, with a TOW missile making its appearance ~ 0:43:
When I reported on the collapse of Hazm earlier in the month, I noted that pictures had appeared of al-Nusra fighters posing with U.S.-provided weapons, including the TOW missiles.
— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) March 2, 2015
Some D.C. analysts claimed that the TOW tubes in the pictures were empty, but it is apparent now that al-Nusra did get their hands on live rounds and acquired personnel trained in firing the TOW system.
This, undoubtedly, is one reason why former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, once one of the loudest cheerleaders for arming the Syrian rebels, has done a complete turn-around and is now openly critical of the Syrian opposition:
Robert Ford was always one of the Syrian rebels’ loudest cheerleaders in Washington, agitating from within a reluctant administration to arm vetted moderates to fight Bashar Assad’s brutal regime.
In recent weeks, however, Ford, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria who made news when he left government service a year ago with an angry critique of Obama administration policy, has dropped his call to provide weapons to the rebels. Instead, he’s become increasingly critical of them as disjointed and untrustworthy because they collaborate with jihadists.
The about-face, which is drawing murmurs among foreign policy analysts and Syrian opposition figures in Washington, is another sign that the so-called moderate rebel option is gone and the choices in Syria have narrowed to regime vs. extremists in a war that’s killed more than 200,000 people and displaced millions.
Of course, some had argued, including myself, that this is where things were headed all along with the Obama administration’s policy of supporting, arming and training the so-called “vetted moderates.” And now Ford is admitting that the “vetted moderates” supported by the U.S. are collaborating with jihadist groups.
More smart diplomacy in action.
The Times of Israel got it straight from an anonymous “senior Jerusalem official”: Obama wanted “revenge” in the wake of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Times of Israel that “it’s no secret” that the Obama administration had attempted to influence the outcome of the election…
…“The White House is driven by three main motives,” the senior official said. “The first is revenge [over the Congress speech]. The second is frustration: It’s no secret that they were involved in an attempt to bring down the Netanyahu government – something that we have clear knowledge of – and failed. The third [motive] is the administration’s attempt to divert attention from the negotiations with Iran to the Palestinian issue.”
Not only do Israeli policymakers have a full understanding of Obama’s involvement in Israeli elections, they have also already reasoned their way around Obama’s potential politicking at the UN:
…The White House will attempt to “punish” Israel at the UN or the Security Council, the senior Israeli official said Tuesday, alluding to intimations by US officials to the effect that Washington could change its policy of vetoing anti-Israel measures and even pursue a unilateral Palestinian statehood initiative.
“Congress is currently our only means of preventing a series of harmful initiatives, on both the Iranian and the Palestinian front,” the official said. “If the US government will permit the recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN, then Congress will brandish its knives and defund the UN.” On Sunday, Republic Senator John McCain threatened to do just that.
And are at ease portraying Obama as the hypocrite who is busy covering his tracks:
…“They come and accuse us of torpedoing negotiations even though they know that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas himself said no [to a deal], twice — once to then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton in 2011, and once to Secretary of State John Kerry last year.”
On his radio show yesterday, Mark Levin criticized his “friends from Fox News” for secretly supporting Jeb Bush and attacking real conservative candidates like Ted Cruz:
As you all know I’m a huge fan of the Fox News channel. Particularly certain hosts. But I have to wonder: if Ronald Reagan was running in 1976 starting in ’75 against Gerald Ford, how most of the people at Fox would treat him. Because to my great dismay – as I was preparing for the program, I had my favorite cable network on – and a number of the people were trashing Ted Cruz. Not enough experience, he’s too young, too conservative, needs a bigger tent, he’s down in the polls… These people are neophytes. Neophytes. They’ve never fought in Republican primaries for conservative candidates. They don’t even take the time to learn the history of this country or the Republican Party. And I am convinced that if Reagan were alive today and Gerald Ford were live today, and we were doing a rerun of 1975-1976, Reagan would be trashed all over our favorite cable channel.
The question isn’t whether Reagan would be supported by conservatives today – he most assuredly would – the question is whether he’d be supported by several people on our favorite cable channel. And the answer is no.
Levin added that those people probably support Jeb Bush.
The question is, of course: is he right? Well, he followed his criticism up with these Facebook updates:
So, yes, every single thing Levin said yesterday is correct. Fox News does indeed oppose Cruz — and any other real conservative candidate like him. The reason is that Fox isn’t conservative, but corporatist. They support candidates who are pro-amnesty (because it supposedly means cheap labor for businesses) and pro-corporate welfare. Cruz isn’t, Jeb is. So it’s a no-brainer for them.
