Drudge is calling it “Whack Friday” and his headlines tell the story:
It’s hard to reconcile the spirit of the season with grasping, shoving, punching customers in a rugby scrum trying to pry away the latest hot toy or home electronics gadget.
Here’s a compilation of the madness at one Walmart store:
Certainly, some blame must lie with retailers. Do you really need to slash prices 50,60, or 70% to get people to come into the store? The free for alls are the result of the retailer deliberately buying a small number of sales items, which is understandable. Otherwise, they’d lose their shirts. But if you have 1000 people going for a home theater system that’s 50% off and only put 50 on the shelves, there is going to be violence.
Unfortunately, that’s the culture now. People expect the deep discounts and wouldn’t patronize a store that stops the madness.
The stores are opening earlier every year. I remember when stores were being daring by opening at 6:00 AM on Friday. Now it’s 1:00 PM on Thanksgiving Day. In 5 years it might be Halloween night.
The pretentious pundit might rail against capitalism and acquisitiveness in American society to explain the madness. You might as well rant against human nature. And then there are the commentators who think Black Friday’s madness is a sign of America’s class divide:
Increasingly, the seasonal shopping surge has become a window into America’s class divide, in which high earners have benefited from a booming stock market and rising home prices as many others still grapple with stagnant incomes and lingering financial anxiety.
Consider these opposite scenarios: In 2013, Bloomingdale’s went against the grain by offering fewer Black Friday bargains than the year before, according to the advertising experts at bestblackfriday.com. At a Wal-Mart, customers elbowed one another to get their hands on Crayola crayon sets, marked down to $11 from nearly $20. (A trending Twitter hashtag last Thanksgiving was #Walmart Fights.)
“You have people who really need a bargain — they will sit out for two days to get that deal because that may be the only big thing they can afford for the whole family,” said Britt Beemer, founder of America’s Research Group. “Luxury retailers don’t do very well on Black Friday because their customers are not going to fight the crowds.”
These are the families that retailers fight over Thanksgiving night — ones with limited budgets who are willing to gobble down their apple pie and hustle to the malls to score enough discounts to check off Christmas lists, said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics Inc.
“Once they have spent their budgets, they are done,” Perkins said. “Retailers know if they get them first, they may not have anything left to go to other stores.”
The theory that by opening earlier than the competition, you grab a bigger share of the customer’s holiday budget rarely pans out. Sue went to a big retail store last year on Black Friday at 4:00 PM and reported only modest crowds and a short wait at the checkout line. Of course, most of the door buster items were long gone, but retailers don’t make any money on those products anyway.
There have been suggestions for years that towns and cities re-establish “blue laws” that mandate the opening and closing of stores — especially on holidays. The idea of opening on Thanksgiving evening, remaining open all night, and then all day Friday is hard on employees and shoppers alike. And if retailers want their employees to unionize, I can think of no better way than to yank them away from their families on Thanksgiving and force them to deal with the mayhem unleashed by half crazed shoppers looking for the deal of a lifetime.
The leftist media seems to have come out of its post-election denial phase and is getting back to what it does best: work as the PR wing of the Democrats. In that capacity, Job #1 is always to convince you that Republicans are the scary creatures that live under your bed, just waiting for the opportunity to take all Americans back to the 18th century.
Which brings us to this Politico headline:
The piece pretty much reads like a NARAL press release so I’m not going to quote any of it here. Its entire purpose is to let everyone know about a whole bunch of things that might happen.
None of which will make abortion illegal.
Since they like to call themselves “pro-choice,” let’s play along with that. The changes in state law that get the pro-aborts in a tizzy always have to do with shortening the time frame in which an abortion is legal. The NARAL types won’t be satisfied until retroactive abortion is available until age five, so any restriction is unacceptable to them.
The high drama in Texas that made Wendy Davis a celebrity involved making clinics safer, which shouldn’t offend anyone after the Kermit Gosnell trial. However, the same media people who have been taking up residence in Ferguson, MO, for weeks to let us know about one grand jury decision were adamant in their refusal to cover the Gosnell trial because it was a “local story.” As a result, the general public isn’t moved by the need to keep an eye on these ghouls.
When they aren’t wailing about the time period or clinic regulations, the pro-abortion lobbyists are in classic leftist mode and demanding that taxpayers foot the bill for everything.
Even if this “wave” of time period, clinic oversight or restrictive taxpayer funding laws happens, women in America will still have the choice to have an abortion. The laws just won’t make it as easy.
Decisions about such grave matters that have lifelong consequences shouldn’t be easy.
The real scary people out there are the ones who want them to be.
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) said he hopes people are taking advantage of the holiday protest lull in Ferguson, Mo., to consider how they can come together ”in a nonviolent way and improve the quality of life in this community.”
“I always try to find something good that comes out of conflicts like this, and perhaps people realize that this is not a Ferguson problem at all; it’s a problem around the country,” Rangel told MSNBC today.
“And as long as people feel awkward and embarrassed in talking about the racism that exists, we can never, never, never attack it.”
The 22-term congressman said “the indifference of the patrol officer’s an indication that good people ought to say that you should be sorry when you take anybody’s life.”
“It’s not just the question of what you thought of whether you were afraid,” Rangel said, referring to Officer Darren Wilson’s interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
“But his total indifference just polarized that community, and I only wish that — that they had not vented themselves in a violent way and taken advantage of people coming together, white and black, and saying that you should at least be able to say you made a hell of a big mistake at least,” the congressman added.
Rangel stressed that the community and the police need to have a good relationship “to be able to be pointed out the wrongdoers, to get information that’s necessary, to form a type of relationship that is not the police and us, it’s a community, and the police are a part of it.”
“Just saying, ‘Good morning,’ to policemen — I know. I’m 84 years old. I’ve seen this go up and down in the city of New York. You can scare the hell out of a white policeman in a black community saying, ‘Good morning. How you feeling today’? They look around, they tell people this, they give it back to you,” he said. “And the whole idea of coming to the job thinking that you’re going to control people means you don’t have the same feeling about them as you do your own family and your own community, and I don’t care what color you are.”
“I’ve been overseas in combat, and when you’re trained that people are different, they can be on your side or not on your side, if you’re not an American, you can feel that they’re inferior. It is bad how the mind can do it.”
In the end, Rangel said, “mutual respect is stronger than any camera” implemented on a police officer to either catch wrongful conduct or exonerate officers.
The secretary of the Interior Department says she believes the Washington Redskins’ name must be changed, but stresses it’s still not a high priority agenda among tribes that face bigger problems.
In September, Secretary Sally Jewell told ABC News that “personally” she found it “surprising that in this day and age, the name is not different.”
“I think we would never consider naming a team the ‘Blackskins’ or the ‘Brownskins’ or the ‘Whiteskins,’” Jewell said, adding “my personal views are not necessarily reflected in the tribes that I talk to. It isn’t high on their agenda.”
Today on MSNBC, Jewell called the Redskins’ name ”a relic of the past” that “should be changed, in my opinion.”
“There are many things that tribal leaders face, and when they talk to me, they’re talking about those things that I have control over or things that I have influence over, like their budgets, like Indian education, like coordinating the federal family to work together,” she added.
“I don’t control the name of a football team, but I think it’s very clear that it’s a name that is a relic of the past, and I think it’s time that the owners take a hard look at it.”
