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NY Times Jettisons the Texas Trib Right Before the Election

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The New York Times has offered a trick to the Texas Tribune on Halloween. And it’s not even the usual sort of trick that the Times plays, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

At Newsbusters, P.J. Gladnick wonders aloud…

Is this just a coincidence that the Halloween announcement which appeared in the Texas Tribune is happening just before the election in which it appears that the campaign of Democrat gubernatorial candidate appears to have imploded, destroying what many suspect was the not so subtle effort by the Texas Tribune to turn that state blue?

An interesting question indeed.

The Trib blames it on the challenging media environment.

This was supposed to be a proud and grateful acknowledgement of the anniversary of our content partnership with The New York Times, which began four years ago today. Well, we interrupt this blog post to bring you some late-breaking news.

Yesterday afternoon we learned from our pals at the Times that our work together will come to an end, sadly but not entirely unexpectedly, at the conclusion of the calendar year — a casualty of the challenging economic times that continue to bedevil the media industry. You may have read or heard recently about cutbacks at the paper: the elimination of newsroom jobs, the shuttering of mobile apps, the imperiling of whole sections. Even the Times’ budget, larger than those of its peers, has not been able to withstand the impact of precipitous, disruptive changes to nearly every aspect of the newspaper business. In that environment, anything on the periphery, not central to its core mission or functions, was vulnerable. The Trib partnership, while innovative, ambitious and, relatively speaking, cheaply produced, was objectively an expendable line item.

True enough, though media just might do better if they didn’t dismiss and outright insult a good half of the country. In addition to being unfair, that’s not a healthy business model. Trust in media overall, which the New York Times consciously leads, is at an all-time low for a reason.

Even in Texas, media continue to ignore little things like the fact that the “controversial” and “anti-woman” HB2 that Wendy Davis filibustered to fame was sponsored in both sides of the state legislature by women — one of whom is an emergency room physician. Mainstream media treat gun owners and Second Amendment advocates as uniformly dangerous, and anyone who sees the lack of border security as a national security problem in the age of transnational terrorism as a racist first and last. Even if those so concerned are Hispanic and work in law enforcement in border counties.

In short, only liberals and Democrats truly get a fair shake in media such as the New York Times. And because of that, it’s never truly fair.

The Times-Trib partnership was always a interesting one. The Tribune is a non-profit, and as such should not directly compete with commercial entities. That fact wasn’t lost on commercial media entities in Texas who saw the Trib as taking up space that they could fill.

As long-time and vocal critics of the New York Times, obviously we are not talking about PJ Media here. We’ve never been under any illusions at all regarding the New York Times, a paper that omits as much real news as it sees fit to print. And what it does print is often so one-sided that there should be re-prints to fix the misprints.

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Source of Possible ISIS Leaflets at Quantico Still Unknown

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Thursday afternoon, the Tatler broke the story of the strange leaflets that were found on Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia.

The leaflets, about seven of which were found, bear an inverted ISIS flag and an Arabic inscription that says “We came from Mexico by train.” They were found Wednesday afternoon in an area of the base that is frequented by military members, their families, and other civilians.

isis-leaflet-quantico

Today, the Marine Corps TimesNBC News, 11 news in Atlanta, the Daily Beast, WJLA, and many other media outlets have reported the story.

The leaflets are being investigated by the FBI and NCIS. As of yet, investigators do not know who is behind the leaflets. The Marine Corps Times reports that a civilian found them.

A government employee came upon seven leaflets on Wednesday afternoon while running through the town of Quantico, Bormann told Marine Corps Times. The leaflets have a reversed image of the Islamic State group’s flag and writing in Arabic that is translated as “We are here from Mexico and came by train,” Bormann said in an email.

“Security personnel from the base informed the town of Quantico, the FBI and NCIS,” Bormann said. “While these leaflets may be a hoax, base officials are taking their discovery seriously.”

Quantico has not changed its overall security posture in response to the leaflets, but the Corps issued an administrative message Wednesday night telling Marines to be on guard and “even report the most minor suspicious activity.”

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Did Kerry Apologize to Netanyahu? Israeli Media Say Yes, State Dept. Not So Sure

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The State Department said Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss ”the importance of deescalating tension” in Jerusalem.

“The secretary emphasized the importance of refraining from provocative actions and rhetoric and preserving the historic status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount,” press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters today. “He also spoke with President Abbas this morning. He expressed his serious concern about the escalating tensions in Jerusalem.”

“He stressed the importance of both sides taking steps to calm the situation, refrain from actions and rhetoric that could inflame the situation and work cooperatively to lower tensions and discourage violence.”

Given Kerry’s “strong relationship” with leaders involved, Psaki said, he felt talking with both was “an important component of what we’re doing.”

Yehuda Glick, a U.S.-born activist who has campaigned for the right of Jews to pray at the Temple Mount, was hit in a drive-by shooting Wednesday night after attending a conference about the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Israel temporarily closed the Temple Mount in response as Palestinian jihadists called for more attacks.

The State Department chided Israel, saying “we believe that Muslim worshippers should be able to worship” at the al-Aqsa mosque.

Kerry is scheduled to meet Monday with top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat to “discuss the way forward for the Middle East, the situation in Gaza, and lowering tensions in Jerusalem.”

Psaki was prodded on whether the Kerry-Netanyahu conversation included discussion of a senior administration official telling The Atlantic that Bibi is a “chickenshit” and “coward.”

“Let me check with him. I didn’t have a chance to ask him that question this morning,” Psaki said, not confirming reports in Israel that Kerry had apologized for the comments.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Kerry reiterated what he said many times publicly, which was that these don’t represent his views or the president’s views. But I’ll check with him,” she said. “He likely reiterated just as I said.”

Pro-Paletinian lobbying group J Street sent out a fundraising email today on behalf of Senate Democratic candidates Michelle Nunn (Ga.), Bruce Braley (Iowa), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) and Mark Udall (Colo.), warning of “forces hostile to Middle East diplomacy” taking control of the upper chamber.

“Just this week, media reports indicated that Prime Minister Netanyahu hopes to pit Congress against the Obama Administration to prevent a diplomatic breakthrough with Iran or the Palestinians. You can bet he’s counting on the Senate falling into neocon hands to allow for such an outcome,” the email said.

“But with victories for Michelle, Bruce, Jeanne and Mark we can save the Senate and score a victory for diplomacy this Tuesday.”

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Wendy Davis Launches What Has to Be Her Most Dishonest and Desperate Attack Yet

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Wendy Davis, Democrat long-shot for Texas governor, unleashed this bizarre tweet this afternoon.

 

So I asked the Abbott campaign about it.

They pointed me to this story in the San Antonio Express-News. That story is a hit piece written by Joshua Fecther, evidently based on opposition research that the Davis campaign supplied him.

The story opens with a dramatic photo of some militia members who have been patrolling the Texas-Mexico border, captioned to demonize the guns they are holding.

Photos showing dozens of members of the militia groups on the U.S.-Mexico border carrying semi-automatic rifles and wearing masks, camouflage and tactical gear provide one of the first glimpses into the group’s activities on the border.

Oooh, “semi-automatic rifles.” Be afraid, be very afraid. If you don’t know anything about firearms, anyway.

The story itself is about a campaign event at which Republican nominee Greg Abbott had a photo line, and a guy in the photo line turned out to be a militia guy, and he was later arrested on charges entirely unrelated to Abbott, his campaign, Second Amendment rights, or anything else. In fact, he has nothing at all to do with Abbott. He managed to get his photo taken with Abbott. That’s it.

The Democrats have done what they always do — jump to clownish overkill mode.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, called on Abbott to denounce militia groups at the border. At the time, Abbott spokeswoman Lauren Bean called the move a “partisan political stunt.”

In a statement Friday, Castro said the incident “serves as a reminder that patrolling the border should be left to the authorities.”

“This is what happens when you don’t stand up for the rule of law, and allow felons to ‘patrol’ the border,” Castro said. “Greg Abbott should take this opportunity to denounce these groups.”

Hold on a minute — what’s that about the “rule of law,” Rep. Castro? The president that Castro, Davis and every other Democrat supports routinely flouts the rule of law. The border is in chaos because Barack Obama has no respect for the rule of law. When will Rep. Castro denounce that?

For Davis’ part, this latest desperate attack exposes once again that in an earlier, misguided and desperate attack, she tried to goad Abbott into publicly revealing the locations of ammonium nitrate around Texas.

Which would have been very helpful, to terrorists. That episode remains disturbing, not because anyone should link that to thinking that Davis supports terrorism. It’s just so gobsmackingly stupid, like this latest attack and just about everything that the Wendy Davis Democrats have said and done.

Update: This is a story about a candidate taking a photo with a stranger, writes Sarah Rumpf at Breitbart.

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CAIR Needs A Four-Letter Name Change to HATE

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Jennifer Hanin

Imagine my surprise when I read names of some of my closet and most admired colleagues headlining CAIR’s recently published hate list of, you guessed it: Islamaphobes. Lone wolves might consider this list a fatwa (Islamic hit list). Most surprisingly, is the absence of other close colleagues and friends deep in this space like Dr. Walid Phares, Eugene Kontorovich, Asaf Romirowsky, Cliff May and William Daroff that has me puzzled. I guess CAIR is showing they’re lacking in the research department to miss these outstanding experts who spend their lives writing and shaping Middle East policy.

