PJ Tatler

The PJ Tatler

After Fall of Ramadi, U.S. Vets of Bloody Battles Express Anger and Frustration

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Debra Heine

The first kick in the gut came in January of 2014 — when the “JV team” took Fallujah. Since then, they’ve been falling like dominoes — one Iraqi city after another. Remember that almost 4,500 U.S. troops paid the ultimate sacrifice during the eight-year war.

Now that ISIS has planted its black and white flag in the center of Ramadi, veterans of the bloody battles that were fought to stabilize the city are expressing anger and frustration at the way the current administration has allowed the country to unravel.

The Stars and Stripes interviewed some of those disillusioned vets.

“It’s pretty disturbing,” said Thomas Daly, 32, who served in Ramadi as a Marine first lieutenant from 2006 to 2007.

Daly, the author of the Iraq memoir “Rage Company,” still holds out hope that the Iraqi military and tribesmen can take back Ramadi with American help. But he fears that if things in don’t turn around, those who fought in Iraq will feel like their Vietnam veteran brethren, many of whom say their friends died for nothing.

“It degrades the sacrifice of those who were killed and wounded,” Daly said.

In an echo of the last war in Iraq, the White House and Pentagon have put out relentlessly upbeat battlefield assessments of their efforts to roll back the Islamic State, even as militants take territory and Iraqi Army units crumble. On Friday, a Marine general insisted the Islamic State is “losing,” and on Saturday, it was confirmed that Ramadi, just 70 miles from Baghdad, had fallen. The news got worse this week with reports that Iraqi soldiers fled the city rather than defend it.

Ramadi, along with Fallujah — another city infamous for violence — lie in Anbar province, where more than 1,300 U.S. troops lost their lives during the Iraq War.

Some veterans expressed horror at the possible fate of the Iraqis who joined the so-called Awakening, when Sunni tribesman, some who once worked with insurgents, joined the Americans in a reversal that turned the tide in the war.

“In reality, there’s good people there who are dying because we abandoned them,” said Joshua Revak, a former Army specialist who was wounded by a mortar in Ramadi in 2006 that killed his friend and roommate, Sgt. Terry Lisk.

Daly, who worked with Awakening members and has kept in touch with some since leaving Iraq, said they painted a grim picture of events as the Islamic State moved in. One leader he worked with was kidnapped and burned alive, and the last tribesman he was in touch with went silent two weeks ago — he still doesn’t know his fate.

“It’s just depressing, man — I mean, how can you let that happen?” Daly said.

Many troops took to social media, and some penned opinion columns to lament the loss.

“Thinking and hearing about it. … I have tears in my eyes, our brothers and sisters we lost, for what,” one person posted on the Facebook page of Veterans of Ramadi, Iraq. “Yes we did our best and we did one hell of a job but it feels like only those who were there care and no one else does, not our government, our neighbors, media and in part the world.”

 Another posted, “It sickens and saddens me to know that all of the brave men and women who lost their lives in the defense of the city did it all in vain. Just so ISIS can take it away.”

The troops’ anger and resentment were further stoked by National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who spoke Tuesday night at a  German Embassy photography exhibit of soldiers wounded in combat.

Via Foreign Policy:

“Now that we have ended two wars responsibly, and brought home hundreds of American troops, we salute this new generation of veterans,” Rice told the audience of about 150 people who were seated between the hauntingly beautiful mural-sized portraits of severely disabled veterans.

Such a description of the U.S. military departure from Iraq in 2011 — when American forces left after failing to negotiate a security agreement to stay — raised eyebrows across the crowd that included active duty and former troops and officers, among them at least two generals and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen. “Responsibly, right?” one retired Army officer said sarcastically to FP’s Lara Jakes afterward.

Susan Rice, of course,  is known for”raising eyebrows” with dubious statements.  She famously appeared on five Sunday talk shows on September 16, 2012, to proclaim that the Benghazi debacle was the result of a “spontaneous demonstration” — not a premeditated terrorist attack. We now know that by September 16, the Obama administration knew that the attack was planned in advance.  Last year, on another Sunday talk show, Rice claimed that Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl “served with honor and distinction.”

Now she’s peddling the fiction that the abandoning countries to terrorists is a responsible way to “end” a war.

It really is “pretty disturbing.”

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Sanders Worrying About Nation ‘Moving Very Rapidly Into an Orwellian Type of Society’

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) didn’t join several Democrats who spoke on the Senate floor with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) yesterday in his 10.5-hour Patriot Act talkathon, but the Democratic presidential candidate made clear this morning he stands with Rand.

Paul finished his speech shortly before midnight, with his primary opponents present. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was on the floor and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was presiding over the Senate, reading a copy of Foreign Affairs magazine.

Paul was essentially stalling the business Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wanted to get to, protesting what he said was not a fair debate and amendments process on the Patriot Act reauthorization.

“Let me just say this: you know, Rand Paul and I do not have a lot in common on a whole lot of issues, but I think on this issue, we’re coming from the same page,” Sanders told MSNBC.

“I worry very much about the United States moving rapidly into an Orwellian type of society. And, you know, it’s not just that the NSA is collecting virtually avenue phone call made in America, has access to the Web sites that you visit, the e-mails that you send. It’s the private sector knowing what books you’re buying, what food you’re eating, your medical records, banking records — this is really scary stuff. And technology has significantly outpaced legislative ability to protect our privacy,” he added.

Sanders voted against the original Patriot Act and subsequent reauthorizations. Section 215 of the law expires in June.

He called Sen. Pat Leahy’s (D-Vt.) USA Freedom Act “a step forward,” but “I don’t think it goes far enough.”

“There may be enough votes to say, we have got to take a thorough look at the issue of constitutional rights in this country. Look, everybody agrees that terrorism is a real threat. I certainly do. But I think we can protect the American people without undermining the Constitution and the privacy rights of our people,” Sanders added.

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Scott Says Police Body Camera Legislation Not About Federalizing Law Enforcement

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Regarding claims that his push for police body cameras is federalizing local law enforcement, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said could be “nothing further than the truth.”

Scott testified this week before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, arguing that a police body cameras would protect both police and citizens and help build trust between communities and law enforcement.

He’ll be introducing legislation on the matter.

“I haven’t heard any of my Senate colleagues come forward and say they believe that the step forward of having body cameras available for law enforcement, local law enforcement, is in any way, shape or form federalizing local law enforcement,” Scott told CNN. “I would oppose, object and strongly stand in the way of federalizing local law enforcement. It’s the worst idea I have heard.”

Scott grew up in the city where Walter Scott, no relation, was running from police last month after a traffic stop and shot in the back. The officer was fired and faces murder charges.

“What this would is would provide funding for local law enforcement who are interested in having body-worn cameras, but cannot afford it,” the senator said of his bill.

“There are about 3,000 or 4,000 jurisdictions around the country that have already made the move in the direction of body cameras. There are some jurisdictions that cannot afford them. What I’m trying to do is make sure that the funding apparatus that could be available is available. And frankly I think it’s going to save more money than it actually costs.”

He said the Walter Scott shooting in his hometown “certainly had a lot to do with me taking a step forward and asking for the hearing that we had yesterday, now asking for the groups that have been part of the hearing process, the experts that have come into my office — we have had over a dozen groups have come in and talk about their concerns, whether it’s disclosure issues, whether it’s data retention, a lot of issues that we need to solve on our way to it.”

“Privacy is a big issue. And it should be a big issue. We should not rush into something. What I hope to see is the laboratory of America working on behalf of the citizens of the country. When you have that many jurisdictions moving forward with body cameras, you would think, three years from now, this is going to be the norm,” he continued. “What I’m trying to do is find the best practices around the country and make them available to other jurisdictions, without us as the federal government coming in and dictating, mandating or requiring anything, but other than having a funding apparatus.”

Scott said he’s “very excited about the fact that the sheriff’s associations that I have met with, the attorney general’s associations that I have met with, the mayors that I have met with all have the same comments.”

“Yes, this will probably be a very good tool for law enforcement officers. Let us talk first about the cost, the data retention, the disclosure issues, FOIA as well, as far as disclosure issues,” he said.

“And if we can overcome those obstacles, then we have a clear path. But everyone so far has agreed that body cameras would in fact lower complaints. One study’s come out that said they declared a 90 percent drop, 90 percent drop in complaints against officers and a 60 percent drop in the use of force. Everyone seems to act differently when they know they’re on video.”

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Trump Slams Geller, Muhammad Cartoon Contest: ‘With All the Problems We Have, Why Taunt?’

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Donald Trump said a Bloomberg poll that shows him viewed unfavorably by 68 percent of global investors, analysts and traders has no bearing on his presidential chances.

“I think that’s because nobody thinks I’m running. They don’t think I’m running. It’s really a funny thing. As you know, I came in, like, beat almost everybody in the New Hampshire Bloomberg poll, the same thing. Yet they don’t think I’m running. So we’ll see what happens. I mean, in June, I will announce one way or the other, and I think you may be surprised. Even you may be surprised. I’ll be announcing some time in June,” Trump told Fox last night.

In this month’s Bloomberg New Hampshire poll, Trump came in with 8 percent behind Rand Paul and Scott Walker tied at 12 percent, and Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio tied at 11 percent.

