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White House Extends Iran Nuclear Deadline by Four Months

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

With two days to go until the July 20 deadline for a final nuclear agreement with Iran, the Obama administration announced Friday evening that it would extend the deadline by four months.

In a lengthy statement from the White House, press secretary Josh Earnest lauded Washington’s “unprecedented diplomatic effort with the Islamic Republic of Iran to achieve a comprehensive solution to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”

“As verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has met its commitments under that initial accord – ceasing its enrichment of uranium to higher levels; taking steps to neutralize its more dangerous stockpile of nuclear material; refraining from installing more centrifuges, including its more advanced models; halting advances at its Arak reactor; and submitting to broader and far more frequent inspections of its facilities,” Earnest said. “Meanwhile, the relief provided by the P5+1 and EU has been limited, and the overwhelming majority of our sanctions remain in force.”

The White House insisted that while “our negotiators have made progress in some areas and, while real gaps remain, there is a credible prospect for a comprehensive deal.”

“Because of this – and because Iran has upheld its commitments under the initial accord – we agreed today to extend the Joint Plan of Action to November 24. This extension will allow us to continue the negotiations while ensuring that the progress of Iran’s nuclear program remains halted during the negotiations,” Earnest said.

He added “throughout this process, we have consulted regularly with Congress, whose efforts have been critical in supporting this diplomatic opportunity” — but lawmakers have regularly complained throughout the six-month period that they haven’t been included in the process.

“We have also engaged closely with our regional partners and allies – particularly Israel and our Gulf partners – given our shared interest in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and the United States’ enduring commitment to regional security,” Earnest said.

“We will not accept anything less than a comprehensive resolution that meets our objectives, which is why it is necessary for negotiations to continue.”

On Wednesday, the White House wouldn’t say if it would extend the talks, but was paving the way by waxing about Iran’s “surprisingly favorable” record.

Secretary of State John Kerry insisted tonight “this effort remains as intense as it is important, and we have come a long way in a short period of time.”

“Less than a year ago, President Obama and Iranian President Rouhani spoke for the first time to try to usher in a new diplomatic moment, and I held the first bilateral meeting between a Secretary of State and an Iranian Foreign Minister in more than three decades,” he said in a statement. “Since that time, we’ve been intensely engaged in a constant and comprehensive effort – the best chance we’ve ever had to resolve this issue peacefully.”

The six-month interim agreement, Kerry claimed, “has been a clear success.”

“Today, we have a draft text that covers the main issues, but there are still a number of brackets and blank spaces in that text,” he said, adding that some of those gaps are concentrated around “issues such as enrichment capacity at the Natanz enrichment facility.”

“Diplomacy takes time, and persistence is needed to determine whether we can achieve our objectives peacefully. To turn our back prematurely on diplomatic efforts when significant progress has been made would deny ourselves the ability to achieve our objectives peacefully, and to maintain the international unity that we have built. While we’ve made clear that no deal is better than a bad deal, the very real prospect of reaching a good agreement that achieves our objectives necessitates that we seek more time,” Kerry continued.

The Nov. 24 date was picked because it’s exactly one year since the initial agreement was finalized in Geneva. Kerry argued the extension is “warranted by the progress we’ve made and the path forward we can envision.”

The U.S. “will continue to suspend the sanctions we agreed to under the JPOA and will allow Iran access to $2.8 billion dollars of its restricted assets, the four-month prorated amount of the original JPOA commitment,” he said.

Kerry was quickly booked on all five Sunday morning news shows.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday that Tehran would be open to an extension “if it becomes clear that the opposite side respects the Iranian nation’s rights and viewpoints within the framework of international law.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) on the floor of the upper chamber this week noted the “same obfuscation, same Iranian tactics we’ve seen for decades … that’s not an endgame – that’s a nonstarter.”

Menendez stressed that the only acceptable agreement is one that would set off alarm bells if Iran tries to attain nuclear weapons capability over the next 20 to 30 years.

Along with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Menendez circulated a letter to President Obama around the Senate this week to gather signatures on the need for a tough stance against Tehran, touching off a lobbying battle of sorts with pro-Iranian groups.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said tonight the extension sounds like anything but the “progress” claimed by Kerry.

“It looks like the Iranians won extra time with a good cop-bad cop routine, backing off the Supreme Leader’s absurd claim for 190,000 centrifuges,” Royce said. “This tells me Iran, with centrifuges spinning, thinks time is on its side. Increased economic pressure would strengthen our hand, but the administration opposes it. It should welcome congressional efforts to ratchet up the economic pressure on Iran.”

“Any deal should be graded on its technical merits, not in the hopes of a partnership with Iran on Iraq and other issues, as some have argued,” the chairman added. “Iran’s terrorist-backing activities, including illicitly shipping missiles to Hamas, demands even higher standards of verification for any deal. Everything about Iran’s nuclear program signals ‘nuclear bomb,’ yesterday, today, and I worry tomorrow.”

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Rob Portman Didn’t Know His PAC Paid for Race-Baiting Anti-McDaniel Ads

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Ohio Senator Rob Portman told The Plain Dealer he didn’t know that money his PAC donated to Mississippi Conservatives PAC would be used for ads that portrayed the Tea Party and Senate candidate Chris McDaniel as racists. Portman said he had “absolutely no discretion” over how his donation would ultimately be used. “I believe using race as a political issue, as these ads apparently did, was wrong.”

“United States senators contributed money for ads to call Chris McDaniel a racist and to motivate black Democrats through hatred to come out and to vote for Thad Cochran,” Mitch Tyner, an attorney for McDaniel, told reporters this week. McDaniel ran against incumbent Senator Thad Cochran in the Mississippi primary, losing by just over 7000 votes in the runoff election.

Portman’s PAC, Promoting Our Republican Team, gave $25,000 to Mississippi Conservatives, a group associated with Haley Barbour that not only paid for racially charged anti-McDaniel ads, but also funded another group, All Citizens for Mississippi, that ran ads in the black community saying that McDaniel wanted to suppress the black vote and cut food stamps. A radio ad from All Citizens for Mississippi warned voters that, among other things, “A victory for Chris McDaniel is a loss for the reputation of this state, for race relations between blacks and whites and other ethnic groups.”

“As NRSC finance chair, I am working to secure a Republican majority in the fall, and I support Sen. Cochran’s re-election,” Portman said in a statement to The Plain Dealer. “My PAC donated money to a Mississippi PAC also supporting his election, but I had absolutely no discretion over how that money would ultimately be spent. In fact, I believe using race as a political issue, as these ads apparently did, was wrong. All who believe our country is heading in the wrong direction under the failed policies of the Obama Administration — including Tea Party activists and more moderate Republicans — must come together to take back the Senate and put our country back on the right track.”

Tom Zawistowski, executive director of the Portage County TEA Party and recent past president of the statewide Ohio Liberty Coalition, reacted angrily to Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s claims that he had no idea that the $25,000 from his PAC would be used by the Thad Cochran campaign to air racially charged attacks on the Tea Party.

“Isn’t it convenient Senator Portman, that you had nothing to say about the horrific, disgusting, totally dishonest racist ads run by Thad Cochran’s campaign until you were identified as having provide funding for this despicable human being Thad Cochran?” Zawistowski said in a press release. “Where was your moral outrage the days after the ads became public?”

Zawistowski said the Tea Party is made up of hard working, God-fearing, patriotic Americans who do not hate blacks or any other minority, yet Portman “did nothing to defend those TEA Party members from these vicious attacks” by someone he supported financially.

He asked why Portman is asking Tea Party activists to support a Republican who votes with Democrats most of the time and “who told black voters that the TEA Party is affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan,” saying that they want to deny blacks the right to vote. “Why in hell should we support someone like Thad Cochran after what he did?” Zawistowski asked.

Zawistowski said that Portman, a Republican who is considering a presidential run, should renounce his support of Thad Cochran immediately and demand that he drop out of the race. “You must demand that your fellow senators who supported Cochran do the same. Not to do so would show that you in fact condone the actions of the Cochran campaign and that you do not respect either the TEA Party movement or black voters.”  He said that if Portman does not “choose the moral path at this critical time … we will do everything in our power to make sure that Thad Cochran and every RINO like him loses in the fall.”

Senators Mitch McConnell ($50,000), John Cornyn ($50,000), Bob Corker ($25,000), and Roy Blunt ($5,000) also contributed to the Mississippi Conservatives PAC that supported Cochran. [UPDATE: Just to clarify, the candidates themselves did not donate directly to Cochran's campaign. Instead, their leadership PACs donated to the pro-Cochran Mississippi Conservatives PAC.]

Mississippi Conservatives raised $2.9 million altogether — $1.7 million was spent on opposing McDaniel. A mere $122,904 was used to promote the incumbent Cochran. This week’s FEC filings show that Mississippi Conservatives, the group to which Portman and other Republicans contributed, was the sole funding source for All Citizens for Mississippi.

