PJ Tatler

The PJ Tatler

Coming Soon to the U.S.? Confiscating ‘Unhealthy’ Food from Lunchboxes

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 - by Liz Sheld

The British government has decided that “teachers are free to take – and keep – any item from pupils’ lunchboxes if they think they are unhealthy or inappropriate.”

“Parents were outraged last month when it emerged children had scotch eggs and a Peperami confiscated under health eating policies.”

I hope no one tried to confiscate any Hobnobs.

Apparently the micromanaging of lunchboxes is only just getting started. “Now ministers have backed the move, giving staff freedom to ‘confiscate, keep or destroy’ anything deemed to break school policies and setting out the procedure for carrying out lunchbox inspections.

The Great British Lunchbox Inspection began at the Cherry Tree Primary School in Colchester, when junk food was banned from packed lunches.

Vikki Laws, of Colchester, said her daughter Tori, six, was not allowed to eat her Peperami sausage snack, which was confiscated and only returned at the end of the day with a note from teachers.

She said another parent was also told her child was not allowed to have scotch eggs in her lunch box.

Parents were also in uproar after Manley Park Primary School in Manchester banned healthy snacks such as cereal bars from children’s packed lunches – despite offering pizza, chocolate fudge cake and fish fingers on its lunch menu.

Two mothers claimed staff confiscated a nut cereal bar and a packet of 100 per cent fruit chews because of their ‘hidden sugar’.

According to the Daily Mail, “Governing bodies can decide whether to ‘ban certain products to promote healthy eating’.”

Education minister Lord Nash said,

‘Schools have common law powers to search pupils, with their consent, for items.

‘There is nothing to prevent schools from having a policy of inspecting lunch boxes for food items that are prohibited under their school food policies.

‘A member of staff may confiscate, keep or destroy such items found as a result of the search if it is reasonable to do so in the circumstances.’

It’s only a matter of time before these kinds of practices become common here in the United States. Michelle Obama would be proud.

 

 

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Declaring ‘This Is What Change Looks Like,’ Obama Re-opening Cuba Embassy

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Fast-tracking his effort to hold hands with Havana, President Obama today announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba.

In the Rose Garden this morning, Obama called it “a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people, and begin a new chapter with our neighbors in the Americas.”

Embassies will re-open for the first time since 1961.

“Our nations are separated by only 90 miles, and there are deep bonds of family and friendship between our people.  But there have been very real, profound differences between our governments, and sometimes we allow ourselves to be trapped by a certain way of doing things,” Obama said.

“For the United States, that meant clinging to a policy that was not working.  Instead of supporting democracy and opportunity for the Cuban people, our efforts to isolate Cuba despite good intentions increasingly had the opposite effect -– cementing the status quo and isolating the United States from our neighbors in this hemisphere.  The progress that we mark today is yet another demonstration that we don’t have to be imprisoned by the past. When something isn’t working, we can -– and will –- change.”

Secretary of State John Kerry will head to Havana later this summer, the president said, to “proudly raise the American flag over our embassy once more.”

“I’ve been clear that we will also continue to have some very serious differences. That will include America’s enduring support for universal values, like freedom of speech and assembly, and the ability to access information. And we will not hesitate to speak out when we see actions that contradict those values,” Obama said.

He touted “enormous enthusiasm” for his approach among Latin American leaders.

“I’ve called on Congress to take steps to lift the embargo that prevents Americans from traveling or doing business in Cuba. We’ve already seen members from both parties begin that work. After all, why should Washington stand in the way of our own people?” he said, trying to guilt-trip lawmakers into lifting what he cannot. “…I’d ask Congress to listen to the Cuban people. Listen to the American people.”

“A year ago, it might have seemed impossible that the United States would once again be raising our flag, the stars and stripes, over an embassy in Havana. This is what change looks like.”

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), though, said this is what capitulation looks like.

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Pelosi: Elizabeth Warren Doesn’t Speak for Party

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Family feud.

Nancy Pelosi is firing back at criticism from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other liberals in the Democratic Party that President Barack Obama’s administration has been too soft on Wall Street.

“There may have been a couple of people who say that, but that is not the consensus in our party,” the House minority leader said in an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood published Wednesday. “The financial industry doesn’t agree with that,” she noted.

Honestly, no one will ever be tough enough to meet Sen. Warren’s standards. She’s a progressive commie, after all.

This is really about party leadership circling the wagons for Mrs. Bill. While it is true that the Democrats have made big public stinks about the evils of Wall Street, there is still quite a bit of chumminess there, especially when it comes to Hillary. The progressive wing of the Democratic Party is far more enthusiastic than the automatons who will go through the motions to vote for Hillary. Establishment Dems still fear the progressive outliers, as evidenced by the Mrs. Clinton’s populist kabuki theater performances of late.

What Pelosi is doing here is subtly reminding the much-needed big money Wall Street donors that Elizabeth Warren and her ilk may do more than just pay lip service to battling them. Should one of Hillary’s nine or ten thousand legal improprieties finally catch up to her and her campaign stumble, the establishment wants to make sure that money doesn’t reflexively flow to Warren if she is the “historic” choice to be the first female president.

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The Safest Place in the Country Is this Restaurant with Open Carrying Waitresses

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 - by Liz Sheld

This is my kind of place.

At Shooters Grill in Rifle (no seriously, RIFLE), Colorado, your waitress will deliver your menu choice with a side of OPEN CARRY.

All nine of the servers at the restaurant pack heat as they shuttle plates of food to diners, from Glock semi-automatics to Ashlee Saenz’s thigh-length Rueger Blackhawk .357 six-shooter. On the wall, posted alongside copies of the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, is a sign declaring that those inside are still “proudly clinging to my guns and Bible.”

The open carry idea is one that evolved. Restaurant owner Lauren Boebert said she started to carry a pistol while she worked about a month after the restaurant opened. “But through the months, her other waitresses thought it was kind of fun and they, too, started carrying in this town of 9,200 about 180 miles west of Denver.”

bumpersticker

And listen to Boebert go: “We don’t worship guns. We worship Jesus,” said Boebert, a mother of four whose husband works in the oil industry. “We’re here to serve people.”

The guns are no gimmick — the food is good.

Robert Vedrenne ate an early dinner, drawn by that newspaper article in the Glenwood Springs (Colo.) Post Independent. A native Texan, Vedrenne wondered whether Boebert and her staff were just using guns to sell mediocre food.

They weren’t. Menu items include the M16 burrito, the Swiss and Wesson grilled cheese, and “Locked and Loaded nachos.”

“I wanted to see if this was gimmicky or if it really was good food,” said Vedrenne, who is temporarily living in the area for work. “And it was good. I’ll be back.”

Other diners like the food there, too. Last year [Shooters Grill] “won a series of readers-favorite awards from a nearby newspaper for its home-cooked food that includes all-day breakfast and prime rib.”

When asked if Vedrenne was bothered by the guns in the restaurant, he said: “I’m from Texas. This is normal.”

Here’s the “shocking” part: Rifle, Colorado, has a low crime rate; people can open carry their guns into the local Starbucks. “Boebert said the local Starbucks franchisee has no problem when she walks in wearing her Springfield XDS .45.”

“There’s no point to be made,” Boebert said as her waitresses refilled ketchup bottles and wiped down menus, readying for the dinner rush. “This is our way of life.”

A sign on the front door tells patrons to keep their safeties on and weapons holstered unless they need to draw and “in such cases, judicious marksmanship appreciated.”

Here is the restaurant’s website. Motto: “armed and delicious.”

More: Yee-Hah: Open Carry Coming to Texas

 

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Senate Dems Ask Judiciary Chairman for Hearings on ‘Reality of Domestic Terrorism Spurred by Racial Hatred’

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Senate Democrats are calling on Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley to call hearings on “the reality of domestic terrorism spurred by racial hatred” in the wake of the South Carolina church massacre.

The attack by white supremacist Dylann Roof, who killed nine people in a Bible study at the historic Emanuel AME Church, “undermined Americans’ confidence that they can be safe in public spaces regardless of the color of their skin,” Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and committee members Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Al Franken (D-Minn.) wrote.