Trump called Bush “a reluctant warrior; I think he doesn’t want to be running.”

“I don’t know why he’s running. He looks unhappy. He looks like he doesn’t want to be there,” he added.

He also weighed in on the Muhammad cartoons controversy and shooting in Garland, Texas.

“I think Pam Geller is a terrible messenger. I think she’s terrible. We have enough problems without taunting and driving everybody crazy,” Trump said.

“Now, you look at Muhammad and you look at some of the positions they have Muhammad and some people are going to get extremely upset about it. Now, I’m not the only one and I’m not the only conservative Republican that feels this way. They’re lucky to be alive. Why with all the problems we have, why taunt?”

He called the fall of Ramadi and the Obama administration’s ISIS strategy “a total disaster.”

“We’re losing it so badly. They’re cutting off the heads of every Christian that they can find and other people,” Trump said. “You’re going to have to be stronger. You’re going to have to go in there much stronger. I’ll tell you one thing I’d do different, so they caught the accountant, they call him, a few days ago. Instead of talking about it, they should be silent. They’re bragging, oh, we got him. First, he was a mid-level person. And it was such publicity, we got him, we got him, one person. They should have been quiet and gone after others that weren’t suspected. You know, it’s very interesting I’m a big fan of General Douglas Macarthur, I’m a big fan of General George Patton. They don’t talk. They do.”

U.S. officials have said Abu Sayyaf, killed in a Special Forces raid in Syria, was equivalent to ISIS’ chief financial officer.

“I want to make the country great again,” Trump said. “This country is a hell-hole. We are going down fast and I’m a conservative but I have a big heart. I will take care of people, but a lot of people want me to run, and we’ll see what happens.”

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As ISIS Sacks Palmyra, Where Is the UN?

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Probably fretting about global warming, or something equally useless:

Palmyra holds a dual significance to Syrians as being home to some of the world’s most celebrated ruins and one of the Assad regime’s most feared detention and torture facilities. Both, as it happens, will gain new prominence in the days ahead, as ISIS has just swept through the desert tableland, sacking its second city in the course of a week in which a few hundreds of its militants stormed Ramadi, the provincial capital of al-Anbar, largely uncontested by skedaddling Iraqi Security Forces. That sacking put ISIS in firm control of strategic foothold some 70 miles west of Baghdad, and well within striking distance of the Iraqi capital, where suicide and car bombings have spiked recently.

Similarly, the taking of Palmyra puts ISIS on a theoretically straight trajectory for mounting an incursion into Homs—once the cradle of Syria’s revolution and now mostly retaken by the Assad regime—and then possibly onto Damascus, where the terror organization had briefly conquered the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp last month. The loss of Palmyra is a clear threat to Syria’s cultural patrimony, consisting as it does of the standing remnants of 2,000 year-old temples and tombs, because of ISIS’s designation of “idolatrous” pre-Islamic art and architecture—or anything too big for ISIS to hawk on the black market—as worthy only of powdering.

Islam in action. But since Islamic “countries” — there are no Islamic countries, only member “states” of the ummah — make up a large percentage of the UN’s membership, absolutely nothing will be done about this latest act of Islamic cultural vandalism. 

For now, Palmyra remains “calm,” but the mood is undeniable anxious. The departing army destroyed the electrical transformers, Omran said, bathing the ancient city in darkness. Batteries are being used to power computers, but Internet access is spotty. Another source of concern is regime propaganda after the withdrawal: State television has made false claims that Damascus evacuated all of Palmyra’s civilians before its men withdrew. “We’re worried that this was to lay the groundwork for an imminent bombing raid that will make no distinction between Daesh and us,” Omran said, using the derogatory Arabic word for ISIS.

Word on the street is that ISIS has already begun its barbarous counterintelligence work, claiming to have compiled a list of regime agents and sympathizers—a number that, in its view, includes opposition activists opposed to both Assad and ISIS. “The search is on for them,” Omran said.

How were the city’s some 50,000 residents coping, less than 24 hours into ISIS rule? “There’s almost no movement inside the city itself,” he said. “ISIS didn’t introduce a curfew yet, but there’s no one on the street, so you’d think there was one.” And the mood? “Some people have resigned to their fate,” Omran said. “Most of the key services have been shut down. The bakery has run out of flour. The regime shut the lights. People are fearful. They’re not sure what tomorrow holds.”

Death and more destruction is my guess.

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Why Is the Trade Deal Top Secret? And Why Is the GOP Helping Obama? UPDATED

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

And you thought the election of 2014 was about putting a stop to Obama’s rule! Suckers:

u need to tell me what’s wrong with this trade agreement, not one that was passed 25 years ago,” a frustrated President Barack Obama recently complained about criticisms of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). He’s right. The public criticisms of the TPP have been vague. That’s by design—anyone who has read the text of the agreement could be jailed for disclosing its contents. I’ve actually read the TPP text provided to the government’s own advisors, and I’ve given the president an earful about how this trade deal will damage this nation. But I can’t share my criticisms with you.

I can tell you that Elizabeth Warren is right about her criticism of the trade deal. We should be very concerned about what’s hidden in this trade deal—and particularly how the Obama administration is keeping information secret even from those of us who are supposed to provide advice.

The text of the TPP, like all trade deals, is a closely guarded secret. That fact makes a genuine public debate impossible and should make robust debate behind closed doors all the more essential. But the ability of TPP critics like me to point out the deal’s many failings is limited by the government’s surprising and unprecedented refusal to make revisions to the language in the TPP fully available to cleared advisors…

Bill Clinton didn’t operate like this. During the debate on NAFTA, as a cleared advisor for the Democratic leadership, I had a copy of the entire text in a safe next to my desk and regularly was briefed on the specifics of the negotiations, including counterproposals made by Mexico and Canada. During the TPP negotiations, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has never shared proposals being advanced by other TPP partners. Today’s consultations are, in many ways, much more restrictive than those under past administrations.

All advisors, and any liaisons, are required to have security clearances, which entail extensive paperwork and background investigations, before they are able to review text and participate in briefings. But, despite clearances, and a statutory duty to provide advice, advisors do not have access to all the materials that a reasonable person would need to do the job. The negotiators provide us with “proposals” but those are merely initial proposals to trading partners. We are not allowed to see counter-proposals from our trading partners. Often, advisors are provided with updates indicating that the final text will balance all appropriate stakeholder interests but we frequently receive few additional details beyond that flimsy assurance.

Meanwhile, of course, the loathsome Mitch McConnell and the other GOP collaborationists in Congress are doing their best to push this un-American beast through; that he’s joined by Paul Ryan, who once had a bright political future, is both saddening and puzzling.

Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell said on Sunday the Senate will pass “fast-track” authority to negotiate major trade deals this week, despite opposition to the measure from many of President Barack Obama’s fellow Democrats. “Yes, we’ll pass it. We’ll pass it later this week,” McConnell said in an interview with ABC.

The trade issue has made unlikely allies of the Republican majority leader and the Democratic president. McConnell said on Sunday that Obama has “done an excellent job” on the trade issue. The Senate voted last week to consider the fast-track measure, two days after Democrats had blocked debate on the bill, which would clear the way for a 12-nation Pacific trade agreement.

The Republican representative Paul Ryan said on CNN that he was confident the measure would pass the House. “We will have the votes,” said Ryan, who is chairman of the House ways and means committee. “We’re doing very well. We’re gaining a lot of steam and momentum.”

Sickening.

UPDATE: the bill just passed a “key hurdle” in the Senate, thanks to Mitch and his cronies.

President Barack Obama’s signature Asian trade push cleared another hurdle in the U.S. Senate on Thursday after a knife-edge vote moved the White House closer to gaining the power to speed trade deals through Congress. Senators voted 62-38 to give Obama a major victory and set up a speedy decision on the “fast-track” trade negotiating authority the president needs to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. TPP is seen as central to U.S. efforts to counter China’s increasing economic muscle.

Thirteen of 44 Democrats supported the legislation through the second Senate vote. Some supported moving ahead with fast track after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, assured them he would set a vote next month on a bill to renew the Export-Import Bank’s charter, according to leading Democratic senators. The charter is due to expire at the end of June. They were joined by 49 of 54 Republicans, giving supporters of the legislation more than the 60 votes needed to proceed in the 100-member Senate.

In other words, a complete cave. Kentucky voters, you should have elected Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The pact is the biggest trade deal since the North American Free Trade Agreement freed up trade between the United States, Canada and Mexico. More than two decades later, many blame that deal for factory closures and job losses and see the TPP as producing more of the same.

Remember: Obama sees this as another power grab; the McConnell Republicans see it as a way of serving their Chamber of Commerce masters. When you lose your job down the road, you’ll know whom to blame. Your freedom? That’s already gone.

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Shame at Ground Zero

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

The site of the worst atrocity on American soil, perpetrated by devout Muslims acting according to the dictates of their “faith.” And this is what is happening there now. The expression is, I believe, adding insult to injury:

A vendor near Ground Zero is being investigated after he was caught charging unsuspecting tourists up to $30 for a hot dog, At least five fights have broken out in the past week over the exorbitant prices Ahmed Mohammed attempted to make customers pay for hot dogs, pretzels, soda and water, NBCNewYork.com reported.

