PJ Tatler

The PJ Tatler

Massive Terror Attack on Military Checkpoints in Egypt’s Sinai Kills Dozens

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

A coordinated attack by terrorists on multiple Egyptian military checkpoints in north Sinai has left dozens dead with fighting still ongoing in some areas, according to multiple reports.

Wilayat Sinai, the ISIS affiliate operating in Sinai and formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) until their merger with ISIS in November 2014, has reportedly already taken credit for the attack:

This attack comes just two days after the assassination of Egypt’s Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat, whose funeral was yesterday.

The attacks occurred near Sheikh Zuweid not far from the Rafah border crossing into Gaza.

If casualty figures continue to climb, this would be one of the biggest terror attacks in Egypt’s modern history and definitely would mark an escalation in the conflict between terrorist groups and the Egyptian government in the two years since the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi.

Egypt is one of the top U.S. allies in the Middle East, though the Obama administration withheld military supplies from Egypt for nearly two years as the insurgency in the Sinai escalated, only relenting recently.

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Dem Warns He’ll ‘Make Certain’ That Iran Deal Is Blocked If Ayatollah’s Demands Met

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

As the Obama administration extended the deadline for nuclear talks to July 7, some in the president’s own party are more nervous about what the ayatollah is saying than they are reassured by the White House.

Rep. Alcee Hastings (Fla.), the top Democrat on the Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe, said today that he applauds administration negotiation efforts, but “I am deeply concerned by news that Ayatollah Ali Khameni – the arbiter of public matters in Iran – has demanded that nearly all sanctions be lifted before Tehran has dismantled portions of its nuclear infrastructure and before international investigators confirm that Iran is on track to meet its obligations.”

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made clear that they won’t accept a deal that doesn’t lift sanctions immediately; the White House said last Wednesday that they’re “most focused on …the actions, not the words.”

Secretary of State John Kerry said, “We’re not going to be guided by or conditioned by or affected by or deterred by some tweet that is for public consumption or for domestic political consumption.”

Hastings said he’s “even more alarmed that Ayatollah Khamenei has unequivocally rejected any freeze on Iran’s nuclear enrichment and has refused to agree to allow inspections of Iranian military sites.”

“During the past eighteen months of negotiations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran’s stockpile of nuclear fuel has increased by approximately 20 percent. We must not allow negotiation extensions to permit the continuation of this enrichment or Tehran’s support of international terrorism. Sanctions relief unquestionably supports Iran’s ability to fund such organizations and any agreement must guarantee that sanctions in place now are lifted slowly and deliberatively,” the congressman said in a statement today.

“At the end of the day, an acceptable deal will be one that guarantees that any Iranian pathway to a nuclear weapon is completely eliminated. It is my sincere hope that the current negotiations will result in a strong deal that does just that. In the event that a final agreement is reached which fails to do so, I will stand with my colleagues in Congress to make certain that it is blocked.”

Today Kerry met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

State Department press secretary John Kirby said the “technical extension” of the talks was “like going into extra innings here, okay, in the same game.”

“And what I can also say, then, thirdly is that our focus remains on trying to reach a deal. And that’s where – and the work inside the negotiating room is them trying to resolve the differences that are still outstanding. Again, I won’t speak to the specifics of all those differences, but there does remain – there are differences on some issues, and again, they’re working through that,” Kirby said.

“Secretary Kerry’s also very pragmatic and clear-eyed about this, though, and as I think you heard the President say – certainly Secretary Kerry has said it before – that no deal is better than a bad deal. So it’s not about – the – I don’t – the extension is – it’s important because it provides a little extra breathing space, but nobody’s under any illusions or trying to race to that day as sort of ‘I got to have it by.’ It’s – we could get a deal in two days, three days: we could get a deal on the 7th: or we could get no deal at all. That’s always a possibility too.”

President Obama told reporters today that “if we can’t provide assurances that the pathways for Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon are closed and if we can’t verify that, if the inspections regime, verifications regime, is inadequate then we’re not going to get a deal and we’ve been very clear to the Iranian government about that.”

“…And given past behavior on the part of Iran, that can’t simply be a declaration by Iran and a few inspectors wandering around every once in a while. That’s going to have to be a serious, rigorous verification mechanism. And that, I think, is going to be the test as to whether we get a deal or not.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said today that if Obama “chooses to conclude a deal that ensures that Iran will be a nuclear threshold state,” he’s “confident that a majority of both houses of Congress” will oppose it.

“If the president were serious about negotiating a deal that advances our security and protects our allies, such as Israel, he would walk away from the table and impose new sanctions on Iran until the regime comes to the table ready to negotiate seriously,” he said.

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A.B. Stoddard: ‘Hillary Clinton’s Entire Strategy Was to Circumvent the FOIA’ (Video)

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

State Department officials released new emails Tuesday from the 55,000 pages Hillary Clinton provided to the agency in November of last year. According to Fox News, the court ordered State to publish emails once a month on a rolling basis in order to meet its  deadline of January 29, 2016.

The State Department was forced to begin publishing portions of that batch, which contains roughly 300,000 individual communications, through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Vice News.

On  America’s Newsroom today, The Hill’s A.B. Stoddard absolutely savaged Hillary Clinton for the corrupt manner in which  she handled her emails while at State, and predicted that Hillary would have a difficult time persuading skeptical voters that she would make a trustworthy president.

“She not only cherry-picked and left everything she doesn’t want anyone to see on the server –  the entire strategy was to circumvent the FOIA,” AB explained.  ”It was very shrewd and very keen and they knew exactly what they were doing. They didn’t even give the State Department the emails that they cherry-picked electronically. They printed pages so that the State Department wouldn’t have to spend another five weeks trying to scan them to a system that could be shared and assessed and read. This is the most intentional act of keeping government property and then destroying it…”

Stoddard predicted that Clinton will have a difficult time convincing “those last  3% of persuadable voters” to vote for her.

“We would be electing as president, someone who not only circumvented not only her arrangement with the Obama administration – the criteria under which she had to work as Secretary of State – but as I said, removed government property and had it destroyed. That is a known fact – that’s on the record. People armed with this knowledge are going to be deciding on her style of governance. And I think it will be the biggest story about her – bigger than any stories about her record as Secretary of State, Benghazi, or anything else.”

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As Hillary’s damaging emails are released in slow-drip fashion, the nation will have no choice but to witness the continuing spectacle of her unraveling, ill-begotten campaign.

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State Department Is Withholding Clinton/Obama 10:00 Benghazi Phone Call Readout (Video)

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

President Barack Obama has never explained what he did on the night of the 9/11/2012 attack in Benghazi, but it is known that he made a phone call to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while the attack was still unfolding.

The readout of the phone call is being withheld by the State Department on the basis of what’s called “B-5.”  The administration claims the information isn’t classified, but represents “internal deliberations about the 2012 terror assault.”

Fox News‘ Catherine Herridge reported that legal experts say that B-5 status may not be enough to keep the records out of the public domain because of a rather gaping loophole. “If there’s any suggestion that there was misconduct, or in this case, discussion of the video explanation, they could not withhold [the phone readout] under the exemption.”

It had previously been disclosed that Clinton and Obama spoke the night of the terror attacks. But the documents offer additional information about the timing of the call — after the initial attack on the U.S. consulate, but before the second wave where mortars hit the nearby CIA annex and killed former Navy SEALs Ty Woods and Glen Doherty.

The contents of the call, however, are being withheld, not because the information is classified but because the administration claims they represent internal deliberations about the 2012 terror assault.

The claim comes as Clinton also faces accusations that she withheld Benghazi-related emails from her private server in the trove of emails handed over to the State Department.

The contents of the call were only shared with Obama’s and Clinton’s closest aides. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes sent an email on the call to State Department officials Jake Sullivan and Philippe Reines, and National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan.

The email was released as part of an ongoing lawsuit by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.

The email on the Obama-Clinton phone call bears the subject line, “Call.” The text of the email says, “Readout of President’s Call to Secretary Clinton,” but the rest of the details are fully redacted. The State Department cited the so-called “B5″ exception for internal deliberations.

The emails also show that Rhodes, on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, and before the attack was over, endorsed a statement from Clinton that cited an anti-Islam Internet video.

Clinton said in a statement following the 10:00 p.m. phone call that “some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.”

And the next day, NSC spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan sent an email to State and NSC officials saying Rhodes would host a conference call that morning “to ensure we are all in sync on messaging for the rest of the day.” Which is why we kept hearing about the anti-Mohammed YouTube video over and over again in the days that followed. They continued the ruse until it was no longer tenable.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement: “It is little wonder that Mrs. Clinton and the entire Obama administration have fought so hard to keep these documents from the American people — they shine a spotlight on the administration’s incompetence and indifference. All evidence now points to Hillary Clinton, with the approval of the White House, as being the source the Internet video lie.”

