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Pentagon Sending Paratrooper Companies to Poland, Baltic States

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The Pentagon announced today that a company of paratroopers arrives in Poland on Wednesday to begin exercises, underscoring the department’s assertion that “Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has renewed our resolve to strengthening NATO’s defense plans and capabilities, and to demonstrate our continued commitment to collective defense in reinforcing our NATO allies in Central and Eastern Europe.”

Defense Department press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the paratroopers come from the U.S. Army Europe’s 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Airborne, based in Vicenza, Italy.

“This new exercise is the first in a series of expanded U.S. land force training activities in Poland and the Baltic region that are scheduled to take place for the next few months and beyond. Additional companies from the 173rd will move in the coming days to Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia for similar exercises,” Kirby said.

The company-sized contingents will number about 150 soldiers each, which could vary according to the exercise, he added, but will “roughly” total 600 personnel for the four countries.

“And what we’re after here is a persistent presence, a persistent rotational presence in these exercises,” Kirby continued. “So, we’re going to start, the troops will be in place in all four countries, probably by the end of this weekend, maybe Monday. As we get into all four countries, the exercises will last about a month or so. But then we will rotate fresh troops in for more exercises.”

“How far this will go? I can’t give you a specific, you know, deadline or timeline on it, but we’re looking at trying to keep this rotational presence persistent throughout the rest of this year. But beyond that, it could go beyond the end of this year. We just don’t know. We’re just going to have to see how it goes.”

Kirby acknowledged that the exercises — “real infantry training…that’s not insignificant” — could expand to other countries in the region.

“And we’re in discussions with our NATO allies and partners right now. It very well could, but right now it’s going to start with those four countries,” he said, adding that “these particular exercises were additive” since the Ukraine crisis came to a head and the U.S. sought ways “to reassure our allies and partners.”

“I think the message is to the people of Poland and Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, that the United States takes seriously our obligations under article 5 of the NATO alliance, even though these aren’t NATO exercises. It’s a very tangible representation of our commitment to our security obligations in Europe, and the message is to the people of those countries and to the alliance that we do take it seriously. And we encourage our NATO partners to likewise look for opportunities of their own to do this same kind of thing for one another. And I think if there’s a message to Moscow, it is the same exact message that we take our obligations very, very seriously on the continent of Europe.”

Kirby stressed that the Pentagon is under no obligation to inform Russia of the exercises.

He said the exercises swung into motion after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “was pretty clear with the military leadership that he wanted to look for a wide range of opportunities through which we could continue to reassure our partners in Europe.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) noted today, though, that the administration thumbed its nose at Poland long ago.

“We should have set up a deal where our energy over time could be supplied to them to eliminate over time their reliance. We should take them into NATO,” McCain said on Don Imus’ show when asked about how to handle Ukraine. “We should restore the missile defense systems that we canceled in the Czech Republic and Poland.”

“There’s a broad variety of things that we can do… What we do is wag our finger at [Russia] and then they do it and then we wag our finger at them again. The United States of America has lost credibility and that credibility has affected all over — all over the world and it really is — it’s the worst I’ve ever seen.”

The Navy is moving another warship, USS Taylor, to the Black Sea in the coming days. Kirby said today that there have been no more Russian warplane flyovers of the USS Donald Cook since the incident two weeks ago.

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Ryan Meeting with Black Caucus Next Week on Poverty Comments

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A Democratic congresswoman from Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) home state said that the Congressional Black Caucus is eager to meet with the House Budget Committee chairman on Wednesday to discuss his comments on inner-city poverty.

“We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with,” Ryan said last month on Bill Bennett’s Morning in America when talking about welfare-to-work requirements.

The CBC sent Ryan a letter calling the original comments “highly offensive.” Ryan said his comments had “nothing to do whatsoever with race.”

“After reading the transcript of yesterday morning’s interview, it is clear that I was inarticulate about the point I was trying to make,” he said in a statement. “I was not implicating the culture of one community — but of society as a whole. We have allowed our society to isolate or quarantine the poor rather than integrate people into our communities.” The CBC invited Ryan to come to one of their weekly meetings to talk about poverty.

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) told reporters on a House Democratic caucus call today that they see the meeting, scheduled to take place after Ryan’s committee holds a hearing titled “A Progress Report on the War on Poverty: Lessons from the Frontlines,” as an “opportunity.”

“You know, Congressman Ryan is a nice guy. And, as such, you know, he has tried to frame the comments that he made about inner-city folks as just sort of inarticulate ways of communicating,” Moore said. “We’re gonna challenge his assumptions about that, and really raise with him a couple of very specific proposals.”

“One is to really focus and target in on job opportunities for inner city and rural men. There is a program that was modeled in the stimulus package called the 10-20-30 program. And it was to target 10 percent of economic resources in those communities where 20 percent of the population lived in poverty for over 30 years,” she continued.

“And when you look at it, this is not a partisan thing. It’s not a racial thing. It’s not an urban or a rural thing. If we were to implement that, it would touch Republicans, like 50/50 Democrats-Republicans, rural areas and urban communities.”

Moore said they really hope to bend Ryan’s ear during the meeting.

“He says that he wants to, you know, his take on talking about poverty is to say, ‘We’ve spent billions or trillions of dollars on poverty programs and poverty won.’ And we see that essentially as just a sort of playing with statistics or numbers, because in fact these poverty programs have helped raise people into the middle class by giving them job experience,” she said.

“And it has literally been a lifeline to millions of people, and not just people of color, but seniors. We all know, for example, that the Medicare and Medicaid programs, Social Security, literally lifted seniors out of poverty. And so, we are happy that Representative Ryan wants to engage in this conversation and we’re not going to let him get away with sort of a, you know, a sleight-of-hand on this. We know how to crunch numbers as well.”

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What’s More Popular: A Once-In-A-Lifetime Trip to Meet President Barack Obama, or a Pair of Edible Breadshoes?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In the left corner, we have the President of the United States, the most powerful man in the world, Barack Obama. He’s a youthful 52 years old, clearly up on the latest music and cultural trends, does his NCAA March Madness brackets with an amazing consistency, and weighs in on just about every issue there is. The man knows Beyoncé, fercryinoutloud.

In the right corner, a pair of size 12 (approximate) hand-made, sesame Italian loaf breadshoes. They’re edible, so I suppose you could stuff condiments and lunch meat into them and turn them into a sammich. Or wear them around the house, as long as you don’t have cats or dogs around.

This (minus the celebrity soccer player on the right).

showbiz_obama_beckham

Versus this.

breadshoe

 

Well, the team behind a secretive but cool-sounding, yet-to-be-launched app called Ratify is running a contest.

On the first day of the contest, the team announced that it was giving away a trip for two to Silicon Valley to meet President Barack Obama on May 8th.

On the second day, the team announced that it was throwing a curve: The winner could pick the trip to meet the president, or they could opt for a pair of breadshoes.

Promo for the contest has been minimal, according to an insider at Ratify: “I paid a guy $5 to tweet about it yesterday,” the insider told me in email.

Our source’s numbers reveal a couple of bad omens for Obama and the Democrats. Day one of the contest saw little interest and very few sign-ups — just 20 sign-ups to meet POTUS from 500 visitors.

Day two, though, after breadshoes became a possible prize, traffic took off. Of the approximately 2,000 visitors who took at look at the contest on the second day, 100 signed up.

“That gives us 5x conversions and 4x audience multipliers, due solely to breadshoes!” our insider noted.

The insider also notes that Ratify has seen a 300% increase in sign-ups from San Francisco, not exactly GOP territory. They’re going for the breadshoes, too.

And now, I’m hungry.

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Reporter Asks State Dept for One Accomplishment from Hillary Clinton’s Big Review Process. Let’s See What Happens.

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

When she was secretary of state, Hillary Clinton instituted a Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. The first one was completed in December 2010.

Nearly four years later, AP reporter Matt Lee asked State Department Jen Psaki to name one thing that Clinton’s QDDR accomplished. Just one.

She can’t.

LEE: “Off the top of your head, can you name one tangible achievement that the last QDDR resulted in?”
PSAKI: “Well Matt, obviously it’s in an extensive, expansive process.”
LEE: “So no.”
PSAKI: “We’re looking at how it was done last time.”
LEE: “Just one.”
PSAKI: “I know, I’m making an important point here.”
LEE: “OK.”
PSAKI: “The secretary wants it to be focused on a more narrow range of issues. It’s always looking at how we can improve things and we’ll see where we come out at the end.”
LEE: “So off the top of your head can you identify one tangible achievement that resulted from the last QDDR?”
PSAKI: “I am certain that those who were here at the time, who worked hard on that effort –”
LEE: “One –”
[CROSSTALK]
PSAKI: “Could point out one.”
LEE: “Since you’ve come on board that you’ve noticed that you can point back to and say wow, the first QDDR identified this as a problem and dealt with it?”
PSAKI: “Well as you know, I’ve only been here since it concluded.”
LEE: “OK”
PSAKI: “So I’m sure there were a range of things that were put into place that I’m not even sure were a result.”
LEE: “I won’t hold my breath.”
PSAKI: “OK.”

