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Banning God in One Part of Texas, Going ‘Gender-Free’ In Another

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In Midlothian, Texas (conservative Ellis County, south of Dallas), atheists have forced the local school district to remove plaques outside its schools that mention God.

Folks around Midlothian, Texas are raising a ruckus after the school district boarded up a pair of dedication plaques at two local elementary schools.

“Because of the plaque’s questionable constitutional nature, it has been covered,” said Jerome Stewart, the superintendent of the Midlothian Independent School District.

My goodness! I can’t imagine what was written on the plaques that would cause such a kerfuffle. Were the plaques adorned with naughty words or dancing girls?

No, my good readers – they were not.

It seems the questionable content to which the superintendent referred includes a pair of Latin crosses along with the words “God” and “Holy Christian Church.”

The plaques were erected in the dark ages of 1997. They were approved by school district attorneys at the time. They have been covered up and will be removed, under threat from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. TheFFRF didn’t even have to sue this time.

“FFRF believes that the district is in violation of the U.S. Constitution in its display of this plaque,” Stewart said. “Although MISD has not been threatened with a lawsuit, the school district’s attorney advised that it would not prevail in court if it refused FFRF’s request and a lawsuit followed.”

Midlothian’s residents were not consulted on any of this. It just happened, an outside agitation group imposing itself on a medium-sized, unsuspecting town. There was a prayer protest to save the plaques this morning.

In Austin, Texas, seat of the county that recently indicted the state’s governor for trying to get a drunk district attorney to leave and restore credibility to her office, there’s an ordinance under discussion that will create “gender-free” bathrooms in the city.

It’s good to see that the high-tax, road-needy city council has its priorities in order.

City Council today (Thursday, Aug. 28) could make Austin the first city in Texas to pass a resolution (Item 84) requiring single-stall public restrooms to be gender-neutral. Sponsored by Council Member Chris Rileyand co-sponsored by Bill Spelman and Sheryl Cole, the draft resolution directs the city manager to “process any necessary code amendments to require gender-neutral signage for single-occupancy restrooms, to create an implementation plan, and to report back to Council by September 25.”

The Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT civil rights organization, has led the call for gender-neutral restroom requirements across the country. Members of the transgender community may face harassment and even violence when using gender-segregated restrooms, when suspicious onlookers decide they’ve entered the “wrong” restroom. According to a statement from Riley’s office, “Austin has demonstrated leadership on LGBTQ issues, and gender-free restrooms are one more way that we can lead. This change will make our city safer and more inclusive, which is better for all Austinites.”

That’s from the leftwing alt Austin Chronicle. KEYE-TV has a story about it as well.

The people we spoke to against the ordinance, wouldn’t go on camera, but raised the question: what’s next? Could this ordinance lead to unisex multi stall restrooms or unisex locker rooms?  We brought that question to Chris riley and to Lisa Scheps to get an answer.

“I haven’t been hearing an argument for that, so no.  I would have no idea what the future would bring but I have no reason to believe we would go down that road,” Riley said.

“We’re not talking about opening up places that have lots of people to be unisex, that’s not what this ordinance even suggests,” Scheps said.

Yet.

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The Only Things Andrea Tantaros Needs to Apologize for Are Being Whip Smart and Distractingly Gorgeous

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The other day on Outnumbered, Fox commentator Andrea Tantaros said this about ISIS and the possibility of “dialogue” with them.

Remarking about the brutality of the ISIS terrorists who beheaded journalist James Foley, Tantaros said, “You can’t solve it with a dialogue. You can’t solve it with a summit. You solve it with a bullet to the head. It’s the only thing these people understand.”

Is any part of that wrong?

The Asian American Journalists Association has a problem with it, though. They want an apology from Tantaros.

 

For journalists, the Association sure missed a huge fact. I saw the segment. Tantaros was clearly talking extemporaneously about ISIS and jihadists, not all Muslims everywhere for all time (too many of whom fail to stand up and denounce the jihadists in their midst and in their pulpits, out of a mix of fear and tacit support). She noted that historically, going back to the days of President Jefferson and the Barbary pirates, Muslim raiders have attacked Americans. That’s simply a fact. It’s not in our politically correct history books anymore, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Again, though, Tantaros was talking about jihadists and radicals in the wake of the Foley beheading.

Question: Why is an ethnic journalist association even defending a religion?

Are they playing a race card in the name of a religion?

If you go over to the AAJA apology demand page (the URL of which includes the politically correct smear “islamophobic”), take a look at the video clip they have embedded. It bears the MMFA logo in the upper right corner. That’s the leftwing Media Matters outfit, which exists to bother Fox and defend the left. AAJA captions the video as “Video Source: Media Matters” without ever identifying what MMFA really is. MMFA is an anti-Fox News, hard left, unfair and totally biased vipers’ nest.

Question: Why is the Asian American Journalists Association carrying water for a hard-left agitprop outfit?

Is there some undisclosed background arrangement? What’s going on here?

The AAJA seems to have taken its cue to attack Tantaros from Media Matters. The Association needs to apologize for that and disclose any relationship that it has with MMFA, if there is one. If they don’t, they have no credibility.

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Emanuel, Gutierrez Team Up to Get Immigrants Hooked on Government Services

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Hill reports that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, both Democrats, want to make Chicago the “model” for getting immigrants enrolled in whatever services the government offers, as quickly as possible.

The Windy City is already the “model” for gun control, albeit in a negative way. The city with some of the strictest gun control laws in the country is also persistently one of the most violent cities in America.

But this story is all about how Democrats intend to take advantage of Obama’s lawless amnesty, and turn illegal aliens into welfare recipients.

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) joined forces Wednesday with roughly 50 civic leaders to launch a comprehensive strategy for signing up those immigrants who might become newly eligible for any new benefits coming out of the administration.

“When an announcement comes, we will make sure Chicago is ready, that the community institutions in our neighborhoods are ready, and that we can efficiently inform our community about what is being announced and can help our neighbors sign up,” Gutierrez said in a statement after the meeting.

The Democrats are hoping to prevent the enrollment bottleneck that followed Obama’s 2012 launch of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which granted work permits to certain qualified illegal immigrants brought to the country as children. Thousands of applicants lined up on Chicago’s Navy Pier, surprising advocates and leading to some delays in processing.

The community leaders attending Wednesday’s meeting at Chicago’s City Hall included immigrant rights advocates, clergy members, education leaders and legal services experts.

This alliance is all about fleecing American taxpayers to get immigrants, legal and mostly illegal, hooked on big government, forever, so they and their descendants will be Democrats on the dole, forever. In a saner time, this announcement alone would be enough to get both junked from office forever.

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California Finally Tries To Do Something About Wooing Back Lost Film And TV Production

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Dare I say…hope?

It’s payback time for the Golden State, after Gov. Jerry Brown signed off Wednesday on blockbuster legislation that super-sizes California’s TV and film tax credit bill.

“This will send a message to the entertainment industry and all of the other states and countries that California is open for business, and in a big way,” one of the bill’s authors, Assemblyman Mike Gatto, told TheWrap. “We hope they’ll realize the folly of trying to create artificial competition to try to steal our jobs, and that this will return the industry for good.”

The measure calls for $330 million in incentives to be allocated to TV and movie producers — more than tripling the current $100 million that’s available — and means that the state can strike back at the numerous states and countries that have gutted one of California’s signature industries by luring projects with juicy tax breaks over the past decade. Funding would begin in fiscal year 2015-2016 and run through fiscal year 2018-2019.

Yes, there is a larger conversation to be had about the business climate that forced the state’s signature industry to flee (much of it to Canada) in the first place but…baby steps. Some may see this as a band-aid but it is more like pressure on a hemorrhaging artery. Let’s get this done first and take the necessary steps after.

New York City was in a similar predicament in the early 1990s, for pretty much the same reason. Film and television production had almost completely stopped. City officials and labor unions worked together to bring business back and had great success.

California has been doing things poorly for so long, it will be a relief to one day get it back to doing the thing it’s best at.

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Ukraine: Russia Has Invaded Our Territory

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

CNN reports that Ukraine says Russia has mounted a “full-scale” invasion and is fighting alongside its proxy/separatist rebels. US officials agree; Russia is invading Ukraine.

