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The PJ Tatler

Hillary Clinton Forgets Where She Is

Friday, May 22nd, 2015 - by Debra Heine

Poor Hillary Clinton. Her presidential campaign has barely begun and she already seems to need a break.

Today, at a campaign event in New Hampshire, she had a momentary lapse of memory.

Via Twitchy:

To be honest, minor gaffes like this are really not a big deal. All politicians occasionally misspeak.
Although it is absurd that this Queen of cronyism – who has a net worth of up to $50 million – would be denouncing how “the deck is being stacked” for those on the top.

More interesting to me is how the MSM will handle Hillary’s gaffes. Will only the conservative media  cover them, or will the anti-Clinton faction of the MSM kick into high gear every time she makes a boo boo — like they would if she were a Republican?

Stay tuned.

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Obama’s Big Brass Clanging Tablets on Display at D.C. Synagogue

Friday, May 22nd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: This Friday, hours before Shabbat is set to begin and one day before the holiday of Shavuot starts, President Obama walked into a D.C. synagogue and proceeded to tell Jews that their religious texts and traditions compel them to give away Israeli land for the creation of a Palestinian state.

That’s some big, clanging brass you-know-whats on display right there. It’s one thing to use a prayer breakfast to rip Christians a new one. Would he have the guts to walk into a church and do the same thing, hours before a holy day, one day before a holiday no less? Are we Jews that nice? That pathetic? Do we give the impression of being such pushovers that we turn our pulpits over to world leaders who crap on our identity and manipulate our covenant with God to suit their own personal political agendas?

There is no doubt that Obama created Jewish American Heritage Month and participated in today’s keynote event simply to smooth over his relationship with the Jewish American community in the wake of his aggressive negotiations with Iran and the Gulf states. We are no longer the fiddlers. We are merely the fiddles being played by a political performer who has no problem proclaiming that he knows us better than we know ourselves.

On Shavuot we will celebrate the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. It is, in effect, the anniversary of our entering into our covenant with God. This is the very holiday that marks the making of us as a people. A key element of that covenant is the land on which the nation of Israel is to be established. And today, 1,000 attendees at Adas Israel anxiously clapped away that promise in favor of the pervading moral relativism of the White House.

They aren’t bad Jews because they vote liberal. They aren’t bad Jews because they vote Obama. They are bad Jews, as we all are, for ignoring, belittling, dismissing, and forgetting the covenant we made with God. The covenant that crafted us into who we are and showed us what we could be. Come on, people. We’re better than that.

 

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Dear GOP: Don’t Work with Obama — Stop Him

Friday, May 22nd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

GOP hacks like the loathsome Mitch McConnell and Weepy John Boehner seem to think the GOP needs to show it can “govern” — by which they mean push various pieces of crappy legislation through their respective chambers — before voters will trust them with the keys to the White House. Meanwhile, the public keep screaming: STOP OBAMA!

The new Republican-led Congress is drawing harsh reviews from the public – including most Republicans. Just 23% of Americans say congressional Republicans are keeping the promises they made during last fall’s campaign, while 65% say they are not. Nearly four-in-ten (37%) say the new Congress has accomplished less than they expected, while 4% say it has accomplished more than expected. About half (53%) say its accomplishments are in line with what they expected.

On both measures, the public’s views are far more negative than they were of the Democratic-led Congress in March 2007, after the Democrats regained control of both chambers following several years of Republican control. Views are also much more negative than they were in April 1995, shortly after the GOP had gained control of the House and Senate for the first time in four decades.

The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted May 12-18 among 2,002 adults, finds that just 22% approve of the job performance of Republican congressional leaders, little changed since the summer of 2011. Ratings for Democratic congressional leaders are somewhat better (33% approve).

Ha ha ha ha ha! Suckers! The Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party doesn’t care. And certainly not the wing led by the twin dullards, McConnell and Boehner, men of limited intelligence and zero imagination. But then, that’s what happens when politics becomes a profession: it becomes all about process.

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Media Cops Closing In On Notorious Gangland Family

Friday, May 22nd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

That would be the Clintons, of course, who daily have to endure more and more stories about their bogus “charity,” aka the Clinton Family Enrichment Fund:

The Clinton Foundation reported Thursday that it has received as much as $26.4 million in previously undisclosed payments from major corporations, universities, foreign sources and other groups. The disclosure came as the foundation faced questions over whether it fully complied with a 2008 ethics agreement to reveal its donors and whether any of its funding sources present conflicts of interest for Hillary Rodham Clinton as she begins her presidential campaign.

The money was paid as fees for speeches by Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. Foundation officials said the funds were tallied internally as “revenue” rather than donations, which is why they had not been included in the public listings of its contributors published as part of the 2008 agreement.

Isn’t it amazing how many Ivy League-educated Democrats can somehow make so many “mistakes” and “errors” out of “sloppiness”?

According to the new information, the Clintons have delivered 97 speeches to benefit the charity since 2002. Colleges and universities sponsored more than two dozen of these speeches, along with U.S. and overseas corporations and at least one foreign government, Thailand.

The payments were disclosed late Thursday on the organization’s Web site, with speech payments listed in ranges rather than specific amounts. In total, the payments ranged between $12 million and $26.4 million.

The paid appearances included speeches by former president Bill Clinton to the Ni­ger­ian ThisDay newspaper group for at least $500,000 and to the Beijing Huaduo Enterprise Consulting Company Ltd., an investment holding company that specializes in the natural gas market, for at least $250,000. Citibank paid at least $250,000 for a speech by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The disclosures underscore how much the Clintons have leveraged their star power to draw more money not just for their personal enrichment but also for the benefit of their philanthropic work.

“Star power” — that’s one way to put it. Another way is that these grifters have leveraged Bill Clinton’s presidency into a source of infinite wealth at the American taxpayer’s expense. No White House, no money. No wonder candidates spend billions trying to win a job that pays a measly $400,000 a year: the fringe benefits are incredible. Meanwhile:

As first lady in the final year of the Clinton administration, Hillary Rodham Clinton endorsed a White House plan to give tax breaks to private foundations and wealthy charity donors at the same time the William J. Clinton Foundation was soliciting donations for her husband’s presidential library, recently released Clinton-era documents show. The blurred lines between the tax reductions proposed by the Clinton administration in 2000 and the Clinton Library’s fundraising were an early foreshadowing of the potential ethics concerns that have flared around the Clintons’ courting of corporate and foreign donors for their family charity before she launched her campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

White House documents in the Clinton Library reviewed by The Associated Press show Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton were kept apprised about a tax reduction package that would have benefited donors, including those to his presidential library, by reducing their tax burden. An interagency task force set up by Bill Clinton’s executive order proposed those breaks along with deductions to middle-class taxpayers who did not itemize their returns. Federal officials estimated the plan would cost the U.S. government $14 billion in lost tax payments over a decade.

Federal law does not prevent fundraising by a presidential library during a president’s term. But in directly pushing the legislation while the Clinton Library was aggressively seeking donations, Hillary and Bill Clinton’s altruistic support for philanthropy overlapped with their interests promoting their White House years and knitting ties with philanthropic leaders. Hundreds of pages of documents contain no evidence that anyone in the Clinton administration warned anyone about potential ethics concerns or sought to minimize the White House’s active role in the legislation.

Hey, as long as they’re just “potential” ethics concerns, we’re good! And if you think the Clintons are bad, wait until you get a load of the Obamas after Hussein leaves office.

 

 

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GOP Bill Creates Incentives to Put Birth Control Pill Over-the-Counter

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Some Republicans have floated support for putting birth control pills over the counter, but now two senators have put legislative muscle behind the effort.

Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced the Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act, which aims to encourage manufacturers of contraceptives to file an application for a prescription-to-over-the-counter switch (Rx-to-OTC switch) by allowing priority review for their applications and waiving the FDA filing fee.

The incentives would be available for FDA-approved OTC contraceptives sold to adults 18 and older.

The bill would then repeal the Obamacare prohibition on the use of health savings accounts, medical savings accounts, and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) to purchase OTC drugs as well as repeal the ACA’s annual limits on FSA contributions.

Gardner voiced his support for OTC contraceptives in his winning battle against incumbent Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) last fall. Udall tried to paint his challenger as anti-women’s rights.

“It’s time to allow women the ability to make their own decisions about safe, effective, and long-established methods of contraception,”Gardner said in a statement today. “Most other drugs with such a long history of safe and routine use are available for purchase over the counter, and contraception should join them.”

“Making this medication available over the counter would increase access in rural and underserved areas, save consumers money by increasing competition and availability, and save women time by increasing the ease of getting the safe contraception they need.”

Ayotte said the bill “will help increase women’s access to safe and effective contraceptives and further empower women to make their own healthcare decisions.”

“In addition, our bill restores the ability of Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts to be used to purchase over-the-counter medications, giving women more purchasing power,” she said.

Original co-sponsors are Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

Gardner argued in a June Denver Post op-ed that women should be able to buy the pill over the counter.

“Since ‘the pill’ was first approved 44 years ago, it’s been one of the most proven and tested pharmaceuticals of our time. It is safe, reliable, effective, and presents very few risks or complications for the more than 10 million women who use it. When other drugs have that kind of track record, we approve them for purchase without a prescription; the Food and Drug Administration has already reclassified over 100 different treatments. Name-brand drugs like Advil, Pepcid, Claritin, Prilosec and many others were once sold by prescription only, but moved to over-the-counter sale (OTC) once they’d been proven safe and unlikely to be abused,” he wrote.