Psaki has been at the State Department since February 2013. She’s part of the revolving door from lobbying and campaigns to government — Psaki came to State from the 2012 Obama campaign, a perch from which she attacked Mitt Romney’s foreign policy chops.

Romney turns out to have been right when he called Russia America’s number one geostrategic foe, while Psaki’s boss, Obama, has been proved wrong.

Unfortunately, to most Democrat voters, accomplishments don’t matter and they will support Hillary in 2016 anyway.

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Paul: Western Land Ownership Should be Addressed, Not Corrected Through ‘Armed Standoff’

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) needs to “tone down the rhetoric a little bit” on calling the militia members at the Bundy Ranch “domestic terrorists.”

“I do think that the federal government, through the Endangered Species Act, has overstepped. I think the fact that 80 percent of the land is owned by the federal government in Nevada, these are things we could correct,” Paul told Fox. “But I don’t think they ought to be corrected in a standoff or an armed standoff or in violence.”

“I have legislation to try to fix some of this. I would send the Endangered Species Act back to the states and let the governors and state legislature oversee this,” he added. “I have had this in the hopper for a year. And if Senator Reid wants to have constructive dialogue on the problem, I would love to have a floor debate and a vote on my bill.”

The senator said that within the dispute over grazing fees, “there is real debate where whether this land should be owned by the federal government or state government.”

“With regard to his specifics, I’m for obeying the law and I’m not for a violent outcome. But with regard to the general question, should the states have some prerogative in this, I think so,” Paul continued. “I would like to see the land owned by individuals, either privately or, at the very most, the state government, but not the federal government. And I would like to see the Endangered Species Act administered with a little more sense of what people need as well as what animals need.”

It’s the “absurdity coming from the federal government” that is making people angry in cases such as this, he said.

“They charge homeowners or property owners in Kentucky money to chop down our trees if they find a bat on the land. So really, this needs to be administered closer to home so we wouldn’t have, I think, such outrageous overstepping by authorities.”

Reid told KSNV-TV “it’s obvious that you can’t just walk away from this.”

“And we can speculate all we want to speculate to what’s going to happen next. But I don’t think it’s going to be tomorrow that something is going to happen, but something will happen. We are a nation of laws, not of men and women,” he said.

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), though, told the Nevada station that he takes “more issues with the BLM coming in with a paramilitary army of individuals with snipers.”

“I’m talking to people and groups that are there at the event. Your own government with sniper lenses on you. It made a lot of people very uncomfortable,” he said.

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Kerry: Climate Change ‘Forcing Farmers Out of Business and Driving Up Grocery Bills’

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Secretary of State John Kerry called Earth Day today “proof that the steadfast determination of millions is powerful enough to change the course of history.”

“I still remember participating in the very first Earth Day back in 1970,” Kerry said in a statement this afternoon. “It helped to unleash a wave of grassroots activism that ultimately led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and landmark laws like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. This Earth Day we need to consider new ways to unleash a new wave of activism to tackle today’s long list of environmental challenges from the existential threat of climate change to the cause of the oceans.”

Kerry stressed that “climate change’s impacts aren’t far off in the future – they are here and now,” adding in bold type, “We’re increasingly seeing events like those that scientists have long predicted.

“Extreme droughts are hammering crop production, forcing farmers out of business and driving up grocery bills. More intense floods and storm surges are causing billions in property damage. The coasts are swiftly eroding, rendering home after home uninhabitable or uninsurable. We still have a short window of time to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, but the science tells us that window is closing,” he said.

This year’s Earth Day focus is cities, “and the fact is, how the world’s cities respond to our climate change challenge will make a huge difference.”

“Roughly 5.2 billion people are projected to live in the world’s urban communities by 2050. Building codes and electricity requirements, public transportation systems, and land management will help determine whether we meet this global challenge. The Department of State is committed to doing our part to help bring about greener cities around the world. We are working to deploy renewable energy technologies; build recycling infrastructure; safeguard wildlife, forests and wetlands; and help communities better protect their water resources,” Kerry continued.

“There is another issue that demands our attention this Earth Day: the state of our oceans. We can’t care for the Earth without protecting the ocean that covers nearly three-quarters of it. With global overfishing, record pollution, and ocean acidification, our oceans are in trouble. That’s why I am convening an international ocean conference at the State Department in June to leverage the shared efforts of governments, the private sector, civil society leaders, and global stakeholders.”

Kerry added “we have our own history to write together, cleaning up global communities and protecting natural resources for generations to come.”

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Congrats, Bronies, You’ve Made Hasbro Profitable

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Fox Business story about Hasbro’s turn of fortunes uses gender-normative terminology that, after a tween stared down McDonald’s over its scandalous Happy Meals toys, is no longer politically correct.

Toymaker Hasbro Inc. on Monday said it swung to a profit from a year-ago loss, boosted by strong sales in its girls toys category. Hasbro reported a first-quarter profit of $32.1 billion, or 24 cents a share, versus a loss of $6.7 billion, or 5 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. (emphasis added, offense unintended)

We can’t call them “girls toys” anymore, for two reasons. In the case of My Little Pony toys, even though they’re intended for girls age 8 and under, adult men are actually buying them and watching the TV show. I wish I was kidding, but I am not. Bronies are a thing, as Ronan Farrow helpfully reported in-depth for MSNBC not long ago.

The second reason that we cannot call girls toys girls toys is because of the courage and forward thinking of Antonia Ayres-Brown. The teen slatepitched McDonald’s out of using gender-normative terminology to describe the toys it puts in its Happy Meals.

In the fall of 2008, when I was 11 years old, I wrote to the CEO of McDonald’s and asked him to change the way his stores sold Happy Meals. I expressed my frustration that McDonald’s always asked if my family preferred a “girl toy” or a “boy toy” when we ordered a Happy Meal at the drive-through. My letter asked if it would be legal for McDonald’s “to ask at a job interview whether someone wanted a man’s job or a woman’s job?”

A few weeks later, I received a short response from a McDonald’s customer satisfaction representative claiming that McDonald’s doesn’t train their employees to ask whether Happy Meal customers want boys’ or girls’ toys, and my experiences were not the norm.

This response was unsatisfying, so I began visiting more than a dozen local McDonald’s locations with my father to collect data. Ultimately, we brought a complaint to the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities against McDonald’s for discriminating on the basis of sex. Despite our evidence showing that, in our test, McDonald’s employees described the toys in gendered terms more than 79 percent of the time, the commission dismissed our allegations as “absurd” and solely for the purposes of “titilation [sic] and sociological experimentation.” All in all, this was a pretty humiliating defeat.

She goes on, and on, and on, from there. Seriously. She and her parents whittled off years of their lives pushing McDonald’s into a position where it is not allowed to speak clearly about an obvious and harmless thing.

The ending of it all is that McDonald’s will now confuse the life out of anyone who asks for the boys toy or the girls toy, until they go away angry that they ever bothered to order the Happy Meal.

Next, one supposes that Ayres-Brown will demand that McDonald’s create Happy Meal toys for each of Facebook’s 50 gender options.

That could take a while.

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Biden to Ukrainians: ‘Thank You for Making Me Feel Relevant Again’

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Vice President Joe Biden introduced himself at a meeting with Ukrainian legislators in Kiev today as someone who has “someone who has held high public office in my country for now 40 years.”

Biden became the junior senator from Delaware in 1973.

“For 36 years I sat in our legislature, and I used to actually have this seat in our — I was the chairman of our committee.  Thank you for making me feel relevant again, back in a legislative body,” he told the Rada, adding that he’d signed the guest book at his hotel “Ukraine united, Joe Biden.”

“Just because I’ve been around, literally met every major leader in the world in the last 40 years, I don’t — I want you to know I do not underestimate the incredible pressure you all are under.  I do not underestimate the challenge that you all face. And I do not underestimate the frustration you must feel when someone like me comes along and says this is a great opportunity for you. As my mother would say, but for the honor, I’d just as soon as pass the opportunity,” he quipped.

“…I hope none of you have to appear in the first edition of the ‘Profiles in Courage in Ukraine,’ but my expectation is some of you are going to have to make some really difficult, difficult personal decisions,” he added, referencing JFK’s book.

Biden told the lawmakers that there’s “an expression in English, it says, an expert is anyone from out of town with a briefcase.”

“Well, I don’t have a briefcase, and I’m not an expert. But I have an opinion, and I speak for the president of the United States, and he shares the same opinion. And that is that this is a second opportunity to make good on the original promise made by the Orange Revolution. This is a genuine opportunity to get right what is always difficult to do the first time when coming out from under the oppression or control of another power,” he said.

“…I have an expression I use as I’ve gone around the world through my career is you never tell another man or woman what’s in their interest. They know their interest better than you know their interest. And so I want you to know that we are not suggesting we have the answers for you, but we’re merely suggesting that we stand ready to stand with you in every endeavor that you undertake to generate the united prosperous and coherent Ukraine you’re all fighting for.”

The veep told the Ukrainians to “imagine where you’d be today if you were able to tell Russia: Keep your gas.”