As Interior secretary, Jewell oversees the Bureau on Indian Affairs. On Wednesday, she’ll deliver remarks at the annual White House Tribal Nations Conference.
Panel discussions at the White House event will focus on topics such as climate change, education reform, economic developments and treaty obligations, the Interior Department said.
Jewell said she looking to put government in more of a supporting role in tribal affairs and “turn control of the things that tribes know they need most over to the tribes.”
“For hundreds of years, we’ve had trust and treaty obligations to our — our country’s first people, and yet, we have not fulfilled the obligations that we are supposed to under those trust and treaty obligations,” Jewell told MSNBC.
“One of the things this administration has really pushed, at the encouragement of tribal leaders, is self-governance and self-determination. It’s been a movement now for a few decades toward this, and we’re accelerating it forward through the work of the White House Council on Native American Affairs.”
This would include reforming Bureau of Indian Education schools that teach about 44,000 children. “Their academic performance is substantially below just about any other group of students,” Jewell said. “So we are not serving Indian children in the way that we’re really committed to do, and what we’re doing isn’t working.”
“So we are in the process of some very significant reforms, which actually involve turning control of those schools over to the tribes and then providing them with the kind of support that they need to do a much better job than we’ve been able to do.”
She’s pushing Congress for an additional $3 billion in funding in 2015 to bring these schools up to par. “I have been to a number of schools across the country, I’ve been to 20 different reservations, and pretty consistently, I see facilities that have gone without repairs for many years.”
A California Democrat said a lesson in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting is a need to look at police acting as “jury and executioner” when confronting suspects.
Rep. Karen Bass, a House Judiciary Committee member, said in a statement after the grand jury opted to not issue an indictment this week that it “continues a trend of injustice that has rightfully created an environment of anger and concern in Ferguson, Missouri and across the United States.”
“Ferguson officials botched this case from the beginning when they left Michael Brown’s body on the street for over four hours after he was killed. They were mean-spirited when they leaked information to the media to assassinate Michael Brown’s character. The Ferguson Police Department violated the constitutional rights of the Ferguson community when they attacked and tear gassed lawful protesters,” Bass said, adding that the grand jury “attacked justice by not holding Officer Wilson accountable for his actions.”
The congresswoman added she would “continue to insist that the United States Department of Justice conduct its own investigation to determine if the Ferguson police violated Michael Brown’s civil rights.”
On CNN, Bass stressed “we have to do a short-term and a long-term strategy, and we really need to begin to come to grips with this in our country, because you can go down a long list of these cases.”
“You can rattle off these instances, and one of the most important thing that I think people need to do who are not African- American, who are not Latino, is need to just take a deep breath for one minute and say maybe I don’t understand. Maybe there’s something going on here that I need to look at, because you know, all of the polling shows the sharp divide,” she said.
“…And Ferguson, they most definitely need to diversify the leadership of that city, the police department, the city council, and so we need to look at things both in the short-term and the long-term.”
Bass addressed Brown taking cigarillos from a convenience store before the attack.
“Since when do we not have trials? Since when do we execute people?” she said. “I mean, the way that the information was leaked from Day One of this case, intentionally leaking the information about the video. It’s terrible if he committed a crime before this happened, but even if he did commit a crime, is a police officer supposed to be the jury and the executioner on the spot? So, you know, it’s that kind of mentality that we really need to begin to look at.”
Bass also pushed back against criticism of the media exposure of the Brown shooting and protests.
“If you think about the Civil Rights Movement, if you think about the Rodney King beating, if it wasn’t for the media showing those images to the world, you know, there’s no telling how much longer these situations would go on.”
A white, middle-aged gunman, in what appears to be a politically motivated anti-government attack linked to immigration, fired more than a hundred rounds at buildings in downtown Austin early Friday and tried to set fire to the Mexican consulate before he died of a gunshot wound.
The Austin police chief offered this:
“If you look at the targets, it doesn’t take a genius (to suggest) that that is the potential,” Acevedo said.
“I would venture that political rhetoric might have fed into some of this, but that is speculation on my part,” he added.
Look, even if this turns out to be the first time the MSM was correct about one of these things (I remain skeptical), the USA Today headline was irresponsible given the fact that Chief Acevedo used a host of qualifying words when offering his opinion.
It’s important after all of the nationwide Ferguson protests this week that media get the “only right-wingers are violent” false narrative back on track, however. Look for this shooter to become the only news in America for several days on the off chance the police chief’s speculation proves to be true.
The latest cultural meme to make it big in feminist circles is Feminist Hacker Barbie:
Last week, the internet was disappointed to discover that, countary to the title, Mattel’s illustrated book Barbie: I Can be a Computer Engineer sends pretty much the opposite message. Instead, Barbie says things like: “I’m only creating the design ideas. I’ll need Steven’s and Brian’s help to turn it into a game.” She infects her sister’s computer with a virus and can’t even restart it on her own.
Enter Feminist Hacker Barbie. Real-life computer programmer Kathleen Tuite launched a website where you can hack the original book, creating re-captioned and much improved images. Check out some more of the user-submitted images here.
As if computer guys didn’t already have a hard enough time with chicks, now Barbie has to one-up their game. Is that how pathetic contemporary feminists have become, that in their absurd need to “do it all” they wind up emasculating the most de-sexualized men among us? As if The Big Bang Theory hasn’t already done a good enough job, there’s the incessant whining about the lack of female employees in the tech sector (because you should obviously hire based on boobs, not binary) and, of course, #GamerGate. If a guy so much as goes near a keyboard he’s obviously a misogynist. If he’s actually good at operating, let alone building, a computer, he’s an obvious threat to the female sex. And if Barbie dares to suggest teamwork with male participants, well, she’s obviously just a tool to empower the patriarchy.
Media reporter Erik Wemple of the Washington Post got a bizarre response from the New York Times’ Philip Corbett, the paper’s associate managing editor for standards, when he asked why the Times had published information on where Officer Darren Wilson lived.
“The Times did not ‘reveal’ anything here. The name of the street was widely reported as far back as August, including in the Washington Post.”
The Post on Aug. 15 published an article on Wilson shortly after his name surfaced as the officer who’d killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. It noted the presence of “[d]ark blue unmarked police cars were parked outside his house” and mentioned the street name. A number of other outlets also traded in information about Wilson’s residence and it has been circulated on the Internet, of course.
When asked whether the standard for publication of a street name is whether others have already revealed it, Corbett replied, “We would have to look at the issue case by case. But if you’re considering whether to withhold information from a story, the question of whether that information is widely available or has been previously reported would certainly be a factor to consider.”
In any story about newlyweds who jointly own a home, it makes sense to describe where that home is located. But the street name? Such detail adds nil news value to a scoop about a man at the center of one of the most contentious news stories of our time. Leave it out.
Wemple has a great point. What was the news value in publishing the street name where Wilson lives? Who outside of the St. Louis area could even identify where the town in which Wilson lives is located, much less the street name?
Corbett is being coy. It’s very hard to justify the information published by the Times — just as it’s difficult not to believe they published the information with malice aforethought. Is the Times trying to tell us that of all the reporters and editors that read over this story before going to press, none of them raised their hand and said, “Isn’t it dangerous to publish a hated man’s address like this”?
If no one asked the question, they’re irresponsible. If someone did, they’re liable for anything that happens to Wilson.
Satirist PJ O’Rourke thinks that giving thanks to God has gone out of fashion in America these days. He thinks it’s time we give thanks instead to the one entity that’s almost as powerful as God: government.