So which of my contacts made CAIR’s “ridiculist”? Political commentator, former congressman, Col. Allen West, Middle East scholar and president of the Middle East Forum Daniel Pipes, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, founder, editor and publisher of Atlas Shrugs, Pamela Gellar, and national security expert and political analyst Ryan Mauro.

But isn’t publishing a list like this completely laughable? I mean, we know it’s not a Halloween prank but it might as well be. CAIR is no stranger to FBI investigations and federal indictments. It was heavily entwined with the Holy Land Foundation, the largest and most crooked deep pocket charity for Hamas terrorists. So when CAIR puts out what looks like a vigilante list of upstanding Americans who are influential and mold much of the policy affecting the Middle East, this only raises eyebrows not just of journalists like me who are involved in and write about national security concerns but the three letter U.S. agencies who will now have even more eagle eyes on CAIR’s every move.

Bravo, CAIR. That’s one way to get the Feds to follow your every keystroke, phone call, email, text, and online move and virtually every physical and financial iota you and your affiliates make. You know the song by the Police, “Every Breath You Take,” well it applies to your organization, its members and assigns.

Duh. Get a Clue

It’s not like our CIA and FBI agents have no idea who you are or where you are. I should know as many of the colleagues I interact with on a regular basis also interact with agents from these agencies. I personally know this as I have known federal agents since grad school as the head of FBI office in Houston was in most of my classes. So here’s a tip: Don’t publish what looks like a fatwa of prominent U.S. experts who spend most of their waking hours dealing with national security concerns if you don’t want to be the subject of 24×7 surveillance and potential investigation from our federal agents.

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Hillary’s Terror

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s Halloween, which is an appropriate day to talk about one of the deepest human responses: fear.

A week ago, presumed Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was speaking at a Martha Coakley campaign rally in Massachusetts. Clinton uttered what has to be among the dumbest lines of the year, when she said, “Don’t let anybody tell you, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.”

The networks ignored that remark. PolitiFact did its best to fix them for her. Clinton herself tried to clean them up Monday.

Clinton aides claim that Hillary meant to insert “tax breaks for” ahead of “corporations.” That helps, but not a whole lot. Tax breaks do help create jobs. That’s why New York has gone on a national campaign advertising tax breaks for businesses that start up there or move there. Gov. Rick Perry travels all over the country and Texas has poached jobs from several states by offering tax breaks to businesses that re-locate to the Lone Star State. When businesses keep more of their own money out of government’s greedy clutches, they are free to spend those dollars to expand, and that may include hiring more people.

Hillary’s gaffe, if that’s what it was, was made with a fear factor weighing on her mind. She was speaking at a rally in Massachusetts. That state is home to one of the most vocal anti-business Democrats in the nation, Sen. Elizabeth Warren. In the age before YouTube, a Democrat could speak to a far-left audience without much fear that their remarks would go national.

During her run for the Senate, Warren ran an anti-business platform. Catering to the far-left Democrat base, and articulating what she really thinks, Warren said: “There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody.

“You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.

“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

That demeaning, pat-on-the-head attitude — it ignores the risks that entrepreneurs take, and the many companies that actually do build their own roads and even the infrastructure and economies that support their products — turned up again the following year, when President Barack Obama assailed business in his famous “You didn’t build that!” speech.

Both Warren’s and Obama’s comments resonate with the Democrats’ anti-business base. Warren won, Obama rallied his base and was re-elected, and the Democrat base still adores both of them even while Obama’s popularity has plummeted nationally. Warren is being pushed by the left to run for president.

And there’s Hillary Clinton last Friday. Sen. Warren is in the audience. It’s a rally for Coakley, the Democrat who stands to blow a second campaign in a deep blue state.

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If Tom Corbett Wins in Pennsylvania, It Will Break His Squander Streak, But Vote For Him Anyway

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Scott Ott

In most parts of Texas, the Republican primary virtually IS the general election, or so they tell me. But Republicans are careful to add that they don’t take anything for granted.

Things are different back in the old country — my former home of Pennsylvania — as I was reminded yesterday.

I found a GOTV postcard in my Texas mailbox, addressed to my Texas home, from the ‘Tom Corbett for Governor’ campaign. Corbett is the sitting (rarely standing) governor of Pennsylvania.

Look up the word “squander” in the dictionary, and you’ll find a picture of Tom Corbett.

The postcard headline says “Poll Shows Corbett-Wolf Race Tightening,” and the text tells me that “We need every Republican to vote, and that includes you!” I wondered how many other registered Lone Star voters Corbett counts on to put him over the top in the Keystone State.

I rejoice that I get to vote for Greg Abbott as our next Texas governor — a wheelchair-bound man who stands up more than Corbett ever has.

Corbett Postcard

The Pennsylvania governor’s campaign mailed this “Get Out the Vote” postcard to my home in Texas. Competence much?

I would call Tom Corbett a huge disappointment — a Republican governor, with a Republican legislature — who has kowtowed and cowered before the union bosses, while equivocating about his positions, and carping about legislative obstacles in his own party…but “disappointment” is a word too glorious for Corbett.

From the moment I met him, and in several subsequent conversations, he struck me as a pathetic figure who couldn’t lead a little girl if she stood on the tops of his feet and begged him to dance.

The only circumstance that would justify reelecting Tom Corbett for governor would be if the figurative ‘wolf is at the door.’

Unfortunately, it’s worse. The literal Wolf is at the door.

Democrat Tom Wolf will make Pennsylvania’s burdensome taxation even more intolerable. Entrepreneurs and corporations will decamp from the Commonwealth more eagerly, and the outbound capital flow will grow to a torrent.

The policies and politicians of Philadelphia and Pittsburg will kiss in Harrisburg.

So, to my Pennsylvania friends: Tom Corbett sucks, and it doesn’t get any better than that…not this time.

So, suck it up and go vote for Corbett. Then go take a shower with a wire brush.

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National Resources Defense Council Members Profit from Fossil Fuel Investments. Does Leo Know?

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Jerry Rogers

Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio made headlines when lecturing the United Nations on climate change demanding restrictions on carbon emissions. To say he is an environmental hypocrite would be an understatement. The multimillionaire with an estimated worth of $220 million has a fleet of private jets, a small flotilla of yachts, and, of course, four spectacular homes. DiCaprio’s carbon footprint is as big as his ego. In just the past year, he’s made some twenty trips around the globe, from skiing in the French Alps to visiting Brazil for the World Cup. And I’m sure he didn’t drive a Prius or a Volt on his way to all those planes and yachts. Where would all the supermodels sit?

As an environmental activist, DiCaprio has called for the divestment in fossil fuels. He recently narrated a propaganda film called Carbon, where he said, “We cannot sit idly by and watch the fossil fuel industry make billions at our collective expense.” Leo also sits as a board member for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The NRDC is left-wing, radical environmental organization that routinely advocates for the most draconian measures aimed at its myopic idea of “environmental protection.” Like DiCaprio, the NRDC advocates that institutions and individuals rid themselves of any investments in evil fossil fuel or carbon producing industries.

A closer look at some of the NRDC’s own leadership reveals a stunning level of “do as I say, not as I do” hypocrisy. Several of the organizations’ board members are profiting handsomely from the very things they claim are destroying the earth.

Frances Beinecke, the president of the NRDC, is married to Paul Elston, the founder of Long Lake Energy Corporation. In the 1980s, Long Lake Energy Corporation used dammed rivers and fossil fuels to generate energy—and they made millions of dollars on power plant projects that utilized fossil fuels and hydropower. Ms. Beinecke has criticized hydropower saying it can “cause serious harm to fish and wildlife” despite the fact that her husband profited from it.

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees is Daniel Tischman, who serves as Vice Chairman at AECOM. AECOM’s core business is—you guessed it—oil and gas. In 2013, it was announced that AECOM won a $15 million contract from Ghana National Gas Company. In May 2014, AECOM announced that it would open Shell’s first liquefied natural gas fueling lanes for heavy-duty commercial trucks. In July 2014, AECOM acquired URS, known for their strength in the oil/gas/fracking sectors.

NRDC Board Member Adam Albright is a private investor who founded the ARIA Foundation. The foundation holds major investments in oil and gas enterprises such as Canadian Natural Resources, Noble Corp., and Transocean Ltd. The ARIA Foundation has previously held stock in Chevron, Halliburton, and Texaco.

Sarah Cogan is a lawyer with Simpson Thacher & Bartlet and has worked for the NRDC for years and is now a board member. Cogan’s clients include ClearBridge American Energy MLP Fund which has hundreds of millions invested in pipeline and fracking companies such as Kinder Morgan, Energy Transfer Partners, and Regency Energy Partners. Energy Transfer Partners bought Sunoco in 2012 for $5.3 billion. Regency Transfer Partners has major operations in the Marcellus Shale basin, the center of the fracking boom in the United States.

Mr. DiCaprio has taken an absolutists life or death moral approach to climate change. His own extremist approach raises the question of whether or not Leo is aware that his fellow NRDC leaders are getting rich off of supporting the very same companies he claims are putting “poison” in the environment. Given Mr. DiCaprio’s own carbon footprint, he may not even care.

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Even SecDef Hagel Hates Obama’s Syria Policy

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has reportedly blasted President Obama’s Syria policy. Behind the scenes, Hagel sent a two-page memo to Obama national security adviser Susan Rice. In it, he assailed the dysfunctional policy toward Syria.

The memo was sent last week to President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, a defence official said on Thursday, confirming a New York Times report.

The memo was cited in the Times article by Hagel’s aides as an example of how the Pentagon chief is more assertive behind the scenes than his reserved public performance might suggest.