“…And you may have different traditions. It’s not quite the same, but we understand different traditions in our country — not as deeply as you do, but we are the most heterogeneous democracy in the world. We’re soon going to get the point where over 50 percent of the United States of America is made up of people of non-European stock; the majority of the American people are not of European origin in 2020. We understand. We have millions of Muslims. We have hundreds — but it’s not quite the same. We’re not up against a border. We’re not sitting against a border of another powerful nation.”

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Congressman Slams NYT for Piece Linking Veterans and White Supremacy

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A congressional Marine vet slammed a New York Times op-ed for linking veterans and white supremacy, saying “if we target specific groups like Muslims as opposed to veterans, the outcry across this country would be outrageous.”

Kathleen Belew, a postdoctoral fellow in history at Northwestern University who is working on a book on Vietnam veterans and the radical right, wrote that Overland Park Jewish center shooter Frazier Glenn Miller killed three people as “a soldier of the white power movement: a groundswell that united Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other fringe elements after the Vietnam War, crested with the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995, and remains a diminished but potent threat today.”

“Vietnam veterans forged the first links between Klansmen and Nazis since World War II. They were central in leading Klan and neo-Nazi groups past the anti-civil rights backlash of the 1960s and toward paramilitary violence. The white power movement they forged had strongholds not only in the South, but also in the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, California and Pennsylvania,” Belew continued. “Its members carried weapons like those they had used in Vietnam, and used boot-camp rhetoric to frame their pursuit of domestic enemies. They condoned violence against innocent people and, eventually, the state itself.”

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) asked on Fox “how can someone that is apparently so well-educated be so darn ignorant?”

“This is one of the most outrageous, and ignorant things I’ve ever seen written. Even for the New York Times, which nothing, you know, surprises me with what they write, but this — you shouldn’t even be able allowed to use this under your bird cage. It is disgraceful. It is shameful. And I’ll tell you what, if Ms. Belew has such a problem with our veterans, maybe she should live in a country that doesn’t provide the security and the liberty and the freedom that each and every one of our veterans provide, each and everyday. And maybe that’s what she should do,” said Grimm, a veteran of operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Belew’s piece argued “it would be irresponsible to overlook the high rates of combat trauma among the 2.4 million Americans who have served in our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the full impact of which has not yet materialized. Veterans of those conflicts represent just 10 percent of those getting mental health services through the Department of Veterans Affairs, where the overwhelming majority of those in treatment are still Vietnam veterans.”

Grimm said that considering there was a draft in the Vietnam war, it’s possible “that we drafted one or two that were hate martyrs.”

In the Marine Corps he knew, the congressman added, “the last thing we wanna be is hate martyrs because the — when I was trained with blacks, Latins, everything you can ever imagine, and we put our faith and our lives in each other’s hands. We developed such a respect for each other, there is no hatred at least in the Marine Corps I served in.”

Grimm said if Belew had written an article saying Muslims needed greater scrutiny, “the left, you know, the far left would be putting together marches and they would be out protesting everywhere you can imagine but because it’s our men and women in uniform, the New York Times can get away with it. And it’s again — it’s shameful.”

He added that such attitudes would serve to “dissuade” veterans suffering from PTSD and other conditions “from seeking the treatment that they need.”

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This Is An Actual, Serious CNN Headline

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s nice to see that the Clinton News Network has taken a break from Ancient Aliens Meets Flight 370 to cover Justin Bieber and the urgent stories of our day.

cnn-bieber

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The Shameful Hypocrisy of the Modern Green Movement

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Pierre-Guy Veer

There are two types of green movements. The first one, embodied by Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore, sees nature and humans as a whole and thereby believes there can be constructive solutions to problems like pollution. The second believes that humans are a cancer destroying the planet and a radical shift in consumer behavior is needed lest we’re doomed.

This latter breed of green has been back in the news again, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s fifth report released last week. Using this climate “Bible,” green fanatics will undoubtedly look at the splinter in “deniers’” eyes while forgetting the planks in their own.

Green fanatics often dismiss “deniers” like Christopher Monkton, a prominent British politician, since he is not a qualified climatologist. But if such is a science degree is a prerequisite for commenting on global warming, why is Al Gore and David Suzuki such respected scholars on the matter? In fact, at least one-third of IPCC  members have no hard science schooling whatsoever. Why are they considered more qualified to comment on climate policy than Monkton, an actual politician?

Furthermore, if the person speaking is indeed an expert like climatologist Robert Bailing, who “denies” global warming, he will be belittled because he received funding from Big Oil. While some scientists have indeed been paid by “deniers,” climate change fanatics conveniently forget that the WWF, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club have also all received money from companies like Shell Oil and BP. Green energy companies also lobby much harder than Big Oil. As a result, solar, wind, and geothermal energy sources receive immensely more taxpayer subsidies per megawatt than fossil fuels.

For all the vitriol climate fanatics spew at so-called “deniers,” they themselves have a serious denial problem. Greenies like Al Gore often downplay the Climategate scandal in which very compromising emails from climate scientists were leaked suggesting data manipulation. Gore himself has called the scandal “sound and fury signifying nothing.”

But, would Climategate really get the pass that it did in the media if it were an analogous scandal in another industry? Imagine for a moment that Climategate was actually Pharmagate, where a hacker or whistleblower extracted tons of information from Big Pharma. Let’s say he discovered that scientists exchanged emails that asked for information inconsistent with their theories be deleted, acknowledged that their theories are false so a “trick” must be used to “hide the decline.”

Now, imagine that investigations are initiated to shine the light on this scandal. One is conducted by a university that has an employee sunk deep in the scandal. He is completely cleared, and the university claims to have looked at all sides of the debate while completely forgetting about another scientist who found severe flaws in his colleague’s theories.

Another one is financed by an institution also sunk deep in the scandal, and the investigating panel is headed by people favoring the accused scientists. A last investigation,  headed by a country’s national legislature, states that the information was stolen without proof, meets no dissenting scientist and was favoring the scientists by ignoring their questionable actions.

Had such a scenario happened, the media would have cried foul with reason because the investigation were riddled with conflicts of interest and completely lacked objectivity. Yet, Climategate matched the exact same facts.

As you can see, modern greens get their color from their blatant hypocrisy. They are free to take Big Oil money, they are free to lobby for taxpayer dollars and they are free to lie about their data. Fortunately, interest in their cause is constantly waning in public opinion despite recent resurgence of interest in the media, pointing to a coming triumph of reason in environmental policy.

Pierre-Guy Veer is a Young Voices Advocate and researcher based out of Washington, D.C.

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Kerry: ‘It was easier’ During the Cold War

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Easier to get things wrong, I guess, whines the secretary of state.

Secretary of State John Kerry attested Tuesday to the massively complex challenges Washington faces in Ukraine, Russia, Iran and the Middle East, declaring “it was easier” during the Cold War.

In a candid moment during a State Department speech, the top US diplomat said changing global power dynamics made a quaint memory of the early East-West stalemate, when American children would “crouch under our desks at school and practice” safety steps for a possible nuclear attack.

“During the Cold War… it was easier than it is today — simpler is maybe a way to put it,” Kerry told aid and development experts.

“The choices were less varied, less complicated, more stark, more clear: Communism, democracy, West, East, the Iron Curtain.”

If it was so much easier during the Cold War, why did Kerry, Ted Kennedy and so many other Democrats get so much wrong? Kerry supported the 1980s  nuclear freeze movement, which was Soviet-funded in the West and aimed to disarm the free world of our nuclear deterrent. Ted Kennedy was working with the Soviets behind Reagan’s back, according to his KGB files. Numerous Democrats actually believed that Ronald Reagan was more of a threat to the world than any Soviet premier.

For his part, Kerry even got the war he fought in wrong. Vietnam was about containing international communism. He made it about smearing his fellow soldiers, with all that “Jenghis Ghan” stuff. When America abandoned Vietnam, as Kerry wanted, the communists went on a rampage and killed hundreds of thousands over the next several years.

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GOP Candidate Comes Up with Fantastic One-Word Response to Dems’ ‘War on Women’ Nonsense

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Terri Lynn Land is running for US Senate in Michigan. She has a one-word response for her Democrat opponent and his “war on women” schtick.

This is perfect. I don’t know anything about Land on the issues yet, but based on this ad, I like her and I suspect most viewers will too. She comes off as charming, yet no-nonsense at the same time. Land’s response taps right into how real people actually talk about the absurd, and it leaves the Democrats nowhere to go. Land is set to “Really?” them every time they claim “war on women” or any other ridiculous accusation that Democrats tend to toss out.

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Professor Tells Students to Hate Republicans

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Prof. Brent Terry teaches Introduction to Creative Writing at Eastern Connecticut State University. In a lecture Monday morning, he said that Republicans are “racist, misogynistic, money-grubbing people” who want to turn the clock back and keep blacks and Latinos from voting. The Republican Party was founded to end slavery while the Democrats started a civil war to preserve slavery, but ESCU’s history department probably doesn’t teach that. He also said that if the Republicans win the Senate this fall, America will be a “very, very different kind of country” in which colleges will start closing up.