Thank you, Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906, Poultry Product Inspection Act of 1957, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, for the turkey.
Thank you, U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “Guide to Minimize Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables” and 2014 Farm Bill Dairy Product Price Support Program, for our mashed potatoes.
And thank you, USDA Cranberry Market Loss Assistance Program, for the cranberry sauce.
Lacking these laws, subsidies, regulations, and regulatory agencies, America’s Pilgrim forefathers had to eat grass and tree bark at Thanksgiving, and then died of food poisoning.
Thank you, FCC, for all the football that is broadcast on Thanksgiving Day.
My wife and daughters thank you too, for C-SPAN, which gives non-football fans a Thanksgiving Reality TV alternative to Keeping Up with the Kardashians. NFL-averse viewers can choose between watching butts and watching asshats.
Thank you, Mr. President, for immigration reform. I’m pretty sure the O’Rourkes are undocumented aliens. We immigrated during the Potato Famine when there weren’t a lot of documents and we didn’t fill out any because we couldn’t read or write. So now, at last, after 170 years, the O’Rourkes can “come out of the shadows.”
Also, thank you for this month’s Affordable Care Act health insurance open enrollment. It’s amazing how much I got done around the house while cradling a cordless phone receiver between my shoulder and ear. I raked the yard, swept out the garage, brushed the dog, put the dishes in the dishwasher, and did a load of laundry as I waited for someone to answer your 1-800 line. And what’s this “100% co-payment” clause in my new policy? Does that mean that when the insurance company pays my doctor they also pay the same amount to me? Cool.
Plus, Mr. President, thank you for your foreign policy. At first I was worried that you’d whimp out. But when the time came you stepped up to the plate just like George W. Bush did. If it weren’t for you, President Obama, Islamic militants might be threatening Americans the way they were before you deep-sixed Osama bin Laden. Heck, we might be fighting in Iraq again, Afghanistan and Pakistan might be sliding into chaos, Syria might be in the throes of a civil war, Libya might be a failed state, Egypt might be ruled by a dictator, Israelis and Palestinians might be at daggers drawn, NATO might be wobbly, and Vladimir Putin might be invading Ukraine.
Read the whole hysterical thing.
Natalie Dubose had a dream to open her own business — a bakery and cake shop along a busy thoroughfare in Ferguson, MO. In June, she opened Natalie’s Cakes & More and, by most accounts, was making a go of the concern.
But on Monday night, rioters broke her display windows and trashed several very expensive baking machines.
But Dubose wouldn’t give up. And with a little help from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and actress Patricia Heaton, it looks like her dream is still alive.
A Ferguson bakery owner says she is “so humbly blessed” after receiving nearly $100,000 in online donations to repair her shop that was damaged by looters.
Natalie Dubose, who owns Natalie’s Cake’s & More at 100 S. Florissant Road in Ferguson, said rioters damaged the shop’s windows and baking equipment overnight Monday, after a grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Ms. Dubose started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to repair her shop and has received a wave of support, including from “The Middle’s” Patricia Heaton and “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Brandi Glanville.
“Thank you to actresses Patricia Heaton and Brandi Glanville for supporting me!” she wrote in an update on her page. “I must have missed thousands of other tweets, and I’m so sorry I can’t mention them all. The sweet lady who offered money from her social security check brought me to tears … Thank you to EVERYONE for the kind words, prayers, and emotional support.”
The account reached $98,241 in only 20 hours since it was created.
“May God turn this tragedy to a lesson in the power of the love of strangers,” wrote one donor. “I stand with you Natalie and pray God’s blessing and protect on you!”
“Natalie, along with my little bit of money goes all my prayers and thoughts for your success,” wrote another. “Hang in there and stay strong. I am rooting for your continued presence in Ferguson — we have to keep your community strong, with love and hope. Best Wishes.”
Two total (white) strangers originally set up the Go Fund Me accounts.
— Ferguson’s Natalie (@Ferg_Natalie) November 25, 2014
Limbaugh devoted a segment of his show to the fundraising effort and has a widget on his website linking to the Go Fund Me page:
A poor woman saved up everything to open her cake store in Ferguson. She’s African-American and she had nothing to do with any of this that went down, but her store got destroyed. So people set up a couple of Web links for Americans to donate to give her a chance to rebuild. I don’t even know if she had anything to do with it. I think others set it up for her. Not sure about that.
Anyway, so many of you are coming through on this that it’s really heartwarming to see. Did you go check it out? I had a couple people tell me that a lot of you are logging in and donating. I think it’s great, and you’re renewing people’s faith, or you’re solidifying it in some cases, which is also what I want to do later in the program with the true story of Thanksgiving.
A great Thanksgiving story.
In a high-profile speech on Tuesday dissecting Democrats’ losses in this month’s midterm elections, Charles Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, listed “a cascade of issues” botched by the White House, starting with Obama’s push for healthcare reforms soon after he took office in 2009.
Later on Tuesday, the White House took the unusual step of publicly pledging to veto a deal on tax breaks that Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid was trying to hammer out with Republicans in the House of Representatives.
“There is clearly a lot of unhappiness and a lot of mistrust that exists between the president and his congressional party,” said Ross Baker, political scientist at Rutgers University.
President Obama has done next to nothing to endear himself even to his own party. This family squabble could get a lot worse before it improves, if it ever gets better at all. Chuck Schumer is no shrinking violet, and if he thought it important to distance himself from the president almost two years before he is up for reelection, it’s likely that these two aren’t going to have a beer summit any time soon.
An open, protracted feud could play into Hillary’s hands, making it easier for her to put some space between her and Obama’s policies without seeming like a spiteful ex-employee.
Even if that’s all she really is.
A New York Democrat argued to Labor Secretary Tom Perez in a letter today that the federal government should do more to make sure workers are treated fairly on Thanksgiving.
Rep. Steve Israel told Perez that as working families watch “their pay checks shrink,” more employees “find themselves working in retail on Thanksgiving — away from their families and with no additional compensation.”
“Thanksgiving Day was once understood to be a time for families to sit down at the dinner table, give thanks for the good in their lives, and be a respite from the chaos of daily life. While we know that some have always had to work on Thanksgiving there has been a gradual creep of retail stores opening on the holiday itself,” Israel wrote.
Stores opening on Thanksgiving to get early Black Friday shoppers include Walmart, Target, Macy’s, Sears, Kmart, J.C. Penney, Staples and Toys ‘R’ Us.
“We understand that people choose to shop on Thanksgiving and that stores would not open if it was not profitable to them,” Israel wrote. “That is why we believe the workers, who do not have a choice, should receive overtime pay. Some states require this and in ones that don’t, many companies already provide such overtime, but all should out of respect for those workers who have to leave their families on what is supposed to be a day to gather with loved ones and give thanks.”
“We believe the Department of Labor can play a role in encouraging companies to do the right thing. Specifically, we ask DOL to encourage companies to: 1) first ask for volunteers to work on Thanksgiving Day; and 2) provide overtime or holiday pay for those who work. At your earliest convenience, please advise how you will work on these efforts.”
Eleven of Israel’s colleagues joined him in signing the letter to Perez.
“The Department of Labor has done important work on behalf of workers around the country and we hope you will continue this leadership to ensure workers have an opportunity to spend time with their families and loved ones on holidays.”
