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GOP Chairman, Top Dem to Ambassador Power: Don’t Abandon Israel at UN

Friday, March 27th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The top Republican and Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee have jointly asked UN Ambassador Samantha Power to not throw Israel under the bus.

The Obama administration — everyone from anonymous officials to spokesmen to President Obama himself — have said since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election victory that the U.S. will “re-evaluate” how it approaches two-state solution efforts. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle fear this could include not having Israel’s back at the United Nations when the Palestinian Authority tries to declare a state.

Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) told Power this week that they have “deep and abiding” support for U.S. efforts in the Mideast peace process “with the understanding that any lasting solution will be decided by the parties themselves.”

“We are concerned by reports that the Administration is ‘re-evaluating’ United States policy toward Israel. In the wake of comments that Prime Minister Netanyahu made during Israel’s election last week—that he has now contextualized—the Administration appears to be considering new steps at the United Nations that could depart from our nation’s historic and principled defense of Israel at the United Nations against biased and one-sided resolutions,” they wrote.

Netanayhu has clarified that a two-state solution cannot happen while Hamas is in a unity pact with Fatah, along with other longstanding conditions about the recognition and security of Israel. This week, though, Obama said “even if you accept it, I think the corrective of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s in subsequent days, there still does not appear to be a prospect of a meaningful framework established that would lead to a Palestinian state, even if there were a whole range of conditions and security requirements that might be phased in over a long period of time, which was always the presumption.”

“And we can’t continue to premise our public diplomacy based on something that everybody knows is not going to happen, at least in the next several years,” Obama said. “That is something that we have to — for the sake of our own credibility, I think we have to be able to be honest about that.”

Engel and Royce noted that “for decades, the U.S. has used its U.N. Security Council veto to protect Israel from undue pressure at the world body, which has historically exhibited selective and unjustified bias against Israel.”

“We join in the Administration’s efforts to encourage the parties to return to the negotiating table and take steps to assure the other side of their commitment to a more peaceful and secure future. However, it is difficult to see how such a shift in U.S. policy at the United Nations would bring the parties closer to peace,” they continued. “Both Republican and Democratic Administrations have recognized that efforts to internationalize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are not a substitute for direct negotiations between the parties, and in fact, can undermine these negotiations.”

“Given the serious threats facing both the United States and Israel, cooperation is needed now more than ever. We continue to support direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority toward a two-state solution and will oppose any effort to turn to the Security Council for imposing the terms of this process. Only a solution negotiated directly between the Israelis and Palestinians can result in a lasting peace.”

Royce and Engel ask Power for her assurance “that the United States will veto resolutions at the United Nations that are biased and one-sided against Israel.”

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‘Important Evidence Found’ in Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz’s Home

Friday, March 27th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

European media report that German authorities have found “importance evidence” in Andreas Lubitz’s home. Lubitz was the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9595, which he purposefully crashed in the French Alps.

Although the German police don’t want to share any details at this moment, they say that the evidence explains why he committed this horrendous mass murder.

In the meantime, it has become clear that Lubitz had serious psychological issues. He was hospitalized in a mental hospital back in 2009. When he was 27 years old, Lubitz apparently suffered from regular panic attacks. He was still being treated by a psychiatrist and had to pass “special psychological tests” by his employer. He received his last treatment only weeks before he purposefully flew the plane into the ground, thereby killing himself and all other 149 people on board.

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Voxsplains How Childbirth Makes a New Dad Appreciate Abortion Even More

Friday, March 27th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

The rookie dad in question is Matt Yglesias, a charter member of the Juicebox Mafia, small children who think their political pontifications should be of interest to us all — and what is Vox except that philosophy writ large? — so you know something profoundly stupid is coming your way. But this one retires the Stupid Trophy:

Major life-changing events have a way of bringing things into focus. On March 5, my first child — a healthy baby boy by the name of Jose — was born, and I’ve been off work since then, only returning this week. Jose has changed my life already, and while it’s far too soon to say he’s changed my ideas about public policy, I will say that the reality of parenting does a great job of shifting priorities and highlighting certain key points.

Lots of parents (and non-parents!) no doubt will disagree with me about the points below. But for me, these are seven key political insights that the past 10 months have brought into focus.

Let me voxsplain some of them so you won’t have to slog through them: the U.S. health-care system sucks, mandates are bad if you don’t give the stuff you’ve just mandated to people for cheap or free, the feds should subsidize parenting through higher tax credits and force employers (yes, force) to give paid parenting leave — or, better yet, establish a federal Parenting Leave program financed by taxpayers — immigrants are great (what?) and “collective action” just can’t be beat. Right, I know: Zzzzzzzzz.

But here’s No. 4. Read it and weep:

After watching my wife gestate my son for nine months, I am 100 percent certain people who go into pregnancy with anti-abortion ethical priors come out of it with the strength of their convictions increased tenfold. I went into it with different priors and have come out with my own pro-choice convictions increased tenfold.

A beloved baby is a miraculous thing, but pregnancy is at times a truly agonizing and awful one. It’s a small price to pay for something a woman truly wants, but an enormous amount to pay for other people’s questionable metaphysical notions about personhood. In a decent society it would be both safe and convenient for women of all socioeconomic backgrounds to terminate an early stage pregnancy on demand without facing judgment and hassles.

No judgement, no hassles — and no morals. That’s the Juicebox Jeneration for you.

 

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[WATCH] Senator Harry Reid Will Not Run for Re-Election

Friday, March 27th, 2015 - by The Tatler

Senate Harry Reid confirms he will not run for re-election.

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Typical Barry: Obama Blames GOP for Obamacare

Friday, March 27th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

But not before boasting about how the bits he contributed are a resounding success, of course:

President Obama slammed Republicans Wednesday for continuing to war against his signature healthcare law five years in. ”It’s working, despite countless attempts to repeal, undermine, defund and defame this law,” Obama said in a speech commemorating the Affordable Care Act’s anniversary of passage.

“We’ve made our share of mistakes since we passed this law, but we also know beyond a shred of doubt the law has worked,” he said. “Deficits have been slashed, lives have been saved.”

Since emergency rooms must, by law, treat the indigent, I doubt that a single life was saved under Obamacare that wouldn’t have been saved otherwise, so there’s a typically meaningless Barry boast. (Why does Obama always sound like he’s running for high school president? The man has not matured a whit after six years in office.)

It’s been half a decade since Democrats in Congress passed the healthcare law and it remains arguably the most controversial piece of legislation passed during Obama’s tenure. Democrats spent this week touting its provisions extending coverage to millions of Americans, while Republicans aired their many ongoing complaints about the law. There’s one thing members of both parties agree on: Major reforms are still needed in how healthcare is delivered and paid for…

[Obama]reminded Republicans that some of the ideas behind the Affordable Care Act — most notably its individual mandate to buy coverage — were once supported by some conservatives, although its Medicaid expansion and some other big parts of the law stem more from liberal thought.

“The Affordable Care Act pretty much was their plan before I adopted it,” he said.

The audacity of a dope strikes again.

 

 

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Uh Oh. How Is Hillary Going to Explain Throwing Bill Under the Bus?

Friday, March 27th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

Hillary Clinton is very unhappy about Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act and on Thursday, she joined in the histrionics of the angry mobs who were complaining about the horrid, discriminatory law.

 

 

But Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist, pointed out that it was Hillary’s husband, then-President Clinton, who signed the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993.

 

 

Davis then noted a whole litany of Bill Clinton policies that Hillary Clinton apparently finds problematic.

 

 

Just to set the record straight on Indiana’s RFRA, despite Hillary’s hysterics and the shrieks of the mobs calling for a boycott of the entire state (but not the other 30 states that have religious liberty protections), the new law does not actually discriminate against anyone. There’s not one word in the legislation that enshrines discrimination into Indiana law.

Gov. Mike Pence defended the RFRA in a statement after he signed it into law:

This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it. In fact, it does not even apply to disputes between private parties unless government action is involved. For more than twenty years, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has never undermined our nation’s anti-discrimination laws, and it will not in Indiana.

The RFRA simply provides that state or local governments may not “substantially burden” a person’s right to exercise his religion unless there is a “compelling governmental interest” and the government must use the “least restrictive means” to further that interest. It also provides that a person who believes his religious liberty has been violated by a state or local government action may raise that as a claim or a defense in a judicial proceeding. It doesn’t say who would prevail in that proceeding, only that the individual can have his day in court.