U.S. officials said Russian troops were directly involved in the latest fighting, despite Moscow’s denials.

Rebels backed by Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers fought Ukrainian forces on two fronts Thursday: southeast of rebel-held Donetsk, and along the nation’s southern coast in the town of Novoazovsk, about 12 miles (20 km) from the Russian border, according to Mykhailo Lysenko, the deputy commander of the Ukrainian Donbas battalion.

“This is a full-scale invasion,” Lysenko said, referring to the fighting in the south.

Intelligence now indicates that up to 1,000 Russian troops have moved into southern Ukraine with heavy weapons and are fighting there, a U.S. official told CNN Thursday.

Ukraine’s National Defense and Security Council said that Russian forces were in full control of Novoazovsk as of Wednesday afternoon.

The UN Security Council is set to meet on the invasion this afternoon. But the Russians have a veto there, so any tough action against Russia won’t come out of the UNSC.

The theory that Putin’s true aim is to use ethnic tensions to seize Ukraine’s eastern energy production regions is still holding up.

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Al Qaeda Magazine Hints at Future Lone-Wolf Attacks in the U.S.

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Al Qaeda reminds the United States and the world that just because one “jayvee” terrorist group has gone varsity, doesn’t mean another  one isn’t still gunning to top the table.

The online publication, called “Palestine-Betrayal of the Guilty Conscience Al-Malahem” and put out by the media arm of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, calls for Muslims around the world to follow “the recipe” provided to set off car bombs in crowded venues. It includes a timeline of “selected jihadi operations” that the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which first flagged the slickly-produced latest edition of the terror publication, finds chilling.

“The timeline concludes with the date 201?’ and blank spaces and question marks for the photo and information of the next attack — implying that it is coming soon.” said MEMRI Executive Director Steve Stalinsky.

There is a suggested list of targets for lone-wolf, or individually executed, terror attacks, including New York’s Times Square, casinos and night clubs in Las Vegas, oil tankers and trains, the Georgia Military College, the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, and General Atomics defense contractor in San Diego.

The magazine also includes a list of targets in Britain, and a guide, “How to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom.” That’s a guide to make a pressure cooker bomb similar to the ones that the Tsarnaev brothers used in Boston.

A second American is reported to have died fighting for ISIS in Syria. That’s the kind of publicity that even al Qaeda’s own magazine can’t buy these days.

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Some of the Illegal Alien ‘Kids’ Enrolling in U.S. Schools Have Gray Hair

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Department of Justice sent out a memo to local schools in the U.S. a few weeks back. That memo ordered schools to take in illegal aliens without verifying anything about them — not their legal status, not their residential addresses, anything.

U.S. citizens cannot get away with that. When citizens move into a new school district and enroll their kids at school, they usually have to provide some form of proof of address, to ensure that their children are in the right school in the correct district. Much school money depends on enrollment and attendance.

But with illegal aliens, it’s a different story.

CNS reports that that different story is having a bizarre outcome.

The mayor of Lynn, Mass. says that some of the illegal aliens from Guatemala who are enrolled in her city’s public schools are adults with graying hair and “more wrinkles than I have.”

“They are not all children,” Judith Flanagan Kennedy told reporters at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

“One of the things that we did notice when we were processing some of these students coming in was that they were adults,” she said.

One of these “kids” turned out to be 35 years old.

Kennedy said that the majority of those from Guatemala who are enrolling in the Lynn Public Schools claim to be between 14 and 17 years of age.

“But there were people with graying temples, hair around the temples,” said Kennedy, adding that although she did not see these individuals in person, she saw photographs of them in registration paperwork. “There were people with more wrinkles than I have around their eyes.”

However, the school district was directed by the federal government not to verify the age of the foreign enrollees, Kennedy said.

Enrolling adults as “kids” in public schools full of actual kids. No, surely, nothing can go wrong from this.

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Reporter Thinks Posters Warning Women About Date Rape Drugs Are ‘Victim Blaming’

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Put-in-Bay, a popular Lake Erie island resort in Ohio, is well-known for its party scene and this summer, has earned the unfortunate nickname, “Roofie Island,” after more than a dozen women reported being drugged and at least three were raped. On weekend nights, island police regularly transport young women who suspect they’ve been slipped date rape drugs to the hospital — some tourists, others island employees.

To combat the problem, the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS)  has posted signs around the island warning women, ”Do You Know Where Your Drink Is? Don’t Turn Your Back — ACT!” The poster shows a woman seated at the bar next to a man who is slipping something into her drink behind her back.

“We want friends to look out for their friends, fellow bar-goers to look out for fellow bar-goers and bar staff
to look out for their patrons,” said Agent-in-Charge Eric Wolf from the Ohio Department of Public Safety. “We want everyone to be safe. If you see someone tampering with another person’s drink – don’t turn your back on them, don’t be afraid to step up and act.”

An August 15th ODPS advisory said that bystanders and bar staff should let the person know their drink may have been compromised, get the individual out of the situation and call 9-1-1 immediately, and contain the evidence if possible. “According to the Ohio Incident Based Reporting System (OIBERS), nine forcible rapes with
drugs as a weapon were reported in 2013.”

But Alissa Widman Neese, a reporter for the Sandusky Register thinks something is missing. “Where is the poster telling men — or whoever is allegedly drugging individuals in Put-in-Bay — to stop distributing drugs?” Neese asks.

“If officials are going to advocate individuals protecting themselves from a potential problem, perhaps they should also acknowledge the source of the problem is at fault,” Neese added.  ”The victim or careless bystander is not to blame.” She added via Twitter:

Is warning a woman that her drink could be tampered with any more “victim blaming” than warning someone to look both ways before she crosses the street? Anyone who walks out into traffic without looking both ways is taking unnecessary risks. A woman in a bar who is falling-down drunk has to know that it’s risky to leave her drink unattended when there are men on the prowl with roofies at the ready. Warning someone of a very real danger is not blaming someone for a crime that has yet to be committed.

Neese thinks that the perpetrators need to be warned.

Does anyone seriously think that a violent pervert who is willing to drug a girl, drag her to an alley or a hotel room, and force her to have sex without her knowledge or consent is going to be swayed by a poster or a public service campaign?

Ladies, heed the posters and protect yourselves (and your girlfriends) from these sex offenders. Better yet, steer clear of situations where you could have your drink compromised and never put yourself in a position where you are not in control of your mental faculties.  This is not “victim blaming,” this is common sense advice that could save your life. There are some guys that are creeps — violent losers who are bigger and stronger than you and who will take advantage of you and hurt you if given the opportunity.

A poster warning the perpetrator to leave you alone is not going to help you if you encounter this guy. Being and alert — and sober — and having a friend watch your back will. So will a gun, if you’re planning to stay sober.

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It’s Getting So Bad that You Can’t Believe Anything You Read on the Internet

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Do you want to know why I tend not to post the Hero of the Day story that everyone else on the Internet runs with? Because these days, they usually fall apart within 48 to 72 hours. I just skip their arc from fame to infamy to the dustbin of pop culture history.

USC football player Josh Shaw admitted to USC officials that his story about heroically rescuing his nephew is a lie.

In a statement, USC says … “Shaw came to USC athletic department officials this afternoon (Wednesday, Aug. 27) and admitted that he had lied about how he suffered his ankle injuries over the weekend.”

“He said that the story he told of rescuing his nephew in a pool in Palmdale, Calif., was a complete fabrication. He apologized for misleading his coaches, teammates, athletic department officials and the public.”

I guess we’ll get one of these cynicism-building college football scandals every year or two from now on. Last year it was Manti Te’o and the fake dead girlfriend. This year it’s a guy who lies about saving his drowning nephew. Plus the usual assorted shoplifting and alumni gift stories.

Anyway, Miley Cyrus stunned America, with her touching tribute to homelessness. But it turns out that “Jesse” is a wanted man. His choices led to his being domicile challenged.

