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Pentagon Not Taking a ‘Position’ on How Police Departments Use Surplus Military Equipment

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Pentagon leaders are informally studying how surplus military equipment is distributed to police departments, though a Defense spokesman stressed that after it leaves their hands it’s up to law enforcement to use it as they wish.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “has not ordered a review of this program,” Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters this afternoon. “He’s simply asked for some more information so that he can have a more informed opinion about it.”

Hagel “has been mindful of the public debate and discussion” about police militarization in Ferguson, Mo.

“He has been given an information paper that provides some more detail to it, and he’s consuming that now,”  Kirby said.

“It’s important to understand this is a program legislated by Congress which allows the secretary to transfer some excess military property to local law enforcement. This has been on the books since 1991,” he added. “And many, many law enforcement agencies have benefited from it. In fact, many citizens of many towns and cities all over the country have benefited from it. But it — but how, as I said before, how and where and under what circumstances the equipment actually gets used is up to the local law enforcement agencies to determine.”

Since 2007 the Defense Logistics Agency has transferred to the Ferguson police department two Humvees, one generator, and one cargo trailer, Kirby said. “In all of St. Louis County, over that same period of time, which includes Ferguson, six pistols, 12 rifles, 15 weapon sites, an EOD robot, three helicopters, seven Humvees, as I said, two of which are being used by Ferguson, and two night-vision devices. That’s what they got,” he said.

When asked if the Pentagon thinks Ferguson “misused” their equipment, Kirby stressed, “We don’t take a position on the way the equipment is being used.”

“That is up to local law enforcement to determine. I will tell you, though, that we have rigorous compliance and accountability standards, and biannually, the Defense Logistics Agency spot-checks many of these local law enforcement agencies in the states to make sure that they’re keeping proper accountability inventorying — keeping an inventory of the equipment. But we do not legislate, we don’t dictate, we don’t — we don’t mandate any kind of certain use. That is up to local law enforcement,” he said.

“And many of the equipment finds use in counterdrug and counterterrorism-type activities that, of course, get right to the protection of the homeland. So we’re not — the — as I said at the outset, how and when and where and under what circumstances the equipment gets used is up to local law enforcement agencies to speak to.”

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Democrats Will Have No Problem With This Abuse of Power

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

President Obama promised to work with Republicans and to conduct the most transparent government in American history. But after he was elected, he came into his first meeting with Republicans refusing to listen to them because “I won.” He has built a habit of keeping policy making behind closed doors, beginning with the appointment of more policy “czars” than any previous president — czars bypass the Senate’s advise and consent process — and continuing with his current effort to re-write the nation’s immigration laws, because he feels like it and because a divided Congress cannot stop him.

WASHINGTON — When President Obama announced in June that he planned to bypass congressional gridlock and overhaul the nation’s immigration system on his own, he did so in a most public way: a speech in the White House Rose Garden.

Since then, the process of drafting what will likely be the only significant immigration changes of his presidency — and his most consequential use of executive power — has been conducted almost entirely behind closed doors, where lobbyists and interest groups invited to the White House are making their case out of public view.

The death of transparency coincides with the death of democracy — if he gets away with this.

Mr. Obama’s increasingly expansive appetite for the use of unilateral action on issues including immigration, tax policy and gay rights has emboldened activists and businesses to flock to the administration with their policy wish lists. It also has opened the president, already facing charges of executive overreach, to criticism that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, with the potential to reward political backers at the expense of other interests, including some on the losing side who are threatening to sue.

Democrats know that they’re going to lose the Senate this fall. That may leave Obama vulnerable to disciplinary action by Congress, but he has two gambits in hand to deal with that.

The first is the race card. The optics of a Republican Congress impeaching the first black president will be toxic.

The second, ironically, is the kangaroo case against Gov. Rick Perry in Texas. I debated a Democrat consultant on NewsMaxTV earlier today, and one of her talking points is that “both parties are doing” what the Texas Democrats are doing to Perry. She brought up the impeachment talk, of course neglecting to mention that most of that has been coming from Democrats, to force Republicans into foreswearing impeachment as any remedy to Obama’s actions.

Both parties are not doing what the Texas Democrats are doing to Perry. Their indictment of him is unique in Texas history, and is probably unique in American history. If they succeed, Perry will be jailed for decades. Life, in a worst-case scenario — for having done nothing wrong. A conviction would scramble Texas politics, though probably not enough to help the Democrats actually win any statewide office.

Obama is being sued by the House. Jail is not a possibility in that case at all. No one really knows what the House lawsuit can achieve.

Impeachment would not send him to jail either. The most impeachment could possibly achieve, and this is a remote possibility, is Obama’s removal from office. He would be replaced by his own vice president, of course, who would then be the incumbent for 2016.

But you watch. Democrats will denounce the Perry case nationally, and then use it to taint Republicans who aren’t doing anything that’s even remotely similar.

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Rick Perry Just NUKED Rosemary Lehmberg

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

RickPAC just released this video, which hits in advance of the other big news in the case today — that Gov. Perry will be booked and have his mugshot taken in Travis County. Democrats will start parading that photo and fundraising off of it within nanoseconds.

This video on Lehmberg is brutal, and deservedly so. And there’s probably more where that came from.

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VIDEO: What Happens When You Take Five Anti-Gun Liberals to a Gun Range?

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

BuzzFeed decided to find out what might happen by taking five anti-gun liberals to the Los Angeles Gun Range.

Spoiler — none of them had a fundamental awakening on the Second Amendment.

But one of them does seem to have a real change of heart. Take a look.

The one guy in the group says he felt “badass” after cocking the shotgun. How would feel after firing an AR?

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PICO Network Letting No Crisis Go to Waste in Ferguson

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by Michelle Horstman

PICO

 

Just a few days ago, we wrote about the outside agitation coming from Soros and major union funding, as they make sure not to let another crisis go to waste in Ferguson, Mo. Likewise, Rev. Michael McBride and the PICO Network (People Improving Communitites Through organizing) are on location and training organizers in Ferguson.

PICO and the good Reverend are no strangers to organizing for the latest leftist causes. In 2013, they worked for gun control legislation, featuring a “Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath”. Working with Obama, Hot Air reported the following:

President Barack Obama is trying an end run around the NRA — rallying groups as varied as churches, medical organizations, retailers and the Rotary Club to build support for new gun regulations…

During one session with a dozen religious leaders on Wednesday, Biden made a specific request to those gathered to preach to their congregations about the importance of enacting stronger gun control laws, said the Rev. Michael McBride, a participant in the meeting and a community organizer for the PICO Network, an alliance of faith-based organizations…

“He knows that it’s going to be a tough road to come up with the legislative package that would make everyone feel happy,” McBride said. “So he was appealing to our strength and our unique call as moral and faith leaders to help emphasize in our own faith traditions the importance of not only legislation but changing the culture of violence in our country.”

More gun control action took place as PICO worked with Jim Wallis/Sojourners. PICO had also worked with Wallis and his Faith in Public Life group (also Soros funded) in their 2009 healthcare promotion:

In 2009, FPL took a leading role in advocating for President Obama’s health-care reform initiative. Lamenting that town-hall meetings — where many citizens were expressing their opposition to reform — had “degenerated into armed shouting matches,” FPL staged a counter-effort in the summer, entitled “40 Days for Health Reform.” Working through its affiliate groups – Sojourners, PICO, and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good – FPL produced and aired cable television ads and hosted a webcast call-in program with President Obama and faith leaders, in an effort to “reframe the debate” regarding healthcare. FPL also generated 20,000 (pro-healthcare reform) phone calls to Congress, as well as 100 visits to Congressional offices, in a single day.

PICO was  proudly featured at Francis Fox-Piven’s infamous Occupy “Teach-in” with other assorted leftist groups and unions.  They remain active in immigration reform as well. If there is a radical movement out there, it seems they are in the middle of it.

PICO, located in Oakland, CA, was founded in 1972 by an Alinksy trained Jesuit priest.  Discover The Networks explains their background:

People Improving Communities through Organizing (PICO) was founded in 1972 under the leadership of Father John Baumann, a Jesuit priest who was trained in Saul Alinsky-style community-organizing tactics in Chicago during the 1960s and 1970s. Baumann then took his skills to Oakland, California, where he established PICO to serve as “a regional training institute to help support neighborhood organizations.”

PICO is a sponsoring organization of the We Believe Together – Health Care for All network. Other notable sponsors include the Center for Community Change, the Gamaliel Foundation, the Islamic Medical Association of North America, the Islamic Society of North America, School of the Americas Watch, Sojourners Magazine, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; and Michael Lerner’s Tikkun Magazine.

Currently listed on PICO’s funding page, among many of the usual funders of the Left, you will find Soros’ Open Society as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Today on his Twitter feed, Rev. McBride of PICO is reporting from the scene in Ferguson. Among his tweets, he explains how the autopsy on Mike Brown proves he was shot with his hands up in surrender (although he seems to be the one and only source for this interpretation).

hands-up

 

He is also sharing the latest PICO/LiveFreeUS activities on the ground and in training sessions with Amnesty.

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As the Left continues to organize and fan the flames of racism in Ferguson, let us all be very clear on exactly who is always behind it, and make sure to educate others as well.

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Sanders: Don’t Ignore Problem of Black Unemployment in Ferguson Response

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said the high unemployment rate among African-Americans should not be overlooked in the outrage over Ferguson.

The overall unemployment rate for July was fairly steady at 6.2 percent, but the rate for blacks edged up to 11.4 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The jobless rate for teenagers was 20.2 percent.