“When treatments go over-the-counter, two things happen: they get dramatically cheaper and consumers save time and hassle by avoiding unnecessary doctors’ appointments just to get the pharmaceuticals they already know they need… Getting the politics out of contraception will improve the lives of women all over the country.”

He cited a 2012 committee recommendation by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that the pill be put over the counter.

After that guidance was issued, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal threw his support behind OTC birth control.

“As a conservative Republican, I believe that we have been stupid to let the Democrats demagogue the contraceptives issue and pretend, during debates about health-care insurance, that Republicans are somehow against birth control. It’s a disingenuous political argument they make,” Jindal wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

“Contraception is a personal matter — the government shouldn’t be in the business of banning it or requiring a woman’s employer to keep tabs on her use of it. If an insurance company or those purchasing insurance want to cover birth control, they should be free to do so. If a consumer wants to buy birth control on her own, she should be free to do so.”

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Toomey to Obama: Don’t Take Life-Saving Equipment Away from Cops

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has implored President Obama to reconsider his decision on blocking some surplus military equipment from police departments, arguing he could be putting officers’ lives at risk.

Obama announced this week new policies on equipment that is donated by the federal government to state and local law enforcement agencies. Complaints about militarized police came after the riots and protests in Ferguson, Mo.

“You know, we’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them. It can alienate and intimidate local residents and send the wrong message,” Obama said.

In a letter to Obama today, Toomey said he didn’t object to the inclusion of some items on the banned list. “After all, we are unlikely to hear many complaints over a ban on bayonets, given that our military has not led a bayonet charge since the Korean War,” he wrote.

“But many of the listed items are purely defensive, such as riot helmets, riot shields, and armored personal transport vehicles. They are surplus Department of Defense items that the federal government will not use, and therefore donates to local police departments. After the riots in Baltimore, Ferguson, and New York City, where protesters torched police cars and hurled bricks, cement blocks, and glass bottles at law enforcement, why would we make it harder to send riot gear that would otherwise sit unused to unprotected police officers across the country?” he continued.

“I would not want a police officer to respond to the recent gang shoot-out at Waco, Texas—which killed nine and wounded 18—without ready access to full protective equipment, including, if needed, an armored vehicle. And armored vehicles were essential in providing protection and transportation to law enforcement in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing.”

Toomey said the report of Obama’s working group on police militarization “treats the need to save police lives as something to be weighed against—and sacrificed to—the desire to prevent distrust or discomfort on the part of others.”

“What ‘wrong message’ is sent by allowing law enforcement access to purely defensive equipment such as riot helmets and riot shields? Such equipment sends the message that rioters might have a hard time if their objective is to injure police officers,” the senator wrote. “And in the event that some do get a ‘wrong message,’ how does that concern outweigh saving the lives of police? How many police lives are we willing to sacrifice? One? Twenty? One hundred? We just observed National Police Week and honored those whose names were added to the wall at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. How many more names must we add to that wall before we decide that protecting police lives must be a paramount consideration?”

“I am also deeply concerned that your Working Group bought into a false narrative about law enforcement—one that paints America’s police officers as the cause of unrest and violence, as opposed to the brave defense against it.”

Toomey noted that the working group didn’t “cite a single instance of local police misusing federal equipment; it just assumes that police will regard new equipment as an opportunity to abuse their power.”

“This is insulting to our law enforcement officers—the vast majority of whom are honest, hardworking men and women motivated solely by the desire to protect and serve, and who do not have a racist bone in their body,” he added.

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Obama Explains How It’s Acceptable to Broker Deal with Regime That Wants to Annihilate Jews

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama told The Atlantic that ISIS is not winning, but “the training of Iraqi security forces, the fortifications, the command-and-control systems are not happening fast enough in Anbar, in the Sunni parts of the country.”

“I don’t think we’re losing,” Obama said. “There’s no doubt there was a tactical setback, although Ramadi had been vulnerable for a very long time, primarily because these are not Iraqi security forces that we have trained or reinforced.”

Obama spoke with Jeffrey Goldberg on Tuesday, after the fall of Ramadi and well into the White House spin operation on the ISIS gain.

“I know that there are some in Republican quarters who have suggested that I’ve overlearned the mistake of Iraq, and that, in fact, just because the 2003 invasion did not go well doesn’t argue that we shouldn’t go back in,” he said. “And one lesson that I think is important to draw from what happened is that if the Iraqis themselves are not willing or capable to arrive at the political accommodations necessary to govern, if they are not willing to fight for the security of their country, we cannot do that for them.”

Obama also assured the magazine that the Iran nuclear deal will be good because of his “personal interest in locking this down.”

“Look, 20 years from now, I’m still going to be around, God willing,” he said. “If Iran has a nuclear weapon, it’s my name on this.”

He also contested Goldberg’s suggestion that the anti-Semitic regime in Iran is not a rational negotiating partner.

“Well the fact that you are anti-Semitic, or racist, doesn’t preclude you from being interested in survival,” Obama said. “It doesn’t preclude you from being rational about the need to keep your economy afloat; it doesn’t preclude you from making strategic decisions about how you stay in power; and so the fact that the supreme leader is anti-Semitic doesn’t mean that this overrides all of his other considerations. You know, if you look at the history of anti-Semitism, Jeff, there were a whole lot of European leaders—and there were deep strains of anti-Semitism in this country—”

Goldberg interjected that European anti-Semitic leaders had, indeed, made irrational decisions.

“They may make irrational decisions with respect to discrimination, with respect to trying to use anti-Semitic rhetoric as an organizing tool. At the margins, where the costs are low, they may pursue policies based on hatred as opposed to self-interest. But the costs here are not low, and what we’ve been very clear [about] to the Iranian regime over the past six years is that we will continue to ratchet up the costs, not simply for their anti-Semitism, but also for whatever expansionist ambitions they may have,” Obama retorted.

“That’s what the sanctions represent. That’s what the military option I’ve made clear I preserve represents. And so I think it is not at all contradictory to say that there are deep strains of anti-Semitism in the core regime, but that they also are interested in maintaining power, having some semblance of legitimacy inside their own country, which requires that they get themselves out of what is a deep economic rut that we’ve put them in, and on that basis they are then willing and prepared potentially to strike an agreement on their nuclear program.”

Obama also said that the African-American experience has a parallel to Israel’s right to exist. “There’s a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law,” he said. “These things are indivisible in my mind.”

“…I consistently received overwhelming majority support from the Jewish community, and even after all the publicity around the recent differences that I’ve had with Prime Minister Netanyahu, the majority of the Jewish American community still supports me, and supports me strongly.”

Obama appeared in the Oval Office today with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, but did not take any questions from the media.

He’s scheduled to deliver remarks at Congregation Adas Israel in D.C. tomorrow for Jewish American Heritage Month.

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Pelosi: Cuban Officials on Her Trip Were Under Impression Obama Can Lift Embargo

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters today that when she visited Cuba in February officials were under the impression that President Obama can lift the congressional embargo.

“I think that the president made the right decision to remove Cuba from the terrorist — it changes its name all the time — terrorist countries of concern; rogue nation — what — whatever that list is, I think he made the right decision to take Cuba off of that list because they are not engaged in the activities that would warrant them being on it,” Pelosi said at a wide-ranging press conference.

Congress had 45 days from the point of Obama’s decision to remove Cuba from the list to oppose the move; that deadline is May 29.

“I don’t see anything that could be accomplished by May 29th to overturn the president’s decision in that regard,” Pelosi said.

“In terms of the — I almost said blockade. Because when we were in Cuba, they kept calling it a blockade. That’s — it’s not a blockade. It’s a — it’s an embargo. A blockade is different. But they kept calling it that,” she continued. “There was some sentiment by some of the leaders that we met with in Cuba that the president had the authority to lift the embargo. He does not. That is an act of Congress that requires an act of Congress.”

“I have not myself been involved in any of the activities to lift the embargo, but I would certainly be very supportive of them as they — as they materialize, because it is really important for us to lift it.”

A fourth round of talks between State Department and Cuban officials resumed today in Havana.

“I hope, though, on the part of Cuba, that it’s not a requirement to normalizing relations with — with the United States,” Pelosi said of the embargo. “It’s something that normalizing relations could lead to, lifting the embargo. But it’s a relic that has not been useful, and has certainly — it’s time for the embargo to go.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who got the press room after Pelosi’s news conference, said it’s not time to remove the embargo.

“And from what I’ve watched over the last two or three months, when it comes to Cuba, the administration keeps giving and giving and giving. But the Castro brothers are giving — are doing nothing,” Boehner said.

“And when you look at their record of human rights violations and you look at how they’ve run their economy into the ground, it’s time for them to come forward. There are conversations in the House about what we can do to stop the president’s actions.”

Boehner said he had a meeting this week “with a group of members who were interested in stopping this progression toward normal relations with Cuba, until such time as they begin to make serious changes in terms of the way they run their country.”

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Sanders Worrying About Nation ‘Moving Very Rapidly Into an Orwellian Type of Society’

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) didn’t join several Democrats who spoke on the Senate floor with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) yesterday in his 10.5-hour Patriot Act talkathon, but the Democratic presidential candidate made clear this morning he stands with Rand.

Paul finished his speech shortly before midnight, with his primary opponents present. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was on the floor and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was presiding over the Senate, reading a copy of Foreign Affairs magazine.