Tuesday, the world learned a little about “Jesse” and how he ended up on the streets of Los Angeles. Here’s a synopsis via Billboard:

Not long after the VMAs, his mother confirmed to The Oregonian that Miley’s Jesse was her son, Jesse Helt, a native of Salem, Oregon. And on Tuesday, Inside Edition spoke with an Oregon court official who revealed that Jesse Helt was arrested for attempting to break into an apartment four years ago. Billboard contacted the Salem police department and confirmed the 2010 incident.

Courts documents obtained by Inside Edition and shared with Billboard detail Helt’s attempt to break into a Salem apartment in Oct. 2010. Helt was charged with criminal trespassing and criminal mischief. According to the AP, a warrant is currently out for his arrest.

Months later, Helt’s probation officer filed documents stating that Helt skipped a probation check-in appointment and failed a drug test. Helt admitted to smoking marijuana, writing and signing a statement in March 2011 concerning his probation violation. The statement ended with the following promise: “For the sake of my freedom I have chosen to stop smoking weed and from now on I will not violate my probation.”

Since then, Spin reports that he briefly attended community college and worked at the Oregon State Fair. While attempting to start a modeling career in Los Angeles, the AP reports that Helt lived on the streets.

So Jesse has a criminal record, an open warrant for his arrest, a drug problem, and is homeless because he took the brilliant career path into the safe and secure world of modeling.

The intended lesson of Miley’s charity, there but for the grace of God goes you, eh, isn’t all that.

Want another lie exposed? Another downer for the day? Ok, try this: Hello Kitty isn’t even a cat.

Or, if it’s a cat, since it owns a pet cat, Hello Kitty is really Hello Slavery. But it’s not a cat.

According to Sanrio, Hello Kitty — whom you have seen on literally every consumer product at an increasing rate over the past 40 years — is in fact a human child.

“Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.”

Thank goodness that Hello Kitty is not in fact a cat. Because that would be awk-ward.

Let’s end on something a little less shocking, a little more predictable.

Remember the Boston bomber brothers? Their sister got picked up for…prepare not to be shocked…making a bomb threat.

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Senator to Clapper: Contractors with Unpaid Taxes and Security Clearances Pose Risk

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A Democratic senator has asked the director of national intelligence to investigate the high number of  defense employees who have failed to pay their taxes, arguing that giving them security clearances poses a national security risk.

Financial health is supposed to be assessed in the security clearance process to determine, for example, whether someone with access to classified information can be bought by a hostile party. Federal law, though, doesn’t prohibit someone with unpaid taxes from holding a security clearance.

The Government Accountability Office issued a report recently finding that, as of June 2012, out of 83,000 Defense Department employees and contractors owing $730 million in unpaid taxes to the IRS, about a quarter of those were still deemed eligible for a TS/SCI clearance — top secret/sensitive compartmented information.

Together, those with unpaid taxes who received the high clearance owed $83 million, according to the GAO. Forty-seven percent of those debt holders were contractors, who accounted for about $25 million of the delinquent taxes.

The median debt amount owed was about $3,700, according to the report, and “tax debts ranged from a minimum of about $100 to millions of dollars.”

About 40 percent of the total number of DoD employees with tax troubles had a repayment plan in place with the IRS.

“This data indicates that there are tens of thousands of federal employees and contractors with the highest levels of clearance who, because of extreme financial overextension, may no longer be relied upon to put our country’s interests before his or her own,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) wrote to DNI James Clapper.

“This unacceptable situation raises national security concerns and sends the message to taxpayers that some folks don’t have to play by the rules, but can still be trusted with access to our nation’s most sensitive information,” the senator said. “Given the scope of this problem and the amount of debt involved, I urge you to address this matter comprehensively and promptly.”

Tester heads the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee that oversees the federal workforce and has been critical of security clearance oversight. Clapper has been working with the Office of Personnel Management to improve the standards for background investigations and clearances.

Tester said in a statement that “some of these individuals with delinquent tax debt are jeopardizing our national security because of poor judgment and decision-making.”

“Potentially harmful financial behaviors should not be ignored after an individual is granted or deemed eligible to have a security clearance,” he said.

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MSM Loves a Good ‘Romney 2016′ Story

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Run Mitt, run!

The day after Mitt Romney opened the door to another possible presidential run, a new poll shows he has a huge lead among likely 2016 Iowa Republican caucus voters.

According to a USA Today/Suffolk University poll released Wednesday, 35 percent of likely GOP caucus voters would vote for the 2012 GOP nominee in 2016. When Romney’s name was added to the pool, no other candidate received double-digit votes.

The survey comes as rumors have begun to swirl about a potential Romney bid for president in 2016. After months of insisting that he will not run again, the former Massachusetts governor on Tuesday acknowledged that “circumstances can change.”

When I talk to Republicans who aren’t opposed to the idea of Romney 3.0, their arguments are usually that “he’s a nice guy” and “he would have done a much better job than Obama is doing now.”

Both are true. Both are also irrelevant.

We’re voting for the leader of the free world and a commander in chief when we vote for president, not a drinking buddy. Whether he or she is “nice” shouldn’t play into the decision.

As to the second point, there is a hummingbird who is often outside my window when I write that would have done a better job than Obama is doing. In fact, the list of people who fit that description is overwhelmingly lengthy.

There was, however, one thing Romney couldn’t do better than Barack Obama: run for president.

Maybe it’s because he was a nice guy, but Romney was a lousy candidate. He had one good debate, and that was due more to Obama’s arrogance and lack of preparation. The press was caught rather flat-footed for that one too. Both the president and his MSM minions made sure that didn’t happen again and Mitt was pretty much defeated by Candy Crowley.

The press would love to see Mitt run again because they know he’ll seem invincible all through the primaries and then nice guy his way to a drubbing in the general by Fauxcahontas.

Republicans never seem to be able to resist the candidates that the MSM won’t stop talking about. It’s their “Lucy promising she won’t pull the football away this time” and, bless their Charlie Brown hearts, they keep falling for it.

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Peshmerga Getting ‘Some’ Help with U.S. Arms, But ‘It’s Not Enough’

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A spokesman for the Peshmerga told CNN today that the Kurdish forces had received “some weapons from the United States,” but “it’s not enough, very little” to be able to defeat ISIS.

Brig. Gen. Hazhar Ismail said they are now “gaining ground” again versus the Islamic State in part thanks to U.S. airstrikes intended to protect Irbil.

“It’s very little, but it helped us a lot. So now, day by day, we are gaining ground, and we have a plan to re-control and defeat our enemy, our common enemy, the international enemy, is, and all the area, to save the area from is. You know they are threatening the civilian people,” Ismail said. “They killed many peoples in Sinjar, in Sinjar Mountain. They kill Christian, Yazidi, Kurd, Arab. There is no difference. So we have a plan with help and support with our friend, the U.S., and some countries.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Tuesday that “in addition to support from the U.S., and the central government of Iraq in Baghdad, seven additional nations – Albania, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom – have committed to helping provide Kurdish forces urgently needed arms and equipment.”

“Operations have already begun and will accelerate in the coming days with more nations also expected to contribute,” Hagel said in a statement. “…This multinational effort, which is being coordinated with the Government of Iraq in Baghdad, will greatly assist Kurdish forces in repelling the brutal terrorist threat they face from ISIL.”

Ismail said Baghdad is stalling shipments, saying it wants to check everything going to the Kurds first.

“For a week, we did not receive anything from U.S. or from other countries. The problem, Baghdad. So we need U.S. and other countries to tell Baghdad, you have to solve some bad policies you’re created in the past. It is a good chance to solve the problems now,” he said.

He stressed that the U.S. arms that did get through “helped us a lot to stop ISIS and to re-control the area.”

“But believe me, it’s not enough, because we have a very long border with ISIS. We have 1,050 kilometer border with ISIS. We’re fighting terrorist country, not terrorist organization or small group. So we need to have weapons, ammunition, equipment, everything as army,” Ismail said. “We are part of Iraqi defense system, but unfortunately, they did nothing for us, with budget, with training, with weapons, with ammunition, with everything. So even for eight years, they did not pay the Peshmerga forces even $1.”

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No, Texas Taxpayers Are Not Paying for Gov. Rick Perry’s Legal Defense

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

There is a smear going around on the interwebs, to the effect that Gov. Rick Perry is using state taxpayer funds to pay for his defense against the August 15 indictment of him by a Travis County grand jury.