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UNC-Wisconsin Headlines NCAA Tourney Play Tonight

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

It’s Kentucky vs. West Virginia and Notre Dame vs. Wichita State in the Midwest Regional semis tonight. Xavier vs. Arizona and UNC vs. Wisconsin from the West Regional will complete the night.

Kentucky will be tested by the Mountaineers tough defense, but should have enough to make it to Saturday’s final. The Irish are slight underdogs against a very talented Shocker team. But neither team plays stellar defense so Notre Dame has a good shot at pulling off a mild upset. The Musketeers benefitted when Georgia State knocked off 3rd seeded Baylor in the first round and Xavier then faced the Panthers in the second round, defeating them handily. But 2nd seed Arizona has talent to spare and the Wildcats should be able to handle Xavier’s pressing defense.

That leaves the game of the night; North Carolina against Wisconsin. For North Carolina, the health of their standout forward Kennedy Meeks weighs heavily on their chances. Meeks injured his knee in the Tarheels win over Arkansas, and his availability for the game against the Badgers is questionable:

“We don’t know anything about Kennedy,” Roy Williams said on Wednesday during the pregame news conferences at the Staples Center. “This morning he did some contact on a limited basis for the first time. You saw him out there, if you chose to go out there, he didn’t do much, but our whole team didn’t go because we had already practiced. But the big thing now is we’ll have to wait to see if there’s any more swelling or any pain tonight for what little he did this morning, and probably it won’t be — well, if there is swelling or pain tonight, we won’t play him. If there’s not, then we’ll probably make the decision during warm-ups tomorrow.”

If Meeks can’t go, it’s possible Coach Williams may go small, moving Tokoto to the wing and playing 3 forwards. Or, Williams could put in 6’10″ Joel James who has the bulk to match up with the Badger’s bigs.

The key man in Williams offense is Marcus Paige, a diminutive guard who can get out on the break and make Wisconsin’s life miserable. If UNC has its running shoes on, Wisconsin will be hard pressed to stay with them.

But it is likely to be a game won or lost in the frontcourt.

Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky, Nigel Hayes and Sam Dekker vs. North Carolina’s Brice Johnson, J.P. Tokoto and Joel James.

UW’s talented trio contributed a combined 62 points and 22 rebounds in the second round against Coastal Carolina, but the numbers dipped to 47 and 12 in the third round against Oregon. North Carolina surely will pay extra attention to Kaminsky, meaning Hayes and Dekker should get favorable matchups. Hayes might prove to be too strong and/or quick for whomever guards him. Dekker must remain active on both ends of the floor. When he moves without the ball and defends hard good things happen. He must make sure his feet are set when he has an open three-pointer. The 6-foot-9 Johnson is tenacious on the interior. He averages 12.9 points and a team-high 7.9 rebounds per game. He has 88 offensive rebounds, the No. 2 mark on the team, and is shooting 56.0%, second best among the starters. He has not attempted a three-pointer this season and has fouled out five times. Tokoto, a graduate of Menomonee Falls High School, is an outstanding defender who scores better in transition than in half-court sets. He also is No. 2 on the team in assists (4.3). His athletic ability is remarkable but his jumper is wildly inconsistent. With Kennedy Meeks iffy because of a sprained left knee suffered last weekend, it will be interesting to see if James, a 6-10, 280-pound junior who is averaging 2.5 points and 1.9 rebounds per game, can produce. If he gets the call, he has to give the Tar Heels quality minutes. Edge: UW.

Kaminsky is a load because he can score from anywhere on the court. From the free throw line extended to the blocks, his deft touch can get you points in a hurry.

But Kaminsky is prone to getting into foul trouble, and you can bet that Paige is going to test him early by going right at him, especially on the break. If Kaminsky can stay on the court, he could be the difference maker in the game.

The Badger’s other bigs will also be tough to handle for the athletic, but undersized UNC forwards. Hayes is a good rebounder (6.5 a game) with a knack for snaring offensive boards, while Dekker can shoot the 3 ball well for a big man.

UNC’s Brice Johnson is only 6’9″, but weighs nearly 230 pounds. He may guard Kaminsky one on one to start the game, trying to play him physical to wear the Big Ten Player of the Year down. James is a beast at 280 lbs but is better suited to playing a low post game. The perimeter shooting of Wisconsin’s bigs could give him problems.

The Tar Heels aren’t whining about possibly losing Meeks. It will be next man up for UNC in what should be the most entertaining game of the night.

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Menendez: U.S. ‘Leaping with Both Feet’ Toward Iran Demands, ‘Any Deal for a Deal’s Sake’

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

A leading Democratic skeptic of the White House’s nuclear negotiations with Iran, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), said the latest report out of talks in Switzerland indicates “we are not inching closer to Iran’s negotiating position, but leaping toward it with both feet.”

The Associated Press cited officials saying the United States “is considering letting Tehran run hundreds of centrifuges at a once-secret, fortified underground bunker in exchange for limits on centrifuge work and research and development at other sites.”

“The trade-off would allow Iran to run several hundred of the devices at its Fordo facility, although the Iranians would not be allowed to do work that could lead to an atomic bomb and the site would be subject to international inspections, according to Western officials familiar with details of negotiations now underway,” said the AP report. “In return, Iran would be required to scale back the number of centrifuges it runs at its Natanz facility and accept other restrictions on nuclear-related work.”

Menendez, whose Iran sanctions legislation and bipartisan bill have drawn veto threats from the Obama administration, has previously accused the White House of moving the goalposts to tempt Iran into a deal.

“We have pivoted away from demanding the closure of Fordow when the negotiations began, to considering its conversion into a research facility, to now allowing hundreds of centrifuges to spin at this underground bunker site where centrifuges could be quickly repurposed for illicit nuclear enrichment purposes,” he said in a statement moments ago. “My fear is that we are no longer guided by the principle that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal,’ but instead we are negotiating ‘any deal for a deal’s sake’.”

“An undue amount of trust and faith is being placed in a negotiating partner that has spent decades deceiving the international community; denying the International Atomic Energy Agency access to its facilities; refusing to answer questions about its nuclear-related military activities; and all the while, actively destabilizing the region from Lebanon to Syria to Iraq to Yemen,” Menendez continued.

“A good deal must meet our primary negotiating objective – curtailing Iran’s current and future ability to achieve nuclear weapons capability. If the best deal Iran will give us does not achieve this goal, it is not a good deal for the United States or its partners. A good deal won’t leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state.”

Menendez, the target of what many have noted is a conveniently timed Justice Department investigation, also sent a letter to President Obama asking what he plans to do about Bashar al-Assad’s latest use of chemical weapons — a deadly chlorine gas attack.

Last week, the towns of Sarmin and Qmenas were hit with chlorine bombs by Assad forces, video reviewed and confirmed by human rights groups. The Syrian Coalition said six were killed, including three children, and about 70 were injured, 13 seriously. Assad has been using chlorine since crossing Obama’s “red line” with other chemical agents.

“Bashar al-Assad and those forces backing his regime, including the government of Iran and its proxy force, Hezbollah, are once again challenging the world and testing the boundaries of the will of the international community to respond. As the Syrian civil war enters its fifth year, I urge you to reenergize the broad international coalition that is committed to a Syria without Assad. This includes exposing and targeting the tools of Russian and Iranian support for Assad’s bloody regime, and working with like-minded partners to increase pressure on him and his allies,” Menendez wrote.

“…Only a month ago, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2209 by a vote of 14-1 with the agreement of all permanent members including Russia. The resolution states that the use of chlorine gas is a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and any future use would result in the imposition of Chapter VII measures. UN Chapter VII punishments could include additional sanctions and the use of force to prevent future attacks.”

The senator stressed that Obama’s deal to dispose of Assad’s declared chemical weapons stockpiles “has not prevented the use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians, nor has international pressure changed Assad’s calculus with respect to murdering his own people.”

“Worse, Assad’s supporters, including the Iranian regime, the Russian government, and Hezbollah have actually increased their support for the regime as these attacks have continued and increased in nature and scope.”