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Obama Bringing Central American Leaders to White House to Talk Immigration

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama has not gone down to see the influx of illegal immigration overwhelming the southern border, yet will host Central American leaders at the White House next week to talk immigration reform.

“President Obama will welcome President Otto Perez Molina of Guatemala, President Juan Orlando Hernandez of Honduras, and President Salvador Sanchez Ceren of El Salvador to the White House on July 25,” press secretary Josh Earnest announced in a statement late Friday afternoon.

“The four leaders and Vice President Biden will discuss how to reinforce our ongoing collaboration to stem the flow of undocumented migrants from Central America to Mexico and the United States. This will include discussion of how the United States and Central American governments are cooperating to promote safe, legal, and orderly migration between our countries in a spirit of shared responsibility, including with respect to the return of family units, which began this week for all three countries,” the statement continued.

“The leaders will also discuss how we can work together with other members of the international community to foster development, economic growth, and security in the region and address the factors that are causing Central American citizens to undertake the dangerous journey to the United States. The Vice President will also host a lunch for the three leaders prior to the meeting with President Obama to continue the dialogue he began on this topic in his June 20 meeting in Guatemala City.”

Obama has requested $3.7 billion in emergency appropriations to address the immigration influx, many of them unaccompanied minors, but will not entertain bipartisan proposals to reform a 2008 law that is keeping Central American migrants in the country for an extended period of time for amnesty proceedings — until Congress passes his funding.

“Last year President Obama suspended the policy of immediately returning of illegal immigrants caught at the border. Consequently, thousands of families in Central America have taken the President’s unilateral decision as an open invitation to send their children to the United States. This is unacceptable and has created a massive crisis. Our nation has immigration laws and those laws MUST be enforced. We need to treat these children humanely, but they should then be sent back to their country of origin as soon as possible,” Texas Rep. Joe Barton (R) said Thursday.

“I am also adamantly against the President’s recent request for $3.7 billion emergency funding for the border. His plan focuses on treating the symptoms and not the disease. I am staying in constant contact with Republican leaders as we craft a plan to secure the border and stop the free flow of illegal immigrants into Texas.”

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Obama Jokes That He’s Like a Circus Bear Off Its Chain

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
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Politico reported this week that President Obama has been pushing at the constraints of the Oval Office, leaving the White House to go on unscheduled walks in the middle of the day.  ”Forgoing the motorcade on the way to an event at the Interior Department, he joked that he was like a circus bear off its chain, and ‘the bear is loose,’” Politico reported.

Obama repeated the line again on Monday when he seemed to bristle at Secret Service agents scrambling to clear the sidewalk for his unscheduled walk, complaining that they were defeating the purpose of his trip away from the White House.

“Let’s test your wrangling skills,” he said to Secret Service agents at one point, as he shook hands with gawkers he met on the street.

Alright. So now we know that it’s not the most funnest thing in the world to be President Barack Obama. Like, he wants us all to walk a mile in his custom-made Johnston and Murphy shoes. Dude, imagine what it’s like be stuck in the White House, day in and day out, surrounded by Secret Service agents with scary weapons, snipers on the roof, that evil War Room and the big, scary Glenn Beck-ish underground bunker where who-knows-what goes on — not to mention dealing with Michelle and her yammering about the latest twigs and acorn diet. Sure, there are toney vacations, hobnobbing with Hollywood elites, and the 176 rounds of golf, but life is hard when you’re President Barack Obama. Pity the poor man, who is suffering every bit as much the chained animals you see in those horrible late night TV commercials, for crying out loud. (Is there somewhere we can send a donation? Can we sponsor the poor, tortured president and get a card for the refrigerator along with a monthly update?) It’s like we’re some Third World county. Or something.

Thirty years ago we had a very different man in the White House. Ronald Reagan — a grown up by any measure —  spent his eight year tenure as president maintaining a laser-like focus on the threat posed by the spread of Communism (while also managing to turning around the flailing economy, by the way).

In a 1984 campaign ad, Reagan compared the Soviets to a dangerous bear lumbering around in the woods — in the world — seeking to devour some unsuspecting victim. During the campaign, Walter Mondale had tried to attack Reagan on defense spending and arms control, suggesting his policies would escalate the rush to nuclear war. Without naming the Soviets in the ad, Reagan responded by suggesting that taking the threat seriously was preferable to pretending it didn’t’ exist. It was the only sensible course of action.

There is a bear in the woods. For some people, the bear is easy to see. Others don’t see it at all. Some people say the bear is tame. Others say it’s vicious and dangerous. Since no one can really be sure who’s right, isn’t it smart to be as strong as the bear? If there is a bear?

The text at the end of the ad read, “President Reagan. Prepared for Peace.”

Thirty years later President Obama (apparently self-unaware) parodies himself as a submissive, pliant circus animal who occasionally works up the courage to bolt from his captors for a short jaunt around the neighborhood. While the president was perhaps only referring to the shackles of the Secret Service when he spoke of his chains, the larger subtext of the mental image he presented to the world is of a man chained to an ideology — not unlike Mondale in 1984 — that makes the world less safe with each passing day. Like one of Pavlov’s dogs, Obama responds to every crisis on the world stage with predictable leftist pablum about “unacceptable behavior,” warning that he’s going to count to three and send the next evil totalitarian leader to his room if he shoots down another plane.

“The bear” is indeed loose in the world and Circus Bear POTUS can’t seem to see out from under the Big Top of the White House.

 

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Psaki: ISIS ‘Seeks to Distort Religion Solely to Obtain Power Through Violence’

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

State Department spokeswoman said the stoning of a woman by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS or ISIL) was the result of a movement that “seeks to distort religion solely to obtain power through violence.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported today that a woman in her 30s in Tabaqa became the first victim of the Islamic State’s judiciary system.

“The Islamic state carried out its first sentence of death by stoning against a woman in Tabaqa, accusing her of adultery,” said the human rights group.

“The situation is unbearable. Stoning is the worst punishment history has known. A quick death is more merciful,” Raqqa activist Salameh, using a pseudonym, told AFP via the Internet. “The woman’s family did not know the sentence was going to be carried out at this time.”

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s barbaric stoning of the woman yesterday in Tabaqa — Tabaqa, Syria,” Psaki told reporters at the start of the daily briefing.

“This is the latest example of ISIL’s infamous atrocities against the Syrian people. ISIL is a vicious terrorist organization with a proven agenda of grotesque violence and repression, which runs against the Syrian revolution’s goals of freedom and dignity,” Psaki continued.

“We’ve been clear that all those who commit crimes against the Syrian people must be held accountable. The United States regularly reports on violence against women and girls around the world and supports efforts to prevent and respond to such violence, including advancing accountability by working with law enforcement, supporting civil societies efforts, and engaging with critical stake holders such as men and boys,” she said.

“We raise these issues with world leaders and an international force such as the United Nations to spur collective action against such — these egregious crimes.”

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Dad Thrashes Man Who Was Sexually Assaulting His Son. Sanity Breaks Out.

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Father does what fathers are supposed to do.

A Daytona Beach father beat an 18-year-old man unconscious after finding him sexually abusing his 11-year-old son early Friday morning, police said.

The father called 911 around 1 a.m. after he walked in on the alleged abuse, police said. When officers arrived, they found Raymond Frolander motionless on the living room floor. He had several knots on his face and was bleeding from the mouth.

“He is nice and knocked out on the floor for you,” the father told the 911 dispatcher. “I drug him out to the living room.”

The father used no weapons, other than “my foot and my fist.”

The child told investigators that he was playing video games with friends but after the friends left, Frolander asked the boy to sit in his lap and then took him to a back room, the report states.

Frolander then pulled the boy’s pants down and started sexually battering him, the boy told police, adding that Frolander had been abusing him since he was 8 years old, investigators said.

He told police that “I got him in a bloody puddle for you officer.”

The father had stepped out of the house for a moment, came back, and discovered that the house was “too quiet.” So he looked around and found out what was happening to his son and did what he had to do.

The police are not going to charge him with anything.

“Dad was acting like a dad. I don’t see anything we should charge the dad with,” Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood said. “You have an 18-year-old who has clearly picked his target, groomed his target and had sex with the victim multiple times.”

The beaten perp admitted his guilt and faces serious charges.

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Power at UN: Russia Recently Transferred Tanks and Artillery to Separatists

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

UN Ambassador Samantha Power said at the United Nations today that the shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 came on the heels of discoveries by Ukrainian officials of Russian arms transfers to separatists.

Power said three infants were among the 283 passengers killed.