On Fox News, Fitton said, “If it were helpful [the phone call readout would be released, in my view. It's unhelpful, and that's why they're keeping it secret."

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In May of 2013, Charles Krauthammer on Fox News’ Special Report surmised that the 10:00 pm. Clinton/Obama phone call could be “the biggest scandal of all.”

“The biggest scandal of all, the biggest question is what was the president doing in those eight hours,” Krauthammer said. “He had a routine meeting at five o’clock. He never during the eight hours when our guys have their lives in danger, he never called the Secretary of Defense, he never calls the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he never calls the CIA Director.  Who does he call? Five hours in he calls the Secretary of State. And after the phone call she releases a statement essentially about the video and how we denounce any intolerance. It looks as if the only phone call is to construct a cover story at a time when the last two Americans who died were still alive and fighting for their lives. There’s the scandal and that has to be uncovered.”

 

 

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Tsipras Begs for Third Greek Bailout at the 11th Hour

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

The histrionics haven’t worked. The arrogant strutting and bombast haven’t worked either. Neither has the name calling and claims that Greek “pride” was being wounded by creditors asking that the money they loaned to Greece be paid back.

All the tricks and gambits tried by the Greek government of Prime Minister Alex Tsipras that the far left is famous for have failed because they cannot alter reality to fit their narrative. These are not low information voters they’ve been trying to bamboozle over these last several months. These are hard eyed money men who have loaned Greece $260 billion over the last 4 years and, acting in the name of the taxpaying citizens of Europe, would like it returned with interest, please.

We’ll never know why Tsipras believed he could get the EU, the ECB, and the European Commission to go easy on the Greek government that blew into office in a landslide this past January. He thought he could remove the restraints on the Greek budget, raise spending 7%, tax the rich, nationalize industries, and most importantly, set up a new debt regime that basically delayed paying creditors for 50 years.

He claimed a continent wide mandate while being elected by a nation with barely 2% of the European population. Was he naive or delusional? Probably both.

But now, as Greek slides into chaos, Tsipras has made some additional proposals to the EU that he hopes will stave off disaster.

USA Today:

Greece requested a third bailout from the eurozone Tuesday in a last-ditch effort to secure a debt deal before its financial-crisis-era bailout expires and it defaults on a loan from the International Monetary Fund, one of its three international creditors.

The two-year deal, if accepted, would allow Athens a new bailout from the eurozone’s European Stability Mechanism, its $560 billion rescue fund.

As European finance ministers met Tuesday to discuss the proposal, thousands of Greeks took to the streets of Athens, many of them in support of accepting new bailout terms. A “no” vote would lead to Greece leaving the European Union and abandoning the euro currency.

Tweets from a variety of European finance ministers who were on the conference call indicated that as expected there would be no extension to Greece’s bailout plan, and that the ministers could also be meeting Wednesday to resume discussions around the details of the new bailout terms.

“#Eurogroups ends,” tweeted Finnish representative Alexander Stubb. “Letter of @tsipras_eu includes three requests. Extension of programme or haircut not possible…cont…”

The last-minute development comes as Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said Tuesday that his country would not make a debt payment to the IMF by a midnight deadline, setting the stage for a showdown with its creditors ahead of a national referendum Sunday on its membership of the euro currency.

But despite the eleventh-hour overture, an imminent resolution to the crisis isn’t expected. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly said there would be no decisions on a new Greek deal until that country’s vote Sunday. And Greek lawmakers have pointed out that once a referendum has been set there is no way to cancel the vote.

Greece is so sick that you have to wonder about the sanity of creditors if they were to contemplate giving Greece tens of billions of more euros. But insanity has been the hallmark of this crisis, so perhaps if there is a “yes” vote on the referendum next Sunday, Merkel, Hollande, and Juncker will swallow hard and try to sell a third bailout to the voters. Indeed, the case is going to be made that Greece must be kept in the bosom of the EU or the entire project will be lost.

If the EU goes that route, they will be playing right into the hands of Tsipras. He has been counting on the indispensability of Greece to the future of the EU, first to get him far more generous terms on debt repayment, and now another bailout.

But a “No” vote on Sunday would probably mean the end of negotiations. And in a twist of irony worthy of a classical Greek tragedy, if the Greeks vote “Yes” they may get a new bailout or financing, but it will almost certainly mean the end of Prime Minister Tsipras, who will almost certainly resign and call for new elections. If they vote “No” they will likely leave the EU but will be stuck with Tsipras in office.

A Hobson’s Choice to be sure.

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O’Malley: Save Puerto Rico!

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley wants the U.S. to step in and bail out Puerto Rico.

On Sunday, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced that the U.S. territory can’t pay its $72 billion in debt, drawing comparisons to Greece and warnings from economists that U.S. investors have much more to lose from a Puerto Rico collapse than the fall of Athens. Unlike a U.S. city such as Detroit, Puerto Rico cannot file for bankruptcy per the Constitution.

 ”As a nation we must help our fellow U.S. citizens not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because our region’s economic stability depends on it,” O’Malley said in a statement today, urging President Obama and Congress to act.

Garcia Padilla has asked “for concerted actions from Washington, in one voice, now — action wherein changes can finally be made to Chapter 9, so that Puerto Rico can count on the same protections as other jurisdictions.”

“Those who attempt to exploit this situation to gain a financial or political advantage” would find that “Puerto Rico will be united against you,” the governor warned creditors.

“While Governor Garcia Padilla has taken the courageous first steps to steer Puerto Rico through this crisis, we must act now to avoid Puerto Rico’s economic collapse,” O’Malley said. “First, Puerto Rico should be able to negotiate with its creditors just as states can under the U.S. Bankruptcy code. Congress should approve Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi’s legislation that would allow for this to happen.”

“Second, as I’ve stated before, the Department of Health and Human Services must end the inequitable treatment of Puerto Rico under Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. High costs and low reimbursement rates are a huge burden to Puerto Rico’s budget and millions of U.S. citizens are at risk of losing care,” he continued.

“These are two steps we can take today, but I urge the Administration and Congress to work with Puerto Rico on a path forward that both provides immediate relief, and builds a foundation for sustainable, long-term economic stability.”

Pierluisi stressed yesterday that the island “does not have access to tools that are available to nations—like IMF or other external funding—just as it does not have access to certain tools—like Chapter 9 for its municipalities—that are available to all U.S. states.”

“Puerto Rico’s political status is thus a major impediment to its economic and fiscal recovery,” he said, adding of his legislation to seek an exemption from the Jones Act that “to say this legislation faces political headwinds in Washington is a serious understatement.”

“I filed a bill to achieve this objective in July 2014, and then again in February 2015, and am working hard to move it forward in the legislative process.”

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‘You’re Going to Get What I Think, Like It Or Not’: Christie Running for President

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
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In a speech that was part sentimental reflection and part classic Christie zingers, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie today became the 14th hopeful officially seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

Speaking to an audience in his hometown of Livingston, Christie had his wife Mary Pat, who’s a managing director at the Wall Street investment firm Angelo, Gordon & Co, and their four children by his side for the entire speech.

“The last six years we proved not only can you govern this state, you can lead it to a better day and that’s what we’ve done together,” said the second-term governor. “…Americans are not angry. Americans are filled with anxiety. They are filled with anxiety because they look to Washington, D.C., and they see a government that not only doesn’t work anymore, it doesn’t even talk to each other anymore. It doesn’t even try to pretend to work anymore.”

“We have a president in the oval office who ignores the Congress and a Congress that ignores the president. We need a government in Washington, D.C., that remembers you went there to work for us, not the other way around.”

Christie, who was blasted by a reporter for New Jersey’s biggest paper as a “liar” on the day of his announcement, told the audience “both parties have failed our country.”

“Both parties have stood in the corner and held their breath and waited to get their own way, both parties have led us to believe that in America, a country that was built on compromise, that somehow now compromise is a dirty word,” he said. “If Washington and Adams and Jefferson believed compromise is a dirty word we’d still be under the crown of England.”

He reassured his supporters that “anxiety can be swept away by strong leadership and decisiveness to lead America again.”

Christie, who will be largely focusing his campaign message on entitlement reform, noted “we have candidates who have said we can’t confront this because if we do, we’ll be lying and stealing from the American people.”

“Let me fill everybody else in. The lying and stealing has already happened,” he said. “The horse is out of the barn. We’ve got to get it back in. You can only do it by force.”