The television station recorded Mohamed repeatedly overcharging customers, often arbitrarily making up a price for food and drink. He was also observed not giving enough change. Mohammed doesn’t have prices posted on his cart, which is against the law and drew the attention of the Department of Consumer Affairs.

When confronted by a reporter for NBC New York, Mohamed said he didn’t speak English even though footage shows him conversing in English with customers.

Taqiyya in action. Video at the link.

 

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Under Warren Wilhelm, Jr., the Return of ‘Fun City’

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

For those of you who missed the days of The French Connection in New York, the good times are rolling once more (and the media is worse than ever):

Police are investigating the fourth mugging in Central Park in the past two weeks, while also making arrests in one of the attacks. Authorities say a 68 year old man was robbed of his watch. The victim was approached by another man while walking through the wooded area of the Ramble at around 1 a.m. Wednesday.

“Do you have anything of value? Give me your watch!” the suspect demanded after grabbing his victim, police say. The suspect stole the victim’s watch and then fled the location. He was described as an adult male with a slim build. The victim, who lives in the city, was not injured.

How this story could be less informative is beyond me; one has to read between the lines to glean any sore of useful, real-world information, including “walking in the Ramble at 1 a.m,” and the anodyne description of the suspect. Time was when reporters could use race as a helpful descriptor, but obviously no longer; pretty soon, they won’t even be able to use names. Meanwhile:

The robbery came just hours after police made arrests in the first of a string of muggings that has focused increased police attention on the park. 17 year old Jeffrey Valdez and a 14-year-old girl were charged with holding up two people – a 17-year-old girl and a 19-year-old man — near the Heckscher Playground on May 9 at around 9:30 p.m. The suspects were part of a group of about 15 teens who yelled obscenities at the victims before the 14-year-old girl pulled out a Taser and punched the 17-year-old girl in the face.

It was one of three unrelated muggings that had park-goers on edge. The NYPD vowed additional patrols and officers in the park to reassure concerns, but insisted the park is safe. No arrests have been made in the other two incidents, police said.

Socialism: it curdles and kills everything it touches.

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Civil Rights Activist Questions Brutality Charges Against Black Cop

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

police

A police officer in Minneapolis has been charged with nine counts in an indictment handed down by a federal grand jury on Wednesday. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:

Patrol officer Michael Griffin, 40, has been the subject of 22 complaints, only one of which has been sustained by the Minneapolis Police Department.

Griffin is charged in the indictment with depriving the men of their civil rights, falsifying reports and committing perjury in testimony in two lawsuits filed against him.

The suits resulted in $410,000 in payouts by the city to the litigants and their attorneys.

Griffin happens to be black, a fact which informed this reaction:

“I do hope that we are not looking at a double standard by federal authorities because there have been a number of cases involving white officers over the last five years where federal authorities appeared to show no interest,” said civil rights activist Ron Edwards, a former president of the Minneapolis Urban League, who sits on a police oversight committee appointed by Police Chief Janeé Harteau.

Edwards stops just short of suggesting that Griffin should get a pass on account of his race.

“It is so hard and difficult to get a person of color, African-Americans, into law enforcement in this state,” [Edwards] said. “This was a young man who came into the department with high expectations. Something went wrong. He lost his vision of what he wanted to do.”

Perhaps Edwards intent was to suggest that white officers similarly accused ought to face similar indictments. That’s the best-case scenario. Either way, we can see that grand jury decisions regarding police misconduct can be spun as racist no matter how they come out.

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They’re Not ‘Minnesotans,’ They’re Somali Muslims, Working for the Enemy

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

It’s become a quaint fiction among the feel-gooders of the MSM that nationality and citizenship are nothing more than which passport you hold. Thus, we read about “Swedish” rapists, “French” terrorists and “Minnesotan” members of ISIS. This is the result:

Two of the Twin Cities men accused of trying to join ISIS are now charged with student loan fraud. Investigators say both Hamza Ahmed, 19, and Hanad Musse, 19, used more than $1,000 from federal student loan accounts for plane tickets to Turkey and Greece. Prosecutors say they were really going to Syria to join ISIS.

On Tuesday, prosecutors combined two separate cases, meaning that seven young Minnesota friends will eventually be tried together for allegedly trying to join the terror group. Prosecutors combined the case of Ahmed, who was arrested and charged in February, with that of six young men who were arrested in April. Prosecutors say Ahmed’s arrest should have served as a warning to the others.

Yeah, right: more like a how-to manual. Step one: obtain American asylum from your rathole “country” (where, by the way, American soldiers were murdered and desecrated). Step two: Cash in. Step three: use the suckers’ money to finance your personal jihad against the very civilization that rescued you. Oh, yes — one more:

Also on Tuesday, Abdurahman Daud, one of the two members of the group who the government says went to California to pick up fake passports, made his first court appearance in Minnesota. Supporters of the young men argue that the fake passports were the idea of a confidential informant, and that all of the men are victims of government entrapment. The informant was a close friend of all of the accused. Prosecutors say the informant was once part of the plot and at one point tried to join ISIS, too.

Step four: blame the cops. Ain’t “multiculturalism” grand?

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Alternet Freaks Out Over Church Planting

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Chris Queen

Since the inception of the Christian church, after Jesus had ascended into heaven and His apostles began spreading His message beyond Judea and Samaria, preachers and pastors have set up new congregations in neighborhoods and areas where people need to hear the message of Christianity. In our modern parlance we call it “church planting,” but the idea is as old as Christianity itself.

In recent years, church planting has also involved partnering with public schools to provide temporary space on Sundays for churches until they can afford to build a building. The church where I work has partnered with a high school in our community to help launch our first multisite venture.

Now the Left has discovered the tactic, and they’re apoplectic. This week Alternet published an article relating how churches are attempting to reach out to left-leaning cities like Boston and Portland by establishing church plants in schools. The piece starts out straightforwardly enough:

Church planting is happening across the country, and it is organized on a national scale. Its presence in Boston is evidence of its efficiency even in the toughest markets. It has been enabled by pivotal shifts in the interpretation of constitutional law. And it is driven by a subtle yet profound transformation in evangelical culture in America—a transformation in both the religion itself and in its organizations forms.

But look past the first few paragraphs, and the article strikes an ominous tone.

While embracing many of the tools of modernity such as social media, rock bands, and hip graphics, they have become more aggressive in their outreach, taking hard-right positions on culture-war issues such as same-sex marriage, reproductive freedom, and prayer in public schools.

[...]

What are the core beliefs of the national religious groups planting churches in Boston and beyond? Many describe themselves as “nondenominational” or “interdenominational.” To the uninitiated, that may sound moderate, even interfaith, but evangelicals of a generally conservative type overwhelmingly dominate the leadership of this new field.

In many instances, church leadership promotes a Christian Nationalist version of American history that denies the Enlightenment roots of American democracy. The concept of “male headship,” found in the theological position papers of many of the religious organizations and sometimes referred to as a “complementarian” understanding of gender, underwrites a view of gender as Biblically based and hierarchical.

Most churches aren’t trying to set up new bastions of conservatism in these communities — they’re merely trying to save souls. But this breathless freaking out on the part of sites like Alternet demonstrate that, for all their carping about the decline of Christianity, the Left is scared of Judeo-Christian influences in “their” cities.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / Paul Matthew Photography

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Summer Fun: Boy Scouts Ban Water Gun Fights

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Liz Sheld

Policies at the Boy Scouts prohibit water-gun and water balloon fights — so Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout and editor at several Scouting publications, reminds the Scouts.

The ban is detailed inside the “2015 Boy Scouts of America National Shooting Sports Manual,” which regards water guns as firearms. The manual states: “Pointing any type of firearm or simulated firearm at any individual is unauthorized.”

This is a standard rule at any gun range — there is zero tolerance for playing around by pointing your gun at another person. But the BSA has taken it a step further. They don’t want you pointing a water gun at anyone either. Sounds like a sad way to spend your summer.

Bryan thinks that it’s not “kind” to play with water guns. “Wendall writes that a Scouter said of the rule, ‘A Scout is kind. What part of pointing a firearm [simulated or otherwise] at someone is kind?’”

Has he ever heard of “playing around”?

The BSA does approve of the shooting sports — using pistols, shotguns and rifles are “allowed” activities. It just seems overly cautious to prohibit water-gun play because of the “gun” aspect. Does this really teach kids not to point a real firearm at someone in jest, or are we continuing to emasculate our males?

 

 

 

 

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More Dems Than GOP Aiding Paul’s Marathon Protest of Patriot Act

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
YouTube Preview Image

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had one Democrat pitch in to help his 2013 filibuster of John Brennan’s CIA nomination: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who like Paul protested potential drone strikes against U.S. citizens on American soil without due process.

Of course, at that time Paul was blocking Democratic leadership from proceeding with an agenda item of President Obama’s, and today he’s standing in the way of Republican leadership’s agenda as lawmakers are itching to wrap up a trade bill in time for the Memorial Day weeklong recess.

Today, as he delivers a long speech — like Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) 21-hour speech in 2013, not technically a filibuster –  in protest of a lack of debate on the Patriot Act reauthorization and NSA bulk telephone metadata collection, Paul is getting assistance from Wyden — who, like Paul, is demanding that GOP leadership allow consideration of his amendments — and more: Dem Sens. Martin Heinrich (N.M.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Chris Coons (Del.), and Jon Tester (Mont.) have pitched in as of 7 p.m. EST.