“Of the operational SAM systems located near the border, only the SA-11, SA-20, and SA-22 SAM systems are capable of hitting an aircraft at this flight’s altitude of 33,000 feet. We can rule out shorter-range SAMs known to be in separatist hands, including MANPADS, SA-8 and SA-13 systems, which are not capable of hitting an aircraft at this altitude,” she said. “Early Thursday, an SA-11 SAM system was reported near Snizhne by a Western reporter and separatists were spotted hours before the incident with an SA-11 system at a location close to the site where the plane came down.”

“Separatists initially claimed responsibility for shooting down a military transport plane and posted videos that are now being connected to the Malaysian airlines crash. Separatist leaders also boasted on social media about shooting down a plane, but later deleted these messages. Because of the technical complexity of the SA-11, it is unlikely that the separatists could effectively operate the system without assistance from knowledgeable personnel. Thus, we cannot rule out technical assistance from Russian personnel in operating the systems.”

Power said the Ukrainian government does also possess the Buk missile system, or SA-11, but “we are not aware of any Ukrainian SAM systems in the area of the shoot-down.”

“And, more importantly, since the beginning of this crisis, Ukrainian air defenses have not fired a single missile, despite several alleged violations of their airspace by Russian aircraft,” he said.

However, Russian separatists shot down a Ukrainian transport plane, carrying 40 paratroopers and nine crew, on June 13. On June 24 separatists downed a Ukrainian helicopter, killing all nine on board.

Separatists claimed credit for the downing of a Ukrainian military cargo plane on July 14 and a Ukrainian fighter jet two days later.

“If indeed Russian-backed separatists were behind this attack on a civilian airliner, they and their backers would have good reason to cover up evidence of their crime. Thus, it is extremely important that an investigation be commenced immediately,” Power said.

She stressed that “in the last few weeks, Russia has increased the number of tanks, armored vehicles, and rocket launchers in southwest Russia. More advanced air defense systems have also arrived.”

“Moscow has recently transferred Soviet-era tanks and artillery to the separatists and several military vehicles crossed the border,” Power continued. “After recapturing several Ukrainian cities last weekend, Ukrainian officials discovered caches of weapons long associated with Russia stockpiles, including MANPADS, mines, grenades, MREs, vehicles, and a pontoon bridge.”

“Ukrainian forces have discovered large amounts of other Russian-provided military equipment, including accompanying documentation verifying the Russian origin, in the areas that they have liberated from separatists in recent days. Recruiting efforts for separatist fighters are expanding inside Russia and separatists have openly said that they are looking for volunteers with experience operating heavy weapons such as tanks and air defenses. Russia has allowed officials from the ‘Donetsk Peoples’ Republic’ to establish a recruiting office in Moscow.”

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Michelle Obama Wants Your Shopping Cart to Nag You

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

You’ve got to be kidding me. FLOTUS wants to turn grocery stores into little food police states.

While the feds’ plan deals mostly with the 47 million Americans who participate in the government’s food stamp program, it would indirectly affect all consumers.

According to FreeBeacon.com, the federal busybodies want to provide food-stamp shoppers with “incentives” for making healthy food choices – such as discounts or free movie tickets – and even talking shopping carts that will notify them when they’ve selected enough healthy items.

RELATED: School board slams Michelle O’s lunch rules: ‘Nanny state interference’

The high-tech carts – which would cost every grocery store about $30,000 to provide – would be physically divided and color coded to help consumers select approved food items. It would also “have a system installed so that when the shopping cart reaches its healthy ‘threshold’ it would congratulate the customer,” FreeBeacon.com reports.

In case that’s not creepy enough, the feds want grocery store employees to serve as government “ambassadors” who can “redirect” food stampers toward healthy items by explaining the various incentive programs and nutritional information.

Does Michelle Obama even believe that people have the right to choose to do things that she disapproves? Can she just stick to bossing her own man and stay out of everyone else’s business? Is that too much to ask?

Do the feds even realize who works in the checkout lines at grocery stores? It’s mostly high school and college kids. The government would be deputizing them to pester the rest of us over what we’re eating.

While the feds could easily ensure healthier purchases for food stamp participants by clamping down on which products are available to them, the government busybodies want consumers to think they’re making these choices all by themselves.

They’re not going to do that. That would be racist or something. So they’ll nag everyone and irritate everyone equally.

I’ll just lay this marker out right now. Do not turn my Trader Joe’s into a pest zone. Ditto for my Whole Foods and my HEB.

Just don’t do it.

I’ll start ordering more junk food online and sell it on the black market just to be spiteful.

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Pentagon Doesn’t ‘Have a Working Theory’ on Culprits Behind MH17 Takedown

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters today that more than 24 hours after a passenger airliner was downed with a Russian-made surface-to-air missile they don’t have any operational theories on what was behind the takedown.

“I don’t think we have a working theory at this point… I mean, this just happened yesterday,” Kirby said. “There’s teams of investigators now trying to get to the site and pore through this. And I mean, we just have to let them do their job.”

It was one of the few press briefings on the Malaysia Airlines attack at which questions were taken, as press secretary Josh Earnest’s daily briefing was canceled by the White House around noontime.

“We see strong evidence that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was hit by a surface-to-air missile at an altitude of about 33,000 feet and that the missile was launched from a location near the border that is controlled by Russian separatists. This incident obviously occurred in the context of a conflict fueled by Russian support for Ukrainian — or for these Russian separatists and that support has — and that support has included arms, materiel and training,” Kirby said.

“As we investigate who did this and why, this terrible tragedy underscores for Russia to take immediate and concrete steps to deescalate the crisis in Ukraine and support the Ukrainian government’s plan for a ceasefire and peace settlement.”

Kirby said they see see “no hint that Russian support for the separatists has ceased.”

“In fact, we believe that Russia continues to provide them with heavy weapons and other military equipment, financing as well. And they continue to allow these Russian fighters to enter Ukraine freely,” he said. “There have been — as you know, we’ve acknowledged that some tanks, some personnel vehicles have — have made their way across the border. It is a — it has been a steady, concerted campaign by Russia’s military to continue to support and resource, advise these separatists.”

Kirby said they didn’t have any specific information corroborating reports that a Buk system was seen being hustled back across the Russian border missing two missiles.

“The missile itself, the SA-11, which is the one we believe was used to down Flight 17, is a sophisticated piece of technology,” the admiral said. “And it is — it — it strains credulity to think that — that it could be used by separatists without at least some measure of Russian support and technical assistance.”

“I don’t have an indication now that a system was brought over. And we don’t exactly know who is responsible for firing that missile, or with — or with what assistance. What I’m saying is that that system is fairly sophisticated,” Kirby added. “…Nobody is suggesting that the Russian military advice and assistance has not somehow crossed the border. It is just unclear exactly how much and when and who. That is what the investigators are going to look at and that is what we need to let them do.”

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel conferred by phone today with Malaysian Minister of Defense Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, whose step-grandmother was among the passengers killed.

Kirby said they’re still keeping an eye on “roughly still about 10,000 to 12,000″ Russian troops at the Ukrainian border.

“And it fluctuates a little bit from week to week, but the point is that it has been a — over time, a steady increase of these combined arms tactical battalions across the border on the Russian side, but to the southeast of Ukraine. And they are close to the border. In many cases, closer than those forces who were more aligned right on the east. If you remember we had, you know, tens of thousands that were along the eastern border with Ukraine, but not as close as these units appear to be,” he said.

“All they’re doing is further escalating tension. It’s difficult to know what the intent is. That’s a question you should ask the Russian ministry of defense. But they’re there. They’re growing in size week by week, and they continue to just do nothing more than escalate the tension.”

He said various government agencies would likely be participating in an international investigation of the takedown, but “I have no expectation right now that there’ll be a DOD representative on this team.”

Kirby said the Pentagon continue to review Ukrainian requests for military assistance.

So far, they’ve received MREs, radios, body armor, individual first aid kits, sleeping mats, and uniform items to battle Putin’s army and militia.

“Over the next few months, additional items will start moving through the procurement process to include night vision goggles, thermal imagers, Kevlar helmets, explosive ordnance disposal robots, and some additional radios. And there’s been some other equipment given to Ukraine’s border guards — barbed wire, alarm systems, excavators, trucks, generators, that kind of thing — communications gear,” he said. “…I think I’ve said it before that they have requested a lot of material, some of it lethal in nature. But the focus has been and remains on the non-lethal side of the assistance.”

When asked if they were withholding lethal aid to avoid stoking tensions with Russia, Kirby replied, “Look, I mean, I’m not going to get into hypothetical here. The concern is that the territorial integrity of Ukraine has been violated and continues to be violated by its neighbor in Russia and that needs to stop.”

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Rand Paul’s Little Problem, Which Is Actually A Very Big Problem, Resurfaces

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Pauls have a longstanding strain of anti-Semitism in their libertarian politics. Sen. Paul has tried his hand at scrubbing some of that as he gears up for a presidential run. The WFB has the details.