Paul was essentially stalling the business Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wanted to get to, protesting what he said was not a fair debate and amendments process on the Patriot Act reauthorization.

“Let me just say this: you know, Rand Paul and I do not have a lot in common on a whole lot of issues, but I think on this issue, we’re coming from the same page,” Sanders told MSNBC.

“I worry very much about the United States moving rapidly into an Orwellian type of society. And, you know, it’s not just that the NSA is collecting virtually avenue phone call made in America, has access to the Web sites that you visit, the e-mails that you send. It’s the private sector knowing what books you’re buying, what food you’re eating, your medical records, banking records — this is really scary stuff. And technology has significantly outpaced legislative ability to protect our privacy,” he added.

Sanders voted against the original Patriot Act and subsequent reauthorizations. Section 215 of the law expires in June.

He called Sen. Pat Leahy’s (D-Vt.) USA Freedom Act “a step forward,” but “I don’t think it goes far enough.”

“There may be enough votes to say, we have got to take a thorough look at the issue of constitutional rights in this country. Look, everybody agrees that terrorism is a real threat. I certainly do. But I think we can protect the American people without undermining the Constitution and the privacy rights of our people,” Sanders added.

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Scott Says Police Body Camera Legislation Not About Federalizing Law Enforcement

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Regarding claims that his push for police body cameras is federalizing local law enforcement, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said could be “nothing further than the truth.”

Scott testified this week before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, arguing that a police body cameras would protect both police and citizens and help build trust between communities and law enforcement.

He’ll be introducing legislation on the matter.

“I haven’t heard any of my Senate colleagues come forward and say they believe that the step forward of having body cameras available for law enforcement, local law enforcement, is in any way, shape or form federalizing local law enforcement,” Scott told CNN. “I would oppose, object and strongly stand in the way of federalizing local law enforcement. It’s the worst idea I have heard.”

Scott grew up in the city where Walter Scott, no relation, was running from police last month after a traffic stop and shot in the back. The officer was fired and faces murder charges.

“What this would is would provide funding for local law enforcement who are interested in having body-worn cameras, but cannot afford it,” the senator said of his bill.

“There are about 3,000 or 4,000 jurisdictions around the country that have already made the move in the direction of body cameras. There are some jurisdictions that cannot afford them. What I’m trying to do is make sure that the funding apparatus that could be available is available. And frankly I think it’s going to save more money than it actually costs.”

He said the Walter Scott shooting in his hometown “certainly had a lot to do with me taking a step forward and asking for the hearing that we had yesterday, now asking for the groups that have been part of the hearing process, the experts that have come into my office — we have had over a dozen groups have come in and talk about their concerns, whether it’s disclosure issues, whether it’s data retention, a lot of issues that we need to solve on our way to it.”

“Privacy is a big issue. And it should be a big issue. We should not rush into something. What I hope to see is the laboratory of America working on behalf of the citizens of the country. When you have that many jurisdictions moving forward with body cameras, you would think, three years from now, this is going to be the norm,” he continued. “What I’m trying to do is find the best practices around the country and make them available to other jurisdictions, without us as the federal government coming in and dictating, mandating or requiring anything, but other than having a funding apparatus.”

Scott said he’s “very excited about the fact that the sheriff’s associations that I have met with, the attorney general’s associations that I have met with, the mayors that I have met with all have the same comments.”

“Yes, this will probably be a very good tool for law enforcement officers. Let us talk first about the cost, the data retention, the disclosure issues, FOIA as well, as far as disclosure issues,” he said.

“And if we can overcome those obstacles, then we have a clear path. But everyone so far has agreed that body cameras would in fact lower complaints. One study’s come out that said they declared a 90 percent drop, 90 percent drop in complaints against officers and a 60 percent drop in the use of force. Everyone seems to act differently when they know they’re on video.”

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Trump Slams Geller, Muhammad Cartoon Contest: ‘With All the Problems We Have, Why Taunt?’

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Donald Trump said a Bloomberg poll that shows him viewed unfavorably by 68 percent of global investors, analysts and traders has no bearing on his presidential chances.

“I think that’s because nobody thinks I’m running. They don’t think I’m running. It’s really a funny thing. As you know, I came in, like, beat almost everybody in the New Hampshire Bloomberg poll, the same thing. Yet they don’t think I’m running. So we’ll see what happens. I mean, in June, I will announce one way or the other, and I think you may be surprised. Even you may be surprised. I’ll be announcing some time in June,” Trump told Fox last night.

In this month’s Bloomberg New Hampshire poll, Trump came in with 8 percent behind Rand Paul and Scott Walker tied at 12 percent, and Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio tied at 11 percent.

Trump called Bush “a reluctant warrior; I think he doesn’t want to be running.”

“I don’t know why he’s running. He looks unhappy. He looks like he doesn’t want to be there,” he added.

He also weighed in on the Muhammad cartoons controversy and shooting in Garland, Texas.

“I think Pam Geller is a terrible messenger. I think she’s terrible. We have enough problems without taunting and driving everybody crazy,” Trump said.

“Now, you look at Muhammad and you look at some of the positions they have Muhammad and some people are going to get extremely upset about it. Now, I’m not the only one and I’m not the only conservative Republican that feels this way. They’re lucky to be alive. Why with all the problems we have, why taunt?”

He called the fall of Ramadi and the Obama administration’s ISIS strategy “a total disaster.”

“We’re losing it so badly. They’re cutting off the heads of every Christian that they can find and other people,” Trump said. “You’re going to have to be stronger. You’re going to have to go in there much stronger. I’ll tell you one thing I’d do different, so they caught the accountant, they call him, a few days ago. Instead of talking about it, they should be silent. They’re bragging, oh, we got him. First, he was a mid-level person. And it was such publicity, we got him, we got him, one person. They should have been quiet and gone after others that weren’t suspected. You know, it’s very interesting I’m a big fan of General Douglas Macarthur, I’m a big fan of General George Patton. They don’t talk. They do.”

U.S. officials have said Abu Sayyaf, killed in a Special Forces raid in Syria, was equivalent to ISIS’ chief financial officer.

“I want to make the country great again,” Trump said. “This country is a hell-hole. We are going down fast and I’m a conservative but I have a big heart. I will take care of people, but a lot of people want me to run, and we’ll see what happens.”

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As ISIS Sacks Palmyra, Where Is the UN?

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Probably fretting about global warming, or something equally useless:

Palmyra holds a dual significance to Syrians as being home to some of the world’s most celebrated ruins and one of the Assad regime’s most feared detention and torture facilities. Both, as it happens, will gain new prominence in the days ahead, as ISIS has just swept through the desert tableland, sacking its second city in the course of a week in which a few hundreds of its militants stormed Ramadi, the provincial capital of al-Anbar, largely uncontested by skedaddling Iraqi Security Forces. That sacking put ISIS in firm control of strategic foothold some 70 miles west of Baghdad, and well within striking distance of the Iraqi capital, where suicide and car bombings have spiked recently.

Similarly, the taking of Palmyra puts ISIS on a theoretically straight trajectory for mounting an incursion into Homs—once the cradle of Syria’s revolution and now mostly retaken by the Assad regime—and then possibly onto Damascus, where the terror organization had briefly conquered the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp last month. The loss of Palmyra is a clear threat to Syria’s cultural patrimony, consisting as it does of the standing remnants of 2,000 year-old temples and tombs, because of ISIS’s designation of “idolatrous” pre-Islamic art and architecture—or anything too big for ISIS to hawk on the black market—as worthy only of powdering.

Islam in action. But since Islamic “countries” — there are no Islamic countries, only member “states” of the ummah — make up a large percentage of the UN’s membership, absolutely nothing will be done about this latest act of Islamic cultural vandalism. 

For now, Palmyra remains “calm,” but the mood is undeniable anxious. The departing army destroyed the electrical transformers, Omran said, bathing the ancient city in darkness. Batteries are being used to power computers, but Internet access is spotty. Another source of concern is regime propaganda after the withdrawal: State television has made false claims that Damascus evacuated all of Palmyra’s civilians before its men withdrew. “We’re worried that this was to lay the groundwork for an imminent bombing raid that will make no distinction between Daesh and us,” Omran said, using the derogatory Arabic word for ISIS.

Word on the street is that ISIS has already begun its barbarous counterintelligence work, claiming to have compiled a list of regime agents and sympathizers—a number that, in its view, includes opposition activists opposed to both Assad and ISIS. “The search is on for them,” Omran said.

How were the city’s some 50,000 residents coping, less than 24 hours into ISIS rule? “There’s almost no movement inside the city itself,” he said. “ISIS didn’t introduce a curfew yet, but there’s no one on the street, so you’d think there was one.” And the mood? “Some people have resigned to their fate,” Omran said. “Most of the key services have been shut down. The bakery has run out of flour. The regime shut the lights. People are fearful. They’re not sure what tomorrow holds.”

Death and more destruction is my guess.

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Why Is the Trade Deal Top Secret? And Why Is the GOP Helping Obama? UPDATED

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

And you thought the election of 2014 was about putting a stop to Obama’s rule! Suckers:

u need to tell me what’s wrong with this trade agreement, not one that was passed 25 years ago,” a frustrated President Barack Obama recently complained about criticisms of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). He’s right. The public criticisms of the TPP have been vague. That’s by design—anyone who has read the text of the agreement could be jailed for disclosing its contents. I’ve actually read the TPP text provided to the government’s own advisors, and I’ve given the president an earful about how this trade deal will damage this nation. But I can’t share my criticisms with you.