Headlines such as this one, on FitsNews (which describes itself as “Unfair. Imbalanced.”) are giving the tale some legs.

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They did say they’re “unfair” and “imbalanced.” The pic and the headline prove it.

Let’s cut this story’s legs off well above the knee.

The very same story headlined above contains this nugget:

According to Perry, the taxpayers of Texas [should pay for his defense].  In fact in an interview with the Associated Press prior to embarking on a pre-campaign swing to early-voting South Carolina, Perry said taxpayers should cover the bill – but he’s instructed his campaign accountants to pay it “to keep from having folks grouse about it.” (emphasis added)

So the taxpayers of Texas are not actually paying for it. Yet the grousing continues.

Here’s Perry again, this time after an interview with Dallas radio host Mark Davis. Perry tells Davis who is paying for his legal defense.

He calls the decision to pay his attorneys with campaign funds rather than taxpayer funds “a straight-up judgment call, rather than having to defend every day” against disapproving voters and political writers who would gladly harp on who’s paying the legal fees. (emphasis added)

So the taxpayers of Texas are not paying for Perry’s defense from the political indictment of him. His judgment certainly seems sound. The media would carp endlessly about the conservative who is milking taxpayers to fight off his indictment. That’s a given. They would get louder and louder the closer the case drags to Perry making a decision about running for president.

Look, I’ve raised a question about Perry’s defense team. Right here.

But this case over who is paying for his defense should be closed. It won’t be, of course. Political axes don’t grind themselves.

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Democrats New Strategy: Pretend Most Of 2014 Hasn’t Happened

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Goin’ old school.

Democrats hear only one thing when Republicans talk about fighting President Barack Obama’s immigration agenda or GOP plans for controlling Congress: government shutdown.

In fundraising requests, media appearances and conference calls, Democrats are painting Republicans as the “shutdown party” just in time for the midterm elections that coincidentally hit right after the one-year anniversary of last year’s October shutdown.

Democrats hope this emerging strategy persuades voters that if Republicans win both the House and Senate in November, there will be more unpopular shutdowns and Obama will have to fight hard against the GOP to simply preserve the policy legacy of his first six years in office.

Because most of their policy ideas can’t be discussed honestly, Democrats forever resort to the “THIS IS WHAT THE SCARY REPUBLICANS ARE GOING TO DO IF YOU VOTE FOR THEM!” strategy that has worked so well for them ever since they started saying the GOP wanted to “cut Medicare” way back when. There were never any cuts on the table, just reductions in the rate of increase but, hey, it stuck.

One of the reasons these things stick is because the average establishment Republican in Congress is too weak and/or stupid to refute the lies. In the case of the shutdown, the McCains and Boehners of the world have spent so much time whining about it in the last year that they have practically written this script for the Democrats.

It is more than understandable that the Democrats are going back to last fall for a talking point, what can they point to in 2014 that’s gone well for them? Obamacare? Foreign policy? The president’s approval ratings? This Halloween shutdown straw man is their best desperate shot.

Don’t be surprised if it works.

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Senators to Latin American Nations: Return Your Ambassadors to Israel

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Four senators this week called on the presidents of Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador and Peru to restore diplomatic relations with Israel.

The Latin American countries yanked their ambassadors from the Jewish state in protest of the operations in Gaza, with Brazil calling the IDF action a “disproportionate use of force.”

“This is an unfortunate demonstration of why Brazil, an economic and cultural giant, remains a diplomatic dwarf,” Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said in return. “The moral relativism behind this move makes Brazil an irrelevant diplomatic partner, one who creates problems rather than contributes to solutions.”

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) sent letters Monday to each of the countries involved in the diplomatic spats, saying they were “deeply disappointed by your government’s decision to recall your Ambassador to Israel ‘in protest’ against Israel’s legitimate military operations to restore deterrence against rocket attacks and terrorist tunnels designed by Hamas to kill Israeli civilians.”

“Hamas is a terrorist organization committed to using violence as a political tool and denying Israel’s right to exist. Hamas leaders have violated international law by promoting the use of civilians as human shields, and have rejected multiple cease fire offers that could save lives on both sides of this conflict,” they wrote. “All loss of innocent lives during this conflict is tragic, but your government’s decision to downgrade diplomatic relations with Israel at this critical time will only embolden Hamas leaders to continue on the current course of indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israeli civilians rather than working with the Israeli government to achieve a sustainable cease fire arrangement.”

“Your actions send a troubling message to the United States about your government’s commitment to long-lasting peace between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.”

The bipartisan group encouraged each president to “return your Ambassador to Israel, as a symbol of your country’s steadfast commitment to achieving an enduring peace in the Middle East and the fight against the scourge of international terrorism.”

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Well, a Constitutional Crisis Over Immigration It Will Be

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Here’s the current state of play on President Obama’s threat to break immigration law in three steps.

Step One: The threat. Here’s Josh Earnest, saying that yes, Obama will go it alone on immigration.

Step Two: Sen. Marco Rubio sends Obama a letter advising him against this heinous act.

As if Obama is listening to Rubio anyway. Rubio presents an existential threat to the Democrats, or did before he waffled on immigration. He still presents a threat. Obama is likely to trash the letter, or read it and do the opposite purely out of spite.

Rubio’s letter advises Obama that granting amnesty to five million by fiat will wreck “comprehensive immigration reform” for the foreseeable future.

As if Obama cares about that. In his strategy, he gets credit from the left over his sweeping and unilateral amnesty, and if Congress doesn’t pass the law he wants, he gets to blame that on Republicans and shore up the Hispanic vote for the Democrats.

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Armed Services Chairman to Obama: Come to Congress with a Strategy Against ISIS, and We’ll Talk

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Congress can’t even begin to speculate what it can do to aid the fight against ISIS until President Obama comes up with a strategy to “destroy” the Islamic State.

“ISIS is a clear and present threat to our allies across the Middle East and to the United States. There is no negotiating with ISIS or deterring it. It must be defeated and destroyed,” chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said in a statement today. “Doing so demands a comprehensive strategy combining diplomatic, political, and military efforts, and the contributions from a broad coalition of countries. Such a strategy will require time, commitment, and leadership that America is uniquely suited to provide.”

“This comprehensive approach may well require additional authorities from Congress, but speculation about that before the president has even offered a strategy is putting the cart before the horse,” he continued. “We need the president to explain to the American people what is at stake, what our objectives are, and the strategy for how to achieve them. Only after we understand all this can we contemplate what new authorities might be needed.”

McKeon, who is retiring at the end of this term, challenged Obama “to engage Congress.”

“I’m willing to work with him, and I would offer a few factors for him to keep in mind,” the chairman continued. “First, ISIS is an urgent threat and a minimalist approach, that depends solely on FY15 funding or pinprick strikes that leave fragile forces in Iraq and Syria to do the hard fighting, is insufficient to protect our interests and guarantee our safety in time.”

“Second, good strategies keep options on the table and keep an adversary guessing, instead of telegraphing what we won’t do. No leader ever won a conflict by first declaring what steps he was unwilling to take – or, for that matter, leaking details about steps he actually is taking.”

Third, McKeon stressed, “the ISIS threat was allowed to build and fester over a period of time.”

“They are not likely to be decisively defeated quickly, but will have to be faced by this president and his successors,” he said. “Therefore, strategy and decisions made by the president now should preserve future options, not foreclose them. Finally, this enemy must be defeated, but if we are not going to adequately resource our effort, we will only make a very complex security situation worse.”

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Jindal Swings Back On Common Core, Sues Administration

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

It’s on, kids.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal filed suit on Wednesday against the Obama administration, arguing that it has coerced states into adopting Common Core education standards.

The move by the Republican governor, who is widely viewed as holding presidential aspirations, comes amid a backlash against the multistate standards that aim to boost critical-thinking skills and apply consistency to a patchwork of state guidelines.

“Common Core is the latest effort by big government disciples to strip away state rights and put Washington, D.C., in control of everything,” Jindal said in a statement.

Jindal was a supporter of the standards when his state was among 45 to enact them in 2010, but he has since characterized them as a federal attempt to control the curriculum taught in the nation’s schools.

