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[Video] How to Be Miserable in the Land of Opportunity | Scott Ott’s 7 Secrets

Saturday, January 31st, 2015 - by Scott Ott

Here’s the script for the “Scott Ott Thought” video above.

SCOTT OTT: I’m Scott Ott, and here’s a thought.

People often ask me, “Scott Ott how can anyone be miserable during the greatest era of health and opportunity that America has ever seen?”

Well, it really isn’t very difficult. In fact, I can teach you how in fewer than 5 minutes. Here are Scott Ott’s seven secrets for getting, and staying miserable in the midst of joy and plenty.

First, read the New York Times.

You know, many of the secrets of success — like diligence, hard work, and honesty — are necessary, but not sufficient, to produce prosperity.

However, to achieve misery, The New York Times, is, in fact, sufficient.

It’ll have you fondling a revolver within just a few paragraphs.

This kind of misery-inducing work doesn’t just flow from the facts and the news. It takes the efforts of hundreds of reporters and editors in order to look at the numbers in a way that makes you wonder whether that ceiling fan can support your full weight.

Number two, replace the word “description” with the word “destiny.”

You see The New York Times describes what’s happening in the economy — for example, the middle class is shrinking. But you’ll fail miserably at being miserable if you don’t manage to translate that news into a personal belief that you are destined to fall from the middle class into poverty.

If you’re already in poverty, the key to getting and remaining miserable in the midst of it is to believe that the middle class is now squeezed so tight that you can’t get in. Misery is your destiny.

Third, you must control your mental focus.

You know, it’s so easy to slip out of that misery-thinking and into the belief that the plenty that you see around you could be yours. Don’t do it, my friend. You’ll never achieve sustainable misery if you start believing that you could change your current circumstances.

If you find your mind wandering toward opportunity, or goal-setting, or even enjoying the situation that you’re currently in, you must take immediate action. First, read The New York Times.

Fourth, it’s important to believe that the way you perceive things to be now, is the way they really are, the way they’ve always been and always will be.

If you even start to think that there’s a sunny side of the street, it’s a slippery slope, my friend.

Next thing you know, you’ll start to fantasize that life could be better than it is now, and then you’ll start to plan for that better future life, and you know what that will lead to?

I guarantee you, it won’t smell like misery.

You run the very real risk of rushing headlong into opportunity. Then you just might find out that all your preparation has primed you for a time such as this. And then, how are you going to remain miserable?

Fifth, if you have a job, hate your job.

O, you don’t have to go out and get a terrible job. You can start right here, right now, by simply hating the job you already have.

It doesn’t matter how much money you make at that job — I know folks making minimum wage who hate their jobs, and I know people earning six figures who don’t like what they do. The content of the work is irrelevant.

I’ll admit that hating your job is difficult, because it’s an intentional decision, but you have to make it seem like a natural consequence of your birth.

Number six: Worry. [SING] “Don’t happy. Be worry.”

Worry is easy because there are only two things to worry about:

1) things you can change, and

2) things you can’t change.

You see, there are problems and there are facts of life. Problems can be fixed. Facts of life can’t be fixed but they can be worked around. But the secret to a worriful life is to see problems as facts of life, and facts of life as problems.

This will help you worry about the problems you might otherwise solve, and it will worry the quinoa out of you as you try to fix human nature.

Hey, did you notice: We’re not even done this course yet, and I bet already you’re beginning to feel a little miserable. Good for you.

Finally, number seven: Demand that government make you happy.

Whether it’s money, or health insurance, child care or child disposal, or the need to make something legal that was illegal when you did it — put your hopes in government and politicians.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican who wants smaller government, lower taxes and fewer Democrats, or a Democrat, who wants larger government, higher taxes on Republicans, and larger government.

Hoping that politicians and government will change the world in ways that make you happy is, perhaps, the most foolproof way to getting and staying miserable in the midst of joy and plenty.

I’m Scott Ott, and there’s a thought.

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American Sniper Eclipses Saving Private Ryan to Become #1 Domestic Grossing War Film Of All Time

Friday, January 30th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

That was fast.

“American Sniper” has overtaken “Saving Private Ryan” as the top domestic grossing war movie of all time. The Clint Eastwood drama starring Bradley Cooper has so far earned $217.1 million at the U.S. box office, surpassing Spielberg’s film, which earned $216.5 million in 1998.

The Eastwood drama added 180 theaters in its third week of release, with “Sniper” now playing in 3,885 theaters. It overtook “Saving Private Ryan” on Thursday, and is on track to earn another $35 million to finish No. 1 at the box office for the third week in a row.

This should cause some in-between-sandwiches weeping and gnashing of teeth at Michael Moore’s house.

After complaining for a couple of weeks that “Sniper” glorifies war and seeing it become even more popular, the leftmedia hit the bandwagon has spent the last few days trying to claim that it is in fact an anti-war movie.

Sadly, the whining from the people who were never going to like the film will probably have an effect on its Academy Awards chances.

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Army Deletes ‘Chinks’ in Armor Tweet Because PC Crowd Too Stupid to Understand English

Friday, January 30th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Stop the madness.

The Army has deleted a tweet posted Thursday afternoon referring to “chinks” in the armor of its Special Operations capabilities after receiving numerous accusations of racism.

The tweet read: “Chinks in special ops’ digital and physical armor poses challenges, experts say.”

The political correctness speech fascists are second only to terrorists in their zeal to destroy America. In fact, they do more to help the terrorists’ cause here than the terrorists do themselves. The arbitrary assignation of evil/hate/whatever to words or phrases is a growing cancer in American society that is designed solely to assault free speech. After the Charlie Hebdo massacre there was a lot of lip service paid to freedom of expression, but the majority of the people linking arms in solidarity are also the ones who created this dangerous hyper-sensitivity.

That public display put them in a position to be held accountable on this matter, and real proponents of free speech should exploit this chink in their armor. special-operations

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Fourth Quarter GDP Report A ‘Disappointment’

Friday, January 30th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

This number is awful in light of what economists expected but pretty much par for the course in recent years. The good news always brings hope for some sustainable growth but is followed by “unexpected” bad news. The lapdog media faithfully dig for nuggets of hope, though.

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Godless Militants Go After Alabama Town

Thursday, January 29th, 2015 - by Chris Queen

Winfield, Alabama, is a sleepy little town not far from Birmingham where about 5,000 people work, live, and worship – a city where the year’s biggest event is Mule Day every September.

Winfield has also become the site of a fight over religion. Because the greatest defense against theocracy is an attack on a tiny Southern town, militant atheists have targeted the town over a proclamation the mayor and city council issued back in December of last year “acknowledging the blessings of God and expressing a desire to seek Divine guidance.”

Over the next several weeks, the city received blistering letters of condemnation from the American Civil Liberties Union and Freedom From Religion Foundation decrying the alleged violation of separation of church and state. The FFRF letter was particularly harsh, suggesting that God was the mayor’s “imaginary friend” and that, if God did exist, he probably did not care about the small Alabama town.

The Pacific Justice Institute has come to the defense of Winfield, citing recent rulings that support the town’s proclamation and its decision to stand behind it.

In response, PJI sent a letter to Mayor Randy Price late Friday, pointing out the proclamation’s consistency both with recent cases and historic American traditions. The PJI letter noted the omission in either the ACLU or FFRF letters of failed attempts by those groups to mount similar legal challenges. Within the last few years the FFRF lost a legal challenge to President Obama’s continuation of the National Day of Prayer proclamation, and the ACLU lost a case where it had sued over Ohio’s state motto, “With God all things are possible.” Court decisions in this area have also allowed local proclamations and resolutions to voice anti-religious sentiments. For instance, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the right of San Francisco officials to issue scathing denunciations of religious groups and the Catholic Church, in the name of free speech.

PJI’s president, Brad Dacus, weighed in:

This proclamation does not compel or coerce anyone to do anything.  As with any governmental action, not everyone is going to like it, but that doesn’t make the proclamation unconstitutional.

Here’s hoping that, in the end, Winfield will prevail against the forces trying desperately to be the squeaky wheel against the First Amendment.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley

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Lindsey Graham Keeps Threatening To Run For President

Thursday, January 29th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Your guess is as good as mine.