Christie made references to foreign policy, stressing “if we’re going to lead, we have to stop worrying about being loved and start caring about being respected again, both at home and around the world.”

“I am not running for president of the United States as a surrogate for being elected prom king of America. I am not looking to be the most popular guy who looks in your eyes every day and tries to figure out what you want to hear, say it and then turn around and do something else. When I stand up on a stage like this in front of all of you, there is one thing you will know for sure. I mean what I say, and I say what I mean, and that’s what America needs right now,” he said.

“And unlike some people who offer themselves for the presidency in 2016, you’re not going to have to wonder whether I can do it or not.”

He promised a campaign “without spin or without pandering or focus group-tested answers.”

“You’re going to get what I think, whether you like it or not or whether it makes you cringe every once in a while or not,” he said. “A campaign when I’m asked a question, I’m going to give the answer to the question that’s asked, not the answer that my political consultants told me to give backstage. A campaign that, every day, will not worry about what is popular but what is right, because what is right is what will fix America, not what’s popular.”

“…If you give me the privilege to be your president, I will wake up every day not only with my heart strong and my mind sharp, but with my ears open and my arms open to welcome the American people no matter what party, no matter what race or creed or color, to make sure that you know that this is your country, too. We are going to go and win this election and I love each and every one of you.”

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Revealed: The Same Attorney Who Was in Charge of Retrieving Lois Lerner’s Emails, Now in Charge of State Department Emails (Video)

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

While everyone was focused on the Supreme Court rulings on ObamaCare and same sex marriage last week, an important House hearing confirmed that the IRS destroyed the tapes with Lois Lerner’s emails. It was also revealed that the same person who ran the IRS’ document retrieval operation during that time period  is now “doing that same job” at the State Department.

J. Russell George, Treasury inspector general for tax administration, and a deputy described an  “unbelievable set of circumstances” that led to the loss of emails in a hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday. Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said the hearing was called to get ahead of the scheduled release of a written report during the Fourth of July week.

George testified: “422 tapes most likely to have contained Ms. Lerner’s emails from 2010 and 2011 were erased in March 2014, [and] we were unable to recover all of the missing emails. Comparing the IRS email transaction logs to the IRS production to the Congress revealed there could be as many as 23,000 to 24,000 additional missing emails. As a result of the investigative process, TIGTA was successful in recovering over 1,000 e-mails that the IRS did not produce.”

The investigation has also revealed that the IRS “did not search for, review or examine the two separate sources of backup tapes, the server hard drives, or the loaner laptops that ultimately produced new, previously undisclosed e-mails,” George added. The watchdog’s office in February found relevant emails the IRS had not discovered.

Republicans assailed Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen for previously testifying that the IRS had “turned over every stone” in seeking missing Lerner emails.

“Ten months after a subpoena, eight months after a preservation order,” these emails were destroyed, Chaffetz said. That was just 30 days after President Obama, on the eve of the Super Bowl, told a TV interviewer that there is “not a smidgen of corruption” at the IRS, Chaffetz added. Yet in searching for missing emails, “the IRS didn’t even look at five of the six sources, or the obvious places, like [Lerner’s] phone,” he said. “It defies any sense of logic, and somebody will be held accountable.”

During his question period, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who chairs the House Select Committee on Benghazi, elicited from the deputy IG Tim Camus that the IRS’ document-retrieval operation was run by former IRS chief counsel staffer Catherine Duval, who is now “doing that same job” at the State Department where Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi emails are now being sought. 

“Have you ever heard that name Kate Duval?” Gowdy asked Camus. “Because I think I’ve heard that name too.”

“She’s the lawyer in charge of making sure the council made production to congress,” Camus answered.

“So she’s in charge of making sure that emails and other matters get produced,” Gowdy clarified.

He then asked Camus if he knew whether she was still with the IRS and the IG deputy told him that she is not.

“Do you know where she is now?” Gowdy asked. Camus said he did not, but could get that information for him.

But Gowdy interrupted to say, “no – I know where she is now. She’s at the Department of State – in charge of their email productions.”

He summed up his feelings on this development with one word: “Wow.”

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Congressman Asks St. Louis Mayor to Remove 32-Foot Granite Civil War Monument

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

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A Missouri congressman is asking the mayor of St. Louis to bring down a 32-foot-high stone Civil War memorial in the city’s Forest Park.

The Confederate Memorial was erected in 1914 by the Ladies’ Confederate Monument Association. “To avoid provoking further antagonism to the project, the Association declared that the design they would choose could not depict any figure of a Confederate soldier or object of modern warfare,” reads a history of the monument. The shaft of the monument bears “The Angel of the Spirit of the Confederacy” and below that is a bronze sculpture “depicting the response of the South to this spirit as a family sends a youth off to war.”

“On the back of the shaft, designed by William Trueblood, is a tribute ‘To the Memory of the Soldiers and Sailors of the Southern Confederacy,’ written by St. Louis minister Robert Catlett Cave, who had served as a Confederate soldier from Virginia. Beneath that is a quotation by Robert E. Lee: ‘We had sacred principles to maintain and rights to defend for which we were duty bound to do our best, even if we perished in the endeavor.’”

Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay wrote last week to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, stressing that “now is the time to replace the Confederate Memorial, as iconic as it is controversial, from its perch in Forest Park.”

“Some may disagree and reflect upon this memorial as a symbol of southern culture and Civil War reverence,” Clay said. “But, symbols matter and should reflect who we are as a people today. Divisive, alienating, racially charged symbols do not accurately represent the goodness and fullness of the people of the city of St. Louis.”

The congressman called it “unfortunate” that the mass murder of nine people at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston brought the issue to the forefront. “However, action must be taken to ensure that divisive symbols, such as the Confederate Memorial, do not have relevance in our city’s future.”

“Let us lead and influence how we are perceived by the world…as a force for good, and in solidarity with those advocating racial healing. It is not only time for a reappraisal of all public symbols that reflect upon the ‘peculiar institution’ of slavery, but also time for removal. Symbols associated with this country’s racist, oppressive past should not be elevated or displayed in public places.”

Other statues and monuments in the park include a Korean War memorial, Thomas Jefferson, Union Gen. Franz Sigel, and St. Francis of Assisi.

Clay will be introducing with Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) a bill that would prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from allowing the display of the Confederate flag at national cemeteries which it manages across the nation.

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Iran Preparing for Failure of Nuke Talks After Washington’s ‘Buyer’s Remorse’

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Iran announced today –  the deadline that had been set for a nuclear deal with the P5+1 but was extended indefinitely, according to the White House — that it doesn’t see a deal to its liking coming through.

Thus, reported the semi-official Fars News Agency, the Islamic Republic is formulating plans to weather tougher expected sanctions after talks crash.

“Given the fact that the Iranian officials have announced that they don’t trust the Americans, we consider a percentage of pessimism for the result of the negotiations and we think that there is a possibility for the talks to fail to end in successful results that we favor and meet our national interests; therefore, we have prepared ourselves for how to administer the country given the severity of the sanctions that will be imposed,” Iran’s Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht told reporters in Tehran.

More from Fars:

Nobakht also underscored that Tehran will not accept any undertakings beyond the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

His comments came [as] an informed source close to the Iran-world powers talks in Vienna strongly dismissed an AFP report claiming that Tehran and the world powers have reached a system to give the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to all allegedly suspect sites in the country, stressing that even the NPT additional protocol does not envisage access to military centers.”The Americans seem to be showing buyer’s remorse after Lausanne agreement. The US may be preparing grounds for failure and blame game,” the Iranian source said.

“Who guarantees the IAEA confidentiality after assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists? Tehran trusted the IAEA with secret informations, and its nuclear scientists were killed by the West. Although the additional protocol does not envisage such visits, Tehran has allowed the IAEA access Parchin twice. Iran received nothing in return when it allowed the IAEA access its Parchin military site,” the source added.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the U.S. pledged to terminate sanctions within six months after talks began, but reneged.

“The Americans changed the 6 months to one year first, and then lengthened the negotiations by making repeated excessive demands and even threats to boost the sanctions and speaking of militarism and on and under the table,” he said.

“Contemplation and study over the trend of the demands made by the Americans shows that they aim to uproot Iran’s nuclear industry and the country’s nuclear essence and change it to a caricature and a window without a content.”

The ayatollah added that while Iran has been seeking to get sanctions lifted, “we see them as an opportunity from a different angle because they have caused us to pay more attention to domestic forces and capacities.”

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After Recent SCOTUS Rulings, Should We Re-Write the Constitution?