While the standards were developed and implemented by states, the Obama administration encouraged their adoption through a competitive-grant program called Race to the Top, which gave money to cash-strapped states.

State programs incentivized by federal dollars aren’t state programs. Public education has become the biggest federal boondoggle masquerading as a collection of state programs in America. Common Core is a ruse to cement the states’ lips to the federal financial teat. It’s good to see that Jindal has not only come around on this but is seeing it for what it is.

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What Was Speaker Boehner Thinking When He Released Video Calling Himself a Monkey?

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Scott Ott

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner…the titular leader of Republicans on Capitol Hill…the man who in negotiations must stare steely-eyed across the table at the reptilian-blooded House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and at the Commander in Chief, his chill-ness, President Barack Obama…this man…this force of nature has released a video likening himself unto a wind-up clanging toy monkey.

I have now watched the video — dubbed “The Monkey in the Room” —  several times, pondering after its perplexing purpose — searching for the deeper meaning that might escape my public-school-molded mind. It’s presented as an official video the Speaker of the House, with “Speaker.gov” prominently displayed. Therefore, “we, the People” picked up the tab for the staff time required to film, edit and post it.

Perhaps Rep. Boehner released “The Monkey in the Room” in order to bond emotionally with people who think the House Speaker should be an affable sot, frittering away his days as the remote-controlled automaton of his sophomoric staff.

The most humanizing take might be that John Boehner and his staff have inside jokes, just like the folks in the cubes at your office.

But just like those jokes, they rarely play elsewhere.

The title of the video provides an extra measure of absurdity, apparently combining the clichés “elephant in the room” with “get this monkey off of my back” to spawn “The Monkey in the Room.”

After enduring his video and his tenure as Speaker, I’d suggest a better title: “Get This Elephant Off Of My Back.”

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Ohio Lawmakers Hold Common Core Repeal Hearings

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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In the midst of three weeks of hearings on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Ohio lawmakers introduced H.B. 597, a bill that would repeal the controversial standards and require the state to develop new standards that would go into effect in the 2017-2018 school year. In the interim, Ohio would use standards the state of Massachusetts used before they adopted the CCSS.

But according to former State Representative Diana Fessler, H.B. 597 (and Sub. H.B. 597, which replaced the original placeholder bill) is nothing more than “a tool for political gain” designed to protect Republicans in upcoming elections. Fessler explained the political maneuvering in an article at Ohio Conservative Review:

In August of 2013, Rep. Thompson (R-Marietta) introduced House Bill 237 to repeal Common Core (CC) in Ohio. The bill never budged. In an attempt to give the bill some traction, Rep. John Adams (R-Sidney) introduced a discharge petition. The bill still didn’t budge.

Anytime during the past year, Rep. Huffman, Speaker Pro Tempore of the House (the second highest position in the House) could have used his high rank to advocate for a good bill, HB 237. Instead, Rep. Huffman co-sponsored a new bill, HB 597. The new bill functionally rendered both HB 237 and the discharge petition moot.

The new bill, HB 597, an education bill, was not assigned to the House Education Committee. Instead, in a bizarre move, it was assigned to the House Rules and Reference Committee — a committee chaired by none other than Rep. Huffman. HB 597 sets Rep. Huffman up to tout advocacy for anti-CC legislation when he runs for Senator Faber’s open Senate seat in 2016.

The House Rules Committee is run by top House GOP leaders and rarely hears bills. Chairman Huffman replaced several members of the Committee prior to the hearings, including John Adams (R-Sidney) a leading proponent of the repeal effort. Adams and Huffman are expected to face off in 2016 for Faber’s open Senate seat.

Fessler says that the tight timeline makes it virtually impossible for Sub. H.B. 597 to pass before the end of the House legislative calendar. Chairman Huffman has said the full House will not vote on the bill until after the November election, which would leave less than two weeks for a bill to be introduced in the Senate and make it through the conference committee process before the legislative session ends.

According to Fessler:

If either chamber rejects the Committee’s new version of the bill, the bill dies (but the record of how members voted will stand and those votes will be touted during the 2016 elections). Accordingly, the greatest political advantage would come from both Chambers passing an anti-CC bill that later gets “hung up” in the Conference Committee or fails to gain ratification in both chambers.

The second greatest political advantage, and the one most likely in play, would come from just the House passing the bill and then letting the clock run out.

Passage of Substitute HB 597 by the House meets an important political objective: it ensures that specific Republicans in contested 2016 primaries will be able to portray themselves as being against Common Core. Ultimately, some candidates, including a certain chairman, will proclaim that they fought to repeal CC but, sadly, forces beyond their control prevailed. [emphasis added]

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Russian Hackers Broke Into American Banks

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

And it looks like a government job. The hackers hit JP Morgan Chase and another unidentified US bank, according to Bloomberg News. The FBI is investigating.

The attack, which occurred in mid-August, resulted in the loss of gigabytes of sensitive data, and authorities are investigating whether recent infiltrations of major European banks using a similar vulnerability are also linked to the attack, one of the people said.

In one case, the hackers used a zero-day vulnerability in one of the banks’ websites, then plowed through layers of elaborate security to steal the data, a feat several security experts said appeared far beyond the capability of ordinary criminal hackers. The incidents occurred at a low point in relations between Russia and the West, as Russian troops continue to mass on the Ukrainian border and the West tightens sanctions aimed at crippling Russian companies, including some of the country’s most important banks.

Rogue retaliatory sanctions?

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CNN: Hey, Our Suspicious Shooting Audio with More Shots than a Battle in Fallujah Might Be Real!

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Well, this is funny — and a little too representative of today’s so-called mainstream media.

So CNN was asking two guys who know nothing about the case to speculate about an unconfirmed alleged audio from an unidentified man.

The experts both expressed their strong doubts that the audio was real.

The CNN time-waster had a strong rebuttal, though.

After the first guest says it’s most likely a hoax, and might just be a Howard Stern prankster, he allows, more out of politeness than conviction, “But it could be real.”

And it could very easily be fake. No one knows, which is the point.

If you haven’t heard the audio in question, it’s here. And here.

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The sound is suspect for several reasons.

  • The public doesn’t know who recorded the audio.
  • No one on the recording reacts to the supposed gun shots.
  • There are at least ten audible “shots,” more than any autopsy of Michael Brown has revealed (Officer Wilson may have missed some, but police will know from the number of shell casings at the scene, testimony, etc).
  • Did I mention that no one on the recording reacts to what we’re to believe is ten gun shots just outside?
  • The shots are really loud, almost as loud as the voice, even though they’re fired outside and at some distance.
  • And no one on the recording reacted to them.

Perhaps hearing a hail of gunfire is normal in that neighborhood when you’re video sex chatting someone?

It’s all too easy to doctor a recording. Someone with minimal know-how can get a free audio editor here, and free gunshot sound effects here. Upfront cost: $0.

We know that whoever made the recording is capable of recording their video sex chat sessions.

Downloading and dropping the gun shot sound effect into a timeline of saying “You’re so pretty!” is trivial. It takes seconds.

I’m not saying that that’s what happened here. We don’t know. That’s the point.

But it could be real! That’s the new standard at CNN.

I suppose it’s progress, of a sort. At least CNN didn’t falsify evidence as both ABC and NBC did in the Trayvon Martin case.

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Will Democrats Retaliate Against Burger King for Abdicating to Canada?

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

By now you’ve undoubtedly seen and read Democrats getting in a high dudgeon over Burger King’s purchase of Tim Horton’s, a Canadian donut company.  After the $11.4 billion acquisition, Burger King will move its headquarters to Canada. The King will be a Canuck in the eyes of the law.

Democrat backer Warren Buffet is financing the deal. Democrat officeholders and pundits are outrageously outraged about it. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is being outrageously opportunistic, using Burger King’s move north to promote burger chains based in his home state.

His complaint: the merger could be an ‘inversion,’ in which a corporation shifts its profits abroad to avoid U.S. taxes.

“Burger King’s decision to abandon the United States means consumers should turn to Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers or White Castle sliders. Burger King has always said ‘Have it Your Way’; well my way is to support two Ohio companies that haven’t abandoned their country or customers,” Brown said. Read the rest of his release here.