Sanders told MSNBC that “if there’s any silver lining in the tragedy of Ferguson is that I hope we learn some very important lessons.”

“When I was a mayor of Burlington, Vermont and all over this country, what mayors are trying to do is develop community-based policing, where police officers are seen as part of the neighborhood, they know people in the neighborhood, they are trusted by people in the neighborhood,” he said.

“When you see the kind of force that’s been used in Ferguson, it really does make an appeal that the police department there is an occupying army in a hostile territory and that is absolutely not what we want to see in the United States. So, I think we’ve got to rethink a lot of this heavy equipment that police departments around the country are utilizing.”

The senator said he hopes “that what Ferguson teaches us is that not only the violence being perpetrated against young black men but also the economic crises facing black youth in this country.”

“Youth unemployment in America is tragically high, it is 20 percent. African-American youth unemployment is 35 percent. In the St. Louis area, it is significantly higher than that. And if we are going to address the issue of crime in low-income areas and in African-American areas, it might be a good idea that instead of putting heavy equipment into police departments on those areas, we start creating jobs for the kids there who desperately need them,” Sanders said.

He added that “we want to make sure that our police department has the effective tools and equipment to combat those threats.”

“But on the other hand, I do not think you need tanks and heavy military looking equipment in low income communities in America. I think that it essentially makes a difficult situation, a dangerous situation much more provocative and much more difficult,” he said. “…I think this is an issue along with the economic issue of having to create jobs for our young people that Congress should be addressing when we return.”

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said last week that Congress would review how the Pentagon transfers surplus military equipment to law enforcement agencies.

The promise from Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) came after criticism, including from Republican Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), that the SWAT reaction to the protests and rioting in Ferguson, Mo., resembled a police state more than a suburb.

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The 20th Was the Failed Welfare State Century – The 21st Must Be About Less Government

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by Seton Motley

The Twentieth was the Century of the Welfare State.  Governments the world over built and then continuously grew their domestic aid money delivery apparatuses.  Tens of trillions of dollars were spent in attempts to raise poor people up and out.

It’s been disastrous.

European Union and the Failed Welfare State

Transforming the Developmental Welfare State in East Asia

More Evidence of the Social Welfare State as a Failure

Much of the planet was dominated by the Soviet Union – whose satellites and clients were just welfare states under the Red umbrella.  Communism is the Welfare State in full bloom – and to say it doesn’t work is the century’s greatest understatement.  One hundred million people died – and billions more lived nasty, brutish and short lives in abject desolation and destitution.

The United States has on welfare spent more than $7 trillion – just in the last fifty years.

The Continuing Failure of America’s Welfare State

Why the Welfare State Is Doomed to Fail

And President Barack Obama has failed utterly to learn the last century’s lessons.  He is in his mere eight years set to more than double our disastrous outlay.

Obama to Spend $10.3 Trillion on Welfare

Some remain steadfastly impervious to facts.

With this unfathomable amount of money, our poverty level has remained virtually unchanged.  Oh – and we’re now almost $18 trillion in debt.

That’s just domestic.  Nations around the world – led by the U.S. – have spent trillions more making other nations around the world into Welfare States.  Which has for them been just as disastrous as it has been for us domestically.

The Continuing Failure of Foreign Aid

Exploring the Failure of Foreign Aid

Africa has largely become a Welfare Continent.  It has received tons of free coin – and has been for the most part been mired in perpetual, dire malaise.

Why Foreign Aid Always Fails in Africa

Time for a Rethink: Why Development Aid for Africa Has Failed

Time for a rethink indeed – not just in Africa, but throughout the world.

U2 singer Bono – a decades-long global Welfare State promoter and believer – certainly thinks so.

“So some of Africa is rising – and some of Africa is stuck.  The question is whether the rising bit will pull the rest of Africa up – or whether the other Africa will weigh the continent down.  Which will it be? 

“The stakes here aren’t just about them.  Imagine for a second this last global recession – but without the economic growth of China and India.  Without the hundreds of millions of newly-minted middle class folks who now buy American and European goods.  Imagine that. Think about the last five years.

“Rock star preaches capitalism.  Shh…wow.  Sometimes I hear myself and I just can’t believe it.  But commerce is real.  What you’re about here – it’s real. 

“Aid is just a stop gap.  Commerce, entrepreneurial capitalism takes more people out of poverty than aid.  Of course we know that.”

I wish we all did.  Global Welfare Statesmen – take note of the Rocker.

Commerce and entrepreneurial capitalism practiced inter-nationally – between nations – is called free trade.  Utterly unfettered by the “assistance” of government.

You know who’s learning it?  More and more of Africa.

Africa Continues to Reap from US-Africa Trade Pact

“Trade lanes in Africa have increased significantly as a result of relieved trade barriers, which have had a positive impact on many local businesses. A key driver of this growth has been the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which has stimulated trade and investment between Africa and the United States….

“Africa is the ‘last frontier’, the more we collectively focus on connecting it with the world, the more sustainable its economies will be and the more jobs we will create – creating a virtuous cycle of success.”

Rather than the 20th Century vicious cycle of Welfare State poverty.

Free trade allows peoples everywhere to lead exponentially better lives.

Governments need to do less – less free money-ing, taxing, tariff-ing, subsidizing and protectionism-ing.

And simply get out of the way – and let the magic of the marketplace clean up their messes.

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Austin American-Statesman Destroys Democrats’ Narrative on the Perry Indictment

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Democratic National Committee has gone all-in to support the indictment and prosecution of Texas Gov. Rick Perry. In an email sent out by the DNC, the Democrats attempt to tie Perry’s veto of funding for the Travis County DA’s Public Integrity Unit to an investigation into the  Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, or CPRIT.

This narrative posits that Perry used Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg’s drunk driving arrest as an excuse to gut the PIU just as it was circling around Perry appointees who had allegedly engaged in corrupt grants through CPRIT. This narrative accuses Perry of doing what New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo actually did, more or less, though in Cuomo’s case he appointed the commission that started circling around his administration. Cuomo shut it down before its investigations could get too close.

According to the Austin American-Statesman — which is to Texas media what the New York Times is to the national media (i.e. unabashedly liberal) — the Democrats’ narrative does not stand up to scrutiny at all.

  • October 2012: Concerns about CPRIT’s practices come to light in a report in the Dallas Morning News. Within a month of the Morning News story, members of the Texas Legislature call for reforms of the state cancer agency.
  • December 2012: The Public Integrity Unit officially begins its CPRIT investigation.
  • January 2013: Lehmberg tells the American-Statesman that the 11 members of the CPRIT board – all of whom were appointed by Perry – “are not under suspicion in the investigation.” That means the investigation is focusing only on CPRIT staff members, none of whom were appointed or hired by Perry.

Read the rest at the link. There was eventually an indictment in the CPRIT case, of a staffer who wasn’t appointed by Perry.

Perry’s veto of the PIU’s state funding did not even shut that office down, by the way. After his veto, Travis County moved funds from other areas and kept the unit going. The CPRIT investigation itself continued.

Perry’s veto was nothing more or less than what happens in politics all the time. Governors and presidents routinely use their veto power to stop things that they don’t want, and to get things that they do want. That’s part of the purpose of the veto power. If voters don’t like it, our recourse is to contact the governor, contact our representatives and senators, voice our displeasure in whatever peaceful way we choose, and vote.

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Border Patrol Catching Convicted Sex Offenders Trying to Re-Enter U.S.

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

In the midst of concerns about the safety of minors sent to illegally cross the border both alone and accompanied, the Border Patrol reported that it recently caught two convicted sex offenders trying to cross in Texas.

For the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1, the Del Rio sector alone, which covers 210 miles of the border and reaches 300 miles into Texas,  reports capturing a total of 26 sex offenders — convicted in the U.S., deported, and now trying to cross back into the States.

On Aug. 9 near noon, Border Patrol agents arrested Franklin Alexander Rodriguez-Diaz, 36, near railroad tracks in Eagle Pass.

“During processing it was determined that Rodriguez-Diaz has several convictions including a sex offense against a child – rape – in Cherokee, Oklahoma. He was ordered removed in 1999 by an immigration judge and was subsequently deported from the United States via Houston on March 11, 2004 to his native country of Honduras,” the Border Patrol said in a statement.

On Aug. 11 around 4 a.m., the Border Patrol said, an agent apprehended a group of six illegal immigrants.

“During processing, record checks revealed that Marcelino Argueta-Amaya, 59, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador was a registered sex offender,” the agency said.

“Argueta-Amaya has two previous arrests involving sexual offenses. In 1987 he was convicted by the Los Angeles Superior Court for molestation of a child and sentenced to three years of probation. In 1996 he was arrested by the Huntington, California Park Police for Indecent Exposure. An immigration judge ordered Argueta-Amaya deported in 2004 and he was subsequently removed from the United States via Houston on Oct. 8, 2004 to his native country of El Salvador.”

Both suspects face charges of illegal re-entry, the Border Patrol said.

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Portraits of Brave People Defending Families, Homes from ISIS

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

 

 

 

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Think-Tank Tweet Tells Amnesty to ‘Suck It’ Over Ferguson Dig

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

I have to say, think tanks in D.C. usually don’t get this exciting. But the centrist Center for Strategic and International Studies mixed it up on Twitter last night with Amnesty International — then apologized for the incident.

It started when Amnesty plunged into the Ferguson debate on Monday, announcing that it sent a 13-person “human rights delegation,” to the Missouri town, “which included observers who monitored police and protester activity and sought meetings with officials. Other members of the delegation trained local activists in methods of non-violent protest.”