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

Last week was certainly historic. In what sense depends upon your worldview. For those of us who believe in federalism, dual-sovereignty, and the rule of law, last week was a disaster that irreparably damaged our republic.

Forget about the issues. These rulings weren’t about Obamacare or gay marriage so much as whether a majority of nine people on a national ruling council can write law for 320 million Americans. Apparently, they can.

What recourse remains? Some have advocated taking our republic back to the drawing board:

A constitutional recourse to judicial tyranny is gaining momentum around the country. A Convention of States, called under Article V of the Constitution, can impose constitutional limits on the federal government’s power — limits that will ensure an end to the overreach we witnessed last week.

However, others warn that a Convention of States could just as easily be used to expand government power. Phyllis Schlafly writes:

Any new constitutional convention, called as allowed by Article V, would surely attract and include political activists with motives and goals diametrically different from those of [the political Right].

She continues:

[Justice John Paul] Stevens’ most dangerous suggestion is to gut the Second Amendment. Stevens wants to reverse the Supreme Court decision that upheld our right to keep a gun at home for self-protection…

If Congress acquiesces in the states’ petitions to call an Article V convention, you can bet that rewriting the Second Amendment to allow gun control and to forbid private ownership of guns will be a top priority of many delegates. Would they succeed?

The problem with rewriting the Constitution today is that any new document or amendment would be the product of the same culture which has birthed modern tyrannies. A Convention of States called today would not boast attendance from men like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. It would instead host delegates committed to securing “rights” to stuff, further enslaving us one to another.

Besides, in a world where our Supreme Court can literally re-write laws, what makes us think new law will help? Our problem is cultural, not statutory.

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TREND ALERT: Adding Bugs into Your Milkshakes

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Liz Sheld

I watch for these trends so you don’t have to and my latest find is … delicious?

Apparently the HOT NEW TREND is adding bugs into your food, at least according to ABC News. “The trend of bug-infused bites continues to swarm restaurant menus across the country, with the latest entrant appearing at a fast food chain.”

To be fair, I haven’t seen this in my neck of the woods but I live inside the Washington, D.C., beltway and things are a little different here. Washington insiders don’t eat bugs, we eat caviar and champagne because we live in BOOMTOWN.

However, if you live anywhere near the chain Wayback Burgers (they have 100 locations in the U.S. and Argentina), you can order up a delicious cricket milkshake. The chain will debut “a cricket protein-laced shake on July 1 that is Oreo Mud Pie in taste but infused with Peruvian chocolate-flavored cricket powder for an alternative energy boost.”

cricket milkshake

YUM? Is that an Oreo or a cricket leg? No matter.

An alternative energy boost? What’s wrong with protein powder or some extra caffeine?

Maybe you are hesitant to order up an insect-laden refreshment because you don’t want to see bug parts floating around in something you plan to ingest. Not to worry. “There won’t be big pieces of cricket floating in your shake or anything,” Gillian Maffeo, director of marketing for Wayback Burgers. “We use a protein powder that looks very similar to whey powder. So it’s ground up cricket and you wouldn’t even know the difference if you were drinking it, quite honestly.”

At first the cricket-infested dessert was part of an April Fool’s joke. I actually thought this headline might be from The Onion. But the prank was wildly successful:

“We received such a great response, we decided to call up an organic cricket protein vendor and test it out at one location in East Meadow, Long Island, in New York,” Maffeo said. “There ended up being lines of people, camera crews, and everyone loved it. It just happened so fast and so sudden. So we decided to roll out an official version at all locations beginning July 1.”

And it’s a hot commodity! “Initially, we thought that we’d get a lot of backlash but the trend right now is that bugs are making their way into foods,” she said, noting the appearance of burgers, energy bars, flours and other recent products to the market. “It’s definitely a hot commodity.”

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In Case You Thought the News Couldn’t Get Any Worse…

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Because the world is crying out for this one:

Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds told the story of a rustic seaside town that finds itself menaced by hellish flocks of seagulls and crows. Now the 1963 classic looks set to suffer its own form of molestation courtesy of a Hollywood remake by Transformers director Michael Bay.

Loosely adapted from a 1952 short story by Daphne du Maurier, The Birds cast Tippi Hedren in the role of Melanie Daniels, a San Francisco socialite who comes horribly unstuck on a visit to northern California. Reports suggest that Bay’s version will return to tale to its original English setting, while Naomi Watts is rumoured to be considering the Hedren role.

Variety reports that the film will be directed by the Dutch film-maker Diederik Van Rooijen, with Bay serving as a co-producer. The film looks set to be a co-production between Mandalay Pictures, Universal and Bay’s Platinum Dunes production house. It remains to be seen whether the birds will be giant, man-eating birds, or possibly armed with guns.

Bombs away!

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Jeb Bush Leads in New Poll. Here’s Why Conservatives Don’t Need to Worry About It

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

Breitbart reports that, according to a new NBC/WSJ poll released yesterday, Jeb Bush is the current leader in the crowded field of Republican presidential candidates. According to the poll, Bush is supported by 22% of primary voters. Scott Walker is second with 17%, and Marco Rubio is third with 14%. Everybody else comes behind (this includes Ben Carson and Ted Cruz).

Although I saw many conservatives on Facebook explode at this news, I’m not worried at all. You see, Bush has only two strengths:

1. He’s a Bush. This is a strength because it means instant name recognition. Additionally, although the media pretend Americans don’t like dynasties, I couldn’t disagree more. They love ‘em. Heck, they’re even obsessed with them.

2. He’ll probably have a boat load of money to spend in the primaries.

The first point will always be a major strength of Jeb’s, but with regards to number two, well, not so much. Firstly, money can’t buy you conservative credentials and, secondly, other Republicans have also proved themselves to be extremely well-funded. Rubio and Walker are raising a lot of money, and the same can be said for Ted, who impressed everybody — both foes and friends — when he released his fundraising totals of the first quarter of this year.

In other words, only the “Bush” part is truly an advantage Jeb has. That’s great for him, but conservatives shouldn’t worry: he’s got some serious weaknesses that his conservative rivals can and will exploit:

1. Voters don’t know Jeb, other than he’s a Bush.
2. The debates have yet to start. They’ll show Jeb for what he is: a progressive. Republican voters will run away from him en masse.
3. Jeb is a progressive Republican and has, because of it, very limited appeal. He may be able to get something like 25/27% of the GOP’s base. That’s his ceiling.
4. There are many conservative candidates who, at this moment, split the vote. During and after the debates, that’ll change: one or two will jump to the fore. They’ll close the gap with Jeb in no time.
5. The “ceiling” of those conservatives is much higher than Jeb’s.

In short, there’s no chance in hell that Jeb’s going to become the Republican Party’s nominee. He’ll give more conservative candidates a run for their money — sure — but that’s all.

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Obama to Supes: Drop Dead

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

You’ve got to hand it to the Democrats: on the rare occasion they lose in the Supreme Court, they just tell the Court to stuff it:

The White House said Monday that the Supreme Court’s Monday decision against an Environmental Protection Agency air pollution rule wouldn’t impact a huge, pending EPA rule imposing regulations on existing power plants. ”Obviously, we’re disappointed with the outcome,” he said. “I will say, based on what we have read so far, there is no reason that this court ruling should have an impact on the ability of the administration to develop and implement the clean power plant [ruling].”

“These are two separate rulemaking processes that we have pursued here, and there is nothing contained in this ruling that should in any way impact our ability to successfully complete the clean power plant” regulation, he said. The high court’s decision striking down EPA rules aimed at curbing emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants that took effect in April didn’t deal with the substance of the regulation. Instead, the court ruled 5-4 that the EPA failed to take the costs of the regulation on the industry into effect.

So, next time, the EPA will take costs into effect, decide they don’t matter because if it can save just one life and continue on its mission to destroy a big chunk of the American economy. This is what comes of having a government of lawyers, not men.

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De Blasio Doesn’t Want You Smoking in Your Own Home

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Liz Sheld

The New York Post has learned that NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is going to “ramp” up the city’s war against smoking…at home.

If you live in New York, here is where you city tax dollars are going:

The administration is planning to select and pay four health-advocacy groups $9,000 apiece to pressure landlords and developers to prohibit smoking in their apartment complexes so neighboring tenants don’t inhale secondhand smoke.

And the result of this campaign is:

…smokers would be barred from lighting up in one of their last sanctuaries: their own living quarters. Smoking is already banned in public places, including bars and restaurants, workplaces, sports venues and parks.

Health department commissars say, “Everyone benefits from smoke-free housing. Residents enjoy breathing cleaner, healthier air in their homes . . . while owners see reductions in property damage and turnover costs.”