I can tell you that Elizabeth Warren is right about her criticism of the trade deal. We should be very concerned about what’s hidden in this trade deal—and particularly how the Obama administration is keeping information secret even from those of us who are supposed to provide advice.

The text of the TPP, like all trade deals, is a closely guarded secret. That fact makes a genuine public debate impossible and should make robust debate behind closed doors all the more essential. But the ability of TPP critics like me to point out the deal’s many failings is limited by the government’s surprising and unprecedented refusal to make revisions to the language in the TPP fully available to cleared advisors…

Bill Clinton didn’t operate like this. During the debate on NAFTA, as a cleared advisor for the Democratic leadership, I had a copy of the entire text in a safe next to my desk and regularly was briefed on the specifics of the negotiations, including counterproposals made by Mexico and Canada. During the TPP negotiations, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has never shared proposals being advanced by other TPP partners. Today’s consultations are, in many ways, much more restrictive than those under past administrations.

All advisors, and any liaisons, are required to have security clearances, which entail extensive paperwork and background investigations, before they are able to review text and participate in briefings. But, despite clearances, and a statutory duty to provide advice, advisors do not have access to all the materials that a reasonable person would need to do the job. The negotiators provide us with “proposals” but those are merely initial proposals to trading partners. We are not allowed to see counter-proposals from our trading partners. Often, advisors are provided with updates indicating that the final text will balance all appropriate stakeholder interests but we frequently receive few additional details beyond that flimsy assurance.

Meanwhile, of course, the loathsome Mitch McConnell and the other GOP collaborationists in Congress are doing their best to push this un-American beast through; that he’s joined by Paul Ryan, who once had a bright political future, is both saddening and puzzling.

Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell said on Sunday the Senate will pass “fast-track” authority to negotiate major trade deals this week, despite opposition to the measure from many of President Barack Obama’s fellow Democrats. “Yes, we’ll pass it. We’ll pass it later this week,” McConnell said in an interview with ABC.

The trade issue has made unlikely allies of the Republican majority leader and the Democratic president. McConnell said on Sunday that Obama has “done an excellent job” on the trade issue. The Senate voted last week to consider the fast-track measure, two days after Democrats had blocked debate on the bill, which would clear the way for a 12-nation Pacific trade agreement.

The Republican representative Paul Ryan said on CNN that he was confident the measure would pass the House. “We will have the votes,” said Ryan, who is chairman of the House ways and means committee. “We’re doing very well. We’re gaining a lot of steam and momentum.”

Sickening.

UPDATE: the bill just passed a “key hurdle” in the Senate, thanks to Mitch and his cronies.

President Barack Obama’s signature Asian trade push cleared another hurdle in the U.S. Senate on Thursday after a knife-edge vote moved the White House closer to gaining the power to speed trade deals through Congress. Senators voted 62-38 to give Obama a major victory and set up a speedy decision on the “fast-track” trade negotiating authority the president needs to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. TPP is seen as central to U.S. efforts to counter China’s increasing economic muscle.

Thirteen of 44 Democrats supported the legislation through the second Senate vote. Some supported moving ahead with fast track after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, assured them he would set a vote next month on a bill to renew the Export-Import Bank’s charter, according to leading Democratic senators. The charter is due to expire at the end of June. They were joined by 49 of 54 Republicans, giving supporters of the legislation more than the 60 votes needed to proceed in the 100-member Senate.

In other words, a complete cave. Kentucky voters, you should have elected Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The pact is the biggest trade deal since the North American Free Trade Agreement freed up trade between the United States, Canada and Mexico. More than two decades later, many blame that deal for factory closures and job losses and see the TPP as producing more of the same.

Remember: Obama sees this as another power grab; the McConnell Republicans see it as a way of serving their Chamber of Commerce masters. When you lose your job down the road, you’ll know whom to blame. Your freedom? That’s already gone.

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Shame at Ground Zero

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

The site of the worst atrocity on American soil, perpetrated by devout Muslims acting according to the dictates of their “faith.” And this is what is happening there now. The expression is, I believe, adding insult to injury:

A vendor near Ground Zero is being investigated after he was caught charging unsuspecting tourists up to $30 for a hot dog, At least five fights have broken out in the past week over the exorbitant prices Ahmed Mohammed attempted to make customers pay for hot dogs, pretzels, soda and water, NBCNewYork.com reported.

The television station recorded Mohamed repeatedly overcharging customers, often arbitrarily making up a price for food and drink. He was also observed not giving enough change. Mohammed doesn’t have prices posted on his cart, which is against the law and drew the attention of the Department of Consumer Affairs.

When confronted by a reporter for NBC New York, Mohamed said he didn’t speak English even though footage shows him conversing in English with customers.

Taqiyya in action. Video at the link.

 

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Under Warren Wilhelm, Jr., the Return of ‘Fun City’

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

For those of you who missed the days of The French Connection in New York, the good times are rolling once more (and the media is worse than ever):

Police are investigating the fourth mugging in Central Park in the past two weeks, while also making arrests in one of the attacks. Authorities say a 68 year old man was robbed of his watch. The victim was approached by another man while walking through the wooded area of the Ramble at around 1 a.m. Wednesday.

“Do you have anything of value? Give me your watch!” the suspect demanded after grabbing his victim, police say. The suspect stole the victim’s watch and then fled the location. He was described as an adult male with a slim build. The victim, who lives in the city, was not injured.

How this story could be less informative is beyond me; one has to read between the lines to glean any sore of useful, real-world information, including “walking in the Ramble at 1 a.m,” and the anodyne description of the suspect. Time was when reporters could use race as a helpful descriptor, but obviously no longer; pretty soon, they won’t even be able to use names. Meanwhile:

The robbery came just hours after police made arrests in the first of a string of muggings that has focused increased police attention on the park. 17 year old Jeffrey Valdez and a 14-year-old girl were charged with holding up two people – a 17-year-old girl and a 19-year-old man — near the Heckscher Playground on May 9 at around 9:30 p.m. The suspects were part of a group of about 15 teens who yelled obscenities at the victims before the 14-year-old girl pulled out a Taser and punched the 17-year-old girl in the face.

It was one of three unrelated muggings that had park-goers on edge. The NYPD vowed additional patrols and officers in the park to reassure concerns, but insisted the park is safe. No arrests have been made in the other two incidents, police said.

Socialism: it curdles and kills everything it touches.

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They’re Not ‘Minnesotans,’ They’re Somali Muslims, Working for the Enemy

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

It’s become a quaint fiction among the feel-gooders of the MSM that nationality and citizenship are nothing more than which passport you hold. Thus, we read about “Swedish” rapists, “French” terrorists and “Minnesotan” members of ISIS. This is the result:

Two of the Twin Cities men accused of trying to join ISIS are now charged with student loan fraud. Investigators say both Hamza Ahmed, 19, and Hanad Musse, 19, used more than $1,000 from federal student loan accounts for plane tickets to Turkey and Greece. Prosecutors say they were really going to Syria to join ISIS.

On Tuesday, prosecutors combined two separate cases, meaning that seven young Minnesota friends will eventually be tried together for allegedly trying to join the terror group. Prosecutors combined the case of Ahmed, who was arrested and charged in February, with that of six young men who were arrested in April. Prosecutors say Ahmed’s arrest should have served as a warning to the others.

Yeah, right: more like a how-to manual. Step one: obtain American asylum from your rathole “country” (where, by the way, American soldiers were murdered and desecrated). Step two: Cash in. Step three: use the suckers’ money to finance your personal jihad against the very civilization that rescued you. Oh, yes — one more:

Also on Tuesday, Abdurahman Daud, one of the two members of the group who the government says went to California to pick up fake passports, made his first court appearance in Minnesota. Supporters of the young men argue that the fake passports were the idea of a confidential informant, and that all of the men are victims of government entrapment. The informant was a close friend of all of the accused. Prosecutors say the informant was once part of the plot and at one point tried to join ISIS, too.

Step four: blame the cops. Ain’t “multiculturalism” grand?

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More Dems Than GOP Aiding Paul’s Marathon Protest of Patriot Act

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
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Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had one Democrat pitch in to help his 2013 filibuster of John Brennan’s CIA nomination: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who like Paul protested potential drone strikes against U.S. citizens on American soil without due process.

Of course, at that time Paul was blocking Democratic leadership from proceeding with an agenda item of President Obama’s, and today he’s standing in the way of Republican leadership’s agenda as lawmakers are itching to wrap up a trade bill in time for the Memorial Day weeklong recess.

Today, as he delivers a long speech — like Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) 21-hour speech in 2013, not technically a filibuster –  in protest of a lack of debate on the Patriot Act reauthorization and NSA bulk telephone metadata collection, Paul is getting assistance from Wyden — who, like Paul, is demanding that GOP leadership allow consideration of his amendments — and more: Dem Sens. Martin Heinrich (N.M.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Chris Coons (Del.), and Jon Tester (Mont.) have pitched in as of 7 p.m. EST.

“Since I first came to the Senate, I have been deeply concerned about the scope and reach of our intelligence community’s bulk data program, which is based on a flimsy interpretation of the original Patriot Act and has questionable national security value,” Coons said. “Particularly now that a federal circuit court has deemed the program illegal and confirmed these concerns, it would be irresponsible for Congress to continue reauthorizing the law without taking steps to address the unlawful surveillance it has allowed.”

On Paul’s side of the aisle, Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) have gotten up to speak.