“Amnesty International has a long and tested history of monitoring and investigating police conduct, not just in foreign countries, but right here at home in the United States,” said Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA, in a statement. “Our delegation traveled to Missouri to let the authorities in Ferguson know that the world is watching. We want a thorough investigation into Michael Brown’s death and the series of events that followed.”

Amnesty called for a “prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown,” along with investigation of “any human rights abuses in connection with the policing of protests” and a “thorough review of all trainings, policies and procedures with regards to the use of force and the policing of protests.”

“Moving forward, we must seize this moment to bring about a wide-ranging review of all trainings, policies and procedures with regard to the use of force and the policing of protests in Ferguson and around the country,” said Hawkins. “This is a moment for people around the country – and around the world – to join the Ferguson community in raising concerns about race and policing, and about the impact of militarization on our fundamental right to peacefully assemble.”

Amnesty tweeted last night, “US can’t tell other countries to improve their records on policing and peaceful assembly if it won’t clean up its own human rights record.”

Then came the CSIS response in the wee hours, which has since been removed:

csisamnesty

The think tank pulled the tweet and issued this response:

Famous names at CSIS include former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) and Henry Kissinger.

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Capt. Johnson Delivers a Stern Lecture to the Media in Ferguson

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

BvYoUs-IYAADZZQ

In a tense, middle-of-the night press conference early Tuesday morning, Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson lectured members of the media about safety and implored them to assist law enforcement in calming tensions in the city.

After reporting that two individuals had been shot and several police officers injured during another night of protests in response to last week’s shooting of Michael Brown, Johnson showed members of the media items that law enforcement officials had confiscated during the previous night’s protests including a Molotov cocktail, fireworks that had been thrown into a crowd, and two guns. Johnson said the guns were confiscated from individuals who shot at an apartment complex from their vehicle, which was then stopped near the media staging area. He said journalists were swarming the car to snap pictures as officers were trying to secure the weapons, making the confrontation even more dangerous.

Johnson said that when the media is asked to relocate, it is for their own safety or to facilitate law enforcement operations.

“I’d ask you not to glamourize their activities,” Johnson said of the protesters who were bent on illegal activities and provoking confrontations with police.  There were 31 arrests on Monday night along with several fires set by protesters around the city.

Johnson described the volatile situation on the ground. “You were out there. You saw the chaos. You saw the shootings. We had officers in the midst of gunfire. In the midst of gunfire! And I guarantee you that the officers’ wives and husbands and parents are calling them now,” an emotional Johnson said. “I stood there and heard on the radio the screams of the officers who were under gunfire. I got back to our SWAT vehicle and saw the gentleman laying in the back who had been shot. I saw a car pull up and drop a gentleman off who had been shot in the hand that was dazed walking down the street.” Capt. Johnson added, “We can’t have this. We do not want any citizen hurt. We do not want any officers hurt. But when you’re shooting at apartment complexes and children are laying in the bed in apartment complexes and bullets are flying through the air, the saying on the street is, ‘a bullet has no name.’ We do not want to lose another life in this community.”

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Hillary Demands Private Jet, Presidential Suite to Give Speeches Denouncing Inequality

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Even Good Morning America finds it amusing that Hillary Clinton’s demands to deliver her dull speeches mirror those of an aging, self-absorbed rock star.

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Obama on Ferguson: ‘I Have to be Very Careful About Not Prejudging These Events’

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Back from his weeklong vacation, President Obama told a late afternoon press conference that he has to be “very careful about not prejudging these events” like the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown “before investigations are completed.”

Obama met with Attorney General Eric Holder in the Oval Office after lunch, and said he spoke with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) and Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) by phone.

Holder, Obama said, “will be traveling to Ferguson on Wednesday to meet with the FBI agents and DOJ personnel conducting the federal criminal investigation and he will receive an update from them on their progress.”

“He will also be meeting with other leaders in the community who’s support is so critical to bringing about peace and calm in Ferguson,” the president added.

Holder will be joined by Ronald Davis, the director of the DOJ’s Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services. DOJ community relations officials have been “working in Ferguson since the days after the shooting to foster conversations among the local stakeholders and reduce tensions among the community.”

“We have all seen images of protesters and law enforcement in the streets. It’s clear that the vast majority of people are peacefully protesting. What’s also clear is that a small minority of individuals are not,” Obama said. “While I understand the passions and the anger that arise over the death of Michael Brown, giving into that anger by looting or carrying guns, and even attacking the police only serves to raise tensions and stir chaos. It undermines rather than advancing justice.”

Giving another nod to the recent arrests of reporters in Ferguson, he added, “Let me also be clear that our constitutional rights to speak freely, to assemble, and to report in the press must be vigilantly safeguarded: especially in moments like these.”

“Ours is a nation of laws: of citizens who live under them and for the citizens who enforce them. So, to a community in Ferguson that is rightly hurting and looking for answers, let me call once again for us to seek some understanding rather than simply holler at each other. Let’s seek to heal rather than to wound each other,” Obama continued. “As Americans, we’ve got to use this moment to seek out our shared humanity that’s been laid bare by this moment. The potential of a young man and the sorrows of parents, the frustrations of a community, the ideals that we hold as one united American family.”

The president gave a pitch for his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, an administration program focused on the challenges faced by young men of color. “In too many communities around the country, a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement. In too many communities, too many young men of color are left behind and seen only as objects of fear.”

Obama said the chasm between the community and law enforcement is nothing new, but “it’s always tragic when it involves the death of someone so young.”

“I have to be very careful about not prejudging these events before investigations are completed. Because, although these are, you know, issues of local jurisdiction — you know, the DOJ works for me. And then when they’re conducting an investigation, I’ve got to make sure that I don’t look like I’m putting my thumb on the scales one way or the other,” he said.

Obama said his job is getting at the “root causes” of why young men of color are “more likely to end up in jail or in the criminal justice system than they are in a good job or in college.”

“There are young black men that commit crime. And — and — and we can argue about why that happens because of the poverty they were born into or the lack of opportunity or the school systems that failed them or what have you, but if they commit a crime, then they need to be prosecuted because every community has an interest in public safety,” he said. “And if you go into the African American community or the Latino community, some of the folks who are most intent on making sure that criminals are dealt with are people that have been preyed upon by them.”

“So, this is not an argument that there isn’t real crime out there and that law enforcement doesn’t have a difficult job…  But what is also true is that given the history of this country, where we can make progress in building up more confidence, more trust, making sure that our criminal justice system is acutely aware of the possibilities of disparities in treatment, there are safeguards in place to avoid those disparities where, you know, training and assistance is provided to local law enforcement who, you know, may just need more information in order to avoid potential disparity.”

Obama did not directly responded to the main question of retiring ABC News Radio correspondent Ann Compton, who asked about Ferguson, “Has anyone there asked you, or have you considered going yourself?”

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Obama Demonstrates that He Still Doesn’t Understand the Islamic State Threat

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

President Obama broke off his Martha’s Vineyard vacation today to address the situations in Iraq and in Ferguson, MO.

Responding to a question on Iraq and the possibility of “mission creep” there in an effort to deal with the Islamic State, Obama betrayed a lack of understanding of what the terrorist group is seeking in the short and long term.

QUESTION: Thank you. How do you avoid mission creep in Iraq? And how long do you think it’ll take to contain ISIL?

OBAMA: Well, I have been firm from the start that we are not reintroducing thousands of U.S. troops back on the ground to engage in combat. We’re not the Iraqi military, we’re not even the Iraqi air force. I am the commander in chief of the United States armed forces, and Iraq is gonna have to ultimately provide for its own security.

On the other hand, we’ve got a national security interest in making sure our people are protected and in making sure that a savage group that seems willing to slaughter people for no rhyme or reason other than they have not kowtowed to them, that a group like that is contained, because ultimately it can pose a threat to us.

The Islamic State has come to power a a self-declared caliphate despite the Obama administration’s protestations that such a thing would be “absurd.” The president evidently hasn’t learned from this failure to predict the enemy’s goals and actions.

In the quote above, Obama says that IS “seems willing to slaughter people for no rhyme or reason other than they have not kowtowed to them…”

That is not what IS is doing at all. They are not slaughtering “without rhyme or reason.” The Islamist army is targeting Christians, Yazidis and even fellow Muslims to eliminate them as threats, to consolidate their own power, and to serve as warning to anyone who stands in their way. IS is conducting its massacres with a serious purpose, and that purpose is by no means limited to Iraq or the Middle East. As the administration is aware.

 

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Flashback: How a Travis County DA Destroyed Tom Delay and Helped the Democrats Grab Congress

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Back in 2005-2006, very few Republicans were willing to step up and deeply examine the case against then Rep. Tom Delay (R) in his battle with then Travis County DA Ronnie Earle (D). I hadn’t yet moved back to Texas then, but I did cover that case for my old blog, Junkyardblog.

That blog is no longer with us, but Stephen Spruiell preserved part of one of my posts on that case at NRO.

There’s much more to the story, and I’m still working on it and am aware of another reporter who is as well, but for now just consider: DA Ronnie Earle has allowed this “filmmaker” inside his operation for two years. Earle’s operation has been seeking an indictment of DeLay for that entire time, and grand jury shopped as his first indictment fell apart and deadlines loomed. Now here we are: The first flimsy indictment, which didn’t even allege any specific actual crime had taken place, has fallen apart and that grand jury has dissolved. Grand jury #2 declined to indict. Grand jury #3 indicted,but based on evidence manufactured in Earle’s office. Without that evidence, it’s unlikely grand jury #3 would have indicted DeLay at all.