“Since I first came to the Senate, I have been deeply concerned about the scope and reach of our intelligence community’s bulk data program, which is based on a flimsy interpretation of the original Patriot Act and has questionable national security value,” Coons said. “Particularly now that a federal circuit court has deemed the program illegal and confirmed these concerns, it would be irresponsible for Congress to continue reauthorizing the law without taking steps to address the unlawful surveillance it has allowed.”

On Paul’s side of the aisle, Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) have gotten up to speak.

Lee tried Tuesday to begin debate on the House-passed USA Freedom Act, which essentially replaces the Patriot Act with more privacy protections, but Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) blocked the motion. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the bill will get a vote but he has not committed to allowing amendments.

“While the senator from Kentucky and I come to different conclusions with regard to specific question as to whether we should allow section 215 of the Patriot Act to expire, I absolutely stand with the junior senator from Kentucky and more importantly I stand with the American people with regard to the need for a transparent and open amendment process and for an open and honest debate in front of the American people,” Lee said.

“I agree with the junior senator from Kentucky that the American people deserve better than they are getting. And quite frankly it is time that they expect more from the United States Senate. This is not time for more cliffs, for more secrecy, and more 11th hour backroom deals. It’s time for the kind of bipartisan bicameral consensus that I believe is embodied in the USA Freedom Act.”

A handful of House members were also sitting in the Senate chamber to back Paul, including Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Tom Massie (R-Ky.) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.).

“Do we want to live in a world where the government knows everything about us? Do we want to live in a word where the government has us under constant surveillance?” Paul asked. “We should be in open rebellion, saying, ‘enough is enough, we’re not going to take it anymore.’”

Paul’s presidential campaign has been sending out filibuster updates and highlighting news coverage of the talk-a-thon, which began at 1:18 p.m. EST.

Paul’s Twitter account was asking supporters to tweet selfies with his filibuster.

 

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State Dept. ‘Deeply Concerned’ as Ancient City Palmyra Falls to ISIS

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

There was  good news and bad news on the ISIS battlefront today. I’ll give you the bad news first.

The Islamic State seized total control of the  ancient oasis city of Palmyra in central Syria Wednesday,  threatening to destroy  ”its its grand complex of 2,000-year-old colonnades and tombs, one of the world’s most magnificent remnants of antiquity.”

This comes just five days after the group seized the Iraqi city of Ramadi.

But for the fighters on the ground, the city of 50,000 people is significantbecause it sits among gas fields and astride a network of roads across the country’s central desert. Palmyra’s vast unexcavated antiquities could also provide significant revenue through illegal trafficking.

Control of Palmyra gives the Islamic State command of roads leading from its strongholds in eastern Syria to Damascus and the other major cities of the populated west, as well as new links to western Iraq, the other half of its self-declared caliphate.

***

People in Palmyra, a relatively remote city, its population swollen with tens of thousands of displaced Syrians, were left on their own, literally squeezed between government forces and the Islamic State.

Residents said that by nightfall, the Islamic State had seized most of the city. Soldiers and the police could be seen fleeing, they said, prompting one cafe owner to exclaim over the phone, “Treason! It’s treason.”

The good news is the State Department is deeply concerned about all of this and will be closely watching the destruction of the city.

When a reporter asked her if something could be done to save the city, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said, “Well, we are deeply concerned about reports of ISIL’s attacks on the Syrian city, which holds the ruins of Palmyra.”

She acknowledged that “the destruction and looting of these sites has been sort of something we’ve seen in other places” and it’s “incredibly harmful,” but as to the question of what the U.S. could do, Harf only had this to offer:

“We’ll keep watching here, we’ll keep seeing what’s happening on the ground.”

Harf added: “This is the reason we’re trying to push back ISIL out of Iraq and to try and help the Syrian opposition push back ISIL in Syria.”

“This is something we’re following; we’re concerned about this. Obviously, it has been caught in the crossfire for some time and we’ll speak up about it,” said Harf. “Beyond that, I’m not sure what more can be done.”

I guess Palmyra doesn’t rate a hashtag campaign.

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#StandWithRand: Rand Paul Filibusters the Patriot Act (Video)

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

Sen. Rand Paul announced Wednesday afternoon his intention to filibuster the extension of the Patriot Act, and insisted that he would not be shoved aside without a debate on this important issue.

As PJ Media’s Elizabeth Sheld reported,yesterday, Republicans have been fighting over what version of the Patriot Act to re-authorize.

McConnell and Rubio want the entire thing including the controversial Section 215 authorizing the government to collect your phone records; Senators Lee and Cruz prefer the USA Freedom Act, which doesn’t allow the government surveillance dragnet; and Senator Rand Paul has thrown down entirely, threatening to filibuster the Patriot Act if it is re-authorized with the snooping provision in place.

At 1:18 p.m Eastern, the Kentucky senator threw down, vowing to hold the floor protesting “this most unpatriotic of acts” until he could not go any longer.  You can watch it live at CSPAN. 

Via the Washington Times:

“It’s time to end the NSA spying,” his official Twitter account said in a post at 1:36 p.m., as he was on the floor.

Mr. Paul is waging a lonely fight, demanding that the government stop snooping without probable cause or a warrant. That’s a step beyond even some of his other erstwhile civil libertarian allies who want to curtail the Patriot Act’s bulk collection, but would still allow government agents to go after the records of individuals without first seeking a warrant.

Indeed, the lonely fight was underscored by the scene on the Senate floor in the middle of the afternoon: Mr. Paul was the only senator present, save for the one Republican required to be in the presiding officer’s chair.

Armed with binders, file folders and a barely touched glass of water, he paced behind his desk on the right wing of the Senate, occasionally flipping through notes to find his place as he offered a lengthy discussion of the Obama administration’s duplicity in maintaining the National Security Agency’s snooping program.

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George Pataki To Announce That Every Republican Should Be Running For President

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Trial campaign slogan: “Why Not?”

Former New York Governor George Pataki indicated on Wednesday that he would announce his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination next week in New Hampshire.

Last week, Pataki said he would be in Exeter, the New Hampshire town known as the birthplace of the Republican Party, on May 28 to announce whether he would be a candidate. In an interview on CNN on Wednesday he joked about his trip to the state, which plays a key role in determining presidential nominees.

“There are some things going on in New Hampshire,” he said. “I think it’s called a primary, something like that, first in the nation.”

While stopping short of announcing plans to run, Pataki said he thought conditions had gotten worse globally. “If you have an ability to lead and you sit it out, shame on you.”

As a long time political activist and observer, the “no-shot” candidates who enter big presidential primary fields have always amused me. These candidacies are usually propelled by a big ego and one or two long-time supporters who have deep pockets with some gambling money.

Many believe most fringe candidates are jockeying for Cabinet positions should their side win the White House. That seems plausible if Pataki does run. After all, it’s been almost a decade since he was last in office and he needs to refresh some memories.

Lindsey Graham, on the other hand, is simply a lunatic who thinks he can win.

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Much-Heralded Study on Gay Marriage Views Retracted Because Data was Faked

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Story telling.

One of the authors of a recent study which claimed that short conversations with gay people could change minds on same-sex marriage has retracted it.

The retraction this week of the popular article published in a December issue of the Science academic journal follows revelations that his co-author allegedly faked data for the study, “When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support of gay marriage.”

According to academic watchdog Retraction Watch, Columbia University political science professor Donald Green published a retraction of the paper on Tuesday after confronting co-author Michael LaCour, a graduate assistant at UCLA.

The study received widespread media coverage from The New York Times, Vox, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and others, when it was released in December.

The news here isn’t that study data was fabricated to fit the pre-determined narrative’s conclusion, it’s that they were caught and are retracting it.

Progressives in academia don’t dismiss opposing points of view merely because they are generally intolerant people(they most definitely are), they also can’t believe any other conclusion but their own to be true. This is a condition that has gotten worse in recent years as the progressive hijacking of academia has taken firmer hold.

It would be at all surprising to me if younger academic wannabes make the “square peg/round hole” approach more commonplace and begin “adjusting” facts whenever they believe they can get away with it. Perhaps they already are and this story is an anomaly.

Maybe we should give them a “safe space” to talk about the abandonment of ethics.

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In the Wake of ISIS Gains in Iraq and Syria, POTUS Says Climate Change Poses ‘Immediate Risk to Our National Security”

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

The threat of terrorism in the homeland ranks pretty low in this president’s list of issues to be concerned about. In case you haven’t noticed.

“Climate change” is apparently the national security threat that keeps Obama up at night. And those who refuse to act on this crucial national security issue are guilty of “a dereliction of duty” and should be denounced for undermining American readiness.

Reporting for The Guardian, Lauren Bambino spiced up her coverage of the president’s speech at the US Coast Guard graduation ceremony by using the words “deny” and “deniers” to describe anthropogenic climate change critics and skeptics. But it should be noted that those are her words — not the president’s.

American politicians who deny that rising seas, thawing permafrost and longer wildfires are the crippling effects of global warming pose a serious threat to US national security, Barack Obama said on Wednesday.