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GOP Senators: Obama’s ‘Obsession’ with ‘Placating’ Iran Led to ‘Mideast on Fire’

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

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Decrying that President Obama’s policies have pushed the Middle East to a “tipping point,” Republican senators accused the commander in chief of not acting against Iran’s aggression in Yemen and other places because of his “obsession” with placating the Islamic Republic during nuclear talks.

“Operation Decisive Storm,” launched at midnight Saudi Arabia time, bombarded Yemen’s Houthi rebels with the power of 100 Saudi fighters jets, 150,000 soldiers and naval units in the operation. The United Arab Emirates pitched in 30 fighter jets, Bahrain contributed 15, Qatar sent 10, Kuwait deployed 15 and Jordan contributed six. Even North Africa got into the game, with Sudan sending three fighter jets, Egypt supplying four warships and air support, and Morocco sending six fighter jets. Pakistan also provided naval and aerial support in the attack on the Iran-backed Houthi rebels. The White House said the U.S. provided “logistical and intelligence” support.

But it was revealed today that Pentagon officials were told about the coalition operation just a few hours before the Saudis struck. The Saudi ambassador to Washington announced the attack at their embassy in D.C. shortly after the military found out.

“The reality is that countries in the region no longer have confidence in or are willing to work with the United States of America,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) somberly noted at a press conference on the Hill moments ago.

“Look at where we have come from — our closest allies in the region no longer trust us that they wait to tell us a few hours before they begin a major military operation,” McCain said. “I understand why these countries did not notify us or seek our coordination. That’s because they believe we are siding with Iran.”

The Saudis launched the operation as the U.S. sat down with Iran in Switzerland for the latest round of negotiations. The Associated Press published an exclusive today revealing that Washington “is considering letting Tehran run hundreds of centrifuges at a once-secret, fortified underground bunker.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) told reporters that the administration is making a huge mistake by keeping Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and spread of influence through backing Shiite rebels in key countries off the negotiating table.

“You cannot divorce the two of them,” Ayotte said, stressing that “Iran’s backing of the Houthis has caused this situation to devolve where we had to evacuate from Yemen.”

She noted that another Iran target is home of America’s Fifth Fleet, Bahrain. “They are backing Shia groups that are trying to undermine the government in Bahrain,” the senator said. “This will continue to spread further.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) stressed that Obama’s “leading from behind” policy left the region poised for a “bloodletting between Sunnis and Shia that we haven’t seen in 1,000 years.”

“We’re on the verge of a full-scale proxy war in Yemen between Iran and Arab states” that threatens to spill over into the entire region, Graham said. “The Mideast is on fire and it’s every person for himself.”

All three senators made clear that they support the Saudi-led offensive — “the Saudis did the right thing,” McCain said — but, in the words of Graham, “categorically reject President Obama’s foreign policy that we believe has substantially contributed to this mess.”

Graham backed an international operation that would take out the Houthis and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula at the same time. “We’re not in the Sunni-Shia debate here,” he said.

“I think it’s fine that they did it themselves; the question is, what’s the reason for that?” McCain asked, adding it’s “unacceptable that we’re negotiating a bad nuclear deal and at same time turning a blind eye to Iranian aggression.”

McCain said he does not believe that the Saudis launched the offensive to derail the P5+1 talks.

“The saddest things about this whole series of events that have taken place over the past several years is we predicted every single thing that would happen,” he said, ranging from the effects of an Iraq pullout to a refusal to assist the Free Syrian Army in the early days of the war to the non-enforcement of the red line drawn by Obama when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad unleashed chemical weapons on his people.

Graham saw the red line as a “defining moment” as Obama “failed to act in a way the region saw as meaningful.”

“ISIS will never be destroyed on his watch,” Graham predicted. “…He’s afraid to disrupt negotiations by taking on [Iran's] puppet Assad.”

He further predicted that the Arab coalition “will probably not stop in Yemen and Iran will probably push back — God help us all.”

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Josh Earnest Requests Twitter Questions and Twitter Does Not Disappoint

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

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White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest held a Twitter Q & A today:

 

 

It didn’t take long for some sharp Twitter users to come out swinging:

 

 

And Twitter collectively answered, “Game on!”

 

 

Sadly, Earnest answered none of these probing questions. Not even this one from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus:

 

 

Instead, the White House spinmeister pontificated about baseball and The West Wing (the TV show, not the real West Wing):

 

 

To be fair, Earnest did field a couple of substantive policy questions (by “field” I mean that he head-faked and dodged the questions while typing 140 characters on Twitter):

 

 

That’s not what AG asked, but head pats for trying, Josh. Let’s try again with another substantive question:

 

 

Another disappointed interrogator whose question was dodged by Earnest. One more try on Iran:

 

 

 

So glad to hear your thoughts on the Royals, Josh! Maybe next time you can give us your rundown on House of Cards.

 

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Are You Better Off Today Because of Obamacare? Facebook Users Passionately Respond: ‘God No!’

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

Our social media manager asked our followers on Facebook whether they are better off today than before Barack Obama took office and, more precisely, passed Obamacare. Their answers leave little room for doubt about the negative effects of this president’s horrendous policies:

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Ah well, Mary’s probably the exception to the rule, isn’t she! After all, Obamacare was supposed to help Americans. It’d improve their health care, without it hurting their jobs. Yup!

Sadly:

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So is there nobody who’s willing to defend Obamacare? Well, there’s this one guy who has to admit that nothing has actually improved, but hey, it may one day!

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So how about you? Are you better off because of Obamacare, or do you agree with 99% of our Facebook followers who say that Obamacare has been “a disaster” for the country and for themselves? Let us know, here in the comment section and on Facebook!

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Another Scott Walker Flip-Flop on Immigration Reform (Updated)

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Sir Thomas More: [to Will Roper] Now, listen, Will. Two years ago you were a passionate churchman. Now you’re a passionate Lutheran. We must just pray that when your head’s finished turning, your face is to the front again.

And, I suppose we can hope that when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s head is finished turning, we might actually know exactly where he stands on the question of granting a path to citizenship for illegals.

In 2013, he told an audience in Milwaukee that the comprehensive immigration reform bill, in which illegal immigrants can become United States citizens by first paying penalties and enduring a waiting period, “makes sense.”

Earlier this month, he told Fox News:

However, he is now saying such a plan is tantamount to amnesty, amid criticism that he has flip-flopped on that issue and others — including right-to-work legislation in his home state.

“I don’t believe in amnesty,” said Walker, who finished second Saturday in the Conservative Political Action Conference’s straw poll for potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates. “We need to secure the border. We ultimately need to put in place a system that works — a legal immigration system that works.”

Now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that he told a private dinner in New Hampshire that he supported a path to citizenship:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told a private dinner of New Hampshire Republicans this month that he backed the idea of allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in the country and to eventually become eligible for citizenship, a position at odds with his previous public statements on the matter.

Mr. Walker’s remarks, which were confirmed by three people present and haven’t been reported previously, vary from the call he has made in recent weeks for “no amnesty”—a phrase widely employed by people who believe immigrants who broke the law by entering the country without permission shouldn’t be awarded legal status or citizenship.

The changing positions by Mr. Walker, a likely candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, show the difficulty that some in the Republican Party face as they try to appeal both to the conservative GOP primary electorate—which largely opposes liberalizing immigration laws—and business leaders and general election voters who have been more supportive of granting legal status to undocumented immigrants.

This isn’t just a matter of flip flopping. This is chameleon-like — and kind of creepy. Usually, politicians aren’t quite so brazen about telling a specific audience one thing, while telling another audience exactly the opposite.

But Walker, whether he intended for his remarks to get out or not — and if he thought he could keep it a secret, he’s either stupid or naive — picked the wrong issue on which to be all over the map and back again. Supporting a path to citizenship is a deal breaker for a lot of conservatives and now that his support is out in the open, he must either renounce his now twice stated position again (and hope that  few people believe him), or embrace the suck and join Jeb Bush in being the only major candidates supporting “amnesty.”

Twitter hasn’t blown up yet, but I suspect once this information gets out there, Walker is going to be in for a very rough few days.

UPDATE: Spokesman Denies

Reuters is reporting:

Likely 2016 Republican U.S. presidential hopeful Scott Walker’s stance on illegal immigrants remains unchanged, his spokeswoman said on Thursday, disputing a report that he favored letting them stay in the country and eventually become eligible for citizenship.

Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswomen for the Wisconsin governor, labeled as “erroneous” a Wall Street Journal report detailing what the newspaper called Walker’s shift in stance on the matter.

“Governor Walker has been very clear that he does not support amnesty and believes that border security must be established and the rule of law must be followed,” Kukowski said in an emailed statement.

That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.

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The ISIS Tax: Budget Amendment Would ‘Temporarily’ Hike Taxes to Fight Islamic State

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
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The Senate is plowing through a slew of amendments today expected to last until midnight, dubbed the “vote-a-rama” that precedes the budget vote.

One of those amendments would create an ISIS tax.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), backed by Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), proposed a “temporary surtax” to help cover the cost of military operations against ISIS.

That would be discontinued, his office said without offering more details, “once relevant military operations have concluded” against the Islamic State.

According to yesterday’s congressional record, the amount collected would be $8,800,000,000.

“As our nation’s Armed Forces continue their critical mission to degrade and destroy ISIS, which is already months underway, we need to consider another part of our strategy–paying for the war. This is not a new concept. Our nation has a long history of paying for our military missions. In fact, every war since the Revolutionary War, to the first Gulf War, was paid for,” Coons said on the Senate floor last night.

“Through each of our nation’s armed conflicts, new revenue streams not only provided the resources our military needed, they reminded the American people that our country was at war and we all needed to contribute to the effort. But after 14 years and 2 wars that have cost our nation trillions of dollars, I fear we have forgotten this important lesson from our history,” he continued. “We cannot write another blank check for a war. Paying for a war against ISIS is the right thing to do. It is fiscally, morally, and militarily responsible. As we continue to debate this war authorization in Congress, we need to be honest with the American people and each other about what it will cost our nation. That is why, as we debate the budget this week, I have offered an amendment that requires us to raise the revenue to pay for the fight against ISIS. The American people deserve no less.”

“I urge my colleagues to join me on this amendment to pay for a critically important war against ISIS and ensure we fight this battle together as one country.”

Sanders said the GOP “has to end their hypocrisy with regard to deficits and the national debt.”

“They are going to have to be honest with the American people. Wars are enormously expensive, not only in terms of human life and suffering, but in terms of the budget,” Sanders said. “If the Republicans want another war in the Mideast, they are going to have to tell the American people how much it will cost them and how it will be paid for.”

UPDATE: The amendment failed this evening, but not by a lot — 46-54.

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Even the Most Arrogant Administration in History Can’t Stand This Guy

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

It’s no surprise that the Obama administration is populated with nasty, petulant, arrogant creeps; how could be it be otherwise given the “I won” nature of their boss? Still, it looks like even President Precious has finally had it with one of his appointees:

The White House is expected to ask the embattled chairman of the Chemical Safety Board to step down Wednesday, congressional sources tell CNN.

Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso has been accused by members of Congress of malfeasance, hostility towards his staff and retaliation against whistleblowers. And an inspector general report found he used personal email to conduct government business, which contradicted his sworn congressional testimony.

The use of personal email has come under scrutiny since revelations that Hillary Clinton used her personal email to conduct official business while she was secretary of state.

What a reeking cesspool of opportunistic, vengeful morons Washington has become under Obama. And why the hell do we have a “Chemical Safety Board,” anyway? Is everything the province of the federal government and, if so, where does it say that in the Constitution?

The chairman of the Senate Environment Committee wrote Obama on March 12 requesting the President ask for Moure-Eraso’s resignation. In the letter, Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe cited a congressional investigation that found leadership under the chairman engaged in a “pattern of hostility toward career staff and whistleblowers.”

“He has violated his oath of office. He has violated the law. The [Chemical Safety Board] can no longer continue to operate credibly under this leadership, and it is therefore our recommendation that you ask for Chairman Moure-Eraso’s immediate resignation,” Inhofe wrote.

“Violated the law”? Since when has that been a problem with this bunch?

 

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Graham: ‘No Military Member…Should Expect Our Country to Release Hardened Terrorists to Secure Their Release’

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is a colonel in the Air Forces Reserves focusing on military law, was opposed to the trade of five high-ranking members of the Taliban for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from the moment it happened last May.

But he’s also opposed to the administration reasoning that, after Bergdahl’s five years in captivity, they had no choice because they couldn’t leave a man behind.

“No military member, up to and including a Medal of Honor recipient, should expect our country to release hardened terrorists to secure their release,” Graham said in a statement Wednesday after the Army announced Bergdahl would face charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. “There is a general understanding that the mission and national interest come ahead of any individual.  This is particularly true while hostilities are still raging as they are today in Afghanistan.”

Graham, who is considering a run for the White House in 2016, called the swap “a politically motived maneuver designed to help achieve the Obama administration’s goal of emptying the Guantanamo jail of some very dangerous terrorists.”

“My concerns about the swap were never related to the quality of Sergeant Bergdahl’s service, but to the nature of the transfer and how it undermined the war effort,” the senator said. “President Obama’s ill-conceived decision to release the ‘Taliban 5’ put our men and women in uniform at increased risk. I have no doubt that in the future the ‘Taliban 5’ will return to the fight against the United States.”

Graham told CNN he has “nothing but disgust” for the deal.

“This undermined the war effort. These people are going to go back to the fight. And what do you tell a family member that may be killed by one of these guys down the road?”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), a Air Force pilot who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, told Fox that he was told in survival training “your country will never leave you behind, and we take a lot of heart in that.”

“But it’s a two-way street. Your country will not leave you behind but you can never leave your country behind either. A lot of people, probably even in Bowe Bergdahl’s unit, that looked at the mountains and truly wanted to leave base and go out and explore but, at the end of the day, they knew they had a bigger obligation,” Kinzinger said. “…Look, if we had had sent a Special Forces team in to rescue him or something like that, that’s one thing. But trading five of among the biggest enemies of the United States. And by the way, we are getting reports that at least three of them are starting their kind of pre-confinement activities again.”

The White House, however, stands by the swap despite the desertion charges.

“The commander in chief will not allow a member of the United States armed forces to be left behind,” press secretary Josh Earnest told CNN.

“It was an important message for this president to deliver to the American people, but also to people all around the world, that the United States and their commander in chief stands squarely behind our men and women in uniform and with the commitment we have made to not leave them behind,” Earnest said.

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Leaked Report Reveals EU’s 40-Point Plan to Force Israel’s Hand

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Israeli newspaper Yediot got their hands on the European Union’s 40-point plan to “pressure Israel into negotiations” in the wake of Netanyahu’s re-election.

An EU diplomatic source told Ynet that there was a definite chance that the recommendations in the report, which the member states have yet to approve, were more likely to be implemented following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement during his election campaign that a Palestinian state would not be created under his rule.

“We are on a collision course,” said the European diplomat. “It’s clear to everyone in Brussels that there must be a response to these statements.”

…”If Israel continues its policy beyond the Green Line, it will affect the relationship between European nations and Israel,” he warned.

Headings of the 40-point plan include, “Preserving the viability of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states” and “Strengthening the role, visibility and policy of the European Union.” The full report has been scanned and is linked via the Ynet story.

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Shocker: Hillary! Campaign Kickoff Delayed by Scandal

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Yes, I know: hard to believe that a Clinton could be involved in scandal.

Many of the key figures cited in a scathing inspector general’s report this week are allies of Hillary Rodham Clinton, marking the latest in a series of stumbles for the former first lady and secretary of state that likely forced her to delay her planned presidential campaign announcement.

A Democratic strategist familiar with her team’s thinking said they are scrambling to limit the damage and readjust the campaign rollout schedule after the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general revealed an apparent cronyism scandal that ensnared Mrs. Clinton’s brother, Anthony Rodham, and two of her political confidants, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell.

The accusation that a top Obama administration official did favors for the three politically connected Democrats follows other damaging revelations swirling around Mrs. Clinton, including that the Clinton Foundation pocketed foreign donations while she was secretary of state and that she exclusively used a private email account that concealed official business while she was in office.

Let me make this simple for the media: there isn’t going to be a Clinton campaign, not if you guys do your job. Hillary Clinton is as corrupt as they come, and if you think she’s got scandal problems now, just wait until Lady Macbeth is back in the White House. Finish her now and do your country a service.