Sen. Rand Paul’s (R., Ky.) office deleted a “student reading list” that promoted anti-Israel books from his official Senate website this week, shortly after the Weekly Standard published an article last Friday highlighting the controversial recommendations.

Paul’s Senate website has advertised the list of 17 books as “suggested titles for a student, or anyone else interested in learning more about freedom and the role of government in a free society” under a “students” section since 2011.

While most of the recommended titles focus on economic policy, the list also included books that claim the “Israel Lobby” controls U.S. foreign policy, call for the United States to cut ties with the Jewish state, and argue that support for Israel is anti-Christian and anti-American.

One of the recommended titles, Where the Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency by Patrick Buchanan, has been criticized by the Anti-Defamation League for containing “anti-Semitic rhetoric.”

In the book, Buchanan accused “the Beltway Likud” of plotting the war in Iraq “long before 9/11.”

“President Bush no longer sits at the head of the negotiating table, but directly behind [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon,” Buchanan wrote.

Buchanan also compared former Bush adviser Richard Perle with “Fagin,” the villainous, anti-Semitic caricature in Oliver Twist.

And so forth.

I’d like to like Rand Paul, for his small government, libertarian principles. I share those, and the fact is, we will go bankrupt as a country if we do not get spending under control. But Paul’s foreign policy instincts have too much of the far left, Dennis Kucinich, blame-America-and-Israel-first detritus to make him a serious commander in chief. This reading list is a symptom of that. It suggests that Paul sees Israel as the prime problem in the Middle East, and Jews the prime problem in the world.

If that’s what he thinks, there isn’t a whole lot left to talk about.

We already have a president whose tendency is to blame America for the world’s ills and does not step up forcefully to defend American citizens or US global interests. That’s not working out very well at all. Today, Obama put himself even to the left of his own Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power. She spoke far more clearly on the Ukraine crisis today than he did. She called Putin out. Obama backed Putin’s call for a cease-fire and delayed any action he would have to take by hiding behind an investigation that stands no chance of being seriously and fairly conducted, not with Putin’s proxies in control of the crash site.

The best name you can put on that is “incoherence.” It’s also weakness, and it tells our enemies that we have no plan and no strong leadership. Commit a heinous act, give Obama a way to escape having to deal with it, and he’ll take it.

Eight years of that look like they’ll leave America economically and diplomatically weakened and more isolated than before, and Putin and his axis and every other bad actor out there emboldened.

It’s hard to see Rand Paul being an antidote to any of that.

Eight years of Obama stand to leave Israel also more isolated, as Islamists take over more territory around it.

It’s impossible to see Rand Paul being an antidote to that.

 

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Obama’s Statement on MH17 Was Even Worse Than I Thought

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

When he called for a cease-fire in Ukraine today, President Obama was not merely calling for something that inadvertently helps Putin cement his control on the “Donetsk Republic” through his proxies. Obama was calling for the exact same thing that Putin had already called for.

Check it out.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling for a ceasefire between  pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian government forces following the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane.

“Direct talks between the opposing sides must be established as soon as possible. All sides in the conflict must swiftly halt fighting and begin peace negotiations,” Putin said at a meeting with Russian Orthodox Church leaders, Reuters reported.

That went out several hours before Obama’s call for a cease-fire. President Obama followed it by calling for the exact same thing Putin had already called for.

Putin ought to be the man on the defensive here, not the man offering a policy that helps himself, and is then supported by the President of the United States.

I guess I’ll make the obligatory reference to “flexibility” at this point. Here’s the Russia Today clip of that moment. Russia Today is Putin’s mouthpiece in the West.

YouTube Preview Image

Either Obama knew that Putin had already called for a cease-fire, or he didn’t. Either Obama understood that a cease-fire helps Putin’s proxies keep the Ukrainian territory that they currently hold, or he didn’t.

Which would be worse? It’s hard to say.

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Perry: If the Feds Don’t Secure Texas’ Border, Then Texas Will

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Outgoing Texas Gov. Rick Perry appeared on Glenn Beck’s BlazeTV Thursday to discuss the border crisis.

The governor said that increased state operations have “shut down” illegal activities in some border sectors, but not all. But what has been accomplished is not enough. Clearly.

“But I think there’s a point in time where you say, ‘You know what? This 1,200 mile border has to be secured.’ And if there is a people and if there is a place that it can happen, it will be Texas,” Perry said.

Perry also noted that for all the press that the unaccompanied children who have crossed the border are getting, they are far from the whole story. The UAC’s only comprise 20% of the total number who have crossed since the surge in illegal crossings began.

“80 percent of those coming across, we don’t know who they are,” Gov. Perry told Beck. “In Katy, Texas yesterday an individual was apprehended who had murdered an individual in Louisiana.”

Perry will not return as governor of Texas in January 2015. He may run for president again. Republican Greg Abbott is the odds-on favorite to replace Perry in Austin.

The international border is primarily a federal responsibility, but the state government and local governments along the border also share that responsibility. For Texans, securing the border is one of the few things that we want the federal government to do. And it clearly is not getting the job done.

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Putin’s Proxies Aren’t Listening to Obama

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In his statement today, President Obama called for a cease-fire in Ukraine, and for the MH17 crash site to be open to international investigators.

How’s that working out?

About as well as can be expected.

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Obama’s MH17 Statement Betrays Incoherence

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

President Barack Obama paused between party fundraisers and his close vacation today to deliver a statement on the shootdown of MH17. Russian proxies are the prime suspects, having used Russian missiles to blast the civilian airliner out of the sky.

The president noted that one American is believed to have died in the disaster. He described MH17′s demise as a “global disaster” because an Asian airliner carrying citizens of many countries was shot down over Ukraine. He also noted that over 100 of the flight’s passengers were flying to a conference on the fight against AIDS. Calling MH17 a “global disaster” tugs at the entire world outside Russia to be outraged, but America will still have to lead.

Obama called for a cease-fire in the war in Ukraine. He also called for the crash site to be left intact so that evidence is not tampered with.

The latter is already a dead letter. The site is already contaminated as far as its evidence value goes. The Russian proxies have controlled the crash site from the beginning and have reportedly already found the black boxes and sent them to Russia for investigation. The proxies have been combing through the wreckage, moving it and tampering with it. They are very likely combing the wreckage for any remains of the missile that brought the aircraft down. That evidence could be used to determine whether the missile was fired by the proxies or by the Russians themselves.

The former, a cease-fire in Ukraine, is probably the worst idea that President Obama could have proffered.

Russian President Vladimir Putin started the conflict in Ukraine. The “separatists” there are his minions, his proxies. Russia’s proxies, the so-called separatists, are commanded by current and former officers in Russian intelligence. They have carved off part of eastern Ukraine and are calling it the Donetsk Republic. They are using Russian weaponry. They are backed by Moscow.

Ukraine’s government is fighting to defeat them and reclaim its territory. A cease-fire would stop Ukraine from protecting its sovereignty when it is winning the war against Russia’s puppets. It would hand Russia de facto control of another chunk of Ukraine’s territory, to go along with the Crimean Peninsula which Russia seized by force months ago.

A cease-fire helps Putin. Calling for the crash site to be uncontaminated makes no sense.

At least Barack Obama strongly defended Israel’s right and duty to launch its military operations against Hamas. The world got that from the president’s statement, and it was needed and it was clear.

But we didn’t get much else.

Update: Obama’s Statement on MH17 Was Even Worse Than I Thought

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School Fools Punish Innocent Kid Because They Think He’s a Racist

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The parents are threatening to sue.

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — An outstanding athlete and student at Marshalltown High School has been suspended from playing three football games in the fall because his parents say the school misinterpreted a symbol of school pride — as a symbol of white pride.

Now, the principal is accusing the student, Blair Van Staalduine, of being a racist. “We were appalled,” Blair’s mother, Cathy Van Staalduine, said, “We were appalled and so was he. Absolutely. Because the furthest thing from Blair is being racist”

“The actual school chose the colors that each grade would be wearing. Juniors wore white. So Blair of course being active in the school dressed from head to toe in white,” she explains, “Somebody took a picture of him with his white doing a ‘W’ sign because they were wearing white. Blair says if they were wearing orange they would have done an ‘O’”.

The mom tried to talk to the principal. The principal accused the mom of racism too. Now she fears that the racist label will haunt her son for years if not forever.

So yes, since the school won’t listen, the parents should sue. They should sue not just the school itself but every school employee who had any role in this decision, personally.

Too many of our educators need to be educated. If it takes bankrupting them to make them learn, then it takes bankrupting them.

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Europe Doesn’t Want to Lead Against Russia

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Yesterday Hillary Clinton gave more of a response to the shootdown of MH17 than President Obama did, but it wasn’t much of a response. Asked what America ought to do about Russian hardware and perhaps more being used to shoot down a civilian airliner over Ukraine, Clinton shrugged it off. “Europeans should be the ones to take the lead on this,” she said.