“In addition to being a hate crime, the Charleston shooting also appears to have been an act of domestic terrorism. Domestic terrorism is defined in the U.S. Code as a criminal act dangerous to human life that is intended to ‘intimidate or coerce a civilian population’ or ‘to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction [or] assassination.’ 18 U.S.C. § 2331(5).”

The Democrats wrote that Roof, “through public and private acts filled with racial animus, sought to intimidate African Americans and discourage them from asserting their rights.”

“We often think of terrorism as the sacrifice of innocent lives in service to a murderous ideology, and Roof’s actions were clearly driven by bizarre and perverse beliefs. Indeed, it has been reported that Roof spoke of a desire to start a race-based civil war, and that he told his victims, ‘You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.’ If this same act had been perpetrated by someone claiming a desire to harm Americans in the service of Islamist principles, it would immediately be labeled an act of terror. A violent act motivated by a racist desire to intimidate a civilian population falls squarely within the definition of domestic terrorism,” they continued.

“Dylann Roof’s actions should remind us that America’s effort to root out terrorism must include a focus on violent racism in our own backyard. Homegrown hate groups have engaged in violence against civilians for these purposes throughout our nation’s history, particularly targeting the African American community, and such groups continue to survive and even thrive.”

They requested Grassley hold hearing on hate groups, noting “in the past, mass violence in our country has been explained away as an act of insanity to be treated as a mental health issue.”

“What we saw in South Carolina is about hate, and it is about evil. We must address the reality of domestic terrorism spurred by racial hatred head on… A hearing could investigate how domestic terrorist hate organizations recruit and spread their ideas; how they gain access to the tools that they use to commit violent acts; and how their members and followers reach the decision to commit murder.”

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Hillary’s Emails: Clinton Asked Iran Man to Dig Into Who’d Been Sent to Face AIPAC

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

A curious email among the batch of Hillary Clinton’s correspondence released by the State Department late last night reveals the former secretary of State wanting to know the history of who has been assigned to speak at Washington’s biggest pro-Israel conference.

The White House traditionally sends at least one administration representative to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee mega-conference, which draws nearly 15,000 attendees from around the world, turning the convention center in D.C. into its own small city for three days.

But the Obama administration has increasingly faced a critical AIPAC audience as it has tried to sell its outreach to Iran and relations with the Israeli government have grown more strained.

On July 9, 2009, Clinton received an email from Jake Sullivan, a deputy policy director on Hillary’s 2008 presidential campaign who went on to serve as her deputy chief of staff at the State Department and then director of policy planning. Sullivan, now a visiting lecturer at Yale, also was a national security adviser to Vice President Biden until last year.

Sullivan “spent months secretly laying the groundwork” for the current Iran nuclear negotiations and is believed to be Clinton’s pick for national security advisor.

“With apologies for the delay in getting back to you on this, below are the key admin attendees at AIPAC conferences. For certain years in the 1990s, we’re still looking for the participant lists,” Sullivan wrote in the email, followed by this list:

      “2008: Rice spoke.
      2007: Cheney spoke.
      2006: Cheney spoke.
      2005: Rice spoke.
      2004: Bush spoke.
      2002: Bush spoke.
      2001: Powell spoke.
      2000: Bush spoke.
      1997: Gore and Albright spoke.
      1996: President Clinton spoke.
      1995: President Clinton spoke.”

Biden ended up speaking to AIPAC the next month, in which he defended the administration’s outreach to Iran. “We will pursue direct, principled democracy with Iran,” Biden told the conference, adding that the U.S. “will approach Iran initially in the spirit of mutual respect.”

Clinton ended up addressing AIPAC the next year, in 2010, where she spent more time addressing a two-state solution than Iran.

“We took this course with the understanding that the very effort of seeking engagement would strengthen our hand if Iran rejected our initiative. And over the last year, Iran’s leaders have been stripped of their usual excuses. The world has seen that it is Iran, not the United States, responsible for the impasse,” she told the conference then. “With its secret nuclear facilities, increasing violations of its obligations under the nonproliferation regime, and an unjustified expansion of its enrichment activities, more and more nations are finally expressing deep concerns about Iran’s intentions.”

Both Clinton and then-Sen. Obama stumped at AIPAC in 2008. President Obama addressed AIPAC in 2011 and while stumping for re-election in 2012. Biden was sent in 2013. Secretary of State John Kerry was sent in 2014, while National Security Advisor Susan Rice got the duty — and a chilly reception to the administration message — this year.

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Ready for Uncle Joe’s White House Run?

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

As the Dowager Empress fades, panicked Democrats are casting around for a substitute not named Bernie Sanders. Some think they’ve found one:

With Democrats suddenly realizing their nominee is going to be a socialist or a baggage-laden throwback with honesty issues, the often-dismissed vice president is looking pretty, pretty good. What seemed laughable just a few weeks ago is now getting serious consideration from Democratic power brokers panicked at the evaporation of Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers and the rise of ultra-left Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Biden, 72, is prone to gaffes and guffaws, but beloved by party insiders and many voters, especially blue-collar Dems who don’t exactly identify with the former secretary of state and her six-figure speaking fees. Biden’s spirit and perseverance — such as in dealing with the unbearable tragedy of his son Beau’s death — transcend his awkwardness and show character.

Biden also is a pretty safe choice as a potential nominee. There won’t be many surprises. He’s been in politics almost his whole life and voters have pretty much seen the worst. And Biden already has a national organization, which would be essential if Clinton had to drop out in the middle of the primaries.

Oh, she’ll be long gone before then.

The vice president also could act as a unifying figure for the party after what would be a confidence-shaking collapse by the former first lady, who has been penciled in as the party’s 2016 nominee for eight years. And party leaders would be thrilled to settle for Biden over Sanders, who would evoke painful memories of liberal Sen. George McGovern’s 49-state loss in 1972.

But whether voters would view Biden as top-of-the-ticket material is questionable. He makes Ronald Reagan look like a whippersnapper. He’s the very definition of second banana and hasn’t been handed a lot of responsibility by the attention-seeking Obama. And let’s face it, no one would be talking about Biden if it weren’t for the stunningly bad performance by Clinton, along with the apparent joy some liberal Democrats are getting at her troubles, especially Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

In the end, I still think it will be Warren in 2016. And if the GOP can’t find a candidate to beat a fake-Indian, millionaire, elderly, white woman, Harvard professor, the party deserves to die.

 

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Oh, Those Private-Server Government Emails!

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Sure, the Obama administration is hopping mad about Hillary!’s blatant attempt to skirt FOIA and just about everything else during her tenure as secretary of state. But,naturally, it knew all about them long in advance:

Senior Obama administration officials, including the White House chief of staff, knew as early as 2009 that Hillary Rodham Clinton was using a private email address for her government correspondence, according to some 3,000 pages of correspondence released by the State Department late Tuesday night. The chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, requested Clinton’s email address on Sept. 5, 2009, according to one email. His request came three months after top Obama strategist David Axelrod asked the same question of one of Clinton’s top aides.

But it’s unclear whether the officials realized Clinton, now the leading Democratic presidential candidate, was running her email from a server located in her home in Chappaqua, New York — a potential security risk and violation of administration policy.

Of course it’s “unclear.” In the plausible-deniability world the Clintons inhabit, “you can’t prove it!” is the operative motto.

The emails ranged from the mundane details of high-level public service — scheduling secure lines for calls, commenting on memos and dealing with travel logistics — to an email exchange with former President Jimmy Carter and a phone call with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Carter mildly chided Clinton about how to handle the release of two hostages held in North Korea, while Clinton recounted that Rice, her predecessor, “called to tell me I was on strong ground” regarding Israel.

Clinton’s emails have become an issue in her early 2016 campaign, as Republicans accuse her of using a private account rather than the standard government address to avoid public scrutiny of her correspondence. As the controversy has continued, Clinton has seen ratings of her character and trustworthiness drop in polling.

Axelrod said Wednesday that while he knew Clinton had a private email address, “I did not know that she used it exclusively or that she had her server in her home.” The White House counsel’s office also was not aware at the time Clinton was secretary of state that she relied solely on personal email and only found out as part of the congressional investigation into the 2012 Benghazi, Libya, attacks, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Naturally, Axelrod has previously denied knowledge of Clinton’s email server. If this woman gets anywhere near the White House instead of the Big House next year, we’re even farther gone than we think.