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DEA Agents Gone Wild: ‘Sex Parties’ with Drug Cartel Prostitutes, Report Claims

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by The Tatler

A new report released by the Justice Department today has found that “agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration reportedly had ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes hired by drug cartels in Colombia.”

And it gets worse. The Colombian police provided “protection for the DEA agents’ weapons and property during the parties,” the report says.

Was anyone punished for this behavior? Not really. Ten DEA agents admitted to participating in the parties, and some agents received between two and ten days suspension. Oh. Well then.

The stunning allegations are part of an investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general into claims of sexual harassment and misconduct within DEA, FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the U.S. Marshals Service. The IG’s office found that DEA did not fully comply with its probe.

Moreover,the report states that DEA, ATF and the Marshals Service repeatedly failed to report all risky or improper sexual behavior to security personnel at those agencies.

“The foreign officer allegedly arranged ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes funded by the local drug cartels for these DEA agents at their government-leased quarters, over a period of several years,” the IG report says.

The DEA Office of Professional Responsibility became aware for the allegations in 2010, but the bad behavior dates back to 2005.  But some supervisors were aware of a “problem” when the building management for the DEA Building in Bogota complained.

“Although some of the DEA agents participating in these parties denied it, the information in the case file suggested they should have known the prostitutes in attendance were paid with cartel funds. A foreign officer also alleged providing protection for the DEA agents’ weapons and property during the parties,” the report said. “The foreign officers further alleged that in addition to soliciting prostitutes, three DEA SSAs [special agents] in particular were provided money, expensive gifts, and weapons from drug cartel members.”

Naturally, the DEA was not cooperative with the Inspector General’s Office.

“We were also concerned by an apparent decision by DEA to withhold information regarding a particular open misconduct case,” the report states. “The OIG {Office of Inspector General] was not given access to this case file information until several months after our request, and only after the misconduct case was closed. Once we became aware of the information, we interviewed DEA employees who said that they were given the impression that they were not to discuss this case with the OIG while the case remained open.”

The report adds: “Therefore, we cannot be completely confident that the FBI and DEA provided us with all information relevant to this review. As a result, our report reflects the findings and conclusions we reached based on the information made available to us.”

Your tax dollars at work, ladies and gentlemen.

 

 

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Kansas Set to Allow Concealed Carry Without Permit

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by The Tatler

The Kansas House and Senate have passed legislation that would allow residents to carry concealed firearms without a permit. The bill is now headed to the desk of Governor Sam Brownback.  Currently, Kansas requires eight hours of training before someone can carry a concealed firearm.

Kansas would be the fifth state to allow concealed carry without a permit.

“Carrying a gun is a lifestyle,” said Republican Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady. “The government should trust its citizens.”

All states allow some form of concealed carry, but the NRA says only Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming allow it everywhere in the state without a permit, though Montana allows it without a permit outside of cities, which is most of the state. In West Virginia, lawmakers passed a bill, but Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed it.

The NRA and the Kansas State Rifle Association support the new bill, while the Brady Campaign opposed it. Of course.

Kansas already allows residents to open carry without a permit or training.

“Kansans already have two documents granting them the right to concealed carry — the Constitution of the United States and the Kansas Constitution,” Couture-Lovelady said. “That should be all they need.”

After Brownback signs the bill, and there is no reason to think that he won’t, Kansas will still continue to issue permits so that residents can carry concealed in the other states that recognize Kansas’ permits.

 

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The Mass Murderer Used the Safety Door to Slaughter: How Evil Foils Our Best Defenses

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Scott Ott
Germanwings plane takes off the day after the crash in the Alps.

AP Image

A pilot I know once told me he tried to pass through security to fly a plane across the ocean forgetting that he had a pen knife in his pocket. The TSA said he couldn’t take the small blade on the plane. The irony was rich, since the pilot would soon have several hundred souls aboard his incendiary-laden missile, the path of which he controlled from inside a locked flight deck.

Every crime show, or terror drama, portrays the villain using the good guy’s reasonable safety protocols to enhance the chance for success of his nefarious plot. But what screenwriters and novelists take as second nature, governments, and many people, have yet to learn.

A predictable safety regimen presents opportunity and simplifies planning for the wicked. A shield becomes a weapon.

So, it’s not surprising that French authorities now believe the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 intentionally flew his incendiary missile packed with 149 other souls into an Alpine hillside at some 430 miles per hour. . . AFTER electronically barring the safety door, locking the captain out of the flight deck.

The door did its job. It prevented a flight deck breach. All of the engineering worked to prevent access to the most dangerous place on the plane.  And thus, the best laid plans of engineers and regulatory officials actually helped the wicked man to carry out his murderous scheme.

The very security device instituted after the 9/11/2001 attacks to deter evil-doers from turning a passenger jet into a weapon became the ideal tool for allowing an evil-doer to do just that.

With the touch of a button — really no effort at all — one person can absolutely foil millions of hours of planning devoted to preventing the very act that he’s determined to commit.

The most effective deadly weapon a man can carry is a non-networked three-pound supercomputer called the human brain. It takes instruction only from an intangible, non-geolocatable command apparatus sometimes called “the heart.”

The heart is deceitful above all things,

and desperately sick.

Who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17:9

 

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Rubio: Republican Party ‘Blessed’ with Caliber of 2016 Candidates

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said his colleague’s entrance into the 2016 presidential race only makes the field stronger, and the party is “blessed” to have strong candidates.

Rubio told Fox last night that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) “will be a very strong candidate.”

“You can see in the past he has made a lot of people excited about the things he stands for. We are blessed as a party. We have a lot of really good candidates,” Rubio said. “The Democrats are struggling to come up with even one. I think our country will be better for it at the end.”

It hasn’t been possible to view Cruz’s interaction on the floor with his colleagues — and potential challengers — since his Monday announcement. Cruz has not shown up for any votes this week as the Senate works through hundreds of budget amendments.

Rubio said he understands the date is approaching when he needs to announce his own 2016 decision.

“As I said, we are getting closer to that date and we understand that if I decide to run for president it’s going to take time and energy to do it. So we will make an announcement here fairly soon,” he said.

How soon?

“Probably not months, but certainly multiple weeks. And that’s important,” Rubio said. “Like soon means when we are ready to make the decision. There is a lot that goes into something like that and a lot this to announcing whatever direction we go.”

“But it’s something I’m increasingly excited about and look forward to sharing with you and others here fairly soon.”

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Mecca, Medina. . . Dabiq? Why This Syrian Town Is Key to Understanding ISIS

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Kathy Shaidle
Dabiq

Dabiq – the ISIS propaganda magazine.

 

At TheRebel.media, Marissa Semkiw interviews world religions professor Dr. Tony Costa.

He explains why, next to Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem, the otherwise unremarkable Syrian town of Dabiq is one of the key places in Islamic mythology.

As the Muslim equivalent of “Armageddon,” Dabiq is the alleged site of the final battle between Islam and the infidels.

That’s why ISIS considers it so important.

(Note that they named their propaganda magazine after it.)

This concise video gives you a terrific layman’s overview of Muslim end-times theology.

(It’s especially timely for Canadians, since today Parliament begins debating Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s proposed extension of Canada’s mission in Syria.)

You’ll feel smarter after watching it:

YouTube Preview Image

 

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Issa on Yemen: Obama ‘Must Acknowledge’ Any ‘Real Settlement with Iran is Impossible’

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The “Operation Decisive Storm” coalition that bombarded Yemen overnight now has full control of the country’s airspace, said Saudi officials, who unleashed 100 fighters jets, 150,000 soldiers and naval units in the operation.

The only regional country that stayed out of the fight was Yemen’s neighbor Oman. The United Arab Emirates pitched in 30 fighter jets, Bahrain contributed 15, Qatar sent 10, Kuwait deployed 15 and Jordan contributed six. Even North Africa got into the game, with Sudan sending three fighter jets, Egypt supplying four warships and air support, and Morocco sending six fighter jets. Pakistan also provided naval and aerial support in the attack on the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told MSNBC this morning that the Saudis decided “on their own” to launch the attack, “and the reason is simply that Saudi Arabia and Yemen share a long border.”

