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Oh, God, Please No: Jeb Bush Is Running for President

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Well, it’s semi-official: Jeb Bush is “actively exploring” running for president:

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Like many of you, our family was blessed with the opportunity to gather together over the recent Thanksgiving holiday. Columba and I are so proud of the wonderful adults our children have become, and we loved spending time with our three precious grandchildren. We shared good food and watched a whole lot of football.

We also talked about the future of our nation. As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.

In January, I also plan to establish a Leadership PAC that will help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.

In the coming months, I hope to visit with many of you and have a conversation about restoring the promise of America.Best wishes to you and your families for a happy holiday season. I’ll be in touch soon.

Onward,

Jeb Bush

Just what America needs: three presidents in one family, and the prospect of another Bush/Clinton election. A total disgrace to the American ideal. Jeb and the rest of the clan should reconsider before he embarrasses himself further.

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Obamas ‘Looking Forward’ To 17-Day Hawaiian Vacation. We Are, Too

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

If it’s Christmas, it must be time for the Vacationer-in-Chief to head out on a largely taxpayer-funded holiday trip “home” to Hawaii. And sure enough:

The first family is returning to Hawaii for their seventh straight Christmas vacation, a 17-day break President Obama is “eagerly looking forward to.” The White House has announced that the president and his family with depart Washington on Friday and is expected to return Jan. 4.

“On Friday, the first family will depart the White House en route to Honolulu, Hawaii — a flight that I know the president himself is eagerly looking forward to,” said spokesman Josh Earnest.

According to Pacific Business News, “Obama has rented a private home in Kailua on past holiday vacations, and typically spends his time working out at the nearby Marine Corps Base Hawaii, playing golf, catching up with Punahou School classmates and dining out at such restaurants as Alan Wong’s Honolulu, [Morimoto] at The Modern Honolulu and Buzz’s Original Steakhouse in Kailua.”

George Washington never had it so good. And neither do you.

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131 Dead in Pakistan School Massacre; No Mention of Taliban in White House Condemnation

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Taliban terrorists stormed a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, today, killing at least 131, according to Pakistani newspaper Dawn.

President Obama released a statement condemning the “heinous” attack on the Army Public School, but didn’t mention the Taliban by name.

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s horrific attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, and loved ones,” Obama said. “By targeting students and teachers in this heinous attack, terrorists have once again shown their depravity.”

“We stand with the people of Pakistan, and reiterate the commitment of the United States to support the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to combat terrorism and extremism and to promote peace and stability in the region.”

A statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad also didn’t mention those responsible. “The United States strongly condemns senseless and inhumane attacks on innocent students and educators, and stands in solidarity with the people of Pakistan, and all who fight the menace of terrorism,” it said.

“Few have suffered more at the hands of terrorists and extremists than the people of Pakistan,” the statement added, saying “that is why it remains essential for the United States and Pakistan to continue to work together to secure peace and stability in the region.”

According to Dawn, initial reports said eight to 10 Taliban staged the attack and by the end six were killed. At least 100 of the dead are children, both boys and girls and mostly in their early teens, and “scores” are injured. The Pakistani Army said they have responded with airstrikes in Khyber.

DG Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj-Gen Asim Bajwa tweeted that the terrorists planted IEDs in the building, which were delaying the rescue of survivors.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the country would observe a three-day period of mourning. “These were my children. This is my loss. This is the nation’s loss,” he said.

A Pakistan Taliban spokesman told CNN that the latest attack was “revenge for the killing of hundreds of innocent tribesmen during repeated army operations in provinces including South Waziristan, North Waziristan and the Khyber Agency.”

Malala Yousazai, the Nobel laureate who was shot in the head by Taliban in 2012 for lobbying for a girl’s right to education, issued a statement saying she was “heartbroken by this senseless and cold blooded act of terror in Peshawar that is unfolding before us.”

“Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this,” the 17-year-old said. ”I condemn these atrocious and cowardly acts and stand united with the government and armed forces of Pakistan whose efforts so far to address this horrific event are commendable.”

Over the weekend, the Afghanistan Taliban called for an international investigation into the human rights standards of the United States after the Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats released a lengthy report criticizing enhanced interrogation techniques used in the war on terror.

“We call on the international community as well as those international organizations that call themselves champions of human rights, to examine America’s ongoing policy in light of these human rights standards,” the group said.

This harrowing account was relayed by a 16-year-old survivor to an Agence France-Presse reporter:

“Someone screamed at us to get down and hide below the desks,” he said, adding that the gunmen shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) before opening fire.

“Then one of them shouted: ‘There are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them’,” Salman told AFP.

“I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches.”

Salman said he felt searing pain as he was shot in both his legs just below the knee. He decided to play dead, adding: “I folded my tie and pushed it into my mouth so that I wouldn’t scream. The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again,” he said.

“My body was shivering. I saw death so close and I will never forget the black boots approaching me. I felt as though it was death that was approaching me,” Salman added further.

…As his father, a shopkeeper, comforted him in his blood-soaked bed, Salman recalled: “The men left after some time and I stayed there for a few minutes. Then I tried to get up but fell to the ground because of my wounds. When I crawled to the next room, it was horrible. I saw the dead body of our office assistant on fire,” he said.

“She was sitting on the chair with blood dripping from her body as she burned,” Salman added.

It was not immediately clear how the female employee’s body caught fire, though her remains were also later seen by an AFP reporter in a hospital mortuary.

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[WATCH] WaPo: Top Lie of the Year is Obama’s ‘ISIS/JV Team’ Spin

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 - by Liz Sheld

The Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler appeared on Morning Joe to discuss some of the top lies of 2014. Kessler writes the Fact Checker column at the Washington Post, where he evaluates the veracity of political claims making the headlines.

Joe Scarborough pushed Kessler to pick the single biggest lie of the year, to which Kessler responded: “I look at the issues that resonate with people and are biggest issues. One of the major things was Barack Obama saying he was not specifically referring to ISIS, when he referred to a J.V. team… I got a hold of the actual transcript, with his interview with the New Yorker and it was pretty clear he was talking about ISIS.”

YouTube Preview Image

Over at the Washington Post, Kessler wrote about the lie:

President Obama repeated a claim, crafted by the White House communications team, that he was not “specifically” referring to the Islamic State terror group when he dismissed the militants who had taken over Fallujah as a “JV squad.” But The Fact Checker had obtained the previously unreleased transcript of the president’s interview with The New Yorker, and it’s clear that’s who the president was referencing.

Kessler gave Obama a four Pinocchios rating for trying to spin his ISIS statement.

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Sen. Reid Could Ram Up to 88 Federal Judges Through the Senate before Adjournment

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 - by Liz Sheld

“The highest in two decades.”

Democrats are primed to confirm up to 88 of President Obama’s judicial nominations through the Senate before the year’s close.

Thanks to Reid’s weakening of the Senate filibuster, Republicans have had little power to stop Obama’s nominations.

So far, the Senate has approved 76 federal appeals court and district court nominees. Last year, the Senate only confirmed 43, and in 2012 49 were confirmed. The new confirmations will really expand Obama’s influence over the judiciary.

“He’s changed the face of the judiciary,” said Russell Wheeler, who studies the judiciary for the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution. “Whether or not that will have a long-term impact, I think, is another question.”

It probably will have a long-term impact and we’ll hear about it when one of these jokers makes a ridiculous ruling. The Associated Press writes, “Another measure of Obama’s impact is on federal appeals courts, which have enormous influence on their regions of the country and can be conduits for cases to reach the Supreme Court. When he took office, 10 of the 13 appeals courts had more judges appointed by Republican than Democratic presidents. Now the balance has switched, with Democratic-appointed majorities on nine of the courts.”

If the Senate ends up confirming all 88 of Obama’s picks, it will be the most number of confirmations since Bill Clinton had 99 confirmations in 1994.

Although the establishment talking points blame Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee for Reid’s “opportunity” to get these nominations approved, it was always Reid’s plan to get as many of these folks through the system before control of the Senate is turned over to the Republicans.

Cruz spokesman Phil Novak confirmed that Reid was planning on going on a spree of confirmations: “Everyone knows Harry Reid planned to jam forward as many nominees as he could.”

 

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The ‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-shirt You’ve Been Waiting For

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

cant_breathe_maryjo

So the company making all those silly “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts pays its employees $6 an hour.

Liberal hypocrisy is always a bountiful source of unintentional humor.

For intentional humor, you have to turn to the right:

Veteran blogger Sondra K. posted a pic of the t-shirt above.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be a real t-shirt design, just a gag.

Why?