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CNN Poll: 59% of Americans Glad That Federalism Is Dead

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

According to a new CNN poll, majorities support both SCOTUS’ ObamaCare and its gay marriage decision:

According to a new CNN/ORC poll, 63% support the Court’s ruling upholding government assistance for lower-income Americans buying health insurance through both state-operated and federally-run health insurance exchanges. Slightly fewer, 59%, say they back the ruling which made same-sex marriages legal in all 50 states.

It’s not surprising that a majority of voters like free money — which is undoubtedly what they think about ObamaCare subsidies — or that they support legalizing gay marriage. Previous polls showed that already. No, what’s shocking here is that they’re apparently willing to throw federalism in the dust bin to achieve these goals. Because that’s what happened here — in both cases. With regards to ObamaCare Congress was basically circumvented and “the state” suddenly means “Washington, D.C.” And, while many people might be happy that same-sex marriage is now legal everywhere, the Supreme Court was only able to do this by taking away the power of individual states to define marriage — an issue clearly left to them according to the Constitution.

In other words, Americans are a-okay with power grabs as long as they support the issues the judicial coups are meant to defend.

Or not? Hot Air explains that the average voter may not even realize what just happened — and CNN, of course, conveniently forgot to explain it to them. Especially the question about ObamaCare was questionable if not downright deceptive:

The question in King v. Burwell wasn’t whether giving subsidies to poorer Americans to pay their health insurance is legal in the abstract, as that question seems to imply. The question was whether the text of the ObamaCare statute itself authorized those subsidies for consumers on the federal exchange. You could have rephrased this question to ask, “If a law passed by Congress authorizing health-care subsidies is unclear, should clarifying it be a job for Congress or the Supreme Court?” Imagine the numbers you’d have gotten for that one. But then, that question’s not really fair either. The core issue in King for 99 percent of the public is, “Should the government keep the free money flowing to people who’ve come to depend on it?” The legal niceties of that, whether subsidies are legal or illegal given the way the law was drafted and which branch of government should be responsible for cleaning up this mess, are probably just that — niceties.

In other words, the poll results can be interpreted in two different ways: the first one is that Americans no longer support federalism; the second option is that they’re too uneducated to understand what’s going on.

Whichever may be the case the result is the same: a Supreme Court or a president run amok will get away with it as long as they hold positions a majority of Americans support. This means that while federalism has been stabbed in its heart by SCOTUS, the American people are the ones who have officially declared it dead.

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TSA to Citizens: Your Money Belongs to Us

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh
We'll take it from here

We’ll take it from here

Another thing to thank George W. Bush for:

Earlier today, Transportation Security Administration spokesperson Lisa Farbstein sent the following tweet from her verified account:

The photo, from the Richmond airport, shows a passenger’s luggage containing $75,000 in cash. Farbstein asks, “Is this how you’d transport it?” Most people would not, but there is nothing illegal about simply checking a bag containing $75,000, or carrying it with you on the plane. Passengers aren’t under any obligation to report large sums of cash unless they’re traveling internationally, though the TSA recommends that passengers consider asking for a private screening.

Asked about the incident via e-mail, Farbstein said that “the carry-on bag of the passenger alarmed because of the large unknown bulk in his carry-on bag. When TSA officers opened the bag to determine what had caused the alarm, the money was sitting inside. Quite unusual. TSA alerted the airport police, who were investigating.” Farbstein didn’t respond to a question about whether posting photos of the man’s luggage and property violated his privacy, nor did she offer any more details on the situation.

So what happened?

In this case, the cash was seized by a federal agency, most likely the Drug Enforcement Administration, according to Richmond airport spokesman Troy Bell. “I don’t believe the person was issued a summons or a citation,” he said. “The traveler was allowed to continue on his way.”

If true, that would make this incident just the latest case of civil asset forfeiture at the nation’s major transportation hubs. In recent months several high-profile stories have surfaced of passengers who had large sums of cash seized by the DEA, including a young man at an Amtrak stop, a college student at the Cincinnati airport, and a nail salon owner in New York. While the DEA took the cash in these cases under suspicion of its involvement in drug trafficking, no drug charges been filed in any of the cases.

When traveling in your own country, every American is now presumed suspicious. The Bush administration’s wrong-headed and misdirected reaction to 9/11 is to its everlasting shame.

 

 

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Who Needs Greece When You’ve Got Chicago?

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

The “internal contradictions” of socialism are now becoming distressingly external. Surprise!

The Chicago Board of Education made its pension payment on schedule Tuesday, but at a cost — massive layoffs. The meet the $634 million obligation, the board used a combination of borrowed money, $200 million dollars in cuts and layoffs it promised before talks with the Chicago Teachers Union broke down last week.

The board is expected to lay off 1,400 employees, and Interim Schools CEO Jesse Ruiz said in a statement that classrooms will be impacted. “As we have said, CPS could not make the payment and keep cuts away from the classroom,” he said.

And we think the Greeks are dumb, spoiled children. It never seems to occur to the “public-employee” racketeers that they really can’t have it all.

Mayor Emanuel said Tuesday that schools would open on time this fall, but he refused to discuss what classrooms would look like when they did.

CTU vice president Jesse Sharkey told reporters late Tuesday evening that news of the layoffs, “is dismaying news. It will have an extremely harmful effect on students who are disproportionately poor, students of color that are in Chicago Public Schools. These policies are the direct result of a long-term policy of fiscal mismanagement by Mayor Emanuel’s handpicked board.”

You voted for it, Chicago — enjoy it.

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California Finally Does Something Right

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

I grew up in southern California in the 1950s and until the arrival of the Salk vaccine against polio, the sight of young children in wheelchairs, crippled by the disease, was commonplace. The relief we all felt when a brilliant researcher slew polio was palpable. Other childhood scourges have similarly been wiped out. So why are even arguing about this?

California on Tuesday became the largest state in the country to require schoolchildren to receive vaccinations unless there are medical reasons not to do so, as Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that ended exemptions for personal or religious reasons. Mr. Brown, a Democrat, signed the bill after it was passed by significant margins in the State Legislature.

The new law was the subject of a long and heated debate in reaction to a strong movement among some parents who refuse to vaccinate their children against infectious diseases like measles.

“The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases,” Mr. Brown said in a statement. “While it is true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community.” Two other states, West Virginia and Mississippi, have similar vaccination requirements.

There is no excuse for not vaccinating your children. None.

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Massive Terror Attack on Military Checkpoints in Egypt’s Sinai Kills Dozens

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

A coordinated attack by terrorists on multiple Egyptian military checkpoints in north Sinai has left dozens dead with fighting still ongoing in some areas, according to multiple reports.

Wilayat Sinai, the ISIS affiliate operating in Sinai and formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) until their merger with ISIS in November 2014, has reportedly already taken credit for the attack:

This attack comes just two days after the assassination of Egypt’s Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat, whose funeral was yesterday.

The attacks occurred near Sheikh Zuweid not far from the Rafah border crossing into Gaza.

If casualty figures continue to climb, this would be one of the biggest terror attacks in Egypt’s modern history and definitely would mark an escalation in the conflict between terrorist groups and the Egyptian government in the two years since the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi.

Egypt is one of the top U.S. allies in the Middle East, though the Obama administration withheld military supplies from Egypt for nearly two years as the insurgency in the Sinai escalated, only relenting recently.

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Dem Warns He’ll ‘Make Certain’ That Iran Deal Is Blocked If Ayatollah’s Demands Met

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

As the Obama administration extended the deadline for nuclear talks to July 7, some in the president’s own party are more nervous about what the ayatollah is saying than they are reassured by the White House.

Rep. Alcee Hastings (Fla.), the top Democrat on the Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe, said today that he applauds administration negotiation efforts, but “I am deeply concerned by news that Ayatollah Ali Khameni – the arbiter of public matters in Iran – has demanded that nearly all sanctions be lifted before Tehran has dismantled portions of its nuclear infrastructure and before international investigators confirm that Iran is on track to meet its obligations.”