“And they have enlisted the support of other partners and allies of theirs in region, and they have asked the United States for some intelligence support that we can provide. And the president has agreed to that request and we are providing them support,” he said. “But the Saudis are in the lead in this military action they are taking to protect the interest they have along their border with Yemen.”

The White House has been urging a UN-backed diplomatic solution to the Houthi overthrow in Yemen.

But Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) made clear that it was the administration’s policies that allowed this mess in the first place.

“The takeover of large swaths of Yemen by Iranian-backed Shia militants has forced our Saudi allies to take military action. Months of fairy tale negotiations and appeasement by this administration have led Iran to believe that it can act with impunity on an international scale,” Issa said in a late-night statement as the Saudis bombarded targets.

“Now, more than ever, it is clear that any real settlement with Iran is impossible, and the president must acknowledge this fact,” he said. “The continued easement or outright removal of sanctions against this rogue state will only further embolden Iran and facilitate its belligerent behavior. We must make it clear that we will support our allies and punish our enemies through steadfast resolve and decisive action.”

Earnest said this morning that the Iran-fomented instability and Saudi reaction shouldn’t affect nuclear negotiations in Switzerland. “There’s no doubt that we believe that it’s in the best interest of the United States, our allies in Israel, and our partners in the region, including Saudi Arabia, for us to try to find a diplomatic resolution to the concerns that the world has about Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” he said.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), though, stressed to Fox that “this is about Iran, again, the source of instability in the region and many parts of the world.”

“These are Shia militias and Shia rebels making advances there. They are equipped, protected and supported by Iran. It’s part of their strategy to become the dominant regional power. It’s part of encircling Saudi Arabia, Sunni country. So you see their presence in Yemen. They basically invaded Iraq. Obviously, their influence they have in Lebanon. They control Assad in Syria. So, slowly but surely they are carrying out their master plan of regional dominance and Yemen is the latest piece of that puzzle,” Rubio said.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said “clearly, the Saudis and their gulf partners have determined the situation in Yemen presents further danger to regional stability and their own territorial integrity.”

“I hope their intervention helps to restore some sense of security, but I fear Yemen may be too far gone to prevent an all-out civil war,” Burr said.

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French Prosecutor: Germanwings Co-Pilot Deliberately Crashed Plane Into Alps

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
Andreas_Lubitz_3246487b

Germanwings pilot Andreas Lubitz in a photo from his Facebook page

French prosecutors said that the 28-year-old co-pilot of the Germanwings flight that plowed into the French Alps deliberately crashed the plane.

Lufthansa officials confirmed in a press conference moments ago that an analysis of the black box recording shows that the pilot left the cockpit for a few, then was unable to get back into the cockpit as the door was locked. The Airbus has a keypad where flight crew can enter a code to gain access to the cockpit, unless a “lock” switch on the console is manually activated by someone inside the cockpit.

The pilot is heard trying to kick the door down as the breathing of the co-pilot continues, and passengers are heard screaming just before the plane hit the mountain.

The co-pilot was identified as Andreas Lubitz, a German who was recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2013 with inclusion in the “prestigious”FAA Airmen Certification Database with others “who have met or exceeded the high educational, licensing and medical standards established by the FAA.” He joined Germanwings in September 2013 after graduating from the Lufthansa Flight Training School in Bremen.

Officials said he left his training for a short time but returned. The French prosecutor said his religion was “unknown.”

“We hear the flight attendant asking the copilot to start taking the commands and then we hear a door closing after a chair has been moved. So we assume that he left the cockpit in order to use the restroom. So at this point, the copilot is the only one in the cockpit. So it’s while he’s alone that he has somehow manipulated the buttons on the flight monitoring system to manage the descent of the plane,” Marseille Public Prosecutor Brice Robin told reporters at a news conference.

“So again, I repeat, he was alone at the helm of this plane in the Airbus 320. Again, I’ll repeat. The copilot was the one who was manipulating the flight monitoring system, who managed the descent of the plane. So again, all of these actions were completely voluntary. Then we hear the pilot calling, asking to regain access into the cockpit. This is through a certain type of phone between cabins. So again, we can assume he was identified, however, the copilot just didn’t respond. He’s knocking. He’s asking to be let in. Zero response from the copilot. We hear human breathing within the cabin, and we hear this breathing up until the final point of impact, which we assume means that the copilot was living, was alive, in the cockpit,” Robin continued.

“Then we hear contact from the control tower in Marseille, however, there was zero response from the copilot. So air control traffickers start asking for a distress signal. Again, zero response. This means that this flight became a priority compared to every other flight at the time. Control tower even asked other planes to try and signal, contact this Airbus. Again, zero response. So after that, alarms were put into place to try and alert the people to how close the plane was to the ground. Then we start hearing banging, someone trying to actually break the door down. That’s why the alarms were let off, because these were protocols put in place to prevent any terrorist attacks,” he said.

“So alarms start ringing and right before the final point of impact we hear something that we assume was some kind of first point of impact. So we assume that the plane actually glided a little bit on some kind of slope before it actually finally hit the mountain. Again, zero distress signal. Zero signal of emergency, zero ‘help me’ or SOS. Nothing of this sort was received by any air traffic controllers. Nothing like ‘help me, help me, SOS,’ nothing was received by the air traffic controllers. And no response, no response. There was zero, zero response to any of the air traffic controllers’ attempts to contact the people inside the plane.”

Robin called it “some kind of deliberate action and willingness to destroy this plane.”

He said the “completely human, classic, normal” breathing heard on the recorder shows the co-pilot wasn’t “in the middle of having a heart attack, for example. He uttered not one word. Complete and total silence.”

Robin said Lubitz was an ethnic German with “no prior terrorist history.”

He stressed that the co-pilot wouldn’t have been able to program the descent by passing out. “The button to lever that you turn, you turn several times according to how much altitude you want to lose. It’s a deliberate thing. It can’t be done automatically. So, well, if his head was to hit it, maybe it would move by a quarter of a turn, but it won’t do anything. It won’t turn it 15 times.”

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr was asked if he would brand the crash as suicide. When you take down a plane full of people with you, Spohr said, “another word should be used, not suicide.”

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Would You Let Apple Store Employees Give You Fashion Advice?

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by The Tatler

As the debut of the Apple watch approaches, Apple is training its employees to offer consumers fashion advice.

In order to showcase and sell the Apple Watch, retail employees will be trained to provide personal fashion and styling advice to customers, according to employees briefed on the plans.

Apple is training its retail force to “build trust, enabling the employee to serve as a valued fashion advisor during the purchase process.” The  new sales techniques will “encourage iPhone upgrades, assist with gifting, and guide customers in watch and strap choices.”

Some of the things you might hear if you approach an salesman in an Apple store are:  “you seem to have a fun style. I think the Pink Sport band would match your style perfectly,” or “the white strap looks great on you.”

Other sales guidelines:

  • Make comments about why you think an option is a good choice rather than discussing why an option may not be a good choice.
  • Explain how earlier customers made decisions between models.
  • Use other accessories [already] on a customer as examples for which model would look best.
  • If the customer is with another person, make sure to get the opinion of that person on which model should be purchased.
  • Don’t focus on price as a reason to recommend an option because many customers may be willing to spend more for a model that makes them feel good.

The Apple Watch will go on sale April 24th.

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How Do You Rank the Top 10 Greatest Conservative Talk Radio Hosts Today?

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Dave Swindle

Here are the hosts in the top 10, along with clips from the five of them that I like enough to include in my own top 10 (the order of which I’m still weighing and would appreciate your input on. Who are your favorites? Hannity or Limbaugh? Beck or Levin?)

1. Rush Limbaugh

2. Sean Hannity

3. Dave Ramsey

4. Michael Savage

5. Glenn Beck

6. Mark Levin

7. Howard Stern

8. Joe Madison

9. Thom Hartmann

10. Mike Gallagher

Click here to read the rest.

A few of my favorites who should have been higher on the list, and I’ll include on my list: Dana Loesch (#24) has a lot of talent, Dennis Prager (#33) of course remains one of my regular work-time listens, Larry O’Connor (#42) has a gifted radio presence and good values, Hugh Hewitt (#62) puts on a smart show and should have been much, much higher on the list… And great to see Elisha Krauss, Ben Shapiro, and Brian Whitman making the list too at #82. I listen to them every morning on KRLA while editing PJM.