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‘Despite NRA’s Negative Onslaught,’ Controversial Surgeon General Pick Squeaks Through Confirmation Vote

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Dr. Vivek Murthy, a Harvard Medical School instructor who founded Doctors for Obama (which changed its name to Doctors for America), was nominated by President Obama to be surgeon general in November 2013.

The 37-year-old’s nomination stalled amid opposition in the upper chamber, yet was one of the flurry of nominees whose cloture votes were pushed through in the extended weekend Senate session. Today, Murthy was barely confirmed 51-43, with six senators not voting.

The only Republican to vote for Murthy’s confirmation was Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). Among the nays were Democrats Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.).

“Our surgeon general serves as America’s leader on public health services and chooses what health policies we should prioritize. For that reason, I don’t believe it’s appropriate for America’s number one doctor to participate in political activism,” Manchin said. “It is essential that the surgeon general gains the public’s trust, so this position must be separated from the political arena.”

“After meeting with Dr. Murthy, I don’t question his medical qualifications; I just question whether the public will believe that he can separate his political beliefs from his public health views,” he added. “I am wary that his past comments and political involvement will have an impact on his leadership capabilities and effectiveness. For these reasons, I am unable to vote for his confirmation as the United States’ next surgeon general.”

The National Rifle Association issued a legislative alert Friday warning that the long-delayed confirmation of Murthy, who has equated gun violence with a “public health epidemic,” was imminent.

“The coordination between the Brady Campaign and those seeking to engineer Dr. Murthy’s confirmation heightens already significant concerns about his willingness to politicize the office of Surgeon General to promote gun control,” the NRA’s Chris Cox wrote to Senate leaders.

Democratic senators who have traditionally supported gun rights but were defeated in midterms — Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) — voted for Murthy. So did Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), who ran unsuccessfully on a 2nd Amendment platform.

Obama issued a statement praising the confirmation of the Doctors for Obama leader. “As ‘America’s Doctor,’ Vivek will hit the ground running to make sure every American has the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe,” Obama said. “He’ll bring his lifetime of experience promoting public health to bear on priorities ranging from stopping new diseases to helping our kids grow up healthy and strong.”

“Vivek will also help us build on the progress we’ve made combatting Ebola, both in our country and at its source,” the president continued. “Combined with the crucial support for fighting Ebola included in the bill to fund our government next year, Vivek’s confirmation makes us better positioned to save lives around the world and protect the American people here at home.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who was in Hartford earlier in the day marking the two-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting, said the NRA had “spun a specious smokescreen” on Murthy’s nomination, “working shamefully and tirelessly to block him simply because he stated the obvious fact that gun violence is a public health issue.”

“Despite the NRA’s negative onslaught, today the United States gets a great surgeon general and a superbly qualified public health leader,” Blumenthal said.

But Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), one of the physicians serving in Congress, said in a floor speech today that while Murthy has “impressive academic credentials and I’m sure he will be a fine doctor,” they’re “simply not sufficient qualifications for this important job.”

“Is Dr. Murthy a renowned expert in treating patients or researching diseases? No, not at all. He’s not. Has he actually built a career teaching medicine or leading public health organizations? No, not yet. In fact, Dr. Murthy only completed his medical training, his residency, in 2006, just eight years ago,” Barrasso said. “Now, I speak as someone who has actually practiced medicine for 25 years, who has been an instructor of surgery at Yale Medical School that Dr. Murthy attended. And I saw that being a doctor is about much more than going to school.”

“The majority of his career has been spent not as a doctor treating patients but as an activist, an activist focused on gun control and political campaigns. Even former Surgeon General Richard Carmona has said that Dr. Murthy doesn’t have the medical experience to serve in such an important position. Let me point out, Dr. Carmona is a Democrat.”

Americans, Barrasso argued, “don’t want a doctor who might let political ideology get in the way of treatment and their best interest.”

“Americans don’t want a Surgeon General who might use this position of trust to promote his own personal campaign against the Second Amendment of the Constitution,” he said. “This is just another example of President Obama giving someone an important job based solely on their support of the president’s political career.”

Though Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he didn’t think Murthy would get confirmed until Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) sent the Senate into weekend session with their cromnibus objections, Lee told Fox today that wasn’t the case.

“Look, this is an outgoing Democratic Senate majority. It would’ve been political malpractice for [Reid] to adjourn for the year without getting these things through,” Lee said. “I can guarantee you not one person will be confirmed as a result of this that would not otherwise have been confirmed.”

 

 

 

 

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New Caption Contest: Matt Drudge Tweets About NSA Dirt on Boehner in Obama’s Christmas Sacks

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Myra Adams
Credit: Matt Drudge

Credit: Matt Drudge

Our newest caption contest shows our Beloved Leader bearing gifts.

The photo is from a tweet by Matt Drudge of Drudge Report fame with the caption:

“Obama got EVERYTHING. NSA dirt on Boehner must be incredible. Chicago wins.”

For some insight behind Drudge’s tweet, read Bridget Johnson’s report on the $1.1 trillion spending bill passed last Thursday by a close vote of 219-206 in the House of Representatives averting a government shutdown.

So, what is the “NSA dirt on Boehner” that Obama is carrying? What other gifts is Obama giving our nation, his friends and his enemies? Bold and brash speculation is your mission — should you choose to accept it.

Now here are the winners of our last contest where you were asked to comment on Romney Beats Clinton in Quinnipiac Poll – Third Time’s the Charm?

Credit: Speechgeek

Credit: Speechgeek

The winner was RockThisTown with:

2016? It took Reagan 3 tries too . . . but you’re not Reagan.

The runner-up was Kuce, who wrote:

The 3rd time’s the charm, but I’m not seeing Prince Charming.

Ouch, that hurt.

Finally, for our new contest, PLEASE try to be nice to our president before he flies off to Hawaii on Dec.19 for his annual Christmas vacation (costing taxpayers millions of dollars). We all know the poor guy works so hard at the White House watching ESPN every morning and meeting 61 times with Al Sharpton.

 

 

 

 

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Final Report From the Lima Climate Conference

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Cathie Adams

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Lima, Peru, took about two extra days to finish a new agreement, concluding early Sunday morning. The agreement will form the foundation of the global climate agreement due in Paris next December that is to replace the 1997 legally binding Kyoto Protocol.

The Lima Call for Climate Action calls on countries to submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), the measuring and reporting indices, starting in March 2015. Measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions is a high priority because it is the data necessary for the UN’s passionate desire to eventually tax carbon that would amass trillions of dollars annually for redistribution around the globe.

Even with the U.S. on board for INDCs, China and India pushed back, because they know that a tax on greenhouse gas emissions would greatly increase their cost of luring new industries.

The Lima agreement calls for emissions reduction targets and requires all countries to quantify both greenhouse gas emissions limits and  proposed contributions to the UNFCCC’s Green Climate Fund that is to amass $100 billion annually by 2020, growing to $500 billion annually by 2050. The UNFCCC secretariat will publish the contributions.

Ignoring the fact that the earth has not warmed since 1998, non-governmental organizations accused the fossil fuel industry of being “the biggest barrier to progress.” They complained that the Lima Call for Climate Action stopped short of declaring an end to the use of fossil fuels by 2050, but hope to gain further commitments when the UNFCCC meets again in February and June. The NGO, 350.org, accused rich countries of, “dragging their feet on everything from finance to emissions reductions” but celebrated the “goal’s inclusion in the draft text is a win for the fossil fuel divestment movement.”

Americans can breathe a sigh of relief at the conclusion of this year’s UNFCCC, but we must remain vigilant to observe future global plans that would have a tremendous impact on our standard of living.

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The Next Democrat Candidate for President? Elizabeth Warren

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh
Besties

Besties

Bet on it.

It’s enough to make you feel sorry for Hillary Clinton. Well, almost. Her presidential campaign of celebrity and inevitability got off to a rocky start, mostly through her own mistakes, as when she claimed they were “dead broke” when she and Bubba left the White House.

But her gaffes were mere speed bumps compared to the real threat forming now. Massachusetts firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren emerges from Washington’s budget clash as the undisputed champion of the rising left, and will almost certainly challenge Clinton for the 2016 nomination. The polls say it’s Hillary’s turn, but I’m starting to believe 2016 could be 2008 all over again, with Warren taking the nomination from her the way Barack Obama did.

Hillary Clinton is a very poor retail politician, who got her lunch eaten and her head handed to her by somebody named Barack Hussein Obama, a man of zero accomplishment who had barely registered on the national radar screen until a couple of years earlier. By contrast, Hillary has been around since Watergate and was in our faces throughout the two terms of the Clinton administration. And yet she still lost.