Mitt Romney, the Republican Party’s unsuccessful presidential nominee in 2012, leads the field for the 2016 election among Republican voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday.
The former Massachusetts governor would have a slight edge over potential Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by 45 percent to 44 percent in a general election, the poll found.
Among possible Republican candidates, Romney’s 19 percent put him ahead of former Florida governor Jeb Bush with 11 percent, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Ben Carson each with 8 percent each, and U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky with 6 percent.
I have no doubt that this is an accurate reflection of the preferences of the fourteen octogenarians who still have land lines and are so lonely they answer them. I’m in communication with politically involved Republicans every day, however, and I haven’t met one person who is salivating for a Romney reboot.
That’s probably because it’s the worst idea ever.
Her Madameship will spend plenty of time distancing herself from President Obama, as will the eventual Democratic nominee, Elizabeth Warren. That means the “Romney was right, Obama was wrong” mantra that fuels what speculation there is about him has a shelf life. By July of 2016, Obama’s support network will consist of Michelle, Sasha, Malia and six MSNBC interns. In the short attention span politics era, the one thing Romney has going for him won’t be going that strong. As we found out in 2012, he won’t be making the case for himself well.
After all, he may have been right about everything, but he was right back then too and couldn’t manage to communicate that to the voters. He hasn’t been getting any campaign practice since then so he’s still an awful candidate.
President Obama made quips about amnesty and executive actions at today’s turkey-pardoning ceremony that left Malia and Sasha less than thrilled.
Usually held outdoors, the pardoning of turkeys “Mac” and “Cheese” took place in the White House Cross Hall due to snow coming down outside.
“I am here to announce what I’m sure will be the most talked-about executive action this month,” Obama said. “Today, I’m taking an action fully within my legal authority — the same kind of action taken by Democrats and Republican presidents before me — to spare the lives of two turkeys, Mac and Cheese, from a terrible and delicious fate.”
The pardoned turkeys were raised by the son of the chairman of the National Turkey Federation. Cheese won an online pardoning contest, with Mac as alternate.
“Let’s face it — if you’re a turkey, and you’re named after a side dish your chances of escaping Thanksgiving dinner are pretty low. So these guys are well ahead of the curve. They really beat the odds,” Obama said.
“It is important to know that turkeys have always had powerful allies. Many of you know that Benjamin Franklin once wrote, ‘I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country. He is a bird of bad moral character…the turkey is, in comparison, a much more respectable bird.’ I think these two turkeys would agree with Mr. Franklin. And they’ll get to live out the rest of their days, respectably, at a Virginia estate.”
Obama quipped that “some will call this amnesty,” but “don’t worry, there’s plenty of turkey to go around.”
The Obamas planned to take a couple of turkeys “that didn’t make the cut” to a local food pantry.
“Finally, The Washington Post recently questioned the wisdom of the whole turkey pardon tradition,” the president continued. “‘Typically on the day before Thanksgiving,’ the story went, ‘the man who makes decisions about wars, virus outbreaks, terrorism cells and other dire matters of state, chooses to pardon a single turkey … plus an alternate.’”
“Tell me about it. It is a little puzzling that I do this every year. But I will say that I enjoy it because with all the tough stuff that swirls around in this office, it’s nice once in a while just to say: Happy Thanksgiving. And this is a great excuse to do it.”
Obama had to urge his daughters to come over and pose near the turkey. When he asked if they wanted to pet it, Malia responded, “No.”
— Emily Samsel (@emilysamsel) November 26, 2014
So Over Watching Dad Pardon Turkeys: The Sasha and Malia Story pic.twitter.com/46rH9GnvUS
— Jason Sparks (@sparksjls) November 26, 2014
— Diane Jeanty (@dianejeanty) November 26, 2014
Marc Lamont Hill on Shutting Down Highways, Burning Business, Etc. in Ferguson and Nationwide: ‘This Is What Democracy Looks Like’
Presented without much comment, other than to note that this is what democracy looks like to progressives such as Hill when they agree with the aims or hate the same enemies. When they disagree, the smears come out.
“You see people shutting down highways. You see people shutting down roads,” Hill said on CNN. “You see people shutting down games and operas over the last few months. It’s an exciting moment for young protesters. As again, the violence is one thing. And we can bracket that for a moment and talk about the 99.9 percent of the protesters who are trying to make change in the spectacle of protests and through organized action, cop watch programs, educational intervention, voter registration drives. This is what activism is like. This is what democracy looks like.”
What about stopping raising kids who have no respect for authority at all and who immerse themselves in drug and gang culture?
Peaceful protests are part of democracy. However, when citizens rose up peacefully at town hall meetings to query their elected representatives about a health care bill that they opposed, usually equipped with more information than those representatives, progressives regarded and still smear that as “terrorism.” They continue to smear all opposition to all of Obama’s policies as racist.
Fairness from progressives such as Hill is too much to ask for.
Politico reports on the Eco Warrior president’s latest gift to the nation: The most expensive regulation in history.
The Obama administration proposed a draft air pollution rule on Wednesday that business groups charge could be the costliest regulation of all time — setting up a test of how hard the president will fight for his environmental agenda against a newly strengthened GOP.
President Barack Obama has already blinked once on the rule, which aims to limit smog-creating ozone pollution after 2020 from power plants and factories: Just before Labor Day in 2011, he forced the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw an almost-final version of the rule, infuriating green groups that accused him of capitulating to industry pressure to ease his reelection. Obama said he was acting to “underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty.”
This is easy to explain. He blinked in 2011 because he faced re-election in 2012. How dare the voters get the chance to hold him accountable for unleashing the bureaucracy!
Now he is punishing America for electing Republicans to Congress — in his mind — but he’s actually punishing American for electing him president.
[B]usiness groups are just as adamant that a tough new limit on ozone would devastate the economy by making it difficult to open or expand hundreds of manufacturing plants in much of the country. “This would be the most expensive regulation ever imposed on the American public,” said the National Association of Manufacturers, in a July study calculating that an especially strict version of the rule would wipe out $3.4 trillion in economic output and 2.9 million jobs by 2040.
On Wednesday, the association said EPA’s proposal jeopardizes the nation’s manufacturing comeback and indeed “threatens to be the most expensive ever.” The ozone draft “comes at the same time dozens of other new EPA regulations are being imposed that collectively place increased costs, burdens and delays on manufacturers, threaten our international competitiveness and make it nearly impossible to grow jobs,” the group said.
Predictably, greens say the regulation doesn’t go far enough. While the leaders of the big green political machine fly around from conference to conference in their jets, they would have the rest of us living in caves.
It was obvious for weeks that there would be riots in Ferguson as soon as the grand jury decision — whatever it turned out to be — was made public. Indictment or no, there would be riots. Residents armed up for weeks, as outsiders poured in and the likes of Al Sharpton egged on the rage and the media played its part all along. They had time and they got their “good TV,” as President Obama said.
Yet the decision was made public at night, which was tactically stupid if you want to keep the peace, and after that, Gov. Jay Nixon (D) decided not to send in the national guard that he had brought under his unified command.
Result: Dozens of businesses burned. Glenn Reynolds has a theory that might explain what’s going on.