South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Thursday formed a political organization to explore a potential run for his party’s presidential nomination, the latest high-profile politician to test the 2016 waters.

Graham would attempt to use his South Carolina home base to his advantage for any potential run, since the Southern state is typically the third to hold a nominating contest in presidential election years, after Iowa and New Hampshire.

“What I’m looking at is, is there a pathway forward on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire for a guy like me? I don’t know until I look,” Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Someone is feeding the squish horrible information. The only Republican outside of South Carolina who likes Graham is John McCain, and he isn’t exactly flush with presidential campaign mojo. In fact, the greatest thing that could happen to the GOP would be those two taking a permanent vacation together.

Of all the long-shot potential Republican candidates, Graham makes the least sense. He’s loathed by the base and really doesn’t excite many centrists. Perhaps his inner circle at home feels this is his participation trophy moment. The sooner it passes the better for all of us.

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House GOP February Agenda: Tax Breaks And Protection From Common Core

Thursday, January 29th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Pinch me.

House Republicans will vote on repealing Obamacare next week, but this time the legislation will include “instructions” for committees to craft an GOP alternative.

In a memo sent to Republicans on Thursday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) laid out the agenda for the entire month of February, which will also include making permanent tax breaks for charitable giving and preventing the White House from “coercing states to adopt Common Core standards.”

Admittedly, I had set my expectations for this Congress low, so it is pretty easy for them to make me happy now. I am pleasantly surprised thus far, even with the hiccups.

They are also going to vote on a bill that would prevent any future attempts to raid 529 accounts. Just because this president figured out in a hurry that was a bad idea doesn’t mean some “revenue” seeking progressive won’t go after them in the future.

The most interesting tidbit on the agenda appears at the end of this article:

Next week, the GOP will also vote on a bill that attempts to “hold agencies accountable for the true cost of federal mandates” by imposing “stricter requirements for how and when federal agencies must disclose the cost of federal mandates and equips both Congress and the public with tools to determine the true costs of regulations.”

Putting the bureaucracy in charge of revealing how much bureaucracy costs may not be the most perfect solution, but this is a start. Nearly every (I’m being generous here) federal program and mandate is presented to the public with extremely low cost projections (see: Medicare) to make the sale go smoothly. It’s not unlike being told a new car is going to cost $10,000 and finding out that number was adjusted to $45,000 as soon as you signed the contract.

Any move towards increased transparency has got to help.

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Homeland Security Adviser Mohamed Elibiary Goes on Hate-Filled Anti-Christian Rant, Attacks Jindal as ‘Bottom Feeder’

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Obama administration Muslim adviser Mohamed Elibiary is no stranger to regular PJ Media readers.

In September, Elibiary was unceremoniously removed from his fellowship position with the Department of Homeland Security, which he tried to spin as a “resignation,” but letters sent to members of Congress by DHS officials indicated he would not be reappointed.

Undoubtedly, one of the chief reasons for DHS cutting ties with Elibiary was a long string of extremist statements he had been making on Twitter, including talking about the inevitability of the return of an ISIS-style caliphate — tweets that were subsequently used by ISIS supporters for recruiting purposes.

But Elibiary has apparently not learned his lesson, engaging in a hate-filled anti-Christian rant on Twitter yesterday, even going so far to attack Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as a “bottom feeder”:

Nor, as you’ll see below, is this the first time he has indulged in his anti-Christian bigotry.

Before revisiting his Twitter meltdown, perhaps it’s useful to revisit some of Elibiary’s greatest hits:

  • Elibiary admitted that his mentor and long-time friend was none other than Hamas terrorist leader Shukri Abu Baker, who is currently serving a 65-year prison sentence.
  • In 2003, Elibiary was listed as a board member for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Dallas chapter, which was founded by now-convicted Hamas operative Ghassan Elashi. In 2008, federal prosecutors declared in a federal court brief that “from its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists.”
  • In Dec 2004, Elibiary was a featured speaker at a Dallas rally honoring the Ayatollah Khomeini as a “Great Islamic Visionary,” an event the Dallas Morning News called a “disgrace.”
  • Immediately after the Fort Hood massacre in November 2009, Dallas Morning News editor Rod Dreher recounted Elibiary’s strident defense of jihadist ideologue Sayyid Qutb, whom the 9/11 Commission identified as the chief architect of Al-Qaeda’s ideology.
  • In April 2010, he published an op-ed at Fox News pleading with the Obama administration to not kill senior Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.
  • In June 2010, he attacked the Supreme Court after they upheld the material support for terrorism statute in an op-ed for the Dallas Morning News.
  • In June 2011, the IRS revoked the 501c3 tax-exempt status of Elibiary’s Freedom and Justice Foundation for failing to file the required IRS Form 990s over a period of several years, documents which would reveal the source of his organization’s funding.
  • In October 2011, I reported exclusively here at PJ Media that Elibiary had downloaded sensitive documents by the Texas Dept. of Public Safety from a secure DHS database, and then unsuccessfully tried to shop them to the media claiming then-Gov. Rick Perry was running an “Islamophobic” operation. Despite multiple claims by top DHS officials that an internal investigation exonerated Elibiary, in Sept 2013 DHS admitted in response to the Judicial Watch FOIA request that no records related to any internal investigation existed, prompting members of Congress to claim DHS was engaged in a cover-up. Texas DPS, having conducted their own investigation, severed their relationship with Elibiary.
  • After 30 million Egyptians took to the streets to remove Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi, leading to his ouster, Elibiary added a Muslim Brotherhood logo to his Twitter avatar in solidarity with the extremist Islamic group.
  • In November 2013, Elibiary took to Twitter to announce that the U.S. was a shariah-compliant Islamic country.

So that provides some context for his hate-filled Twitter rant yesterday.

Elibiary began his meltdown by denouncing “guilt by association,” and then engaged in the very group scapegoating (“Christianist culture wars”) he had just condemned:

Then in a bizarre statement, he claimed that Islam is the driving force for the “Far Right” (presumably he means that hatred of the religion of Islam itself drives the “Far Right” — again another sweeping group indictment that he previously denounced):

He then launched into a rage about “Christianist subculture”:

“Christianist” is a slur invented by Leftist reactionaries to attack Christians who take their faith seriously and are politically involved. And yet if Elibiary’s co-conspirators at CAIR can denounce the use of the term “Islamist,” as they recently did, isn’t it equally bigoted and unfair to use the term “Christianist” to attack Elibiary’s perceived enemies?

But he continues, identifying “Christianist subculture” as a “problem” for Muslims, and presumably one that must be eradicated:

“Christianist” subculture is unAmerican:

And again the attack continued, as he demonized a large group he had just identified in the millions as hateful and xenophobic:

And demonstrating the complete lack of self-awareness of his own hypocrisy:

Mohamed, if you find yourself gravitating towards a view that blames “Christianist subculture” broadly, then you’re lost.

But don’t dare call him out on his hypocrisy!

One is given to wonder what Elibiary’s reaction would be if someone were to simply modify his tweets to replace “Christianist subculture” with “American Islamist subculture.” Undoubtedly, he would froth at the mouth with rabid accusations of racism and “Islamophobia.”

This, however, is not remotely the first time that Christians have been the targets of Elibiary’s unbridled rage.

In September 2013, he engaged in a series of tweets attacking Egyptian Coptic Christians:

Which prompted this shocked response from a UK Coptic bishop:

But Elibiary was back spewing anti-Christian hate again last April, attacking Coptic church leaders as immoral:

As I witnessed first-hand in Egypt last year, Elibiary’s Muslim Brotherhood allies sacked and burned down nearly 100 churches in August 2013 and launched an ongoing wave of terror targeting Copts and the government after the ouster of Morsi. During Morsi’s regime, attacks on Christians were commonplace, with the Muslim Brotherhood setting up torture chambers for Christian protesters right outside Morsi’s palace. When Christians were murdered in April 2013, a Muslim mob aided by Morsi’s police attacked the funeral service and mourners at the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo. So it’s no surprise that Christians overwhelmingly supported Morsi’s overthrow.