Fair enough. But we’re still on the hook. Most of the victims on the flight were Dutch citizens. The Netherlands is a charter member of NATO, joining it when it was formed in 1949. An attack on one NATO ally is an attack on all NATO allies.

Germany is a NATO member, has the largest economy in Europe and thus, it’s the leader of Europe. But its chancellor doesn’t want to lead against Russia.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the shooting down of a passenger plane over rebel-held territory in Ukraine will not on its own trigger additional European sanctions against Russia.

Merkel called for an impartial probe of the downing of the Malaysian plane and put the onus on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the pro-Kremlin uprising in eastern Ukraine.

“Events have shown that the priority has to be on a political solution and that it is especially Russia’s responsibility for what is going on in Ukraine right now,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin today.

The black boxes from MH17 went to Russia. The Russian proxies who shot it down are reportedly keeping press and investigators away from the site. The intent of both actions is obvious: Scrub the site of any remains of the missile that brought the plane down, and create confusion over what actually destroyed the plane in the air.

Unless massive pressure is brought to bear on Russia by the United States, Germany, the UK and our other allies especially NATO, along with Malaysia, there will be no impartial investigation of MH17. Ever.

 

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New Islamic Caliphate Declares Jihad on … Muslims

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

The Ridda wars against “apostates and hypocrites”

The new “caliphate” of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi—the Islamic State, formerly “ISIS”—recently made clear that it means to follow in the footsteps of the original caliphate of Abu Bakr al-Sadiq (632-634), specifically by directing its jihad against fellow Muslims, in Islamic parlance, the “hypocrites” and “apostates,” or in Western terminology, “moderates.”

This came out in the context of the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, with some Muslims asking the newly formed “caliphate” when it would launch a jihad on the Jewish state.

The Islamic State’s response? “Allah in the noble Koran does not command us to fight Israel or the Jews until we fight the apostates and hypocrites.”

On one of the Islamic State’s question-and-answer websites, some asked why it was “not fighting Israel but instead shedding the blood of the sons of Iraq and Syria.”  The new caliphate responded:

The greater answer is in the noble Koran, when Allah Almighty speaks about the near enemy.  In the majority of verses in the noble Koran, these are the hypocrites, for they pose a greater danger than the original infidels [born non-Muslims, e.g., Jews and Christians].  And the answer is found in Abu Bakr al-Sadiq, when he preferred fighting apostates over the conquest of Jerusalem [fath al-Quds], which was conquered by his successor, Omar al-Khattab.

There’s much to be said about this response, rife as it is with historical allusions.

First, it is true.  After the prophet of Islam died, a great number of Arabian tribes that had submitted to his rule by becoming Muslims—the word muslim simply means “one who submits”—thought they could now renege, and so they apostatized in droves.  This sparked the first Ridda, or “apostasy wars,” waged by Abu Bakr al-Sadiq, who became the first caliph on Muhammad’s death in 632.  For nearly two years, till his own death in 634, his caliphate’s entire energy was focused on waging jihad on all the recalcitrant Arab tribes, forcing them by the edge of the sword to return to the fold of Islam.

Tens of thousands of Arabs were burned, beheaded, dismembered, or crucified in the process, according to Islamic history, especially by the “Sword of Allah.”  It was only afterwards, under the reign of the second caliph, Omar al-Khattab (634-644), that the great Islamic conquests against the “original infidels”—those non-Arab peoples who had never converted to Islam, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, etc.—took place.

Islam’s war on the apostate, so little known in the West, figures prominently in Islamic history.  Indeed, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the most influential Islamic clerics today, while once discussing the importance of killing any Muslim who apostatizes from Islam on Al Jazeera, correctly stated that “If the [death] penalty for apostasy was ignored, there would not be an Islam today; Islam would have ended on the death of the prophet.”

In short, and as the Islamic State is now arguing, the first and greatest enemy of Islam—the “nearest” enemy—is the “apostate” and “hypocrite,” for they are the most capable of subverting Islam from within.

This phenomenon of “pious” Muslims fighting and killing “lukewarm” Muslims, or Shia and Sunnis fighting one another—while the original infidel stands by or gets away—has many precedents throughout history.  For example, in its response, the Islamic State further justifies not fighting Israel by saying:

The answer is found in Salah ad-Din al-Ayubi [Saladin] and Nur ad-Din Zanki when they fought the Shia in Egypt and Syria before [addressing] Jerusalem.  Salah ad-Din fought more than 50 battles before he reached Jerusalem.  And it was said to Salah ad-Din al-Ayubi: “You fight the Shia and the Fatimids in Egypt and allow the Latin Crusaders to occupy Jerusalem?”  And he responded: “I will not fight the Crusaders while my back is exposed to the Shia.”

All of this history quoted by the Islamic State is meant to exonerate the new caliphate’s main assertion: “Jerusalem will not be liberated until we are done with all these tyrants, families, and pawns of colonialism that control the fate of the Islamic world.”

Some observations:

  • Although the Islamic State is trying to suggest that only autocrats like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad are “apostates” and “hypocrites,” and that most average Muslims are eager for Sharia, the fact is, a great many of the world’s Muslims fit under this rubric.  The largest revolution in history, Egypt’s June 2013 anti-Brotherhood revolution, attests to this.  Thus the new caliphate’s jihad is not just against “tyrants,” but many average Muslims as well, as the organization’s carnage in Iraq and Syria attests.
  • The Islamic State’s declaration justifying non-confrontation with Israel is not winning it much popular support in the Arab world and is naturally portrayed as a copout. It further validates the popular Arab narrative that the United States is siding with the Islamists to create havoc in the region; to have the various sects (Sunni vs Shia, Moderate vs. Islamist) fight each other in order to divide and weaken the region.  Thus Dr. Ahmed Karima, a leading professor of Islamic jurisprudence in Al Azhar, said that the Islamic State’s position concerning Israel proves that “it is a creation of U.S. and Israeli intelligence” and that the new caliphate “is the biggest of all hypocrites.”
  • Alternatively, others, especially Islamists, appreciate that the Islamic State is patterning itself after the first caliphate of Abu Bakr—hence why its first caliph chose that name—because it finds itself operating in the same circumstances.  Nascent and without much support, it first mission, like Abu Bakr, is to re-subjugate Muslims to Islam.  Only then can it focus on the “original infidels.”
  • While this approach may be temporarily good for Israel (and all infidel states), in the long run, a fully functioning and unified caliphate with “reformed” Muslims next door is not a pretty picture.  After all, the Islamic State is not exonerating the infidel, but rather saying his turn will come once the caliphate is capable of an all-out assault.  At best, it’s a temporary reprieve.

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A Snotnosed Punk Left America’s Cheese Out in the Wind

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

For more than a decade now, Democrats and assorted other progs have excoriated George W. Bush for what he did for a few minutes after he learned of the 9-11 attacks. He was visiting a school that day and at the moment he learned that terrorists had launched an act of war against the United States, he took in the news calmly, and then kept reading a book to those kids.

My Pet Goat became the most infamous children’s book of the time, because Bush finished reading it to those kids.

Had Bush done just about anything else at that moment, he would have caused a panic.

Thursday morning, rebels backed by the Russian government in Ukraine shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 with 298 civilians on board. They all died. Three of them were infants. 23 of them may have been Americans. The State Department either doesn’t know, which is disturbing, or won’t say, which is also disturbing.

President Obama had scheduled the day for partisan speeches, photo ops and fundraisers.

He learned of the downing of MH17 from Russian President Vladimir Putin, but Putin probably did not tell Obama all of the details.

Obama spent all of 38 seconds addressing the shootdown of MH17, saying that it “may have been a terrible tragedy.” At that point, the known knowns included the fact that nearly 300 innocent civilians had been killed over a war zone, people who had no connection to Putin’s machinations in Ukraine at all.

And then he went back to being the partisan fundraiser in chief.

Later in the day, Israel launched a ground, air and sea offensive in Gaza. Hamas terrorists there had been using tunnels and schools to launch missiles — hundreds of missiles — on civilians in Israel. Israel launched the offensive to stop those terrorists and remove their ability to attack Israelis.

Obama said nothing about that.

On the same day, the Misrata militia launched a new offensive against Tripoli, Libya. That Islamist militia threatens to take control of the Libyan capital, and could put another country in radical control.

Obama said nothing about that.

Instead of addressing his job, Obama posed for photos at a barbecue joint, he had a burger, he attended two Democratic Party fundraisers, and he delivered barbed remarks at the Republicans. He taunted them to sue him, again. He accused them of doing nothing, again.

While he was doing nothing useful himself.

The Saturday Night Live skit based on yesterday practically writes itself.

It could start with an alarm clock going off and Obama waking up. He gives the camera brief monologue about the stresses of the presidency and how he just doesn’t feel like doing anything today. He fakes being sick.