So it’s for your own good.

Right now, the initiative is voluntary — but it won’t be for long as these nanny-staters love to micromanage your life. I wonder what other things de Blasio plans to regulate in your own home.

Also read: 

Should Pregnant Women Who Smoke Be Fined for Endangering Their Children?

 

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Fading Dowager Empress of Chappaqua Dragging Down Dems

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh
drunkhilz3

Hillary! 2016 — feel the excitement

Hard to believe, but the collapsing Hillary! campaign is diminishing Democratic enthusiasm for their elderly, infirm, unethical and possibly criminal putative 2016 standard-bearer:

Democrats believe they have a winning agenda heading into the 2016 presidential election. And for the first time, the “base” of their party – unmarried women, people of color, and young voters – represents a majority of voting-eligible citizens, according to survey data released Monday.

But none of that matters if Democrats don’t turn out. As of now, 16 months before Election Day, that’s the challenge for them: The Democratic Party faces a big enthusiasm gap with the Republicans, according to a poll sponsored by Democracy Corps and Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund.

Among Republicans, 67 percent reported the highest level of interest in the 2016 elections – rating it a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 – compared with 52 percent of Democrats. Among the so-called rising American electorate (unmarried women, minorities, and Millennials), only 48 percent responded with a 10.

Why ever could that be?

“Even though they’re giving the Democrats big numbers, their lack of enthusiasm is grounded in an analysis of the way the political system operates,” Democracy Corps founder Stan Greenberg told reporters Monday at a breakfast hosted by the Monitor. At focus groups, Mr. Greenberg says, a lot of the talk centered on money in politics and perceptions that candidates can’t relate to the problems of average people.

“They’re made up of a lot of rich people. They don’t have these problems we deal with on a daily basis,” read one focus group comment, as reported by the two voter-research organizations.

Some Dems, however, refuse to get the message:

Is all this bad news for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner? No, says Page Gardner, founder of Women’s Voices, now known as the Voter Participation Center. Ms. Gardner points to the “four pillars” of former Secretary Clinton’s campaign – building “the economy of the future,” campaign finance reform, strengthening families, and national security – as evidence she’s addressing the concerns of the Democratic base. Also helping Democrats, and Clinton, is a perception that Republican candidates “don’t get” the lives of most Americans, Gardner says.

On the flip side, Republicans are more jazzed than Democrats about the 2016 elections because “they don’t like [President] Obama, they don’t like Hillary Clinton,” says Greenberg.

Duh!

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Terrorist Plots Against U.S. At Highest Level Since 2001

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Man, it sure is a good thing that we got Saddam and bin Laden!

The United States is experiencing its highest level of terrorist activity since Sept. 11, 2001, according to a Heritage Foundation report published last week advocating Congress to take the U.S. terrorism threat “much more seriously.” The report detailed the FBI’s arrest of a 19-year-old in North Carolina for conspiring with the Islamic State, the terrorist group better known as ISIS, to attack public venues in an attempt to kill hundreds of Americans. The case is the 71st publicly known terrorist plot in the United States since 9/11.

The report outlines recommendations for Congress to prevent terrorist attacks. These include:

The continuance of government surveillance programs

A legal ability for local law enforcement to track terrorist activity online along with greater federal support of local and civil partners

Cooperation between intelligence and law enforcement among allied countries to track foreign fighters

“There is no silver bullet,” said David Inserra, author of the report and a homeland security expert The Heritage Foundation.

Somehow, I think General Kitchener might disagree with that. Back in the day, it was called the Maxim Gun; during World War II it was called Fat Man and Little Boy; today, we have other names for it. What we don’t have is the will to use it. Instead, we’d rather create a police state right here at home and call it “security.”

Make sure to read PJM’s Patrick Poole:

Number of Islamic Terror-Related Arrests in 2015 Surpasses Previous Two Years Combined

Meanwhile: have a happy Fourth of July!

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Scientists Discover Global Warming Before There Was Global Warming!

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Will wonders never cease?

An enormous lake called Mega Chad in what is now the Sahara desert took just a couple of hundred years to shrink to a fraction of its size, British scientists have found. Mega Chad was once the biggest freshwater lake on earth covering 139,000 sq miles (360,000 sq km) of Central Africa – and rapidly shrunk to a tiny fraction of its former size 1,000 years ago. The discovery sheds light on how the Amazon rain forest grows – because dust from the remains of the dried-up lake blows across the Atlantic to help fertilise the jungle.

‘A reconstructed lake level history for the ancient Lake Mega-Chad, once the largest lake in Africa, suggests that a North African humid period, with increased precipitation in the Sahara region, ended abruptly around 5,000 years ago, and that the lake’s Bodélé basin, now a large source of atmospheric dust, may not have dried out until around 1,000 years ago,’ the team wrote. But the researchers’ discovery shows this fertilisation could only have happened 1,000 years ago – leaving a riddle as to how the jungle received vital nutrients before then.

The researchers found that the change took place in just a few hundred years – much more quickly than previously considered. All that remains is Lake Chad, which at 137 sq miles (355 sq km) is still large but a fraction of its former scale. The lake, which crosses the borders of Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon, has been further reduced in size by humanity siphoning off fresh water from it.

The researchers explained the significance of the finding. The dried up remains of the lake is the biggest source of dust in the world, the Bodélé depression.

So let me get this straight: not only did Africans invent global warming, they’re also continuing to siphon off valuable water resources from Mother Gaia that could better spent on the West Side of Los Angeles, thus causing dust in the atmosphere that contributes to greenhouse gases but also helps Save the Rain Forest. Or something like that.

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New Ebola Death in ‘Ebola Free’ Liberia

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Surprise!

Seven weeks after the World Health Organization declared Liberia to be free of the Ebola virus, the country’s deputy health minister said the body of a 17-year-old man had tested positive for the disease. The deputy minister, Tolbert Nyenswah, who also heads Liberia’s Ebola response, said Monday that the teenager had died Wednesday in Nedowein, a town close to Liberia’s international airport, and was given a safe burial the next day. He said the man was not tested until after he died. It was not known how he had contracted the disease.

It may not be time for a panic, but it would seem that all those victory laps that were taken a couple of months ago weren’t called for. Perhaps we should respect Mother Nature a little more, especially when she’s unleashing killer viruses that have sneaky incubation periods.

And let’s keep our fingers crossed that this kid wasn’t hanging around people who travel.

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White House Downplays Extension of Iran Nuke Deadline: ‘Not Surprising or Uncommon’

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Calling it “not surprising or uncommon,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest confirmed today that Iran nuclear negotiations will extend past the June 30 deadline.

“What our negotiators are currently engaged in is an effort to try to complete negotiations consistent with the political framework that was agreed to in the first week in April. And yes, it is the day before the deadline, and at this point, I would anticipate that the negotiations will extend past the deadline,” Earnest told reporters at the daily briefing.

He noted that the deadline for the preliminary framework was March 31, but they stuck around until the April 2 announcement of an agreement.

He added that the extension of the deadline this time wasn’t necessarily a promising sign for the administration.

“I think I would accede the likelihood, or the higher likelihood, that the talks will extend past the deadline as an indication that there are still some important unresolved issues in the negotiations. And these are not issues that can be resolved in the next 36 hours,” Earnest said.

He also wouldn’t give odds for reaching a deal at this point.

“I would hesitate to put numbers on it at this point. So we’re close to the deadline and obviously our negotiators understand the stakes of these negotiations. And that, frankly, I think is why the United States and our P-5-plus-1 partners are willing to sit at that table a few extra days to try to reach an agreement that is consistent with the political framework that was agreed to back in early April,” he said.

“I mean, the thing that the president’s been very clear about is if the Iranians refuse to agree to a framework that’s consistent, or a final agreement that’s consistent with the framework that was reached in April, then there won’t be an agreement. And the — we understand at this point that that’s — that’s something that the Iranians are hoping to avoid. They would very much like to get some sanctions relief.”

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made clear that they won’t accept a deal that doesn’t lift sanctions immediately; the White House said last Wednesday that they’re “most focused on …the actions, not the words.”

Secretary of State John Kerry said, “We’re not going to be guided by or conditioned by or affected by or deterred by some tweet that is for public consumption or for domestic political consumption.”

“But there are going to be some serious commitments that they’re going to have to make in terms of that — shutting down every pathway they have to a nuclear weapon, and complying with a verification regime to ensure that they’re living up to the commitments that they have made,” Earnest said today. “And all of that is, you know, will be part of any final agreement, consistent with the political agreement that was reached back in April.”

But there’s pressure on Capitol Hill to not extend the negotiations indefinitely.