You just know the Democrats are going to want to keep up their “historic” electoral accomplishments, which means they must nominate a (rich, white, elitist, one-percent member of the Harvard faculty) woman. And that’s going to be Fauxcahontas, the gal from Oklahoma who sets moonbats’ heart all a-flutter with her faux populism. Writing of the recent budget battle in the Senate, Kevin Williamson notes over at NRO:

Senator Elizabeth Warren, the millionaire Massachusetts class warrior who has made the vilification of Wall Street bankers her second-favorite pastime (right behind prospering on the largesse of Wall Street lawyers, the gentlemen and scholars who funded her very generously compensated position at Harvard and fill her campaign coffers) did not exactly make the issue her hill to die on, but the fight did provide her an excellent opportunity for grandstanding.

Flat-footed Hillary hasn’t got a chance. 

 

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Iran’s State-Owned TV Points Sydney-Siege Finger at ‘Terrorism Supporters’ U.S., Israel

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Iran tried to distance itself from the Iranian cleric who took over a cafe in Sydney, saying Man Haran Monis’ actions had nothing to do with Islam.

The 49-year-old, who called himself Sheikh Haron, was killed when police stormed the Lindt cafe after a 16-hour standoff. Australian authorities said they were forced to move in when they heard shots being fired inside the chocolate shop.

Monis was killed. Two hostages were killed, and a police officer was shot in the face yet is expected to survive.

The Iranian sought political asylum in Australia in 1996.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Marziyeh Afkham expressed alarm about “unclear and imperfect news about the Iranian refugee,” according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency, which didn’t carry the story of the shooting until the government had something to say.

IRNA said the “psychological conditions of the person, who took refuge in Australia two decades ago, had been discussed several times with the Australian officials.”

Iran’s state-owned Press TV said Afkham “emphasized on Monday that recourse to inhuman methods and terrorism has nothing to do with the divine religion of Islam.”

“She noted that the Australian police have been totally abreast of psychological conditions of the hostage taker, who had immigrated to Australia about two decades ago.”

Iran further tried to tie him to ISIS, noting that “the hostage taker had described Iran and the supporters of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as terrorists.” Monis was wearing a Shiite headband when he took over the cafe, yet reportedly asked for an ISIS flag during negotiations.

“Some blame the incident on those who support terrorism, including the United States, Israel, and certain regimes in the Middle East region that support such Takfiri groups as al-Nusra Front and ISIL,” Press TV reported.

The semi-official Fars News Agency ran with the headline: “Sydney Hostage-Taker Says He is ISIL Member.” Fars said the generic jihadi flag being waved by Monis was that of al-Nusra.

“The formerly Shiite Muslim underlines that he has converted to Sunni Islam, stressing that Shiites are blasphemous people,” read the Fars story. “He also underscores that the war in Iraq is not a sectarian strife, but a war between the Muslims (i.e. ISIL) and the hypocrites.”

After immigrating to Australia, Monis went to court over hateful letters written to the families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan. He was out on bail on charges of being accessory to the murder of his ex-wife, and subsequently faced more than 50 charges of indecent acts and sexual assault related to his “spiritual healer” practice.

On his website, Monis posted a statement dated December 2014, “I used to be a Rafidi, but not anymore. Now I am a Muslim, Alhamdu Lillah.”

“Islam is the religion of peace, that’s why Muslims fight against the oppression and terrorism of USA and its allies including UK and Australia. If we stay silent towards the criminals we cannot have a peaceful society,” he said in a statement dated Dec. 14. “The more you fight with crime, the more peaceful you are. Islam wants peace on the Earth, that’s why Muslims want to stop terrorism of America and its allies. When you speak out against crime you have taken one step towards peace.”

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How to Solve Poverty: Write a Check!

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Who knew the “problem” of “income inequality” (to use a couple of current Marxist buzzwords) could be solved so easily? And here the answer was staring us in the face the whole time, at least according to Betsy Isaacson at what’s left of Newsweek, the near-dead magazine that once told us “We Are All Socialists Now“:

 In the United States—as in all of the world’s wealthier nations—ending poverty is not a matter of resources. Many economists, including Timothy Smeeding of the University of Wisconsin (and former director of the Institute for Research on Poverty) have argued that every developed nation has the financial wherewithal to eradicate poverty. In large part this is because post-industrial productivity has reached the point where to suggest a deficit in resources is laughably disingenuous. And despite the occasional political grandstanding against welfare, there is no policy, ideology or political party that is on the books as pro-starvation, pro-homelessness, pro-death or anti-dignity. Yet, poverty continues to exist…

But there may be a solution. Some might see it as radical, but advocates, both libertarian and liberal, are suggesting straight up cash: a guaranteed subsidy to everyone. “We’ve got to a technological level now where no one needs to work the traditional 40-hour week,” says Barbara Jacobson, chair of Unconditional Basic Income–Europe, an alliance of European citizens and organizations that advocate for such subsidies.

A simple cash subsidy—$15,000 per year (which is about what the average retiree gets annually from Social Security) for every household, say—would give the poor and middle class a financial floor on which they could live, take care of their loved ones and maybe, says Jacobson, “think about what really needs doing, what they would like to do, what they have trained to do, as opposed to simply what someone might hire them to do.”

The gist of the argument here is that we inefficiently spend just about as much money servicing the poor via existing programs, so why not just give them a check? This obscures the hidden argument beneath, which is about the meaning of work and the value of one’s labor in the marketplace. Because to Leftists, there ought not be a marketplace at all.

And here silly you thought this kind of thinking went out with the Soviet Union. Marxism is like a pestilence, a virus that refuses to die. What will it take to finally throttle it?

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Of Course: NY Magazine Story of 17-Year-Old Market Whiz Debunked

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by David Steinberg

Folks, we should know this by now: if a story appears with a sensational headline yet with few, if any facts or background, presume it’s false. When journalists actually do stumble across stories that obviously require verification, we know to do the verification, and to include the verification in the article. We don’t write 300 words and move on.

On December 14, New York Magazine’s Jessica Pressler included 17-year-old Stuyvesant High School student Mohammed Islam as “Number 12″ in the magazine’s annual “Reasons To Love New York” series. The article went global quickly, including coverage in the NY Post and NY Daily News. It was Facebook’s most popular topic earlier today.

From Pressler’s article:

Late last year, a rumor began circulating at Stuyvesant that a junior named Mohammed Islam had made a fortune in the stock market. Not a small fortune, either. Seventy-two million.

An unbelievable amount of money for anyone, not least a high-school student, but as far as rumors go, this one seemed legit. Everyone at Stuy knew that Mohammed, the soft-spoken son of Bengali immigrants from Queens and the president of the school’s Investment Club, was basically a genius.

Mo, a cherubic senior with a goatee and slight faux-hawk, smiled shyly. “He’s quiet today,” said Patrick Trablusi, who was seated with Mo and Damir at a table littered with empty glasses. “Humble.” And tired: “This is our third meeting of the day,” Damir said, signaling to the waitress for another round. “We saw a real-estate agent, a lawyer, you …”

“Next we’re going to see a hedge-fund guy,” Patrick said. The friends locked eyes and started to giggle.

“He basically wants to give us $150 million,” Mo explained, a blush like a sunset creeping over his cheeks.

Giggling high schoolers locking eyes and blushing. Sounds legit.

So does this Facebook page Islam posted just a few hours ago referring to himself as a “public figure,” and on which his latest post states:

It has came to my attention that some people disprove of my spending habits. As a young man I am just beginning to make friends and understand the world, develop philosophy- but later in life I promise that I will lead a humble existence and dare not to spend lavishly and needlessly.

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Warren Leads Effort to Lift Ban on Gay, Bisexual Men Donating Blood

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other lawmakers are lobbying the Department of Health and Human Services to scrap “outdated” polices on blood donation by gay and bisexual men.

The policy on MSM — men who have sex with men — being banned from donating blood is “because MSM are, as a group, at increased risk for HIV, hepatitis B and certain other infections that can be transmitted by transfusion,” the FDA says in a Q&A.

“FDA’s primary responsibility with regard to blood and blood products is to assure the safety of patients who receive these life-saving products,” the website explains. “…FDA’s deferral policy is based on the documented increased risk of certain transfusion transmissible infections, such as HIV, associated with male-to-male sex and is not based on any judgment concerning the donor’s sexual orientation.”

Warren, along with Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Reps. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell today asking that the blanket prohibition be replaced with an individual risk analysis.

Seventy-five other members of Congress signed the letter.

They noted that on Nov. 13 the HHS Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability recommended changing the lifetime ban to a one-year restriction after an MSM encounter, contingent on the “implementation of a blood safety surveillance system.”

“However, such a policy still prevents many low-risk individuals from donating blood,” they wrote. “If we are serious about protecting and enhancing our nation’s blood supply, we must embrace science and reject outdated stereotypes.”