Hagel warned that the Syria policy was “in danger of unraveling” due to confusion over the US stance toward Assad, the paper wrote.

The Obama administration has focused on defeating the Islamic State group in Iraq first, and described US-led air strikes in Syria as a way of disrupting the jihadists’ supply lines.

Washington also plans to arm and train a group of 5,000 “moderate” Syrian rebels, but has not committed to attacking Assad regime forces that threaten moderate rebel fighters.

Obama’s Syria policy is a mess, but the decision not to attack Assad isn’t its main problem at this point. And frankly, now that the ISIS horse is out of the barn, we don’t really have any good options.

Attack Assad, you invite his allies Iran and Russia in to defend him one way or another, and if you take him out you may be creating a vacuum into which ISIS can move and grow stronger. So, you weaken Russia and Iran economically by dropping the price of oil. The Saudis are doing that, but so far, Iran and Russia haven’t gotten any less belligerent. They’re not any less likely to find ways to defend their ally, especially if doing so damages us.

Leave Assad alone, and he has a free hand to attack our allies on the ground. Arm the rebels, and odds are at least some of them are not so moderate, and are in fact Islamist, and have allied with ISIS — or soon will. The Kurds on the Syria-Turkey border are putting up a brave fight, but making them too strong invites action against them by Turkey. Not that Turkey would be in the right from our point of view.

So let’s attack both Assad and ISIS. They won’t work together, but soon enough we’re in the middle of Syria’s civil war, fighting ISIS on one hand and Assad (plus Iranian and Russian proxies or actual forces) on the other. That’s a recipe for us to get bogged down, while starting a world war. And that’s even if we don’t put boots on the ground.

Meanwhile, the Obama regime seems to be greenlighting Iran’s nuclear program while it alienates our strongest ally in the region, Israel.

Our best bet at this point seems to be to drive ISIS out of Iraq and keep it out. Its supply lines in Iraq are tenuous and can be disrupted. Its hold on most of its Iraqi territory is weak, though it does retain some popularity among the Sunni. You put Syria’s civil war back in Syria, preserve Iraq’s territorial integrity and build up Iraq against Iran and ISIS. Let ISIS and the rebels fight it out with Assad, take on the winner if that turns out to be ISIS. Or, maybe, if it turns out to be Assad. But the Russians and Iranians won’t just sit by on the sidelines for that. The Russians have been hacking White House computers and probing our air defenses from Europe to Alaska to Japan.

Driving ISIS out of Iraq is a long-term strategy that requires a significant number of American boots on the ground in Iraq to accomplish, since Iraq’s security forces have proven themselves incapable of defeating ISIS on their own. But, it’ll never happen. Obama doesn’t want to put more troops on the ground and he is obviously not gung ho to take on Islamist enemies. He and his lieutenants prefer to slam Israel.

When Obama held up Yemen and Somalia as examples of what he considers to be successful counterterrorism, he meant it, and that means that ISIS is here to stay. Al Qaeda operates fairly freely in both Yemen and Somalia, and what government there is in both countries is weak and tends to change hands. The way things are going, according to Obama’s stated strategy, ISIS will be a problem for the next president to deal with.

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King: Not Aware of ‘Any Specific Threat’ Requiring DHS Security Upgrade

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said he believes this week’s decision to step up security around federal government buildings is more an “abundance of caution” than a distinct threat.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson ordered the Federal Protective Service to “enhance its presence and security at various U.S. government buildings” in Washington as well as “other major cities and locations around the country.”

The Federal Protective Service is tasked with protecting more than 9,500 federal facilities owned or leased by the General Services Administration.

DHS said 1.4 million visitors and occupants pass through these buildings daily.

“We are taking this action as a precautionary step, to safeguard U.S. government personnel and facilities, and the visitors to those facilities,” Johnson said. “The reasons for this action are self-evident: the continued public calls by terrorist organizations for attacks on the homeland and elsewhere, including against law enforcement and other government officials, and the acts of violence targeted at government personnel and installations in Canada and elsewhere recently.”

Rep. Peter King (D-N.Y.) told CNN he believes Johnson increased security out of an abundance of caution.”

“There was just a series of events over the last several weeks, including ISIS really making very effective use of social media, that I believe the Homeland Security secretary believed that especially with what happened in Canada with the two soldiers being killed, Canadian parliament being attacked and with the NYPD officer being actually attacked with an axe in New York City, in Queens, with federal buildings being a target, it’s important to get this done. That was never necessary in New York because they were always at a high level of security,” King said.

“But, no, I’m not aware of any specific threat other than the constant stream and very sophisticated stream coming from is encouraging these kind of attacks upon the police, upon the military. So these are not the actual members of ISIS or even declared followers of ISIS but even people on the fringes, such as the man in Queens who attacked the police officer. These are sympathizers who can be motivated by these type calls from the ISIS leadership.”

The White House recently revived warnings of an “imminent threat” from Khorasan, an al-Qaeda chapter in Syria.

“I am not aware of any specific threat that would require what Jeh Johnson did as far as the upgrading of the security,” King said.

“I think it’s an accumulation of events. The Khorasan group is a — ‘imminent’ is a typical word. I’m not aware of an imminent threat from the Khorasan group other than the fact they have been a threat for the last couple of months. And the same with ISIS. But I’m not aware of any imminent in the country right now.”

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Dem Rep on Ebola ‘Fear-Mongering’: ‘We’ll Look Upon It One Day Like Terri Schiavo’

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A Democratic congressman compared Republicans’ Ebola “fear-mongering” to the fight for Terri Schiavo’s life and accused politicians of stoking fear to take back the Senate.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) argued on CNN that Maine nurse Kaci Hickox, quarantined after returning from Sierra Leone, “has a right as a citizen of the United States — unless she’s committed some criminal act or is a danger to the welfare of the public — to have freedom of access of movement.”

“This is just part of a fear, it’s kind of understandable, but unfortunately, it’s been stirred up and caused by fear-mongering politicians who see poll-driven numbers in their anticipation of next Tuesday’s election to try to take the Senate for Republicans and for the White House in 2016 for Republicans, who are doing everything they can to avoid science,” Cohen said.

“Same Republicans who many don’t accept evolution, don’t accept climate change and don’t accept biology. We had them in 2012 saying women couldn’t get impregnated when they were raped. They refused science. They’ll say whatever they think is attractive to their base and have done that in this circumstance.”

The congressman said “we really haven’t had a great problem” with the deadly virus.

“One person came back from Dallas. That — Mr. Duncan, he passed. The two nurses were treated immediately. I think we learned the proper protocols, and maybe the way they put their equipment on, they’re free of Ebola. The doctor in New York followed all the protocols. He’s being treated. Nobody else has had Ebola,” Cohen continued.

He said he didn’t know why Ebola czar Ron Klain has been AWOL since being appointed, “but I’m sure there’s a good reason.”

“He’s very — he is outstanding on policy, he’s been an outstanding government official.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statements should be enough to sway states on quarantine, Cohen argued.

“They wouldn’t listen to him. They don’t listen to 97, 98 percent, whatever it is, of the scientists who say there’s climate change. Ron Klain saying something doesn’t make any difference. I think this is strictly driven by politics, fear-mongering, and I think we’ll look upon it one day like Terri Schiavo.”

Schiavo was the woman in a vegetative state who was starved to death in 2005. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, began living with another woman in 1994 and remarried soon after he won the right in court to have Terri’s life taken.

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Obama Leaves Maine Without Meeting Defiant Quarantine Nurse

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama campaigned in Maine yesterday, but didn’t meet with the nurse who treated Ebola in Sierra Leone yet refuses to stay in her home for the 21-day quarantine.

Kaci Hickox is supposed to be under quarantine until Nov. 10. She spent 72 hours isolated in New Jersey after flying into the country, and was released to go back to her Maine town of Fort Kent.

She went for a bike ride yesterday, and Gov. Paul LePage said “her behavior is really riling a lot of people up.”

“What the CDC has indicated is that these risk assessments should be performed to determine what sort of risk individuals pose to others in the community. And then that also should guide the degree to which the health of that individual is monitored upon their return for three weeks,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Air Force One yesterday.

“That guidance has been shared by the CDC to state and local officials who ultimately are responsible for putting in place policies that they believe are in the best interest of protecting their citizens. And, again, we believe that those decisions should be driven by science, but ultimately it’s state and local officials that have the authority for implementing these policies,” Earnest said.

“So what I can tell you about the situation as it relates to Ms. Hickox is that officials at the CDC who are experts in this field have been in regular touch with public health officials in Maine who are responsible for setting the policies in the state of Maine. That is at it should be. And the President believes that the scientific expertise that has been amassed at the CDC should be freely shared with state and local officials in Maine. He also believes that those officials in Maine should be guided by the science as they implement the policy that they believe is in the best interest of the people of their state.”

Earnest said Obama doesn’t support Hickox defying the quarantine order, but “recognizes that it’s state officials’ responsibility to implement these policies.”

He added he’s “not in a position to render a judgment” on whether Maine’s policies are “guided by the science.”

Obama was campaigning for Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) in a toss-up race to oust LePage.

Earnest said there have “certainly not” been conversations between Obama and LePage about Hickox. “I’m not aware of any conversations from anybody at the White House with Ms. Hickox, and I don’t know of any plans at this point to place any calls,” he said.

Obama will give an economic speech in Rhode Island today before flying back to Washington to welcome trick-or-treaters at the White House.