And the outrage of Coptic Christians is understandable when, despite all the contrary evidence, Elibiary tweets out this:

Clearly, it is long past time for Elibiary’s friends to stage a mental health intervention. And because he exhibits undeniable anti-Christian hatred and bigotry, he clearly has no place advising anyone in our government.

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BREAKING: Boko Haram Releases Video Interview With Spokesman

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

The African terror group Boko Haram has released an interview with their spokesman, Shaikh Abu Mus’ab Albarnawi, where he discusses the recent BH offensive in northern Nigeria, where reportedly 2,000 civilians were killed and the city of Baga and 16 surrounding villages were razed (English translation included):

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See also my analysis from last month, “Nigeria Teeters on the Brink: 8 Terrifying Trends.”

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Obama Administration Cancels Helicopter Sale, Lending Tacit Support to Boko Haram Terrorists

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry paid a lip-service visit to Nigeria on Sunday. The country best known as Ground Zero in the fight against radical Islamists Boko Haram (remember #BringBackOurGirls of 2014?) will be holding elections in February that stand to determine whether the government will continue to be led by a Christian, or if the government will turn into a Muslim regime. If it were up to the Obama administration, the latter would be preferable, at least based off of their latest decision to cut off military aid in the form of much-needed helicopters to Christian forces:

Kerry promised more US support in the fight against Boko Haram if the elections take place peacefully and democratically. However, the United States apparently stopped a planned sale of retired American-made Cobra helicopters by Israel to Nigeria, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported Monday.

Haaretz has learned that the Defense Ministry had already made plans for the sale to Nigeria and the transfer of the helicopters – but the United States prevented the sale, due to fears that civilians would be harmed during the use of the helicopters in Nigeria.

The New York Times reported at the end of December that the US had blocked the sale “amid concerns in Washington about Nigeria’s ability to use and maintain that type of helicopter in its effort against Boko Haram, and continuing worries about Nigeria’s protection of civilians when conducting military operations.”

Radical Islamists are more than aware of the usefulness of civilians in waging operations against trained armies. The Obama administration’s rather clever excuse regarding civilians isn’t all that clever when one realizes Hamas uses the same argument in press releases involving their latest round of human shields.

But this administration has bigger goals on its plate than saving persecuted Christians in Nigeria. They have plenty of battles in their own self-titled “War on Muslims” to wage, which is most likely why, when speaking to the Nigerian audience on Sunday, Kerry “…referenced his Davos speech in which he said linking Islam to terrorist activities is ‘the biggest error we could make.’”

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(VIDEO) Gowdy on Benghazi Hearings: ‘We’re Going to Ratchet It Up’

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

He also says that he would rather have hearings about substance rather than process. One thing is certain, he’s not going to back down just because the Democrats and their media mouthpieces keep saying he should.

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California Franchise Tax Board Cleared for Suspicious Package…Full of Dog Droppings

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

I swear it wasn’t me.

A package opened in the tax-collecting agency’s mailroom in Sacramento on Monday caused an evacuation until firefighters determined the substance was – technically — harmless: dog feces.

The dog waste was inside a leaky container within the package, said Capt. Michelle Eidam of the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District. Workers called authorities once they saw the liquid had leaked, noticed the odd smell and saw it had no message and no specific addressee. It was sent through standard mail.

Oh, I won’t lie and say I haven’t had the urge to do something along these lines but, hey, the fact that it has to be sent anonymously kind of takes the fun out of it.

I also don’t have a dog right now.

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WATCH LIVE: 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Currently being broadcast live from Poland.

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Sundance Film Claims FBI Entraps Innocent Muslims

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Any of my regular readers here at PJ Media can attest, I am no fan of the FBI’s counter-terrorism programs. Recently, I’ve been writing about the FBI’s failures to catch “Known Wolf” terrorists – individuals who were already known to law enforcement prior to their acts of terror. So no one can accuse me of being an apologist for the bureau.

But an article yesterday in The Guardian entitled “Counter-terrorism is supposed to let us live without fear. Instead, it’s creating more of it” by two individuals currently promoting the screening of their film (T)ERROR at the Sundance International Film Festival falsely claims the FBI is engaged in a deliberate effort to entrap innocent American Muslims.

Here’s the case they make:

While making our film (T)ERROR, which tracks a single counter-terrorism sting operation over seven months, we realized that most people have serious misconceptions about FBI counter-terrorism efforts. They assume that informants infiltrate terrorist networks and then provide the FBI with information about those networks in order to stop terrorist plots from being carried out. That’s not true in the vast majority of domestic terrorism cases.

Since 9/11, as Human Rights Watch and others have documented, the FBI has routinely used paid informants not to capture existing terrorists, but to cultivate them. Through elaborate sting operations, informants are directed to spend months – sometimes years – building relationships with targets, stoking their anger and offering ideas and incentives that encourage them to engage in terrorist activity. And the moment a target takes a decisive step forward, crossing the line from aspirational to operational, the FBI swoops in to arrest him.

So they accuse the FBI of setting suspects up and then arresting them — entrapment. This “entrapment” claim is commonly repeated by defense attorneys and self-styled “civil rights” groups. In fact, that’s what the authors of The Guardian article explicitly say:

The cumulative effects of FBI surveillance and entrapment in communities of color have been devastating.

I’ll leave aside their “communities of color” smear, but there is one glaring problem with their entrapment claim: in no single jihadist-related terrorism trial since the 9/11 attacks has a federal court on ANY LEVEL found that the FBI engaged in entrapment. Many suspects have made the claim, but none have successfully argued it. In only one case I remember, that of Ahmadullah Niazi, did the Justice Department voluntarily drop an indictment because of the reliability of an informant.

Those who peddle these FBI entrapment claims have been found to regularly play fast and loose with data, such as describing terror conspirators who turn state’s evidence against their partners and are sentenced to jail for their roles in terror plots as “informants.”

Another tactic taken is to equate the involvement of an informant as a de facto case of entrapment, as do the authors of The Guardian article. They cite the arrest earlier this month of a Cincinnati-area man:

A recent example: on 14 January, the FBI announced that it had interrupted an Isis-inspired terrorist plot in the United States. Christopher Lee Cornell, a 20-year-old recent Muslim convert from Cincinnati, was allegedly plotting to attack the US Capitol with pipe bombs and gun down government officials.

But then they make a colossal leap with this non sequitur:

Cornell was arrested after purchasing two semiautomatic weapons from an Ohio gun store because the man that Cornell thought was his partner was actually an FBI informant.

So the reason he bought the weapons was because there was an informant? In the information made available so far, there’s no indication that’s the case. If the record of every single jihad-related terror case since 9/11 is any guide, it’s unlikely their claim will stand. One reason why these terrorism cases have universally withstood scrutiny by the federal courts are the extensive measures taken by the FBI to prevent entrapment.

As an example of how far the FBI will go to prevent someone from turning to terror, consider the case of 19-year-old Colorado woman Shannon Conley, who was sentenced last week to four years in prison. As the court record shows, the FBI repeatedly warned Conley over a period of months not to attempt to travel to Syria to join ISIS and even talked to her parents asking them to intervene. And yet she persisted in her plans and was arrested trying to board a plane bound for Turkey. Now her parents are saying “the terrorists have won” after her sentencing, blaming the federal government for prosecuting their daughter.

If anything, this administration has bent over backwards to accommodate the concerns that they are unfairly targeting Muslims, such as special rules for dealing with the Muslim community and conducting a wide-spread purge of counter-terrorism training materials at the request of Muslim organizations. Curiously, none of this is mentioned in The Guardian article.

Attorney General Eric Holder, hardly a right-wing neo-con “Islamophobe,” has directly challenged the claims that the FBI uses entrapment targeting the Muslim community, telling one Muslim legal group:

Those who characterize the FBI’s activities in this case as ‘entrapment’ simply do not have their facts straight or do not have a full understanding of the law.

And yet The Guardian regurgitates a number of howlers, such as this:

And on campuses across the country, Muslim student associations have banned discussions of politics, terrorism and the “war on terror.”