The US president issued a forceful call to action to combat climate change, framing global warming as a national security priority, at the commencement ceremony – or graduation – of the United States coast guard academy in New London, Connecticut.

In his speech, Obama detailed the ways the US military would be forced to respond to climate change in the future. He called refusing to act “a dereliction of duty” and said it undermined American readiness.

“This is not just a problem for countries on the coast or for certain regions of the world,” Obama said. “Climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security, and make no mistake: it will impact how our military defends our country.

“We need to act, and we need to act now,” he said.

Would that he had that much resolve in the fight against the Islamic State.

“Politicians who say they care about military readiness ought to care about this as well,” Obama said of the climate deniers.

Several times Obama lambasted those who refused to endorse the science of climate change.

Watch the video below to the end for the one bright spot. As is usually the case when he speaks in front of a military audience, the president received only a light smattering of applause when he concluded.

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ECO AWKWARD: Ohio Representative Notices an Inconvenient Truth About New Thomas Edison Statue

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

Ohio State Representative Andy Thompson noticed something ironic about the new Thomas Edison statue that was unveiled in Columbus on Wednesday:

 

 

Surrounded by school children wearing orange “We Are Edison” t-shirts, the 6-feet, 10-inch tall bronze statue of Thomas Alva Edison was put on display in the rotunda of the Ohio Statehouse, where it will remain until October. After that it will be shipped to Washington, D.C., to replace the statue of Gov. William Allen that currently represents the state in National Statuary Hall. Ohio lawmakers have been trying to replace the statute of the former Democratic governor, congressman, and U.S. senator because of his support for slavery and opposition to the Civil War.

The Edison statue has its right arm raised and in his hand Edison clutches the (now-practically illegal) incandescent light bulb he helped to perfect.

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Obama to Coast Guard Grads: Don’t Endanger National Security by Denying Climate Change

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama used his commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy today to warn graduates of the threat they face from climate change.

The fight against global warming, he told the grads, is “one where our Coast Guardsmen are already on the front lines, and that, perhaps more than any other, will shape your entire careers.”

“As a nation, we face many challenges, including the grave threat of terrorism. And as Americans, we will always do everything in our power to protect our country. Yet even as we meet threats like terrorism, we cannot, and we must not, ignore a peril that can affect generations,” Obama said.

“Now, I know there are still some folks back in Washington who refuse to admit that climate change is real. And on a day like today, it’s hard to get too worried about it. There are folks who will equivocate. They’ll say, ‘You know, I’m not a scientist.’ Well, I’m not either. But the best scientists in the world know that climate change is happening. Our analysts in the intelligence community know climate change is happening. Our military leaders — generals and admirals, active duty and retired — know it’s happening. Our homeland security professionals know it is happening. And our Coast Guard knows it’s happening.”

Calling the science “indisputable,” the president proceeded to lament that “the fossil fuels we burn release carbon dioxide, which traps heat. And the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are now higher than they have been in 800,000 years. The planet is getting warmer. Fourteen of the 15 hottest years on record have been in the past 15 years. Last year was the planet’s warmest year ever recorded.”

“Our scientists at NASA just reported that some of the sea ice around Antarctica is breaking up even faster than expected. The world’s glaciers are melting, pouring new water into the ocean. Over the past century, the world sea level rose by about eight inches. That was in the last century; by the end of this century, it’s projected to rise another one to four feet,” he continued.

“Cadets, the threat of a changing climate cuts to the very core of your service. You’ve been drawn to water — like the poet who wrote, ‘the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me.’ You know the beauty of the sea, but you also know its unforgiving power… Climate change will impact every country on the planet. No nation is immune. So I’m here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security. And make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country. And so we need to act — and we need to act now.”

That, he said, would be the “true hallmark of leadership.”

“When you’re on deck, standing your watch, you stay vigilant. You plan for every contingency. And if you see storm clouds gathering, or dangerous shoals ahead, you don’t sit back and do nothing. You take action — to protect your ship, to keep your crew safe. Anything less is negligence. It is a dereliction of duty. And so, too, with climate change. Denying it, or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. It undermines the readiness of our forces,” Obama said. “…If we are to meet this threat of climate change, we must be realists. We have to readjust the sails.”

He called climate change — “especially rising seas” — a “threat to our homeland security, our economic infrastructure, the safety and health of the American people.”

“So politicians who say they care about military readiness ought to care about this, as well. Just as we’re helping American communities prepare to deal with the impacts of climate change, we have to help our bases and ports, as well. Not just with stronger seawalls and natural barriers, but with smarter, more resilient infrastructure — because when the seas rise and storms come, we all have to be ready.” Obama also lauded renewable energy technology being used and developed by the military.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said on the Senate floor this morning that Obama’s national security address needed to be about ISIS, not climate change.

“Americans understand that there are much more immediate threats facing our nation,” Barrasso said. “The fall of Ramadi in Iraq, the brutal terrorist attacks by ISIS, these are clear examples of the real threats that must be addressed by President Obama.”

“The president and his national security team must deliver strong leadership and an effective strategy—a strategy to fight the terrorists who want to attack our country and kill more Americans. This should be the focus of the president’s speech today. This should be our most pressing national security concern.”

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Top Intel Dem: ‘No Sugarcoating’ Gravity of Ramadi Seizure by ISIS

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said there can be “no sugarcoating” the fall of Ramadi despite administration assurances that the ISIS victory isn’t as serious as it appears.

“It’s a serious setback… It means, I think, we really have to redouble our efforts to get the Baghdad government to incorporate the Sunnis more fully in the military, to help better arm the Sunni tribes and give them more encouragement to rise up and challenge ISIS,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told CNN.

“I don’t think the answer is more Iranian-backed Shia militias. And I don’t think the answer is American boots on the ground, but rather addressing some of the sectarian problems that have yet to peel the Sunni tribes away from ISIS.”

The Iran-backed militias have moved in on the area between Ramadi and Baghdad but ISIS has been pressing its offensive east instead of keeping its forces concentrated in the city.

“But I think we also have to look at how ISIS has exploited this, because it wasn’t just Saddam who kept a lid on this. It’s also the fact that ISIS purposely went out and tried to stir up these sectarian instincts and frictions and divisions by blowing up Shia mosques, by antagonizing and killing the Shia,” Schiff said.

Ramadi’s fall is “harmful to the cause, and it’s something we’re going have to overcome,” he said. “And it’s part of the seesaw nature of this conflict. I think, as Ambassador Rice points out, this is going to be a long slog.”

“When you look at it overall, we have shrunk the amount of territory in Iraq that ISIS controls. That’s positive. But yet, at the same point, we’re way far away from any kind of a retaking of Mosul. And now we have got to retake Ramadi. And the challenges are extraordinary. But I don’t think that means we can back away from a commitment to the Iraqi government and helping to arm these Sunni tribes to combat the scourge.”

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told MSNBC today “there’s no way to say this is a success.”

“And the fact that we’re in the 10th month of a war that the U.S. started August 8th and there hasn’t been any meaningful debate in the House and, save for one committee vote in the Senate in December, there’s not been any meaningful debate about Congress trying to work with the executive to scope U.S. involvement and define the mission, so we can support the troops there risking their lives,” Kaine added. “What this last weekend showed is that, with urgency now, Congress should be addressing this.”

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Menendez: ‘Nothing Has Changed’ in Cuba Despite Administration Concessions

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
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Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) stressed at a hearing this morning on Cuba policy that “nothing has changed” with the communist regime despite the Obama administration’s incentives.

As Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta S. Jacobson heads to Cuba tomorrow to reopen negotiations on the policy changes announced in December, Menendez has “deep concerns that the more these talks progress, the more the administration continues to entertain unilateral concessions without – in return – getting agreement on fundamental issues that are in our national interest.”

“I have not seen any movement toward greater freedom for the Cuban people,” he said at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “I have not seen movement toward greater tolerance, democracy, or the rule of law. Human rights abuses continue unabated with more than 1,600 cases of arbitrary political rests this year. And, today, only days before the administration’s recommendation to remove Cuba from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism goes into effect, known terrorists continue to enjoy safe haven in Cuba. Joanne Chesimard, on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list for murdering New Jersey State Trooper, Werner Foerster, and Charles Hill, wanted for killing a New Mexico State trooper and hijacking a U.S. civilian plane – are both living in Cuba, protected by the regime.”

“Negotiations aside, hopes aside,” the senator added, “this administration’s desire to move Cuba from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list aside – Cuba’s actions have not changed. Nothing has changed. The real change will come when the Cuban people are finally free.”

Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said he still supports the Obama administration’s Cuba policy because “despite differences we may have with a government, our foreign policy should always endeavor to support that country’s people to the greatest degree possible.”

“Our disagreements with the Cuban government are well known and many,” Cardin said. “But, over time, we have allowed those disagreements to get in the way of developing a strategy that utilizes all of our resources to empower the people of Cuba.”

“Every policy initiative will inevitably come into contact with the reality that the Cuban state and, most importantly, the Cuban state’s relationship with its own citizens, have not yet changed,” committee chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said. “In truth, we will have to define what a normal relationship with Cuba looks like bilaterally, but also in the context of our relationship with the Americas more broadly.”

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O’Malley Makes Video Announcement That Punks Hillary’s Video Announcement

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
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Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley released a video announcement today that … well, mocks campaign announcements.