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Hagel on Gitmo Detainees Returning to Terrorism: ‘It’s an Imperfect World’

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff acknowledged Thursday that military leaders aren’t “content” about the prospect of former Guantanamo detainees finding a new home in the ranks of ISIS.

Fox News reported that as many as 20 to 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees, some set free within the past few years, are believed to have joined terrorist groups fighting in Syria.

“Well, we know that some of the detainees that have come out of Guantanamo have gone back to the fight, to the battlefield. We’re aware of that,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters. “And we think that overall the policy of getting to close Guantanamo is clearly in the interests of the United States, as the president has articulated, which when I — I was in the United States Senate, I supported it.”

“It’s an imperfect world. It’s a dangerous world,” Hagel continued. “This is why we pay so much attention to getting commitments from host countries in securing those commitments and doing everything we can within our power to assure that those commitments, not to allow those detainees to go beyond what is required in order to secure them in these different host countries that take them. But we do know that some have joined the fight.”

“Host countries” have included Sudan, where leader Omar al-Bashir is wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The country received one detainee last December.

Asked if this recidivism bothered him, Hagel replied, “Yes, of course it does.”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey added, “We believe that the recidivism is a — is a relatively small fraction of those detainees, which have been placed into conditions where their risk — where their risk of recidivism is mitigated.”

“But even one would not make someone wearing the uniform very content,” Dempsey said. “So we — I provide my advice in every case to the secretary of Defense who, as you know, is the certifying official. And the exact number is actually being assessed inside of the intelligence community, so I can’t comment on that.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the 30 percent who return to battle aren’t just going in as low-level fighters, but “they also are in positions of leadership.”

“In one case, there are many Yemenis, he wants to send them back there. So rather than to have a place it to incarcerate them where they belong, particularly there’s many who have been judged too dangerous to be released,” McCain said. “The president wants to get rid of them in order to close Guantanamo. That’s the overriding factor in his calculations and it’s disgraceful, because in the long run, it puts the lives of American men and women serving in the military in danger. It’s a fact.”

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Sen. Mary Landrieu (D): Louisiana Voters Are Sexist and Racist

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Protip for Democrats: It’s always a grand idea to insult the voters that you have been living off of for years, and that you want to vote for you so that you can keep living off of them.

So roll with that. It’s campaign gold. Let endangered Sen. Mary Landrieu lead the way for you.

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Those same allegedly racist and sexist voters have put Landrieu in office, and they put Bobby Jindal in office, and before him, they put Kathleen Babineaux Blanco in office. But Landrieu thinks that they’re racist and sexist anyway.

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Henry Barbour, America’s Least Credible Republican, Lectures Republicans on Messaging

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

517715587_3_embedStandard

Bloomberg reported this week that Republican party operatives are worried about messages that alienate moderates. Citing the Republican post-2012 election “autopsy” report, Bloomberg said the Republican National Committee was urging candidates to win elections by reaching out to a broader cross-section of voters.

GOP operative Henry Barbour, who helped fund the race-baiting ads against Chris McDaniel in the Mississippi primary through a pro-Thad Cochran Super PAC, told Bloomberg he was hopeful about the GOP’s chances in the 2014 election. “We’re in a strong position to win back the Senate, but there are still lessons to be learned,” said Barbour, who co-authored the the GOP 2012 post-election report.

However, Barbour warned, “Some of the messaging that’s been effective in 2014 may not be what delivers the White House, and people need to be smart about that.”

Barbour didn’t say whether he thought the vicious, race-baiting ads (warning black voters that McDaniel wanted to keep them from the polls and take away their benefits) were the kind of “smart” messaging that would be needed to deliver the White House.

In August, Barbour told The Hill that he stood by the ads the portrayed Republican Chris McDaniel and the Tea Party as racist. “We did make a contribution to [the] group for efforts to engage in the African-American community, and they made a decision to run some ads,” he said. “And certainly I didn’t approve the ads, but I don’t have a problem with a word that’s in ‘em, and I think their message reflects what was going on on the ground in Mississippi in the primary and the runoff,” Barbour said.

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Texas Media Play Their Gotcha Games as the Governor’s Race Winds Down

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Leading by a mile or several in the polls, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott went to the polls Thursday to cast his vote in the state’s elections. The Republican governor nominee cast his vote on the penultimate day of early voting.

After casting his vote, Breitbart’s Sarah Rumpf reports that Abbott engaged in a Q&A with press.

Texas is facing a number of issues that the next governor will have to deal with, including in no particular order, the economy, the border and the threat of crime and even terrorism that comes with it, education, the state budget, water, windstorm issues, and so forth. Or energy and the EPA, Obama’s post-election amnesty surprise, next year’s legislative session, which will be Gov. Abbott’s first as the top official in the state, the new Congress in Washington. The point is, Abbott could have been asked to opine on any number of issues, and he would have done so. He doesn’t hide from the media.

As you can see from the end of Rumpf’s story, abortion turned out to be the dominant issue. Which is convenient, if you’re Wendy Davis and you’re looking to attack Abbott on a wedge issue or disrupt his momentum at the last minute.

Wendy Davis wasn’t there. Reporters were. A witness who was there tells me that of the four or five questions reporters asked Abbott, two were about abortion.

That line of questioning follows a couple of media stories that read like attempts to insert abortion into the campaign at the last minute, and weaken Abbott’s image as a staunch pro-life candidate. That would be helpful indeed, to Wendy Davis.

The Democrat nominee famously tanked in the key Rio Grande Valley during her party’s primary. A Democrat cannot lose that part of the state and expect to be anywhere close to winning the election. Davis rose to fame by filibustering an abortion bill that eventually became law. But the heavily Hispanic and heavily Catholic Valley is also pro-life. That’s a problem for Davis, so much so that she during a stop in the Valley early on in the campaign she claimed to be “pro-life.” No one bought that.

It’s not a problem for Abbott. Texas is a pro-life state. Davis’ hard-line stance on abortion could help Abbott build support in what is usually strong Democrat territory. But the issue could become a problem for him with the GOP base, if his pro-life bonafides can be called into doubt. It wouldn’t cost him the election, not at this point, but it could depress some of his potential conservative vote and make the final results closer than they otherwise would have been.

Democrats and the media would use that to argue that Davis did better than expected, that the next Democrat candidate might have a chance, Texas might be turning a shade purple, and so forth. Democrats want to build something useful from Davis’ candidacy, and the media want them to do that, if only to make elections in Texas more interesting for them to cover. Media here are always complaining about how uncompetitive the state’s elections are now that Republicans dominate.

Abbott’s answers to the press after he voted ought to quell any doubt. He’s Catholic and he is as pro-life today as he has always been. He is defending HB2 in court because it is state law and it is the attorney general’s duty to defend state law.

On this issue, as on so many issues, there is a strikingly clear contrast. Wendy Davis filibustered against even modest restrictions on late-term abortion, and against upgrading the health standards in abortion clinics, on behalf of the abortion industry/lobby. Abbott is pro-life and supported the bill that Davis opposed. He wasn’t in the legislature and therefore did not vote on it, of course, but he supported it. He is doing his official duty in defending that law, a law that does enjoy majority support in the state. Not in the media, evidently, but among the voters. Wendy Davis supports the full Obama agenda. Greg Abbott has fought that agenda in court for six years, and would fight it as governor.

The media’s peculiar interest in asking Abbott about abortion at this point in the campaign is of a piece with its attempt to drag interracial marriage into the race. That backfired — they forgot that Abbott is half of an interracial marriage. His Hispanic mother-in-law has turned out to be his charming secret weapon. Putting abortion front and center this close to the election is really about trying to damage Abbott a little bit on his march to the governor’s mansion. Which obviously would help Wendy Davis and the Democrats, a little.

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Possible Islamic State Leaflets Found in Quantico Marine Base

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Leaflets found at the site of the Marine Corps headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, Wednesday may have ties to the international terrorist organization ISIS, a source told the Tatler today. The leaflets, which portray the flag of the Islamic State, include a message in Arabic that says “We came from Mexico on a train.”

The leaflets raise the questions of whether the Islamic State has operatives in the heart of the United State’s Marine Corps headquarters, or alternatively, whether someone is testing security responses and military command communications.

The Tatler obtained a digital copy of the leaflet today, which is being distributed within the Marine Corps command. The source, who requested anonymity, wrote:

MCB Quantico personnel found 6-7 of these leaflets in Quantico Town (the shopping/residential area inside of Marine Corps Base Quantico) this afternoon (Wednesday). The picture depicts an ISIL banner. The translation of the writing is “We came from Mexico on a train.”

Marine Corps commands in the National Capital region have been informed and are increasing situational awareness at their installations.

The leaflet is being investigated by the Marine Corps, the FBI and Navy intelligence. The Tatler contacted public affairs at Quantico, but as of publication time the base has not commented.

Here is the one-page leaflet.

isis-leaflet-quantico

The Tatler has had the inscription independently translated. It says: “We are here from Mexico. We took the train.” Coupled with the ISIS flag, it is clearly intended to be a threat, connected to the porous U.S.-Mexico border.

But the ISIS flag is upside down and reversed with respect to the Arabic text. Here is an ISIS flag in its correct orientation.

ISISflag

“MCB Quantico” is Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Prince William County, VA, just outside of Washington, D.C. It is the Marine Corps’ headquarters, as well as the home of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Academy and Marine Corps Officer Candidate School. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations is also headquartered at Quantico. The National Museum of the Marine Corps is also located at at the base. The U.S. Navy’s Indian Head facility is nearby.