The senators said the one-year-ban proposal “like a lifetime ban is a categorial exclusion based solely on the sex of an individual’s sexual partner — not his actual risk of carrying a transfusion-transmittable infection.”

“The ACBTSA’s proposed policy change would, in practice, leave that lifetime ban in place for the vast majority of MSM, even those who are healthy and low-risk. Both policies are discriminatory, and both approaches are unacceptable. Low-risk individuals who wish to donate blood and help to save lives should not be categorically excluded because of outdated stereotypes.”

They also charged that the recommendation to hinge any change in the MSM blood donation policy to the establishment of a blood safety surveillance system “is an arbitrary condition that will inevitably result in further unnecessary delays.”

“To be clear, a comprehensive surveillance system for our blood supply is a critically important initiative to protect the blood supply from Hepatitis, HIV, and emerging diseases, and is long overdue….Years of HHS inaction on this issue is problematic, but so is the fact that ACBTSA has now suddenly chosen to make such a system a precondition of revising the donation policies specific to MSM.”

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Schumer: Cruz Chasm in GOP ‘Like Night and Day’ Different from Dems’ Warren Wing

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the weekend drama over the “cromnibus” appropriations bill and Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) failed point of order revealed a “huge” chasm in the GOP.

The $1.1 trillion bill passed in the Senate 56-40 on Saturday night. Between the cloture vote and the final cromnibus vote, Cruz tried to shoot down the bill with a constitutional point of order related to the funding of Obama’s immigration orders. That was firmly rebuked on a 22-74 vote.

Schumer told CNN yesterday that the biggest news of the night was “the open fight between Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz on the — there are huge differences in the Republican Party.”

“On the floor of the Senate, we saw the soul of the Republican Party being debated,” he said. “Ted Cruz was in the well pushing his so-called constitutional point of order, which risks shutting down the government. Five feet away from him was Mitch McConnell imploring senators to vote the other way. And the vote, unfortunately, was about 50/50 on the Republican side.”

“And so that makes me worry a great deal, because if, after the terrible, terrible brickbats Republicans took when they shut down the government a few years ago, half the Republican senators are still willing to risk it again, despite the fact that their leader went against it, I’m worried about the next two years.”

Schumer predicted “it’s going to get worse” in the 114th Congress because “you have the presidential candidates in the Senate pulling things to the right” — a reference to Cruz and Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). “We want to work with the Republicans to help the middle class, but I’m worried the Tea Party is going to pull them much too far over.”

Schumer added that the liberals splitting off in the “Warren wing” — senators and potential presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) voted against the cromnibus — isn’t the same issue that the GOPs are facing.

“I think that the differences between — among Democrats are small compared to the huge chasm of Republicans. On the fundamental issues that face us, the economic issues that we need to address to get the middle class moving again, to get middle-class incomes going again, there’s amazing unity on the Democratic side, from Elizabeth Warren, through Hillary Clinton, all the way to Joe Manchin and some of the more conservatives,” he said.

“You look like — on issues like minimum wage, and equal pay, and infrastructure construction, helping people pay for college, the Democratic Party is unified. And if we put together a strong economic message aimed at the middle class, not only will it unify our party, as the Republicans are truly divided, but we can actually, actually do really well in 2016.”

The “soul of the Democratic Party,” Schumer added, is “economic issues.”

“And I think, on economic issues, we are united. And Elizabeth Warren is — even if people don’t agree with her, she’s constructive. She’s not like Ted Cruz and say, shut down the government or don’t fund things if I don’t get my way. She’s working hard to move things in her direction. And that’s a good thing,” the senator said.

“Ted Cruz, on the other hand, he — people say he’s a great political mover and shaker. He made huge mistakes yesterday. Ted Cruz misfired. He helped us get nominees that Republicans didn’t want. He embarrassed Mitch McConnell, who had gone home Friday night and said, see you on Monday. And he got Republicans publicly for the first time talking against him. So I think comparing the two wings of the party is like night and day.”

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SCOTUS Says ‘No’ to Arizona Appeal to Limit Abortion Drugs

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

From the Los Angeles Times:

The Supreme Court on Monday turned down Arizona’s bid to limit how doctors prescribe drugs that are commonly used in early abortions.

The justices in an unsigned order dismissed an appeal from Arizona state lawyers and let stand a lower court ruling that blocked the abortion regulation from taking effect.

The court’s action is the latest showing the justices are skeptical of strict new state regulations on abortion, or at least unwilling to confront the issue now.

In October, the court blocked Texas from enforcing part of a new abortion law that would have required all abortion clinics to meet the standards of an ambulatory surgical center. Lawyers for the clinics said this rule, if enforced, would have closed most of the state’s remaining abortion facilities.

While this is certainly unwelcome news for those of us who are pro-life, it does serve to illustrate just how full of it the pro-abortion lobby is. Since the election in November, dire warnings of end times for convenient abortions have been ringing throughout the left media (Google “abortion rights Republican majority”). The story goes that the states are asserting their rights (in America? Quelle horreur!) and rolling back “a woman’s right to chose” to the point that it’s nigh on impossible to get an abortion.

No.

Some states have tried to make the procedure safer (Texas), which shouldn’t even be debatable after the Gosnell horrors were revealed. Others have tried to make abortion a bit more difficult to get than, say, gum at 7-Eleven. Of course, any restrictions are seen as onerous to the abortion lobby.

In the fevered minds of the professional abortion mongers, one state’s actions will somehow countermand Roe vs Wade overnight.

If there is anything we’ve learned from Jonathan Gruber, it’s that they know they’re playing to a stupid constituency.

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What Is Valerie Jarrett and Elizabeth Warren’s Scheme?

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

What are Valerie Jarrett and Elizabeth Warren up to? @slmgpix @pjbolyard @chrisqueen

A video posted by David Swindle (@daveswindlepjm) on

Three pieces were linked at the Drudge Report today on the rising Idol of the progressive political cult, first by Michael Goodwin at the New York Post: “Elizabeth Warren poses a challenge to Hillary in 2016“:

The polls say it’s Hillary’s turn, but I’m starting to believe 2016 could be 2008 all over again, with Warren taking the nomination from her the way Barack Obama did.

As Mark Twain said, “History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” So it is with the political dynamic, then and now.

Clinton acted entitled, and Obama offered a charismatic ­alternative. She represented the tired past, he a fresh future.

A possible Warren sequel to that historic upset has been taking shape for months, but it has now crystallized. The first-term senator’s rallying cry against what she called “a giveaway to the most powerful banks” almost scuttled the budget bill in the House before bipartisan support allowed her to have it both ways.

She comes out of the wreckage as the standard-bearer of progressive populism without being blamed for shutting down the government. Her GOP doppelgänger, Ted Cruz, should have been so lucky.

Second, at the Washington Post: “Elizabeth Warren was told to stay quiet, but she didn’t – and it’s paying off.” Third, another at the Post, ”Amid Warren buzz, Clinton might do well not to wait too long to announce 2016 bid.”

Here’s audio from Warren on NPR:

 

NN RADIO HOST: “Would you tell these independent groups, ‘Give it up.’ You just never going to run.”
WARREN: “I told them, ‘I’m not running for president.’”
NN RADIO HOST: “You are putting that in the present tense tough. Are you never going to run?”
WARREN: “I’m not running for president.”
NN RADIO HOST: “You’re not putting a ‘never’ on that?”
WARREN: “I’m not running for president. Do you want me to put an exclamation point at the end?”

What do you think? Is Warren a challenger for Clinton in 2016? Or is the Jarrett-Obama/Chicago-Alinskyite wing of the Democratic Party going to make peace with the House of Clinton ascending again?

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[WATCH] CNN Host Asks Gun-Grabbing Senator: What if an American Wants an Assault Weapon to Protect Against Terrorists?

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Liz Sheld

Notorious gun-grabber Senator Chris Murphy (D) appeared on CNN to talk to Chris Cuomo about the hostage situation in Sydney.

Murphy cautioned about “profiling” against Muslims, when he was asked about assessing terror risks.

Cuomo followed up by asking:

You get a plus minus from situations like this for one of your signature causes. namely gun control in the US. We believe the man in Sydney has  shotgun, if he did, that would be an illegal weapon. When you look at what the risk is in the United States generally men like this are involving themselves with weapons but it also creates pressure on people who want weapons so they can defend themselves against citizens who decide to lose it and become sympathizers of terrorism. How does this change what you think you can achieve what you can do with gun control?

Whereupon Murphy responded with the typical, erroneous gun-control talking points without answering the question:

Ultimately what we know is that when a gunman walk into crowded places they kill more people when they have powerful assault weapons and this mythology that you end up killing bad guys by arming good guys just doesn’t work. Study after study shows you in communities where you have more guns, more people get killed and the reality is if you have a gun at home, you are more likely to be killed by it than to kill an attacker. We need to have a conversation about what kind of weapons we make legal because the assault weapons are more likely than not are going to be used in these mass slaughters rather than being used by some citizen to stop someone in one of those situations, hopefully we will be able to have that conversation.