It’s clear that this isn’t a serious case and will not result in conviction. But it has resulted in a warrant for DeLay’s arrest. Should such an arrest be carried out, Earle’s indictment will result in a grand photo op as DeLay is probably marched in handcuffs, has his mug shot taken and is fingerprinted.

Which brings us back to Schermbeck, the “filmmaker.” What better way to end his anti-DeLay film, The Big Buy, than with that visual of Rep. Tom DeLay, until recently the majority leader in the US House of Representatives, with a number plate tucked under his chin? What better way to cast Republicans, enemies both of Earle and the far left agitator Jim Schermbeck, as corrupt than with that visual? And what better to get that visual than to abuse the power of a district attorney to make sure you have the opportunity to manufacture it?

I obviously got one big thing wrong in that post. I overestimated Travis County jurists. No one should repeat that mistake now. The case against Delay wasn’t a serious case, but a Travis County jury did convict him anyway. That doesn’t speak well of the county, and doesn’t bode well for Gov. Perry.

Democrats went after Delay because he was a highly effective leader for the Republican Party. That was his “crime,” and his only crime.

Democrats got their man in that case. They got him driven from office and destroyed his career, and used the kangaroo case against him to form a “culture of corruption” narrative against Republicans. And too many naive Republicans played along at the time. Earle’s convictions of Delay were eventually thrown out, but the Democrats had used the “culture of corruption” narrative to capture Congress by then. We have Obamacare now in part because the Democrats used a corrupt case against an innocent man to snatch Congress.

Texas Democrats are being laughed at and mocked this week for the indictment of Gov. Rick Perry and for supporting that. They don’t care and that won’t slow them down.

The Texas Democrats are playing a longer game with this case. They want the mugshot, just like they wanted the Delay mugshot, for PR purposes. They are absolutely desperate to keep the Senate and hope Perry’s indictment can disrupt what looks like a miserable election cycle for them, and they wanted to upset Texas politics as well. Wendy Davis is proving to be a poor instrument for that. They have essentially launched an attack on the king of Texas politics, but such an attack is risky — if you strike at the king, you’d better kill him.

Using an indictment to get a mugshot for PR purposes an abuse of the legal system, but they don’t care about that. They care about using the mugshot to smash a governor they could never defeat at the ballot box, and whose record refutes everything they believe in. Democrats in Texas have long called Perry “stupid” and other similar insults. Yet he has a perfect record against them. Even worse, he has helped hundreds, maybe thousands, of Democrats all over Texas understand that their party has left them and is no longer the party that their fathers and grandfathers supported. It’s a hard left creature controlled by a few big-dollar activists and the Democratic National Committee.

The threat of conviction for Perry, despite the national rejection of the indictment against him, is unfortunately real. Travis County is too far gone politically for him to be able to receive a fair trial there. Too many of its residents have already convicted him, because they don’t like him. The case ought to be tossed out, but if it is not, at a minimum Perry should get a change of venue to some other part of the state.

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A Preventative, Militarized Police Force Is a Threat to Free Speech

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Liz Sheld

It is becoming highly unlikely the civil unrest in Ferguson will provide an opportunity for a serious evaluation of the militarization of America’s police forces. Instead, the commentariat and its associates have tribalized into typical camps regarding the topic of law and order vs. race relations.

Nevertheless, the issue of a militarized police force is still a serious matter and in need of attention. It seems a shame to squander an opportunity where the massive, militarized, intimidating capabilities of America’s police forces are on display for the entire country to see in favor of a replay of predictable partisan fighting.

The issue is represented by some, crudely, as an either/or situation. Either we need police forces that have a jacked-up assault capacity in case there is civil unrest or we have a police force under-assisted and over-powered, forced to watch as havoc is spread among innocent members of society.

But I believe this is a false dichotomy.

There are no serious arguments being made that we should abandon the current militarization in favor of an anorexic or crippled capacity to respond to civil unrest or violence.

The central issue here is: under what circumstances, if at all, should the capacity for force and intimidation be deployed against the public by the state? And this becomes controversial when one wants to answer that the capacity should be preventative rather than responsive.

Responsive force entails responding to a situation where public safety is being threatened.

On the other hand, preventative force and intimidation is far more problematic from a civil liberties perspective because it is the police force itself introducing the element of disruption into the civil equation. When a massive force rolls into Ferguson during a peaceful rally in the middle of the day, can we really say this doesn’t result in intimidation, at the least, and antagonism, at the worst? Does the presence of intimidating MRAPs, military-esque rifles, and costumed-up police force have no effect on the public to which it is directed?

And for those inclined to say “yes” there is no effect, I respond: standard gun safety rules dictate that you DO NOT point your gun at something you are not prepared to shoot. Do you really think you have the right to free speech or free assembly when you are, literally, in the state’s crosshairs?

The consequence of such state action is that the free speech is chilled and the right to free assembly is and will continue to be thwarted whenever the state decides it might need to “prevent” a problem. This is a dangerous position for a free society to find itself in because the citizens have ceded their rights to the discretion of the state with the hope the state will not use that power to quash dissent. Perhaps today it is not your free speech or free assembly immediately at risk, but as long as we agree it falls under the purview of the state to dispatch fantastic displays of force with a view toward the prevention of discord, the possibility one day it will be your rights at risk is imminent.

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‘Dehumanized’ HuffPost Reporter Ryan Reilly’s Struggle with Facts

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by J. Christian Adams

Huff Post’s Ryan Reilly recently had problems telling the difference between earplugs and rubber bullets. He also has long struggled with telling the difference between fact and fiction.

Reilly was recently arrested covering the mob violence in Ferguson, Missouri. He described the loss of his cell phone and communication devices incident to his arrest as “dehumanizing,” which gives you a sense of his priorities I suppose.

But Reilly’s clownish debut on the national stage isn’t news to anyone who has followed his checkered history as a “reporter.”

Reilly formerly worked for a privately owned website that served as a Department of Justice propaganda site called Main Justice.  James O’Keefe is currently suing Main Justice for publishing outright falsehoods about him. After a stint at Main Justice, Reilly moved to TPM Muckraker, where he continued to serve in the role of government mouthpiece.

Now he is at the Huffington Post.

Ryan Reilly

Ryan Reilly

Among his scalps was a false report at TPM Muckraker that the election integrity organization True the Vote was under federal investigation for voter intimidation by the Justice Department, a claim which proved to be false, and a claim TPM refused to retract.

But Reilly has also published false information about others, including me. I address his falsehoods in my book Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department, a book which explains more about what is happening in Ferguson and Washington, D.C. than any report Reilly has filed so far from the field.

I note in my book Injustice:

Around this time, a left-wing blog published a false story claiming I was “fighting to testify.” To the contrary, I was afraid of the legal bind in which the subpoena had put me. The story was the fruit of an unsavory alliance between the DOJ and various left-wing blogs that became the DOJ’s mouthpiece as the Panther scandal unfolded. The “fighting to testify” story appeared on a little-read blog called Main Justice whose writers, Ryan Reilly and Mary Jacoby, obviously kept in close contact with my critics at the DOJ. Department officials would use the website to relay smears against me, Coates, and other supporters of the Panther case.

I asked for a correction to Reilly’s false story, but it never came. As such, I won’t give any interviews to him until he corrects the record.

This history has relevance to the unfolding saga in Ferguson because Reilly will be quoted and relied upon by others. Those who do should proceed with caution. You’ve been warned.

 

 

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Private Autopsy: Brown Shot ‘at Least’ Six Times, One Wound ‘Could Be’ from Back

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

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A renowned forensic pathologist who conducted a second autopsy on the body of 18-year-old Michael Brown said the teen was shot multiple times with “survivable” wounds but was felled by a shot to the top of the head.

“There weren’t signs of a struggle. In talking about a struggle, one of the things that the attorneys have also asked for is the medical examination of the officer who was in a struggle. So signs of injury to the officer, to Michael Brown, are both needed,” Dr. Michael Baden said a press conference with the attorneys for the Brown family.

Baden, who was chief medical examiner in New York City for 25 years, conducted the autopsy with the assistance of Shawn Parcells, a professor and pathologist assistant based in Kansas.

Baden said he agreed to do the autopsy before Attorney General Eric Holder said the federal government would do its own autopsy, a move he acknowledged was rare. “The only time the president got involved I remember was Charles Manson did his thing and you guys weren’t born in those times and he was very upset by it,” he said. “But not in a civil rights way.”

“Dr. Baden and I concluded that he was shot at least six times. We’ve got one to the very top of the head, the apex. We’ve got one that entered just above the right eyebrow. We’ve got one that entered the top part of the right arm. We’ve got a graze wound, a superficial graze wound, to the middle part of the right arm. We’ve got a wound that entered the medial aspect of the right arm, and we’ve got a deep graze wound that produced a laceration to the palm of the right hand,” Parcells said while pointing out the location of the wounds on a diagram.

Parcells said one of the arm wounds, a graze on the side, was “consistent” with witness statements that Brown was walking away before he turned toward the officer after the first shots. Baden said there was no gunpowder residue on the body, but he didn’t get to examine the clothes.

Baden said the wounds “could be consistent with his going forward or going backward. But they’re from the front, and if he was shot going forward, he would collapse right away.”

He stressed that they need to see the x-rays that were taken before the bullets were removed, which “should be available at some time.”