Following suit, I’ll be outrageously opportunistic and promote Texas-based Whataburger. Which has better burgers anyway. And spicy ketchup if you ask for it.

Burger King’s smoothies, though…not bad. Not bad at all.

The subject of “inversions” has come up in direct relation to US corporate taxes being hiked to the point that they’re the highest in the developed world. This should not be.

In an age of multinational corporatism, it’s counterproductive to tax corporations too hard. They can, and will, move their operations to more favorable locations. Canada under its Conservative government has become one of the more favorable countries to do business.

If Democrats really wanted to do the economy some good, they would look long and hard at sweeping tax reform, including corporate taxes.

For what it’s worth, Burger King says re-locating to Canada isn’t about taxes. It’s about not ripping Tim Horton’s, which is apparently in icon north of the border, from Canada and making it another grubby Yank operation.

Is the Burger King move an “inversion” or just another decision made by one of those things that are made up of people, but the left refuses to recognize as artificial people for the purposes of perpetual existence and organization?

I don’t know. But I do know that the Democrats have a direct avenue to retaliate against Burger King if they want. And that’s through the US armed forces.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Services has existing contracts with a number of vendors of Americana. Burger King is one of them. There are Burger King (and Popeye’s, and a few other) restaurants at US bases all over the world. At home bases, they’re convenient stops for military personnel and their families to grab a cheap bite. Overseas, they’re little slices of America in foreign lands. They’re also nice ways to introduce the local citizens to a little bit of American culture.

I doubt that I’m giving the Democrats any ideas here. Anyone on any of several congressional committees, and staffers of course, has to be aware of the AAFES contract with Burger King. I wouldn’t put it past them to be looking into the contract right now, seeking a way to strike the King off US bases.

It wouldn’t actually hurt Burger King’s bottom line. The base restaurants are surely a tiny fraction of the chain’s overall spread. It would be symbolic. Democrats like nothing better than symbolic strikes.

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Hope in the Midst of American Decline

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Scott Ott

More and more I’m convinced that America right now isn’t a country dealing with a mere dip in its mood and might. It’s a country surrendering to a new identity and era, in which optimism is quaint and the frontier anything but endless. 

— Frank Bruni, NY Times, Lost in America, 8/27/2014

Drawing on a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, Times columnist Frank Bruni paints a picture of a nation on the down slope, with no end in sight. He notes that 60 percent of those polled feel America is “in decline.” 

But if you dig into the data you find that, while the depressing number has indeed climbed to 60 from 54 percent in January 2011, in five of the last eight times the pollsters asked this question (going back to October ’91) the readout was higher than 60, peaking at 69 percent in June 2008. 

So, you might say, cheer up, Frank Bruni, it could be worse. 

However, the next question in the survey brings a chilling context to that 60-percent figure. The question: “Do you feel confident that life for our children’s generation will be better than it has been for us?”

Only 21 percent said they do. Back in the dog days of decline in summer 2008, that number was 31. During a declension nearly as severe, in 1991-92, around 41 percent still felt confident their kids would have a better life. 

We Are Dissatisfied

Americans have always been a dissatisfied lot — we wouldn’t have come here if we were not. But we’ve always coupled that dissatisfaction with a belief in a better tomorrow. We’ve backed that belief with a determination to make it so, and a bone-deep conviction that we lived in a land where anything is possible.  We’re all about “the pursuit of happiness.”

This is what seems to have slipped…or rather, to have been tripped.

You see, it’s not that a Jimmy Carter-esque malaise has fallen across the fruited plain, but rather that malaise has been spread like mayonnaise across the amber waves of grain by people who seem determined to share the gloom of their own existential angst with the rest of us.

I, for one, will have none of it.

America still offers the greatest franchise opportunity on earth, available with no money down, to anyone willing to invest his sweat equity. In fact, that opportunity now exceeds the wildest dreams of our Fathers, as the internet has dried up the ocean and we can cross it barefoot in a moment. Global markets lay beneath our feet like Russell H. Conwell’s proverbial “Acres of Diamonds.” 

That doesn’t mean careful plans can’t collapse in the face of unforeseen obstacles. They quite likely will, and perhaps should, since passionate dreamers tend to lose touch with marketplace reality and must run headlong into an obsidian wall from time to time, to jar us into exploring other options. 

This opportunity also doesn’t excuse us from competition, both legitimate and nefarious. Some of your opponents will see your presence as healthy inspiration for their own innovations. Others will work tirelessly and deceitfully to ensure that you’re bankrupted and living under a bridge in a cardboard box. But the alternative to the exhilarating roller coaster of competition is the mundane merry-go-round of corporate wage-slavery, or government-subsidized bondage. The merry-go-round thrills only those who have never ventured beyond the painted pony.

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Democrats Hate Big-Money Special Interests, Unless They’re On Their Side…

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Daily Beast’s anti-Second Amendment crusader Cliff Schecter is full of praise for Microsoft founder, billionaire Bill Gates, because Gates wants to force every gun transaction in Washington State to go through a government check.

It was reported Monday that Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and incredibly wealthy guy, and with his wife, Melinda, have given $1 million to Initiative 594 in Washington state. The ballot initiative, if passed by voters on November 4 (and it currently enjoys overwhelming support), will require universal background checks for all firearm purchases in the state.

Gates is only the latest Washington billionaire to give to the effort, with original Amazon investor Nick Hanauer providing crucial early funding, and more recently upping his overall donation to $1.4 million. Additionally, Gates’s Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, has provided $500,000 for the cause.

But Gates’s fame brings more attention and further legitimizes the initiative in a way that almost nobody else could. Once the Gates Foundation made it a priority to combat malaria around the world in 2000, it brought down deaths due to the insect-borne disease by 20 percent in 11 years, saving the lives of 1 million African children in the process.

Gun ownership is a civil right, at least if you respect the Constitution.

Universal background checks won’t stop criminals. Universal checks, like the related “gun show loophole,” is a red herring to combat a problem that is decreasing.

Overall gun-related violence is down, and it is sharply down in Chicago — after concealed carry permits were forced on the state’s Democratic leadership. More guns, less crime, because criminals can no longer count on their victims being disarmed.

Bill Gates, like Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer, and George Soros, is a special interest kingpin. But he’s the right kind of one-percenter special interest donor, so the Beast praises him.

Bloomberg is worth $33 billion, but if that’s not enough, Gates is worth well over two times that amount. Who knows, with that kind of dough, maybe even measures that “only” enjoy 56 percent support like bans on assault weapons and/or high-capacity magazines could pass via direct voting by uncorrupted American citizens. Or perhaps state legislators and members of Congress who bend easily to the will of these Lords of War could be swapped out for those who live in a closer neighborhood to the best interests of the American populace.

That’s packed full of emotional nonsense. The “Lords of War” have nothing to do with the Second Amendment. The left’s “Lords of Cash,” on the other hand, keep attacking the Second Amendment rights of everyday Americans.

Likely the NRA will try to do to Gates what it has attempted to do to Bloomberg for a few years now, and seek to make this fight about him and not its right-wing radicalism in the service of avarice. He’s a billionaire trying to influence our political process, after all, unlike Manhattan resident David Koch, who along with his brother Charles has polluted our political process to no end, including funding the NRA.

See, Gates is just the right kind of special interest.

Bill Gates is welcome to waste his money on this. He might even succeed, in Washington State, and the failure of a universal check to have an impact on gun crime ought to serve as evidence that the entire effort is a ruse to disarm average non-billionaire Americans bit by bit.

At the same time, it should be pointed out that billionaires tend not to live by their own anti-gun rhetoric. Don’t expect the likes of Cliff Schecter to call them out on that.

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Desperate Democrat Blames His Republican Opponent for the Ebola Outbreak

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

You can’t make this stuff up.

Democrat Sen. Mark Pryor (AR) has the unenviable task of running for re-election as a Democrat in a red state against a very strong Republican opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton.

A glance at the RCP average over at the Grid shows that the race is a toss-up, but Cotton has a narrow lead on any given day. Arkansas is a likely pick-up for the GOP, meaning that Pryor is likely to be looking for work on the Obama economy come January.

Pryor is desperate. So desperate that he has launched an ad blaming Cotton for not getting America ready for the Ebola virus outbreak.