Virginia Railway Express has posted a notice of heightened security including random searches of individuals who access the base by train.

The leaflet is being “widely distributed” within Marine Corps ranks and is being taken very seriously, according to the Tatler’s source.

The fact that the flag is inverted may suggest that either the person who dropped the leaflets is a poser not connected with ISIS at all — but who may sympathize with the terrorist group and could intend to launch some kind of “lone wolf” attack — or the leaflet was dropped to test security, communications and analysis responses.

The timing is also of interest. The leaflets were discovered at Quantico within a week of the mid-term elections, and they connect ISIS terrorism to the porous border, which has been an ongoing security and political issue.

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Dem Senator: ‘Those Responsible Should be Held Accountable’ for Netanyahu Slur

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A Democratic senator blasted the senior administration official’s anonymous comments to The Atlantic calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “chickenshit” and “coward,” saying the White House needs to hold the guilty party responsible.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) issued a statement this afternoon stressing that “outlandish remarks made by anonymous sources leave scars that mask the truth of America’s relationship with Israel: we have no greater ally in the Middle East.”

“I’ve just spent two days in New York at the UN meeting with diplomats, including the Israelis who thanked me profusely for all the United States has done to support their efforts,” said Cardin, co-chairman of the Helsinki Commission. “The truth is that Israel has one and only one reliable ally that exercises its leadership at the UN to support its friend Israel and that is the United States. President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu understand the strategic importance and the special bond between our two countries.”

However, the senator continued, “the only parties that benefit from anonymous sources making inappropriate comments about one of America’s closest allies are those who want to weaken the unified, bipartisan support for Israel in both the legislative and executive branches of our government.”

“The leaks and side-shows need to end; those responsible should be held accountable,” Cardin said.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters yesterday he doesn’t “know of any effort” underway to find or punish the official who insulted Netanyahu.

“Again, there are anonymous comments like this that are shared with reporters like yourself on a pretty regular basis, and what we have found to be the most effective tactic is to help all of you understand the proper context for those comments,” he said.

“In this case, I’m not sure there is a proper context for those comments, because they are so directly in opposition to the true view and policy of this administration.”

Earnest said President Obama had no plans to call Netanyahu to apologize, and press secretary Jen Psaki said at the State Department today that they were “working to schedule a call” with Secretary of State John Kerry.

“I can assure anybody who thinks that that the president and the secretary of state don’t feel — feel that those comments were inappropriate and counter-productive and they’ll feel that way next Wednesday as well,” Psaki said of speculation that the administration is holding back open criticism of Netanyahu until after midterm elections.

The State Department has denied the remarks came from one of their people, and Rep. Brad Sherman  (D-Calif.) said the White House “assured me that the pejorative statements were not made by anyone at the White House.”

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called it “unprofessional for administration officials to air their dirty laundry in such a public way.”

“I am getting tired of hearing about the leaks and denials,” Engel said. “This ought to be the last time we hear of such talk because it is getting to a point where nobody believes the denials anymore.”

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Politico Magazine: ‘How to Beat Hillary’ (with an unusual cover image that is not a caption contest)

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by Myra Adams

 

Politico, the arbiter of mainstream political thought and gossip for inside the Washington Beltway types, is out with an intriguing article in its weekly magazine, “How to Back Hillary Into a Corner.”  The piece details how the sausage is being made before it is shoved down our throats over the next two years.

Displaying the magazine cover is NOT an excuse for an official caption contest since the contest from earlier this week is still up and running and also features “that woman, Miss Hillary.”

BUT, if you insist on writing a creative caption that will crack us all up, we are powerless to stop you.

Here is the cover.

Credit: Politico Magazine

Credit: Politico Magazine

 

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Kerry: If Israel ‘Wants to Be a Jewish State’ It Must Accept Two-State Solution

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Secretary of State John Kerry denounced the word “chickenshit” to describe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as a senior administration official told The Atlantic, but in the same breath described the country as one that “wants to be a Jewish state.”

As soon as the article was brought up to Kerry today at the Washington Ideas Forum, he said “the long game, as everybody knows from the investment I made much of last year, is to find a way to bring the parties to make peace in the Middle East.”

“We still believe it is doable, but it takes courage, it takes strength. You have to be prepared — both sides have to be prepared to compromise in order to do it,” he said. “Here’s what I know, and I think all of you know this, viscerally and intellectually. And I’ve asked this question of people in the Middle East.”

“One of the great challenges for Israel is obviously not to be a bi-national state. It wants to be a Jewish state. To be a Jewish state, you clearly have to resolve the issue of two states.”

Kerry argued that “if you don’t and you are a unitary state and people have equal rights to vote and participate as citizens, is Israel going to have a Palestinian prime minister?”

“I don’t think so. I don’t think so. Not going to happen.”

Netanyahu regularly refers to Israel as the Jewish state.

“So therefore, what is the solution here? How do you move forward?” Kerry said. “And what we’re trying to do is evenhandedly and hopefully thoughtfully strengthen Israel’s ability to free of rockets — not strengthen, to make it free of rockets, to — to end this perpetual conflict in a way that provides for the complete security of Israel, which has a right totally to be free of tunnels coming into its country, terrorists jumping out of a tunnel with handcuffs, with tranquilizer drugs, guns next to a kibbutz. No country would tolerate that.”

Kerry said to put pressure on the parties the administration needs “to work quietly and effectively, and we condemn anybody who uses language such as was used in this article.”

“It does not reflect president. It does not reflect me. It is — it is disgraceful, unacceptable, damaging, and — and — and I think neither President Obama nor I — I’ve never heard that word around me in the White House or anywhere,” he added.

“I don’t know who these anonymous people are who keep getting quoted in things, but they make life much more difficult, and we are proud of what we have done to help Israel through a very difficult time.”

Kerry lauded Obama for being “supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself in the recent — obviously, in this recent war.”

“But at the same time, the president wants to try to nurse the parties together to resolve these differences.”

On the Nov. 24 deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran, Kerry said he’s “not gonna give it odds.”

“As I said to the president recently, I’m not going to express optimism,” he said. “I’m going to express hope.”

“Whether Iran can make the tough decisions that it needs to make will be determined in the next weeks. But I have said consistently that no deal was better than a bad deal. And we’re going to be very careful, very — very much based on expert advice, facts, science as to the choices we make,” Kerry continued, adding it shouldn’t be an ”ideological or political decision.”

“If we can do what we’ve said, what the president set out in his policy — the president said they will not get a bomb. If we could take this moment of history and change this dynamic, the world would be a lot safer, and we’d avoid a huge arms race in the region where Saudis, Emirates, Egyptians, others may decide that if they’re moving towards a bomb, they gotta move there, too.”

Yesterday Daniel W. Drezner, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, suggested in the Washington Post that there could be a reason for the foul language.

“The one thing this kind of trash-talking does is send a signal to Iran about the U.S. commitment to a nuclear deal,” Drezner wrote.

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Boxer: ‘So Sad to See the Party of Lincoln’ Attempting to ‘Suppress the Vote’

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) warned last night on MSNBC that “everything is at stake” in this election “including our democracy, the right to vote.”

“There are seven horrible laws on the books, very bad voter suppression, voter I.D., the worst kind… every one of those, every single one of those signed by a Republican governor,” Boxer said. “This is one of the biggest issues of this election of our time.”

“Everyone who cherishes that right to vote, get out there and defy the pundits who say, ‘Oh it’s just going to be terribly low turnout.’ We have the power to change it. And this issue, there are many issues on the line. We know that. The fair-shot agenda, equal pay for equal work, minimum wage, reducing interest rates on college loans. All those are very important. But this one, the party that stands for the right to vote is the Democratic Party.”

Boxer said she knows “it’s a fact” that the Republican Party is “trying to suppress the vote.”

“It is so sad to see the party of Lincoln has taken this approach,” she said. “They can’t win on the issues so they’re trying to stop people from getting to the polls.”

The senator plans on introducing the Right to Vote Act, which rolls together two House bills and “basically says, ‘OK, states, if you want voter I.D. they have to be offered free and on time. And if you are forcing someone to go buy their birth certificate you have to foot the bill. And if your law is so difficult that people can’t do it then they can go and they can vote.’”

“And they can sign an affidavit that they are who they are and they live where they say they live under penalty of law. And it’s a stiff fine, if anyone lies — $250,000 or five years in prison, or both,” Boxer continued.

“We need to hold control of the United States Senate. And we have to hope we can gain control of the House for that, keep our loses to a minimum there. And it is up to us. It is up to us… If you keep Democrats home because you don’t want them to vote and they can’t get to vote, you have a better shot at controlling the Senate.”

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Petition to Keep Kaci Hickox Quarantined Racks Up Signatures

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Neighbors of Doctors Without Borders nurse Kaci Hickox launched an online petition Wednesday to keep the nurse, who was exposed to Ebola in West Africa, quarantined in her Maine home for the virus’ 21-day incubation period.

The petition’s author, Jamie Gaskey, says that she was aiming for 1,500 signatures. But thanks to Hickox’s public grandstanding and stubborn insistence on blowing off even a home quarantine, the petition has already run well past that number. As of 10 am Central time Thursday, it has well over 2,000 signatures from all over the country.

Many of those who signed the petition have also offered detailed opinions regarding Hickox’s behavior.