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made clear that they won’t accept a deal that doesn’t lift sanctions immediately; the White House said last Wednesday that they’re “most focused on …the actions, not the words.”

Secretary of State John Kerry said, “We’re not going to be guided by or conditioned by or affected by or deterred by some tweet that is for public consumption or for domestic political consumption.”

Hastings said he’s “even more alarmed that Ayatollah Khamenei has unequivocally rejected any freeze on Iran’s nuclear enrichment and has refused to agree to allow inspections of Iranian military sites.”

“During the past eighteen months of negotiations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran’s stockpile of nuclear fuel has increased by approximately 20 percent. We must not allow negotiation extensions to permit the continuation of this enrichment or Tehran’s support of international terrorism. Sanctions relief unquestionably supports Iran’s ability to fund such organizations and any agreement must guarantee that sanctions in place now are lifted slowly and deliberatively,” the congressman said in a statement today.

“At the end of the day, an acceptable deal will be one that guarantees that any Iranian pathway to a nuclear weapon is completely eliminated. It is my sincere hope that the current negotiations will result in a strong deal that does just that. In the event that a final agreement is reached which fails to do so, I will stand with my colleagues in Congress to make certain that it is blocked.”

Today Kerry met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

State Department press secretary John Kirby said the “technical extension” of the talks was “like going into extra innings here, okay, in the same game.”

“And what I can also say, then, thirdly is that our focus remains on trying to reach a deal. And that’s where – and the work inside the negotiating room is them trying to resolve the differences that are still outstanding. Again, I won’t speak to the specifics of all those differences, but there does remain – there are differences on some issues, and again, they’re working through that,” Kirby said.

“Secretary Kerry’s also very pragmatic and clear-eyed about this, though, and as I think you heard the President say – certainly Secretary Kerry has said it before – that no deal is better than a bad deal. So it’s not about – the – I don’t – the extension is – it’s important because it provides a little extra breathing space, but nobody’s under any illusions or trying to race to that day as sort of ‘I got to have it by.’ It’s – we could get a deal in two days, three days: we could get a deal on the 7th: or we could get no deal at all. That’s always a possibility too.”

President Obama told reporters today that “if we can’t provide assurances that the pathways for Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon are closed and if we can’t verify that, if the inspections regime, verifications regime, is inadequate then we’re not going to get a deal and we’ve been very clear to the Iranian government about that.”

“…And given past behavior on the part of Iran, that can’t simply be a declaration by Iran and a few inspectors wandering around every once in a while. That’s going to have to be a serious, rigorous verification mechanism. And that, I think, is going to be the test as to whether we get a deal or not.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said today that if Obama “chooses to conclude a deal that ensures that Iran will be a nuclear threshold state,” he’s “confident that a majority of both houses of Congress” will oppose it.

“If the president were serious about negotiating a deal that advances our security and protects our allies, such as Israel, he would walk away from the table and impose new sanctions on Iran until the regime comes to the table ready to negotiate seriously,” he said.

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A.B. Stoddard: ‘Hillary Clinton’s Entire Strategy Was to Circumvent the FOIA’ (Video)

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

State Department officials released new emails Tuesday from the 55,000 pages Hillary Clinton provided to the agency in November of last year. According to Fox News, the court ordered State to publish emails once a month on a rolling basis in order to meet its  deadline of January 29, 2016.

The State Department was forced to begin publishing portions of that batch, which contains roughly 300,000 individual communications, through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Vice News.

On  America’s Newsroom today, The Hill’s A.B. Stoddard absolutely savaged Hillary Clinton for the corrupt manner in which  she handled her emails while at State, and predicted that Hillary would have a difficult time persuading skeptical voters that she would make a trustworthy president.

“She not only cherry-picked and left everything she doesn’t want anyone to see on the server –  the entire strategy was to circumvent the FOIA,” AB explained.  ”It was very shrewd and very keen and they knew exactly what they were doing. They didn’t even give the State Department the emails that they cherry-picked electronically. They printed pages so that the State Department wouldn’t have to spend another five weeks trying to scan them to a system that could be shared and assessed and read. This is the most intentional act of keeping government property and then destroying it…”

Stoddard predicted that Clinton will have a difficult time convincing “those last  3% of persuadable voters” to vote for her.

“We would be electing as president, someone who not only circumvented not only her arrangement with the Obama administration – the criteria under which she had to work as Secretary of State – but as I said, removed government property and had it destroyed. That is a known fact – that’s on the record. People armed with this knowledge are going to be deciding on her style of governance. And I think it will be the biggest story about her – bigger than any stories about her record as Secretary of State, Benghazi, or anything else.”

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As Hillary’s damaging emails are released in slow-drip fashion, the nation will have no choice but to witness the continuing spectacle of her unraveling, ill-begotten campaign.

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State Department Is Withholding Clinton/Obama 10:00 Benghazi Phone Call Readout (Video)

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

President Barack Obama has never explained what he did on the night of the 9/11/2012 attack in Benghazi, but it is known that he made a phone call to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while the attack was still unfolding.

The readout of the phone call is being withheld by the State Department on the basis of what’s called “B-5.”  The administration claims the information isn’t classified, but represents “internal deliberations about the 2012 terror assault.”

Fox News‘ Catherine Herridge reported that legal experts say that B-5 status may not be enough to keep the records out of the public domain because of a rather gaping loophole. “If there’s any suggestion that there was misconduct, or in this case, discussion of the video explanation, they could not withhold [the phone readout] under the exemption.”

It had previously been disclosed that Clinton and Obama spoke the night of the terror attacks. But the documents offer additional information about the timing of the call — after the initial attack on the U.S. consulate, but before the second wave where mortars hit the nearby CIA annex and killed former Navy SEALs Ty Woods and Glen Doherty.

The contents of the call, however, are being withheld, not because the information is classified but because the administration claims they represent internal deliberations about the 2012 terror assault.

The claim comes as Clinton also faces accusations that she withheld Benghazi-related emails from her private server in the trove of emails handed over to the State Department.

The contents of the call were only shared with Obama’s and Clinton’s closest aides. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes sent an email on the call to State Department officials Jake Sullivan and Philippe Reines, and National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan.

The email was released as part of an ongoing lawsuit by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.

The email on the Obama-Clinton phone call bears the subject line, “Call.” The text of the email says, “Readout of President’s Call to Secretary Clinton,” but the rest of the details are fully redacted. The State Department cited the so-called “B5″ exception for internal deliberations.

The emails also show that Rhodes, on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, and before the attack was over, endorsed a statement from Clinton that cited an anti-Islam Internet video.

Clinton said in a statement following the 10:00 p.m. phone call that “some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.”

And the next day, NSC spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan sent an email to State and NSC officials saying Rhodes would host a conference call that morning “to ensure we are all in sync on messaging for the rest of the day.” Which is why we kept hearing about the anti-Mohammed YouTube video over and over again in the days that followed. They continued the ruse until it was no longer tenable.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement: “It is little wonder that Mrs. Clinton and the entire Obama administration have fought so hard to keep these documents from the American people — they shine a spotlight on the administration’s incompetence and indifference. All evidence now points to Hillary Clinton, with the approval of the White House, as being the source the Internet video lie.”

On Fox News, Fitton said, “If it were helpful [the phone call readout would be released, in my view. It's unhelpful, and that's why they're keeping it secret."

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In May of 2013, Charles Krauthammer on Fox News’ Special Report surmised that the 10:00 pm. Clinton/Obama phone call could be “the biggest scandal of all.”

“The biggest scandal of all, the biggest question is what was the president doing in those eight hours,” Krauthammer said. “He had a routine meeting at five o’clock. He never during the eight hours when our guys have their lives in danger, he never called the Secretary of Defense, he never calls the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he never calls the CIA Director.  Who does he call? Five hours in he calls the Secretary of State. And after the phone call she releases a statement essentially about the video and how we denounce any intolerance. It looks as if the only phone call is to construct a cover story at a time when the last two Americans who died were still alive and fighting for their lives. There’s the scandal and that has to be uncovered.”