“They bought it,” he says after convincing Michelle and Biden that he’s too sick today to be president today.

He sings in the shower after she’s gone.

He calls up a friend and convinces him to play hooky.

They go running off away from work for the day. They have a nice lunch. Cut to MH17 crashing in a fireball. They take in a Cubs game. Cut to Hamas rockets raining down on Israeli neighborhoods. Obama lip syncs “Twist and Shout” at the head of a parade. Cut to Putin blaming MH17 on Ukraine.

There’s a chase scene. Sarah Palin is convinced that Obama isn’t sick and he’s scamming everyone. She’s determined to catch him. Obama leads Palin on a merry chase through Washington’s neighborhoods. Past the National Mall. Around the Air and Space Museum. Past the fountain in Lafayette Square.

Obama escapes Palin and sneaks back into the White House just in the nick of time. Cut to terrorists marching on Tripoli. Cut to Putin handing off more weapons to the Ukraine rebels. Cut to Obama crashing a White House party and dancing with Beyonce.

You can see where I’m going with this. It’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, only not.

Barack Obama took the day off from the presidency yesterday, while wars were breaking out pretty much everywhere and we may have seen a dangerous new threat to civilian aviation emerge.

But hey, America, relax. The Obamas have a big vacation coming up soon.

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Life Imitates Satire: CDC Handling of Disease Specimens More ‘Over The Top’ Than My Parody

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Scott Ott

The other day, I wrote a “fake” news story at ScrappleFace.com about the Centers for Disease Control’s “discovery” of a lot of highly-infectious stuff — hundreds of vials of small pox, influenza, dengue, etc. — that they had misplaced…for decades.

When I write satire, I try to make it sufficiently “over the top” (OTT, in apropos text parlance), so it won’t be mistaken for an actual news story. And so, under the headline “CDC Urges Calm After Finding Lost Cache of Cooties,” I “reported” that the CDC was “fairly sure” it has avoided exposing its staffers to the Cooties contagion.

Officially, the CDC urged the public to “remain calm,” but during a media tour of the Atlanta laboratory, journalists saw several scientists and technicians rubbing spots on their arms where associates had inadvertently touched them. A spokesman assured reporters that the wiping motion was strictly a precautionary measure.

How droll, I thought to myself (which is my favorite way).

However, after reading Tammy Bruce’s latest column, I confess I’ve fallen far short. If you thought the newspaper business was headed rapidly toward the recycle bin of history, imagine trying to write satire in times like these. Witness this snippet from Tammy’s column…

The institute’s problem of carelessness apparently isn’t limited to the one unfortunate incident of 80 CDC workers becoming exposed to anthrax after an incautious lab-to-lab transfer.

In fact, New York magazine reported results of a separate audit of the CDC, which found the lab had been “transferring dangerous materials in Ziploc bags, storing anthrax in unlocked refrigerators in an unrestricted hallway, and misplacing anthrax containers.”

As a satirist, I cannot compete with material like this.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to write my Congressman to request a government bailout for my dying industry.

Full disclosure: Tammy Bruce is my colleague on the PJTV show ‘After Hours with John Phillips.

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Elections Matter: Aussie Parliament Repeals Carbon Tax Based on ‘Absolute Crap’ Climate Science

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Scott Ott

The Australian Parliament yesterday repealed its punitive tax on carbon emissions, following through on a promise from Prime Minister Tony Abbott to get rid of the measure he said, back in 2009, was based on “absolute crap” climate science.

The unpopular job-killing levy has reportedly felled at least two prime ministers, and one of Abbott’s colleagues said the same fate awaits candidates who campaign to revive the carbon tax, including Labor Party leader Bill Shorten.

“I can tell Bill we will hang this around his neck like a rotten, stinking carcass, right through to election day at the end of 2016,’’ [Education Minister and Liberal Party leader Christopher] Pyne told Parliament…“Because we can now tell the Australian public, with great confidence, that if they vote Labor at the next election the carbon tax will be reintroduced – the job-destroying, price-rising carbon tax that cost Julia Gillard her prime ministership, Kevin Rudd his prime ministership the first time, and arguably the second time. And it is going to cost you the prime ministership of Australia,” Mr Pyne said.

All of this, on the eve of Australia’s hosting of the next G-20 summit of industrialized nations whose leaders hope to institute a global carbon tax, or at least a formal U.N. agreement among 190 nations by 2015. Prime Minister Abbott can look forward to a lot of finger wags and tongue clucks, not to mention vitriolic rants, from the defenders of the planet who will, doubtless, arrive at the G-20 summit this time by kayak and bicycle, rather than by charter jet and limo.

If nothing else, this episode proves that elections matter.

Abbott won a landslide election victory last year for his Liberal-National coalition that he said gave him a mandate to throw out the “toxic tax” on carbon, which was triple Europe’s carbon price. The government estimates the repeal will save the average family A$550 a year in lower electricity prices and make Australian companies more competitive.

Perhaps I should say “elections can matter,” if you elect candidates who do what they say they will.

Memo to GOP 2016 presidential hopefuls: Skip a trip to Iowa, and stop by Canberra for a weekend, if only to touch the hem of Abbott’s garment.

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Beck on Illegals: Send Them to Sanctuary Cities

Friday, July 18th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

On his radio program Thursday, Glenn Beck made a great point regarding the expanding immigration crisis on the southern border:

Send the illegals to the sanctuary cities. They’re the ones who say they can figure it out… And I understand that means Dallas, Texas [near where I live]. But it means Dallas, Texas. And Dallas, Texas will have to deal with the problems in Dallas, Texas.

Beck likewise called for illegals to be shipped to the neighborhood of Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, who earlier in the week compared deporting illegal immigrants to sending Jewish refuges back to Nazi Germany. “He’s not going to want [2000 illegals in his neighborhood],” Beck speculated.

It’s a simple but effective piece of rhetoric which challenges advocates of altruism to sacrifice themselves instead of others. If a moral obligation exists to provide for foreigners in need, to not only welcome them into the community but sustain them indefinitely, shouldn’t those who believe in such obligation stand first in line to fulfill it?

It’s a point which demonstrates that immigration as such really isn’t the issue. New neighbors who do not trespass, who deal honestly by trading value for value, present no threat to anyone. But when new neighbors necessitate new costs, when their mere existence demands we provide for their needs, immigration becomes invasion.

(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here. 16:23 minutes long; 15.79 MB file size. Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)

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How Much Money Did Wendy Davis Really Raise? Not As Much As She Claims.

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Another campaign fundraising deadline has come and gone.

Wendy Davis took the opportunity of the latest one to crow that she has raised more money than any previous Democratic nominee for governor. The Davis campaign claimed before the deadline that she and her committees have $13.1 million on hand.

Ok, fine, but Texas is deep red. As a Democrat, Davis will have to do better than the last loser, or the loser before him. Especially when Greg Abbott has $35.6 million on hand, leads in the polls, is a known foe of very unpopular President Obama, is already known and popular statewide…and we’re in deep red Texas.

As it turns out, Davis’ claim didn’t stand up to scrutiny. Once the campaigns revealed the real totals, Davis has less cash on hand than she claimed, plus she is claiming the value of some donations as if they were cash. She is claiming the value of Willie Nelson appearing at one of her fundraisers at $250,000, for instance. The Texas Tribune charitably calls this a “non-traditional accounting method.” Also, “unorthodox.” The reporter on the Trib’s story is Jay Root. He has seen more than one campaign come and go. He knows his way around a campaign finance report. The fact that Davis’ accounting looks sketchy to Root suggests that it’s sketchy bookkeeping.

Once you get past all the account combining and “non-traditional” accounting and look at how much money the Wendy Davis Campaign itself has on hand, as reported by the Texas Ethics Commission, you get to a whopping $5 million.

That’s about half of what’s needed to win a Senate election in an average state. Texas is a lot of things, but average, it is not.

And Greg Abbott actually does have $35.6 million cash on hand.

And Davis’ campaign hired someone who tried to commit identity theft in the name of politics.

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Buzz Ballad: Illegals Are Here To Stay

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 - by Buzzsawmonkey

Illegals Are Here to Stay
—by Harry and the Leftists, with apologies to Danny and the Juniors and Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay

Illegals are here to stay
They will never leave
We’ve opened up the USA
All you can do is grieve
We don’t care what the voters say
Illegals are here to stay
(We don’t care what the voters say
Illegals are here to stay)

Illegals want stuff that’s free
The budgets we’ll distend
And so we’ll squeeze the citizenry
So we can tax and spend
Illegals want stuff that’s free
So we will squeeze the citizenry
(Illegals want stuff that’s free
So we will squeeze the citizenry)

So come on,
Everyone import
Everyone import
Everyone import
Everyone import
Everyone import

Now everybody import votes
Everybody import votes
Everybody import votes
Everybody import votes
Everybody import votes

Illegals want stuff that’s free
The budgets we’ll distend
And so we’ll squeeze the citizenry
So we can tax and spend
Illegals want stuff that’s free
So we will squeeze the citizenry

If you don’t want illegals
You’ll get them anyway
We connived to import them all
And won’t send them away
We’re gonna cram ‘em down your throat
‘Cause we need to import votes.