[I]t’s not about swing voters. It’s about the base. And it’s not about the Democratic Party’s base, but about certain leaders’ base within the Democratic Party. This may be best understood as an intra-party struggle. Obama is the champion of the urban-black wing of the party, and because of him that wing has been on top. But his star is fading, black voters are beginning to realize that they haven’t benefited economically, and the next Dem nominee — whether it’s Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, or Elizabeth Warren — will be from the white gentry-liberal wing of the Democratic Party. The riots, the marches, the traffic-blocking are a way of telling them that the Sharpton wing is still a force to be reckoned with, and to improve its bargaining power between now and 2016.
That would help explain why MSNBC can talk about practically nothing else. Well, that and the fact that at MSNBC every story is about race. Except the stories that are about the “war on women.”
Outgoing Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) said she’s asked President Obama to come visit the border for the past six years, to no avail.
“I believe that what he has done is just absolutely wrong and unjust. And certainly unconstitutional,” Brewer told Fox of his immigration executive actions.
She added that she’s been communicating with incoming Texas governor Greg Abbott to “see just exactly … how we can join with him to see if something can be accomplished.”
Texas is planning on taking the immigration action to court.
“Financially, it’s a killer. You know, we’re still in economic concerns that we’ve been facing for the last few years. And to be a — forced upon us to take care of these people, educate them, provide healthcare for them, social security for them. The bottom line is that we simply just cannot afford it,” Brewer said.
“United States is the largest country in the world that allows immigrants to come in. But we are a nation of laws.”
Today, she would tell Obama: “Mr. President, I’ve invited you to my border for six years. You have never come. We have a issue. We have a problem. And nothing will be resolved, Mr. President, until you see with your own eyes the issues that we’re all facing. And it’s up to you to lead this country and do it constitutionally.”
In January 2012, Brewer had a testy exchange with Obama on the tarmac after he landed in Phoenix.
“Bottom line is that he generally wants to talk about amnesty and I want to talk about securing our border,” she told reporters afterward. ”…I must say, I was not hostile. I was trying to be very, very gracious. I respect the office of the president, and I would never be disrespectful in that manner.”
The name of slain office Jeremy Henwood was covered up and replaced with Michael Brown’s name on a City Heights park bench dedicated to Henwood in San Diego.
NBC San Diego reporter Steven Luke tweeted a picture of the bench last night from the Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park. The park was “named in February to memorialize a beloved beat cop and Marine veteran killed in the line of duty three years ago.”
Henwood was ambushed in his cop car three years ago, shortly after a moment of his kindness was caught on a security video showing the officer buying an extra cookie for an African American child in McDonald’s.
Here’s the video of Henwood in McDonald’s. Shortly after, he would be shot and killed, his McDonald’s bag by his side.
Outrage ensued after a San Diego CityBeat reporter tweeted:
— David Rolland (@drolland) November 26, 2014
Whereupon a Twitter “discussion” occurred.
It seems to me we need more police officers on the ground like Jeremy Haywood. What a shame his good name had to be dragged into the Ferguson situation.
26 years. That’s a heavy sentence, which Malik has called “ridiculous.”
In America, you’ll only get a year in prison for blaspheming Islam. Perhaps we’ll catch up to Pakistan before too long.
A Pakistani anti-terrorism court presented the sentence, accusing the media organisation of airing “blasphemous content” on one of its programmes.
DNA reported that the charges, subsequent arrest, and sentencing occurred as Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was accused of allowing the telecast of a staged mock marriage between Malik and her husband Asad Bashir, while a religious song was played in the background.
As reported by CNN-IBN, along with Malik, Bashir, and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, TV host Shaista Wahidi was also convicted of the crime and given a 26-year prison sentence.
In addition to the prison sentence, the court has ordered fines and that all the convicteds’ property be sold off to pay that fine.
While the trial was going on, “extremists” who weren’t judges on the court threatened to kill those on trial. Those threats continue.
The Bollywood actress was recently married and has a baby boy.
— Abram Khan (@iAbramKhan) November 23, 2014
In 2013, she admitted an ambition to seek political office in her native Pakistan. That made her a threat to the Islamists who hate freedom, humanity and all beautiful things. Now she cannot live in Pakistan at all.
The former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus stressed that “all you have to do is be stupid” to react with arson and violence to the grand jury’s verdict on Michael Brown’s death.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), former mayor of Kansas City and a Methodist pastor, called the situation in Ferguson “a monumental blunder.”
“Things were done in a the way that does not make sense. I mean, we — we had a buildup to the first night,” Cleaver told MSNBC this morning. “You know, we’re gonna release a statement at 8:00, and so forth. Look, I don’t — I’m not an attorney, but I would imagine that the grand jury completed its work earlier in the day or the day before, and so the press conference to announce what the grand jury’s decision was could have been done at eight — 8:00 a.m. in the morning or at 10 a.m. So it was almost like, we’re gonna build this crescendo and then watch the explosion.”
The congressman visited Ferguson last week. “You could see that while in the middle of all of this chaos, there were business people who were there holding as tightly as possible to hope that things would not be as they were in August,” he said.
“And the one thing that I think, and I hope people would understand and that to — to blow up a building, to fire bomb a building, to detonate a community, there’s no intelligence required, no charisma. All you have to do is be stupid.”
Cleaver said of the people who committed the looting and arson, “Probably 50 people out of that crowd were out doing stupid things.”
“And — and then people are saying, let’s boycott. Look, what we ought to do is get every decent person in the state of Missouri going into Ferguson to buy,” he said. “Because that town had as its principle municipal income revenue from traffic tickets. So we’ve got to, you know, think this thing through. I know a lot of the people saying, ‘Well, let’s just boycott,’ mean well….. but they will further damage small-business people who are the backbone of Ferguson, Missouri.”
He added that we have to draw lessons from the protests.
“If we get nothing out of it as we have done in the past with the situation with Trayvon Martin and others, I think that we ought to be nationally ashamed of ourselves to go through something as chaotic as this without getting something out of it,” Cleaver said.
“First of all, unfortunately, Congress can’t offer too much in the way of help because what are we going to say to the demonstrators? Look at us, and why don’t you conduct yourself like members of Congress when you’re in a tough situation?”
He did predict that “some national legislation” will come out of this, introduced next week with Ferguson Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.).
“And I would think on this pre-Thanksgiving day that it’s not a Republican or a Democratic issue,” Cleaver continued. “We ought to pass national legislation that will create, I think, a positive atmosphere after this thing is over. And that is that police officers, law enforcement officers, must wear cameras and that as we did years ago with the COPS program, we would make federal grants available to small communities that couldn’t afford to have these cameras. And I think it will probably prevent some hoodlums from acting crazy and probably some police officers who might not be psychologically equipped to be police officers.”
“It’s a protective for all,” he added.
Get a load of this. The majority of the country opposed Obamacare when Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and his cohort passed that bill, and President Obama signed it into law. The Democrats smeared Tea Party activists who peacefully assembled to voice their opposition as “racists.”
Only now, years later and after the law has wreaked havoc on millions of Americans’ health care, Sen. Schumer recognizes that the law was a big mistake. He said so in a speech in Washington on Tuesday.
Schumer says Democrats “blew the opportunity the American people gave them” in the 2008 elections, a Democratic landslide, by focusing on healthcare reform instead of legislation to boost the middle class.
“After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus,” he said in a speech at the National Press Club.
He said the plight of uninsured Americans caused by “unfair insurance company practices” needed to be addressed, but it wasn’t the change that people wanted when they elected Barack Obama as president.
“Americans were crying out for an end to the recession, for better wages and more jobs; not for changes in their healthcare,” he said.