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Taliban Demand Investigation of U.S. for ‘Violations of International Humanitarian Laws’

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The Taliban has called for an international investigation into the human rights standards of the United States after the Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats released a lengthy report criticizing enhanced interrogation techniques used in the war on terror.

Under Taliban rule, Afghans were subject to public floggings or executions for “violations” such as women wearing nail polish or exposing any skin, or both teachers and students trying to learn in underground schools. Women had zero rights and weren’t allowed to leave their homes except with a male relative. Nowadays, the Taliban commits acts of violence against activist or working women, and the Pakistani Taliban shot Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai in 2012 while she was going to school.

“Since the inception of America’s occupation of Afghanistan, the Islamic Emirate has provided information to the international community regarding America’s barbarities and inhumane treatment of the Afghan populace. At the time, no nation dared listen to our nation’s pleas or show even slight response for fear of estranging America,” the Taliban said in a statement posted on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan website over the weekend.

“Now after 14 years of such barbarities, the US Senate itself has lifted the curtain off of America’s intelligence arm, the CIA, and revealed the extent of their tortuous treatment of unarmed prisoners. In reality the practices of CIA mentioned in this report are only a fraction of those committed by this agency throughout America’s occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.”

The Taliban said they hope the full Senate report — last week’s release was the executive summary — “is released to the public for passing judgment.”

“It is hoped that the full report will provide a clearer picture of the extent of these crimes,” the group added.

“…Unfortunately America’s intelligence violations continue unabated to this day. Even today America and its intelligence arms continue to operate black prisons throughout their main centers in Afghanistan. These operatives continue to violate the basic rights of ordinary citizens, they carry out night raids on civilian homes, women and children are regularly held without charges, subject them to degrading treatment, carry out indiscriminate bombings, and subject ordinary Afghans to all forms of inhumane treatment.”

The Taliban claimed the U.S. has “planted chosen individuals inside Afghanistan’s intelligence agencies as well as the local police and warlords and use these individuals to commit unspoken barbarities including kidnappings, rape and torture.”

“We call on the international community as well as those international organizations that call themselves champions of human rights, to examine America’s ongoing policy in light of these human rights standards. These human rights abuses, especially violations of international humanitarian laws, continue to be committed by American installed agents in the Kabul regime. If these human rights organizations fail to stop these abuses and then several years later claim to reveal such abuses, it is a sign of their failure and incompetent. Their failure to address such blatant violations implies that these organizations are concerned less with addressing human rights violations and more with promoting hidden agendas.”

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Allah Now Angry About Boutique Coffee & Chocolate Shops

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Scott Ott

Allah — the Most Compassionate, the Most Incendiary — has, in recent years, made it clear that he’s angry with Americans and uppity women (but I repeat myself). However over the weekend, we learned that Allah — the Nourisher, the Reliever (the latter, doubtless, while standing) — has become enraged by boutique coffee and chocolate shops.

As Australian authorities attempted to negotiate with a soldier of Allah — the Everlasting, the Attention-Deficit Disordered One — to release hostages and come out peacefully from the coffee and chocolates shop in which he has barricaded himself, I managed to secure an exclusive interview with the Muslim deity.

Below is an exact transcript of my one-on-one with Allah — the Most Candid, the Most Quotable — precisely as these words came to me from the angel, Gibreel, his official spokesman.

SCOTT OTT: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. I know you’re a busy god.

ALLAH: Not at all. I run a decentralized operation, so I can focus on vision and strategy, while my agents in the field take care of the day-to-day stuff.

SCOTT OTT: Completely autonomous?

ALLAH: Well, they have the manual committed to memory, and as long as they don’t run afoul of it, they’re free to carry out my vision as they see fit. Middle managers help to head off violators.

SCOTT OTT: I see what you did there.

ALLAH: Forgive me.

SCOTT OTT: I thought that was your job.

ALLAH: Touché.

SCOTT OTT: I can understand why you’ve been enraged by American soldiers and by women — particularly women, since they’re the greater threat — but what is it about coffee and chocolate shops that offends you?

ALLAH: Well, some think it’s the pricing, the atmosphere or the indefinable music. As for me, it’s the pretension that borders on idolatry.

SCOTT OTT: You mean it’s the hipsters?

ALLAH: In a word.

SCOTT OTT: But isn’t armed hostage-taking a bit O.T.T.?

ALLAH: I see what you did there, Scott Ott.

SCOTT OTT: Forgive me.

ALLAH: I’ll think about it.

SCOTT OTT: Seriously, why not organize a boycott of coffee and chocolate shops in the name of Allah, the Most Politically-Savvy?

ALLAH: It could backfire. I’ll give you three words: Chik-fil-A.

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Which Talk Radio Hosts Are Your Favorites?

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

Last week I described my current talk radio work-day listening schedule: The Morning Answer with Ben Shapiro, Elisha Krauss and Brian Whitman from 6-9; The Dennis Prager Show from 9-noon; an afternoon break for meetings or writing to classical music from noon to 3; and then The Ben Shapiro Show from 3-6 in the afternoon.

One of the great things about today’s technology is that it’s possible to listen to multiple radio shows at the same time. When the commercials start on one show then it’s time to switch over to the other. Who should I give a shot and try and integrate into my daily routine? And also what podcasts do you recommend for daily listening? I try and catch Walter Hudson’s every day too.

Tweet your suggestions to me and I welcome dialogue on Twitter at @DaveSwindle. I’ll update this post throughout the morning with any highlights from the shows or memorable online exchanges.

****

image illustration via shutterstock / 

Updated at 7:13: Wow, already 2 responses:

Updated at 8:35: I registered my disagreement with Morning Answer Host Brian Whitman’s SoCal fast food recommendations which are as wrongheaded as his political positions:

Forget Tommy’s. The Habit is the best burger in Los Angeles. (Yes, better than In-N-Out!)

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Iranian Cleric ID’d as Hostage-Taker in Sydney Cafe

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The man who is still holding hostages in the Lindt cafe in Sydney has been identified as an Iranian cleric with a history of brushes with the law since arriving to Australia as a refugee in 1996.

Islamic accounts on Twitter identified the headband worn by the terrorist as saying “Labbayk ya Muhammad,” or “at your service, Muhammad,” leading many to believe he’s Shiite. He carried a Shahada flag.

Multiple Australian media outlets have identified the gunman as Sheikh Man Haron Monis, who went to court over sending offensive letters to the families of Australian soldiers who died in Afghanistan. It became a freedom-of-speech debate in the country’s High Court.

Earlier this year, he was charged as an accessory in the stabbing and burning death of his ex-wife, but released on bail. “Man Monis then stood outside the court wearing chains and holding a sign claiming he has been tortured in custody,” reported the ABC. In the spring, he was charged with sexual assault while acting as a “spiritual healer.”

Haron began the siege with a pump-action shotgun at 9:45 a.m. Sydney time. Three men and two women managed to escape in the hours left, leaving about 15 hostages left.

He has demanded a live, on-the-air phone call with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and has also said he’ll release one hostage in exchange for an ISIS flag.

“I used to be a Rafidi, but not anymore. Now I am a Muslim, Alhamdu Lillah,” Haron announced on his website in a message marked December 2014.

In a message dated Dec. 14, the day he took the hostages, Haron wrote, “Islam is the religion of peace, that’s why Muslims fight against the oppression and terrorism of USA and its allies including UK and Australia. If we stay silent towards the criminals we cannot have a peaceful society. The more you fight with crime, the more peaceful you are. Islam wants peace on the Earth, that’s why Muslims want to stop terrorism of America and its allies. When you speak out against crime you have taken one step towards peace.”

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How Much Does the NYT Hate America? Click Here!

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

This much:

THE police killing unarmed civilians. Horrifying income inequality. Rotting infrastructure and an unsafe “safety net.” An inability to respond to climate, public health and environmental threats. A food system that causes disease. An occasionally dysfunctional and even cruel government. A sizable segment of the population excluded from work and subject to near-random incarceration.

You get it: This is the United States, which, with the incoming Congress, might actually get worse.

Not a parody! Honest to God, even the great David Kahane couldn’t make this stuff up. In the case, the author is one Mark Bittman, who gets his inner Occupy freak on with an ill-considered, bitter cri de coeur against, well against just about everything that’s cheesing him off about Amerikkka. It’s also a handy guide to every left-liberal cause du jour, a primal scream of hate against the society that continues to frustrate the Left with its stubborn moral rejection of their Marxist principles:

The progress of the last 40 years has been mostly cultural, culminating, the last couple of years, in the broad legalization of same-sex marriage. But by many other measures, especially economic, things have gotten worse, thanks to the establishment of neo-liberal principles — anti-unionism, deregulation, market fundamentalism and intensified, unconscionable greed — that began with Richard Nixon and picked up steam under Ronald Reagan. Too many are suffering now because too few were fighting then.