 

 

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Tsipras Begs for Third Greek Bailout at the 11th Hour

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

The histrionics haven’t worked. The arrogant strutting and bombast haven’t worked either. Neither has the name calling and claims that Greek “pride” was being wounded by creditors asking that the money they loaned to Greece be paid back.

All the tricks and gambits tried by the Greek government of Prime Minister Alex Tsipras that the far left is famous for have failed because they cannot alter reality to fit their narrative. These are not low information voters they’ve been trying to bamboozle over these last several months. These are hard eyed money men who have loaned Greece $260 billion over the last 4 years and, acting in the name of the taxpaying citizens of Europe, would like it returned with interest, please.

We’ll never know why Tsipras believed he could get the EU, the ECB, and the European Commission to go easy on the Greek government that blew into office in a landslide this past January. He thought he could remove the restraints on the Greek budget, raise spending 7%, tax the rich, nationalize industries, and most importantly, set up a new debt regime that basically delayed paying creditors for 50 years.

He claimed a continent wide mandate while being elected by a nation with barely 2% of the European population. Was he naive or delusional? Probably both.

But now, as Greek slides into chaos, Tsipras has made some additional proposals to the EU that he hopes will stave off disaster.

USA Today:

Greece requested a third bailout from the eurozone Tuesday in a last-ditch effort to secure a debt deal before its financial-crisis-era bailout expires and it defaults on a loan from the International Monetary Fund, one of its three international creditors.

The two-year deal, if accepted, would allow Athens a new bailout from the eurozone’s European Stability Mechanism, its $560 billion rescue fund.

As European finance ministers met Tuesday to discuss the proposal, thousands of Greeks took to the streets of Athens, many of them in support of accepting new bailout terms. A “no” vote would lead to Greece leaving the European Union and abandoning the euro currency.

Tweets from a variety of European finance ministers who were on the conference call indicated that as expected there would be no extension to Greece’s bailout plan, and that the ministers could also be meeting Wednesday to resume discussions around the details of the new bailout terms.

“#Eurogroups ends,” tweeted Finnish representative Alexander Stubb. “Letter of @tsipras_eu includes three requests. Extension of programme or haircut not possible…cont…”

The last-minute development comes as Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said Tuesday that his country would not make a debt payment to the IMF by a midnight deadline, setting the stage for a showdown with its creditors ahead of a national referendum Sunday on its membership of the euro currency.

But despite the eleventh-hour overture, an imminent resolution to the crisis isn’t expected. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly said there would be no decisions on a new Greek deal until that country’s vote Sunday. And Greek lawmakers have pointed out that once a referendum has been set there is no way to cancel the vote.

Greece is so sick that you have to wonder about the sanity of creditors if they were to contemplate giving Greece tens of billions of more euros. But insanity has been the hallmark of this crisis, so perhaps if there is a “yes” vote on the referendum next Sunday, Merkel, Hollande, and Juncker will swallow hard and try to sell a third bailout to the voters. Indeed, the case is going to be made that Greece must be kept in the bosom of the EU or the entire project will be lost.

If the EU goes that route, they will be playing right into the hands of Tsipras. He has been counting on the indispensability of Greece to the future of the EU, first to get him far more generous terms on debt repayment, and now another bailout.

But a “No” vote on Sunday would probably mean the end of negotiations. And in a twist of irony worthy of a classical Greek tragedy, if the Greeks vote “Yes” they may get a new bailout or financing, but it will almost certainly mean the end of Prime Minister Tsipras, who will almost certainly resign and call for new elections. If they vote “No” they will likely leave the EU but will be stuck with Tsipras in office.

A Hobson’s Choice to be sure.

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O’Malley: Save Puerto Rico!

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley wants the U.S. to step in and bail out Puerto Rico.

On Sunday, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced that the U.S. territory can’t pay its $72 billion in debt, drawing comparisons to Greece and warnings from economists that U.S. investors have much more to lose from a Puerto Rico collapse than the fall of Athens. Unlike a U.S. city such as Detroit, Puerto Rico cannot file for bankruptcy per the Constitution.

 ”As a nation we must help our fellow U.S. citizens not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because our region’s economic stability depends on it,” O’Malley said in a statement today, urging President Obama and Congress to act.

Garcia Padilla has asked “for concerted actions from Washington, in one voice, now — action wherein changes can finally be made to Chapter 9, so that Puerto Rico can count on the same protections as other jurisdictions.”

“Those who attempt to exploit this situation to gain a financial or political advantage” would find that “Puerto Rico will be united against you,” the governor warned creditors.

“While Governor Garcia Padilla has taken the courageous first steps to steer Puerto Rico through this crisis, we must act now to avoid Puerto Rico’s economic collapse,” O’Malley said. “First, Puerto Rico should be able to negotiate with its creditors just as states can under the U.S. Bankruptcy code. Congress should approve Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi’s legislation that would allow for this to happen.”

“Second, as I’ve stated before, the Department of Health and Human Services must end the inequitable treatment of Puerto Rico under Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. High costs and low reimbursement rates are a huge burden to Puerto Rico’s budget and millions of U.S. citizens are at risk of losing care,” he continued.

“These are two steps we can take today, but I urge the Administration and Congress to work with Puerto Rico on a path forward that both provides immediate relief, and builds a foundation for sustainable, long-term economic stability.”

Pierluisi stressed yesterday that the island “does not have access to tools that are available to nations—like IMF or other external funding—just as it does not have access to certain tools—like Chapter 9 for its municipalities—that are available to all U.S. states.”

“Puerto Rico’s political status is thus a major impediment to its economic and fiscal recovery,” he said, adding of his legislation to seek an exemption from the Jones Act that “to say this legislation faces political headwinds in Washington is a serious understatement.”

“I filed a bill to achieve this objective in July 2014, and then again in February 2015, and am working hard to move it forward in the legislative process.”

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‘You’re Going to Get What I Think, Like It Or Not’: Christie Running for President

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
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In a speech that was part sentimental reflection and part classic Christie zingers, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie today became the 14th hopeful officially seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

Speaking to an audience in his hometown of Livingston, Christie had his wife Mary Pat, who’s a managing director at the Wall Street investment firm Angelo, Gordon & Co, and their four children by his side for the entire speech.

“The last six years we proved not only can you govern this state, you can lead it to a better day and that’s what we’ve done together,” said the second-term governor. “…Americans are not angry. Americans are filled with anxiety. They are filled with anxiety because they look to Washington, D.C., and they see a government that not only doesn’t work anymore, it doesn’t even talk to each other anymore. It doesn’t even try to pretend to work anymore.”

“We have a president in the oval office who ignores the Congress and a Congress that ignores the president. We need a government in Washington, D.C., that remembers you went there to work for us, not the other way around.”

Christie, who was blasted by a reporter for New Jersey’s biggest paper as a “liar” on the day of his announcement, told the audience “both parties have failed our country.”

“Both parties have stood in the corner and held their breath and waited to get their own way, both parties have led us to believe that in America, a country that was built on compromise, that somehow now compromise is a dirty word,” he said. “If Washington and Adams and Jefferson believed compromise is a dirty word we’d still be under the crown of England.”

He reassured his supporters that “anxiety can be swept away by strong leadership and decisiveness to lead America again.”

Christie, who will be largely focusing his campaign message on entitlement reform, noted “we have candidates who have said we can’t confront this because if we do, we’ll be lying and stealing from the American people.”

“Let me fill everybody else in. The lying and stealing has already happened,” he said. “The horse is out of the barn. We’ve got to get it back in. You can only do it by force.”

Christie made references to foreign policy, stressing “if we’re going to lead, we have to stop worrying about being loved and start caring about being respected again, both at home and around the world.”

“I am not running for president of the United States as a surrogate for being elected prom king of America. I am not looking to be the most popular guy who looks in your eyes every day and tries to figure out what you want to hear, say it and then turn around and do something else. When I stand up on a stage like this in front of all of you, there is one thing you will know for sure. I mean what I say, and I say what I mean, and that’s what America needs right now,” he said.

“And unlike some people who offer themselves for the presidency in 2016, you’re not going to have to wonder whether I can do it or not.”

He promised a campaign “without spin or without pandering or focus group-tested answers.”