Schumer even noted that with just 5% of Americans lacking health care prior to the law, there was no crisis. Which begs the question, then why did he and every other Democrat claim, for decades on end, say that there was a crisis? Democrat policy amounted to systematically lying to the American people, claiming there was a crisis when there was not one, across several decades.
While it would be nice to be able to take Schumer at face value here and assume that he is being honest, he and his fellow Democrats have repeatedly surrendered any right to be taken at their word.
Schumer himself has touted Obamacare and joined smears of those of us who oppose it. So what’s up with his mea culpa now?
Schumer is posturing, giving Democrats space to criticize and abandon Obama over the next two years. It’s all about the Democrats’ hopes of re-taking Congress in two years. His comments may spark serious public infighting between the congressional Democrats and the Obama White House and its bitter enders — which is just what both the congressional Democrats and the White House want. For the preening and posturing.
Shorter Chuck Schumer – I wish Obama cared more about helping Democrats than sick people.
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) November 25, 2014
But, dude, that was like four years ago…
Attorney General Eric Holder said the federal investigations into the shooting of Michael Brown and the Ferguson police will be conducted “rigorously and in a timely manner so we can move forward as expeditiously as we can to restore trust, to rebuild understanding and to foster cooperation between law enforcement and community members.”
Holder said Tuesday that he’s been continuously briefed on “events in and around Ferguson.”
“I was disappointed that some members of the community resorted to violence rather than respecting what I thought were the really heartfelt words of Michael Brown Sr. and the wishes he expressed about how he wanted his son’s memory to be honored with nonviolence,” he said. “It is clear that acts of violence threaten to drown out those that have legitimate voices, legitimate demonstrators and those acts of violence cannot and will not be condoned.”
Michael Brown Sr.’s church was burned Monday night. The pastor, Carlton Lee, suspects white supremacists targeted the church: it was three miles away from the main protests, no surrounding buildings were harmed, and he’d received dozens of death threats after speaking out for the Brown family.
Holder said he was “very encouraged that some of the more peaceful demonstrations … have been in keeping with Mr. Brown’s request.”
“I would remind demonstrators of our history that those, the way in which we have made progress in this country is when we have seen peaceful, nonviolent demonstrations that has led to the change that has been the most long lasting and the most pervasive,” he said, adding that he’d ordered Department of Justice officials ”to continue to make contact with leaders of the peaceful protesters and to seek their assistance in isolating those individuals who are inclined towards violence.”
“We’ve had a good ongoing dialogue with peaceful demonstrators in Ferguson.… Those people who took it upon themselves to try to stop those kinds of things (looting and rioting) are in fact heroes in my mind.”
Holder said Brown’s death “revealed a deep distrust between some in the Ferguson community and its police force.”
“It also developed a need to develop and widely disseminate law enforcement best practices for responding to public demonstrations. The Department of Justice has begun this work and will continue to work with communities around the country in this regard. The reality is that what we see in Ferguson is not restricted to Ferguson. There are other communities around this country that have these same issues that have to be dealt with and we at the Justice Department are determined to do all that we can to bridge those divides,” he said.
He briefed President Obama in the Oval Office on Tuesday and said they “talked about programmatic issues that we want to announce relatively soon and also about the need to bring our people together.”
“This is a difficult time for people in Ferguson. It’s a difficult time for people in our country. It’s an opportunity for us to find those things that bind us as a nation, to be honest with one another about those things that continue to divide us and come up with ways in which we make this union even more perfect,” Holder said. “So that’s what I talked about with the president.”
We know him as the speaker of the House, but John Boehner has some secrets to share about how to brine a turkey.
He’s not just responsible for keeping those uppity tea partiers in line, he’s responsible for his family’s Thanksgiving turkey.
Here is the recipe and, below, a video of Boehner of discussing his special brine.
The Boehner Brine
- 8 quarts water
- 6 bay leaves
- 2 cups Kosher salt
- 3 tbsp peppercorns
- 1 head of garlic
- 16 oz pure maple syrup
Bring the brine close to a boil, then let it cool. Put a bag in a five-gallon bucket. Wash the turkey and remove the insides. Put the turkey in the bucket. Pour the brine over to cover the turkey. Keep the turkey submerged. Let it stand overnight in the refrigerator or outside if it is cool enough. After 24 hours, take it out and rinse it off. At that point, it’s ready to be cooked.
President Obama was heckled yesterday as he spoke to a crowd in Chicago about his executive immigration action. In the middle of his remarks some hecklers stood up to give him some grief. He told them to “get the facts.”
“You have been deporting families,” a heckler yelled. The president urged the demonstrator to stop shouting before he fired back.
“What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law, so that’s point No. 1,” Obama said, his words echoing to 1,000 attendees. “Point No. 2, the way the change in the law works is that we’re reprioritizing how we enforce our immigration laws generally.”
The president continued, “The point is that though I understand why you might have yelled at me a month ago, although I disagree with some of your characterizations, it doesn’t make much sense to yell at me right now when we’re making changes.”
Most Americans are not fooled by media and Democrat trolling that President Obama’s immigration executive order is along the same lines as actions taken by previous presidents including Reagan.
It’s not even close, according to Rasmussen:
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 62% of Likely U.S. Voters oppose the president granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants without the approval of Congress. Just 26% are in favor of Obama’s plan, while 12% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Only 24% think the president has the legal authority to grant amnesty to these illegal immigrants without Congress’ approval. Fifty-seven percent (57%) believe the president does not have the legal right to do so. Eighteen percent (18%) are undecided.
Additionally, 55% want Congress to challenge Obama’s actions in court. And 67% think border security should come before any amnesty.
But like Obamacare, which Barack Obama signed into law against the wishes of the majority of Americans, he is going ahead with his unilateral amnesty anyway.
A court challenge is definitely coming, the only question is whether Congress will also file one or not. Texas Attorney General and Gov.-elect Greg Abbott has announced plans to file suit within the next couple of weeks, and other states are likely to join that suit or file their own.
If you are one of those lucky people who will spending Thanksgiving with family members of the liberal persuasion, be on guard. America’s favorite gun nanny, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has provided some talking points for your gun grabbing Thanksgiving companions to serve up along with the turkey and stuffing.
Bloomberg wants your anti-Second Amendment friends and family members to tell you that:
1. The NRA wants anyone, everywhere to have a gun. Without a background check.
2. Women are five times more likely to be killed when an intimate partner has a firearm.
3. Guns don’t stop crime, otherwise America would be the safest country in the nation.
4. Hiding your guns will not keep them safe from kids.
5. Congress hasn’t passed a background check because they are beholden to the gun lobby. The proof: 82% of gun owners support background checks, and yet Congress hasn’t acted.
Gun expert John Lott told guns.com that the Everytown for Gun Safety Thanksgiving propaganda is full of disinformation. “Horrible errors in these claims,” he pointed out. For instance, the classification of “intimate partners” included in the figures about violence towards women also encompasses prostitutes and their customers.
You can read the entire interview, complete with links to information that refutes the ridiculous infographic. Tell the gun-control turkeys at your Thanksgiving table to take a hike.
The Islamic State is offering to send fighters to “help” Ferguson protesters if they convert to Islam and accept the caliph — and musing that Daesh supporters might show up anyway:
— AbuHussainAlBritani (@AbuHussain104) November 25, 2014
— Abu Dujana (@abudujana56) November 25, 2014
— Abu 3antar Britânī (@abu3antarr) November 25, 2014
You never know if Dawlah supporters are getting in on the action in Ferguson, especially since more protests are planned.