Well, I suppose with those five in bold from the top ten and then the other four and Elisha/Ben/Brian as one, then I have my top 10, though the order shall remain a mystery for the time being. I’ll want to weigh commenter suggestions. Who do you regard as the 10 best?

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The Radical Left Fishes for Israel, Uses Jewish Americans as Bait

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Jewish Americans are being baited by a radical Left that has sharpened their anti-Bibi fangs in the ready to rip apart the nation of Israel and the entire body of world Jewry. It’s a bold statement, but it’s an honest one. If you thought V15 would dissolve, their participants cashing in the last of the State Department’s change for a defeat party in Vegas, you’re wrong. The ideological fervor is stronger than ever. It has to be, because ideology is the only thing they have fueling their “hope and change” community-organizing momentum that is anything but.

Jonathan Mark at the New York Jewish Week succinctly catalogs the radical-Leftist Jewish bias against Bibi, noting that this isn’t the first time a right-wing leader’s victory has been condemned in the American media. “Begin as in Fagin” a 1977 Time magazine article explained, conjuring up one of the most insulting anti-Semitic stereotypes in history.

Today it is the J Street crowd sacrificing their pound of flesh by cutting themselves off from the “Jewish establishment” in a radical attempt to “directly take on Jewish organizations …complicit with Israel’s occupation” via the Obama method. If Israel won’t directly negotiate, they’ll just be forced into a solution …and what? Be told to deal with it, or else? According to reports, the conference was keynoted by Obama’s chief of staff and fueled nothing more or less than the “Bibi is racist” tagline.

Hannah Senesh wrote about the power of one match to light a fire. In this instance, the blaze is burning out of control in this radicalized segment of the Jewish world.

Mark adopts the Israeli attitude toward the radical Left’s recent drumming up of hostilities, concluding:

If Israel has to go alone, so be it, writes The Wall Street Journal’s Brett Stephens: “Repay contempt with contempt. Mr. Obama plays to classic bully type. He is abusive and surly only toward those he feels are either too weak, or too polite, to hit back…. The Israelis will need to chart their own path of resistance…. Israel survived its first 19 years without meaningful U.S. patronage. For now, all it has to do is get through the next 22, admittedly long, months.”

In the end, he is right. Israel has the self-determination and autonomy to weather the storm. The question is, will the Jewish American community rise to the occasion, or be consumed in the fires of its own outrageous fury, drummed up by a mad man who has no problem negotiating the Jewish people’s terms of destruction on an international scale?

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Think You Could Get Away With This Congress Member’s Astonishing Parking Fail?

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard
YouTube Preview Image

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who represents the District of Columbia, was caught on video Wednesday trying — and failing — to maneuver her vehicle into parking spot in a lot between the Longworth and Cannon House Office buildings. According to Roll Call:

Once the aide seen assisting Norton from outside the slow-moving vehicle finishes waving her into clearly disastrous position, Norton emerges from the car, clicks her remote locking device (better safe than sorry) and starts to walk away.

Then, all of the sudden, she doubles back.

Has her conscience gotten the best of her? Is she going to slide a quickly composed apology onto the now-stuck truck’s windshield? Or perhaps a business card?

Nope.

Norton simply retrieves some forgotten item from inside the car and then heads on her merry way.

Note that around the 40-second mark in the video a U.S. Capitol Police officer rides by on a motorcycle and ignores the silver car, which is obviously parked the wrong way in the slanted parking space.

According to Roll Call’s tipster, after spending twenty minutes in the Cannon Office Building, Norton simply got into her car and drove away, not even bothering to leave a note on the red car that she struck several times with her vehicle.

Her office told Roll Call that there was no damage to the adjacent cars, but said they “left a note with a business card” just in case.

The good news is that Ms. Norton, a delegate from the District of Columbia, is a non-voting member of Congress. The bad news, if you live in the District, is that she might try parking next to you the next time you’re at Trader Joe’s. And you thought the drivers with the diplomatic license plates were bad!

 

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Saudis Unleash Strikes on Yemen After White House Promotes UN-Led Negotiations

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes into Yemen a short time ago, with the Saudi ambassador in Washington telling reporters that the aim is to “to protect the people of Yemen and its legitimate government from a takeover by the Houthis.”

“The Gulf Cooperation Council countries tried to facilitate a peaceful transition of government in Yemen, but the Houthis have continuously undercut the process by occupying territory and seizing weapons belonging to the government,” Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said in a statement. “…The Houthis have reneged on every single agreement they have made and continue their quest to take over the country by violent means.”

“Based on the appeal from President Hadi, and based on the Kingdom’s responsibility to Yemen and its people, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with its allies within the GCC and outside the GCC, launched military operations in support of the people of Yemen and their legitimate government.”

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates said in a joint statement that President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government had asked for help in battling the Iran-backed Houthis.

Reports Al-Arabiya:

Warplanes of the Royal Saudi Air Force bombed the positions of Yemen’s Houthi militia, destroying an airbase in Sanaa and most of the militia’s air defenses, Al Arabiya News Channel reported early on Thursday, citing Saudi sources.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz ordered the airstrikes on the Iran-backed Houthi militia on Thursday at 12 am Riyadh time, the news channel reported, adding that the kingdom’s air force was “fully in control of the Yemeni airspace.”

Shortly afterwards Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Washington Adel al-Jubeir announced that the kingdom had launched a military operation involving air strikes in Yemen against Houthi fighters who have tightened their grip on the southern city of Aden where the country’s president had taken refuge.

Al-Jubeir told reporters that a 10-country coalition had joined in the military campaign in a bid “to protect and defend the legitimate government” of Yemen President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

“We will do whatever it takes in order to protect the legitimate government of Yemen from falling,” Jubeir said.

Al-Arabiya also reported a cyberwar component, saying that several Houthi websites had crashed.

Yesterday, while appearing in Riyadh with the British foreign secretary, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal hit at Iran and the Houthis.

The prince stressed that “it is not possible to grant Iran an undeserved deal” in the P5+1 nuclear negotiations.

On Yemen, he said, the Gulf Cooperation Council’s “aim is to provide the vehicle for the president to return peacefully to Yemen and provide the leadership as required to bring this country back.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said the “takeover of southern Yemen by the Iranian-supported Houthis has led to chaos, threatening the national security interests of our regional partners and the United States.”

“Regional states, led by Saudi Arabia at President Hadi’s request, are taking action from the air,” Royce said. “The United States should support our Saudi and Gulf partners with appropriate logistical and intelligence support to combat this threat.”

National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement late Wednesday that President Obama “has authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to GCC-led military operations.”

“While U.S. forces are not taking direct military action in Yemen in support of this effort, we are establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate U.S. military and intelligence support,” Meehan said. “At the same time, the United States continues to closely monitor terrorist threats posed by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and will continue to take action as necessary to disrupt continuing, imminent threats to the United States and our citizens.”

“We strongly urge the Houthis to halt immediately their destabilizing military actions and return to negotiations as part of the political dialogue. The international community has spoken clearly through the UN Security Council and in other fora that the violent takeover of Yemen by an armed faction is unacceptable and that a legitimate political transition – long sought by the Yemeni people – can be accomplished only through political negotiations and a consensus agreement among all of the parties.”

The strikes came as the Obama administration resumed talks with Iran, which backs the Houthis, in Switzerland.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest was pressed at the briefing earlier today on whether they still consider Yemen a model for counterterrorism success.

“What the United States considers to be our strategy when confronting the effort to try to mitigate the threat that is posed by extremists, is to prevent them from establishing a safe haven. And certainly in a chaotic, dangerous situation like in Yemen, what the United States will do and has done is worked to try to support the central government, to build up the capacity of local fighters, and use our own technological and military capabilities to apply pressure on the extremists there,” Earnest replied.

“There’s no doubt that we would like to see a functioning central government in Yemen. We don’t see that right now. And that is why we’re supportive of the U.N.-led process to try to put an end to the violence and instability; to bring the sides, you know, all sides together to the table to try to resolve their differences; to build up the capacity of the central government; to build up the capacity of local forces; and to continue to apply pressure to extremists.”