But Muslim Student Associations (MSA) have had no trouble at all discussing politics, terrorism and the “war on terror.” In fact, you can’t shut them up from talking about it. One topic you won’t hear addressed at MSA meetings, however, is the long litany of senior MSA leaders who have been convicted in terrorism cases.

In the absence of actual evidence, The Guardian authors have to resort to anecdotes, including this one:

After a recent screening of our film at a New York City mosque, a young African-American convert to Islam, sporting a brown full-body covering with matching hijab, confessed to us that she feels uncomfortable discussing aspects of her identity. She does not speak about her religious conversion in public, for fear of attracting or encouraging informants.

Yes, because wearing a brown full-body covering with a matching hijab, no one would ever know she’s a Muslim.

This is how laughably ridiculous those who peddle this false narrative have sunk. Perhaps a review of some of the jihad-related terror cases where FBI informants weren’t involved is warranted:

Beltway snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo

UNC-Chapel Hill vehicle jihadist Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar

Seattle Jewish Federation killer Naveed Afzal Haq

Little Rock killer Carlos Bledsoe (aka Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad)

Fort Hood killer Major Nidal Hasan

Would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad

Boston bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Cross-country jihadist spree killer Ali Muhammad Brown

Undoubtedly, if FBI informants had been used in any of these cases to prevent their terror attacks, The Guardian authors, Islamic “civil rights” groups and their ilk would be crying “entrapment.”

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Guess Who’s Throwing His Hat Into Kentucky’s Gubernatorial Race?

Monday, January 26th, 2015 - by Chris Queen

Over the last couple of decades it seems like we’ve had more than our fair share of non-traditional office seekers. Kentucky voters can add one more name to that list: Drew Curtis, founder of the snarky aggregate news site Fark.com.

Curtis announced his candidacy – where else – on his blog at Fark.com on Monday. He also announced his wife Heather for lieutenant governor. He promises a completely different paradigm – completely removing the influence of so-called “special interests” from governance.

The 41-year-old Curtis is part the Citizen Candidate movement in which members pledge to make “data-driven” choices without party affiliation, which they argue makes them not beholden to special interest money.

Though political history is full of candidates who tried to win office by playing outside the prescribed rules, Curtis insists he’s unlike many of them.

“I’m not some wealthy person who calls himself an outside candidate,” he told FoxNews.com on Monday.

At his blog, Curtis laments the influence of big money in politics and proposes himself and other independent candidates as the answer.

The only way to fix this is from within.  So I’m taking my shot.  I’m running for Governor because if I get elected, the vicious cycle of influence money in politics grinds to a halt.  Corporations are remarkably predictable – they won’t spend money on politics unless it has a chance of creating a beneficial return. Why would any corporation spend money on legislation in a state where they can’t buy the Governor? The game would be completely disrupted.

So that’s what this is about – trying something new.  And proving that normal people can run for elected office and win.  If one million people can call the FCC and back Net Neutrality, surely I have a chance. The best part is, win or lose, I’m going to help produce the blueprint to allow other people to run for office and win without party support.

In terms of where Curtis stands on issues – well, he’s made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t really stand on any issues at all.

One thing that people have been asking is where I stand on “the issues”.  I’m still working up a response to that, mainly because I think it’s the wrong question.  Political parties use “the issues” as weapons of mass distraction.  If any of the really difficult political questions were solvable we’d have done it already.  Besides, I’ll be an unaligned Governor with no ability to submit legislation.  And Kentucky’s Legislature is currently split, which I think is a great thing.

I really want people to think in terms of solutions.  For example, someone asked me where I stood on the issue of equal pay for women.  Who would be against that?  However the problem there is what’s the mechanism?  What law could we pass that would solve that problem?  I would much rather people provide me with solutions – preferably ones that have worked in other states.

I don’t have “beliefs” on issues of economics.  I’m more or less agnostic on social issues.  And I’m far more excited about retooling the executive branch to better interface with customers than anything else. The boring stuff is the most important stuff.  It doesn’t grab headlines but it’s the part of being Governor I really want to sink my teeth into.

The only fringe idea I have is that Government could work better.

Curtis talks a good game, but the question that remains to be seen is whether his data-driven, third-way political style will work. Will voters buy his apparent pragmatic approach, or will they find themselves turned off by a candidate with little-to-no stance on issues? It looks like Kentucky may become the first big test of a whole new approach to politics.

Featured image courtesy of Business Lexington

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Bill Nye the ‘Idiot Guy’ Hits MSNBC to Blame Storm and Everything Else on Climate Change

Monday, January 26th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

He should think about getting an adult job one day. The most laughable part of this pseudo-science babble is Nye’s claim that “the strong winds we had in California” are a result of climate change. For those unfamiliar with the region, they are called Santa Ana Winds and they have been a fact of life here for thousands of years.

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Good News: Winter Storm Cancels House Votes Today

Monday, January 26th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Snow day!

The House has canceled its vote series Monday evening due to the winter storm bearing down on the East Coast.

This was already slated to be a short week in Washington. The House Democrats begin their legislative retreat Wednesday afternoon in Philadelphia. The chamber will now only be in session for two days.

The storm has also forced the House to put off consideration of a border security bill. The legislation was running into some opposition from conservatives, who thought it was a first step toward comprehensive immigration reform. Instead, the House will consider the LNG Permitting and Transparency Act, which relates to exports of liquefied natural gas.

If you’re one of those people who thinks “gridlock” is a beautiful word when referring to Washington then this is a welcome start to the week. The less time Congress has to “help” the better our lives are. This is one reason I never get upset about The Idiot King golfing all the time. Look at the damage he does when he’s at work. The more days away from the office for him, the better.

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Obama Backs Campaign to Defeat Netanyahu in Israeli Elections

Monday, January 26th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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“No more campaigns to run” in America, at least.

Caroline Glick picked up on one article the Israeli left-wing paper Ha’aretz didn’t bother translating into English that details Obama’s involvement in the upcoming Israeli elections. A summary of the article is provided by IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis):

Haaretz reporter Roi Arad revealed in an article in the Hebrew edition today [January 26] that the foreign funded organization, “One Voice”, is bankrolling the V-2015 campaign to defeat Binyamin Netanyahu’s national camp in the March 2015 Knesset Elections.

One indication of the generous financing is that it has now flown in a team of five American campaign experts (including Jeremy Bird, the Obama campaign’s national field director) who will run the campaign out of offices taking up the ground floor of a Tel Aviv office building.

V-2015 is careful not to support a specific party – rather “just not Bibi”. As such, the foreign funds pouring into the campaign are not subject to Israel’s campaign finance laws.

Glick commented via Facebook:

Obama won’t meet Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו in Washington when he addresses the Joint Houses of Congress in March because of Netanyahu’s visit’s proximity to the Israeli elections. And Obama, of course believes in protocol and propriety which is why he won’t get involved. No, he’s not getting involved at all. He’s just sending his 2012 field campaign manager to Israel to run a campaign to defeat Netanyahu. That’s all. No interference whatsoever.

The Israeli Left adores touting Netanyahu’s “interference” in American elections, specifically his expression of support for Mitt Romney in the 2012 campaign. When it comes to Israeli left-wing politics, there are simply things you just don’t do when you represent the center-right. It should come as no surprise then that Haaretz, known on this side of the globe for its freakish ability to generate anonymous White House sources that love talking about how much Obama hates Bibi (a shared talent among the Left), would conveniently forget to translate this little news item for their English-reading audience.

 

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Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress is ‘Moral Imperative’

Monday, January 26th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Hat tip: Grabien

In an address to the Israeli Bonds gala in Florida this past weekend, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer explained the reasoning behind Netanyahu’s willingness to accept John Boehner’s invitation to speak to Congress about the Iranian nuclear threat:

The prime minister’s visit is also not intended to wade into your political debate… Rather, the prime minister’s visit to Washington is intended for one purpose — and one purpose only. To speak up while there is still time to speak up. To speak up when there is still time to make a difference.