Lee tried Tuesday to begin debate on the House-passed USA Freedom Act, which essentially replaces the Patriot Act with more privacy protections, but Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) blocked the motion. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the bill will get a vote but he has not committed to allowing amendments.

“While the senator from Kentucky and I come to different conclusions with regard to specific question as to whether we should allow section 215 of the Patriot Act to expire, I absolutely stand with the junior senator from Kentucky and more importantly I stand with the American people with regard to the need for a transparent and open amendment process and for an open and honest debate in front of the American people,” Lee said.

“I agree with the junior senator from Kentucky that the American people deserve better than they are getting. And quite frankly it is time that they expect more from the United States Senate. This is not time for more cliffs, for more secrecy, and more 11th hour backroom deals. It’s time for the kind of bipartisan bicameral consensus that I believe is embodied in the USA Freedom Act.”

A handful of House members were also sitting in the Senate chamber to back Paul, including Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Tom Massie (R-Ky.) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.).

“Do we want to live in a world where the government knows everything about us? Do we want to live in a word where the government has us under constant surveillance?” Paul asked. “We should be in open rebellion, saying, ‘enough is enough, we’re not going to take it anymore.’”

Paul’s presidential campaign has been sending out filibuster updates and highlighting news coverage of the talk-a-thon, which began at 1:18 p.m. EST.

Paul’s Twitter account was asking supporters to tweet selfies with his filibuster.

 

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#StandWithRand: Rand Paul Filibusters the Patriot Act (Video)

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

Sen. Rand Paul announced Wednesday afternoon his intention to filibuster the extension of the Patriot Act, and insisted that he would not be shoved aside without a debate on this important issue.

As PJ Media’s Elizabeth Sheld reported,yesterday, Republicans have been fighting over what version of the Patriot Act to re-authorize.

McConnell and Rubio want the entire thing including the controversial Section 215 authorizing the government to collect your phone records; Senators Lee and Cruz prefer the USA Freedom Act, which doesn’t allow the government surveillance dragnet; and Senator Rand Paul has thrown down entirely, threatening to filibuster the Patriot Act if it is re-authorized with the snooping provision in place.

At 1:18 p.m Eastern, the Kentucky senator threw down, vowing to hold the floor protesting “this most unpatriotic of acts” until he could not go any longer.  You can watch it live at CSPAN. 

Via the Washington Times:

“It’s time to end the NSA spying,” his official Twitter account said in a post at 1:36 p.m., as he was on the floor.

Mr. Paul is waging a lonely fight, demanding that the government stop snooping without probable cause or a warrant. That’s a step beyond even some of his other erstwhile civil libertarian allies who want to curtail the Patriot Act’s bulk collection, but would still allow government agents to go after the records of individuals without first seeking a warrant.

Indeed, the lonely fight was underscored by the scene on the Senate floor in the middle of the afternoon: Mr. Paul was the only senator present, save for the one Republican required to be in the presiding officer’s chair.

Armed with binders, file folders and a barely touched glass of water, he paced behind his desk on the right wing of the Senate, occasionally flipping through notes to find his place as he offered a lengthy discussion of the Obama administration’s duplicity in maintaining the National Security Agency’s snooping program.

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ECO AWKWARD: Ohio Representative Notices an Inconvenient Truth About New Thomas Edison Statue

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

Ohio State Representative Andy Thompson noticed something ironic about the new Thomas Edison statue that was unveiled in Columbus on Wednesday:

 

 

Surrounded by school children wearing orange “We Are Edison” t-shirts, the 6-feet, 10-inch tall bronze statue of Thomas Alva Edison was put on display in the rotunda of the Ohio Statehouse, where it will remain until October. After that it will be shipped to Washington, D.C., to replace the statue of Gov. William Allen that currently represents the state in National Statuary Hall. Ohio lawmakers have been trying to replace the statute of the former Democratic governor, congressman, and U.S. senator because of his support for slavery and opposition to the Civil War.

The Edison statue has its right arm raised and in his hand Edison clutches the (now-practically illegal) incandescent light bulb he helped to perfect.

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Obama to Coast Guard Grads: Don’t Endanger National Security by Denying Climate Change

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama used his commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy today to warn graduates of the threat they face from climate change.

The fight against global warming, he told the grads, is “one where our Coast Guardsmen are already on the front lines, and that, perhaps more than any other, will shape your entire careers.”

“As a nation, we face many challenges, including the grave threat of terrorism. And as Americans, we will always do everything in our power to protect our country. Yet even as we meet threats like terrorism, we cannot, and we must not, ignore a peril that can affect generations,” Obama said.

“Now, I know there are still some folks back in Washington who refuse to admit that climate change is real. And on a day like today, it’s hard to get too worried about it. There are folks who will equivocate. They’ll say, ‘You know, I’m not a scientist.’ Well, I’m not either. But the best scientists in the world know that climate change is happening. Our analysts in the intelligence community know climate change is happening. Our military leaders — generals and admirals, active duty and retired — know it’s happening. Our homeland security professionals know it is happening. And our Coast Guard knows it’s happening.”

Calling the science “indisputable,” the president proceeded to lament that “the fossil fuels we burn release carbon dioxide, which traps heat. And the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are now higher than they have been in 800,000 years. The planet is getting warmer. Fourteen of the 15 hottest years on record have been in the past 15 years. Last year was the planet’s warmest year ever recorded.”

“Our scientists at NASA just reported that some of the sea ice around Antarctica is breaking up even faster than expected. The world’s glaciers are melting, pouring new water into the ocean. Over the past century, the world sea level rose by about eight inches. That was in the last century; by the end of this century, it’s projected to rise another one to four feet,” he continued.

“Cadets, the threat of a changing climate cuts to the very core of your service. You’ve been drawn to water — like the poet who wrote, ‘the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me.’ You know the beauty of the sea, but you also know its unforgiving power… Climate change will impact every country on the planet. No nation is immune. So I’m here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security. And make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country. And so we need to act — and we need to act now.”

That, he said, would be the “true hallmark of leadership.”

“When you’re on deck, standing your watch, you stay vigilant. You plan for every contingency. And if you see storm clouds gathering, or dangerous shoals ahead, you don’t sit back and do nothing. You take action — to protect your ship, to keep your crew safe. Anything less is negligence. It is a dereliction of duty. And so, too, with climate change. Denying it, or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. It undermines the readiness of our forces,” Obama said. “…If we are to meet this threat of climate change, we must be realists. We have to readjust the sails.”

He called climate change — “especially rising seas” — a “threat to our homeland security, our economic infrastructure, the safety and health of the American people.”

“So politicians who say they care about military readiness ought to care about this, as well. Just as we’re helping American communities prepare to deal with the impacts of climate change, we have to help our bases and ports, as well. Not just with stronger seawalls and natural barriers, but with smarter, more resilient infrastructure — because when the seas rise and storms come, we all have to be ready.” Obama also lauded renewable energy technology being used and developed by the military.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said on the Senate floor this morning that Obama’s national security address needed to be about ISIS, not climate change.

“Americans understand that there are much more immediate threats facing our nation,” Barrasso said. “The fall of Ramadi in Iraq, the brutal terrorist attacks by ISIS, these are clear examples of the real threats that must be addressed by President Obama.”

“The president and his national security team must deliver strong leadership and an effective strategy—a strategy to fight the terrorists who want to attack our country and kill more Americans. This should be the focus of the president’s speech today. This should be our most pressing national security concern.”

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Top Intel Dem: ‘No Sugarcoating’ Gravity of Ramadi Seizure by ISIS

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said there can be “no sugarcoating” the fall of Ramadi despite administration assurances that the ISIS victory isn’t as serious as it appears.

“It’s a serious setback… It means, I think, we really have to redouble our efforts to get the Baghdad government to incorporate the Sunnis more fully in the military, to help better arm the Sunni tribes and give them more encouragement to rise up and challenge ISIS,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told CNN.

“I don’t think the answer is more Iranian-backed Shia militias. And I don’t think the answer is American boots on the ground, but rather addressing some of the sectarian problems that have yet to peel the Sunni tribes away from ISIS.”

The Iran-backed militias have moved in on the area between Ramadi and Baghdad but ISIS has been pressing its offensive east instead of keeping its forces concentrated in the city.

“But I think we also have to look at how ISIS has exploited this, because it wasn’t just Saddam who kept a lid on this. It’s also the fact that ISIS purposely went out and tried to stir up these sectarian instincts and frictions and divisions by blowing up Shia mosques, by antagonizing and killing the Shia,” Schiff said.

Ramadi’s fall is “harmful to the cause, and it’s something we’re going have to overcome,” he said. “And it’s part of the seesaw nature of this conflict. I think, as Ambassador Rice points out, this is going to be a long slog.”

“When you look at it overall, we have shrunk the amount of territory in Iraq that ISIS controls. That’s positive. But yet, at the same point, we’re way far away from any kind of a retaking of Mosul. And now we have got to retake Ramadi. And the challenges are extraordinary. But I don’t think that means we can back away from a commitment to the Iraqi government and helping to arm these Sunni tribes to combat the scourge.”

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told MSNBC today “there’s no way to say this is a success.”

“And the fact that we’re in the 10th month of a war that the U.S. started August 8th and there hasn’t been any meaningful debate in the House and, save for one committee vote in the Senate in December, there’s not been any meaningful debate about Congress trying to work with the executive to scope U.S. involvement and define the mission, so we can support the troops there risking their lives,” Kaine added. “What this last weekend showed is that, with urgency now, Congress should be addressing this.”