There follows a laundry list of moonbat fixations, which I will mercifully skip over in the interests of our collective sanity. Here’s the big peroration:

Everything affects everything. It’s all tied together, and the starting place hardly matters: A just and righteous system will have a positive impact on everything we care about, just as an unjust, exploitative system makes everything worse.

Increasingly, it seems, there’s an appetite and even unity to take on the billionaire class. Let’s recognize that if we are seeing positive change now, it’s in part because elected officials respond to pressure, and let’s remember that that pressure must be maintained no matter who is in office. Even if Bernie Sanders were to become president, the need for pressure would continue.

“True citizenship,” says Jayaraman of Berkeley — echoing Jefferson — “is people continually protesting.” Precisely.

As that great former secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, wrote in her Wellesley thesis on Saul Alinsky: “There is only the fight.” I say, if they want a fight, let’s give it to them. To bad the GOP squishes in Congress aren’t on our side.

 

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[WATCH] CIA Insider: Expect a Similar Sydney-Type Attack in United States

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Liz Sheld

CBS this morning interviewed former CIA Director Mike Morell to discuss the hostage situation in Sydney, Australia.

He explained that Australia was targeted because they are a partner of the west, and they are a coalition partner now in the fight against ISIS.

Morell said:

We are going to see this kind of terrorism around the world and we are going to to see it here. Nora, we are going to see this kind of attack here, and we need to be prepared for that. It shouldn’t suprise people when this kind of thing happens here, some time over the next year or so, guaranteed.

If they’re quiet about it, it’s very easy to carry out something like this, he added.

Watch the video:

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People Taking Selfies at the Sydney Siege

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Liz Sheld

A cafe in Sydney, Australia is under siege by a Muslim extremist and hostages are being held at gunpoint.  The hostages are being forced to take turns holding up the Islamic flag.

The cafe is surrounded by armed police and the area around the cafe is on lockdown.

The reaction from almost all sectors of Australian society has been one of horror and condemnation: It’s “profoundly shocking,” said Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and a coalition of Australian Muslim groups has released a statement decrying the gunman’s actions as “despicable,” and that the “misguided individuals… represent no one but themselves.”

And people are taking selfies.

Sydney3

Sydney2

Sydney1

H/T Daily Mail

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Report: Al-Qaeda Using CIA-Supplied TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Northern Syria

Sunday, December 14th, 2014 - by Patrick Poole

Earlier this month I reported here at PJ Media that U.S.-backed Syrian rebel groups were allying with Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, in the south, while others were surrendering their weapons to the terror group in the north.

Now a report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights indicates that Jabhat al-Nusra is using TOW anti-tank missiles, which had previously been supplied by the CIA to “vetted moderates” groups, in an assault on a Syrian army position in the north (HT: Zaid Benjamin):

Idlib province: No less than 15 soldiers in regime forces were killed by an attack by Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic fighters on their bastions in Wadi al-Deif and al-Hamdia camps, while no less than 8 fighters from the other side were killed during the clashes in the area, Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic battalions have taken over the checkpoints of ” al-Za’lan, al-Raii, al-Rab’an ” around the camps. Jabhat al-Nusra devastated a tank for regime forces around Wadi al-Deif camp with an American Tao [sic] missile.

A report last month indicated that the Syrian Revolutionaries Front and Harakat Hazm — both U.S.-backed and supplied by the CIA with TOW missiles — had surrendered or abandoned their weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra.

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Nations Reach Deal on Outline of New Climate Treaty

Sunday, December 14th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

A deal to reach a deal next year on a new climate change treaty was reached by 190 nations in Lima, Peru, on Sunday, as nations put off big decisions on what to do about global warming until a conference in Paris in 2015.

Major points of agreement included appeasing emerging economies like China and India by making rich nations mostly responsible for funding third world climate mitigation efforts, despite the fact that China is the number one emitter of greenhouse gases in the world and India is 4th.

The Lima deal also recognizes for the first time that all nations have to cut their emissions — a sop to rich countries who complained that global warming is a global problem and that all countries must participate in the reduction schemes.

But in the end, the deal is relatively meaningless. All the issues that nearly caused the talks to collapse were put off until the Paris conference next year.

Associated Press:

More than 30 hours behind schedule, delegates from more than 190 countries agreed on what information should go into the pledges that countries submit for the expected Paris pact.

They argued all day Saturday over the wording for the watered-down deal, with developing nations worried that the text blurred the distinction between what rich and poor countries can be expected to do.

Many developing countries, the most vulnerable to climate change’s impacts, accuse rich nations of shirking their responsibilities to curb climate change and pay for the damage it inflicts.

The final draft of the deal alleviated those concerns with language saying countries have “common but differentiated responsibilities” to deal with global warming.

“As a text it’s not perfect, but it includes the positions of the parties,” said Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who was the conference chairman and had spent most of the day meeting separately with delegations.

In presenting a new, fourth draft just before midnight, Peru’s environment minister gave a sharply reduced body of delegates an hour to review it. Many delegates had already quit the makeshift conference center on the grounds of Peru’s army headquarters.

It also restored language demanded by small island states at risk of being flooded by rising seas, mentioning a “loss and damage” mechanism agreed upon in last year’s talks in Poland that recognizes that nations hardest hit by climate change will require financial and technical help.

“We need a permanent arrangement to help the poorest of the world,” Ian Fry, negotiator for the Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu, said at a midday session.

However, the approved draft weakened language on the content of the pledges, saying they “may” instead of “shall” include quantifiable information showing how countries intend to meet their emissions targets.

Also, top carbon polluter China and other major developing countries opposed plans for a review process that would allow the pledges to be compared against one another before Paris.

In Lima, the momentum from last month’s joint U.S.-China deal on emissions targets faded quickly as rifts reopened over who should do what to fight global warming. The goal of the talks is to shape a global agreement in Paris that puts the world on a path to reduce the heat-trapping gases that scientists say are warming the planet.

That “financial and technical assistance” will come out of the pockets of largely western taxpayers. Cost estimates have varied wildly, but one study predicted a cost of $2 trillion a year worldwide by 2050, with most of that being born by the US and the EU. By then, the US is expected to decrease its carbon emissions by 80%.

Not all of that cost will be in taxes, but a sizable portion will be. There are also expected to be some savings as we move to more efficient energy sources. But that’s just for morale. The fact is, climate change will cut economic growth significantly, which means fewer jobs created and less wealth.

The world seems hell bent on fighting climate change even though there is scant evidence that the “solutions” being offered will affect the rise in temperatures. What these treaties will accomplish will be the social goal of transferring wealth from rich countries to the control of thugs, deadbeats, kleptocrats, and fanatics in poor countries.

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Ted Cruz: The Democrats’ Best Friend

Sunday, December 14th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

Senator Ted Cruz is now officially on the outs with most of the GOP caucus. I’m sure that suits him fine, and no doubt wins him friends and supporters among those conservatives who cheer his grandstanding and futile legislative gestures that have zero chance of passing.

For Cruz, playing to the peanut gallery on the right in service to his overweening ambition to be president trumps all. Forget reason. Forget logic. Why bother with those trivialities when there’s red meat to throw at his supporters?

And if, in the process of satisfying the bloodlust of his supporters, he helps the opposition and damages his party and its causes, that is secondary to his narcissistic compulsion to make everything about him.

Twenty-four Obama administration nominees to the bench and important agency positions that were blocked for months by his fellow Republicans were set on the path  to easy confirmation over the weekend because Cruz wanted to blow up the budget deal. By preventing the Senate from leaving town on Friday when he objected to the unanimous consent request by Majority Leader Harry Reid to adjourn until Monday, Cruz not only forced a vote on his motion to deny funding to Obama’s executive orders on immigration on Saturday night — a vote that would have happened Monday anyway — he allowed Reid and the Democrats the extra time they needed to ram through a couple of dozen ultra-liberal nominees who will do more damage to the causes in which conservatives believe than all of Obama’s executive orders put together.

The judges will be sitting for years. The agency personnel will be writing regulations for the next two years that I doubt Cruz would be happy with. Just what possessed this demagogue to put his personal, political interests ahead of the goals of his party and his ideology?

There was never any chance his legislative gambit would work, as evidenced by the final vote on his amendment — 74-22. Meanwhile, Obama’s choice for surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, whom Republicans had been blocking for months, will be confirmed in a vote later this week. Murthy once suggested that guns should be regulated as a health hazard.