…Now there may be some people who believe that the prime minister of Israel should have declined an invitation to speak before the most powerful parliament in the world on an issue that concerns the future and survival of Israel. But we have learned from history that the world becomes a more dangerous place for the Jewish people when the Jewish people are silent.

That is why the prime minister feels the deepest moral obligation to appear before Congress to speak about an existential issue facing the one and only Jewish state. This is not just the right of the prime minister of Israel. It is his most sacred duty — to do whatever he can to prevent Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons that can be aimed at Israel.

The question for both politicians and pundits to answer is, then, when do political relationships and foreign policy strategy take a back seat to moral imperative? Better yet, when do policy wonks and analysts begin to take moral imperative seriously? Or is “moral imperative” becoming yet another buzz word in the verbal parlay that belies a greater and deadlier battle?

In any case, history proves Dermer correct in his observation that the world is a better place when the Jewish people use their voice to speak out. And in an environment that is far too heavily governed by opinion and fear instead of fact and faith, the person – any person – who is willing to speak out against evil better be armed by a strong moral imperative and the confidence to go along with it.

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Anti-Israel Demonstrators Protest NYC Council’s Auschwitz Commemoration

Monday, January 26th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

The New York Daily News reported on a disturbing pro-Palestinian demonstration that took place in a City Council meeting last week. Just as the council was about to conclude a vote on a resolution commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, 

Pro-Palestinian activists disrupted a City Council meeting Thursday to protest Council members’ planned trip to Israel next month.

Protesters in the balcony of the Council chamber unfurled a Palestinian flag and began yelling “Palestinian lives matter,” “Don’t support genocide,” and “Melissa, you’re a hypocrite,” a slam on Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who will lead the Israel delegation.

…A few dozen protesters were booted from the chamber, with some physically removed, and were ordered off the City Hall property all together.

Council members were appalled at the timing and actions of the pro-Palestinian group. Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito denounced their actions while Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) declared,

“What you saw here today was naked, blind anti-Semitism,” he thundered.

“That’s what you saw, and that’s what you watched, and that’s what you witnessed – people who were upset for one reason. Do you want to know why they’re upset, do you want to know why they’re angry, do you want to know why they unfurled that flag today? Because Hitler did not finish the job. He only wiped out half of my family.”

The real shocker? The demonstration was led, in part, by Pam Sporn of Jewish Voices for Peace. Sporn, a known BDS activist, continually broadcasts her Jewish identity to defend anti-Israel demonstrations around New York City. Sporn declared that the Council’s upcoming trip was designed to “legitimize the discriminatory practices of Israel.” Her’s were statements screamed out specifically during the recognition of the real genocide committed by “discriminatory” Nazis. The timing couldn’t have sent a clearer, more anti-Semitic message. How will Sporn’s Jewish identity dig her out of this one?

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Fox News Criticizes Netanyahu for Not Bowing to Obama

Sunday, January 25th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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The Jerusalem Post reports:

The Fox news segment, on the show “Shepard Smith Reporting,” began with a response to a quote from Martin Indyk from The New York Times on Thursday wherein the former US ambassador to Israel and the former US envoy to the peace process says: “Netanyahu is using the Republican Congress for a photo-op for his election campaign and the Republicans are using Bibi for their campaign against Obama…Unfortunately the US relationship will take the hit. It would be far wiser for us to stay out of their politics and for them to stay out of ours.”

Wallace said he agreed completely with Indyk and that he was “shocked” by the whole affair.

Smith queried whether Netanyahu would back out of  the speech because, “Members of his own Mossad have come out and said this is a horrible idea and so have members of his own political party. Of course his political opponents are  screaming up and down, the newspapers over there are going wild over this,” he added.

“It just seems that they think we don’t pay any attention and that we are just a bunch of complete morons, the US citizens, like we wouldn’t pick up on what is happening here,” Smith said.

…”For Netanyahu to do something that is going to be seen as a deliberate and a really egregious snub of President Obama, when Obama is going to be in power for the next year and three quarters, seems to me like a pretty risky political strategy for Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Wallace said.

“For Netanyahu to come here and side with Boehner against Obama on Iran seems to me like very dicey politics,” he said.

That’s right, Shep Smith and the Fox News crowd have officially joined the ranks of the anti-Israel mainstream media, purporting that the Mossad and Israeli media somehow think American citizens are “a bunch of complete morons.” Apparently Shep and Chris Wallace have remained blind to the fact that Bibi and Barry have hated each other since the beginning. They’ve also ignored the fact that Obama’s administration, through various unnamed sources, has worked hard to hack away at any relationship the two leaders may have ever claimed.

Looks like Kathy Shaidle is right, we’ve all got to be our own Churchills now.

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Smart Shoppers Hitting Gun Buyback Events for Bargains

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Making the system work for you.

A recent gun buyback event in Oregon, aimed at curbing the number of weapons on the street, turned into a planned profit making opportunity for a group of firearms enthusiasts.

The Jan. 17 event was co-sponsored by Central Coast Ceasefire Oregon and the Newport Police Department, who offered gift cards to superstore Fred Meyer in return for guns, no questions asked. A sliding scale meant assault rifles fetched $175 gift cards each, and high capacity magazines were worth $25 credits at the store, which ironically sells firearms.

Second Amendment supporters took to OpenCarry.org’s forum to spread the word about the event, and to plan out their attendance to make maximum profit.

“A $25 gift card for “high capacity magazines – like the ones you can buy for $8?” questioned one forum member.

According to the article, others were intercepting people turning in quality guns and offering them more than the buyback but still getting deals.

Here’s a novel idea: why don’t law enforcement officials work on curbing the number of violent criminals on the street? The gun “problem” kind of clears itself up if you focus on that.

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Obama’s Iran Negotiations

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Hat tip: Grabien

So much for Barry’s quip about winning elections. John Boehner finally grew a pair and outwitted the Smug-in-Chief this Wednesday by inviting the White House’s greatest enemy to address Congress. No, not Iranian President Ahmadinejad, but the enemy both he and Obama share: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

After a State of the Union that paid poorly-timed lip service to terrorism the speaker of the House took matters into Republican hands and made a big show of it. Like, Ed Sullivan big. Too big, in fact, for Barry and his cohorts according to the Israeli left-wing paper Ha’aretz:

“There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price,” he said.

Officials in Washington said that the “chickensh*t” epithet — with which an anonymous administration official branded Netanyahu several months ago — was mild compared to the language used in the White House when news of Netanyahu’s planned speech came in.

It’s the kind of delicious scandal you’d only expect from Downton’s Julian Fellowes. (There’s not enough sex in it for Shonda Rhimes, or is there?) After issuing a warning to his own fellow Democrats not to “bow” to (Jewish) donors, Obama supposedly calls Netanyahu and warns him to “tone down his pro-sanctions rhetoric.” His administration avoids Paris, deciding instead to throw an anti-terrorism conference that will talk about everything but radical Islamic terror, because that’s all been staged to create a “War on Muslims” of which Barry “Cairo” Obama wants no part. Then, the glorious king and savior of HopenChange descends on the Capitol to pay lip-service to the terror that has no name and makes sure to slap anti-Semitism in the face, noting:

“It’s why we speak out against the deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. It’s why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims, the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace.”

At least he waited until the Jewish victims of the radical Islamic terror attack on a kosher supermarket were buried before lumping the hatred that murdered them in with Muslim stereotypes. If George W. Bush’s term was known for the War on Terror, dear God, let Barry’s term be known as the one that created, advocated, and fought on defense for the “War on Muslims.”

Oddly enough, as the general of the battle, Obama’s doing a darn good job of defending those radical Islamists he claims to despise, the Iranian regime in particular to the tune of 11.9 billion of your tax dollars. He’s doing an even better job of alienating his troops on the front line and their leader, Bibi. How does one say “forked tongue” in Arabic, or better yet, Persian? I know how Boehner and the Republicans in Congress say it: With the best invitation America’s ever issued to a foreign leader. And about damned time.

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Archaeologists May Have Found the Oldest Copy of One of the Gospels

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 - by Chris Queen

New technology that allows scientists to remove the glue from the masks of mummies without damaging the ink on the paper used to make the mask has yielded an exciting discovery: a piece of papyrus that may contain the oldest known copy of one of the gospels.