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Menendez: ‘Nothing Has Changed’ in Cuba Despite Administration Concessions

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
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Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) stressed at a hearing this morning on Cuba policy that “nothing has changed” with the communist regime despite the Obama administration’s incentives.

As Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta S. Jacobson heads to Cuba tomorrow to reopen negotiations on the policy changes announced in December, Menendez has “deep concerns that the more these talks progress, the more the administration continues to entertain unilateral concessions without – in return – getting agreement on fundamental issues that are in our national interest.”

“I have not seen any movement toward greater freedom for the Cuban people,” he said at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “I have not seen movement toward greater tolerance, democracy, or the rule of law. Human rights abuses continue unabated with more than 1,600 cases of arbitrary political rests this year. And, today, only days before the administration’s recommendation to remove Cuba from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism goes into effect, known terrorists continue to enjoy safe haven in Cuba. Joanne Chesimard, on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list for murdering New Jersey State Trooper, Werner Foerster, and Charles Hill, wanted for killing a New Mexico State trooper and hijacking a U.S. civilian plane – are both living in Cuba, protected by the regime.”

“Negotiations aside, hopes aside,” the senator added, “this administration’s desire to move Cuba from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list aside – Cuba’s actions have not changed. Nothing has changed. The real change will come when the Cuban people are finally free.”

Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said he still supports the Obama administration’s Cuba policy because “despite differences we may have with a government, our foreign policy should always endeavor to support that country’s people to the greatest degree possible.”

“Our disagreements with the Cuban government are well known and many,” Cardin said. “But, over time, we have allowed those disagreements to get in the way of developing a strategy that utilizes all of our resources to empower the people of Cuba.”

“Every policy initiative will inevitably come into contact with the reality that the Cuban state and, most importantly, the Cuban state’s relationship with its own citizens, have not yet changed,” committee chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said. “In truth, we will have to define what a normal relationship with Cuba looks like bilaterally, but also in the context of our relationship with the Americas more broadly.”

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O’Malley Makes Video Announcement That Punks Hillary’s Video Announcement

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
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Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley released a video announcement today that … well, mocks campaign announcements.

Especially Hillary Clinton’s video announcement and subsequent scripted Midwestern tour.

O’Malley is actually poised to make an announcement, expected to be a presidential run, on Saturday, May 30, at 10 a.m. on Federal Hill in Baltimore.

O’Malley, 52, is expected to highlight his youth on the campaign trail, buoyed by his band and shirtless photos posted regularly on the Drudge Report.

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Clinton Hires DREAMer Activist as Latino Outreach Director

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has hired a DREAMer activist as her campaign’s Latino outreach director.

Lorella Praeli was brought to Connecticut from Peru illegally when she was 10 years old and graduated from Quinnipiac University. Praeli obtained a green card in 2012, her younger sister qualified for legal status through President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and her mother as well as other family members are still in the country illegally.

She is advocacy and policy director of United We Dream and as a student campaigned for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants in Connecticut.

“We are thrilled to have Lorella Praeli, a DREAMer, join our team because of her courage and perspective in the fight for Latino families across the country,” Hillary for America National Political Director Amanda Renteria told NBC News.

“Bringing Lorella into our campaign is the next step in making sure families aren’t living in fear of deportation, all students have the chance to go to college, and that any comprehensive immigration reform ensures full and equal citizenship,” Renteria added.

Campaigning in Nevada early this month with DREAMers — illegal immigrants brought to the country as children, named so for the DREAM Act — Hillary Clinton vowed “to stop partisan attacks on the executive actions that would put DREAMers – including many with us today – at risk of deportation.”

“And, if Congress refuses to act, as president I will do everything possible under the law to go even further. There are more people – like many parents of DREAMers and others with deep ties and contributions to our communities – who deserve a chance to stay. I’ll fight for them too,” she added.

Clinton’s campaign released a fact sheet on her plans for comprehensive immigration reform, stressing that anything from Congress “must include nothing less than a full and equal path to citizenship.”

She told the Nevada audience that she would put in place “a simple, straightforward, and accessible way for parents of DREAMers and others with a history of service and contribution to their communities to make their case and be eligible for the same deferred action as their children.”

She also vowed to “reform immigration enforcement and detention practices so they’re more humane, more targeted, and more effective.”

Clinton spoke of being a child and watching farmworkers — referring to them as “really, really tired people” — going to work in fields near Chicago.

“So you know where I stand and there can be no question about it because I will do everything I can as president and during this campaign to make this case,” she said. “Now I know there are people who disagree with me and I want them to have a conversation with me. The facts are really clear, we know how much people who are working hard contribute to our economy both in what they buy and what they pay in taxes.”

Her campaign also pointed out that in 1972, “Hillary helped register Latino voters in south Texas and the Rio Grande Valley while working on George McGovern’s presidential campaign.”

“Hillary’s commitment to America’s immigrants was evident as Secretary of State, where she called immigration a ‘source of our vitality and innovative spirit’ and called for us to ‘work together to address these challenges’ so that immigration could ‘continue to be an enormous advantage for the United States, one that bears directly and crucially on our economic and geopolitical prospects,’” her campaign added.

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Good Papal Intentions, and God’s Choices

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Lionel Chetwynd

Allow me to stand corrected: both Stephen Kruiser and Tom Gross are certain Pope Francis’ reference to “angel of peace” in connection to Mahmoud Abbas was a hopeful suggestion, rather than a proclamation of fact. So stipulated.

That such a turnabout by Mr. Abbas, ally of Hamas, would be a miracle should not discourage the pontiff from wishful optimism; popes are the business of miracles. Besides, one can argue, it would have been a lost opportunity for him not to have spoken as he did. After all, how often have much lesser public figures lamented that if they had but the opportunity to sit down and reason with that nice Mr. Hitler (or bin Laden, Stalin, Tojo, Abdulhamit, etc.) then (World War Two, the Soviet deportations, the Nanking massacre, the Armenian Genocide, etc.) would have been avoided?

Great leaders must grasp the doors opportunity opens for them, muster their best intentions, and march through. This, we are told, is the case here.

But good intentions are not policy.

Pope Francis’ plea, if that’s what it was, to the chairman of the PA — whose component parts are dedicated to the destruction of a neighboring state because of the religious faith of its inhabitants, and to the subsequent genocide of those people — is defined as kindly as possibly as only that: good intention.

But Papal State recognition of Abbas’ “state,” co-governed with the sin-ridden, murderous Hamas, is policy.

The Vatican assures us the instrument of recognition will contain guarantees of religious freedom. If Mahmoud Abbas agrees those guarantees shall extend to all faiths — including Jews — then the pope’s dream will have become concrete reality. (Assuming the PA is good to its word.) If, on the other hand, the guarantee extends only to religious groups favored by the pope, then the pope’s dream has been made a nightmare — a horrid relic of the European hatred of the 1930s, now in glorious redux both there and throughout the extreme precincts of Islam.

The hypocrisy of such a treaty would be a triumph for moral relativists everywhere: liberation theologists, Alinskyites, “progressives,” Leftists, Fascists, Communists, and of course, anti-Semites.

As God instructed Moses to tell the assembly ay Mt. Sinai: “I have today set before you a choice … ”

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Governor Blames Republicans for Education Bill That Democrats Voted For

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

It’s been clear for weeks now that Minnesota’s Democrat governor Mark Dayton wants a government shutdown. He’s been openly pining for it, not bothering to mask his naked partisan desire to blame Republicans going into next year’s election season.

The regular legislative session concluded late Monday night. As the deadline for the session approached, Governor Dayton repeatedly moved the goal posts on education funding, demanding ever more spending and full funding of universal preschool for four-year-olds.

The preschool piece has been a “priority” for Dayton despite widespread bipartisan opposition to the idea. Officials in the school district in which I live, which already deals with challenging fiscal issues, have told me they wouldn’t know where to put the new students if preschool were mandated by the state. But practical issues like that don’t concern Dayton, who sees universal preschool as a chance to both define a personal legacy in his second term and stick a thumb in the eye of House Republicans.

Tuesday, Dayton indicated he would make good on a threat to veto an education bill passed by the legislature because it does not include universal preschool. His veto will necessitate a special session during a time when capitol renovations leave the legislature with nowhere to meet. But Dayton says the inevitable special session was triggered by Republicans for not including his “priority.”

There’s only one problem with that narrative. Dayton’s fellow Democrats control the State Senate, and passed the same bill he’s about to veto. The Senate’s passage has been spun by some as a reaction to pressure to end the regular session on time. However, the reality is that many Democrats stand as skeptical of universal preschool as most Republicans.

The drama indicates that Dayton thinks voters will ignore the facts and buy his manufactured narrative of partisan intransigence. Even liberal allies in local media remain skeptical of that strategy’s chances.

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#BlackLivesMatters Protesters Protest Soros Group After Getting Stiffed

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

Protesting injustice is as American as apple pie, but left-wing rent-a mobs have a long, shabby history of exploiting the First Amendment to push an unAmerican collectivist agenda. They do this by distorting the issues, disrupting lives and creating chaos until the American people cry uncle. People will bend to the will of the mob just so the constant hectoring will stop.

Do you ever wonder why folks on the left have a weird, unhinged obsession with the Koch brothers, the wealthy billionaires who contribute to conservative/libertarian causes? They think the Koch brothers are the puppet masters behind the conservative movement. Where do they get this idea? It’s called liberal projection. They know the activist left is controlled and financed by a  New York hedge fund manager who has a personal fortune of about $13 billion.