“You’re going to get what I think, whether you like it or not or whether it makes you cringe every once in a while or not,” he said. “A campaign when I’m asked a question, I’m going to give the answer to the question that’s asked, not the answer that my political consultants told me to give backstage. A campaign that, every day, will not worry about what is popular but what is right, because what is right is what will fix America, not what’s popular.”

“…If you give me the privilege to be your president, I will wake up every day not only with my heart strong and my mind sharp, but with my ears open and my arms open to welcome the American people no matter what party, no matter what race or creed or color, to make sure that you know that this is your country, too. We are going to go and win this election and I love each and every one of you.”

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Revealed: The Same Attorney Who Was in Charge of Retrieving Lois Lerner’s Emails, Now in Charge of State Department Emails (Video)

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

While everyone was focused on the Supreme Court rulings on ObamaCare and same sex marriage last week, an important House hearing confirmed that the IRS destroyed the tapes with Lois Lerner’s emails. It was also revealed that the same person who ran the IRS’ document retrieval operation during that time period  is now “doing that same job” at the State Department.

J. Russell George, Treasury inspector general for tax administration, and a deputy described an  “unbelievable set of circumstances” that led to the loss of emails in a hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday. Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said the hearing was called to get ahead of the scheduled release of a written report during the Fourth of July week.

George testified: “422 tapes most likely to have contained Ms. Lerner’s emails from 2010 and 2011 were erased in March 2014, [and] we were unable to recover all of the missing emails. Comparing the IRS email transaction logs to the IRS production to the Congress revealed there could be as many as 23,000 to 24,000 additional missing emails. As a result of the investigative process, TIGTA was successful in recovering over 1,000 e-mails that the IRS did not produce.”

The investigation has also revealed that the IRS “did not search for, review or examine the two separate sources of backup tapes, the server hard drives, or the loaner laptops that ultimately produced new, previously undisclosed e-mails,” George added. The watchdog’s office in February found relevant emails the IRS had not discovered.

Republicans assailed Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen for previously testifying that the IRS had “turned over every stone” in seeking missing Lerner emails.

“Ten months after a subpoena, eight months after a preservation order,” these emails were destroyed, Chaffetz said. That was just 30 days after President Obama, on the eve of the Super Bowl, told a TV interviewer that there is “not a smidgen of corruption” at the IRS, Chaffetz added. Yet in searching for missing emails, “the IRS didn’t even look at five of the six sources, or the obvious places, like [Lerner’s] phone,” he said. “It defies any sense of logic, and somebody will be held accountable.”

During his question period, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who chairs the House Select Committee on Benghazi, elicited from the deputy IG Tim Camus that the IRS’ document-retrieval operation was run by former IRS chief counsel staffer Catherine Duval, who is now “doing that same job” at the State Department where Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi emails are now being sought. 

“Have you ever heard that name Kate Duval?” Gowdy asked Camus. “Because I think I’ve heard that name too.”

“She’s the lawyer in charge of making sure the council made production to congress,” Camus answered.

“So she’s in charge of making sure that emails and other matters get produced,” Gowdy clarified.

He then asked Camus if he knew whether she was still with the IRS and the IG deputy told him that she is not.

“Do you know where she is now?” Gowdy asked. Camus said he did not, but could get that information for him.

But Gowdy interrupted to say, “no – I know where she is now. She’s at the Department of State – in charge of their email productions.”

He summed up his feelings on this development with one word: “Wow.”

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Congressman Asks St. Louis Mayor to Remove 32-Foot Granite Civil War Monument

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

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A Missouri congressman is asking the mayor of St. Louis to bring down a 32-foot-high stone Civil War memorial in the city’s Forest Park.

The Confederate Memorial was erected in 1914 by the Ladies’ Confederate Monument Association. “To avoid provoking further antagonism to the project, the Association declared that the design they would choose could not depict any figure of a Confederate soldier or object of modern warfare,” reads a history of the monument. The shaft of the monument bears “The Angel of the Spirit of the Confederacy” and below that is a bronze sculpture “depicting the response of the South to this spirit as a family sends a youth off to war.”

“On the back of the shaft, designed by William Trueblood, is a tribute ‘To the Memory of the Soldiers and Sailors of the Southern Confederacy,’ written by St. Louis minister Robert Catlett Cave, who had served as a Confederate soldier from Virginia. Beneath that is a quotation by Robert E. Lee: ‘We had sacred principles to maintain and rights to defend for which we were duty bound to do our best, even if we perished in the endeavor.’”

Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay wrote last week to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, stressing that “now is the time to replace the Confederate Memorial, as iconic as it is controversial, from its perch in Forest Park.”

“Some may disagree and reflect upon this memorial as a symbol of southern culture and Civil War reverence,” Clay said. “But, symbols matter and should reflect who we are as a people today. Divisive, alienating, racially charged symbols do not accurately represent the goodness and fullness of the people of the city of St. Louis.”

The congressman called it “unfortunate” that the mass murder of nine people at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston brought the issue to the forefront. “However, action must be taken to ensure that divisive symbols, such as the Confederate Memorial, do not have relevance in our city’s future.”

“Let us lead and influence how we are perceived by the world…as a force for good, and in solidarity with those advocating racial healing. It is not only time for a reappraisal of all public symbols that reflect upon the ‘peculiar institution’ of slavery, but also time for removal. Symbols associated with this country’s racist, oppressive past should not be elevated or displayed in public places.”

Other statues and monuments in the park include a Korean War memorial, Thomas Jefferson, Union Gen. Franz Sigel, and St. Francis of Assisi.

Clay will be introducing with Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) a bill that would prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from allowing the display of the Confederate flag at national cemeteries which it manages across the nation.

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Iran Preparing for Failure of Nuke Talks After Washington’s ‘Buyer’s Remorse’

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Iran announced today –  the deadline that had been set for a nuclear deal with the P5+1 but was extended indefinitely, according to the White House — that it doesn’t see a deal to its liking coming through.

Thus, reported the semi-official Fars News Agency, the Islamic Republic is formulating plans to weather tougher expected sanctions after talks crash.

“Given the fact that the Iranian officials have announced that they don’t trust the Americans, we consider a percentage of pessimism for the result of the negotiations and we think that there is a possibility for the talks to fail to end in successful results that we favor and meet our national interests; therefore, we have prepared ourselves for how to administer the country given the severity of the sanctions that will be imposed,” Iran’s Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht told reporters in Tehran.

More from Fars:

Nobakht also underscored that Tehran will not accept any undertakings beyond the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

His comments came [as] an informed source close to the Iran-world powers talks in Vienna strongly dismissed an AFP report claiming that Tehran and the world powers have reached a system to give the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to all allegedly suspect sites in the country, stressing that even the NPT additional protocol does not envisage access to military centers.”The Americans seem to be showing buyer’s remorse after Lausanne agreement. The US may be preparing grounds for failure and blame game,” the Iranian source said.

“Who guarantees the IAEA confidentiality after assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists? Tehran trusted the IAEA with secret informations, and its nuclear scientists were killed by the West. Although the additional protocol does not envisage such visits, Tehran has allowed the IAEA access Parchin twice. Iran received nothing in return when it allowed the IAEA access its Parchin military site,” the source added.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the U.S. pledged to terminate sanctions within six months after talks began, but reneged.

“The Americans changed the 6 months to one year first, and then lengthened the negotiations by making repeated excessive demands and even threats to boost the sanctions and speaking of militarism and on and under the table,” he said.

“Contemplation and study over the trend of the demands made by the Americans shows that they aim to uproot Iran’s nuclear industry and the country’s nuclear essence and change it to a caricature and a window without a content.”

The ayatollah added that while Iran has been seeking to get sanctions lifted, “we see them as an opportunity from a different angle because they have caused us to pay more attention to domestic forces and capacities.”

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After Recent SCOTUS Rulings, Should We Re-Write the Constitution?

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

Last week was certainly historic. In what sense depends upon your worldview. For those of us who believe in federalism, dual-sovereignty, and the rule of law, last week was a disaster that irreparably damaged our republic.