— AbuUmar8246 (@Abu_Umar__8246) November 25, 2014
— AbuUmar8246 (@Abu_Umar__8246) November 25, 2014
— Abu Dujana (@abudujana56) November 25, 2014
My circle of libertarian friends seems split regarding the goings on in Ferguson, Missouri. For some, the focus belongs on racial disparities in law enforcement activity, the militarization of police departments, and a futile rights-violating drug war. For others, the focus belongs on individual actions which clearly violate rights, like looting, rioting, and destroying property.
I tend to fall in the latter camp, not because the former concerns prove illegitimate, but because active violence presents a clearer threat to rights than a comparatively academic notion of systematic injustice. It may be right to question the rate at which blacks are arrested for similar crimes. But it’s definitely wrong to burn down your neighbor’s store in “protest.”
Writing last month for Rare, an online libertarian publication, editor Jack Hunter urged white Americans to “listen to the protestors in Missouri.” He wrote:
Black Americans have complained for some time about racial disparities in police shootings, abuse at the hands of law enforcement, and in how the law is applied. Last week, a study of the use of deadly force used by police published by the Pulitzer Prize winning independent news site ProPublica revealed…, “Blacks are being killed at disturbing rates when set against the rest of the American population.”
Might it also be true that the high frequency of police shooting young black men could potentially create an environment where police sometimes shoot African Americans even when it is not justified? Might this happen with a relative frequency in which the offending officers do not suffer any repercussions?
Is it not something worth marching in the streets over?
Marching? Maybe. But the response to the shooting of Michael Brown, both when it happened and now that a grand jury has opted not to indict Officer Darren Wilson, has been a bit more conspicuous than marching. Perhaps the question ought to be: are these concerns worth burning a city down over?
If we can’t all agree that the answer to that question is a resounding “no,” then we’re in a lot more trouble than if even the worst charges of systematic racial injustice prove true. If we can’t all agree that looting, arson, and similar acts of violence are unacceptable responses to grievance, then on what moral basis does any grievance rest?
(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here.)
You may recall actor Ben Affleck’s reflexive defense of Islam when comedian Bill Maher and author Sam Harris referred to the religion as a “motherlode of bad ideas”:
“Gone Girl” star Affleck took umbrage at the pair’s contention that Islam is, in Harris’ words, a “mother lode of bad ideas” and that liberals are squeamish about criticizing Islam for stances on women and LGBT issues because people “have been sold this meme of Islamophobia, where every criticism gets confused with bigotry toward Muslims as people.”
Affleck said Harris — a neuroscientist known for works criticizing religion — and Maher were guilty of using a broad brush themselves.
“It’s gross. It’s racist,” Affleck said. “It’s like saying ‘shifty Jew.’ “
You have to wonder how Affleck will respond to the contention by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey that it’s “against nature” to think men and women are equal.
“You cannot put women and men on an equal footing,” he told a meeting in Istanbul. “It is against nature.”
He also said feminists did not grasp the importance of motherhood in Islam.
His comments often seek to appeal to his pious core supporters, says the BBC’s Mark Lowen in Istanbul, but they anger more liberal voters.
Turks who have more secular views argue that the government’s social policies are taking the country in a dangerous direction, our correspondent says.
Mr Erdogan has previously urged women to have three children, and has lashed out against abortion and birth by Caesarean section.
His latest remarks were delivered at a women’s conference in Istanbul.
“In the workplace, you cannot treat a man and a pregnant woman in the same way,” Mr Erdogan said, according to the Anatolia news agency.
Women cannot do all the work done by men, he added, because it was against their “delicate nature”.
“Our religion regards motherhood very highly,” he said. “Feminists don’t understand that, they reject motherhood.”
He said women needed equal respect rather than equality.
Mr Erdogan also told the Istanbul meeting that justice was the solution to most of the world’s issues – including racism, anti-Semitism, and “women’s problems”.
The Turkish leader often courts controversy with his statements.
Earlier this month, he claimed that Muslims had discovered the Americas more than 300 years before Christopher Colombus.
In his 11 years as prime minister, Mr Erdogan became a crucial player in regional politics
You can easily see Affleck’s dilemma. Does he trash Erdogan, who is only repeating the Islamic view of women, or does he defend Muslims for their misogyny?
Actually, if Erdogan wants to leave 50% of the population of his country on the sidelines, it’s his problem not ours. It’s what gives western countries a huge advantage over Islamic countries that oppress women and keep them from fully contributing to society.
Turkey was, at one time, a modern secular country. But over the decade that Erdogan and his Islamist Justice and Development party have been in power, the slow, inevitable decline of democratic institutions, as well as the Islamization of the army, has made Turkey the backwater of NATO.
Erdogan is far less circumspect lately about revealing his Islamic views. It should raise the question about Turkey’s continued participation in the alliance, given his coziness with the Muslim Brotherhood. He has refused to recognize Egypt’s new government, calling President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi “illegitimate.” Tellingly, he has adopted the Muslim Brotherhood supporters’ four-fingered “Rabia” salute as a part of his party’s rallying cry.
As the mask continues to fall, revealing Erdogan for the Islamist tyrant he is, dupes like Ben Affleck are going to have to decide which side of history they wish to be on.
The Cable reports that Michèle Flournoy has withdrawn her name from consideration to become the next defense secretary. Flournoy was among a handful believed to be on President Obama’s short list to succeed Chuck Hagel, who was fired Monday.
Flournoy, the co-founder and CEO of the Center for a New American Security, a think tank that has served as a farm league for future Obama administration officials, would have been the first female secretary of defense had she risen to the position.
But in a letter Tuesday to members of the CNAS board of directors, Flournoy said she would remain in her post at the think tank and asked Obama to take her out of consideration to be the next secretary of defense. Flournoy told the board members that family considerations helped drive her decision.
The move means that only one of the three names rumored for the post remains under consideration: Ashton Carter, the former deputy secretary of defense. When Hagel was ousted Monday, speculation had immediately turned to Flournoy, Carter, and Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a former Army Ranger. But Reed took himself out of the running almost immediately after Hagel announced his resignation.
Flournoy cites family reasons for her withdrawal but her public support for Obama’s unilateral withdrawal of troops from Iraq would have come up on confirmation hearings. Republicans like Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, among many others, would surely have seen to that.
The Pentagon refused today to say that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was fired, with press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby insisting it was a mutual decision even though Hagel didn’t want to leave his job.
“This was a mutual decision arrived at between the president and the secretary of defense after a series of discussions that they had about the next two years. And, that’s — and that is exactly what happened, that’s exactly how it — how it transpired,” Kirby told reporters.
“It would be inaccurate to characterize this as anything other than that, quite frankly.”
He further insisted “there’s no connection between the secretary’s resignation announced yesterday and the strategy that we’re pursuing against ISIL on Iraq and Syria, no connection whatsoever.”
Lawmakers were among those linking Hagel’s resignation to differences with Obama on policy, including whether boots might be needed on the ground against the Islamic State.
“And so, I wouldn’t draw from one any kind of conclusions or changes to the other. The strategy, as the secretary has said, as Chairman Dempsey has said, as I have said, against ISIL is working. It’s making — we’re making progress. Iraqi security forces on the ground are pushing out, out beyond Baghdad, into Anbar. Peshmerga continue to gain ground in the north,” Kirby continued.