Anchor babies yeah
Anchor babies yeah
Anchor babies yeah
Anchor babies yeah…

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What Would Cause President Obama to Cancel a Fundraiser?

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 - by Myra Adams
obama burger 1

Today President Obama stopped at the Charcoal Pit for lunch and gave a fist pump.
Credit: BizPacReview

 

What “tragedy” would be horrific enough for President Obama to cancel his usual schedule of speeches, lunches and fundraisers?

A commercial airliner shot down over Ukraine with Americans aboard?  No.

How about a terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi on the anniversary of 9/11, killing our ambassador and three others? No.

Perhaps news that Israel has begun a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip? No way.

Obviously our president believes that any change to his schedule is a sign of weakness (and God forbid our commander in chief appear weak).

So today, despite the breaking news of possible Russian involvement with the missile attack against a Malaysian Airlines airliner carrying 295 passengers, crew and over 20 Americans, President Obama forged ahead with his previously planned infrastructure speech in Delaware. (But first he paused for a few seconds to say, “looks like it may be a terrible tragedy.” ) Then he proceeded as normal, including some lighthearted remarks.

Afterwards, he grabbed a burger and fries (“I’m starving” he was quoted as saying), and tonight he will attend a few fundraisers in New York. Just a typical day in the life of our 44th president. Obama is aiding world tranquility after all!

Therefore, my question is what kinds of national or international “tragedies”  would cause President Obama to cancel his fundraisers, partisan speeches and visits to burger joints?

Here is my list of the top five:

1. News that Beyonce and Jay Z are divorcing.

2. His favorite golf course was attacked by al-Qaeda.

3. Lebron James unexpectedly retired.

4. Air Force One was hijacked by the Tea Party.

5. A tsunami destroyed his August vacation compound on Martha’s Vineyard.

Now it’s your turn to add a few of your own…..

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Challenge or Pre-Existing Condition?

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 - by Nathan D. Lichtman

It’s been 45 years since the moon landing. And it’s been 52 years since President Kennedy challenged the nation to go there and to formulate the NASA program, “Not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

Watch Bill Whittle’s new Afterburner, ‘Apogee,’ on PJTV. He outlines how America has suffered from hypo-challenge for too long now. We tamed a continent, explored the skies, and went to the moon—all based on challenges that became existential to who we are as a people.

But, as he highlights, what challenges have we faced lately? The biggest push under Obama has been to discuss healthcare at the dinner table.

Where’s the spirit, the drive, of American greatness?

I want to go one step further, and point out that, not only has Obama not been pushing us to achieve more, to achieve higher things, but he has actually been rhetorically casting these pursuits aside.

What is the natural next big challenge? What is the next thing we can achieve that would have people stop in the tracks, and remember exactly where they were when they heard we had achieved it?

I saw an advertisement a few years ago for cancer research, in which they depicted that everyone would stop in the street and look at the news when a cure had been discovered. I think this is accurate. The next great challenge is to cure the diseases that have ailed us for too long—cancer, diabetes, heart conditions, etc.

I know that research is being done on these fronts, and I know that, while substantial progress has been made, ‘cures’ are still a long way off.

While President Obama, and his signature healthcare law, by no means limit the research being done literally. But symbolically is another story.

One of the big pushes under Obamacare is that pre-existing conditions are welcome. Figuratively, this says that ending the pre-existing condition, eliminating the need for treatment, isn’t the goal.

That’s like putting the Civil Rights movement before the Abolitionist movement. Requiring water fountains to permit both slaves and non-slaves to drink is not the primary goal; the primary goal was to end slavery, and then to also fully embody rights for all.

The goal shouldn’t be to allow people with cancer to get insurance cheaper…it should be to cure cancer.

Again, let me be very clear. I am not insinuating that Obama has, in some way, delayed the cure for cancer or other diseases.

But, I am saying that, far from challenging the American people, the way that Kennedy did, Obama has asked us to accept the status quo.

I’m asking that we not settle, that we continue to push for something besides the status quo. Let’s cure cancer in the next decade, and let’s do it because it is very hard to do. Let’s make pre-existing conditions obsolete. Let us do these things because we are Americans, and because we will always astoundingly rise up to meet challenges.

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MSNBC’s Krystal Ball Can’t Even Tell When She’s Being Punked On the Air

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

With a name like Krystal Ball, you’d think you’d get someone who can, you know, see things.

Today, on her MSNBC show, Ball got pranked by a man with an identifiable East Coast accent claiming to have been an eye witness to the Ukraine airplane shootdown.

The accent should have been Ball’s first clue that the caller was bogus. The caller blaming the crash on “a blast of wind from Howard Stern’s a**” should’ve been the second. The man calling Ball stupid, more or less, should have been her third.

Nope.

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Exit question: When does vox.com announce that they’re hiring Krystal Ball to write their explanatory journalism on how callers get screened for low-rated cable tv shows?

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A Tale of Two Victims

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 - by Howard Nemerov

In San Bernardino, CA, two armed thugs attacked a 78-year-old great-grandfather gassing up his truck. Video shows one attacker walking up and blind-siding him as he tries to negotiate, knocking him out. Then they robbed him while he’s on the ground.

After the attack, he spent four days in the hospital and was treated for a broken nose, concussion and bleeding on the brain.

“It’s the lowest of low,” said Lt. Rich Lawhead of the San Bernardino Police Department, which released the surveillance video in hopes of identifying the robbers. “They didn’t appear to be nervous in any way, shape or form. And they’re only going to get more and more brazen. [Emphasis added]

“Eventually, somebody’s going to get killed,” he added.

Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, WI:

A Milwaukee nurse who shot an attempted carjacker likely helped break up a criminal ring that police believe has been involved in a string of robberies and carjackings as well as a recent shooting.

Two teenagers threatened to shoot her if she didn’t comply. They didn’t expect their victim to be a concealed carry licensee. She shot one attacker, and the other ran off. According to police, the wounded attacker “allegedly shot a 43-year-old man in the face as the man drove away in his Land Rover following another attempted carjacking.”

Had this woman not been armed…

Detroit Police Chief James Craig doesn’t mince words about the differences between armed law-abiding citizens and disarmed law-abiding prey.

Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” said Craig, who has repeatedly said he believes armed citizens deter crime. “I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed.

In California, though theoretically possible, a regular person can’t get a concealed carry license in many counties, especially those most heavily populated, where violence is more common. So California criminals needn’t be “nervous in any way, shape or form.” This civil rights violation is so egregious that the Ninth Circuit Court struck down California’s law.

As an ex-California resident, I love living in Texas, where you’re treated more like a citizen, and the gangbangers drive more politely.

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Putin Directly Blames Ukraine for MH17 Shootdown, Because It Crashed In Ukraine

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama has met his match for shameless blame-shifting.

Unbelievable.

By the logic of the first statement, then, the actions of Islamist terrorists against Russians in Moscow are Putin’s fault.

h/t The Interpreter

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Preventable Medical Errors Third-Leading Cause of Death, Senate Panel Told

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A Senate committee heard today that preventable medical mistakes in hospitals are surpassed only by heart disease and cancer in causes of death for Americans.

Dr. Peter Pronovost of Johns Hopkins University told the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging that blood clots, overexposure to radiation, infections, drug reactions, diagnostic mistakes and falls are taking their toll despite advances in prevention.

“We need to declare right now that preventable harm is unacceptable and work to prevent all types of harm,” Pronovost said.

A recent Journal of Patient Safety study put the annual toll from preventable medical errors at as many as 440,000 deaths each year — not counting tens of thousands more patients who die outside of hospitals from medical mistakes such as drug errors.

“Medical harm is a major cause of suffering, disability, and death – as well as a huge financial cost to our nation,” Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said at the hearing. “This is a problem that has not received anywhere near the attention that it deserves and today I hope that we can focus a spotlight on this matter of such grave consequence.”

In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that one out of every 25 patients acquires an infection in the hospital for an annual toll of 75,000.

Medical errors also rack up a tab of up to $1 billion a year when counting effects such as lost work days. “People who are harmed lose their jobs, their homes, their insurance,” said Lisa McGiffert of Consumers Union. “Many go bankrupt trying to pay the medical bills that they would not have had if they had not been harmed by a health care provider.”

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US Official Confirms that a Missile Brought MH17 Down

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Washington Post has a source who says, yes, a missile brought that civilian airplane down.