“The autopsy itself counted as consistent with police or witnesses. There are many different witness testimonies. Many of them seem to line up in one direction, some in another direction. Right now, till we get more information, till we get from a forensic science point of view, can’t distinguish — can’t make a definite judgment,” Baden said.

They wouldn’t speculate on the order of the gunshot wounds, but had an idea. “Dr. Baden and I do feel that, because of the two gunshot wounds to the head, indicating that Mr. Brown was bending over as they were coming down, that those two shots were most likely the last two to occur to him,” Parcells said.

Baden stressed that he didn’t have access to toxicology samples. An anonymous source told the Washington Post that the county’s autopsy will reveal that Brown had marijuana in his system, but didn’t elaborate how much.

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Dem Iraq Vet: If Our Mission Isn’t to Take Out ISIS, ‘We’ve Got a Real Problem Here’

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A congressional Democrat and Iraq veteran cautioned that the U.S. has a “real problem” if the current mission in Iraq isn’t to take out ISIS.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who in 2004 chose to serve in Iraq with the Hawaii National Guard over running for a second term in the state’s House of Representatives, appeared on ABC News on Sunday with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), an Air Force veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“I think it’s important as we talk about whether or not there should be troops or exactly what tactical strategy should be used moving forward we’re missing a critical question here, which is what is our mission? What is the United States’ mission. What are we trying to accomplish here?” Gabbard said.

“You know, Adam and I both enlisted, joined the military after 9/11 because we heard our nation’s leaders say after that attack that we would go and take out these Islamic extremists wherever they are. We would fight against those who are waging war against the United States,” she said. “That stated mission after 9/11 has been lost… and as we heard from White House officials last week, they said, and I quote, these airstrikes are not an authorization of a broad based counter terrorism campaign against ISIS, end of quote.”

“So if our mission is not to take out the Islamic extremists who continue to threaten and wage war against us, then I think we’ve got a real problem here. If we focus on that mission, which I think we should, then we can look at what are the tactics that we need to take them out.”

Gabbard stressed that “we need to arm the Kurds with heavy weapons, because they are doing the hard work on the ground, they are fighting against ISIS. And we can augment that and support that wit hour targeted air strikes.”

Kinzinger called the situation on the ground “the worst-case scenario.”

“Back in January I called for air strikes against ISIS, in fact, on this show. When they were just about 1,000 or 2,000 people. Today we see them in the tens of thousands and they are only continue to metastasize,” he said.

“I think what we begun doing is very good, but I think we have to get even bigger and realize that the crushing and the pushing back of ISIS, not just in Iraq, but also in Syria, is utmost priority. And allowing the Free Syrian Army who now finds itself in Syria surrounded by both the regime in Syria, al Nusra, and ISIS, has got to be emboldened to be able to fight them back. They need the equipment and the weapons.”

The congressman added, “At the end of the day I think the defeating of ISIS is the mission. And so I think everything has to be on the table for that end result.”

“The reality is they have made it very clear that they want to strike us in the United States of America. They’ve made it clear that they want to strike Europe. And they have the means to do it,” Kinzinger said. “So they have the intention and they have the means, the means being, you know, passports and westerns fighting with ISIS with the ability to get back into the United States or to get back in Europe. I think we have to have a goal of saying, we need to crush ISIS.”

“…I understand that the American people are war weary. I mean, I hear it a lot. But the reality is, is after World War II, Harry Truman didn’t look at the American people and say I know you’re war weary, so Russia is Europe’s problem. He talked about the bigger issue of what American strength means and what it means for security of our land. And he said we’re going to leave troops in Europe.”

Obama, the congressman stressed, “has got to stand up in front of the American people and say, look you may be war weary, but in five or 10 years we don’t want to look back and say that we missed all the signs, all the signals of the intention of these extremists and this is — it’s definitely there and it’s very serious.”

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Yazidis Held as Sex Slaves by ISIS Plead for Help

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

As the White House declared mission accomplished for saving the Yazidis under siege by ISIS fighters on Mount Sinjar, activists and leaders from the sect tell Kurdish news outlet Rudaw that about 2,000 Yazidis remain unaccounted for — in the hands of ISIS.

Rudaw reported today that one of its writers received a call from a Yazidi girl being held in a group of 200 others by the Islamic State in a prison hall in Mosul province.

The chilling details:

Every day, IS fighters visit the prison hall to pick out the prettiest for their emirs, said the girl, who is 24 and whose name is being withheld by Rudaw for her safety.

“Three to four times a day they visit the hall.  The girls plead with them for a bullet in the head to put them out of their misery,” she said in between sobs in a secret phone call to a Rudaw reporter.

…“We were in Gir Azair district where IS fighters appeared so suddenly that we were unable to flee. They started arresting everyone — men, women and children. Later, they took us to Shingal county, where they separated women from men.”

“We were about 200 girls together. Later, we were taken by pick-up trucks to another location close to Baaj district,” she added.

In weeping tones, the girl repeatedly gave the location of their prison, pleading for fighter jets to pound the place so they could all rest in peace.

…“Every day the fighters come and look among us,” she said, hardly able to control her emotions. “They pick two or three pretty girls. When the girls return they are in tears, exhausted and humiliated. The fighters take the girls to their emirs, and the emirs assault them sexually.

One phone conversation was suddenly interrupted when she hurriedly whispered, “Hang up, hang up, they are coming.”

In another call she said that conditions, including the food, were bad. “So far, a number of girls have committed suicide. Today, one girl hanged herself with her headscarf and died,” she recounted, pleading for help.

“Rescue us, rescue us,” she begged. “Anyone who can hear our voice — US, Europe, anyone — please help; rescue us.”

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Who Are ‘Texans for Public Justice,’ and Why Does Their Role in the Perry Case Matter?

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

As you’ve undoubtedly heard by now, a grand jury indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry on two felony counts late Friday. Perry is the first Texas governor to be indicted in office since 1917. He was indicted for threatening to veto funds for the Public Integrity Unit of Travis County’s district attorney’s office, because the head of that office, District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, had been caught drunk driving, and was later caught on tape abusing her power to try to get out of the DWI charge. Though that office runs out of Travis County, it has statewide jurisdiction over elected officials in Texas.

Democrats in Texas were muted, to say the least, at the time of Lehmberg’s arrest in 2013, but reacted gleefully to Perry’s indictment. Facebook lit up with comments from Democrats that this would “turn Texas blue,” a feat that Democrats have been unable to accomplish at the ballot box since they started losing power in the 1990s. Such comments also give the game away — the indictment is carrying politics over from an arena where Democrats lose — the ballot box — to an arena where they might win — sympathetic juries in Democrat-controlled Travis County. Battleground Texas has been hard at work fundraising off of the indictment. The chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, Gilberto Hinojosa, is among prominent Democrats who have called on Perry to resign.

Notably, the Democrats from Hinojosa on down have been more than tolerant of Lehmberg’s drunk driving and abuse of power. They have also stood silent in the face of the indictment of Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price on serious corruption charges.

The heart of the indictment is Perry’s threat to veto funding for the PIU, and then his carrying out of that threat. He did none of this in secret. He made it clear that Lehmberg ought to step down, and if she did not, the state would not fund the PIU. The governor in Texas has the constitutional authority to veto any bill he wants, for any reason he wants. He can explain his reasons, or he can choose not to. Texas governors have line item veto power. Perry has essentially been indicted for exercising his authority and being clear to the people of Texas regarding why he did what he did.

Also at the heart of the case is Lehmberg’s refusal to step down, and the Democrats’ silence/support for her.

That silence and support are entirely political in nature. If Lehmberg had resigned from the office that, among other things, prosecutes drunk driving in Travis County, Gov. Perry would have appointed her successor. Democrats have owned the Travis County DA’s office and the PIU for, well, forever. The Travis County DA’s office and its perch atop the PIU are among Democrats’ very few centers of power in Texas. They were not about to let it go for any reason. So they are knowingly supporting a drunk driver who was caught on tape throwing her weight around to escape the DWI charge. Democrats may also fear that having a Republican in charge of the PIU might expose wrongdoing in that office, and others, to which Democratic DAs have turned a blind eye.

During the eons of time during which Democrats have owned that office, they have launched at least two malicious political prosecutions. In 1993, then DA Ronnie Earle launched a prosecution against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. She had won her Senate seat by a mile in a special election, a strong signal to Democrats that their days in power in Texas were running out. Earle gathered up a grand jury and indicted Hutchison for, among other things, using her campaign staff to plan a Christmas vacation. John Fund details the disposition of that case here. The bottom line, the political prosecution of Hutchison, built to destroy a female Republican at a time when Democrats were fast losing power, fell apart. Hutchison went on to serve another 20-odd years in the U.S. Senate, racking up victory after victory over every Democrat challenger.

Rep. Tom Delay was not as fortunate. Earle indicted him after grand jury shopping in 2006, and obtained convictions against Delay on actions that were not even crimes when Delay supposedly committed them. The convictions were eventually tossed out, but not before the Democrats used the case to build a phony “culture of corruption” narrative against the entire GOP based in part on Delay’s case. And not before Delay’s career was totally destroyed and he was driven from office.

The current case against Perry was brought through a complaint filed by Texans for Public Justice. Media inside Texas are occasionally mentioning TPJ’s role, but they are not detailing what TPJ actually is. The Austin American-Statesman even failed to explain how Earle’s political cases against Republicans have eventually fallen apart, in this irresponsible editorial on the Perry indictment.