His company, Soros Fund Management, controls at least another $25 billion in investor assets. Since 1979, Soros’s foundation network — whose flagship is the Open Society Institute (OSI) — has dispensed more than $5 billion to a multitude of organizations whose objectives are consistent with those of Soros. With assets of $1.93 billion as of 2008, OSI alone donates scores of millions of dollars annually to these various groups.

According to the January tax filings of his nonprofit Open Society Foundations, Mr. Soros gave at least $33 million in one year to support already-established groups to organize on-the-ground activists in Ferguson. Two of those organizations, MORE (Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment) and OBS (Organization for Black Struggle), have been financing #BlackLivesMatter protests in Ferguson and elsewhere. Those organizations actually pay people to show up at venues to do their clapping, chanting, and sign-waving routines.

(No, we have nothing like this on the right.) In the video below, a #BlackLivesMatter rent a mob  harassed a Whole Foods store to protest the fact that a Baltimore store donated food and supplies to the National Guard while they were there protecting the city from violent protesters. This gives you a good idea of the sort of activity Soros is financing.

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After the #BlackLivesMatters rent-a-mobs worked so hard in venues like Baltimore, Selma, and Ferguson, raising awareness about the racist white power structure, they wanted their promised paychecks, but apparently a bunch of them got stiffed.

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The protesters “occupied” MORE’s office in St. Louis over allegations that the ACORN spinoff had embezzled money from the movement check. After the May 14th protest, MORE allegedly distributed a list of people who were paid to protest in Ferguson and elsewhere, to show where the money had been going. Included on the list was  Lisa Fithian, who received $1,127.75 for “visit expenses.”

For those who do not know, Lisa Fithian is an infamous leftist organizer. She organized at Occupy, but has been used as a training organizer for many years before that. She spent time in Ferguson in 2014 training people to ‘simulate chaos’.

There are also big payouts to Jeff Ordower, who appears to be disburser of the checks.

Jeff Ordower is a bit like a male Lisa Fithian, he was an organizer for the SEIU and ACORN. He founded MORE and his stated goal is “welcoming co-conspirators in attempts to scale up numbers of radical organizers who can financially support themselves in the work”.

There’s much more on this at Weasel Zippers.    

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‘Over the Hill Gang’ Arrested in Huge Jewel Heist in Britain

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

It seemed like the perfect crime. Thieves broke into the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Box company and spent the entire Easter weekend leisurely going through the boxes, making off with an estimated $300 million.

The complicated plan worked to perfection. The thieves cut through the roof to gain access to Hatton Garden offices, rappelled down an elevator shaft to the basement, disabled a state-of-the-art security system, stole the hard drive of the CCTV system, and cut through an 18-inch thick metal wall.

Everything worked — except the part where they get away scot free. More than 200 Scotland Yard officers swooped down on the 9 thieves and arrested them, along with at least part of their booty. The crooks were between the ages of 43-76 — three of them were ages 67, 74, and 76 — which makes them something of an “Over the Hill” gang.

The police had come under withering criticism in the tabloids for first, missing an alarm tripped by the thieves on Good Friday, and second, for the halting, unsure manner in which the investigation seemed to be carried out.

BBC:

During a press conference, the Met said it felt officers had been portrayed as the Keystone Kops, while a relative of a victim said finding some of the haul could actually make things worse for those affected, as it could delay insurance pay-outs.

Thieves used heavy cutting equipment to break into a vault at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd, where they ransacked about 70 boxes.

The men were arrested in Enfield, east London and Dartford.

Police said bags containing a significant amount of high-value property were recovered at one of the addresses and they were confident some were items stolen during the burglary.

Head of the Met’s Flying Squad, Det Supt Craig Turner, urged victims of the crime to “stay patient”, adding police officers would be in contact with them in order “to restore this property back to its rightful owners”.

He said the investigation had been “complex and exceptional”.

In response to questions about why police did not respond to an alarm that went off at the premises during the time of the heist, Det Supt Turner, said: “We are now in a position to confirm that on this occasion our call handling system and procedures for working with the alarm monitoring companies were not followed.

“Our normal procedures would have resulted in police attending the scene and we apologise that this did not happen.”

There has been no official detail of what was stolen but it is believed jewellery worth up to £200m was taken during the raid.

Cdr Peter Spindler said: “At times we have been portrayed as if we’ve acted like Keystone Kops.

“But I want to reassure you that in the finest traditions of Scotland Yard, these detectives have done their utmost to bring justice for the victims of this callous crime.”

I guess the “finest traditions of Scotland Yard” now include failing to following procedures when an alarm is tripped. Tally Ho!

It would be easy to admire the crooks for their audacity, until you realize there were genuine victims of their crime who lost everything:

A relative of one of the victims said those affected were “probably worse off after this morning’s raids”.

“With the stolen goods vanished, there was pressure on insurance companies to settle quickly to enable holders to trade again,” the relative, who did not want to be identified, said.

“But now, with a whole mess of stuff to sort out, it may drag on for months.

“If batches of the stones were mixed up, it may be impossible to reunite them with their owners.”

Many of the boxes belonged to pensioners who lost their life savings in the heist. Most didn’t carry insurance.

The thieves are apparently non-descript working class types with no known skills in high end robberies. But with a decent plan and a little luck, they managed to carry out what will probably end up being the largest heist in British history.

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See How Bernie Sanders Pays for Free College for Everyone in New Bill

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Senator and Hillary Clinton presidential challenger Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today introduced legislation to make four-year public universities totally free.

The 35-page College for All Act would give states $47 billion each year in federal grants to operate. These schools currently rake in about $70 billion in tuition each year, so states would be left to pick up a third of the tab.

“To qualify for federal funding, states must meet a number of requirements designed to protect students, ensure quality, and reduce ballooning costs. States will need to maintain spending on their higher education systems, on academic instruction, and on need-based financial aid. In addition, colleges and universities must reduce their reliance on low-paid adjunct faculty,” Sanders’ office said in a description of the bill. “States would be able to use funding to increase academic opportunities for students, hire new faculty, and provide professional development opportunities for professors. No funding under this program may be used to fund administrator salaries, merit-based financial aid, or the construction of non-academic buildings like stadiums and student centers.”

What’s the pay-for? A “Robin Hood tax” on Wall Street.

“This legislation is offset by imposing a Wall Street speculation fee on investment houses, hedge funds, and other speculators of 0.5% on stock trades (50 cents for every $100 worth of stock), a 0.1% fee on bonds, and a 0.005% fee on derivatives. It has been estimated that this provision could raise hundreds of billions a year which could be used not only to make tuition free at public colleges and universities in this country, it could also be used to create millions of jobs and rebuild the middle class of this country.”

Sanders said today that it’s “a national disgrace that hundreds of thousands of young Americans today do not go to college, not because they are unqualified, but because they cannot afford it.”

He noted that free college would be like stepping back in time, since the University of California system didn’t begin charging tuition until the 1980s and in 1965 average tuition at a four-year public university was just $243.

Sanders stressed that his bill means “any student, regardless of his or her background or income, who has the ability and desire, will be able to get the education they need and the education they deserve. This legislation opens the door for a middle class life to millions of young Americans and will make our economy stronger and more productive.”

He also defended his pay-for: “More than 1,000 economists have endorsed a tax on Wall Street speculation and today some 40 countries throughout the world have imposed a financial transactions tax including Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, China, India, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Brazil.”

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Boehner to Obama: Rip Up Your AUMF Request and Start Over

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said today that President Obama needs to trash his weak authorization for use of military force (AUMF) request.

In February, Obama submitted his plan to Congress for an AUMF against “the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.”

Obama’s AUMF plan specifically “does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations.”

His proposal repeals the 2002 Iraq AUMF and limits the new one to three years. “I do not believe America’s interests are served by endless war or by remaining on a perpetual war footing,” Obama said back at the plan’s introduction, adding that it’s “not a timetable” but “it’s conceivable that the mission is completed earlier.”

It drew both Republican and Democratic opposition, from lawmakers who saw it as weak and handcuffing the administration’s abilities and those who saw it as dragging the U.S. into another war.

In short, the AUMF has gone nowhere in Congress — and Boehner indicated that’s not going to change.

“The president’s request for an authorization of the use of military force calls for less authority than he has today. I just think, given the fight that we’re in, it’s irresponsible. This is why the president, frankly, should withdraw the authorization of use of military force and start over,” he told reporters.

“We don’t have a strategy. And for those of you that come to these regularly, for over two years now, I’ve been calling on the president to develop an over-arching strategy to deal with this growing terrorist threat,” Boehner continued. “We don’t have one.”

“And the fact is, the threat is growing faster than what we and our allies can do to stop it.”

Asked why Congress just doesn’t draft an AUMF, Boehner replied, “We have one commander in chief at a time.”

“It’s the president’s responsibility to wage this battle. And the president, in my view, is not taking this threat seriously as it should. When a major city in Iraq, Ramadi, gets overrun by ISIL and the administration says, ‘Well, it’s just a temporary setback’ — it’s 70 miles from Baghdad,” he said.

“It’s time for the president to get serious about this threat to Americans and our allies all around the world.”