Campus Reform reports that the audio was captured by a student, who wishes to remain anonymous. ESCU has released a statement saying “Our faculty has academic freedom to conduct their classes in whatever way they choose, this is not a university matter.”

Just another day in academia.

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Obama Sends Strongest Signal Yet that He Expects Democrats to Lose the Senate

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

If Democrats lose the Senate this fall, Barack Obama loses the lynchpin of his lawlessness. The Senate in Harry Reid’s grubby hands has killed Obamacare repeal bills by the bushel and keeps every possibility of holding Obama accountable at bay. But the Senate in GOP hands can, and likely will, open a slew of investigations that have been locked in the House or stymied outright up to now. For Obama, facing a House Oversight Committee investigation into the IRS scandal is one thing. Facing investigations in both the House and Senate, and the probability of select committees investigating various things, with John McCain and a newly empowered Ted Cruz and Mike Lee baying at him, is another thing entirely.

The Senate can impeach.* I don’t expect that to actually happen, but the threat alone is bracing. As long as Harry Reid controlled the Senate, there was no threat at all.

Now, with polls showing the Democrats’ Senate majority in major trouble, Barack Obama is lawyering up.

President Obama on Monday said he has selected W. Neil Eggleston to become chief counsel, adding the expertise of a veteran attorney who was involved in some of the most heated legal battles of the Clinton administration.

Eggleston, a white-collar defender who is now at Kirkland & Ellis, will replace departing White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler in mid-May.

“Neil brings extraordinary expertise, credentials, and experience, to our team,” Obama said in a statement. “He has a passion for public service, is renowned for his conscientiousness and foresight, and I look forward to working closely with him in the coming years.”

And, he helped defend scandal-scarred Bill Clinton.

Obama’s departing counsel may also find herself under investigation.

When an IRS audit found that the tax collection agency had been targeting conservative political groups, it was Ruemmler’s decision not to tell the president about the findings, in an attempt to shield Obama from charges he interfered in the investigation.

She also advised the president to resist congressional demands to release draft talking points following last year’s attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, infuriating congressional Republicans.

*Some quibbling in comments over this sentence. The House files charges and conducts impeachment trials, but the Senate votes whether to convict or not. If the Senate convicts, removal from office is automatic. So it’s the Senate that is essentially the jury and does the removing. I don’t see any of this happening during Obama’s last two years in office, but the fact has been that Reid’s control of the Senate has allowed Obama to get away with an awful lot.

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Unearthed Footage Shows Progressive Hero Calling for Ban: ‘No More Babies!’

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Margaret Sanger, called Margaret Slee in this clip as Slee was her second husband’s name, was founder and first president of Planned Parenthood. Sanger is such an icon on the left today that Planned Parenthood has named an award in her honor, and both Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi have both been awarded it.

The clip is from 1947, just two years after World War II ravaged civilization. The timing is therefore interesting. The world was certainly not overpopulated, not after the Soviet famine, not after the Nazis and the Holocaust.

In the 1947 interview, eugenicist Sanger called for a full ban on all childbearing in the developing world for 10 years.

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The clip is among a collection of 85,000 recently uploaded to YouTube by British Pathé.

When Hillary Clinton proudly accepted the Margaret Sanger Award a few year ago, she said: “I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision, when I think about what she did all those years ago in Brooklyn, taking on archetypes, taking on attitudes and accusations flowing from all directions, I am really in awe of her.”

Pelosi accepted her Margaret Sanger Award in 2014.

h/t Daily Caller

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Wendy Davis Campaign Morphs Into Clown Show

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

What do you do if you’re falling behind and you’re wrong about, well, everything? If you’re Wendy Davis, you hire a castoff from Harry Reid’s house of lies and you just lie about whatever comes up.

The example is in today’s Dallas Morning News, via editorial writer Rodger Jones.

Fact No. 1: Texas public school districts that offer Pre-K already assess them for effectiveness.
Fact No. 2: The Davis campaign has been ridiculing the idea of assessing Pre-K kids, calling it “standardized testing for four-year-olds” and imposition of “Baby STAAR” tests.
Fact No. 3: The Davis campaign has been mum on whether she would ban Pre-K assessments that districts now administer.

Just this afternoon, the campaign put out an email that starts with this headline: “DAVIS CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN RESPONDS TO DMN EDITOR RODGER JONES”

Never mind that I’m not editor of the DMN, or an editor of any kind. The release continued this way:

FORT WORTH – Wendy Davis campaign communications director Zac Petkanas responded to editorial board editor Rodger Jones’ defense of Greg Abbott’s plan to impose standardized testing onto four year olds.

“Greg Abbott’s so-called education plan does something that Texas currently does not do: impose a top down mandate tying additional state resources for pre-K classrooms with how well four year olds do on standardized test assessments.

“Under Abbott’s plan, school districts with pre-K students who don’t meet the mark have their resources slashed.

“To say that this currently takes place in Texas today is just plain wrong.”

I’m saying one simple thing: Pre-K assessments happen today, a reality that may have caught the Davis campaign by surprise as they set out to criticize the very idea of making sure tax money is used properly.

This is aside from any comparison of the Abbott and Davis Pre-K plans. This is a reality check for the Davis folks. A sample of what they put out last week:

“Four-year-olds should be coloring with crayons, not filling in bubbles with No. 2 pencils,” Davis told a crowd of about 80 people at the Texas State Teachers Association.

It’s a distortion for effect, and they know it.

It’s cute, how Wendy Davis and Zac Petkanas think they can just make up whatever reality they want.

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EXCLUSIVE: How One Brave Woman and Her Group of Patriots Took a Corrupt Border Sheriff Down

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

For nearly two years I’ve worked with a source who I couldn’t identify, but who deserved a great deal of credit and applause. This person is a business owner, a mom, an investigator, and as it turns out a courageous fighter for honest government.

Faced with a corrupt sheriff in a Texas border county across the Rio Grande from a drug war, she patiently gathered up evidence of corruption and crime. Despite credible threats to herself and her family, she persevered — and the sheriff is now among more than a dozen who have or soon will stand trial.

Meet her here.

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VIDEO — Uniformed Police Officer Caught Tripping Students Rushing to Field to Celebrate a State Championship

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

From KTBC-TV in the people’s republic of Austin.

Rohan Gupta, a student at Vandegrift High School, posted the video to YouTube. The Vandegrift girls soccer won their first state championship beating Wile 1-0.

As the clock hit zero, students jumped out of the stands and on to the field. Over the loud speakers the announcer can be heard telling the crowd to stay of the field.

Watch the lower right side of your screen at about 8-seconds into the video to see the officer apparently trip one young man, who ends up limping off the field. The officer  tries to trip a second person, then grabs another.

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It looks like assault to me.

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Dem Congressman Says Obamacare’s ‘Worst Is Yet to Come’

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Massachusetts Rep. Steve Lynch (D) voted for Obamacare, but he told the Boston Herald that “the worst is yet to come” from Obamacare. Lynch noted that the “Cadillac tax” will, for the first time in American history, impose a tax on health insurance, and that it will be a massive tax.

Lynch believes that Obamacare will cost the Democrats seats in the House this year, and will also probably cost them the Senate. He told the Herald that things will “hit the fan” when many of Obamacare’s elements are implemented. They have been postponed, he said, because they are the law’s “most unpalatable” provisions.

Specifically, he said “Any individual with an individual health care plan that exceeds $10,200 is in a ‘Cadillac plan’ situation. They’re gonna have to pay that employer, if they provide that and many do today, never mind in 2018, will have to pay a 40% tax on the amount over the…maximum established by the Affordable Care Act. So that’s a huge tax.”

But, he says that repealing the law is “impossible” because so many Americans are already dependent on it.

Which was the plan all along, of course — make more Americans dependent on government as a means of yoking them to it.

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h/t NRO

 

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Bored with Stonewalling Republicans, Obama White House Now Stonewalling Democrats on the Keystone

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

During today’s White House press briefing, ABC’s Jon Karl asked spokesman Jay Carney to react to Democrats who have stated their anger over the Obama administration’s most recent delay in the Keystone Pipeline. The Obama administration announced that delay on Friday — Good Friday — one of its many misuses of holidays. Vulnerable Democrat senators like Mary Landrieu (LA) say they are “appalled” by the decision.

Rather than own up to the decision and its political nature, Carney pawned the decision off onto the State Department. Watch the video.

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Clue for Bloomberg’s New Anti-Gun Group: This Is Not What Happens When a Bullet is Fired

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Mike Bloomberg’s latest anti-gun group, Everytown.org, debuted over the weekend with this graphic.

bloomgerg-antigun-graphic

 

The graphic depicts a cartoon bullet flying, shell casing and all, like a rocket out of a cartoon gun barrel.

Suffice it to say that when a bullet is fired, the depiction above is not what actually happens.

Bloomberg has pledged to spend $50 million on gun control efforts, despite the fact that the Second Amendment is settled law. He might be wise to invest in high-speed photography, or in an artist who actually knows the first thing about firearms.