The finding, a fragment of the Gospel of Mark, which dates back to the year 90, is one of several fascinating texts that archaeologists are discovering in the masks of mummies.

This first-century gospel fragment was written on a sheet of papyrus that was later reused to create a mask that was worn by a mummy. Although the mummies of Egyptian pharaohs wore masks made of gold, ordinary people had to settle for masks made out of papyrus (or linen), paint and glue. Given how expensive papyrus was, people often had to reuse sheets that already had writing on them.

[...]

The first-century gospel is one of hundreds of new texts that a team of about three-dozen scientists and scholars is working to uncover, and analyze, by using this technique of ungluing the masks, said Craig Evans, a professor of New Testament studies at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

“We’re recovering ancient documents from the first, second and third centuries. Not just Christian documents, not just biblical documents, but classical Greek texts, business papers, various mundane papers, personal letters,” Evans told Live Science. The documents include philosophical texts and copies of stories by the Greek poet Homer.

Lest you worry that scientists are destroying valuable antiquities, the discoveries in the papyrus fragments yield more thrilling finds than these particular mummies are worth.

Evans emphasized that the masks that are being destroyed to reveal the new texts are not high-quality ones that would be displayed in a museum. Some are not masks at all but are simply pieces of cartonnage.

Evans told Live Science, “We’re not talking about the destruction of any museum-quality piece.”

The technique is bringing many new texts to light, Evans noted. “From a single mask, it’s not strange to recover a couple dozen or even more” new texts, he told Live Science. “We’re going to end up with many hundreds of papyri when the work is done, if not thousands.”

Naturally, Bart Ehrman, the leftist “Biblical scholar” that Kurt Eichenwald cited in his hit piece on the Bible in Newsweek, expressed his disdain for the find.

This complete disregard for the sanctity of surviving antiquities is, for many, many of us not just puzzling but flat-out distressing. It appears that the people behind and the people doing this destruction of antiquities are all conservative evangelical Christians, who care nothing about the preservation of the past – they care only about getting their paws on a small fragment of a manuscript. Can there be any question that with them we are not dealing with historians but Christian apologists?

Archaeologists are finding not just biblical texts, but fragments of writings by Homer and other Greek writers, as well as documents that capture slices of everyday life in that time period. The destruction of some masks that are less than museum quality is a small price to pay for such rich discoveries.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock / Patryk Kosmider

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Colleges Struggle to Define Rape-ish

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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A college graduate going by the nom de plume of “Hot Piece” penned a story of a bad sexual encounter for her website Total Sorority Move. The Chronicle of Higher Education picked up on the story for its report on the changing nature of what constitutes rape on college campuses.

Hot Piece detailed a sexual encounter with a male student she referred to as a “friend” who she’d been “flirting with all” throughout college. Alcohol happened. Lots of it, apparently, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since Hot Piece “…spent her undergraduate years drinking $4 double LITs on a patio and drunk texting away potential suitors.” One thing led to another and talking about sex led to …sex:

Maybe I didn’t want to feel like I’d led him on. Maybe I didn’t want to disappoint him. Maybe I just didn’t want to deal with the “let’s do it, but no, we shouldn’t” verbal tug-of-war that so often happens before sleeping with someone. It was easier to just do it. Besides, we were already in bed, and this is what people in bed do. I felt an obligation, a duty to go through with it. I felt guilty for not wanting to. I wasn’t a virgin. I’d done this before. It shouldn’t have been a big deal–it’s just sex–so I didn’t want to make it one.

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The Disneyland Measles Outbreak Gets Worse

Monday, January 19th, 2015 - by Chris Queen

Two weeks ago, I wrote here about the outbreak of measles that had its genesis at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The disease has now mushroomed to nearly 50 cases, over four states and south of the border.

As the first measles patients create new clusters of disease, “I think we’ll see some satellite outbreaks,” says William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert and professor at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine in Nashville. “It’s going to take a while to control.”

The first group of patients to develop measles had visited the parks from Dec. 15 to Dec. 20, according to California health officials. The officials have not yet identified “patient zero,” the person who started the outbreak. People can develop measles three to 21 days after being exposed.

At least 42 cases of measles related to Disney have been diagnosed in California, plus three in Utah, two in Washington, one in Colorado and one in Mexico. The Mexican case is a 22-month-old girl.

Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital, says the Disney outbreak “has the potential to develop into one of the worst outbreaks since 1989.”

Experts lay the blame for the outbreak at the feet of the anti-vaccine movement that has taken hold in pockets of the country, particularly in Southern California.

Measles was declared eradicated in the USA in 2000, meaning that it no longer spreads routinely like the common cold. The country continued to experience a few dozen cases a year as travelers from abroad were diagnosed here.

Last year, though, measles infected 628 people, according to the CDC.

The recent surge in measles cases reflects the impact of huge measles epidemics around the world. In 2014, there were more than 57,000 cases in the Philippines and more than 17,000 in Vietnam, according to the World Health Organization.

The increased rate of measles also reflects the influence of the anti-vaccine movement, Schaffner says.

[...]

Vaccination rates in the USA are generally high. But measles can spread quickly among children of “vaccine-resistant” parents, who sometimes cluster together, living near like-minded parents with doubts about vaccine safety, Schaffner says.

California health officials say Disney did nothing wrong.

The outbreak has become so severe that officials in Orange County, where Disneyland is located, are not allowing children who have not received a measles vaccination at school or daycare for 21 days. Authorities in California and throughout the West Coast and Southwest are urging parents to vaccinate their children.

Wendy Sue Swanson, a Seattle pediatrician, notes that some children are at higher risk of measles than others, including those who are immune-suppressed or who are too young to be fully vaccinated.

“We can’t forget that we have responsibility for our community,” Swanson says. “Not only are unvaccinated children at risk for measles right now, we have to remember that they are also at risk for spreading it, too.”

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Feminist Mag Complains American Sniper Unfair …to Babies?

Monday, January 19th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Get ready for a good laugh. If you aren’t ready, file this story for when you need one. I did, and it hit the spot.

Online feminist mag Jezebel, which spends more time discussing Lena Dunham’s haircuts than anything actually relevant to feminism, featured a story on “human-baby activist” Alice Vincent’s complaint that Clint Eastwood used dolls instead of live babies for his latest box office smash American Sniper.

Yep. “Human-baby activist.” It gets better:

The film notoriously forewent actual child actors in favor of plastic baby dolls, presumably to avoid traumatizing real babies from the terror of being in the same room as director Clint Eastwood. A sagacious decision, but one that poised yet another dilemma: the plastic babies are milkfed and symmetrical, glowing in their perfection and delicately rosy cheeks, sweet and subdued, and will never encounter colic. The babies’ noses are flawlessly buttony, their cheeks absolutely round, their tiny lips distended in an unachievable bow. The babies’ tans are even, and a perfect shade of sunkissed white skin. Their very existence, the upholding of these babies as somehow the way all babies should look, exerts undue pressure on actual live babies to live up to this type of unachievable ideal, and ultimately sends the message to American Sniperviewers that if their babies are not as perfect as the babies onscreen, then they are not as worthy. It says that in order to be considered beautiful, a baby must be a doll.

Babies, beware. Even though you don’t yet have the cognitive ability to watch a film, Hollywood is out to harass and intimidate you with their impossible beauty standards. Jezebel ends their compelling coverage of this hot-button issue with a “plea” to the American Sniper gang:

We make a collective plea to Clint Eastwood and the cast of American Sniper for the liberation and visibility for all babies, not just ones constructed of plastic and rubber: of human babies, and of babies who are flawed, and babies whose shit and piss and puke is tangible, not just the kind scrawled out into a diaper with yellow and brown magic markers. We demand the depiction of normal, oxygen-breathing babies on our screens, in a show of solidarity that babies come in all shapes and sizes, all religions and nationalities, and do not have to be in possession of perfect diction or enthusiastic participants in nightlife to be good enough to be included in the cast of a film.

Clint, Bradley, next time you’re about to make an Oscar-nominated movie about a war hero, think about the babies!