Especially Hillary Clinton’s video announcement and subsequent scripted Midwestern tour.

O’Malley is actually poised to make an announcement, expected to be a presidential run, on Saturday, May 30, at 10 a.m. on Federal Hill in Baltimore.

O’Malley, 52, is expected to highlight his youth on the campaign trail, buoyed by his band and shirtless photos posted regularly on the Drudge Report.

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ISIS Seizes One Third of the Ancient Syrian City of Palmyra (Video)

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

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Islamic State fighters seized part of the historic Syrian city of Palmyra on Wednesday after heavy clashes with the Syrian military and allied combatants.

They are now, the New York Times reports, “within blocks of one of the world’s most magnificent ancient sites.”

As they have swept across Syria and Iraq, the extremists have destroyed or damaged numerous ancient sites and major cultural artifacts, condemning them as idolatry, even as they pillage and sell off more portable items to finance their activities. The militants’ approach to the ruins of ancient Palmyra, with their grand 2,000-year-old colonnades and tombs, has raised fears both locally and internationally that they too may be destroyed.

Modern Palmyra, also known as Tadmur, is a relatively remote desert outpost of 50,000 people, but it sits astride the main road from the Islamic State strongholds in the east to the more populous west of Syria. It is also near gas fields that the militant group has repeatedly attacked, and last week managed to partially seize. Syrian government forces held the militants out of the city for several days, but withdrew from some checkpoints on Wednesday, residents said.

It is feared that the jihadists will destroy the ancient ruins  if they take control of the city.  

“IS fighters seized the northern parts of the city, which amount to a third of Palmyra,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“Regime forces fled from these neighborhoods,” he added.

On Friday, as they advanced toward the city, the ISIS terrorists executed at least 23 civilians –  nine of them children.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said nine children were among the 23 shot dead by ISIS militants near the Unesco world heritage site.

“The Islamic State group executed by gunfire 23 civilians, including nine children, in the village of Amiriyeh, north of Tadmor,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Palmyra, which means City of Palms, is known in Arabic as Tadmor, or City of Dates.

Abdel Rahman said family members of government employees were among those murdered.

CNN reported that about “100 to 150 ISIS fighters were in the area Wednesday and were as close as 700 meters” from the ancient site.

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Some of the artifacts have been relocated for safekeeping according to the NYT:

Khaled al-Homsi, an activist who opposes both the government and the Islamic State and closely monitors the Palmyra ruins, said that government workers removed artifacts from the museum near the site on Wednesday, and that other objects were taken away earlier for safekeeping. Syria’s chief antiquities official told Reuters that hundreds of statues had been relocated.

He said that in recent days, strikes by Syrian government warplanes had come dangerously close to the site’s medieval citadel. Islamic State fighters were moving farther into the modern city on Wednesday afternoon, he said, but had not yet reached the ancient site.

The UNESCO world heritage site of Palmyra is considered “an archaeological gem,” CNN’s Nima Elbagir reported. The “so-called Venice of the sands” has been threatened by the advance of ISIS.

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Clinton Hires DREAMer Activist as Latino Outreach Director

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has hired a DREAMer activist as her campaign’s Latino outreach director.

Lorella Praeli was brought to Connecticut from Peru illegally when she was 10 years old and graduated from Quinnipiac University. Praeli obtained a green card in 2012, her younger sister qualified for legal status through President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and her mother as well as other family members are still in the country illegally.

She is advocacy and policy director of United We Dream and as a student campaigned for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants in Connecticut.

“We are thrilled to have Lorella Praeli, a DREAMer, join our team because of her courage and perspective in the fight for Latino families across the country,” Hillary for America National Political Director Amanda Renteria told NBC News.

“Bringing Lorella into our campaign is the next step in making sure families aren’t living in fear of deportation, all students have the chance to go to college, and that any comprehensive immigration reform ensures full and equal citizenship,” Renteria added.

Campaigning in Nevada early this month with DREAMers — illegal immigrants brought to the country as children, named so for the DREAM Act — Hillary Clinton vowed “to stop partisan attacks on the executive actions that would put DREAMers – including many with us today – at risk of deportation.”

“And, if Congress refuses to act, as president I will do everything possible under the law to go even further. There are more people – like many parents of DREAMers and others with deep ties and contributions to our communities – who deserve a chance to stay. I’ll fight for them too,” she added.

Clinton’s campaign released a fact sheet on her plans for comprehensive immigration reform, stressing that anything from Congress “must include nothing less than a full and equal path to citizenship.”

She told the Nevada audience that she would put in place “a simple, straightforward, and accessible way for parents of DREAMers and others with a history of service and contribution to their communities to make their case and be eligible for the same deferred action as their children.”

She also vowed to “reform immigration enforcement and detention practices so they’re more humane, more targeted, and more effective.”

Clinton spoke of being a child and watching farmworkers — referring to them as “really, really tired people” — going to work in fields near Chicago.

“So you know where I stand and there can be no question about it because I will do everything I can as president and during this campaign to make this case,” she said. “Now I know there are people who disagree with me and I want them to have a conversation with me. The facts are really clear, we know how much people who are working hard contribute to our economy both in what they buy and what they pay in taxes.”

Her campaign also pointed out that in 1972, “Hillary helped register Latino voters in south Texas and the Rio Grande Valley while working on George McGovern’s presidential campaign.”

“Hillary’s commitment to America’s immigrants was evident as Secretary of State, where she called immigration a ‘source of our vitality and innovative spirit’ and called for us to ‘work together to address these challenges’ so that immigration could ‘continue to be an enormous advantage for the United States, one that bears directly and crucially on our economic and geopolitical prospects,’” her campaign added.

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Good Papal Intentions, and God’s Choices

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Lionel Chetwynd

Allow me to stand corrected: both Stephen Kruiser and Tom Gross are certain Pope Francis’ reference to “angel of peace” in connection to Mahmoud Abbas was a hopeful suggestion, rather than a proclamation of fact. So stipulated.

That such a turnabout by Mr. Abbas, ally of Hamas, would be a miracle should not discourage the pontiff from wishful optimism; popes are the business of miracles. Besides, one can argue, it would have been a lost opportunity for him not to have spoken as he did. After all, how often have much lesser public figures lamented that if they had but the opportunity to sit down and reason with that nice Mr. Hitler (or bin Laden, Stalin, Tojo, Abdulhamit, etc.) then (World War Two, the Soviet deportations, the Nanking massacre, the Armenian Genocide, etc.) would have been avoided?

Great leaders must grasp the doors opportunity opens for them, muster their best intentions, and march through. This, we are told, is the case here.

But good intentions are not policy.

Pope Francis’ plea, if that’s what it was, to the chairman of the PA — whose component parts are dedicated to the destruction of a neighboring state because of the religious faith of its inhabitants, and to the subsequent genocide of those people — is defined as kindly as possibly as only that: good intention.

But Papal State recognition of Abbas’ “state,” co-governed with the sin-ridden, murderous Hamas, is policy.

The Vatican assures us the instrument of recognition will contain guarantees of religious freedom. If Mahmoud Abbas agrees those guarantees shall extend to all faiths — including Jews — then the pope’s dream will have become concrete reality. (Assuming the PA is good to its word.) If, on the other hand, the guarantee extends only to religious groups favored by the pope, then the pope’s dream has been made a nightmare — a horrid relic of the European hatred of the 1930s, now in glorious redux both there and throughout the extreme precincts of Islam.

The hypocrisy of such a treaty would be a triumph for moral relativists everywhere: liberation theologists, Alinskyites, “progressives,” Leftists, Fascists, Communists, and of course, anti-Semites.

As God instructed Moses to tell the assembly ay Mt. Sinai: “I have today set before you a choice … ”

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Governor Blames Republicans for Education Bill That Democrats Voted For

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

It’s been clear for weeks now that Minnesota’s Democrat governor Mark Dayton wants a government shutdown. He’s been openly pining for it, not bothering to mask his naked partisan desire to blame Republicans going into next year’s election season.

The regular legislative session concluded late Monday night. As the deadline for the session approached, Governor Dayton repeatedly moved the goal posts on education funding, demanding ever more spending and full funding of universal preschool for four-year-olds.

The preschool piece has been a “priority” for Dayton despite widespread bipartisan opposition to the idea. Officials in the school district in which I live, which already deals with challenging fiscal issues, have told me they wouldn’t know where to put the new students if preschool were mandated by the state. But practical issues like that don’t concern Dayton, who sees universal preschool as a chance to both define a personal legacy in his second term and stick a thumb in the eye of House Republicans.

Tuesday, Dayton indicated he would make good on a threat to veto an education bill passed by the legislature because it does not include universal preschool. His veto will necessitate a special session during a time when capitol renovations leave the legislature with nowhere to meet. But Dayton says the inevitable special session was triggered by Republicans for not including his “priority.”

There’s only one problem with that narrative. Dayton’s fellow Democrats control the State Senate, and passed the same bill he’s about to veto. The Senate’s passage has been spun by some as a reaction to pressure to end the regular session on time. However, the reality is that many Democrats stand as skeptical of universal preschool as most Republicans.

The drama indicates that Dayton thinks voters will ignore the facts and buy his manufactured narrative of partisan intransigence. Even liberal allies in local media remain skeptical of that strategy’s chances.