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N.Y. Archbishop Dolan Particularly Admires One Possible GOP Contender

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, put in a good word for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) on Sunday’s Face the Nation and said he’d be a good presidential candidate.

Dolan also quipped that Pope Francis could throw his hat in the ring, noting the Argentinian pontiff (who polls far better than President Obama) “has really ignited the imagination of the world.”

“And, for once, finally, it’s almost like people are saying, wow, there’s reason to cheer. There’s reason to hope. There’s a good guy. The good guys are winning in the church. People want the church to succeed. People want religion and faith and spirituality to work,” he said. “People in general are on the side of virtue and goodness and everything that’s noble and decent in the human person. And when you see somebody like Pope Francis that can tap into that and just seems to emanate that and call forth — call that forth from everybody, people kind of take a second look at religion and say, wow, maybe belief is worth it.”

Dolan cautioned the media, though, against interpreting Francis’ reforms as changing the structure of the Church. “Christianity, like Judaism, is a revealed religion. It’s an inherited religion. We believe that God has told us certain things about himself and ourselves. And we can’t tamper with that,” he said. “Now, we can kind of redirect the way we teach it or express it. And, boy, this pope is doing that on steroids. But to the substance of it, can’t, can’t, can’t.”

One example, the cardinal stressed, is gay marriage.

“I believe we can’t camper tamper with that. Would I do things to protect the civil rights of those who are unable to live up to that? You bet I would, whether that became insurance, whether that became housing, whatever,” he said. “Do I believe that society could be affected negatively if we tamper with the definition of marriage? Yes. And that’s just not as man of faith. That’s just as, I would like to think, a loyal American, that if we tamper with that essential of human relationships, marriage, we’re sooner or later going to come to regret it.”

He also tipped his hat to Hobby Lobby: “I think they are just true Americans. They’re saying, look, the genius of America is that religious convictions affect the way we act. America is at her strongest, at her best when people can bring everything into the public square, including their moral, ethical, spiritual and religious convictions. And the government should never force us to do anything that is contrary to those deepest held convictions. That they’re fighting for that, willing to go all the way to the Supreme Court, boy, they sure have my admiration.”

Dolan said Bush, who unlike his Methodist brother George W. is Catholic, will be helping the archdiocese promote Catholic schools.

“I like Jeb Bush a lot. Whether I would be for him as a presidential candidate or not, I don’t know personally. But I sure admire him. And I especially appreciate the priority he gives to education and immigration, by the way,” Dolan said. “I found him remarkably innovative… He said, darn it, let’s see what works. We can’t do business as usual. We got to help our public schools. We know that they are terribly flawed. What can we do improve them?”

“And he experimented. And he went out on a limb. And a lot of things — and things began to click in Florida to — such that he’s rightly proud of this progress that he made in education. And, if you don’t mind me blowing our own horn here, he says one of the best things going is Catholic education.”

When asked if he would like to see Bush run for president, the cardinal replied, “Yes, I think he — I sure think he’d bring something, yes. He’d be good.”

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Retired Justice Stevens Proposes Adding Five Words to Second Amendment

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens told ABC that his decision to step down “was not made for any political reason whatsoever,” but it’s natural for justices to think about who might fill their shoes.

The 94-year-old judge’s retirement in 2010 allowed President Obama to pick another liberal for the court, Justice Elena Kagan.

Stevens is out with a book proposing six amendments to the Constitution, including altering the Second Amendment to say “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, when serving in the militia, shall not be infringed.”

“I think every one of my proposals is a moderate proposal,” the justice said. “…I think that’s what should be the rule that it should be legislatures rather than judges who draw the line what is permissible.”

He said the new wording is “what was intended, because there was a fear among the original farmers that the federal government would be so strong that they might destroy the state militias. The amendment would merely prevent arguments being made that Congress doesn’t have the power to do what they think is in the best public interest.”

Under the amendment, Stevens acknowledged, Congress could ban individual gun ownership.

Another proposed amendment would ban gerrymandering with the intention of preserving political power.

“Well, it’s subjective, but it’s easily recognizable if you look at the shapes of the districts that gerrymandering produces. It doesn’t take a genius to say that there’s something fishy with these particular districts,” he said.

Stevens said he “really” believes they will eventually pass.

“Well, perhaps today there might be no chance for certainly the second amendment proposal. But the difficulty of the process shouldn’t foreclose an attempt,” he said.

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Reid Admits that His Koch Attacks Are All for Show

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Senate’s majority leader admits that he’s Alinskying American citizens for fun and political profit.

Reid had a little Q&A with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The paper confronted him about why he wants the DISCLOSE Act passed, and why he spends so much time attacking the Koch brothers (and so little time doing anything good for the country).

Reid’s lack of shame is remarkable.

• In response to the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision of 2010, Reid called for a renewed push to pass the DISCLOSE Act, a law that would have forced all political organizations to report their donors. When I said the act would simply require reporting of the contributions, but not stop the flood of political money, Reid disagreed, and said it would especially stop those whose donations are shielded by law now.

“The DISCLOSE Act would stop a lot of money,” he said. “Those people that go with the secret money, they do it because they don’t want anybody to know they’re giving the money.”

Ironically enough, that answer seems to admit one of the primary arguments against full disclosure laws, which is that they would have a chilling effect on free speech. The U.S. Supreme Court, in several decisions, has acknowledged that chilling effect, but said laws such as the DISCLOSE Act impose a lighter burden on the First Amendment than laws that limit political contributions or spending.

That fear has been realized by the IRS’ conduct.

• Reid refused to back away from his criticism of the Koch brothers, oil billionaires who have funded a sprawling network of political groups, including Americans for Prosperity and groups focusing on veterans and seniors. “They’re trying to buy America,” Reid said. “I think having America for sale is not good.”

But he has no criticism at all for convicted felon George Soros, who has poured far more money into “buying America” than the Koch brothers have.

But a New York Times story published last month about the strategy puts a decidedly different spin on it. “Democrats say the strategy of spotlighting the Koch brothers’ activities is politically shrewd,” the story says. “The majority leader [Reid] was particularly struck by a presentation during a recent Senate Democratic retreat, which emphasized that one of the best ways to draw an effective contrast is to pick a villain, one of his aides said. And by scolding the Koch brothers, Mr. Reid is trying to draw them out, both to raise their public profile, and also to help rally the Democratic base. The approach stems, in part, from Democratic-funded research showing that many voters believe the political system is rigged in favor of the super rich.”

After I read that passage, Reid replied simply, “So?”

I pressed: “This is a political strategy, isn’t it, as well as a fundraising strategy? The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has been raising money like gangbusters after you’ve been talking about the Koch brothers and as you said, you’ve given America the villain that they need to identify with as you struggle with your Democrats to overcome the objections to Obamacare and try to remain the majority.”

Again, Reid’s reply: “So?”

Reid admits in all that, that the DISCLOSE Act is as political as his attacks on the Koch brothers. There is no great principle motivating him, other than raw power. He only wants that law passed to scare conservative money out of the political process.

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Obama Attends Easter Service at Church of Former DNC Adviser

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama spent Saturday golfing before the first family made an appearance at a DC Baptist church on Easter.

Obama’s golf partners at Andrews Air Force Base were White House trip director Marvin Nicholson, Walter Nicholson and Joe Paulsen for about four hours on the green.

At 10 a.m.  the next morning, the Obamas left the White House for northwest D.C.’s 19th Street Baptist Church. The pastor there, Rev. Derrick Harkins, has been helping the administration promote Obamacare. He also used to be a faith adviser to the Democratic National Committee. “Rev. Harkins is a national leader in the faith community with strong and diverse ties to the African-American church, evangelicals and the progressive faith community,” the DNC said at the time of his 2011 appointment. “Outreach to people of all faiths is a key priority and trademark of President Obama, and Harkins is the right leader to continue the Democratic Party’s engagement of the faith community.”

The Obamas went to St. John’s Episcopal Church the previous Easter and have not joined any particular congregation since coming to Washington.

They sat in a second-row reserved pew in an otherwise packed church, according to the White House pool report, with a row of Secret Service behind them.

Harkins told congregants to greet their neighbors and welcome the president. “Obama high-fived a baby boy, hugged and kissed women, and Michelle blew kisses from inside their pew,” said the report.

“Isn’t our first family gracious?” the pastor said.

Obama “dropped a white paper or envelope into the silver contribution plate as ushers distributed them through the pews” and soon after “an older gentleman stood up from his seat some distance from the president and raised his arm and yelled, ‘God Bless President Obama!’ The worshippers applauded loudly. The president smiled.”

Harkins’ prayer asked God to give Obama “every measure of encouragement” and “wisdom,” and “tend to his spirit” under the weight of criticism, to which the crowd eagerly replied with yells of “yes”.

The sermon “talked about supporting people ‘living in the shadows and the margins,” including ‘LGBT’ people,” continued the pool report. “…The president listened attentively from his seat, with his chin propped on his left hand at times, and his fingers entwined together as the sermon shifted toward a rousing finale. He joined in applause at the end.”

On the route from the church back to the White House, a group held a “stop deportations” sign along the street.