Forget about the issues. These rulings weren’t about Obamacare or gay marriage so much as whether a majority of nine people on a national ruling council can write law for 320 million Americans. Apparently, they can.

What recourse remains? Some have advocated taking our republic back to the drawing board:

A constitutional recourse to judicial tyranny is gaining momentum around the country. A Convention of States, called under Article V of the Constitution, can impose constitutional limits on the federal government’s power — limits that will ensure an end to the overreach we witnessed last week.

However, others warn that a Convention of States could just as easily be used to expand government power. Phyllis Schlafly writes:

Any new constitutional convention, called as allowed by Article V, would surely attract and include political activists with motives and goals diametrically different from those of [the political Right].

She continues:

[Justice John Paul] Stevens’ most dangerous suggestion is to gut the Second Amendment. Stevens wants to reverse the Supreme Court decision that upheld our right to keep a gun at home for self-protection…

If Congress acquiesces in the states’ petitions to call an Article V convention, you can bet that rewriting the Second Amendment to allow gun control and to forbid private ownership of guns will be a top priority of many delegates. Would they succeed?

The problem with rewriting the Constitution today is that any new document or amendment would be the product of the same culture which has birthed modern tyrannies. A Convention of States called today would not boast attendance from men like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. It would instead host delegates committed to securing “rights” to stuff, further enslaving us one to another.

Besides, in a world where our Supreme Court can literally re-write laws, what makes us think new law will help? Our problem is cultural, not statutory.

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TREND ALERT: Adding Bugs into Your Milkshakes

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Liz Sheld

I watch for these trends so you don’t have to and my latest find is … delicious?

Apparently the HOT NEW TREND is adding bugs into your food, at least according to ABC News. “The trend of bug-infused bites continues to swarm restaurant menus across the country, with the latest entrant appearing at a fast food chain.”

To be fair, I haven’t seen this in my neck of the woods but I live inside the Washington, D.C., beltway and things are a little different here. Washington insiders don’t eat bugs, we eat caviar and champagne because we live in BOOMTOWN.

However, if you live anywhere near the chain Wayback Burgers (they have 100 locations in the U.S. and Argentina), you can order up a delicious cricket milkshake. The chain will debut “a cricket protein-laced shake on July 1 that is Oreo Mud Pie in taste but infused with Peruvian chocolate-flavored cricket powder for an alternative energy boost.”

cricket milkshake

YUM? Is that an Oreo or a cricket leg? No matter.

An alternative energy boost? What’s wrong with protein powder or some extra caffeine?

Maybe you are hesitant to order up an insect-laden refreshment because you don’t want to see bug parts floating around in something you plan to ingest. Not to worry. “There won’t be big pieces of cricket floating in your shake or anything,” Gillian Maffeo, director of marketing for Wayback Burgers. “We use a protein powder that looks very similar to whey powder. So it’s ground up cricket and you wouldn’t even know the difference if you were drinking it, quite honestly.”

At first the cricket-infested dessert was part of an April Fool’s joke. I actually thought this headline might be from The Onion. But the prank was wildly successful:

“We received such a great response, we decided to call up an organic cricket protein vendor and test it out at one location in East Meadow, Long Island, in New York,” Maffeo said. “There ended up being lines of people, camera crews, and everyone loved it. It just happened so fast and so sudden. So we decided to roll out an official version at all locations beginning July 1.”

And it’s a hot commodity! “Initially, we thought that we’d get a lot of backlash but the trend right now is that bugs are making their way into foods,” she said, noting the appearance of burgers, energy bars, flours and other recent products to the market. “It’s definitely a hot commodity.”

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In Case You Thought the News Couldn’t Get Any Worse…

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Because the world is crying out for this one:

Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds told the story of a rustic seaside town that finds itself menaced by hellish flocks of seagulls and crows. Now the 1963 classic looks set to suffer its own form of molestation courtesy of a Hollywood remake by Transformers director Michael Bay.

Loosely adapted from a 1952 short story by Daphne du Maurier, The Birds cast Tippi Hedren in the role of Melanie Daniels, a San Francisco socialite who comes horribly unstuck on a visit to northern California. Reports suggest that Bay’s version will return to tale to its original English setting, while Naomi Watts is rumoured to be considering the Hedren role.

Variety reports that the film will be directed by the Dutch film-maker Diederik Van Rooijen, with Bay serving as a co-producer. The film looks set to be a co-production between Mandalay Pictures, Universal and Bay’s Platinum Dunes production house. It remains to be seen whether the birds will be giant, man-eating birds, or possibly armed with guns.

Bombs away!

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Jeb Bush Leads in New Poll. Here’s Why Conservatives Don’t Need to Worry About It

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

Breitbart reports that, according to a new NBC/WSJ poll released yesterday, Jeb Bush is the current leader in the crowded field of Republican presidential candidates. According to the poll, Bush is supported by 22% of primary voters. Scott Walker is second with 17%, and Marco Rubio is third with 14%. Everybody else comes behind (this includes Ben Carson and Ted Cruz).

Although I saw many conservatives on Facebook explode at this news, I’m not worried at all. You see, Bush has only two strengths:

1. He’s a Bush. This is a strength because it means instant name recognition. Additionally, although the media pretend Americans don’t like dynasties, I couldn’t disagree more. They love ‘em. Heck, they’re even obsessed with them.

2. He’ll probably have a boat load of money to spend in the primaries.

The first point will always be a major strength of Jeb’s, but with regards to number two, well, not so much. Firstly, money can’t buy you conservative credentials and, secondly, other Republicans have also proved themselves to be extremely well-funded. Rubio and Walker are raising a lot of money, and the same can be said for Ted, who impressed everybody — both foes and friends — when he released his fundraising totals of the first quarter of this year.

In other words, only the “Bush” part is truly an advantage Jeb has. That’s great for him, but conservatives shouldn’t worry: he’s got some serious weaknesses that his conservative rivals can and will exploit:

1. Voters don’t know Jeb, other than he’s a Bush.
2. The debates have yet to start. They’ll show Jeb for what he is: a progressive. Republican voters will run away from him en masse.
3. Jeb is a progressive Republican and has, because of it, very limited appeal. He may be able to get something like 25/27% of the GOP’s base. That’s his ceiling.
4. There are many conservative candidates who, at this moment, split the vote. During and after the debates, that’ll change: one or two will jump to the fore. They’ll close the gap with Jeb in no time.
5. The “ceiling” of those conservatives is much higher than Jeb’s.

In short, there’s no chance in hell that Jeb’s going to become the Republican Party’s nominee. He’ll give more conservative candidates a run for their money — sure — but that’s all.

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Obama to Supes: Drop Dead

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

You’ve got to hand it to the Democrats: on the rare occasion they lose in the Supreme Court, they just tell the Court to stuff it:

The White House said Monday that the Supreme Court’s Monday decision against an Environmental Protection Agency air pollution rule wouldn’t impact a huge, pending EPA rule imposing regulations on existing power plants. ”Obviously, we’re disappointed with the outcome,” he said. “I will say, based on what we have read so far, there is no reason that this court ruling should have an impact on the ability of the administration to develop and implement the clean power plant [ruling].”

“These are two separate rulemaking processes that we have pursued here, and there is nothing contained in this ruling that should in any way impact our ability to successfully complete the clean power plant” regulation, he said. The high court’s decision striking down EPA rules aimed at curbing emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants that took effect in April didn’t deal with the substance of the regulation. Instead, the court ruled 5-4 that the EPA failed to take the costs of the regulation on the industry into effect.

So, next time, the EPA will take costs into effect, decide they don’t matter because if it can save just one life and continue on its mission to destroy a big chunk of the American economy. This is what comes of having a government of lawyers, not men.

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De Blasio Doesn’t Want You Smoking in Your Own Home

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Liz Sheld

The New York Post has learned that NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is going to “ramp” up the city’s war against smoking…at home.

If you live in New York, here is where you city tax dollars are going:

The administration is planning to select and pay four health-advocacy groups $9,000 apiece to pressure landlords and developers to prohibit smoking in their apartment complexes so neighboring tenants don’t inhale secondhand smoke.