That would be the Ebola outbreak that is currently underway in Africa, and for which a pair of American missionaries were recently brought back to the United States and treated successfully.

Even MSNBC isn’t buying what Democrat Mark Pryor is selling, in what may be the worst, most dishonest ad this cycle. Take a look on the next page.

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Obama Set to Prove the Maxim that If You Give Democrats an Inch, They’ll Shred the Constitution

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In 1992, McDonald’s opened its first franchise in Beijing, Microsoft released Windows 3.1, AT&T released a video telephone that cost about $1500, Space Shuttle Endeavor completed its maiden voyage into space, and President George H. W. Bush signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Senate ratified that treaty as it was written at that time, as the Constitution specifies must happen for any treaty to be valid, and President Bush signed it on October 15, 1992 — just a couple of weeks before he would lose to Bill Clinton (and spoiler Ross Perot).

Decades later, President Barack Obama is seeking to use that treaty as a Trojan Horse to push his extreme environmental agenda onto an unsuspecting, and ailing, US economy, according to the New York Times.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.

In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

Our adjunct constitutional law professor in the Oval Office knows that. He has a plan to get around it.

“There’s a strong understanding of the difficulties of the U.S. situation, and a willingness to work with the U.S. to get out of this impasse,” said Laurence Tubiana, the French ambassador for climate change to the United Nations. “There is an implicit understanding that this not require ratification by the Senate.”

American negotiators are instead homing in on a hybrid agreement — a proposal to blend legally binding conditions from an existing 1992 treaty with new voluntary pledges. The mix would create a deal that would update the treaty, and thus, negotiators say, not require a new vote of ratification.

That’s probably illegal, but our adjunct constitutional law professor in the Oval Office isn’t overly concerned about that.

Aware that the Democrats are likely to lose the Senate, Obama will pursue his agenda without the people’s representatives, and will knowingly set up a constitutional controversy, maybe even a crisis, for the sake of “climate change.”

The Obama administration’s international climate strategy is likely to infuriate Republican lawmakers who already say the president is abusing his executive authority by pushing through major policies without congressional approval.

“Unfortunately, this would be just another of many examples of the Obama administration’s tendency to abide by laws that it likes and to disregard laws it doesn’t like — and to ignore the elected representatives of the people when they don’t agree,” Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and minority leader, said in a statement.

Obama can do this because he’s a scofflaw who knows full well just how unlikely even a Congress under full Republican control is to discipline him, and because of that 1992 treaty that Bush signed in a futile attempt to burnish his own environmental credentials.

Obama will do this because he will never face the voters again, and because jobs and a strong US economy are the farthest things from his mind and his agenda.

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Has Gov. Perry Made a Mistake with His Advisory Team?

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In the days immediately following his indictment by a Travis County grand jury, Texas Gov. Rick Perry saw support rally to his side from all across the political world. Conservatives here and at National Review and everywhere else noted how weak and political the indictment is. Liberals like Jonathan Chait, the New York Times, David Axelrod, Lanny Davis and Alan Dershowitz questioned the indictment from the left. Perry became an unlikely unifying figure, and much of the early news about the indictment focused not on him but on Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg and her drunk driving arrest — the arrest that ended up getting Perry indicted for exercising his constitutional veto power over state funding for an office that Lehmberg controls.

Even Perry’s mugshot turned out to be a victory.

Gov. Perry built up a solid legal team that has pushed back against the indictment vigorously, a team that includes Texas defense attorneys and Mark Fabiani, as liberal a Democrat attorney and political strategist as there is. Fabiani’s hire signaled just how outrageous the indictment truly is.

But following that hire, Gov. Perry has added two Republicans strategists to his team and their additions are stirring up skepticism and opposition on the right — Steve Schmidt and Henry Barbour.

Schmidt is best known among the conservative grassroots for bashing former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin years after her and Sen. John McCain’s failed run for the presidency in 2008. Both Schmidt and Nicole Wallace were 2008 McCain campaign advisers whose bashing of Palin and other conservatives in the years since has made them unpopular figures among Tea Party supporters and the GOP grassroots.

Wallace recently joined ABC’s The View. Wallace’s and Schmidt’s actions following the 2008 defeat have not been forgotten, not by a long shot. Both seem happy to resurrect problems from that campaign and blame them on others, either Palin or conservatives, not themselves for running a terrible, flaky, indecisive, and ultimately unsuccessful campaign.

Henry Barbour is known for a more recent transgression, smearing conservatives during the controversial Mississippi primary battle between Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Breitbart, usually a Perry supporting conservative news operation, is reminding readers today of Barbour’s role in that race, and of efforts to get the Republican National Committee to censure Barbour.

Conservative leader Brent Bozell has called for Barbour’s censure.

“Mr. Barbour and his allies in the Mississippi political establishment smeared State Senator Chris McDaniel and his conservative supporters as racists and hired Democratic operatives to engage in scare tactics to turn out Democrats to vote for incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran.  These are the tactics of the radical left and must not be tolerated by the Republican Party.

“What was done to Senator McDaniel and Mississippi conservatives was dishonest and disgusting and must not stand.  Using the tactics of the far left to wage a character assassination campaign against a Republican state senator and his supporters is unconscionable.

“Those who were involved in any way must be held accountable.  We call on Chairman Priebus to remove Mr. Barbour to send a clear message that there is no place in the Republican Party for this kind of character assassination and smear campaign.  Should further investigation uncover other accomplices, they, too, should be held accountable for their despicable actions.”

Conservative radio titan Mark Levin is also angrily questioning the decision to hire Schmidt, “conservative-attacker and Palin-hater?”

While Schmidt has been brought on board to help out with Perry’s indictment defense, Barbour has been hired to help with the burgeoning Perry campaign. Barbour has a direct political role at a time when conservatives are calling for the RNC to discipline him.

Fabiani’s hire made political sense, as it demonstrates that even many prominent Democrats believe that the Travis County indictment of Perry is outrageous and dangerous. But Barbour and Schmidt are causing Perry an unnecessary headache on the right, where up to now he has found strong support against the indictment while voters in key early primary states are taking a second look at him.

Adding Schmidt and Barbour to his legal team also exposes Perry to criticism on the right from potential presidential rivals, who up to now have been supportive as well.

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Spare Me the Vergara Defense

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

vergaraoldschool

The conservative right wing has risen to the defense of actress Sofia Vergara’s Emmys pun. I’m pretty sure they’re only doing this to annoy liberal feminists, which is a stupid reason to defend anyone’s bad joke. What conservatives fail to realize is that, by defending Vergara’s vapid display of beauty on the altar, they’re putting themselves in the same camp as those feminist liberals they claim to hate.

What made Vergara’s 360 on prime time acceptable? Her beauty and the fact that she was fairly modest in her presentation. Vergara’s is the safe, 1940′s glamour style that conservatives love, equal parts nostalgic, respectable, and most importantly, tantalizing tease for those strapping young American boys in bluchers and madras ties. Beyonce, villified by conservatives for her lascivious performance at the VMA’s, is everything right wing men loathe, despise and even fear from the feminist left. She is dangerous, grotesquely sexual, and lusts after deviance. Instead of addressing this, conservatives simply sought an alternative goddess to fit their metaphorical and sexual needs. In truth, there is nothing different from Beyonce and Vergara’s respective performances, except for the fact that Vergara kept her legs closed, abiding by that age-old Bible belt bit of advice: Who’s going to buy the cow when you give the milk away for free?

Even the strongest of conservative analyses of the Beyonce/Vergara dispute includes:

As for the examples being set for young women: if you have a choice between wearing a tasteful, expensive dress and standing on a turntable to make a joke, or doing whatever Beyonce is singing about, I believe most American mothers would join me in strongly urging their daughters to choose the turntable.

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Dealing Honestly with ‘White Privilege’

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

Recently, Megyn Kelly and Bill O’Reilly clashed over the notion of “white privilege,” debating the root cause of statistical disparities between white and black Americans. The Blaze summarizes:

Among the facts Kelly shared is that black unemployment in Ferguson is three times what it is for whites and that a black child in the U.S. is four times more likely to live in a poor neighborhood than a white child.