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Famous Rabbi Who Marched with MLK ‘Left Out’ of Selma

Monday, January 19th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was a pioneer who stood alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the march on Selma and the fight for civil rights in America. And viewers of the film Selma will never know that fact, because director Ava DuVernay elected to eliminate Heschel from the film.

In an op-ed for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Heschel’s daughter Susannah writes:

The 50th anniversary of the 1965 march at Selma is being commemorated this year with the release of the film “Selma.” Regrettably, the film represents the march as many see it today, only as an act of political protest.

But for my father Abraham Joshua Heschel and for many participants, the march was both an act of political protest and a profoundly religious moment: an extraordinary gathering of nuns, priests, rabbis, black and white, a range of political views, from all over the United States.

…My father felt that the prophetic tradition of Judaism had come alive at Selma. He said that King told him it was the greatest day in his life, and my father said that he was reminded at Selma of walking with Hasidic rebbes in Europe. Such was the spiritual atmosphere of the day.

…What a pity that my father’s presence is not included in “Selma.” More than a historical error, the film erases one of the central accomplishments of the civil rights movement, its inclusiveness, and one of King’s great joys: his close friendship with my father. The photograph reminds us that religious coalitions can transcend and overcome political conflicts, and it also reminds us that our Jewish prophetic tradition came alive in the civil rights movement. Judaism seemed to be at the very heart of being American.

In an interview with the Algemeiner, Heschel commented further:

“I felt sad and I had moments when I felt angry,” she said of the omission, describing it as “tragic.” …“This filmmaker seems to want to try and change the narrative,” she told The Algemeiner. “It is about black people trying to do it themselves.”

“I understand this as a Jew, because that is what Zionism is about, but I know that we were helped by others, and the Civil Rights Movement was about coalition, it was about Christians and Jews coming together, marching together, and feeling at that moment in Selma that something profoundly religious and moral was taking place.”

According to the Algemeiner, “The film’s producer, Ava DuVernay, defended her inaccurate portrayals in an interview on PBS, saying: ‘This is art; this is a movie; this is a film. I’m not a historian. I’m not a documentarian.’”

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Black Activists Make Solidarity Trip from Ferguson to Palestine

Monday, January 19th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Counter Current News reports:

Recently, a number of representatives from the Dream Defenders, Black Lives Matter and various Ferguson anti-police brutality protesters made history through a solidarity trip to Palestine. The purpose of last week’s trip was to connect with activists living under Israeli occupation. The 10-day trip to the occupied Palestinian Territories, specifically in the West Bank, was organized to show a link between oppression emanating from the Israeli State as well as that which victims of police brutality are experiencing in America.

The trip was organized by the legal and policy director of the Dream Defenders, Ahmad Abuznaid, Florida attorney and Palestinian native.

Ebony adds:

Over the past week, the delegation has met with refugees, Afro-Palestinians, a family that was kicked out of their house by settlers in East Jerusalem, and organizations representing Palestinian political prisoners, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). …[tour member] Carruthers recalled their delegation crossing paths with a tour group led by Israeli authorities. “They were clearly receiving a completely different story about the occupation. It’s deeper than just spreading lies, the false narrative is violent.”

Tour participants did not bother noting that a politically motivated trip covering only Palestinian territories obviously carries the implication of a “false narrative.” They did, however, identify with the Palestinians, commenting that blacks are “displaced refugees” in the United States. This trip followed a visit to Ferguson paid by a Palestinian delegation this past November who sought to forge relationships with black activist groups.

Financial backing for Dream Defenders, Black Lives Matter, and a cohort of sister organizations has all been directly traced to George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, which reportedly spent $5.4 million last year funding the Ferguson protest movement. 

The plethora of organizations involved not only shared Mr. Soros‘ funding, but they also fed off each other, using content and buzzwords developed by one organization on another’s website, referencing each other’s news columns and by creating a social media echo chamber of Facebook “likes” and Twitter hashtags that dominated the mainstream media and personal online newsfeeds.

At least 8 out of the 14 trip participants were members of organizations funded by Soros.

Support for these radical groups goes deeper into D.C. than Soros’s pockets. In 2012, Breitbart reported that Eric Holder’s

Department of Justice was facilitating the agenda of a group [the Dream Defenders] that appears to have been led by an employee of the law firm representing the Martin family, a stunning amount of bias for the federal goverment to show in a local crime case.

Most recently, Eric Holder joined President Obama and Vice President Biden in meeting with representatives of the Dream Defenders and other race-based organizations to sooth tensions in the wake of Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson’s non-indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown. Phillip Agnew, co-founder of Dream Defenders, attended both this meeting and the subsequent trip to the Palestinian territories.

With a White House bent on depicting radical Islamic terrorist acts as a “War on Muslims” and a president encouraging his fellow Democrats not to “bow” to pressure from pro-Israel donors, one can only wonder where such high level political support for groups such as the Dream Defenders will lead.

 

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Suspected Teen Bandits Caught In Florida

Monday, January 19th, 2015 - by Chris Queen

The law finally caught up with a pair of Kentucky teens on the run in an alleged crime spree that spread up and down the South on Sunday.

Grayson County Sheriff officials said in a statement that 18-year-old Dalton Hayes and his 13-year-old girlfriend, Cheyenne Phillips, were arrested without incident about 12:10 a.m. Sunday in Panama City Beach. The two had eluded police in multiple states while raising concern about their increasingly bold behavior.

Authorities said the U.S. Marshal’s Service and local law enforcement in Panama City Beach discovered Hayes and Phillips asleep in a 2001 Toyota Tundra that was stolen in Georgia. The vehicle was surrounded by law enforcement and both Hayes and Phillips were taken into custody. Authorities plan to extradite the pair back to Kentucky where they are expected to face felony charges.

Hayes’ family did not realize that Phillips was only 13 until the two had been dating for months.

Cheyenne “would go in and write checks, and she would come out with cigarettes and stuff, so I didn’t have any reason not to believe she wasn’t 19,” Martin said. “Because normally you can’t buy cigarettes when you’re 13 years old.

By the time her son realized she was a mere 13, “he was already done in love with her,” Martin said.

Hayes was no stranger to legal trouble when he and Phillips fled their hometown two weeks ago.

When he hit the road, Hayes was running away from trouble back home. He faces burglary and theft charges in his home county, stemming from an arrest late last year, according to Grayson County court records.

He was planning to be at the local judicial center on Jan. 5 to find out if a grand jury had indicted him on the charges, his mother said. His case did not come up, but by that time the teens were gone.

After leaving Grayson County, where the first truck they allegedly stole crashed, Hayes and Phillips were spotted at a Walmart in South Carolina, where authorities suspect they passed off stolen checks. The two then fled to Georgia, where they allegedly stole another truck in Henry County, a few miles south of Atlanta, before fleeing further south to Panama City Beach, where authorities arrested them.

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Obama Warns Dems Not to Bow to (Jewish) Donors

Sunday, January 18th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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The New York Times reported on the latest Senate Democrat strategy meeting that took place in Baltimore this past week. Among the issues on the table was the Iran issue, namely potential sanctions to be voted on in the form of the beleaguered Kirk-Menendez bill.

According to one of the senators and another person who was present, the president urged lawmakers to stop pursuing sanctions, saying such a move would undermine his authority and could derail the talks. Mr. Obama also said that such a provocative action could lead international observers to blame the Americans, rather than the Iranians, if the talks collapsed before the June 30 deadline.

The president said he understood the pressures that senators face from donors and others, but he urged the lawmakers to take the long view rather than make a move for short-term political gain, according to the senator. Mr. Menendez, who was seated at a table in front of the podium, stood up and said he took “personal offense.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) was quick to assert that the Jewishness of “donors and others” was inferred in Obama’s statement. While Religion Dispatches disagreed, they also pointed out, “…it does look as though Menendez received more ‘pro-Israel’ money than all but 2 Senators between 2006 and 2014. Number one on that list, incidentally, is his co-sponsor on the current Iran sanctions bill, Mark Kirk.”