Even a cursory glance at their website is revealing. TPJ claims to be a public integrity watchdog, but their quest for integrity is entirely one-sided. They never take on Democrats. TPJ exists to attack Republicans, and they have been doing nothing but that for years. TPJ is even trying to get Delay’s convictions re-instated.

There is more to TPJ than mere partisanship masquerading as “public integrity.”

According to its own 2013 annual report, Texans for Public Justice is funded by the hard left.

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The Piper Foundation bills itself as an “educational” charitable trust. Its donations to the partisan Texans for Public Justice do not appear to stand in line with that mission.

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Obama to Congress: Mosul Dam Strikes Necessary Because Break Could Endanger U.S. Lives Downstream

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama sent to congressional leaders on Sunday a notification under the War Powers Resolution that his original operation to protect Irbil and provide aid to refugees on Mount Sinjar had been extended to fighting around a key dam along the Tigris taken by ISIS.

Iraqi and Kurdish forces said today that the Mosul Dam is now back in their hands. The Islamic State said it still had control of the key water and power facility.

“On August 14, 2014, I authorized the U.S. Armed Forces to conduct targeted air strikes to support operations by Iraqi forces to recapture the Mosul Dam. These military operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to support the Iraqi forces in their efforts to retake and establish control of this critical infrastructure site, as part of their ongoing campaign against the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),” Obama said in the letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate President Pro Tempore Pat Leahy (D-Vt.).

“The failure of the Mosul Dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, endanger U.S. personnel and facilities, including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and prevent the Iraqi government from providing critical services to the Iraqi populace. Pursuant to this authorization, on the evening of August 15, 2014, U.S. military forces commenced targeted airstrike operations in Iraq,” Obama continued.

“I have directed these actions, which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive. These actions are being undertaken in coordination with the Iraqi government.”

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said reiterated that the strikes were “limited in their nature, duration, and scope and are being undertaken in coordination with and at the request of the Government of Iraq.”

“The Administration will continue to consult with the Congress on the way forward in Iraq and our efforts against ISIL, and we will continue to provide appropriate reports to the Congress consistent with the War Powers Resolution,” Hayden added.

Tweets indicated that the battle was still continuing Monday morning.

 

 

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Islamic State Sex Slavery: American Feminists Ain’t Got No Time for That

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Via Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch, a report from the UN News Centre:

Two senior United Nations officials today condemned in the strongest terms the “barbaric acts” of sexual violence and “savage rapes” the armed group Islamic State (IS) has perpetrated on minorities in areas under its control.

…“We are gravely concerned by continued reports of acts of violence, including sexual violence against women and teenage girls and boys belonging to Iraqi minorities,” Ms. Bangura and Mr. Mladenov said.

“Atrocious accounts of abduction and detention of Yazidi, Christian, as well as Turkomen and Shabak women, girls and boys, and reports of savage rapes, are reaching us in an alarming manner,” Ms. Bangura and Mr. Mladenov stated, pointing out that some 1,500 Yazidi and Christian persons may have been forced into sexual slavery….

While Iraqi women jump from cliffs to avoid becoming the next sex slaves of the Islamic State, American feminist publications spent their time focusing on male celebrities who’ve embraced the feminist demand that biology doesn’t matter:

This week, Joseph Gordon-Levitt pretty much nailed the definition of feminism…“What [feminism] means to me is that you don’t let your gender define who you are—you can be who you want to be, whether you’re a man, a woman, a boy, a girl, whatever,” Gordon-Levitt said.

And complaining about university sexual harassment policies that still aren’t strict enough, even if they include the following caveat:

The school has also adopted an affirmative consent standard, defining consent as requiring “unambiguous communication and mutual agreement concerning the act in which the participants are engaging” and noting that “silence or absence of resistance is not the same as consent.”

Which leaves one to wonder if ISIS would be totally legitimized in their use of sex slaves if said slaves signed a waver of consent and mutual agreement beforehand. Feminists don’t believe in being defined by gender, so it’s not like those women jumping off the mountain in Iraq were due any unique respect for their biology. Not that American feminists would stop to notice the crisis of Iraqi women fleeing radical Islam’s sex trade, anyway: Lena Dunham got a new haircut and that’s taking up, like, all of their time.

While American feminists, by and large, do absolutely nothing to advocate for the sex slaves of ISIS, said slaves have done something amazing for the American feminist movement. Every time an Iraqi Christian woman jumps to her death to avoid becoming a sex slave of the Islamic State, she testifies to the fact that western feminism is nothing more than nihilism in a pretty dress.

The same article that praised Gordon Levitt for his anti-biology views also praised a myriad of actors for their pro-choice stance. How ironic that feminists who rail against absentee fathers praise an actor for saying, “It’s not about abortion being right or wrong. It’s about having that choice to decide what a person should do with their own body.” In their demand that biology be ignored, these women pursue the very behavior they claim to hate in the opposite sex: The right to irresponsibility.

Over 40 years ago feminists chose to walk away from their unborn babies. It should come as no surprise, then, that they are just as willing to walk away from their fellow women suffering now under ISIS. Because when you’re a nihilist, things like biology, sisterhood, and responsibility just don’t matter.

 

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Ayatollah Khamenei Jumps on Ferguson, Goes on Twitter Tear About Racism in the U.S.

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Ayaytollah Ali Khamenei has jumped into the Ferguson fray on his official Twitter account:

 

 

 

 

 

It seems those rapprochement talks between Iran and the U.S. under the four-month extension are going… well.

 

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RedState in 15 Minutes: Conservative Highlight Reel Has Cruz, Haley, Perry, DeMint, Kibbe & More

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Scott Ott

I’ve cobbled together a video of some of the top moments from speakers at this month’s RedState Gathering, in Ft. Worth, Texas, where more than 400 politically-engaged conservatives rallied to hear what they believe, spoken with passion, power and practical application.

Speakers featured in this 15-minute RedState highlight reel include…Texas Gov. Rick Perry, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (GOP candidate for governor), Former Sen. Jim DeMint (now at Heritage Foundation), Texas Rep. Scott Turner (candidate for House Speaker), Matt Kibbe, of FreedomWorks and Jessica Anderson of Heritage Action.

I left out more good stuff from each speaker than I included, and there were other powerful speakers, but I wanted to give you the flavor of the event in a brief time. Some of this footage I shot personally, and the rest I pulled from the redstatemedia channel on YouTube. You’ll notice I included a long snippet from Texas Rep. Scott Turner, and that’s because…well, it’s my highlight reel. You can do your own, but I think you’ll like him.

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Ferguson: ‘Without These Businesses Broken Into, None of Y’All Would Be Out Here’

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

In the above video from Reason.tv, protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, rationalize the looting and property destruction which has taken place in the wake of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police. Asked “Do you see a problem with the destruction of private property…,” one protestor stated unequivocally:

No. I believe that the only reason we have this attention is because of the looting and rioting.

Another expounds with a unique perspective:

I’m a business owner. So I understand both sides. Of course I wouldn’t want my – any of my businesses burned down, broken into. But without these businesses broken into, none of y’all would be out here, because that’s the only reason people tweeted. People Facebooked. People Instagramed. If it was just a peaceful – everybody get together – you know, “Justice for Mike Brown” and everybody leave, we wouldn’t have the national attention we have now, and it would be swept under the rug.

It’s an attitude toward violence which has been more overtly articulated by agitators on the political left. Consider this Salon article covering Occupy protests in Oakland back in 2011. Protest organizer Michael Spencer rationalized rioting in much the same way the above protesters have:

“Property damage is not violence,” said Spencer with a frown. “The reality was, no cops got hurt. It looks like more than it was. They were just burning shit in the street.”

Such is the quality of thought which manifests in riots like those seen in Ferguson. Whether Michael Brown’s killing was justified or not, the question will not be settled by stealing things, breaking stuff, or “burning shit in the street.” Indeed, any legitimate criticism of police conduct losses its impact when coupled with open disregard of justice as such.

So, sure, you might get more attention from looting than you otherwise would. But it does no favors for the cause.

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AG Holder Orders Second Autopsy in Brown Murder Case

Sunday, August 17th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

In a highly unusual move, Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered a federal medical examiner to perform a second autopsy on Michael Brown, the unarmed man who was shot by police officer Darren Wilson.

The media reports I’ve read about this announcement have been strikingly incurious about the obvious — something  Jazz Shaw points out:

Their own spokesperson is using the phrase “extraordinary circumstances” here, so that seems to be an acknowledgement that the normal protocols are in flux. I’m not suggesting that this is illegal – unless somebody can cite a specific instance to make that case – but what is there about the death of Michael Brown that makes this a federal case? If you sweep aside the wall to wall media coverage and celebrities flocking to Ferguson, this is a case of one person who was shot during a confrontation with a local police officer, allegedly on the heels of a low dollar value robbery at a convenience store. Nobody crossed state lines that I’m aware of. And when you look at it in that perspective, there are many such cases around the country every year. (Many more than we would like to see, it should go without saying.)

No federal crime has been committed so how can there be a federal investigation? There’s no way the feds would step on St. Louis County’s toes and file federal civil rights violations against Officer Wilson. They would allow the murder investigation and prosecution to go forward before stepping in.

This is a blatantly political move by Obama/Holder, capitalizing on a racially explosive situation to score points with the black community — a constituency they believe is vital to Democrats if they are to hold the Senate.

Here’s part of DoJ’s statement announcing the additional autopsy:

“Due to the extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the request of the Brown family, Attorney General Holder has instructed Justice Department officials to arrange for an additional autopsy to be performed by a federal medical examiner. This independent examination will take place as soon as possible,” the statement said.