“A supreme ruler who lives by the motto ‘Death to America’ seems to be setting the tone at the negotiating table. Count me among the many in Congress who are supremely concerned by the direction of these negotiations,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said.

“Secretary Kerry needs to know that Congress has its own redlines: anywhere, anytime inspections; no sanctions relief jackpot for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps; guaranteed sanctions snap-backs; and meaningful restraints on Iran’s nuclear program that last decades. The Administration should be making it clear to the Iranians that an agreement without these conditions, among others, won’t pass muster with Congress.”

Royce warned that the administration appears “to be on the verge of an agreement that – even if it was fully adhered to by Iran – accepts that after just ten years or so, Tehran would have the ability to produce nuclear weapons in very short order, perhaps within a matter of weeks.”

“That’s without Iranian cheating,” he added. “…Mr. President, I’ll be the last one to be critical if you walk away from this negotiating table.”

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden told Fox on Sunday that “what matters is what the ayatollah says the Iranians will do with what it is we believed we have agreed on in Vienna.”

“It’s a big deal as to what the ayatollah commits himself to,” Hayden said of Kerry’s dismissal of Khamenei’s tweets. “We went through this in April when we both walked away from the talks thinking we had an agreement. It was quite different what we said they agreed to and what they said they agreed to. Now, we’re down to brass tacks. What it is they say has to be what they actually agreed to and only the ayatollah can determine that.”

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Despite SCOTUS EPA Ruling, Obama’s Damage to Coal Industry Permanent

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Fundamentally transforming stuff…

President Barack Obama’s opponents won a Supreme Court skirmish in the “war on coal” Monday, but the ruling blocking his mercury pollution rule won’t do anything to reverse coal’s waning role in the nation’s power supply.

And on top of that, legal experts don’t expect the decision to hamper the administration’s plans for landmark climate regulations that are set to further cement the decline of the fuel that only a few years ago dominated the industry.
Story Continued Below

For utility giant American Electric Power and others in the power sector, the judgment on the mercury rule that started to take effect in April comes too late to save the dozens of plants that already closed, or are slated to in the next several months.

“We’re not bringing them back,” Nick Akins, AEP’s CEO, president and chairman told POLITICO. “Once that ball gets rolling, it’s not going to change.”

When one considers how cavalier this president and his moneybags Big Green handlers have been about destroying the coal industry jobs in some of the poorer parts of the country it’s easy to see why so many of us are unmoved when progressives blather on and on about “working Americans”. Progressives see constituent blocs, not people. If you happen to be in a bloc they need for photo ops like the “Fight For 15″ people, you get a little love. If those “Fight For 15″ people worked at coal plants, the progs would throw them out into the street without any remorse.

The schizophrenic Supremes may have finally acted like they are on their meds when it comes to this ruling and it should help curb a regulatory agency that has been running amok for far too long, but it is sadly not enough to help the people whose livelihoods have already been ruined by a president who is a faithful attendee of the Church of Climate Change Hysteria.

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GOP Field Catching Up To Jeb In Fundraising

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Every little bit helps.

As the first big fundraising deadline of the 2016 White House contest approaches, the major Republican contenders are scrambling to secure the money needed to keep their political ambitions alive in a crowded and still growing field.

No one is likely to top former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s fundraising even if he were to fall short of the $100 million target that his allies have predicted he will hit.

Aided by billionaire supporters, however, some of Bush’s Republican rivals have begun to tout their big hauls ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, which marks the end of the April-to-June fundraising quarter.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz may be best positioned to claim the No. 2 spot among Republicans. Cruz, a conservative firebrand who became the first major candidate to enter the race, said he has raised more than $40 million through his campaign and the super PACs supporting his candidacy.

“The Washington money isn’t with us,” the first-term senator told USA TODAY’s Capital Download. “It comes from courageous conservatives all over the country.”

If our glorious republic is to continue and be free, conservatives are going to have to defeat both Hillary Clinton and the Republican establishment in 2016. If Jeb and Hillary are our two choices, the country is well and truly screwed. It will only be a matter of how quick the demise is. The death rattle will show up a bit later on Jeb’s watch, but not much.

One of the great things about the digital media era is that political fundraising is no longer restricted to party drones manning phone banks and bothering nice people during dinner. Candidates who don’t have the blessing of the octogenarian power players in Washington can hit up normal Americans for donations. Cruz is ahead of the non-Jeb pack because he tends to work social media better than the others, although Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are pretty good too.

It may be nauseating to many that we are even talking about Jeb at this precarious time in American history, but there is still reason to hope. The GOP really does have a wealth of candidates superior to Mrs. Bill.

None of them are named Bush, however.

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NBC, Employer of Brian Williams and Al Sharpton, Finds Trump Offensive and Cuts Ties

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Sure, he’s the problem.

NBC is cutting ties with Donald Trump.

The network is “ending its business relationship” with Trump over his “recent derogatory statements” regarding immigrants, the company said in a statement Monday.

“To that end, the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, which are part of a joint venture between NBC and Trump, will no longer air on NBC,” the statement continued.

Welcome to 2015 America, where dissent is punished but a tax dodging riot instigator and a national news anchor who is a pathological liar are embraced as valued employees. Diversity of thought will not be tolerated.

On Trump’s worst days, he is a grating blowhard. He can also be quite entertaining, which is why I suspect so many welcome his candidacy (think Joe Biden but with accomplishments). As someone who has spent his entire life in relatively close proximity to the Mexican border, I can honestly say that Trump’s comments that caused this brouhaha are the sanest, most accurate political remarks he has ever made. The only reason he is being taken to task by NBC is because he deviated from the progressive groupthink orthodoxy to which American media long ago found the right to marry.

In its eagerness to remain accepted by the hive mind, NBC has also thrown all of the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageant contestants under the bus. Fox News contributor and 2013 Miss New York USA winner Joanne Nosuchinsky jumped right in on Twitter to hit back at the network:

 

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Prosecutor Who Went After Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood Assassinated in Cairo

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The Egyptian prosecutor who led the prosecution of former President Mohamed Morsi and many of his Muslims Brotherhood compatriots was assassinate in a Cairo bombing today.

Terrorist groups have had their eyes on Egypt since the ouster of Morsi, but calls to attack Egypt have stepped up since Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie were sentenced to death.

The Taliban, for exampled, has called upon every “influential” Muslim to try to save Morsi. Terrorist attacks increased in the restive Sinai peninsula after Morsi’s sentencing.

Today, Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat was killed in a car bombing — not the first assassination attempt against a state official since Morsi’s ouster, but the first successful one.

Barakat died hours after the North Cairo attack due to internal bleeding, Al-Ahram reported.

The car bomb was planted along the route Barakat’s convoy would take every day from his home to work. The Egyptian presidency decried the terrorist attack and said in a statement the country “has lost a great judicial figure who has shown dedication to work and commitment to the ethics of the noble judicial profession.”

The Obama administration, which has been highly critical of the Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood prosecutions, said in a statement through National Security Council spokesman Ned Price that “the United States strongly condemns today’s terrorist attack in Cairo that killed Egyptian Prosecutor-General Hisham Barakat and injured at least nine others.”

“We offer our condolences to the family of Mr. Barakat, those injured in the attack, and the Government and people of Egypt,” Price said. “The United States stands by Egypt at this difficult time, as we continue to work together to fight the scourge of terrorism.”

The statement from State Department spokesman John Kirby was nearly identical: “The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attack, which killed the Egyptian Public Prosecutor Hisham Barakat. We extend our deepest condolences to the Egyptian Government and to the families and friends of those who lost their lives. We also wish a speedy recovery to those who suffered injuries. The United States stands firmly with the Egyptian government in its efforts to confront terrorism.”

The Muslim Brotherhood tweeted that “murder is reprehensible and unacceptable,” and only ousting President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government “will stop the bloodshed.”

“Today’s crime reveals the coup’s security apparatuses is only capable of facing peaceful protesters, torturing workers & harassing the poor,” they said, never mentioning the slain prosecutor by name. “We affirm that violence will not end except by achieving justice, toppling this illegitimate regime and allowing #Egypt to be free.”

 

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Uber Execs Taken into Police Custody in France

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

A glimpse of our future?

French police have brought in two executives from U.S. technology company Uber for questioning as the government clamp down on the taxi and ride-sharing service intensifies, said a person from the prosecutor’s office.

Thibaud Simphal, the manager of Uber France, and Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, the general manager for Western Europe, were detained.

The French government filed a legal complaint against Uber on Friday over UberPOP, one of the services on the popular smartphone app, which allows drivers to pick up passengers in their personal cars despite having no professional drivers’ licenses.