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Cloward-Piven in Action: ‘Traumatized’ Students Claim ‘Disability’

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Thank you, George Herbert Walker Bush:

Students with violent and traumatic pasts sued the Compton Unified School District on Monday, alleging they are legally disabled and the school has failed to meet their educational needs. The lawsuit, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, contends that under federal educational rules and the Americans with Disabilities Act, the district should establish special mental health and other services to help students with “complex trauma.”

That would include methods used by other districts such as San Francisco’s, including special training for teachers and staff; teaching children “skills to cope with their anxiety and emotions”; and “restorative” discipline strategies that don’t rely on suspending or expelling the students, according to the suit.

Trauma “stems from such causes as exposure to violence and loss, family disruptions related to deportation, incarceration and/or the foster system, systemic racism and discrimination, and the extreme stress of lacking basic necessities, such as not knowing where the next meal will come from or where to sleep that night,” according to the lawsuit.

Studies have shown that such trauma can affect a child’s developing brain and psychology and such children do worse in school and have more absences and poorer graduation rates, the lawsuit said.

So now cultural social dysfunction is a “disability.” Is a low IQ a “disability”? What about a low family income? Once you make having a “disability” into a monetary proposition, you are sure to get lots more “disabilities.”

The ADA was one of the dumbest laws ever passed by a Republican president and now it’s predictably being used as a cudgel with which to bankrupt the system. Where does this stop?

Don’t answer that question.

 

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Not ‘The Onion’: Deluded Feminists Head to North Korea

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by Ron Radosh

This headline and story is real, and is from Politico:

Gloria Steinem to lead women’s march in North Korea

Gloria Steinem is among 30 women activists marching from Beijing through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea in a call for peace next Sunday. The event marks the International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament.

The 81-year-old activist told Reuters that “it seems to me that the past of no contact has not worked,” invoking former President Ronald Reagan’s call to tear down the Berlin Wall.

“We are saying: ‘Take down this isolation,’” she said, according to the report, which also notes that the organizers will meet with North Korean women and tour a maternity hospital, a women’s factory in Pyongyang and a preschool.

Both countries have approved the rare crossing of the DMZ, a rare event that has generated criticism among those who say the event could be used as propaganda by the North.

 

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Taliban Launch ‘Free Morsi’ Movement After Former Muslim Brotherhood President Sentenced to Death

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The Taliban is calling upon every “influential” Muslim to try to save Mohamed Morsi from the death penalty in Egypt.

The former president, along with 105 other defendants, was sentenced for the bloody Natroun jailbreak after the 2011 revolution, which allowed Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah prisoners to escape — one of those was Morsi. After he was overthrown in 2013, a fresh investigation was launched into the prison break.

The verdict goes to the grand mufti for non-binding review before final sentencing on June 2. If his death sentence in the jailbreak case stands, he will be put to death by hanging. He’ll also be the first Egyptian president ever to face capital punishment.

Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie was sentenced to death along with Morsi.

The Taliban statement today said they “strongly condemning this cruel decision” and call “on all international and local human right organizations, the United Nations, especially Muslim countries and Islamic Conference as well as all influential individuals of the Islamic world to fulfill their humane and Islamic duties from the point of human sympathy and Islamic brotherhood in order to challenge this harrowing ruling and prevent the coup d’é·tat regime of Egypt from carrying out such illegal unethical and inhumane actions.”

“It is absolutely astonishing that the western world and those that shout equity, justice, human rights and even animal rights have either adopted complete silence in this issue or are indifferent to the extent of only limiting their response to mere condemnation without feeling any other sense of responsibility. Would the western world especially America have ever tolerated such barbarism towards any of its own citizens? No they would have never. It is from here that the hypocrisy of claimants and thespians of ‘Rights’ and ‘Justice’ is being further exposed to the world and nations.”

The Taliban, operating under the name the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, said “fair-minded nations especially people of the Islamic Ummah and Muslims must take to the streets to force the power bearers of feeling responsibility towards this and other such inhumane decrees and take practical preventative steps.”

Terrorist attacks have already increased in the restive Sinai peninsula since Morsi’s sentencing.

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters Monday that they are “deeply concerned by yet another mass death sentence handed down by an Egyptian court to more than 100 defendants, including former President Morsi.”

“We have consistently spoken out against the practice of mass trials and sentences which are conducted in a manner that’s inconsistent with Egypt’s international obligations and which are frequently used against members of the opposition and nonviolent activists. This practice, which in this instance was directed against, among others, a former elected president, is unjust and undermines confidence in the rule of law,” he added.

The U.S. has lobbied for an “inclusive” Egyptian government that includes the Muslim Brotherhood, and protested Morsi’s overthrow.

“We have made our views and we continue to make our views clear to the Egyptian Government. We believe that all Egyptians, regardless of their political affiliation, are entitled to equal and fair treatment before the law,” Rathke said. “That includes full respect for their rights to due process, and we remain opposed to politicized arrests and detentions.”

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Conservative Nebraska Could Dump Death Penalty

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

Nebraska might be the last place you would expect to overturn the death penalty. A highly conservative state where Republicans dominate, Nebraska may nonetheless join a growing list of states which have abandoned capital punishment.

The trend has emerged from a shift in the application of philosophical principles. An increasing number of conservatives have come to regard capital punishment as antithetical to their vision for government. From the New York Times:

Sen. Colby Coash, a conservative who is a sponsor of the bill [to eliminate the death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment], said he had come to believe that opposing capital punishment aligned with his values as a Republican and a Christian conservative.

“I’m a conservative guy — I’ve been a Republican my whole life,” he said. “… Some people see this as a pro-life issue. Other people see it as a good-government issue. But the support that this bill is getting from conservative members is evidence that you can get justice through eliminating the death penalty, and you can get efficient government through eliminating the death penalty.”

The point about efficiency seems to get much traction these days. The cost of running a death row convict through an appeals process is cited as wasteful. Procuring the drugs necessary for lethal injection is considered difficult.

This new way of thinking about the death penalty reflects a larger flaw in modern conservative/libertarian thinking, which emphasizes the size and cost of government without regard to its purpose.  But we can’t talk about government waste outside the context of government’s purpose. First, we must determine what government is for. Only then can we evaluate whether its cost and scope proves excessive.

We have government to protect individual rights and administer justice. That is its end. Whatever cost that purpose requires, we should pay it. Whatever size government needs to maintain liberty, we should happily sustain it.

Opposition to the death penalty is not pro-life. One does not support life by tolerating its degradation and destruction. Rather, it’s the death penalty that’s pro-life. The death penalty affirms the value of life by eliminating those who show no regard for it. Opposing the death penalty conveys a lower regard for the value of life, a tolerance of unmitigated evil. There’s nothing conservative about that.

It’s one thing to take an abstract stance against the death penalty in a hypothetical laboratory. However, as the recent death sentence doled out to the Boston Marathon bomber in liberal Massachusetts indicates, the appropriateness of executing heinous murderers becomes clear when you see one.

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Huge ISIS Convoy Parades Out in the Open in West Anbar Province in Iraq, Providing Target-Rich Environment for Coalition

Monday, May 18th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

According to a Twitter account that explores  ”the domestic and regional challenges facing Iraq’s security,” a massive convoy of ISIS fighters paraded out in the open desert in Western Anbar on Monday, providing a target rich environment for the U.S.-led coalition. But where was the coalition? 

That is what you call a perfect target for some serious air power — B-52s or warthogs doing area saturation bombing — but it looks it was another missed opportunity for the coalition.

@IraqiSecurity later tweeted that the coalition destroyed 12 vehicles near Habbaniyah, E. of Ramadi — which is on the Eastern side of Anbar.

#Iraq; Reports that coalition airstrikes destroyed targeted a Da’ish convoy trying to enter Habbaniyah, E. of Ramadi. 12 vehicles destroyed.

— حيدر سومري (@IraqiSecurity) May 19, 2015

A coalition spokesman said Monday afternoon that the U.S.-led coalition  ”has conducted 19 air strikes in the vicinity of the Iraqi city of Ramadi over the past 72 hours.”

The strikes targeted Islamic State fighting positions, armoured and technical vehicles, and buildings they control.

Obama allegedly has a coalition of 60 nations fighting ISIS with us and they only managed 19 airstrikes in a three-day period.

During the Gulf War’s “Shock and Awe” campaign, the U.S. rained down 300 to 400 cruise missiles a day on Iraq for two consecutive days. At the beginning of the Iraq War, the U.S. unleashed 800 cruise missiles in two days.

After ISIS took over Ramadi, the Obama coalition of the willing could only squeak out a paltry 6.33 missiles a day at some buildings and vehicles. And they completely missed the huge convoy parading out in the open desert on the other side of the province.

The reason for this failure was explored by the Daily Beast last October.

Within the U.S. Air Force, there’s mounting frustration that the air campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq is moving far more slowly than expected. Instead of a fast-moving operation with hundreds of sorties flown in a single day—the kind favored by many in the air service—American warplanes are hitting small numbers of targets after a painstaking and cumbersome process.

The single biggest problem, current and former Air Force officers say, is the so-called kill-chain of properly identifying and making sure the right target is being attacked. At the moment, that process is very complicated and painfully slow.

“The kill-chain is very convoluted,” one combat-experienced Air Force A-10 Warthog pilot told The Daily Beast. “Nobody really has the control in the tactical environment.”

A major reason why: the lack of U.S. ground forces to direct American air power against ISIS positions.

These problems don’t seem to have improved at all since last fall.

As the Islamic State takes over more territory and advances toward Baghdad, I’m afraid we’ll continue seeing  more of this weak and ineffective air campaign.

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