Obama said U.S. national security officials are in close contact with the Ukrainian government. “The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why,” he said. Vice President Biden called Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to extend that offer, the White House said.

Hours later, a U.S. official said American intelligence agencies had confirmed that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record about an early intelligence assessment, said government analysts were scrambling to determine who fired the missile.

“This is a contested area,” the official said. “It’s going to take time to get some information on the intentions of whoever was involved.”

Rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine denied possessing the Buk missile launcher, but journalists reported seeing a similar weapon in the region earlier Thursday.

The rebels began bragging about capturing Buk missiles around June 29. Russian-controlled media reported that the rebels had “captured” Buk missiles this week, in what looks like a cover story designed to protect Russian from any culpability for what the rebels do with those missiles.

So that cat is out of the bag. The rebels have the missiles. But who trained them how to use them? When? Where?

photo credit Loskutnikov / Shutterstock.com

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Pro-Russian Rebels Admit Downing MH17 in Intercepted Phone Call

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The outlines of what happened today in Ukraine are starting to emerge.

Pro-Russian rebels recently obtained Russian-made BUK surface-to-air missiles. These missiles have a vertical range of 72,000 feet, making them more than capable of shooting down a civilian airliner, and also of shooting down most military aircraft.

The rebels have in fact shot down two Ukrainian military aircraft this week, a cargo transport and a fighter jet.

Today, they fired on another aircraft and brought it down. They bragged about it on social media, and warned Ukraine not to fly in that area again.

They had a video crew on hand to capture their moment of triumph.

Then they arrived at the scene, expecting to find trophies of war.

Instead, they found horror. The rebels had used Russian gear to shoot down a civilian airliner.

The rebels called Russia to report what happened. That phone call and a subsequent one between two rebels was intercepted by Ukraine. Kyiv Post has translated both.

One phone call apparently was made at 4:40 p.m. Kyiv time, or 20 minutes after the plane crash, by Igor Bezler, who the SBU says is a Russian military intelligence officer and leading commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. He reports to a person identified by Ukraine’s SBU as a colonel in the main intelligence department of the general headquarters of the armed forces of the Russian Federation Vasili Geranin regarding the shot down plane, which is about to be examined by the militants.

The second intercepted conversation released by the Security Service of Ukraine was apparently between militants nicknamed “Major” and “Greek” immediately upon inspection of the crash site.

“It’s 100 percent a passenger (civilian) aircraft,” Major is recorded as saying, as he admitted to seeing no weapons on site. “Absolutely nothing. Civilian items, medicinal stuff, towels, toilet paper.”

In the transcript, one of the rebels appears to hope that there are no Russian fingerprints on the shootdown.

“Major”: The plane fell apart in the air. In the area of Petropavlovskaya mine. The first “200” (code word for dead person). We have found the first “200”. A Civilian.

“Greek”: Well, what do you have there?

“Major”: In short, it was 100 percent a passenger (civilian) aircraft.

“Greek”: Are many people there?

“Major”: Holy sh__t! The debris fell right into the yards (of homes).

“Greek”: What kind of aircraft?

“Major”: I haven’t ascertained this. I haven’t been to the main sight [sic]. I am only surveying the scene where the first bodies fell. There are the remains of internal brackets, seats and bodies.

“Greek”: Is there anything left of the weapon?

If there are no traces of the weapon left, Russia can claim that someone else shot the aircraft down, to create confusion if nothing else.

That’s just what Russia is doing. Russia’s western mouthpiece, Russia Today, reports that Ukraine deployed BUK systems in the region recently, suggesting that Ukraine fired the missile.

Fox reported earlier that the Russians are saying that the missile was a Ukrainian fire aimed at Putin himself. Obviously that would absolve Russia and become a causus belli for Russia to fully invade Ukraine. If it was true, which it isn’t.

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Israel Launches Air, Ground and Sea Operations Against Hamas in Gaza

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Jerusalem Post reports that “IDF ground forces began to move into the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening at around 10:30, according to Palestinian news sources and Al-Jazeera.”

The Israeli Defense Forces haven’t confirmed the operation, but haven’t denied it either.

The IDF launched a massive wave of combined air and artillery strikes on Thursday night, in a possible signal that Israel may be on the verge of a ground offensive against Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the
Gaza Strip.

Palestinian sources said strikes occurred up and down the Strip, adding that one strike targeted a motorcycle apparently carrying members of a rocket launching cell on their way to an attack on
Israel.

At around 10:00 p.m. rocket sirens sounded in the Tel Aviv area, and in the Shfela. Iron Dome made a number of interceptions in the Tel Aviv area.

Hamas bombarded Israel on Thursday with rockets after the end of the humanitarian truce, firing over 100 projectiles after 3 p.m. Eighty one rockets landed in open areas, two fell inside villages, damaging two homes, and 20 were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system.

Update — confirmed.

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Obama: Malaysia Airlines Downing ‘Looks Like It May Be a Terrible Tragedy’

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama briefly addressed the downed Malaysia Airlines flight before comments this afternoon about infrastructure executive actions in Delaware, saying that the loss of the plane carrying 295 passengers and crew “looks like it may be a terrible tragedy.”

“Right now we’re working to determine whether there were American citizens on board. That is our first priority and I’ve directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian government,” Obama said. “The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why and as a country our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers wherever they call home.”

His remarks on the flight barely exceeded 30 seconds before he launched into his previously scheduled speech on transportation projects at the Port of Wilmington.

The White House said Vice President Biden called Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Poroshenko spoke on TV after Obama’s remarks, stressing, “We don’t call this an ‘incident’ or ‘catastrophe,’ but a terrorist action.”

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev posted a message on his Facebook page expressing “deepest condolences following the crash of the Malaysian Airlines plane over Ukraine.”

“This tragedy has claimed the lives of hundreds of people from different countries and has caused profound grief for those who lost loved ones,” Medvedev said. “I mourn for the victims.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters today that she didn’t have “any confirmed information about casualties, the cause or additional details.”

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those on board, their families and loved ones. We’re closely monitoring the situation. The secretary is, of course, aware of these reports. And we’re seeking additional information,” Psaki said. “Our embassy in Kiev is also in close contact with the Ukrainian authorities on this incident. But at this point, those are all the details that we have.”

Reports have indicated 23 Americans were on the manifest, but Psaki said they were “looking to, of course, obtain that information.”

Psaki said Secretary of State John Kerry hadn’t called any Russian officials, and she didn’t know of any plans to do so.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told CNN that he didn’t want to leap to conclusions about the cause of the crash, but “if it was a missile that took this plane down, then it has to be a very sophisticated weapons system.”

“And the Ukrainians do not have that capability. So if it is the case, we’re going to have to act, and act in the most stringent fashions, including real sanctions, including giving the Ukrainians the ability to defend themselves, which we have not done so far,” McCain said.

“I think Putin was disappointed that he didn’t get more support both in Eastern Ukraine, Odessa, other parts of Southern Ukraine. But most of us who get to know Vladimir figured that he was not was going to give up easily and that he would continue to try to foment disorder in Eastern Ukraine, which, as we all know, is the most important part of the Ukrainian economy,” he said. “So I never believed he was going to go quietly, I’d – it’s impossible to assume that he’d believe that something like this would do anything but have the most negative effects.”

McCain told MSNBC, “If it is the result of either separatist or Russian actions mistakenly believing that this was a Ukrainian war plane, I think there’s going to be hell to pay, and there should be.”

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Obama’s Response To Malaysian Plane Tragedy So Tone Deaf He Loses Piers Morgan

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

While the rest of the world worried, The Idiot King who doesn’t like photo ops couldn’t wait to get back to his photo op.

Sure, it wouldn’t seem odd if someone like me found his response…lacking but when he’s lost Piers Morgan…

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Did Pro-Russian Rebels Shoot This Video of the MH17 Impact?

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

This video, purported to be of the moment that MH17 crashes, has been making the rounds.

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On it, Russians speakers can be heard conversing about the crash.

Our man in Ukraine, Oleg Atbashian, interpreted it for us.

The title of the video is “17.7.14 Plane Crash,” so what’s the point of editing out the plane? The plane in the sky probably just wasn’t picked up by the cheap cell phone camera. The dialogue is also about the crash, in both Russian and Ukrainian. The discussion is about whether anyone had been able to jump out before the crash, and also mentioning that the debris were still falling down as they watched the smoke. Then someone else asks them what’s going on and they explain that a plane has just crashed.

The video is posted by the separatist “Novorossy” channel. “Novorossy” is how the separatists call themselves now, as opposed to “Ukrainians.”
At 0:47 they were speculating if the plane was being shot at and that someone had hit it. At that point a loud voice says, laughing, “So it was worth bringing it in,” possibly referring to the Buk anti-aircraft missile launcher that was seen around the area earlier in the morning.

Hm.

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