 

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Snowden Reportedly Dismayed to Learn that He Now Looks Like Vlad Putin’s Toy

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In which the NSA leaker does damage control from the neo-USSR.

NSA leaker Edward Snowden instantly regretted asking Russian President Vladimir Putin a softball question on live television about the Kremlin’s mass surveillance effort, two sources close to the leaker tell The Daily Beast.

“It certainly didn’t go as he would’ve hoped,” one of these sources said. “I don’t think there’s any shame in saying that he made an error in judgment.”

“He basically viewed the question as his first foray into criticizing Russia. He was genuinely surprised that in reasonable corridors it was seen as the opposite,” added Ben Wizner, the American Civil Liberties Union attorney who serves as one of Snowden’s closest advisers.

According to Wizner and others, Snowden hadn’t realized how much last week’s Q&A—with Putin blithely assuring Snowden that Moscow had no such eavesdropping programs—would appear to be a Kremlin propaganda victory to Western eyes. And so the leaker quickly decided to write an op-ed for the Guardian to explain his actions and to all but label Putin a liar for his televised response.

It isn’t just Snowden’s public softball game with Putin that has raised suspicions of him. Snowden is suspect because, first, he chose to run to Hong Kong and then to Russia after he leaked the NSA’s surveillance programs to a leftwing journalist.

Following that, he had nothing to say about Russia’s mass surveillance of journalists and presumably athletes and visitors during the Socchi Olympics.

Following that, Snowden appeared at SXSW via video conference from Russia. During that talk, he again had nothing to say about Russia’s surveillance programs, its suspected assassinations of journalists, its recent clampdown on the last of Russia’s free press, nothing.

Everything about that SXSW talk carried bad optics. Snowden spoke from Russia shortly after Putin had invaded and taken Crimea. Snowden had nothing to say about that. Snowden assailed US domestic spying policies — fair enough — but from Russia at a time when his very appearance made the US appear impotent against Russia, and when Russian forces are menacing Ukraine and the stability of Europe.

Neither of Snowden’s two 2014 appearances can possibly have happened without Kremlin approval.

Ever since Snowden landed in Moscow under the watchful eye of the Russian surveillance state, he’s been represented in Russia by a man deeply connected to the Kremlin in addition to his American counsel. It’s one of many reasons why critics have accused the leaker of being a Putin patsy. That criticism has been accompanied by a whisper campaign from both the American and Russian governments alleging that Snowden was under the thumb of Putin’s intelligence services, a claim Snowden and his camp have strongly denied.

He can deny it all he wants. The fact is, the Russian government knows where he is and has total control over whether it extends his asylum in August or not. Russia could have shut down Snowden’s SXSW talk, but didn’t, because it presented the images that Putin wanted presented. Russia could have shut off Snowden’s direct question to Putin, but again, it didn’t, because it provided invaluable domestic and international propaganda for the Putin regime.

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‘Our Youngest Hostage’

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

 

According to Sham Times and other Arabic websites, jihadi social media networks posted the above picture of a child sitting on the ground while surrounded by armed men pointing their rifles at him.  The caption appearing with the picture, purportedly posted by a supporter of the Free Syrian Army, is “Our youngest hostage from among the hostile sects of Kessab.”

Kessab is a predominantly Christian Armenian village in Syria near the Turkish border.  Earlier it was invaded by jihadis, who terrorized, pillaged churches, and prompted some 2000 residents to flee.  Initial reports had stated that about a dozen families remained as hostages.

Since the picture appeared on Arabic social media, many have expressed shock and outrage, condemning the Syrian “rebels,” while others cast doubt on the authenticity of the picture.

Of course, those wondering what the jihadis have to gain from taking such a picture and making it public would do well to remember that these are the same people who decapitate people and wave their severed and bloodied heads in front of cameras while smiling; these are the same people who literally eat their victims on camera.

Surely “teasing” an infidel toddler — a subhuman — with their rifles and sharing it with their sadistic comrades via the Internet for a “laugh” should not be too surprising?

At any rate, the fact remains: the “Free Syrian Army,” along with other “rebel” groups operating in Syria, are guilty of countless barbaric crimes against humanity — including against women and children.

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China Will Become the Most Christian Nation in the World in 15 Years

Sunday, April 20th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

China? The boom in Christian conversions has tracked the booming economy as people seek meaning in their lives that neither Communism or capitalism can provide.

The Telegraph:

Officially, the People’s Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied.

Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao’s death in 1976 signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution.

Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world’s number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.

“By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,” said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule.

“It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change.”

China’s Protestant community, which had just one million members in 1949, has already overtaken those of countries more commonly associated with an evangelical boom. In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre’s Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Prof Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025. That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around 159 million Protestants in 2010 but whose congregations are in decline.

By 2030, China’s total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.

“Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this,” Prof Yang said. “It’s ironic – they didn’t. They actually failed completely.”

Interesting to see how the growing embrace of Christianity changes China. Would the government crack down if Christians begin to demonstrate a little too much independence? I think it a certainty. A totalitarian regime only tolerates religion if it is channeled to support it. The Greek Orthodox church and the Soviet Union, or the Catholic Church and Franco — both instances of the state using the church to keep the faithful in line.

The Communist government may eventually find Christians more troublesome than other dissenters and look to limit the growth of the Church even more. But Christianity has proven itself incredibly resilient in China and any move to stifle its growth may have the opposite effect and lead to an increase in converts.

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GOP Senate Candidates in Georgia Make Their Case

Sunday, April 20th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

Seven candidates vying for the Republican nomination for Senator shared the stage in Augusta, trying to separate themselves from the pack and polish their conservative credentials.

It was the sixth of seven scheduled debates, and turned out to be a fairly sedate affair, reports the Savannah Morning News:

In a debate here Saturday, most of the leading contenders jumped over one another to highlight their conservative credentials on issues from spending, environmental regulation and immigration to guns and abortion, even as they agreed the party must reach beyond its base if it wants to win more nationally.

Proposals ranged from scrapping the Environmental Protection Agency to repealing the constitutional amendment that allows an income tax.

The debate highlighted the eventual nominee’s challenge in the race, despite Georgia leaning to Republicans in recent federal elections. The May 20 primary electorate — and a likely July 22 runoff — will be decided by the state’s most conservative voters. Democrats want to frame the eventual GOP nominee as too extreme in a state where Obama got as much as 47 percent of the vote with little effort.

The winner will succeed retiring Republican Saxby Chambliss. Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to regain control of the Senate, but that would be extremely difficult if they lose a Georgia seat they already have.

Rep. Paul Broun, a favorite of conservative activists, used his signature critique of “an out of control federal government” several times Saturday. In a discussion of Obama administration rules capping carbon emissions, he argued that “there’s no scientific consensus on man-made global warming.”

Phil Gingrey, another House member and a physician like Broun, said he doesn’t agree with the administration that “carbon dioxide is definitely a greenhouse gas.”

“You might say that a preponderance of scientists believe that CO2 is a greenhouse that contributes to global warming,” but then he quickly doubled-down on his critique.

Their congressional colleague, Jack Kingston, meanwhile, peppered his answers with references to his sterling ratings from groups such as the American Conservatives Union, National Rifle Association and National Right to Life. He also boasted of an endorsement won Friday from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has kept its promise to engage more directly in 2014 Republican primaries in an effort to subdue tea party influences.

Kingston’s recitations reflected his strategy to appeal both to archconservatives and establishment Republicans, without alienating either camp in the internal struggle that has gripped Republicans since Obama’s election.

Kingston sits in second in the most recent polls, trailing David Perdue and ahead of former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel. But with Kingston’s 15% of the vote, 19% for Perdue, and 13% for Handel, it seems certain that no candidate will receive the necessary 50% of the vote in the May 20 primary, which will force a July runoff between the top two vote getters.

Reps. Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey are within striking distance of second place, with 11% and 9% of the vote respectively. This should make the last month of the campaign very interesting.

Any of the top 5 candidates will do well against the expected Democratic nominee, Michelle Nunn, daughter of a Georgia political legend former Senator Sam Nunn. In head to head matchups with the top 5 GOP candidates, Nunn is within one or two points of all except Perdue who is ahead by 5.

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Supreme Court to Hear Aereo Case on Tuesday

Sunday, April 20th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

Oral arguments for a case that could have far reaching effects on how people receive television programming will be heard by the Supreme Court on Tuesday. It’s the four major over the air TV networks vs. the upstart Aereo Corporation in a case that, depending on who you listen to, could either destroy over the air TV for the 60 million Americans who still get their signals via an antenna, or initiate a consumer paradise of options and choices on what to watch, when to watch it, and what to watch it on.

Is this a classic American business success story complete with heroes (media mogul Barry Diller), villains (huge media conglomerates), and plenty of drama (Supreme Court decides the fate of TV viewing)? Or is Diller & Co. a bunch of charlatans, raking in cash by pirating the work of others without paying for it?

Here’s the guts of the dispute:

Aereo subscribers can stream live broadcasts of TV channels on mobile devices using miniature antennas, each assigned to one subscriber. The service was launched in March 2012 in the New York area. The company has since expanded to about 10 cities and plans to enter several more.