“It’s not over, it’s not gonna be easy. Nobody is saying that. But our support from the air and now our support to them in an advise-and-assist capacity and soon a training capacity will continue. So I see no major muscle movements or changes to that.”
Hagel will stay until his successor is confirmed. Kirby said he’ll be focused on “implementing the recommendations and changes that he has accepted from the reforms that we put in place — Navy Yard shooting, nuclear enterprise review, medical health system review.”
Since Hagel’s ouster was announced Monday, senior administration officials have told media outlets that he was indeed fired and took potshots at the secretary. “The president felt he had to fire someone. He fired the only Republican in his cabinet,” one told Fox. “Who is that going to piss off that he cares about?”
Kirby brushed off a question about how Hagel’s going to work in this “poisonous” environment until a successor is confirmed.
“Let me challenge the implication in the question that there’s clearly bad blood between the building and the — and the White House or between Secretary Hagel and the — and the team,” the press secretary replied. “…And his focus is not on the atmospherics and on the sniping by some anonymous officials in these various news accounts. His focus is on the men and women who wear the uniform and their families and on this very critical time period that we find ourselves in.”
Hagel met with other leaders at the Pentagon yesterday after returning from the White House. “It was a very short meeting. One, he thanked them for their support for the last almost two years in office and for the — for the support he knew that he was gonna be able to continue to gather from them going forward,” Kirby said. “But, number two, it’s time to get — you know, I got to keep working, you know.”
He wouldn’t detail the discussions between Hagel and Obama that led to the Defense secretary handing in his resignation.
“It was a general understanding between the two of them that now was about the right time for new leadership at the Pentagon to implement and to carry to conclusion some of those changes and to — and to lead the Pentagon in the last two years of the Obama administration… policy disagreements or debates and discussions were not driving factors in the decision that the secretary made to submit his resignation.”
Kirby also dismissed an assertion that National Security Adviser Susan Rice has been micromanaging the Pentagon. “They meet and discuss — they meet more than once a week — I know that — and, of course, in — in other large setting meetings more than two or three times a week,” he said. “…There’s not an issue of micromanagement from any other place outside the building, you know. It’s not about micromanaging.”
“It’s not uncommon for — at least under this commander-in-chief, for defense secretaries to — to stay about two years in length,” Kirby said.
“It’s not that he didn’t want to stay on the job, and it’s not that the secretary doesn’t believe he isn’t, you know — that he’s not capable of — of — of still contributing or serving for the next two years…. It’s that they both decided that he had accomplished a lot, he had done what he had set out to do in this job and that now, with two years left to go, it was an appropriate time for new leadership.”
MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Bloom embarrassed herself on MSNBC today. Host Joy Ann Reid asked Bloom to comment on some of Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson’s testimony.
Bloom objected to the characterization of Michael Brown’s actions as “charging” Officer Wilson, because it’s racist.
“This issue about charging,” Bloom said, “which I find to be a racially tinged offensive word in and of itself, but I would have asked him, what exactly does that mean?”
To most people, it means “running directly at someone.” Charging is an offense in both hockey and basketball. Referees who find that one player has charged another must be racists, according to Lisa Bloom.
Taking Lisa Bloom’s lead, here are other instances of racist behavior and imagery.
Charging your phone — now racist.
The 2015 Dodge Charger RT — racist.
San Diego Chargers fans — racists.
Like a moth to flame, Al Sharpton took to the microphone to denounce Ferguson prosecutor Robert McCulloch and the entire state prosecution and grand jury work in the Michael Brown case. The press conference was allegedly for the Brown family, not the MSNBC host and activist who owes millions in back taxes.
Sharpton accused McCulloch of putting Brown on trial, and trying to discredit Brown and several of the cases’s witnesses.
Then Sharpton made a claim that is unlikely to sit well with police officers unions or those who advocate for lowering standards for candidates to be accepted into police work.
Sharpton said that Officer Wilson is too small to be an officer.
“How do you have a man on the force that feels like he is a child up against Hulk Hogan?” Sharpton asked as those around him nodded in agreement. “So what kind of training and policing do you do?”
That is actually a good question, but logic doesn’t take it where Sharpton would like it to go.
Brown was 18 and large, at 6’4″ and just under 300 pounds. Officer Wilson, 28, said in his testimony that “when I grabbed him, the only way I can describe it is it felt like a 5-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan.”
To Sharpton, that seems to be Wilson’s fault and should cause a re-evaluation of police procedures. But another reasonable interpretation of Wilson’s testimony is that he feared that Brown would easily overcome him in their physical struggle. Deadly force was therefore Wilson’s logical choice, especially if Brown reached for Wilson’s sidearm.
Wilson told the grand jury (his testimony itself an unusual move for a potential suspect): “At this point I’m like why isn’t this working, this guy is going to kill me if he gets ahold of this gun.”
What is a “child up against Hulk Hogan” supposed to do in that situation?
The New York Observer excerpted some choice lines from Ted Cruz’s meetings with various prominent Jewish leaders in New York City this week.
He’s definitely doing prep work for 2016 and, thanks to gross mischaracterizations of him by both Republicans and Democrats, he is probably quite underestimated all around. He is also smart enough to turn this to his advantage in these early stages of the election cycle. Responding to a question inspired by one of the more popular narratives — he can’t win — that Democrats and moderate Republicans are eerily in sync on, Senator Cruz had this to say:
Mr. Boteach said, “You are arguably the strongest U.S. Senator when it comes to Israel. But if you run, can you win? You’re seen as a champion of the tea party. And the media tends to caricature.”
Mr. Cruz replied, “Historically, the media has had two caricatures of Republicans. We are either stupid or evil.”
“Sometimes both!” volunteered one of the lunchers.
Mr. Cruz laughed and continued. “Reagan was stupid, according to the media. George W. Bush, Dan Quayle, stupid. Nixon was evil, Cheney was evil. I sort of take it as a backhanded compliment that they’ve invented a new caricature for me—crazy. At the end of the day, that caricature doesn’t trouble me because it’s fundamentally false. The American people have a history of making up their own minds.”
Mr. Cruz said that as groups who might be skeptical—like the one in this room—come to know him, doubts will be dispelled and stereotypes will be shattered.
He is right about this and the will guarantee that his detractors will expend a lot of effort trying to falsely define him.
Cruz surprised some by saying:
I don’t think I’m all that conservative. And it’s interesting. Reagan never once beat his chest and said, “I’m the most conservative guy who ever lived.” Reagan said, “I’m defending common sense principles—small businesses, small towns.”
The senator is correct about this as well. The Democrats were hijacked by ’60s era radicals and have been drifting ever-leftward for at least forty years. Republican moderates, driven by a desperate need to be liked, tend to get caught up in the wake of the Democrats and drift along with them, even if slowly and behind them. So, relative to a political class that is moving away from the American people, Cruz might seem uber-conservative. Real conservatives, however, don’t have a malleable set of political principles to work with. We’re where we have always been on the political spectrum, and a lot of the American people have always been here with us.
When you look at a red/blue map after the last election, the Democrats are ideologically and geographically at the outer edges of America. They’re literally a fringe party right now.
Ted Cruz isn’t an extremist, no matter how many times Democrat hacks and the John McCain crowd say he is. He’s aligned with regular Americans who are tired of Washington raiding our wallets.