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#BlackLivesMatters Protesters Protest Soros Group After Getting Stiffed

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

Protesting injustice is as American as apple pie, but left-wing rent-a mobs have a long, shabby history of exploiting the First Amendment to push an unAmerican collectivist agenda. They do this by distorting the issues, disrupting lives and creating chaos until the American people cry uncle. People will bend to the will of the mob just so the constant hectoring will stop.

Do you ever wonder why folks on the left have a weird, unhinged obsession with the Koch brothers, the wealthy billionaires who contribute to conservative/libertarian causes? They think the Koch brothers are the puppet masters behind the conservative movement. Where do they get this idea? It’s called liberal projection. They know the activist left is controlled and financed by a  New York hedge fund manager who has a personal fortune of about $13 billion.

His company, Soros Fund Management, controls at least another $25 billion in investor assets. Since 1979, Soros’s foundation network — whose flagship is the Open Society Institute (OSI) — has dispensed more than $5 billion to a multitude of organizations whose objectives are consistent with those of Soros. With assets of $1.93 billion as of 2008, OSI alone donates scores of millions of dollars annually to these various groups.

According to the January tax filings of his nonprofit Open Society Foundations, Mr. Soros gave at least $33 million in one year to support already-established groups to organize on-the-ground activists in Ferguson. Two of those organizations, MORE (Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment) and OBS (Organization for Black Struggle), have been financing #BlackLivesMatter protests in Ferguson and elsewhere. Those organizations actually pay people to show up at venues to do their clapping, chanting, and sign-waving routines.

(No, we have nothing like this on the right.) In the video below, a #BlackLivesMatter rent a mob  harassed a Whole Foods store to protest the fact that a Baltimore store donated food and supplies to the National Guard while they were there protecting the city from violent protesters. This gives you a good idea of the sort of activity Soros is financing.

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After the #BlackLivesMatters rent-a-mobs worked so hard in venues like Baltimore, Selma, and Ferguson, raising awareness about the racist white power structure, they wanted their promised paychecks, but apparently a bunch of them got stiffed.

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The protesters “occupied” MORE’s office in St. Louis over allegations that the ACORN spinoff had embezzled money from the movement check. After the May 14th protest, MORE allegedly distributed a list of people who were paid to protest in Ferguson and elsewhere, to show where the money had been going. Included on the list was  Lisa Fithian, who received $1,127.75 for “visit expenses.”

For those who do not know, Lisa Fithian is an infamous leftist organizer. She organized at Occupy, but has been used as a training organizer for many years before that. She spent time in Ferguson in 2014 training people to ‘simulate chaos’.

There are also big payouts to Jeff Ordower, who appears to be disburser of the checks.

Jeff Ordower is a bit like a male Lisa Fithian, he was an organizer for the SEIU and ACORN. He founded MORE and his stated goal is “welcoming co-conspirators in attempts to scale up numbers of radical organizers who can financially support themselves in the work”.

There’s much more on this at Weasel Zippers.    

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White House Spox Josh Earnest: Obama’s Strategy Against ISIS Has ‘Overall’ Been a Success (Video)

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

At his daily press briefing Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told skeptical reporters that despite some “setbacks,” the U.S.-led coalition to defeat ISIS has been a success overall.

ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl had questioned Earnest about the administration’s assessment of their overall track record in Iraq.

“You said, ‘we’ve seen periods of progress an success.’ Would you say that overall it’s been a success?” Karl asked.

Josh Earnest answered, “yeah – overall yes. Doesn’t mean there haven’t been areas of setbacks as we saw in Ramadi….”

But Karl stopped him right there: “Exporting terror to Libya? Taking over the capital of Iraq’s largest province? This is overall a success?”

Earnest took this as a cue to talk up Obama’s vaunted 60 nation coalition.

“What we’ve also seen is – we’ve seen a coalition of 60 nations within the region and around the world which has joined the United States in this fight. We’ve seen a new prime minister take office in Iraq and unite that country….”

Video via the Washington Free Beacon:

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It’s even worse than we thought if the White House press secretary can’t cite a single success story in  Iraq other than Obama’s fake coalition and (arguably) an improvement in the political situation.

Last night on Fox News, Bill O’Reilly suggested that Obama authorized the raid on ISIS oil financier Abu Sayyaf in Syria over the weekend to mitigate the coalition’s failure to stop ISIS.

Bill O’Reilly asked his guests, Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (ret) and Col. David Hunt (Ret.) Monday night,  if they’ve heard the same rumor he’d heard that “the Obama administration knew that Ramadi was going to fall, knew it was an embarrassment, and then okayed this mission (as Col Hunt mentioned there were more than one hundred other requests that were not okayed – to take the sting out of the Ramadi situation.”

Peters said, “I’ve not heard that direct link, but I have heard the administration is doing everything it can to do damage control on the fall of Ramadi.”

Obama has tasked White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest, Brig. Gen. Thomas D. Weidley, and White House spokesman Eric Schultz with damage control duty — and one after another, they’re looking like even sadder versions of Baghdad Bob.

 

 

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‘Over the Hill Gang’ Arrested in Huge Jewel Heist in Britain

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

It seemed like the perfect crime. Thieves broke into the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Box company and spent the entire Easter weekend leisurely going through the boxes, making off with an estimated $300 million.

The complicated plan worked to perfection. The thieves cut through the roof to gain access to Hatton Garden offices, rappelled down an elevator shaft to the basement, disabled a state-of-the-art security system, stole the hard drive of the CCTV system, and cut through an 18-inch thick metal wall.

Everything worked — except the part where they get away scot free. More than 200 Scotland Yard officers swooped down on the 9 thieves and arrested them, along with at least part of their booty. The crooks were between the ages of 43-76 — three of them were ages 67, 74, and 76 — which makes them something of an “Over the Hill” gang.

The police had come under withering criticism in the tabloids for first, missing an alarm tripped by the thieves on Good Friday, and second, for the halting, unsure manner in which the investigation seemed to be carried out.

BBC:

During a press conference, the Met said it felt officers had been portrayed as the Keystone Kops, while a relative of a victim said finding some of the haul could actually make things worse for those affected, as it could delay insurance pay-outs.

Thieves used heavy cutting equipment to break into a vault at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd, where they ransacked about 70 boxes.

The men were arrested in Enfield, east London and Dartford.

Police said bags containing a significant amount of high-value property were recovered at one of the addresses and they were confident some were items stolen during the burglary.

Head of the Met’s Flying Squad, Det Supt Craig Turner, urged victims of the crime to “stay patient”, adding police officers would be in contact with them in order “to restore this property back to its rightful owners”.

He said the investigation had been “complex and exceptional”.

In response to questions about why police did not respond to an alarm that went off at the premises during the time of the heist, Det Supt Turner, said: “We are now in a position to confirm that on this occasion our call handling system and procedures for working with the alarm monitoring companies were not followed.

“Our normal procedures would have resulted in police attending the scene and we apologise that this did not happen.”

There has been no official detail of what was stolen but it is believed jewellery worth up to £200m was taken during the raid.

Cdr Peter Spindler said: “At times we have been portrayed as if we’ve acted like Keystone Kops.

“But I want to reassure you that in the finest traditions of Scotland Yard, these detectives have done their utmost to bring justice for the victims of this callous crime.”

I guess the “finest traditions of Scotland Yard” now include failing to following procedures when an alarm is tripped. Tally Ho!

It would be easy to admire the crooks for their audacity, until you realize there were genuine victims of their crime who lost everything:

A relative of one of the victims said those affected were “probably worse off after this morning’s raids”.

“With the stolen goods vanished, there was pressure on insurance companies to settle quickly to enable holders to trade again,” the relative, who did not want to be identified, said.

“But now, with a whole mess of stuff to sort out, it may drag on for months.

“If batches of the stones were mixed up, it may be impossible to reunite them with their owners.”

Many of the boxes belonged to pensioners who lost their life savings in the heist. Most didn’t carry insurance.

The thieves are apparently non-descript working class types with no known skills in high end robberies. But with a decent plan and a little luck, they managed to carry out what will probably end up being the largest heist in British history.

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The ACLU and Tea Party Join Forces to Stop the NSA

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by Liz Sheld

Amen.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Tea Party Patriots have joined forces to campaign against the re-authorization of the Patriot Act. The two groups are running joint ads in Iowa and New Hampshire, urging the Senate to stop the government snooping.

MSNBC writes, “The unlikely duo’s television ads, which begin Tuesday in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Washington, D.C., call on Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) to help reform parts of the Patriot Act in order to rein in NSA surveillance of Americans.”

A narrator says, “The federal government surveillance program has collected records on nearly every Americans’ phone calls, emails — your most private moments — without a warrant, without cause and without your permission.”

“When Washington invades your privacy, they’ve gone too far,” the narrator concludes.

As I’ve written before, the Senate is in a bit of pickle, with the Republicans fighting over what version of the Patriot Act to re-authorize. McConnell and Rubio want the entire thing including the controversial Section 215 authorizing the government to collect your phone records; Senators Lee and Cruz prefer the USA Freedom Act, which doesn’t allow the government surveillance dragnet; and Senator Rand Paul has thrown down entirely, threatening to filibuster the Patriot Act if it is re-authorized with the snooping provision in place.