Thanks a lot, Ted.

Democrats are also thanking Cruz:

Most Republican senators had no idea what Cruz was trying to accomplish. Cruz joined them in that cluelessness:

“GOP [senators] should quit complaining about Cruz and Lee and start working with us to stop amnesty,” tweeted Amanda Carpenter, Cruz’s spokeswoman.

What does Cruz think the rest of the caucus was doing when they got the Democrats to agree to a short-term funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security? The whole point of the limited funding for DHS is so that the issue of Obama’s executive orders on immigration can be revisited when Republicans have a majority in both houses of Congress.

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Senate Passes Cromnibus as Just 22 GOPs Vote for Cruz’s Constitutional Point of Order

Saturday, December 13th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The Senate passed the $1.1 trillion “cromnibus” appropriations bill late tonight, sending it to President Obama’s desk and averting a government shutdown.

The cromnibus squeaked past the House 219-206 on Thursday night. The vote tonight in the Senate was 56-40.

Between the cloture vote and the final cromnibus vote, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tried to shoot down the bill with a constitutional point of order related to the funding of Obama’s immigration orders. That was firmly rebuked on a 22-74 vote.

“The junior senator from Texas is wrong, wrong, wrong,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the floor.

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) voted for the point of order. “Any attempt to circumvent Congress and grant amnesty to millions in this country illegally is unacceptable and unconstitutional,” Isakson said. “The president continues to circumvent Congress by executive action, and I am appalled that he is doing it once again with immigration.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who voted no, said the cromnibus “empowers the new Republican majority to fight the President’s unconstitutional immigration executive order head-on in January, when the era of unfettered, big-government liberalism from this White House comes to an end.”

“‎While the president’s executive actions on immigration are reprehensible and deserve a strong response, I value the oath I took to support and defend the Constitution too much to exploit it for political expediency,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said. “The Constitution gives Congress the power to fund the government so to assert that the House-passed spending bill is unconstitutional is not only inaccurate but irresponsible.”

The Senate voted for nearly 10 hours straight on Saturday beginning at noon, plowing through 28 votes.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sided with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in opposing the cromnibus from the left.

“Sadly, slipped into this measure at the last moment were massive special interest giveaways rolling back taxpayer protections against risky financial maneuvers by banks, reversing transportation safety rules, undercutting pension rights, and opening huge loopholes for billionaires to increase their influence on political campaigns and candidates. That is why I voted against this flawed measure – poisoned by special favors flagrantly contrary to the public interest,” Blumenthal said.

“Such provisions are unwise, unfair and unacceptable, snuck into the bill without debate or public scrutiny.”

Not voting over the weekend were Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.). Chambliss and Coburn are retiring.

Many GOP senators were irked at the strategy of Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) to delay the cromnibus vote, as nominations pushed through in the weekend sessions included a key procedural vote on Obama’s controversial pick for surgeon general.

Vivek Murthy, a 37-year-old Harvard Medical School instructor who founded Doctors for Obama (which changed its name to Doctors for America) and who is lobbied against by the NRA as a gun-control activist, was nominated in November 2013. The final vote on his nomination could be as early as Monday.

 

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PHOTOS: D.C. March Draws Thousands to Protest Police Actions

Saturday, December 13th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

WASHINGTON — If there was an antithesis to the night of looting and rioting in Ferguson, Mo., after a grand jury decided to not indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown, it was today’s “Justice for All” march in D.C.

There was no more police presence for the demonstration starting at Freedom Plaza near the White House down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol than there was for any other D.C. event; cops were mainly focused on traffic control at closed road segments. D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier mingled and chatted among the crowd.

After it was over at around 3 p.m., demonstrators strolled around the sights of D.C., found places for lunch, or found their tour bus among the vehicles lined up on Constitution Avenue.

Ethnically diverse marchers ranged from senior citizens to little kids, and many parents pushed strollers down the protest route. College groups and organizations such as the ACLU, NAACP, and SEIU organized groups of marchers, but many protesters just came on their own. One woman told PJM that she and 30 others had pooled together for a bus from Savannah, Ga.

The family-friendly atmosphere extended to impromptu speeches off the main stage. One man was overheard apologizing to those around him for using a cuss word in his rant, saying he got carried away by the moment.

Washington police don’t release crowd estimates, but the number easily exceeded 10,000, stretching during the march along the whole protest route.

Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, encouraged the crowd to channel their anger into volunteering for a nonprofit that shares their individual ideals and goals. The mother of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old playing with a toy gun and killed by a Cleveland cop three weeks ago, found it difficult to speak.

“I want to thank the nation and the world for the support, because that’s the only way I’m standing up right now,” Samaria Rice said. “The only way.”

Organizers attempted to draw rope cordons on the east end of the crowd at Freedom Plaza so that organizer Al Sharpton and family members of Brown, Martin, Rice, Eric Garner, and others could symbolically lead the protest. However, some protesters made clear they were there for a cause and not for Sharpton.

About 400 protesters came to D.C. from Ferguson, and some of them used a bullhorn to briefly steal the stage, accusing Sharpton of putting on a show with the placid protest.

A Washington Post reporter at the west end of the rally spied “dozens and dozens of protesters”  leaving when Sharpton spoke. “I believe in the march,” David Saunders told the paper. ”But I don’t want to hear him.”

And the family of Akai Gurley, the Brooklyn man shot in a stairwell of his housing project by a spooked rookie cop before Thanksgiving, wasn’t among the speakers. His family had told Sharpton, who decided he was going to give the eulogy at the 28-year-old’s funeral, to back off when he tried to run the show. The mother of Gurley’s 2-year-old daughter brought the child to the protest and spoke briefly.

The crowd gasped as one surprise guest took the stage: Levar Jones, shot by a South Carolina trooper in September after he retrieved his wallet on a seat-belt traffic stop at a gas station. The dashboard cam video, with a stunned Jones asking the cop “Why did you shoot me?” as he lay wounded, led to assault charges against the officer.

Jones, who was shot in the hip, wore a sweatshirt bearing his famous question. With the help of a cane, he walked the entire protest route.

“I thank God every day that I’m here,” Jones said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More: 

Congressman: Protesters in D.C. for ‘Same Reason That People Threw Tea Into the Boston Harbor’

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Senate Republicans Grumbling Over Cruz Tactics

Saturday, December 13th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

Late Friday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was all set to enact an agreement he made with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that would adjourn the Senate for a nice weekend and then come back on Monday to vote on the Cromnibus spending bill.

Reid proceeded with the pro forma motion to adjourn — until Senator Ted Cruz objected. From that point forward, all of Reid’s and McConnell’s best laid plans went haywire.

Instead of adjourning, Reid is using the time this weekend to ram through several nominations. Meanwhile, Cruz is trying to maneuver Reid into holding a vote on his amnesty defunding bill. It doesn’t appear the majority leader is about to give in, and Cruz’s tactics have some Republican senators grumbling.

Associated Press:

Asked if Cruz had created an opening for the Democrats, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah said, “I wish you hadn’t pointed that out.”

Hatch added, “You should have an end goal in sight if you’re going to do these types of things and I don’t see an end goal other than irritating a lot of people.”

Added Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.: “I fail to see what conservative ends were achieved.” He also said he was worried about what the events means for next year, when Republicans are in charge.

“The other concern I have here now is the nominations that are going to get through that otherwise wouldn’t,” said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

Appearing irritated, some Republicans spoke with Cruz on the Senate floor about his actions. At another point, Cruz huddled in the rear of the chamber with Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who had supported him on Friday evening, and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, another tea party-backed lawmaker.

The GOP leader, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, made no public comment on the events, even though Cruz suggested Friday night McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, should not be entirely trusted to keep their pledge to challenge Obama’s immigration policy when Republicans gain two-house control of Congress in January.

“We will learn soon enough if those statements are genuine and sincere,” Cruz said.

Cruz and the Banzai Charge Caucus in the Senate will not get their way this time around. Most Republicans — even those adamantly opposed to the president’s immigration orders — would prefer to keep their powder dry and, less than a month from now, take on the defunding issue when Republicans control both houses of Congress. At the very least, it is likely some kind of defunding measure will end up on the president’s desk, forcing him to veto it. That route is far preferable to the futile gesture of trying to get a defunding measure passed through a Democratic Senate.

Cruz doesn’t care what other senators think of him — a rarity on the Hill. His constituency is outside of Washington and sees nothing wrong with his hopeless, but emotionally satisfying, tactics. Americans overwhelmingly reject the president’s actions on immigration but they are equally opposed to shutting down the government. But Cruz and his small band of GOP outriders aren’t listening, which only makes them look petulant and small.