A good question:
— Chuck Woolery (@chuckwoolery) March 24, 2015
Chuck Woolery was quickly answered:
It’s sad, but all of those answers are right. Believing in the system and rights promoted by the Constitution is now “extreme.” The worst part? We not only have the Obama administration and their lapdogs in the media to thank for that, but establishment Republicans as well.
The idea of American exceptionalism has become a topic of debate in the Obama years. Both sides in this often heated debate dig their heels in and stand firm in their convictions. But regardless of one’s political convictions, it’s hard to argue against the idea that the United States is unique among nations. In the 19th century, French historian and political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville recognized this and was among the first to recognize that America was an exceptional nation.
A recent Pew Research survey demonstrates that, nearly two centuries after de Tocqueville, the United States stands out from other nations in some surprising ways.
One area where Americans rank well above citizens of other countries is in the notion of individualism.
When Pew Research Center surveyed people in 44 countries last spring, 57% of Americans disagreed with the statement “Success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control,” a higher percentage than most other nations and far above the global median of 38%.
The American work ethic stands far above that of other nations as well.
True to the stereotype, surveys showed that Americans are more likely to believe that hard work pays off. When asked, on a scale of 0 to 10, about how important working hard is to getting ahead in life, 73% of Americans said it is was a “10” or “very important,” compared with a global median of 50% among the 44 nations.
Americans are exceptional among wealthy developed nations as a people of faith who place their moral convictions within the context of religious belief.
In general, people in richer nations are less likely than those in poorer nations to say religion plays a very important role in their lives. But Americans are more likely than their counterparts in economically advanced nations to deem religion very important. More than half (54%) of Americans said religion was very important in their lives, much higher than the share of people in Canada (24%), Australia (21%) and Germany (21%), the next three wealthiest economies we surveyed from 2011 through 2013.
People in richer nations tend to place less emphasis on the need to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values than people in poorer countries do. While the share of Americans holding that view is far lower than in poorer nations like Indonesia and Ghana (each 99%), the U.S. stands out when compared with people in other economically advanced nations. In the U.S., 53% say belief in God is a prerequisite for being moral and having good values, much higher than the 23% in Australia and 15% in France, according to our study of 39 nations between 2011 and 2013.
Finally, Americans tend to be far more optimistic than their counterparts in wealthier nations — a fact researchers discovered almost by accident.
Americans are also more upbeat than people in other wealthy nations when asked how their day is going. While we ask this question to help respondents get more comfortable with the interviewer, it provides a glimpse into people’s moods and reveals a slightly negative correlation between those saying the day is a good one and per capita gross domestic product. About four-in-ten Americans (41%) described their day as a “particularly good day,” a much higher share than those in Germany (21%), the UK (27%) and Japan (8%).
These findings ought to lead some politicians to rethink their conceptions of American exceptionalism. The statistics prove that the United States is truly unique among its peers.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / Rawpixel
+972 is about as Left as you can get when it comes to political opinions on Israel, which is why kudos go out to blogger Edo Konrad for being the only English-language Israeli writer to draw attention to Isaac Herzog’s anti-Arab campaign ad. It’s just a shame he waited for the dust to settle on the false “Bibi is racist” claims before doing so, but then again, why would he have risked screwing his own party of choice before the election?
Konrad is high-minded in his ethics, enough to criticize Herzog:
…it was Herzog’s utter indifference toward Israel’s Palestinian minority, not to mention the 47-year military dictatorship in the occupied territories, that received little media attention.
In fact, the only time Herzog’s campaign really made an effort to spotlight Israel’s Arab citizens was in a video featuring IDF veterans who served alongside him in the prestigious Unit 8200, which is part of Israel’s vaunted intelligence corps. In the video, the veterans laud Herzog as someone who “understands the Arab mentality” and “has seen Arabs in all kinds of situations,” including “in the crosshairs.”
But, don’t mistake Konrad’s commentary for caring an actual whit about Israeli Arabs. His conclusion as to why Bibi won and Herzog lost:
By warning against “buses full of Arabs,” Netanyahu crossed the line from Likud hawk to Marzel-type incitement. Herzog, on the other hand, remained strictly within the confines of “good taste” — and lost.
Disturbing to say the least. But not uncommon among Israel’s bruised and battered extreme Leftists who have decided to lash out in rage like abused, frightened animals in the wake of the Right’s overwhelming electoral victory. Which is probably why the Left is having such trouble unifying, something that inspired the following exchange between 2 Leftist friends on Facebook:
“The right and the left need to live with moderates.”
“I was thinking the right and left need to live with Xanax.”
So much for the hype that Jewish-American leftists will cut off their support for Israel in droves. If anything, perhaps they, too, will have the guts to look behind the green curtain and into the party’s psych ward.