One wrote “Mrs. Hickox should not be allowed to practice as a nurse any longer, or anywhere in the medical field. Her attitude is contentious and her contempt for the quarantine shows a brazen lack of concern for the public’s overall health. Maine needs to lock her up in a quarantined jail cell immediately.”

Another wrote “I am a Respiratory Therapist and a believer in Infection Control. Kaci is a Nurse. She should know better!”

Another says “This very self centered individual has no respect for the laws or safety of the US. The police officers who had to waste their time escorting Kaci Hickox while she had her bike ride should be payed by her! As an American citizen I demand she does the required quarantine voluntary or involuntary (!!!) and she deserves to be punished for not obeying the laws!”

That’s referring to Hickox’s decision to leave her house and go on a bike ride this morning. CNN, other networks and the police accompanied her.

One nurse practitioner questioned Hickox’s motives.

“I applaud this individual for her care of others in other countries but as a NP I would go into voluntary or mandatory Quarantine to protect others, the nurses’s in Texas wore protection and still were infected. This is just for a moment of fame.”

Another medical professional agreed: “I work in a medical clinic and would gladly self-quarantine in this situation. Too many unknowns with Ebola at this point.”

One pointed out that Hickox is setting a poor example: “As a health worker she is an example to the rest of us. If she doesn’t comply no one else will feel the need to and this disease can get way out of control.”

Others pointed out that US troops returning from the Ebola zone are having to be quarantined. Those troops are not complaining about it, even though they had no choice when President Obama ordered them to go. Hickox chose to go to West Africa, and knew the risks.

Nurse Hickox and, especially, Dr. Craig Spencer are the reason that we’re probably going to have to have mandatory quarantines at some point. The “honor system” is insufficient. Spencer knew that he had been exposed to Ebola yet he went all over town partying it up in New York, even while he was beginning to show symptoms. Then he lied to police about his activities. Police had to retrace all of his movements, which is time-wasting and very expensive.

Hickox is not symptomatic now and odds are she does not have Ebola, however, she was exposed to it and symptoms do not always present themselves quickly. As Hickox knows, it can take 21 days for symptoms to appear.

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Senator: U.S. Should ‘Guarantee’ Healthcare Worker Re-Entry, Reimburse Quarantine Wages

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs said the federal government should be paying the medical care and any lost wages of medical personnel who are quarantined after volunteering in West Africa.

“We cannot protect Americans at home without sending Americans to Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone. Instead of demonizing those who volunteer for service, through stigmatizing mandatory quarantines or the imposition of a travel ban, we should be honoring them,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) wrote today in a Washington Post op-ed.

“There’s a simple way to do that: The president should guarantee that all U.S. citizens who travel to West Africa to help fight Ebola will be allowed to return to the United States, that any medical care they need as a result of their trip will be provided free of charge and that wages lost to any government-imposed quarantine will be reimbursed,” Coons wrote. “That’s the least we can do for the volunteers, missionaries and military personnel working to end this outbreak.”

The senator lauded Doctors Without Borders, Samaritan’s Purse, the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations for their service in caring for Ebola patients and said the groups should be “celebrated and thanked for their service.”

“But some of our political leaders have been sending the opposite message. The measures imposed by officials in New York and New Jersey last weekend — although later softened — sent a dangerous, punitive message to these dedicated people. Forced quarantines and the barring of people without Ebola symptoms are tactics not backed by science. Worse, they are likely to do more long-term harm than good,” Coons said.

“Public health experts warn that such measures would deter others from serving and increase the likelihood of potentially infected people actively avoiding U.S. monitoring efforts. Without more volunteers in West Africa, the virus is likely to spread dramatically — in which case soon no level of airport restrictions would keep it from claiming American lives.”

The White House has acknowledged that states have the right to set quarantine procedures as they see fit, while expressing displeasure for the policies.

“We’ve been very clear as an administration what policies we believe are appropriate for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of local populations in this country,” press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday. “And we’ve been clear about that, because we also believe it’s important not to place an undue burden on health care workers who are returning from West Africa because we don’t want to hinder our efforts to stop this outbreak at the source in West Africa.”

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Sanders: ‘The U.S. is on the Verge of Becoming a Third World Economy’

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) warned that the U.S. is going to become a third-world country if paychecks keep shrinking.

Sanders was responding Wednesday to a report from the Social Security Administration that revealed half of all wage earners in the country made $28,031.02 in 2013. Thirty-nine percent made less than $20,000 per year.

“The latest report from the Social Security Administration makes it clear that the American economy continues a 40-year trend of moving in the direction of becoming a Third World country where the vast majority of people are struggling to keep their heads above water while the richest people in the country have never had it so good,” Sanders said in a statement.

The SSA found wages went down for most workers, on average, from 2012 salaries.

“What this new report shows, and what many other studies have shown over the last 40 years, is that the United States is experiencing the kind of obscene levels of wealth and income inequality that are not unusual in impoverished third world countries,” Sanders said. “Since 1999, median income has gone down by nearly $5,000 and more Americans are working longer hours for lower wages.”

“If we don’t act boldly to create millions of new jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, increase the minimum wage to a living wage, and end our disastrous trade policies, the U.S. is on the verge of becoming a Third World economy. We have got to act with a fierce sense of urgency to rebuild the disappearing middle class.”

The 73-year-old self-proclaimed socialist may be eyeing a 2016 presidential run and has made several trip to Iowa to gauge sentiment on the left.

“I am giving thought to running for president. But it is a very, very difficult decision. Not an easy decision,” Sanders told CNN early this month. “I have to assess whether there is the kind of support necessary all over this country in terms of a unprecedented grassroots movement prepared to take on the billionaire class that have so much power. That’s what I’m trying to ascertain right now.”

Sanders is proposing to kick-start job growth by raising the minimum wage to “at least” $10.10 per hour, investing $1 trillion in infrastructure construction, shifting to renewable energy and “rewriting our trade policies to make sure that American corporations invest in the U.S. and not in China.”

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NYT Editor Admits Giving a Pass to Palestinian Racism

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The New York Times often prints stories alleging Israeli racism, but never runs any pieces about Palestinian racism. This is despite overwhelming evidence that not only is Palestinian society deeply racist, it also teaches racism to its children, and explicitly ties that racism to hoping for genocide against Jews. Palestinian media also teaches Muslim supremacy. Examples are not difficult to find.

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Yet the NYT, the alleged paper of record, doesn’t expose videos like the one above, or report on Palestinian racism. Why?

Editor Matt Seaton revealed why, in a tweet.

Times opinion editor Matt Seaton today provided a window into the mindset of the editors in his response to a query by this media analyst about whether readers “can expect two hit pieces on Palestinian racism in the next month” in keeping with the pace of the publication of (error-ridden) screeds about Israeli racism, both real and imagined.

Seaton, a former editor at the Guardian, known for its hostile treatment of Israel, tweeted back that The Times opinion pages would cover Palestinian racism as “soon as they have [a] sovereign state to discriminate with.”

There’s much more at the link, detailing just how many stories that the Times has recently run on so-called Israeli racism. The Old Gray Lady is being intentionally unfair and biased, and says it will only change its ways once the Palestinians have a state. The Times’ conscious decision not to report Palestinian society’s racism, Muslim supremacy and genocidal tendencies will have gone some way toward creating that state, of course. What kind of state will the New York Times have helped create?

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White House Treads Oh-So-Lightly as Burkina Faso Protests 27-Year Rule of Compaoré

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson
obamacompaore

The Obamas and the Compaores pose at a U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit dinner at the White House on Aug. 5. (Official White House photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Protesters in Burkina Faso have had it with Blaise Compaoré’s endless reign, yet the White House — not even mentioning the dictator by name — wants everyone to cool down and find a political solution.

Compaoré, 63, led a 1987 coup that brought him to power. He skirted the issue of term limits in his 2005 re-election and now wants the constitution changed so he doesn’t have to leave office next year.

One protest leader told AFP that today is Burkina Faso’s Black Spring, in the style of the Arab Spring that saw dictators flushed out of their posts.

Protesters in the capital Ouagadougou have set the parliament building on fire, according to the BBC, as well as the headquarters of the ruling party and city hall.

“The United States is deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in Burkina Faso resulting from efforts to amend the constitution to enable the incumbent head of state to seek another term after 27 years in office,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan.

“We believe democratic institutions are strengthened when established rules are adhered to with consistency,” Meehan said. “We call on all parties, including the security forces, to end the violence and return to a peaceful process to create a future for Burkina Faso that will build on Burkina Faso’s hard-won democratic gains.”

State Department press secretary Jen Psaki said this week that the U.S. is “concerned by the spirt and intent” behind the draft National Assembly bill in Burkina Faso that would allow Compaoré to run for an additional five-year term.

“As the Burkinabe National Assembly prepares to consider the proposed constitutional changes, the United States emphasizes that constitutionally mandated term limits provide an important mechanism to hold heads of state accountable, ensure peaceful and democratic transfers of power, and give new generations the opportunity to compete for political office and elect new leaders,” Psaki said. “We urge all involved, including Burkina Faso’s security forces, to adhere to non-violence, and to debate this issue in a peaceful and inclusive manner.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) at least mentioned Compaoré by name, saying his “efforts to change Burkina Faso’s constitution is a misguided move that betrays his fellow citizens.”

“It was inspiring to see images of thousands peacefully marching through Ouagadougou to oppose an indefinite presidency. Others besides Compaoré can lead Burkina Faso,” Royce said.