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Cops Union Tells de Blasio to Stay Away from Their Funerals

Saturday, December 13th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

A police union in New York City is so incensed with Mayor de Blasio’s statements following the grand jury decision in the Eric Garner case that they are asking their members to sign a waiver requesting that the mayor refrain from attending their funerals if they are killed in the line of duty.

The union is also asking members to disinvite Council Speaker Melissa ​Mark-​Viverito.

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association sent out a flyer headlined “Don’t Let Them Insult Your Sacrifice,” urging members to download and sign the waiver from their website.

New York Post:

“I, as a New York City police officer, request that Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito refrain from attending my funeral services in the event that I am killed in the line of duty,” the waiver states.

“Due to Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito’s consistent refusal to show police officers the support and respect they deserve, I believe that their attendance at the funeral of a fallen New York City police officer is an insult to that officer’s memory and sacrifice.”

Officers can download the form on the PBA’s Web site and drop off a signed copy to their PBA delegates.

The mayor traditionally attends funerals for fallen officers.

“This is deeply disappointing,” the mayor and the council speaker said in a joint statement.
“Incendiary rhetoric like this serves only to divide the city, and New Yorkers reject these tactics.

“The mayor and the speaker both know better than to think this inappropriate stunt represents the views of the majority of police officers and their families.

Hizoner is being deeply disingenuous. The mayor told a group of protestors that he had warned his mixed race son to be careful around the police:

“We’ve had to literally train him, as families have all over this city for decades, in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him,” the mayor said.

PBA President Patrick Lynch reacted to that by accusing the mayor of throwing cops “under the bus.”

The Post reported that amid protests on the Garner verdict, a “Pro-Cop Rally” at City Hall is being planned for next Friday.

Ordinarily, the advice given by de Blasio to his son is sound, although then was not the time to say it and the way he said it implied he was in danger. Most of these recent police shootings are the direct result of people not doing what the police are telling them to do. Trying to be a hard ass and resist the police is extraordinarily dangerous. When encountering the cops, no matter what the circumstances and even if you think the police are in the wrong, cooperation with their wishes is not only smart, it’s the law.

That’s the message that black parents should be giving their children. When stopped by an officer, do as you’re told, don’t mouth off or talk back, and if taken into custody, don’t resist. If you know it’s a mistake, keep your mouth shut until you get legal representation. These simple rules are a no brainer when dealing with the police and are virtually guaranteed to prevent the kinds of tragedies that have occurred in recent weeks.

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How Long Can Elizabeth Warren Resist the Siren Song of High Office?

Saturday, December 13th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

You are probably familiar with the creatures from Greek mythology known as the Sirens. They lived on an island in the Aegean Sea and it was said that if sailors heard their seductive and beautiful song, they would go mad and crash their ship into the island’s rocky shores.

In Homer’s Odyssey, the hero Odysseus very much wanted to hear the song of the Sirens, but he didn’t want to be shipwrecked. So he had his men tie him to the mast and plug their ears with beeswax. He ordered them not to release him under any circumstances, no matter how much be begged or threatened them.

Sure enough, as Odysseus’s ship sailed past the Sirens’ island, the singing drove the hero to near madness. He pleaded and begged his men to release him, to no avail. But Odysseus became known as the only human who resisted the siren song, albeit because he was restrained.

You have to wonder if Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, whose profile has been raised considerably this week because of her public break with President Obama and her opposition to Cromnibus, is lashed tight enough to the mast in order to resist the growing chorus from the left, urging her to run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

For months, Warren has been almost Shermanesque in her denials that she’s running for president. But you have to wonder if the left’s Siren Song urging her to run might be giving her second thoughts.

The liberal magazine that used to be The New Republic features an article by Danny Vinik that highlights Warren’s anti-Wall Street cred with the liberal base of the Democratic Party, embodied in two issues: opposition to the Wall Street giveaway in Cromnibus, and the nomination of Antonio Weiss to be undersecretary of Treasury for Domestic Finance:

It’s rare for such a nominee to become a political issue, much less a political issue within a party. But that’s what has happened to Antonio Weiss, whom Obama nominated on November 12.

A week later, Warren came out vocally against Weiss, arguing that he was both unqualified for the job and another example of Democrats’ filling senior government positions with people from Wall Street. “The over-representation of Wall Street banks in senior government positions sends a bad message,” she wrote in the Huffington Post. “It tells people that one—and only one—point of view will dominate economic policymaking. It tells people that whatever goes wrong in this economy, the Wall Street banks will be protected first. That’s yet another advantage that Wall Street just doesn’t need.”

On Tuesday, Warren took her criticism of Weiss’s nomination up a notch. Speaking at a conference on the Federal Reserve, Warren tore into Weiss’s qualifications and ripped her party for cozying up to Wall Street.

This is red meat for the rabid anti-capitalist base of the Democratic Party, and the netnuts cheered her on.

But it is her threat to shut down the government over language in the spending bill that grants Wall Street some security in derivatives trading that has the base so excited:

But Warren’s biggest moment this week was her crusade against a must-pass spending bill over a little-known policy rider that would have eliminated a part in the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill. Section 716 prevents banks from using taxpayer-backed funds to trade in riskier financial products known as custom swaps. On Wednesday, Warren delivered a vicious speech on the Senate floor in which she implored House Democrats to kill the bill.

“Now, the House of Representatives is about to show us the worst of government for the rich and powerful,” she said. “The House is about to vote on a budget deal, a deal negotiated behind closed doors that slips in a provision that would let derivatives traders on Wall Street gamble with taxpayer money and get bailed out by the government when their risky bets threaten to blow up our financial system.… This provision is all about goosing the profits of the big banks.”

The provision has also garnered significant Democratic support in the past. In 2013, for instance, 70 Democrats voted for it in a bill that died in the Senate. Warren’s speech had made the issue toxic and persuaded other House Democrats to vote against not just the provision but a massive spending bill.

This position put her at direct odds with the White House. President Obama not only supported the bill, but he and Vice President Joe Biden made calls to individual Democratic congressman asking for their votes and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was dispatched to the Hill as well. In the end, Obama prevailed. Fifty-seven Democrats sided with 162 Republicans and the bill barely passed. But Warren had taken on the Democratic establishment and came within just a few votes of winning.

Warren is a populist whose appeal crosses party lines on issues like income inequality and Wall Street reform. It would be a mistake to underestimate her. Just because she’s a rabid leftist who wants to arrest bankers and punish the wealthy (she is the originator of the “you didn’t build that” theme) doesn’t mean that a decent Republican candidate could defeat her easily. She is very tough and would be a formidable opponent.

But could she beat Hillary for the Democratic nomination?

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White House ‘Cringed’ While Reading Hacked Sony Emails

Friday, December 12th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

From Variety:

White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Friday said he thinks “a lot of people cringed a bit” when reading Amy Pascal’s hacked Sony e-mails in which she jokes about President Obama’s movie tastes with producer Scott Rudin.

Pascal apologized for the racially tinged emails, which she called “insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am.”

Speaking at the White House press briefing, Earnest noted that “at least one of the Sony executives whose emails were made public has apologized for the contents of those emails, and I think that was appropriate.”

“I think a lot of people who read those e-mails, maybe not everybody, but I think a lot of people, cringed a bit when they were reading them,” Earnest said.

No doubt Pascal’s “apology” was accompanied by an offer of more financial contributions to Democrats in the future.

What probably had the White House cringing more than the racial stereotype jokes was the revelation that the president isn’t worshiped by those in the entertainment industry who support him. They put on a good show and play up the messiah nonsense but he is still nothing more to them than a political tool that they pay to use.

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Obama Camp Shifting Support to Elizabeth Warren for 2016

Friday, December 12th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

From The Weekly Standard:

A group of more than 300 hundred former Obama staffers have written an open letter urging Elizabeth Warren to run for president of the United States. “We helped elect Barack Obama — now we’re calling on Elizabeth Warren to run in 2016,” the letter is titled.

The group is calling itself “Ready For Warren” and seems to be directly mocking Her Madameship’s “Ready For Hillary” campaign.

The press refuses to cover most Democrat internecine squabbles, preferring to portray every small disagreement among Republicans as a “civil war.” There is, and always has been, however, a lot of ill will between the Clinton and Obama camps. Mrs. Clinton will more than likely have to almost completely disavow the president when she begins heavy campaigning, and that will likely drive Team Lightbringer to work even harder to support an opponent.

Senator Warren may insist that she isn’t running, but she’s been giving a lot of speeches lately and firing up the class warfare rhetoric. Hillary Clinton is extremely vulnerable on her left flank and there are a host of progressive Democrats who could launch primary attacks there, but Warren is the one behind whom the early money is moving.

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