The broadcasters claim the service violates their copyrights on the television programs and represents a threat to their ability to control subscription fees and generate advertising. Among those filing court papers in support of the broadcasts are the National Football League, Major League Baseball and various media companies, including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

CBS said in a statement on Friday that Aereo’s business model is “built on stealing the creative content of others.”

Aereo counters that its service does nothing more than provide users what they could obtain with a personal television antenna.”We believe that consumers have a right to use an antenna to access over-the-air television and to make personal recordings of those broadcasts,” Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia said in a statement.

Aereo has won every legal battle it’s been in, including an appeals court ruling late last year. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in January.

But in a dissent from the majority, Justice Denny Chin offered a scathing observation about Aereo, saying Aereo’s platform is a “sham”:

Aereo uses a farm of time antennas, one for each subscriber, “but there is no technologically sound reason to use a multitude of tiny individual antennas rather than one central antenna,” Chin wrote. “[I]ndeed, the system is a Rube Goldberg-like contrivance, over-engineered in an attempt to avoid the reach of the Copyright Act and to take advantage of a perceived loophole in the law.”

Chin is referring to a precedent set in a 2009 case where Supreme Court decided it would be acceptable for Cablevision to store consumers’ DVR content at its own sites, instead of requiring customers to have their own DVRs.

The bottom line is that media companies believe Aereo is stealing content and they want it stopped.

The Hill:

The head of CBS has threatened to cut off its broadcast signal and switch to an Internet-based service if broadcasters lose their bid to get Aereo taken down.

Cable and satellite companies are also keeping track of the case. Those companies, which currently pay broadcasters millions to retransmit their content, could have the incentive to develop a system similar to Aereo’s to cut down on their fees.

Broadcasters are growing increasingly reliant on those retransmission fees, especially as more and more people watch TV on DVR and skip commercials, the other main moneymaker for the stations.

“This is aimed right at the heart of part of their business model, but part of the business that by the way supports local broadcasters and affiliates and also is likely to be increasingly important in the future,” said Mark Schultz, the co-director of academic programs at George Mason University’s Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property.

A broad ruling could also have repercussions for Google, Dropbox and other services that rely on the “cloud” for storing information.

Kanojia has said his company has no Plan B in case the high court rules against him. But a victory would likely lead to a rapid expansion beyond the 11 cities where it currently operates.

A win for Aereo could also spur action in Congress, where broadcasters have a number of allies who will be pressed to crack down on the service.

“If Aereo were to win, I think that Congress would be under some pressure to at least do some partial copyright reform and close the loophole,” DiCola said.

Some analysts believe the likeliest outcome is some kind of compromise ruling where Aereo is allowed to continue with its business but forced to pay something to broadcast companies. Few expect CBS to follow through on its threat to yank its channels, although there is a chance that all broadcast TV companies will cut back on content if, as expected, an Aereo win allows cable companies to stop paying transmission fees to the media giants.

Whatever SCOTUS rules is bound to have far reaching, and perhaps revolutionary effects on how we watch TV.

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Forget ‘You Can Keep Your Doctor’: Try Finding One First

Sunday, April 20th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

It’s called “Medical Homelessness” and its just the latest Obamacare SNAFU to make anyone who purchased a policy from healthcare.gov or the state exchanges wonder about the sanity of lawmakers who voted for this monstrosity.

As was pointed out at the time Obamacare was passed, the United States currently has a shortage of primary care physicians — and it’s getting worse. By 2020, there will be 45,000 fewer primary care physicians than are needed — a problem exacerbated by the fact that most physicians do not accept Medicaid patients because of low reimbursement levels.

As Californians are discovering, thousands of doctors aren’t accepting any patients with an Obamacare policy.

KPIX reports:

While open enrollment for coverage under the Affordable Care Act is closed, many of the newly insured are finding they can’t find doctors, landing them into a state described as “medical homelessness.”

Rotacare, a free clinic for the uninsured in Mountain View, is dealing with the problem firsthand.

Mirella Nguyen works at the clinic said staffers dutifully helped uninsured clients sign up for Obamacare so they would no longer need the free clinic.

But months later, the clinic’s former patients are coming back to the clinic begging for help. “They’re coming back to us now and saying I can’t find a doctor, “said Nguyen.

Thinn Ong was thrilled to qualify for a subsidy on the health care exchange. She is paying $200 a month in premiums. But the single mother of two is asking, what for?

“Yeah, I sign it. I got it. But where’s my doctor? Who’s my doctor? I don’t know,” said a frustrated Ong.

Nguyen said the newly insured patients checked the physicians’ lists they were provided and were told they weren’t accepting new patients or they did not participate in the plan.

And Nguyen says – while the free clinic isn’t technically supposed to be treating former patents they signed up for insurance, they can’t in good faith turn them away.

Dr. Kevin Grumbach of UCSF called the phenomenon “medical homelessness,” where patients are caught adrift in a system woefully short of primary care doctors.

“Insurance coverage is a necessary but not a sufficient condition to assure that people get access to care when they need it,” Grumbach said.

Those who can’t find a doctor are supposed to lodge a complaint with state regulators, who have been denying the existence of a doctor shortage for months.

Meanwhile, the sick and insured can’t get appointments.

“What good is coverage if you can’t use it?” Nguyen said.

Ms. Nguyen has discovered the secret of Big Government. Obamacare is a Potemkin Village, all pretty and enticing on the outside, but look behind it and you find nothing except high deductibles, bad coverage, and bewildering requirements.

And it’s only going to get worse, says Kaiser:

There are various reasons for the shortages. Certainly a big contributor is the aging of the baby boomers, who may still love rock ‘n roll but increasingly need hearing aids to enjoy it. The growing medical needs of that large age group are creating a huge burden for the existing health care workforce. The retirement of many doctors in the boomer cohort is compounding the problem.

The federal government estimates the physician supply will increase by 7 percent in the next 10 years. But the number of Americans over 65 will grow by about 36 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Money also is a factor in the shortages. During the course of their careers, primary care physicians earn around $3 million less than their colleagues in specialty fields, which makes primary care a less appealing path for many medical students.

In mental health, the problem is that much of the work is in the public sector, where the pay is far less than it is for providers in other medical specialties, who tend to work in the private sector. As an example, according to the National Council for Behavioral Health, a registered nurse working in mental health earns $42,987 as compared to the national average for nurses of $66,530.
Valuing Work-Life Balance

But financial factors are not the leading reason that medical students are avoiding primary care, Mitchell said. In surveys of medical students conducted by AAMC, students valued “work-life balance” more than money when they were choosing their specialties. Because primary care often involves long hours and night and weekend calls, it is far less desirable to this generation of students.

“Half of the physicians in training are women,” Mitchell said. “You find more of them are looking for a career that might be compatible with part-time hours, that don’t involve being on call. Men are more engaged in child care today, and they have similar concerns as they consider their career choices.”

Even before Obamacare was implemented, the statistics were grim for the newly insured:

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, the federal agency charged with improving access to health care, nearly 20 percent of Americans live in areas with an insufficient number of primary care doctors. Sixteen percent live in areas with too few dentists and a whopping 30 percent are in areas that are short of mental health providers. Under federal guidelines, there should be no more than 3,500 people for each primary care provider; no more than 5,000 people for each dental provider; and no more than 30,000 people for each mental health provider.

So even if you’re lucky enough to find a doctor that treats those with Obamacare policies, chances are good to excellent you will wait forever for routine exams and services.

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Obama’s Evolving Policy Toward Russia Promises a New Cold War

Sunday, April 20th, 2014 - by Kim Zigfeld

Oh yes, they’re the great pretenders! Though seemingly at odds, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin have much more in common than it appears, both having become lost in a world of self-delusion.  Putin pretends he hasn’t alienated the entire civilized world with his barbaric aggression against smaller neighbors, and Obama pretends his failed policies haven’t been key in giving Putin the chance to do so.

A remarkable report in the New York Times reveals that Obama has now decided to “write off” America’s relationship with Russia and embark upon a new cold war, focusing on the time-honored principle of containment to guide it.

It states that the next U.S. ambassador to Russia will be John F. Tefft, who previously served as ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania and who served as deputy head of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in the 1990s under Bill Clinton.

The Times reports:

When the search began months ago, administration officials were leery of sending Mr. Tefft because of concern that his experience in former Soviet republics that have flouted Moscow’s influence would irritate Russia. Now, officials said, there is no reluctance to offend the Kremlin.

Indeed, Tefft was given the 2012 Diplomacy in Human Rights Award for his work in standing up to the pro-Russia Yanukovich regime before it was toppled this year, including lobbying hard for the release of Yanukovich’s leading political foe, Yulia Tymoshenko, from prison. He’s directly linked to the pro-West movement in Ukraine which has caused Putin to panic.  Tefft’s appointment is a direct poke in the eye of Putin, and there’s no mistaking it.

The Times calls this a “remarkable turnaround” for Obama. That’s putting it mildly.