Other pro-snooping politicians include Chris Christie and Jeb Bush, so make a note.

Polling released by the ACLU this week showed that voters in both parties overwhelmingly support reforming the NSA. In both Iowa and New Hampshire, 61 percent of voters believe Congress should “modify the Patriot Act to limit government surveillance and protect Americans’ privacy,” the poll found. Twenty-eight percent of likely Iowan voters and 33 percent of likely voters in New Hampshire disagreed, and said that Congress could renew the law unchanged.

The Washington Examiner is reporting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has caved on the Patriot Act, and will bring the USA freedom Act to the floor. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced Tuesday he will allow a vote on the USA Freedom Act, despite his opposition to the legislation.”

“I certainly think we ought to allow a vote on the House-passed bill,” McConnell said after a private meeting with GOP senators. “If there are not enough votes to pass that, then we need to look at an alternative. And I am not making a prediction right now about how it comes out.”

Time is running out for the Patriot Act — it will sunset on June 1st. With the Senate and Congress leaving for their Memorial Day week-long vacation, they have about three days to move on a bill or let the Patriot Act expire entirely.

 

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Let Them Drink Water: Dairy Queen Removing Soda From Kids’ Menu

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

Dairy Queen has announced it will remove sodas from its kids’ menu effective September 1 of this year. The company made the announcement earlier this week in a letter addressed to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

“Under our recommendation, drinks such as milk and bottled water would solely be listed as menu options at DQ locations. I am pleased to inform you that during our most recent meeting, the FAC (Franchise Advisory Council) voted unanimously to remove soft drinks from our kids’ menu,” William Barrier, executive vice president of product development and quality, wrote in the letter.

Instead of soda, children will be offered water or milk. The restaurant joins McDonald’s, Burger King, Chipotle, Wendy’s, and Panera in removing soda from their children’s menus.

Dairy Queen i as subsidiary of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, which happens to be Coca Cola’s largest shareholder and the largest beverage supplier to U.S. restaurants. Restaurants have been feeling pressure from public interest groups focused on reducing childhood obesity, including First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Drink Up’’ campaign, which encourages Americans to drink more water. As a result, soda sales have been tanking in recent years.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

But soda will have a tougher time winning over the next generation if it can’t reach it easily, with some data suggesting U.S. consumption is falling faster among youth than adults.

Some 63.7% of Americans younger than 18 had a carbonated soft drink at least once in two weeks in early 2014, down from 77.3% a decade earlier, according to market researcher NPD Group. Over the same period consumption dropped to 74.3% from 81.7% among adult men and to 70.2% from 78.6% among adult women.

Outside the home, annual per capita soda servings for children between six and 12 years dropped to 33.5 in 2014 from 44.8 in 2009. For children younger than six, servings fell to 19.9 from 27.7 over the same period, according to NPD. It estimates children consume about 40% of their soda away from home.

According to Food World News, soda manufacturers are complicit in this movement to keep their products out of the hands of children:

Back in 2006, the three major soda companies in the world (Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Dr Pepper) agreed to take soft drinks off schools, and now they claim they don’t target children in marketing their products – they’ve also agreed to lower the sugar amounts in the drinks.

What we’re seeing here is the soda industry voluntarily participating in its own demise. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Dr. Pepper — and even shareholders like Berkshire Hathaway — are cheerfully going along with the systematic, selective removal of their products from key markets. Will they allow this to continue until sugary soft drinks are banned altogether? These companies are so frightened of the backlash from these health-conscious, anti-sugar bullies that they are willing to stand by as their profitable sugary sodas are deleted from restaurant menus and banned from vending machines. I’ve never heard of a business model like this working, but maybe that 280,000% markup they get on bottled water will make up the difference. That, or they’re planning on a government bailout when their industry goes belly up in a few years. (That’s where I’d put my money.)

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See How Bernie Sanders Pays for Free College for Everyone in New Bill

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Senator and Hillary Clinton presidential challenger Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today introduced legislation to make four-year public universities totally free.

The 35-page College for All Act would give states $47 billion each year in federal grants to operate. These schools currently rake in about $70 billion in tuition each year, so states would be left to pick up a third of the tab.

“To qualify for federal funding, states must meet a number of requirements designed to protect students, ensure quality, and reduce ballooning costs. States will need to maintain spending on their higher education systems, on academic instruction, and on need-based financial aid. In addition, colleges and universities must reduce their reliance on low-paid adjunct faculty,” Sanders’ office said in a description of the bill. “States would be able to use funding to increase academic opportunities for students, hire new faculty, and provide professional development opportunities for professors. No funding under this program may be used to fund administrator salaries, merit-based financial aid, or the construction of non-academic buildings like stadiums and student centers.”

What’s the pay-for? A “Robin Hood tax” on Wall Street.

“This legislation is offset by imposing a Wall Street speculation fee on investment houses, hedge funds, and other speculators of 0.5% on stock trades (50 cents for every $100 worth of stock), a 0.1% fee on bonds, and a 0.005% fee on derivatives. It has been estimated that this provision could raise hundreds of billions a year which could be used not only to make tuition free at public colleges and universities in this country, it could also be used to create millions of jobs and rebuild the middle class of this country.”

Sanders said today that it’s “a national disgrace that hundreds of thousands of young Americans today do not go to college, not because they are unqualified, but because they cannot afford it.”

He noted that free college would be like stepping back in time, since the University of California system didn’t begin charging tuition until the 1980s and in 1965 average tuition at a four-year public university was just $243.

Sanders stressed that his bill means “any student, regardless of his or her background or income, who has the ability and desire, will be able to get the education they need and the education they deserve. This legislation opens the door for a middle class life to millions of young Americans and will make our economy stronger and more productive.”

He also defended his pay-for: “More than 1,000 economists have endorsed a tax on Wall Street speculation and today some 40 countries throughout the world have imposed a financial transactions tax including Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, China, India, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Brazil.”

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Boehner to Obama: Rip Up Your AUMF Request and Start Over

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said today that President Obama needs to trash his weak authorization for use of military force (AUMF) request.

In February, Obama submitted his plan to Congress for an AUMF against “the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.”

Obama’s AUMF plan specifically “does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations.”

His proposal repeals the 2002 Iraq AUMF and limits the new one to three years. “I do not believe America’s interests are served by endless war or by remaining on a perpetual war footing,” Obama said back at the plan’s introduction, adding that it’s “not a timetable” but “it’s conceivable that the mission is completed earlier.”

It drew both Republican and Democratic opposition, from lawmakers who saw it as weak and handcuffing the administration’s abilities and those who saw it as dragging the U.S. into another war.

In short, the AUMF has gone nowhere in Congress — and Boehner indicated that’s not going to change.

“The president’s request for an authorization of the use of military force calls for less authority than he has today. I just think, given the fight that we’re in, it’s irresponsible. This is why the president, frankly, should withdraw the authorization of use of military force and start over,” he told reporters.

“We don’t have a strategy. And for those of you that come to these regularly, for over two years now, I’ve been calling on the president to develop an over-arching strategy to deal with this growing terrorist threat,” Boehner continued. “We don’t have one.”

“And the fact is, the threat is growing faster than what we and our allies can do to stop it.”

Asked why Congress just doesn’t draft an AUMF, Boehner replied, “We have one commander in chief at a time.”

“It’s the president’s responsibility to wage this battle. And the president, in my view, is not taking this threat seriously as it should. When a major city in Iraq, Ramadi, gets overrun by ISIL and the administration says, ‘Well, it’s just a temporary setback’ — it’s 70 miles from Baghdad,” he said.

“It’s time for the president to get serious about this threat to Americans and our allies all around the world.”

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Court: Google Should Not Have Been Forced to Removed You Tube Video that ‘Caused’ Benghazi Attack

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by The Tatler

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Google should not have been forced to remove the scapegoat anti-Islamic video that “caused” the Benghazi attack.

“The 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Google, which owns YouTube, saying the previous decision by a three-member panel of the same court gave ‘short shrift’ to the First Amendment and constituted prior restraint — a prohibition on free speech before it takes place.”

We now know that the film had nothing to do with the Benghazi attack but was merely an administration talking point to deflect from the ineptness regarding the attack and murder of four Americans in Libya.

“The mandatory injunction censored and suppressed a politically significant film — based upon a dubious and unprecedented theory of copyright,” Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote in an opinion joined by nine other judges. “In so doing, the panel deprived the public of the ability to view firsthand, and judge for themselves, a film at the center of an international uproar.”

The injunction against the film was sought by a cast member, Cindy Lee Garcia, who wanted the film removed because she was receiving death threats for appearing in the film. “Her lawyer argued that she believed she was acting in a different production and had a copyright claim to the low-budget film.”

The 9th Circuit Court decided that while sympathetic to Garcia’s situation, it had nothing to do with copyright law. “The copyright office said it does not allow such claims by individual actors involving performances in movies, according to the court.”

“We are sympathetic to her plight,” McKeown wrote. “Nonetheless, the claim against Google is grounded in copyright law, not privacy, emotional distress, or tort law, and Garcia seeks to impose speech restrictions under copyright laws meant to foster rather than repress free expression.”

No word on when the film will return to You Tube.

 

 

 

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