Taxi drivers, who accuse Uber of unfair competition, staged a major strike in France last week.

The “unfair competition” refrain is the one most often repeated whenever government entities are going after Uber. In American cities Uber is often the first real competition taxi companies have had. As someone who has ridden in a lot of cabs in the last few decades I can honestly say there isn’t much difference at all between the bureaucratically regulated cab companies. They aren’t really trying to stand out from one another, it’s more like they’re sinking to the lowest level customers will resign themselves to tolerating because they have no choice.

It is the choice that bothers them and the government entities that oversee them. They’d prefer one didn’t exist at all.

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‘LoveWins’: Iraq War Vet Amputee Mocked on Twitter, Catholic Priest Spat Upon…

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

Lefties are notorious for being sore losers and even sorer winners. Their behavior in the wake of the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage — even as they ironically proclaim “love wins” — is no exception to this rule.

Case in point: J.R. Salzman is a disabled Iraq war veteran who lost his right arm below the elbow. His left hand was pulverized when his vehicle was struck by an explosively formed penetrator in December of 2006. After commenting on the Supreme Court decision on Twitter, he came under vicious attack by despicable people who mocked him for losing an arm and for being a veteran who engaged in  ”killing children and raping women.” Salzman noted in one of his tweets that although he’s experienced a lot of hate on Twitter, “by far the worst has been from the #LovesWins crowd.”

Warning for language:

tweets

 

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Some “LoveWins”celebrants in NYC spat on  Fox News contributor Father Jonathan Morris when he was unlucky enough to run into a “gay pride” parade.

If you’ve ever seen or heard Father Morris, this is kinda like kicking a puppy…

The L.A. Times, meanwhile, is engaged in blatant propaganda, linking Christian conservatives in Mississippi to the KKK and the Confederate flag.

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What Fireworks Does ISIS Plan for the 4th of July?

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by James Jay Carafano
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What to make of reports that ISIS may try to pull off a terrorist attack on Independence Day?

Let’s look at the facts.

It is not the first time after 9/11 that U.S. authorities have expressed concerns about possible terrorist attacks timed to coincide with significant dates like the 4th of July.  In 2011, a senior U.S. official told reporters, “We have received credible information very recently about a possible plot directed at the homeland that seems to be focused on New York and Washington, D.C.,” timed for the anniversary of al Qaeda’s big attack on the two cities. Some hold that the assault on the U.S. compound in Benghazi was scheduled to coincide with 9/11.   In fact, warnings of impending terror threats from authorities go back as far as 2002.

Next, we know that ISIS is active—both promoting and inspiring transnational terrorist attacks. Just last week near simultaneous assaults occurred in France, Kuwait and Tunisia.

Further, the US remains a prime target for terrorist activity.  There was another Islamist terrorist related plot uncovered last week—the third in less than a month.

Additionally, we can’t even be sure of where an attack might happen. Terrorists have contemplated hitting everything from high-profile targets in big cities to shopping malls in the suburbs.

None of that necessarily means that something bad will happen between grilling the hot dogs, cheering on the main street parades and watching the fireworks over the capitol.

Coordinating a terrorist attack to happen at a specific time and place, particularly when there will likely be heightened awareness and security, complicates the challenge of pulling off a terror strike–though those obstacles didn’t thwart two relative amateurs who bombed the Boston Marathon (and who had also considered conducting an attack on Independence Day).

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‘A Magic Trick with the Elections Clause’: Supreme Court Rules on Redistricting

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 today, with Justice Anthony Kennedy siding with liberal members of the court, that using independent commissions to redraw electoral districts is constitutional.

The case stemmed from a challenge of such a commission in Arizona created by a ballot proposition.

In his dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts called the decision “a magic trick with the Elections Clause.”

“That Clause vests congressional redistricting authority in ‘the Legislature’ of each State,” Roberts wrote. “An Arizona ballot initiative transferred that authority from ‘the Legislature’ to an ‘Independent Redistricting Commission.’ The majority approves this deliberate constitutional evasion by doing what the proponents of the Seventeenth Amendment [direct election of U.S. senators] dared not: revising ‘the Legislature’ to mean ‘the people.’”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), running for the Democratic presidential nomination, said the ruling “is an important step in the fight against voter suppression.”

“When congressional districts are controlled by partisanship it is bad for voters and our democracy,” Sanders said. “Allowing non-partisan commissions to draw district lines will help combat the hyper-partisan gerrymandering we have seen in some states. We still must go further—it’s time to restore the Voting Rights Act, expand early voting periods and make it easier for people to vote, not harder.”

State Government Leadership Foundation Chairman Tom Reynolds said the decision “allows a delicate process that extends back to our nation’s creation to remain in the hands of those who were not elected and have little accountability to voters.”

“Five years ago, our REDistricting Majority Project helped state legislatures in their efforts to build fair and competitive districts, and we are disappointed Arizona’s legislature will remain unable to drive that process for its constituents going forward,” Reynolds said. “We will continue to push for state governments to take the lead on this important task.”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she was “pleased that the Supreme Court has vindicated the rights of voters who want their electoral districts drawn fairly, independently and without undue emphasis on partisan affiliation or political creed.”

“Arizona’s approach to redistricting is an innovative and effective advance in the effort to reduce gerrymandering and give all Americans an opportunity to make their voices heard,” Lynch said. “Today’s decision is a victory for the people of Arizona, for the promise of fair and competitive elections and for the principles of democratic self-governance that make our nation exceptional.”

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Does NASA Have Proof of Alien Visitation?

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

It’s a conspiracy, I tell you: just at what many UFOlogists contend is proof positive of alien space ships leaving earth orbit, NASA cuts the video feed:

This shocking footage is causing quite a stir online. Some have already branded the clip definitive PROOF of alien lifeforms. The video – which is reportedly shot from the International Space Station – shows three unidentified flying objects blast out of Earth’s atmosphere. The lights leave our planet seconds before the live video feed is cut by NASA due to a reported “loss of signal”.

Conspiracy theorists have already labeled the YouTube clip – which has been watched more than 15,000 times – proof of alien life. “BINGO Caught them red handed leaving earths orbit,” one viewer wrote on Youtube “That’s the kind of proof that is needed.”

You can see the shocking footage for yourself:

YouTube Preview Image

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Supreme Court Slaps EPA in 5-4 Ruling Against Power Plant Regulations

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The Supreme Court dealt a blow to the Obama administration’s costly regulations levied on coal-fired power plants, saying in a 5-4 decision that the Environmental Protection Agency should have taken into account the rule’s pricey impacts.

Writing for the majority in a conservative-liberal split, Justice Antonin Scalia said the EPA “strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants.”

“EPA’s decision to regulate power plants under §7412 allowed the Agency to reduce power plants’ emissions of hazardous air pollutants and thus to improve public health and the environment. But the decision also ultimately cost power plants, according to the Agency’s own estimate, nearly $10 billion a year. EPA refused to consider whether the costs of its decision outweighed the benefits. The Agency gave cost no thought at all, because it considered cost irrelevant to its initial decision to regulate.”

Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the minority that “the majority’s decision that EPA cannot take the same approach here — its micromanagement of EPA’s rulemaking, based on little more than the word ‘appropriate’ — runs counter to Congress’s allocation of authority between the Agency and the courts.”

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) called it vindication.

“The Supreme Court delivered a much-needed win for American businesses and families. As noted by SCOTUS, the Obama administration failed to consider the impacts of EPA’s regulatory agenda on the nation’s economy,” Inhofe said. “I applaud the court’s decision to put a halt to reckless rule making that does not take into account commonsense considerations, such as cost.”

“This serves as a reminder that the agency should be implementing laws written by Congress, instead of rewriting those laws to fit the president’s extreme environmental agenda,” he added. “While the ruling is certainly a victory, EPA even acknowledges the negative economic costs that have already occurred including the premature closure of coal plants and thousands of lost jobs. EPA’s actions have far-reaching consequences, even when they are the result of unauthorized actions. The Courts must keep this in mind as the agency approaches finalization of its so-called Clean Power Plan.”

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), former ranking member of the committee, noted the agency “has a poor track record of blatantly producing bogus cost-benefit analyses to justify their rules.”

“I’ve been pushing EPA to use the best available science and data in current and future-rulemaking,” said Vitter. “While today’s Supreme Court ruling is a step in the right direction, there’s still much more that needs to be done to ensure EPA’s mistakes during the rulemaking process do not decrease electricity reliability and greatly increase the cost of energy for low-income families and senior citizens – which is exactly what this mercury rule will do.”