“Many, including other term-limited heads of state on the continent, are closely watching Burkina Faso… President Compaoré has a real opportunity to drop this power grab and set the right course for his country, and the continent quite frankly. U.S.-Burkina Faso relations will be impacted by his choice.”

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Armed Texas Homeowner Stops Two Female Thieves

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

One would think that anyone who is considering theft as an occupation would not consider Texas to be thief-friendly territory. Not only are firearms commonplace here, we have a strong castle law too. Homeowners are empowered to protect themselves and their property. Texans tend to believe that gun control is putting lead on target where you intend to put it, not keeping law-abiding people from owning guns at all.

Two female would-be thieves in the Houston area learned all this the hard way on Wednesday.

Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Deputies responded around 1:30 p.m. to the 8700 block of Rolling Rapids Road after receiving calls that two people were trying to break into a house in the area.

The homeowner, who was not identified, called law enforcement to report that two females were throwing rocks at his windows in an attempt to break in, said Harris County Precinct 4 Lt. Walter Stensland.

“The homeowner never answers the door during the day,” Stensland explained.

The suspects were able to break the glass near the front of the residence and reach into the house to unlock the door.

At that point, the homeowner responded with a shotgun.

“Shots were fired. Both suspects were hit in the upper torso,” Stensland said.

One of the unidentified thieves is in critical condition, the other is in stable condition. They had reportedly stolen a car earlier, which they used to drive to the home where they were shot. So if they recover from their wounds, they can look forward to some jail time.

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Holder, Rice Pick Their Movie Doppelgängers

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

denzel-halle-oscars

National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Attorney General Eric Holder had no problem coming up with actors to portray them in the movie version of the administration.

Rice and Holder were separately asked the question at Wednesday’s Washington Ideas Forum.

“Halle Berry,” Rice quickly answered, adding, “I should be so lucky.”

“There’s only person,” Holder replied. “Denzel.”

The last movie Holder saw? “I re-watched The Godfather. The greatest movie of all time.”

He also admitted he likes to “binge watch not-too-serious television.”

“Boardwalk Empire, I’m going to be working on that pretty soon,” Holder said of the HBO series that just ended its five-season run. “Homeland. These are the things that I just love to sit down, and, you know, just go for like hours.”

Asked which political series “gets Washington mostly right” — Homeland, Scandal, Veep, or House of Cards — Holder picked the Netflix series.

“Depending on the administration, I’d say House of Cards,” he said. “There was a pretty bad vice president in House of Cards, but I’ll leave it at that.”

“And I like Joe Biden, so I’m not talking about him,” Holder added.

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Treating Israel Like ‘Chickensh*t’ is Official Obama Administration Policy

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) says he is “shocked” that senior Obama administration officials call Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “chickensh*t.”

“I was shocked and disappointed on reading the comments in The Atlantic,” Engel said in a statement. “I call upon the Administration to reassert the importance of the relationship between the United States and Israel, and to reaffirm that the bonds between our two countries are unbreakable.

“I realize that two allies, such as the United States and Israel, are not going to agree on everything, but I think it is counterproductive and unprofessional for Administration officials to air their dirty laundry in such a public way,” he added. “I am getting tired of hearing about the leaks and denials. This ought to be the last time we hear of such talk because it is getting to a point where nobody believes the denials anymore.”

Engel is a pro-Israel Democrat but, tellingly, he didn’t call for an apology. He did not call for anyone to be ejected from the administration. He called for words to undo the damage that other words are doing.

The Obama administration, given two chances to apologize for the remark and make amends Wednesday, chose not to. And, both Josh Earnest at the White House and Jen Psaki at the State Department were clearly singing from the same sheet of music when both said that the administration would not even bother to try to find out who made the remarks. So they were operating off of official Obama administration policy, which attempted to assert that the smears are not reflective of the administration’s stance, but no one will be punished for undermining what is the official administration stance, with regard to a key ally.

There could be a behind-the-scenes effort to get to the bottom of it, if one supposes that hating Israel is not the pervasive attitude in the Obama administration. But Jeffrey Goldberg’s article in the Atlantic makes it clear, despite most readers and pundits’ failure to pick up on this, that the anti-Israel attitude is widespread in the Obama administration.

That’s right up top before the article officially starts:

The Obama administration’s anger is “red-hot” over Israel’s settlement policies, and the Netanyahu government openly expresses contempt for Obama’s understanding of the Middle East. Profound changes in the relationship may be coming.

That’s not one official — the whole administration is said to be “red-hot” against Israel.

In the article itself, we have the unnamed senior administration official dubbing Netanyahu a “chickensh*t” and another agreeing with that (in paragraph six of the story), adding that he is a “coward.” That second official brags that the Obama administration’s pressure has worked against Netanyahu, long enough to stall him and allow Iran’s nuclear program to proceed. That’s right here:

The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. “It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”

“Now it’s too late,” the Obama administration official bragged, for Israel to stop Iran from building deployable nuclear weapons. Iran, by the way, has vowed in the past to use those weapons to annihilate Israel.

So that’s two Obama administration officials hiding behind anonymity while insulting Netanyahu, and one evidently tilting toward Iran.

There are more, many more, than just those two according to Goldberg.

Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.” (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.)

How many Obama officials are on that list? Does it include the president, the vice president, current and former secretaries of state? Is it two? Is it ten? Does the list include the likes of Valerie Jarrett? How about Ben Rhodes, brother of CBS News president David Rhodes? Don’t the American people deserve to know how rife the Obama administration is with anti-Israel officials?

The question is relevant because of some recent incidents, and one from three years ago. In the recent ones, Vice President Joe Biden said some negative things about Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. He chided them for funding ISIS, which they have.

Those countries objected, and they each got personal apologies from Biden by phone.

But no apologies now for Israel.

Three years ago, a hot mic caught President Obama griping about Netanyahu with then French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

“Obama began by reproaching Sarkozy for not warning him in advance that France would vote in favour of Palestinian membership of  UNESCO,” the website reported. “The conversation turned to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, with Sarkozy saying ,’I don’t want to see him anymore, he’s a liar.’

“To which President Obama replied: ‘You’ve had enough of him, but I have to deal with him every day!’ Obama then asked Sarkozy to try  to convince the Palestinians to slow down with their UN membership drive.”

The Obama administration’s anti-Netanyahu attitude goes all the way to the top. That’s why the administration won’t even pretend to hunt down the officials who talked with Jeffrey Goldberg. They won’t reprimand or fire someone for saying what they’re all thinking and saying behind closed White House doors. President Obama will order Vice President Biden to apologize for saying an unpleasant but true thing about Arab countries, but will not go after anyone around him for smearing the Prime Minister of Israel. Because in his heart of hearts, Barack Obama agrees with the smear.

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Massive Non-Citizen Voting Uncovered in Maryland

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

An election integrity watchdog group is suing the state of Maryland, alleging that it has discovered massive and ongoing fraudulent voting by non-U.S. citizens in one county. But because of the way that the non-citizens are able to cast votes in elections, the fraud is likely happening in every single county and subdivision across the state. The group believes that the illegal voting has been happening for years.

The group, Virginia Voters Alliance, says that it compared how voters in Frederick County filled out jury duty statements compared with their voting records. The group’s investigation found that thousands of people in Frederick County who stated that they are not U.S. citizens on jury duty forms went on to cast votes in elections. Either they failed to tell the truth when they were summoned for jury duty, or they cast illegal votes. Both are crimes. The same group previously found that about 40,000 people are registered to vote in both Virginia and Maryland.

It is a federal crime to cast votes if you are not legally eligible to vote. Non-citizens, whether in the country legally or not, are prohibited from voting in most local and all state and federal elections. Yet the VVA investigation found that hundreds of non-citizens have been voting in Frederick County, Maryland. One in seven Maryland residents are non-U.S. citizens.

“The lawsuit is the equivalent of the lookout spotting the iceberg ahead of the Titanic,” state Del. Pat McDonough told the Tatler. He added that the group’s investigation found a voter fraud “smoking gun.”

Maryland state law makes it easier for non-citizens, both those present legally and those in the country against the law, to vote. Maryland issues drivers licenses to legal and illegal aliens. Driver’s licenses in turn make it easier under the Motor Voter law to register to vote. Maryland also offers copious taxpayer-funded social programs to non-citizens in the state.

The group filed suit in Baltimore’s U.S. District Court on Friday. They are suing the Frederick County Board of Elections and the Maryland State Board of Elections.

Del. Pat McDonough (R-Baltimore and Harford Counties) detailed the alleged fraud in a Maryland press conference today. He is calling for a special state prosecutor because the fraud may be taking place statewide, with significant impact on Maryland elections. Maryland currently holds 10 electoral votes in presidential elections. McDonough is also proposing legislation including voter ID to close the loopholes that he says non-citizens are using to cast votes.

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NATO Tracking ‘Unsual’ Russian Air Activity in Europe

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Passed along without much comment, other than the obligatory nod to Hillary Clinton’s failed “reset.”

MONS, Belgium – NATO detected and monitored four groups of Russian military aircraft conducting significant military manoeuvers in European airspace over the Baltic Sea, North Sea/Atlantic Ocean, and Black Sea on 28 and 29 October 2014.  These sizable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European airspace.