But, Earnest maintained, “We do continue to enjoy the benefits of a sustained counterterrorism security relationship with the security infrastructure that remains in Yemen.”

State Department press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged earlier today that Saudis “have legitimate concerns about the possible impact of current events in Yemen to their security, given their proximity.”

On Yemen as a success, she said “we have had success working on counterterrorism operations, and we expect and hope that will continue.”

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GAME CHANGER: Hillary’s Campaign Is More Tech Savvy than in ’08

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

IT’S NEWS BECAUSE IT’S HILLARY, YOU SEE.

Hillary Clinton is assembling a technology team that signals a significant departure from her 2008 presidential run, led by Obama veterans and geared toward recasting her analog-era image.

With the hiring of 2012 Obama campaign alumni Teddy Goff as chief digital strategist, Elan Kriegel as analytics director and Andrew Bleeker as a top outside adviser, the campaign is indicating a greater emphasis on the kinds of cutting-edge techniques that both parties now routinely use to tap into every possible fundraising dollar and seek out every available voter. Just as important, the new hires point to a candidate who’s learned from a 2008 campaign marked by its inability to harness technology to its advantage.

It is adorable that they are trying to make it seem as if a shift in approach to technology after eight years is a big deal. In an arena that changes by the second, only the Democratic front-runner could get this many words devoted to the fact that she will be doing something every other major candidate has been doing in recent years: focusing greater resources on tech.

It’s doubly adorable for the lapdogs to pretend this is completely new, given that she already had people on staff who were smart enough to get her private servers to skirt the law while she was secretary of State.

So she’s not really doing something that can be called markedly new when compared either to other campaigns or a recent professional incarnation of herself.

Yet Politico gave it a thousand words.

No bias to see here, move along…

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One FCC Commissioner Has A Suggestion for Stopping Net Neutrality

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Via the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

It’s not every day that a federal official goes to Congress and tells them not to fund some of his agency’s functions. But that’s what FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai did at a House FCC budget hearing:

Congress should forbid the Commission from using any appropriated funds to implement or enforce the plan the FCC just adopted to regulate the Internet. Not only is this plan bad policy; absent outside intervention, the Commission will expend substantial resources implementing and enforcing regulations that are wasteful, unnecessary, and affirmatively detrimental to the American public.

This, of course, would be dependent upon the Republicans getting a little more fortitude when it comes to exercising the “power of the purse”. Thus far, that’s something they have been a little timid about. Even when they try (executive amnesty), they don’t commit.

One thing is for certain: nothing in the president’s overreach plans will be free, it all needs to be funded. Maybe if he gets the cookie jar lid slammed on his fingers a few times some of his enthusiasm will diminish.

It’s worth a try.

And now I want cookies.

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Three Members of ‘Taliban 5′ Swapped for Bergdahl Tried to Reconnect to Terror Network

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

At least three of the Taliban 5 terror commanders who were traded for Bowe Bergdahl made attempts to make contact with their former terrorist networks, reports Fox News.

The new allegations come as Bergdahl now faces desertion charges, and as the one-year deal governing the former Guantanamo detainees’ supervised release in the Gulf nation of Qatar is set to expire — at the end of May.

The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency recently told Congress that, after that expiration, all his officers can do is warn the U.S. government if the men return to the battlefield.

“I’ve seen nothing that causes me to believe these folks are reformed or [have] changed their ways or intend to re-integrate to society in ways to give me any confidence that they will not return in trying to do harm to America,” Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., a member of the House intelligence committee, told Fox News.

The official who described the attempts by three to make contact did not identify the men by name. But the evidence came to light through intelligence from liaison services and monitored communications available to the U.S. government.

A defense official did not dispute the claim, emphasizing that one of the men has come “very close, trying to provide advice, council or inspiration” to his terror network, while the other two had not crossed that line.

In January, CNN was first to report, and U.S. officials later confirmed, that one of the five fighters was making phone calls to militants. The latest claim indicates those efforts were more widespread.

A State Department official, though, disagreed with the characterization of the intelligence and how it relates to the “Taliban Five’s” activities.

“None of the five individuals has returned to the battlefield and none of the five have left Qatar,” the official said. “Since their transfer many actions have been taken to restrict the actions of these individuals, and they are all being closely monitored by the United States and Qatar.

“We are in frequent and high level contact with Qatari government about the implementation of these measures, to ensure our concerns about these individuals are being met. For example, by enabling us to closely track their activities.”

The State Department is putting political spin on the revelation, as is the office of the DNI:

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence also uses a strict definition for re-engagement, saying they do not “consider mere communication with individuals or organizations — including other former GTMO detainees — an indicator of reengagement. Rather, the motives, intentions, and purposes of each communication are taken into account when assessing whether the individual has reengaged.”

It’s all doubletalk. They raise the bar high enough that they don’t have to do anything unless the terrorists actually carry out an attack.

This was a bad deal from the start and we still don’t have all the facts surrounding it. Was there a ransom paid? Were reports of a possible rescue operation called off true? What were the other options to get Bergdahl out facing the administration?

While Bergdahl’s case was being considered, the DoD begged off answering questions before Congress. Now that the fate of the deserter is known, maybe some of those questions will be answered.

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Obama’s Yemen Foreign Policy ‘Success’ Continues: President May Have Fled the Country

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

This is going swimmingly.

Gunfire could be heard around the city centre, and security forces allied to the Houthis have taken over the international airport.

The rebels have made rapid gains since seizing a key airbase only 60km (37 miles) from Aden on Wednesday morning.

Government officials deny reports that the president has fled the country, and say he remains in Aden.

The US State Department says it was in touch with President Hadi earlier in the day. It said he is no longer at the compound but could not confirm any “additional details” about his location.

State television, which is controlled by the rebels, announced a reward of 20m Yemeni riyals ($93,000; £62,500) for anyone who captures the “fugitive” president.

Is there anything more comforting in these troubled times than assurances from our State Dept. that all is not as bad as it seems in a conflict-ridden region (pick one)?

If this were a Republican adminstration, the MSM would be competing to see how many “He called this a SUCCESS!” stories they could get out there each day. With this president, it’s like they’re all given daily hits of the memory zapper from the “Men In Black” series.

Oh, in case you need a real world barometer to counter the official news from our government, the rebels running roughshod over Yemen are backed by Iran.

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Hillary! and the Rest of Clinton Inc. Hit with RICO Lawsuit Over Emails

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

It’s about time:

The conservative group Freedom Watch has filed a racketeering lawsuit against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that accuses her of failing to produce documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The civil suit, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, argues that Clinton used her private emails to sell access to other officials in return for donations to the Clinton Foundation.

It alleges that, during her tenure, Clinton withheld documents requested under FOIA regarding State Department waivers given to businesses or individuals doing business with Iran, possibly undermining U.S.-imposed sanctions.

The complaint, which lists Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation as defendants, alleges the Clintons sold access to other U.S. government officials in return for donations to their organization, which they concealed, allegedly, by using a private computer server for her emails operated from their home in Chappaqua, New York.

Larry Klayman, the founder of Freedom Watch, launched dozens of lawsuits against former President Bill Clinton’s administration… In a statement, Klayman cast his lawsuit as “the first and only hard-hitting case to address the growing email scandal.”

Good for Larry Klayman. Use lawfare against them. Aside from brute force, it’s the only thing these miscreants understand.

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Flashback: President Poor Choices Says ‘Absolutely No Apologies’ for Bergdahl Swap

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Via The Hill:

President Obama said Thursday he would make “absolutely no apologies” for ordering the controversial prisoner swap to rescue Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the last American prisoner of war in Afghanistan.

Obama said he was never surprised by “controversies that are whipped up in Washington,” but deflected criticism from members of Congress and the military over the trade of five Guantánamo prisoners for Bergdahl, who has been accused of abandoning his post in Afghanistan before his capture.

We see that Obama went with his standard “it’s all made up” dismissal. One really couldn’t blame him –the press has been letting him get away with it for the entire time he’s been in office.

Thankfully, the military is too busy protecting us to watch much cable news, so they proceeded with the investigation into Bergdahl despite the president’s assurance that it was all a Beltway fabrication.

If you ever have time to kill and want a brain teaser, try to remember any time President Obama staged a media op to address criminal activity and didn’t come down on the side of the criminal.

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