The first autopsy was conducted by the state of Missouri and the justice department release said it would take that investigation into account.

“Even after it is complete, Justice Department officials still plan to take the state-performed autopsy into account in the course of their investigation,” the release said.

I’m sure we all sympathize with the Brown family in wishing for an impartial and disinterested look at the evidence. But just because they ask for federal assistance, does that mean they get it? If other families in similar circumstances asked, would Holder comply?

That’s why the Justice Department involvement smacks of partisan politics to me. In this, the most politicized DoJ since Nixon, we’ve come to expect this kind of cynical manipulation of the law for political purposes.

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Capt. Ron Johnson Gives a Rousing, Heartfelt Speech at Michael Brown Rally in Ferguson

Sunday, August 17th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson gave a rousing and heartfelt speech at a rally today at a Ferguson church for Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old man who was shot by police a week ago. In a rally attended by the parents of Brown and a lineup of nationally known civil rights leaders, Johnson, who has become the face of the law enforcement effort in Ferguson, was greeted with a standing ovation by the crowd of approximately 1500 people.

Capt. Johnson began by speaking to Michael Brown’s family. “I want you to know my heart goes out to you and I say that I’m sorry. I wear this uniform and I should stand up here and say that I’m sorry,” Johnson said. The crowd cheered and again gave Johnson a standing ovation.

“This is my neighborhood,” Johnson continued. “You are my family, you are my friends, and I am you.” He vowed to protect the community’s right to protest.

He said his heart was full seeing a church full of people clapping and cheering. “This is what the media needs to put on TV.”

Johnson admitted that the last 24 hours had been tough for him, saying that he had met some members of Michael Brown’s family. “They brought tears to my eyes,” Johnson said. “And shame to my heart,” he added.

He said, however, that his daughter had encouraged him with the story of Peter and Jesus in the New Testament. “When Peter failed, Jesus picked him back up,” his daughter told him.

He promised to stay with the community of Ferguson “as long as it takes.” Capt. Johnson said, “Because when this is over I’m going to go into my son’s room — my black son, who wears his pants sagging, wears his hat cocked to the side, got tattoos on his arms, but that’s my baby.” Johnson paused for another standing ovation.

“And we all ought to be thanking the Browns for Michael,” he continued. “Because Michael’s gonna make it better for all of our sons so they can be better black men. It will be better for our daughters so they can be better black women. Better for me so I can be a better black father. And we know they’re going to make our mamas even better than they are today.”

Johnson encouraged the community to pray and allow the death of Mike Brown to make them better. “I love you, I stand tall with you, and I’ll see you out there,” Johnson concluded.

Watch video on the next page.

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Gross Media Irresponsibility in Showing House of Accused Officer

Sunday, August 17th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

This is really, really, stupid. And a shocking disregard for someone’s safety.

Jim Hoft is reporting that several news media outlets are brazenly broadcasting in front of the house of accused Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

CNN broadcast a report Friday that showed the house, including the street number, of the Ferguson police officer who police say shot Mike Brown. The officer has been in hiding due to death threats since the shooting last Saturday. His name, Darren Wilson, was just released Friday morning.

Another news outlet apologized for broadcasting video of Wilson’s home while others have virtually drawn a map to Wilson’s house for those bent on vengeance.

Yahoo News named the community Wilson where Wilson resides and published a photograph of the officer.

The UK Daily Mail also named the community, posted photos of the officer and gave a description of the house.

USA Today also named the community and reported a local police presence.

The Washington Post named the street where Wilson lives.

In the video report, CNN reporter Ed Lavandera is seen walking in the street where Wilson lives. The CNN video shows a wide view of Wilson’s house and then pans around the street to show its relative position in the neighborhood. While Lavandera does not name the street, he gives its approximate location.

Every news report says neighbors told them Wilson has not been home for several days.

A version of the video being aired by CNN affiliate Newschannel 13 in Orlando, Florida (and likely other affiliates around the country including the St. Louis market) shows a brief close-up of the house number by the front door such that someone could freeze and enlarge the image to get the address.

The version of the report available online at CNN has that footage edited and replaced with a close-up of a front window of Wilson’s house.

What are these people thinking? If you saw that raucous press conference given by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon yesterday, and heard the tenor of the black community in Ferguson, you know what residents are screaming about when they chant for “justice.”

And yet, the media, with sublime idiocy, makes it fairly easy for someone familiar with the town of Ferguson to find Officer Wilson’s residence.

While it’s true that Wilson was not at home at the time, eventually he is going to be back. Residents of Ferguson have demonstrated over the last few nights that some of them may be crazy enough to practice a little vigilantism, and deal out their own version of “justice” for Michael Brown.

More: AG Holder Orders Second Autopsy in Brown Murder Case

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Marine Denied Entry into Six Flags Because of ‘Offensive’ T-Shirt

Sunday, August 17th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

You’ve got to hand it to the anti-gun nuts in this country. Despite their minority status, they are winning.

The latest example of that is this Fox News story of a Marine who thought he’d spend a relaxing day at Six Flags in New Jersey with his family. Upon his arrival at the gate, he was told he could not enter the park.

The problem? He was wearing an “offensive” T-shirt. Here’s a pic of the illegal piece of clothing:

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Apparently, the image of a gun proved too much for Six Flags to endure. They can’t go around allowing their patrons to see a picture of a gun. Who knows? It may give impressionable children the idea that guns are OK, instead of evil fire sticks that turn people into homicidal maniacs.

The account is hard to believe:

A marine was denied entrance to a New Jersey amusement park last weekend – all because of his T-shirt.

Mario Alejandro planned a trip to the amusement park with his wife and children, but was turned away at the security gate because of his shirt.

The shirt says, “Keep calm and return fire,” and has an image of a red, white and blue M-16. Alejandro is a marine, and was part of the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003.

“When we got through the metal detector, the guy stopped me. You can’t come in with that shirt,” said Alejandro. “I started laughing. ‘You are joking, right?’ He said, ‘no, that shirt is offensive.’”

Alejandro, a marine who was part of the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, said the shirt was a Father’s Day gift, purchased from a non-profit group that supports the Marines. He said he refused to take it off on principle.

The amusement park would not budge on its policy and although Alejandro’s family went in, Mario chose not to.

In a statement, Six Flags said it does not “allow guests to wear t-shirts with images of assault rifles in our parks.”

“We apologize for any inconvenience we caused this guest, however we stand by our policy, which does not permit clothing with vulgar, offensive or violent language or images. our goal is to maintain a fun, safe and family-friendly environment,” it said.

Six Flags has every right to deny entry to anyone they wish. Now, if it were me, I would ban people wearing T-shirts with the image of broccoli on it. I think broccoli is offensive. Its taste, smell, texture — ick. Then again, I wouldn’t impose my personal feeling of what is “offensive” on everybody else. That’s sorta how it works in America — at least the America I remember. Now? Who knows?

Yep — it’s that silly. Is the gun shown firing? No. In fact, it isn’t even a realistic picture of a gun. The idea that a picture of anything is “offensive” is bat guano crazy — which is a pretty good description of the owners of Six Flags

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Iraq Appears to be Getting Its Act Together

Sunday, August 17th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

The ousting of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appears to have energized the Iraqi government and finally forced the factions to face reality and unite.

A joint Kurdish, Iraqi army, and US operation to retake the Mosul Dam from Islamic State is the most visible manifestation of this newfound drive for more unity. And there is news that Sunni tribesmen have pledged to support the new government of Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi, and say they will join the fight against Islamic State.

I suspect the Sunnis will have very little patience with the new government, but recognize the threat to them from Islamic State is as grave as the danger the terrorists pose to Bagdhdad.

Reuters:

Tribal leaders and clerics from Iraq’s Sunni heartland offered their conditional backing on Friday for a new government that hopes to contain sectarian bloodshed and an offensive by Islamic State militants that threatens to tear the country apart.

One of the most influential tribal leaders said he was willing to work with Shi’ite prime minister-designate Haider al-Abadi provided a new administration respected the rights of the Sunni Muslim minority that dominated Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

Ali Hatem Suleiman left open a possibility that Sunnis would take up arms against the Islamic State fighters in the same way as he and others joined U.S. and Shi’ite-led government forces to thwart an al Qaeda insurgency in Iraq between 2006 and 2009.

Yet amid the signs that political accords were possible in the fractious nation, some 80 members of Iraq’s Yazidi minority were “massacred” by Islamic State insurgents, a Yazidi lawmaker and two Kurdish officials said on Friday.

Abadi faces the daunting task of pacifying Iraq and particularly the vast desert province of Anbar. It forms much of the border with Syria, where the Islamist fighters also control swathes of territory.

Sunni alienation under outgoing Shi’ite premier Nuri al-Maliki goaded some in Anbar to join an Islamic State revolt that is now drawing the United States and European allies back into varying degrees of military involvement in Iraq to contain what they see as a militant threat that goes well beyond its borders.

The United Nations Security Council blacklisted the Islamic State spokesman and five other militants on Friday and threatened sanctions against those backing the insurgents, giving U.N. experts 90 days to report on who those people are.

While Abadi continues to bring the fractious Baghdad politicians together and form a government, the joint mission to retake Mosul Dam is in full swing. In what are described as “massive” air strikes, US planes attacked dozens of Islamic State positions near the dam.