Eight Russian Aircraft Intercepted over North Sea / Atlantic Ocean on 29 October 2014
At approximately 3:00 a.m. CET on 29 October, NATO radars detected and tracked eight Russian aircraft flying in formation over the North Sea. F-16 aircraft from the Royal Norwegian Air Force were scrambled, intercepted and identified the Russian aircraft, which included four Tu-95 Bear H strategic bombers and four Il-78 tanker aircraft. The formation flew from mainland Russia over the Norwegian Sea in international airspace.  Six of the Russian aircraft then turned back to the north-east towards Russia, while two Tu-95 Bear H bombers continued south-west, parallel to the Norwegian coast, heading to the south-west. The Russian aircraft continued over the North Sea, and  Typhoon fighters from the United Kingdom were scrambled in response.  While over the Atlantic Ocean west of Portugal, the two Russian aircraft were intercepted and identified by F-16s from the Portuguese Air Force. The Russian aircraft turned back heading north-east, flying to the west of the United Kingdom. NATO aircraft from the United Kingdom and Norway were standing by and NATO assets on the ground and in the air tracked the Russian aircraft throughout. At present, the two Tu-95 bombers appear headed back to Russia, but as of 4 p.m. CET the aircraft were still airborne.

Much more at the link.

The raised Russian military aircraft activity isn’t limited to Europe.

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Say No to Obama Kicking Israel Curbside

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 - by Jennifer Hanin

Oops. They did it again. Only this time president Obama’s senior staffer called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “chickensh*t” then tacked on this egregious disparagement “worthless coward” in Jeffrey Goldberg’s underhanded article in the Atlantic.

Seemingly Phony Support of Israel

Think there was no response? Hardly. Israeli Economic Minister Nafatali Bennett had these choice words in response to Goldberg’s article in the Atlantic:

“The United States administration is planning to throw Israel under the bus.” He added “Israel is stronger than all those who curse it.” Then he let Obama’s staff have it by saying, “Neither the leader of Syria, who has slaughtered 150,000 of his citizens, nor the leader of Saudi Arabia who stones women and gays, have been called chickensh**t. If what is written is true, then the current administration intends to throw Israel under the wheels of the bus.”

There is no damage control or morning-after chill-pill that will correct or erase Obama’s staffer’s comments either. The Internet lives 24×7. In fact, one word describes this kind of demonization and defamation besides political suicide (as that’s two words): sham. Actually, it sounds a lot like roadkill to me (or as my pre-teens like to term it road pizza). And I’m not talking about Obama as much as I am about Democrats running in the shadow of our POTUS’s train wrecked economy and hemorrhaging foreign policy blunders that are currently twisting and turning into a taut noose around just about every Democrat trying to get elected.

So what was Obama’s staffer thinking when he slandered America’s chief Middle East ally? His critics would likely say “not much.” This most recent disparagement of Netanyahu doesn’t even sound close to the “unshakeable bond” Obama campaigned on and publicly paraded, purported and shoved down our throats at AIPAC.

Repairing Obama’s Trainwreck

It will easily take years if not decades to undo the damage Obama has caused Israel. It will definitely take years to rewind and repair the apathy caused by the Occupy Movement, the wreckage left by race card division, Wall Street’s mortgage fiasco, our flatlined economy, and once and for all kill the albatross known as Obamacare. It’s the only way America can defibrillate our foreign policy, cauterize our bleeding economy and regain credibility among world leaders.

Sick of supporting an administration that prefers the Muslim Brotherhood rules Egypt over its liberal intellectuals, rewards its cousin Hamas with financial aid while the regime lobs rockets at Israelis from U.N. schools? Or maybe you’re tired of an Administration who kicks the can on Syria, gives stateside carte blanche access to Ebola-infected airline passengers, turns its head on ISIS (ISIL) and arms countries like Qatar and Turkey who fund terrorism like Iran?

And Netanyahu? Isn’t time we had a POTUS who employed staffers who acted like patriots or at least like adults and understood the value of embracing and emboldening our allies instead of harpooning them and embarrassing us?

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The State Department Isn’t Interested in Finding Out Who Called Netanyahu a ‘Chickensh*t’ Too

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s now official Obama administration policy not to punish people who run to the press to undermine its relations with Israel. Josh Earnest said as much during today’s White House press briefing.

And Jen Psaki, sporting a necklace that resembles a large bunch of grapes, has reiterated it at the State Department press briefing.

The AP’s Matt Lee and another reporter queried Psaki about the statement — which was made by one senior official and agreed with by another — but the most she would offer is “There are anonymous sources in all of your stories every single day. If we spent all of our time focused on that effort, we wouldn’t be working on diplomacy.”

Working on diplomacy, and specifically repairing the damage made by the controversial remarks, might also involve punishing the officials who made the statements.

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Where in the World is the Ebola Czar? White House ‘Won’t Rule Out’ Letting Klain Talk

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said today that Ebola czar Ron Klain might soon show his face and maybe even speak with the press corps.

Earnest was asked if the administration has kept Klain so low-profile that no quite understands what his role is supposed to be.

“I will not try to speculate on which aspects of the things that I try to describe here are clearly understood by you or are not understood by you,” the press secretary replied. “I — and on those occasions in which the policy that I’m trying to explain is not well understood, I would be happy to take more — a healthy shared responsibility for that.”

“What I will point out is that even before Ron started in this job, we were clear — at least I was clear — about describing his role as one that was principally behind-the-scenes, one that would be focused on coordinating the activities of the wide variety of federal government agencies that are involved in this response. And that the need for him to play that coordinating role would limit his ability to make a large number of public appearances,” Earnest said.

“That all said, I certainly wouldn’t rule out future opportunities for Mr. Klain to speak with all of you or with other journalists. Right now, the most important thing for him to be focused on is ensuring that this whole-of-government approach that the president has pursued to respond to this Ebola situation is one that meets the very high standard that the president has set for his team and for the American people.”

Earnest was asked Monday what exactly fell under Klain’s area of responsibility.

“We’ve tried a couple of times I think to describe what Mr. Klain’s role is here at the White House and in the federal government, and he is responsible for coordinating the whole-of-government approach that the president has suggested is necessary,” he replied.

Since Klain started last week, “We have seen a significant number of announcements related to the whole-of-government approach that the president has ordered to dealing with the Ebola situation,” Earnest added.

“…Obviously, some of that Mr. Klain was very closely involved with.  Some of it he wasn’t, because it reflected work that had been done before he arrived.  But I do think that what you see here is intensive coordination among a range of federal agencies to respond to this very difficult challenge.”

Klain didn’t go up to New York after a doctor tested positive for the disease, and Earnest didn’t “anticipate that he has the plans to do that any time soon.”

“I anticipate we’ll limit the amount of time that he can dedicate to making the case publicly about our response.  But if that need arises, I’m confident that he will do that if necessary.”

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Double Digit GOP Gains in House Now Possible: Cook

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

The Cook Political Report, a subscriber-only newsletter closely followed by Washington insiders, is now predicting that Republicans have an opportunity to score double digit gains in the mid term election next Tuesday.

Via Andrew Clark of the National Republican Campaign Committee, 26 districts from Hawaii to New York — 19 of them Democratic — are now classified as “toss-ups.” This is forcing the Democrats to pour increasing amounts of cash into districts that as recently as a few months ago were believed to be safe.

Overall, we are adjusting our outlook from a GOP gain of four to ten seats to a GOP gain of six to 12 seats, with slightly larger GOP gains not out of the question. With ten ratings changes today, there are 19 Democratic seats and just seven GOP seats in Toss Up or worse. If Republicans were to pick up 13 seats, they would win their largest majority since 1928, when Herbert Hoover was elected president.

Of particular concern for Democrats are several races in DCCC Chair Rep. Steve Israel’s New York backyard, where there is no competitive statewide race driving turnout. Although Reps. Tim Bishop (NY-01), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), and Dan Maffei (NY-24) are all very much still in contention, their leads are no longer large enough to keep them out of the Toss Up column.

Of the three, Maffei occupies the most Democratic district, yet he has never established a strong personal brand in Syracuse and took just 49 percent of the vote in 2012 while President Obama was winning 57 percent. Bishop and Maloney may have the opposite challenge: both won with 52 percent in 2012, but they occupy more GOP-leaning seats and could lose in the event of a big Republican night.

There are also places where problematic statewide races are reverberating negatively for down-ballot Democrats. Now that GOP nominee Joni Ernst has the momentum in Iowa’s Senate race, both parties view the race for Democratic nominee Bruce Braley’s open IA-01 as a pure Toss Up. “Bruce Braley is almost a bigger drag than President Obama,” said one consultant familiar with polling in the race.

It appears that the enemy of the Republicans now is not so much the Democratic party is it is complacency. All the close Senate races as well as contests involving this handful of House districts will depend on a maximum effort to turn out core GOP voters — even if many of them have to hold their nose to vote for someone less ideologically pure than they might prefer. Conversely, RINO’s who may not be enthusiastic about a Tea Party candidate are going to have to bury their doubts and pull the lever for the Republican.

Some in the Tea Party might feel the GOP has the Senate in the bag and registering a protest by not voting won’t matter. Others may think their vote isn’t needed, for what ever reason. With so many races that will be decided by one or two percent of the total vote, it doesn’t take a lot of people with those attitudes to turn victory into defeat.

If that kind of scenario were to unfold, it wouldn’t be for lack of money. The GOP has poured more than $100 million into building a sophisticated voter identification infrastructure that is being used to target their voters in key battleground states. They’re still playing catch-up to the Democrats in this regard, but it’s light years beyond what was available to Republicans in 2012. The army of volunteers has also grown, impressing even long time Republican operatives.

In the end, it will come down to the individual voter motivating themselves to get to the polls. With the state of the economy, the nation, and the world the way it is, most will have all the motivation they need.

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