The Kirk-Menendez bill has been battered around Capitol Hill for nearly a year. In a recent CNN report, Kirk went on record citing their need for American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the largest pro-Israel lobbying group in D.C., to support their efforts to get the bill passed and an inevitable Presidential veto overridden. In light of the strong relationship between AIPAC, Kirk and Menendez, perhaps the Jewish Press was right in their observation: “‘Neocon’ used to be the code word for Jews, now it appears to be ‘donors,’ at least when used by certain politicians, including U.S. President Barack Obama.”

 

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Allow This! Texas Open-Carry Story Illustrates How Far We’ve Fallen from the Constitution

Saturday, January 17th, 2015 - by Scott Ott

It may seem like a small thing, but the lead sentence in this Dallas Morning News story nicked a nerve somewhere in my jaw.

Newly sworn in Sen. Don Huffines said Thursday the Texas Legislature would approve a bill that allows Texans to carry guns without a permit.

You saw it too: “that allows Texans to carry guns without a permit.

Most Dallas Morning News readers will think nothing of it, and instead ponder whether they think it’s a good idea to “allow” so-called open carry (if they do any thinking at all).

Of course, some might wonder why I quibble, after all, they’d say, our U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment allows individuals “to keep and bear arms.”

Hogwash!

It clearly does NOT. It does not ALLOW us to do anything.

Rather it forbids the U.S. government from infringing on our natural, God-given right to self-defense. We don’t need permission from the government to protect ourselves from hoodlums, from foreign invaders, or from even the U.S. government, if it should breach the constitutional wall.

The 14th Amendment applies this constitutional protection of natural rights to all citizens against encroachment by any state.

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. (from Amendment XIV, Section 1)

So, when Texas, or any other state, passed laws forbidding us “to keep and bear arms,” it overstepped its constitutional bounds. Sen. Huffines’ legislation will put the state government back inside the constitutional walled compound. (My beef is not with the senator, who understands that we don’t need a permit to exercise natural rights.)

The legislation, which Governor Greg Abbott says he will sign, does not “allow” anything. It restores a right that the government was not “allowed” to infringe in the first place.

There now, I feel much better. How about you?

 

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Anti-Israel CNN Reporter Jim Clancy Resigns

Friday, January 16th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Hasbara

Last week we covered the story of CNN’s Jim Clancy, who embarrassed himself with a feeble Twitter attempt to tie the radical Islamists behind the Charlie Hebdo massacre to Hasbara (Israeli PR). Today, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports:

Veteran CNN anchor Jim Clancy stepped down on Friday, one week after a series of Twitter posts in which he mocked pro-Israel tweeters on a thread discussing the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Neither CNN nor Jim Clancy gave a reason for his departure, which was reported by AdWeek. Clancy had worked at CNN for 34 years.

Although Clancy’s Twitter account no longer existed as of Thursday, the tweets have been preserved on a number of websites, including Twitchy and Mediaite, and by Tablet journalist Yair Rosenberg.

Apparently, at one point the Twitter backlash got so bad that Clancy took mouthing off to a whole new disgusting level:

Clancy later told the Twitter account for Human Rights News, “You and the Hasbara team need to pick on some cripple at the edge of the herd.”

Jay Ruderman, head of the Ruderman Family Foundation, which is dedicated to advocacy and inclusion for the disabled, demanded an apology from Clancy and CNN. Ruderman said the use of the term “cripple” was insensitive.

Whether it was a long-overdue retirement or a simple parting of the ways, Clancy’s exit from CNN is one thing for which we can fully thank some serious Twitter hasbara.

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Why the Firing of Atlanta’s Fire Chief Is Inspiring ‘Religious Liberty’ Bills

Friday, January 16th, 2015 - by Chris Queen

In 2014, in the midst of a slew of lawsuits cropping up over whether businesses could refuse to bake cakes or provide flowers for same-sex weddings for religious reasons, a group of Georgia lawmakers proposed a religious freedom act in the state legislature. The measure failed, largely due to pressure from the business community.

This legislative session, the theme of religious freedom has reared its head again, this time for a different reason — the firing of Atlanta’s Fire Rescue Department Chief Kelvin Cochran over a book Cochran wrote in which he makes his views on homosexuality and adultery known.

Cochran has since become what one local columnist calls “the face of ‘religious liberty’ bills“:

Last month, Cochran was brought before the executive committee of the Georgia Baptist Convention, the state’s largest denomination and a supporter of a religious liberty bill already on file in the House. Cochran was greeted as a hero, though his appearance, while a formal city investigation was underway, made him no new friends at City Hall.

The Georgia Baptist website has put audio excerpts of Cochran’s speech online, as well as a sales link to his book, “Who Told You That You Were Naked?” at Amazon.com. A Georgia Baptist online petition in support of Cochran now has 4,452 signatures.

But supporters of the bill currently before the legislature argue that a religious freedom act is about more than one man — it’s about protecting the rights of people of faith in an era in which those rights are increasingly precious.

Opponents argue this legislation is unnecessary, that religious freedom is well protected by the First Amendment. But in 1990, the Supreme Court limited that protection, which was the very reason Congress passed the federal RFRA. That law restored the protection Americans had enjoyed for decades before the unfortunate Supreme Court decision. Many states have followed suit to ensure religious freedom is similarly guarded against state and local assaults.

Opponents also deny faith-based speech and activities are ever disfavored in Georgia. But students of faith at the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and other universities would disagree. Christian student organizations at Georgia universities and public schools have been denied the recognition and funding routinely granted to non-religious student organizations. Tech prohibited students from engaging in “intolerant” faith-based speech. At Savannah State, a Christian student club was expelled from campus for “hazing.” The offense? Engaging in a foot-washing ceremony at a discipleship retreat.

Though many examples of discrimination against faith-based activity arise in the context of public schools and universities, the problem isn’t restricted to academia. In DeKalb County, a church that had been renting a recreation center for weekly services was suddenly told it was no longer welcome, pursuant to a new (unwritten) policy against renting the center to churches. A Christian in Pine Mountain was prohibited from placing free Bibles in a library that allowed distribution of other community materials. Rockdale County required churches — alone among all other organizations — to have at least three acres of land. In case after case, people of faith have been singled out for more burdensome treatment.

A group of pastors, rabbis, and other people of faith have stepped out to oppose the measure, as have the same corporate interests who helped defeat the bill last year.

Critics say its passage, regardless of Teasley’s intentions, would open the door for private business owners to discriminate against gays and other minorities — by citing religious beliefs — and make the Peach State a national laughingstock and economic pariah.

It’s early in the legislative session, and it remains to be seen whether the bill has enough support to pass this year. Stay tuned, and we’ll see what happens under the Gold Dome.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / f11photo

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White House Not Told About Secret Service’s Decision to Remove Four Directors

Thursday, January 15th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Thursday that the White House was not told ahead of time about Acting Secret Service Director Joe Clancy’s decision to remove four assistant directors from their positions at the agency on Tuesday. The Washington Post first reported the shake-up at the Secret Service after receiving a statement from Clancy.

Earnest said during Thursday’s White House press conference, “This is a decision that was made by the Acting Director of the Secret Service, Joe Clancy. The White House was not informed in advance.” He said that the White House was aware of the director’s efforts to reform the agency and the changes that were announced are consistent with the findings of a DHS panel’s review of the Secret Service.

“So the White House, the West Wing, and even the president is certainly very supportive of Mr. Clancy’s efforts to reform the agency, consistent with the goal of trying to strengthen the ability of that agency to perform the very important work that they do on a daily basis,” Earnest said, adding that the president would be supportive of Director Clancy taking additional steps to reform the agency.

Clancy informed the four assistant directors, who oversee protection, investigations, technology, and public affairs at the Secret Service, on Tuesday that they must leave their leadership positions.

“Change is necessary to gain a fresh perspective on how we conduct business,” Clancy said in a statement to The Washington Post. “I am certain any of our senior executives will be productive and valued assets either in other positions at the Secret Service or the department.”

A DHS-appointed panel concluded last month that the agency is suffering from low morale among the rank-and-file and is “starved for leadership.”Clancy cited the panel’s report and said he also based his decision this week on his own assessment of the agency.

 

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