While O’Reilly didn’t dismiss these figures, he said that “families, culture and personal responsibility” are the real issues at hand.

But Kelly didn’t agree that O’Reilly’s assessment addressed the full picture.

“It’s not just families or culture,” she said. ”Look at that stat about the black children four times as likely to live in poor neighborhoods as white children, and in the St. Louis area there is documented white flight … the whites take off, these become black neighborhoods. The schools they get forgotten and the black population feels forgotten, Bill.”

Whether Kelly intended it or not, she echoed a disturbing premise which carries demeaning paternalistic overtones. Consider, why should an exodus of white people leave blacks destitute? Are we not speaking of adults? Are we blacks not endowed with the same human capacity to conceive of values and pursue happiness? To speak of blacks as “forgotten” is to speak of us like children lost at the mall, wholly incapable of assuming responsibility for ourselves. In this way, “white privilege” seems to mean productive capacity, and those wielding the phrase seem to argue that blacks have none.

The other disturbing aspect of the “white privilege” conversation is an implicit attack upon the freedom of association. Whites moving out of a neighborhood commit an “injustice,” it’s said. How? What has been taken from me when you move from the house next door? What right of mine does a neighbor’s change of residence violate? Again, the argument seems to be that white people – by virtue of an implied superior natural endowment – hold a paternal responsibility to care for black people.

That’s racist.

Indeed, the notion of “white privilege,” as propagated in the modern academy and throughout the media, stands as a vile remnant of past institutional racism. It implies black inferiority, while donning the guise of paternal concern.

(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here. 15:28 minutes long; 14.91 MB file size. Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)

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Matt Damon Does Ice Bucket Challenge with Toilet Water to Raise Awareness for His Own Charity

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
YouTube Preview Image

Actor Matt Damon accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge from his friends Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon this week, but admitted he was conflicted about wasting water. ”It posed kind of a problem for me, not only because there’s a drought here in California,” Damon explained in a YouTube video, “but because I co-founded Water.org, and we envision the day when everybody has access to a clean drink of water — and there are about 800 million people in the world who don’t — and so dumping a clean bucket of water on my head seemed a little crazy.”

Damon, who said he plans to pay the “fine” since it took him more than 24 hours to respond to the challenge, decided that using toilet water would be a good way to assuage his conscience about wasting water and, at the same time, raise awareness about his own charity.

Damon then co-opted the ALS challenge and asked viewers to support his clean water initiative. “I thought a good thing to do to try to tie those things together would be to take some toilet water,” Damon said. “And now, for those of you like my wife, who think this is really disgusting, keep in mind that the water in our toilets in the West is actually cleaner than the water that most people in the developing world have access to. So, as disgusting as this may seem, hopefully it will highlight the fact that this is a big problem and together we can do something about it.”

Damon, sounding like Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 VMA awards (I’m really happy for you. Imma let you finish”), gave a quick shout out to the ALS cause, but then went right back to promoting his own charity before dumping the bucket of toilet water on himself. “So, I’m happy to take the challenge and knock out ALS — I’m all for that. For more information about the clean water crisis and sanitation crisis please visit us at Water.org,” he said. Damon then nominated George Clooney, Bono and NFL quarterback Tom Brady to take the challenge.

 

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Trolling the Wackos at Jezebel Yields Expected Result (Update)

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Jezebel — I won’t link, you can find it if you want — is one of those feminist sites that got all bothered by Sofia Vergara’s star turn on the Emmys Monday night.

On Twitter I trolled them a little bit. Just having a little fun. It’s what Twitter is for.

Well, trolls are attracted to trolling.

Yeah, way to miss the point. Also, way to be a blatant sexist.

So who is Erin Gloria Ryan?

None other than a news editor at Jezebel. I’m not kidding.

jezebel-editor

Update: A tweep just jogged my memory. This Jezebel news editor is the same one who wished death on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Not kidding.

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New Caption Contest: Everything You Need To Know About the Democratic Party Is In This Picture

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Myra Adams
Wasserman 2

Credit: D Wasserman Schultz ✔ @DWStweets

 

The subject of our newest caption contest is a photo tweeted by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee on Sunday, August 24, in New Mexico. The first tweeted message that accompanied the photo was:

D Wasserman Schultz        ✔ @DWStweets

This pic says it all – @NMDEMS are motivated and ready to win! Thanks for bringing us together, @mssanchez4NM.

4:40 PM – 24 Aug 2014

Then, a few hours later the DNC Chairwoman followed up with this tweet:

D Wasserman Schultz        ✔ @DWStweets

.@mssanchez4NM Thank you for being such a wonderful host and turning out a fired up crowd of #Democrats!

6:54 PM – 24 Aug 2014

Let’s first analyze these two tweets and then your mission for the caption contest will be revealed.

“This pic says it all -…”

Yup, it says that the DNC Chairwoman is living in an alternative universe where sad, defeated, distraught, bored New Mexico Democrats are seen as “motivated and ready to win!”

If these people are what Democrats consider “a fired-up crowd” then Wasserman Schutz’s party will drown in a November election wave tsunami. No kidding, at my mother’s nursing home I’ve seen a more fired-up crowd during music hour then was exhibited by these foot soldiers in Debbie’s Democrat army. (Must be draftees.)

So, all you need to know about the Democratic Party and their Chairwoman is that they lie, she lies. (If you like your party you can keep your party. Period. If you like your fired-up crowd, you can keep your fired-up crowd. Woo-hoo!)

Now, here is your mission should you dare to enter this contest.

What was the DNC Chairwoman saying at this moment?

Why was the gentleman wearing the blue shirt in front of Ms. DWS holding his neck?

What was the older man wearing a light green shirt to the right of Mr. Neck Holder thinking?

Was that an American flag to the right of Ms. DWS? If so, why was it so low to the ground?

What should be the overall caption for this photo?

Have fun and stay “fired-up” at the prospects of defeating this DNC Chairwoman and Florida Congresswoman in November. And yes, you can caption her too. But, as usual, all entries must be classy and in good taste. I mean it!  (Don’t make me regret this part of the contest.)

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Twitter image

Debbie Wasserman Schultz   Twitter image

Hat tip to BizPac Review for DWS tweet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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VIDEO — Obama Receives Tepid Applause from the American Legion

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

President Obama spoke to the American Legion’s annual convention today. Bridget Johnson wrote up the president’s remarks, which were notable for a couple of things. Obama seems determined not to use the US military against the Islamic State, no matter what. He told the veterans group that no US troops would be involved in ground combat against the Islamist force.

The speech was also notable for the tepid response that the president received from the group. Grabien has compiled a montage of the polite applause that Obama received.

The American Legion is a veterans group, and as such, tends to be conservative. Obama could not rely on his usual applause lines in which he turns insult comic against Republicans. The Legion is not a group that is impressed by celebrity. Obama was obviously far out of his element today.

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CA Gov. Jerry Brown Clearly Breaks the Law. He Will Not Be Indicted.

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Via Breitbart, California Gov. Jerry Brown declares that he is no longer interested in enforcing federal or state immigration law.

In introducing [Mexico President] Peña Nieto on Monday, Brown spoke about the interwoven histories of Mexico and California and nodded to the immigrants in the room, saying it didn’t matter whether they had permission to be in the United States.

“You’re all welcome in California,” he said.

Brown nonverbally called all legal immigrants “suckers” at the same time. They’re suckers for respecting American law, paying the fees, standing in line and raising their hand to swear loyalty to their new home. Those who broke the law are just as welcome as those who respected it.

Suckers. According to California Gov. Jerry Brown, Democrat.

Governors do not have the power to abrogate federal immigration law, anymore than presidents do. And they don’t.

Gov. Brown is both a scofflaw and a racist, favoring Mexican immigrants over immigrants from anywhere else in the world. But the left won’t indict him for the former, and won’t excoriate him for the latter. The left will praise him for both.

We live in scofflaw times, when the President of the United States considers granting unilateral amnesty outside the law to 5 million illegal aliens, a few years after his government sued Arizona for attempting to enforce immigration law.

California is running out of water and is all but out of jobs. Yet its governor welcomes a deepening of the labor pool, and an increase in the population.

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