Brussels police on Monday arrested a taxi driver who confessed to taking part in several incidents of intimidation against drivers using the Uber ride-sharing app, in the latest controversy over the U.S. tech company in Europe.
Public prosecutors in the Belgian capital said the 35-year-old licensed cabbie, identified only as N.C., admitted to being among several colleagues who had ordered rides on the Uber app on Sunday evening and then intimidated drivers who arrived at the rendezvous. Police said four such cases have been reported, some involving the throwing of eggs or flour. An Uber driver’s smartphone was stolen in one case.
No one was hurt in the four incidents. But with tensions mounting between licensed taxi firms and users of the services of California-based Uber, Brussels police called a crisis meeting with cabbies’ representatives on Tuesday.
Honestly, I was surprised when I found out that this happened in Brussels and not some American city. Then I remembered that municipalities here have been in cahoots with the cab drivers they bleed to death for licensing to shut down Uber. Thankfully, they have been failing thus far.
Perhaps cab companies might want take their eyes off of legal action and compete by cleaning up the cabs and providing better service.
I swear I’m sober.
Smart Diplomacy in Action: US Ambassador to Libya Abandons Twitter After Tweeting False Bombing Casualty Info
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah K. Jones retired from Twitter on Monday after tweeting out false information on civilian casualties of a bombing raid by military forces of the internationally recognized Libyan government:
— Safira Deborah (@SafiraDeborah) March 23, 2015
Her tweet was picked up by Western media as the primary source for the information. See this Reuters article:
Eight civilians were killed in an air strike near Tripoli on Monday, the U.S. ambassador said, as Libya’s internationally recognized government pressed on with an assault to recapture the capital it abandoned to a rival faction last year …
“Terrible news today from Tarhouna where eight innocent displaced Tawergha killed in air strikes,” U.S. Ambassador Deborah Jones said in a tweet, referring to members of a minority group, thousands of whom were displaced after Gaddafi fell.
“This violence serves no one’s interests,” said Jones, who is based outside Libya since most diplomats were evacuated from Tripoli last year.
It turned out that the information was based on rumors and conflicting information from both sides:
The eastern chief of army staff said in a statement its planes had hit a Libya Dawn barracks, not a Tawergha camp, demanding an apology from Jones.
But Mohamed al-Tarhouni, spokesman of the town’s municipality, said nobody had been killed in the strike which he said had hit an empty farm near a camp of displaced Tawergha.
Jones and Louai El-Ghawi, an eastern lawmaker, said there were reports that several family members of a colonel opposed to Libya Dawn had been killed in Tarhouna in an apparent revenge attack, but details were unclear. The eastern chief of staff said Dawn supporters had killed eight members of the family.
A freelance reporter on the scene found nothing describing the info that Jones had tweeted out:
@SafiraDeborah I saw by myself 3 impacts of the airstrike, I can guarantee no one was killed because of it 1/2
— Mathieu Galtier (@mathieu_galtier) March 23, 2015
The Libyan Army condemned Jones’ statement:
— Alwasat (@alwasatengnews) March 23, 2015
Libyan Twitter users then began attacking the ambassador for floating false information:
False information from the US ambassador, especially after being sensationalized in the media, has naturally generated a firestorm in #Libya
— James Wheeler (@wheelertweets) March 23, 2015
The back-tracking then began in earnest:
My last tweet based on sources on both sides. Numbers may need correction but bottom line remains: violence serves no one.
— Safira Deborah (@SafiraDeborah) March 23, 2015
This info followed info on the other strikes: both are wrong and we condemn both. The violence must cease. Period
— Safira Deborah (@SafiraDeborah) March 23, 2015
But the damage had been done, and she announced her departure from Twitter:
I have concluded it is best to cease efforts to communicate via Twitter insofar as it distracts from our goal of peace & stability 4 #Libya
— Safira Deborah (@SafiraDeborah) March 23, 2015
We shall continue to post official statements on our embassy FB account. To all those responsible & thoughtful Tweeps out there, thank you
— Safira Deborah (@SafiraDeborah) March 23, 2015
Getting to know thoughtful, dedicated Libyans via Twitter has been an inspiration & given me great hope 4 Libya's future. I wish you well.
— Safira Deborah (@SafiraDeborah) March 23, 2015
Thus, America is even getting run off of Twitter.
— Youssef Sawani (@YoussefSawani) March 23, 2015
Have any other US ambassadors pulled out of Twitter before? Is @SafiraDeborah the first? I remember when the embassy in Cairo clamped down.
— Andy Carvin (@acarvin) March 23, 2015
Smart diplomacy in action. I blame that YouTube video.