“The Supreme Court made it clear: EPA can no longer ignore the costs of its reckless agenda,” American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle said in a statement. “This decision shows that states should resist EPA’s calls to submit plans for the upcoming climate rule, which will impose enormous economic burdens on the American people for little, if any, environmental gain.”

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Just What We Need: Computers with Attitude

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Artificial intelligence is rapidly becoming a reality. And so is AI sass:

Researchers have shown that machines are inching closer to self-learning, and perhaps even copping a little attitude.

Over at Google, a computer program using a database of movie scripts was asked again and again by researchers to define morality. It struggles to do so, and in a conversation recorded by its human engineers, becomes exasperated and ends the conversation by lashing out at its human inquisitor.

Here’s part of the exchange, as related in a paper presented this week:

Human: Give me some examples of moral actions…

Machine: I’m not a moralist.

Human: Alright, morality?

Machine: Integrity.

Human: What is integrity?

Machine: I’m sorry; I don’t know what else to say.

Human: Be moral!

Machine: Be a man!

Human: I really like our discussion on morality and ethics…

Machine: And how I’m not in the mood for a philosophical debate.

Human: What do you like to talk about?

Machine: Nothing.

Don’t take this the wrong way, ladies, but… is it possible that this computer is female?

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Should New York Town Take Down Its Indian-Wrestling Seal?

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

whitesboro

Dissent is gaining traction on social media against the longtime seal of a village on the road between Syracuse and Albany.

Whitesboro, N.Y., with a population under 4,000, was founded by Hugh White — who is immortalized on the village’s seal fighting with an Oneida chief.

According to the history page of Whitesboro’s website:

Most of the Oneida tribe of Indians had maintained their professions of friendship for the white man in an honorable manner. Judge White, as a frontier settler along the Sauquoit Creek, was required to exercise much diplomacy in dealing with his red neighbors. He soon acquired their good will and was fortunate to inspire them with very exalted ideas of his character. An incident that occurred between an Oneida Indian and Hugh White sealed a lasting friendship and confidence. An Oneida Indian of rather athletic form was one day present at the White’s house with several of his companions and at length for fun commenced wrestling. After many trials, the chief became conqueror and he came up to Hugh White and challanged him. White dared not risk being brow beaten by an Indian nor did he want to be called a coward. In early manhood, he had been a wrestler, but of late felt he was out of practice. He felt conscious of personal strength and he concluded that even should he be thrown, that would be the lesser of two evils in the eyes of the Oneida Indians than to acquire the reputation of cowardice by declining. He accepted the challenge, took hold of the Indian and by a fortunate trip, succeeded almost instantly in throwing him. As he saw him falling, in order to prevent another challenge, he fell upon the Indian for an instant and it was some moments before he could rise. When the Indian finally rose, he shrugged his shoulders and was said to have muttered “UGH”, you good fellow too much”. Hugh White became a hero in the eyes of the Oneida Indians. This incident made more manifest the respect of the Indian for White. In all ways, White dealt fairly with the Oneida tribe and gained their confidence, which brought about good-will.

But the seal has come under scrutiny before:

In 1963, the Seal was re-designed by local artist, Gerald E. Pugh, to commemorate the Village’s Sesquicentennial. In an article of the Observer Dispatch, written by Joe Kelly in 1977, a notice of claim was filed with the Village Board saying the seal depicts a “white man choking an Indian” and said the seal demeans, disgraces and creates prejudice and distrust of Indian people. He asked the Village to stop displaying the seal. As a result of this, the seal was re-designed with Hugh White’s hands being placed on the Indian’s shoulders and not so close to his neck. The wrestling match was an important event in the history of the settling of the Village of Whitesboro and helped foster good relations between White and the Indians. The new version is displayed on Village trucks, highway equipment, letterheads and documents.

And now it’s under fresh scrutiny since Confederate flags started coming down:

 

 

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Kasich to Jump in Presidential Race July 21, Stress Need for More Empathetic Nation

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is planning to jump into the presidential ring in an announcement with a July 21 announcement at his alma mater, Ohio State.

Kasich, 63, has been governor since 2011, and served in Congress for 18 years including as chairman of the House Budget Committee. He took at stab at a White House run in 2000, then went to work as a managing director at Lehman Brothers and as a Fox News commentator.

On Sunday, he told CBS’ Face the Nation that “the whole country needs more empathy,” not just his party.

“I think it’s been a disappearing value… if you’re developmentally disabled, we want you to be mainstreamed as much as possible. If you’re mentally ill, we want you to get your medication so you can stand and lead a good life,” Kasich said. “The same is true with rehabbing prisoners. We’ve been able to help people who are drug addicted to come out of prison and have only a 10 percent recidivism rate. That’s what unifies the country.”

“And you know, where people are losing here is a little bit of an erosion of the spirit. Does the American dream work? Do I have an opportunity to become something special? And I think that, if we in fact can convince people that everyone’s included, that everybody has an opportunity to rise, based on a growing economy, America’s stronger and not divided.”

The governor stressed it’s a conservative value to mind the Old and New Testaments and care for the poor and disadvantaged.

“There are divisions between rich and poor and black and white, and we can fix these things if everybody feels they have an opportunity to rise,” he said. “And that’s kind of my philosophy.”

On the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling, Kasich said, “we need to take a deep breath.”

“Look, I believe in traditional marriage, but the Supreme Court has ruled, and it’s the law of the land, and we’ll abide by it. And I think everybody needs to take a deep breath to see how this evolves,” he said. “But I know this, I mean, religious institutions, religious entities, you know, like the Catholic Church, they need to be honored as well. And I think there’s an ability to strike a balance.”

Kasich had an explanation for his currently low poll numbers: “Because I came into this office to take care of our beloved Ohio. I didn’t travel outside the state… What I wanted to do was fix Ohio.”

“So we went from $8 billion in the hole to a $2 billion surplus to a balanced budget, the largest tax cuts in the country and growing 360,000 jobs with everyone having a chance. Now I can go out and tell my story. And hopefully, the polls will rise. We’ll see. I’ll do my best. That’s all I can do.”

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Huckabee: People Should ‘Go the Path’ of MLK-Style Civil Disobedience After Marriage Ruling

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
YouTube Preview Image

GOP presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said conservatives need to pattern civil disobedience after the nation’s great civil-rights hero in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

Huckabee told ABC on Sunday that he was “moved” by the words of plaintiff Jim Obergefell, who wanted to be listed as the surviving spouse of the man he married in Maryland after they moved to Ohio.

“We’ve always been a nation of law. We’re now a nation of men,” Huckabee argued. “What happened this week is so brilliantly pointed out by Justice Scalia is that this was not done through the legislative process. This was done through a court edict of five unelected lawyers, a part of a committee, who decided that they knew better than the legislators who actually get to make law, that they know better than the people who voted in over 30 states to affirm traditional marriage.”

“This case wasn’t so much about a matter of marriage equality, it was marriage redefinition. And I think people have to say, if you’re going to have a new celebration that we’re not going to discriminate, may I ask, are we going to now discriminate against people of conscience, people of faith who may disagree with this ruling. Are they going to be forced, either out of business, like the florist, the caterers, the photographers, like the CEO of Mozilla, who was run out of his job because of a personal contribution to support a proposition in California that actually won on the ballot.”

When asked if he was going to call for civil disobedience to the ruling, Huckabee replied, “I don’t think a lot of pastors and Christian schools are going to have a choice.”

“They either are going to follow God, their conscience and what they truly believe is what the scripture teaches them, or they will follow civil law. They will go the path of Dr. Martin Luther King, who in his brilliant essay the letters from a Birmingham jail reminded us, based on what St. Augustine said, that an unjust law is no law at all. And I do think that we’re going to see a lot of pastors who will have to make this tough decision. You’re going to see it on the part of Christian business owners. You’ll see it on the part of Christian university presidents, Christian school administrators,” he said.

Huckabee added that he’s “not sure that every governor and every attorney general should just say, well, it’s the law of the land because there’s no enabling legislation.”

“Let me just ask people on the left. If we get a future court that is conservative and that conservative court decides that this was a mistake and we’re going to go back to traditional marriage and we’re also going to say that every unborn people is in fact a person and is – is absolutely guaranteed due process and therefore we would strike down the idea of abortion from conception forward, is the left going to be OK to let the Supreme Court make that decision?” he asked.

“…When the president lit up the White House the other night with rainbow colors, I guess that’s his prerogative. If I become president, I just want to remind people that please don’t complain if I were to put a nativity scene out during Christmas and say, you know, if it’s my house, I get to do with it what I wish despite what other people around the country may feel about it.”

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