What’s actually happened is that circumstances have forced Obama to admit that the foreign policy he has pursued for the last six years towards Russia, a policy of appeasement, has crashed and burned. John McCain warned from the start that pursuing such a policy would give Putin the chance to consolidate his power and move aggressively against his neighbors, and that is exactly what has happened. It’s one of the most spectacular foreign policy debacles in U.S. history.

Obama promised us that in return for appeasement we’d get a reliable nuclear arms treaty with Russia. What we actually got was shameless Soviet-style cheating and treaty violations.

Obama promised us that in exchange for appeasement we’d get Russian help reining in Iran. What we actually got was Russian opposition to U.S. interests, not just in Iran but throughout the Middle East, from Libya to Syria.

And on top of it all, we got Russian tanks in Ukraine.  As a headline in Stars and Stripes declared,  Obama wrapped up a “terrific, triumphant, all good, totally awesome year” and delivered it to Putin with a big red bow on top.

As Senator Bob Corker told the Times:

They’re playing us. We continue to watch what they’re doing and try to respond to that. But it seems that in doing so, we create a policy that’s always a day late and a dollar short.

Indeed, Putin is far out ahead of Obama in weaponizing information surrounding the barbaric aggression against Ukraine, and Obama has consistently failed to implement the type of economic sanctions that might prevent Putin from moving deeper into Ukraine.

Alexander Dugin, Putin’s Goebbels, recently declared  that

the territorial integrity of Armenia and Karabakh will not be guaranteed to the extent that Russia is a proportional power and naturally countries adjoining Russia can preserve their territorial integrity exclusively by maintaining good relations with Russia.

Vyacheslav Nikonov, a leader of Putin’s party of power in parliament, echoed  Dugin, directly threatening Ukraine:  “There are very few things the Ukrainian government can do now to keep their country together.”

Russia is, in other words, boldly threatening every neighbor, not just Ukraine, and is far from content with Crimea where Ukraine is concerned.

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Western Lawmakers Gather to Discuss Reclaiming Federal Lands

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

The meeting, held in Salt Lake City with 50 lawmakers from 9 states, was in the works long before Cliven Bundy’s standoff with the BLM last week. But it points to a growing movement out west that is advocating a return of extremely valuable, oil and mineral rich lands currently under federal management to state control.

It’s time for Western states to take control of federal lands within their borders, lawmakers and county commissioners from Western states said at Utah’s Capitol on Friday.

More than 50 political leaders from nine states convened for the first time to talk about their joint goal: wresting control of oil-, timber -and mineral-rich lands away from the feds.

“It’s simply time,” said Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, who organized the Legislative Summit on the Transfer for Public Lands along with Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder. “The urgency is now.”

Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, was flanked by a dozen participants, including her counterparts from Idaho and Montana, during a press conference after the daylong closed-door summit. U.S. Sen. Mike Lee addressed the group over lunch, Ivory said. New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington also were represented.

The summit was in the works before this month’s tense standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management over cattle grazing, Lockhart said.

“What’s happened in Nevada is really just a symptom of a much larger problem,” Lockhart said.

Fielder, who described herself as “just a person who lives in the woods,” said federal land management is hamstrung by bad policies, politicized science and severe federal budget cuts.

“Those of us who live in the rural areas know how to take care of lands,” Fielder said, who lives in the northwestern Montana town of Thompson Falls.

“We have to start managing these lands. It’s the right thing to do for our people, for our environment, for our economy and for our freedoms,” Fielder said.

Idaho Speaker of the House Scott Bedke said Idaho forests and rangeland managed by the state have suffered less damage and watershed degradation from wildfire than have lands managed by federal agencies.

Heer’s a listing of the percentage of state land owned by the feds.

This map details the percentage of state territory owned by the federal government. The top 10 list of states with the highest percentage of federally owned land looks like this:

Nevada 84.5%
Alaska 69.1%
Utah 57.4%
Oregon 53.1%
Idaho 50.2%
Arizona 48.1%
California 45.3%
Wyoming 42.3%
New Mexico 41.8%
Colorado 36.6%

Notable is that all these states are in the West (except Alaska, which strictly speaking is also a western state, albeit northwestern). Also notable is the contrast between the highest and the lowest percentages of federal land ownership. The US government owns a whopping 84.5% of Nevada, but only a puny 0.4% of Rhode Island and Connecticut. The lowest-percentage states are mainly in the East, but some are also in the Midwest and in the South:

Connecticut 0.4%
Rhode Island 0.4%
Iowa 0.8%
New York 0.8%
Maine 1.1%
Kansas 1.2%
Nebraska 1.4%
Alabama 1.6%
Ohio 1.7%
Illinois 1.8%

Even the 10th place is still below the two percent mark. One territory is not specified on the map: Washington D.C. It could be argued that this is the only main administrative division of US territory to be fully owned by the federal government. It could, but that would be wrong – and upsetting to those private citizens who own part of the nation’s capital in the form of their real estate. It would be more correct to state that the District of Columbia by default falls under the direct tutelage of the Federal Government.

Here are the primary federal land holders:

Department of the Interior
Bureau of Land Management
United States Fish and Wildlife Service
National Park Service
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Reclamation
Department of Agriculture
United States Forest Service
United States Department of Defense
United States Army Corps of Engineers
Tennessee Valley Authority

A short legislative historyof how the government came to own half of the western United States:

It is sort of an accident of history and because of the whims of Congress that the federal government controls all that land. In the mid-1800s, lawmakers passed laws encouraging settlers to colonize the West, with the idea of carving up the new U.S. territories into privately held parcels. Starting with Theodore Roosevelt, though, U.S. lawmakers started to conserve public lands for the public with the creation of the national parks.

In 1934, Congress created the U.S. Grazing Service to manage cattle and sheep grazing on public lands, and in 1946 the Grazing Service was combined with the General Land Office to create the BLM. In 1976, Congress passed the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, formally setting aside federal public lands for multiple public uses, including recreation, ranching, and mining. The BLM, Forest Service, and National Park Service have been juggling those competing interests ever since.

The argument isn’t over federal control and management of national parks, although some would argue national park land is far too expansive and includes land that could be put to better use than what is now. More controversial are “wilderness” areas on which little or no development at all is allowed — not even roads.

Clearly, the real beef is with the feds owning large swaths of land that, if managed properly, would yield a lot of revenue for states from the granting of oil and mineral rights. So what’s the problem? There’s a belief among some in Washington that the states would allow developers to run wild. This is ridiculous, as is the idea that states don’t have the competency to manage their own lands. Many western states have been managing lands the size of small countries. And perhaps more than bureaucrats in Washington, the people out west have a profound respect for the land — and for nature. It seems silly to think they would suddenly allow developers to rape the land, stripping it willy nilly.

As usual, this is about power and control. Land is wealth, and the question of whether that wealth should be in the hands of the states or Washington needs to be addressed.

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Liberal Bias in College Commencement Speakers? Surely, You Jest

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

We’re shocked, shocked I tell you, that Democratic commencement speakers outnumber Republican speakers 2-1.

Washington Times:

In what critics describe as another example of liberal bias on campus, 56 Democratic officeholders, appointees and operatives are slated to speak this spring at university graduation ceremonies.

Only 26 Republicans are scheduled to deliver college commencement addresses, the study found.

“This proves how liberal our nation’s universities are. There is a severe bias against conservative viewpoints and an unwillingness to offer true diversity of thought,” said Caleb Bonham, editor-in-chief of Campus Reform, which pushes for greater conservative representation at universities.

Part of the discrepancy can be explained by having a Democrat in the White House. Cabinet officers tend to be popular graduation speakers, and 10 of the 16 secretaries are slated to speak at commencement ceremonies, including Secretary of State John Kerry at Yale University and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz at Dartmouth University.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden is scheduled to deliver the addresses at the University of South Carolina and the University of Delaware.

Past presidents are often sought-after speakers, but as Campus Reform points out, neither of the surviving two former Republican presidents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — are slated to deliver addresses this year.

Meanwhile, President Clinton will speak at New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus, while his vice president, Al Gore, is scheduled to deliver remarks at Princeton University.

Democrats control the Senate by a margin of 53 to 45, but they outnumber Republican graduation speakers by more than 2 to 1. Of the 13 senators scheduled to give speeches, nine are Democrats and four are Republicans.

“Surprisingly, Senators Rand Paul (Ky.) and Ted Cruz (Texas) remain absent from all commencement ceremony lineups,” said the Campus Reform press release.

Republicans control the House, but Democratic representatives are considerably more popular on the graduation circuit, with eight Democrats and five Republicans now booked for speeches. As for governors, nine Democrats and six Republicans are slated to deliver remarks.

“While Republican governors outnumber Democrats 29 to 21 nationally, Democrats have managed to nearly double the number of Republican governors speaking on campus,” said the Campus Reform release.

Not mentioned are some Republican speakers every year who draw protests from campus liberals for one reason or another. Or who are booed. Or have some students stand and turn their backs on them. The hollow boasts about campuses glorifying diversity certainly doesn’t extend to diversity of opinions — which is far more important than counting the melanin content in the skin of students and faculty.

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