Washington Post:

“The attack has started from the eastern side of the dam,” said Mahmood Haji, an official with the Kurdish ministry of interior, who said that the nearby villages of Telskuf and Batnaya were back under Kurdish control. He said Kurdish forces, known as pesh merga, and Iraqi counterterrorism forces, had reached the “borders” of the dam, but roadside bombs planted by the militants were slowing their progress. Brig. Gen. Azad Jalil, a pesh merga commander based near Mosul, confirmed that the ground offensive had begun. Mobile phone networks in the area were down.

Kurdish forces have gone on the offensive since U.S. airstrikes began in the area on Aug. 8, following a major rout of their forces, including at the dam. However, they have still struggled to maintain control of the more than 600-mile-long border they share with the extremists, with Islamic State seizing Jalula from Kurdish forces last week.

U.S. jets and drones carried out a total of nine airstrikes near the dam and the Kurdish city of Irbil on Saturday night, U.S. Central Command said in a statement. The strikes destroyed or damaged four armored personnel carriers, seven armed vehicles, two Humvees and an armored vehicle, it said.

Al-Abadi has his work cut out for him, but with Sunnis and Kurds offering their support, there’s a real chance he will succeed in setting up a unity government that can face the challenges posed by Islamic State.

As for America, make no mistake; we are back in another Iraq War. We may debate whether this action was inevitable or not. But President Obama appears to have ordered an escalation of our involvement, as the Navy and Air Force carry out nearly 100 missions a day. Special Operators are almost certainly on the ground already, lasing targets and offering counsel to the Peshmerga.

The big question mark is what will the Islamic State do if they’re about to lose the dam? Will their nihilistic, bloodthirsty mindset unleash a humanitarian and economic catastrophe with the destruction of the dam? Are they that crazy?

Yes, they are. But the destruction of the dam would also mean the destruction of much of the territory they already control. Whether their bloodlust is more powerful than their self-interest will be revealed soon.

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Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg’s Drinking Problem and Abuse of Power, By the Staggering Numbers

Saturday, August 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The indictment of Gov. Rick Perry by a grand jury in Travis County, Texas, is part of a power struggle that originates with a serious crime, albeit not one committed by Gov. Perry.

That crime, as everyone knows by now, is drunk driving, and it was committed by Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.

When Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, Democrat, was arrested and charged with drunk driving on April 12, 2013, her blood alcohol level measured .23.

That is just shy of three times the legal limit in Texas, which is .08.

According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Lehmberg must have consumed about 10 alcoholic drinks in one hour to achieve a .23 blood alcohol rating.

District Attorney Lehmberg also had an open bottle of vodka in her car, violating Texas’ longstanding open container law.

During processing after her arrest, Lehmberg denied that she was drunk, despite that .23 blood alcohol level, and the fact that she had been reported to police for driving the wrong way down an Austin street.

You can watch Lehmberg attempt to abuse her power in the video of her processing in jail after her arrest. Lehmberg is belligerent and violent in the video, and had to be restrained. When Lehmberg asks the officers if they have called “Greg,” she is referring to Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton, who she assumed would spring her from jail despite the overwhelming evidence that she had committed drunk driving.

Lehmberg’s taunt at the officers to “call Greg” is at the 1:49 mark in the video.

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At one point, a female officer tells Lehmberg “You’ve been arrested for DWI.”

“That’s y’all’s problem, not mine,” Lemberg retorts, a clear threat given her position as Travis County DA.

The officers also stated that Lehmberg attempted to scratch an officer. She could therefore have been charged with assaulting an officer of the law.

Depending on circumstances, assaulting a police officer can be a 1st degree felony, carrying a penalty of five years to life in prison if convicted.

Lehmberg’s drunk driving arrest capped a year of spending heavily on alcohol, according to receipts of her purchases from Twin Liquors stores from January 2012 to April 2013, the month of her arrest.

Austin’s KEYE-TV posted a PDF of all of those receipts.

From January 2012 to April 2013 — 15 months — Lehmberg made 59 purchases of alcohol at various Twin Liquors stores, a rate of nearly one purchase a week.

She bought 76 bottles of alcohol. According to the receipts, Lehmberg prefers Ciroc vodka. Lehmberg routinely purchased 1.75 liter bottles of vodka, at a price of nearly $60 each. On occasions, she bought more than one 1.75 liter bottle of Ciroc at a time.

Those 76 bottles add up to 24.7 gallons of alcohol purchased over 15 months. The last purchase in the KEYE-compiled list was on April 2, 2013 — 10 days before her arrest for drunk driving, and the subsequent attempt to abuse her power by trying to intimidate the officers who processed her in jail. Lehmberg purchased vodka on that day. An open bottle of vodka was found in her car during her arrest.

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Missouri Governor Announces Ferguson Curfew at Raucous Press Conference

Saturday, August 16th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in Ferguson and ordered a curfew beginning Sunday at midnight until 5 a.m. in an attempt to curb the ongoing looting and protests in response to the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer last week.

Nixon, surrounded by community leaders at a Ferguson church, announced the curfew during a “press conference” that was more like a gathering of community activists. Nixon was shouted down at several points during his remarks and during the Q & A as members of the community demanded the immediate indictment of the police officer involved in the shooting and demanded that the police stand down and cease their strong-arm tactics against the protesters.

Nixon would not say how long the curfew would last and would not say whether journalists would be arrested for curfew violations. He did say there would be a “staging area” available for the media to ensure “transparency.”

Many in the crowd made it clear that the protests would continue until “justice” was meted out for the shooting. “This poor child…this 18-year-old young man was killed in cold blood. That’s why people have been in the streets,” shouted one woman from the back of the room. 

A fragile peace was shattered early Saturday morning as looters again robbed businesses while police in riot gear watched, mostly without intervening. Some protesters tried to stop the looters on their own, guarding stores and businesses to protect them from theft and property damage. Police have been under fire for the use of excessive force in opposing the protesters in Ferguson, utilizing armored vehicles, tear gas, and rubber bullets to control the crowds.

While Gov. Nixon praised the “courage and resolve” of protesters who tried to stop the looting, New Black Panther leader Malik Shabazz asked for “rules of engagement” between police and protesters and said the police wouldn’t be able to enforce the curfew. “We gotta do it ourselves. They go out there, it’s over,” Shabazz said.

Congressman Lacy Clay (D-MO) said at the meeting that he has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to take over the investigation into the shooting, asking him to investigate it as a civil rights violation. “Let the Feds prosecute. You’re not going to get a fair trial in St. Louis County,” Clay said.

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Iraqi Vets Unload on Obama

Saturday, August 16th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

The Daily Signal asked several Iraq War vets their feelings about what’s going on in that country recently. Needless to say, most of them were not very happy with President Obama’s policies — past and present.

Chief Warrant Officer Amber Barno served two tours in Iraq:

I think Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq was completely botched. He left behind a weak government and an Iraqi military that was unable to defend itself. Obama’s decision to pull U.S. forces out of Iraq almost instantaneously with no sort of residual force to help them defend their own nation has consequences. There are real-world consequences to messing up the withdrawal as we’re now seeing with the [terrorist group] Islamic State, with their ability to have such significant advances into Iraq.

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It is disappointing. Thousands of American soldiers who served in Iraq made life-altering sacrifices. Some came home with physical or invisible wounds that they still have to deal with. It’s disheartening, and now we’re having to deal with the consequences of an early, too soon, withdrawal. The withdrawal was not managed properly.

The president was more concerned with a rapid withdrawal than ensuring all we fought for in Iraq was preserved. To see that and almost a decade of work, lives, and sacrifices put into Iraq be swept away in a few months of ISIS coming in and grasping control, it is extremely frustrating to watch that.

Sergeant Dennis Joslyn served two tours:

When ISIS first rolled in, the United States should have taken action, and it would have ended the uprising. Now, thanks to Washington’s inability to act, that time has passed. Airstrikes can aid, drops are too little too late.

I am not advocating redeploying American soldiers. I think this is a problem that should be handled by the Arab League as we have no [Status of Forces Agreement] with Iraq at this time. It is my belief that had the president ordered these air missions sooner, none of this would have happened.

Sergeant Ryan served one tour in the army and 3 as a civilian:

I think we left too early and for political reasons. I support the airstrikes. I don’t want to go back, but if the [Islamic State] isn’t eliminated, they’ll eventually come to the U.S.

ISIS is a real threat. I put most of the blame on the Iraqi government and its corruption and tribally/ethnically/religiously fractured society for the current mess. But blame doesn’t get anything done. ISIS has the money, manpower and resources to attack the U.S. and are making their intentions known.

If we don’t handle it now, I think we’ll regret it later. Leaving a stabilization force like we did in Germany, Japan and Korea would have helped, but the withdrawal was politically motivated and political decisions in wartime don’t always work out so well.

You’ve probably read reactions of other Iraq War veterans who are remarkably uniform in their criticism of the president and belief that only a comprehensive policy will stabilize the situation.

Some, like Special Operations Master Sergeant Jason Beardsley, express frustration with the administration for a preventable situation:

It’s frustrating to watch because we had the mechanisms in place to prevent that. And, of course, the withdrawal just allowed for that [power] vacuum to overwhelm those mechanisms. This is a tough thing to watch, and it is frustrating for service members to process that. We’ve spent multiple deployments facing some of the same threats on the ground, and now we see those threats strategically expanding because we just left the area.

While a a majority of civilians — and, admittedly, many soldiers who served in Iraq — believe the effort we made was in vain, there are many like the veterans above who disagree and want to see the US make a bigger effort to retrieve the situation.

For their sake, and all those who served, let’s hope we do.

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