And the result of this campaign is:

…smokers would be barred from lighting up in one of their last sanctuaries: their own living quarters. Smoking is already banned in public places, including bars and restaurants, workplaces, sports venues and parks.

Health department commissars say, “Everyone benefits from smoke-free housing. Residents enjoy breathing cleaner, healthier air in their homes . . . while owners see reductions in property damage and turnover costs.”

So it’s for your own good.

Right now, the initiative is voluntary — but it won’t be for long as these nanny-staters love to micromanage your life. I wonder what other things de Blasio plans to regulate in your own home.

Also read: 

Should Pregnant Women Who Smoke Be Fined for Endangering Their Children?

 

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Fading Dowager Empress of Chappaqua Dragging Down Dems

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh
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Hillary! 2016 — feel the excitement

Hard to believe, but the collapsing Hillary! campaign is diminishing Democratic enthusiasm for their elderly, infirm, unethical and possibly criminal putative 2016 standard-bearer:

Democrats believe they have a winning agenda heading into the 2016 presidential election. And for the first time, the “base” of their party – unmarried women, people of color, and young voters – represents a majority of voting-eligible citizens, according to survey data released Monday.

But none of that matters if Democrats don’t turn out. As of now, 16 months before Election Day, that’s the challenge for them: The Democratic Party faces a big enthusiasm gap with the Republicans, according to a poll sponsored by Democracy Corps and Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund.

Among Republicans, 67 percent reported the highest level of interest in the 2016 elections – rating it a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 – compared with 52 percent of Democrats. Among the so-called rising American electorate (unmarried women, minorities, and Millennials), only 48 percent responded with a 10.

Why ever could that be?

“Even though they’re giving the Democrats big numbers, their lack of enthusiasm is grounded in an analysis of the way the political system operates,” Democracy Corps founder Stan Greenberg told reporters Monday at a breakfast hosted by the Monitor. At focus groups, Mr. Greenberg says, a lot of the talk centered on money in politics and perceptions that candidates can’t relate to the problems of average people.

“They’re made up of a lot of rich people. They don’t have these problems we deal with on a daily basis,” read one focus group comment, as reported by the two voter-research organizations.

Some Dems, however, refuse to get the message:

Is all this bad news for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner? No, says Page Gardner, founder of Women’s Voices, now known as the Voter Participation Center. Ms. Gardner points to the “four pillars” of former Secretary Clinton’s campaign – building “the economy of the future,” campaign finance reform, strengthening families, and national security – as evidence she’s addressing the concerns of the Democratic base. Also helping Democrats, and Clinton, is a perception that Republican candidates “don’t get” the lives of most Americans, Gardner says.

On the flip side, Republicans are more jazzed than Democrats about the 2016 elections because “they don’t like [President] Obama, they don’t like Hillary Clinton,” says Greenberg.

Duh!

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Terrorist Plots Against U.S. At Highest Level Since 2001

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Man, it sure is a good thing that we got Saddam and bin Laden!

The United States is experiencing its highest level of terrorist activity since Sept. 11, 2001, according to a Heritage Foundation report published last week advocating Congress to take the U.S. terrorism threat “much more seriously.” The report detailed the FBI’s arrest of a 19-year-old in North Carolina for conspiring with the Islamic State, the terrorist group better known as ISIS, to attack public venues in an attempt to kill hundreds of Americans. The case is the 71st publicly known terrorist plot in the United States since 9/11.

The report outlines recommendations for Congress to prevent terrorist attacks. These include:

The continuance of government surveillance programs

A legal ability for local law enforcement to track terrorist activity online along with greater federal support of local and civil partners

Cooperation between intelligence and law enforcement among allied countries to track foreign fighters

“There is no silver bullet,” said David Inserra, author of the report and a homeland security expert The Heritage Foundation.

Somehow, I think General Kitchener might disagree with that. Back in the day, it was called the Maxim Gun; during World War II it was called Fat Man and Little Boy; today, we have other names for it. What we don’t have is the will to use it. Instead, we’d rather create a police state right here at home and call it “security.”

Make sure to read PJM’s Patrick Poole:

Number of Islamic Terror-Related Arrests in 2015 Surpasses Previous Two Years Combined

Meanwhile: have a happy Fourth of July!

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Scientists Discover Global Warming Before There Was Global Warming!

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Will wonders never cease?

An enormous lake called Mega Chad in what is now the Sahara desert took just a couple of hundred years to shrink to a fraction of its size, British scientists have found. Mega Chad was once the biggest freshwater lake on earth covering 139,000 sq miles (360,000 sq km) of Central Africa – and rapidly shrunk to a tiny fraction of its former size 1,000 years ago. The discovery sheds light on how the Amazon rain forest grows – because dust from the remains of the dried-up lake blows across the Atlantic to help fertilise the jungle.

‘A reconstructed lake level history for the ancient Lake Mega-Chad, once the largest lake in Africa, suggests that a North African humid period, with increased precipitation in the Sahara region, ended abruptly around 5,000 years ago, and that the lake’s Bodélé basin, now a large source of atmospheric dust, may not have dried out until around 1,000 years ago,’ the team wrote. But the researchers’ discovery shows this fertilisation could only have happened 1,000 years ago – leaving a riddle as to how the jungle received vital nutrients before then.

The researchers found that the change took place in just a few hundred years – much more quickly than previously considered. All that remains is Lake Chad, which at 137 sq miles (355 sq km) is still large but a fraction of its former scale. The lake, which crosses the borders of Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon, has been further reduced in size by humanity siphoning off fresh water from it.

The researchers explained the significance of the finding. The dried up remains of the lake is the biggest source of dust in the world, the Bodélé depression.

So let me get this straight: not only did Africans invent global warming, they’re also continuing to siphon off valuable water resources from Mother Gaia that could better spent on the West Side of Los Angeles, thus causing dust in the atmosphere that contributes to greenhouse gases but also helps Save the Rain Forest. Or something like that.

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New Ebola Death in ‘Ebola Free’ Liberia

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Surprise!

Seven weeks after the World Health Organization declared Liberia to be free of the Ebola virus, the country’s deputy health minister said the body of a 17-year-old man had tested positive for the disease. The deputy minister, Tolbert Nyenswah, who also heads Liberia’s Ebola response, said Monday that the teenager had died Wednesday in Nedowein, a town close to Liberia’s international airport, and was given a safe burial the next day. He said the man was not tested until after he died. It was not known how he had contracted the disease.

It may not be time for a panic, but it would seem that all those victory laps that were taken a couple of months ago weren’t called for. Perhaps we should respect Mother Nature a little more, especially when she’s unleashing killer viruses that have sneaky incubation periods.

And let’s keep our fingers crossed that this kid wasn’t hanging around people who travel.

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White House Downplays Extension of Iran Nuke Deadline: ‘Not Surprising or Uncommon’

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Calling it “not surprising or uncommon,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest confirmed today that Iran nuclear negotiations will extend past the June 30 deadline.

“What our negotiators are currently engaged in is an effort to try to complete negotiations consistent with the political framework that was agreed to in the first week in April. And yes, it is the day before the deadline, and at this point, I would anticipate that the negotiations will extend past the deadline,” Earnest told reporters at the daily briefing.

He noted that the deadline for the preliminary framework was March 31, but they stuck around until the April 2 announcement of an agreement.

He added that the extension of the deadline this time wasn’t necessarily a promising sign for the administration.

“I think I would accede the likelihood, or the higher likelihood, that the talks will extend past the deadline as an indication that there are still some important unresolved issues in the negotiations. And these are not issues that can be resolved in the next 36 hours,” Earnest said.

He also wouldn’t give odds for reaching a deal at this point.

“I would hesitate to put numbers on it at this point. So we’re close to the deadline and obviously our negotiators understand the stakes of these negotiations. And that, frankly, I think is why the United States and our P-5-plus-1 partners are willing to sit at that table a few extra days to try to reach an agreement that is consistent with the political framework that was agreed to back in early April,” he said.

“I mean, the thing that the president’s been very clear about is if the Iranians refuse to agree to a framework that’s consistent, or a final agreement that’s consistent with the framework that was reached in April, then there won’t be an agreement. And the — we understand at this point that that’s — that’s something that the Iranians are hoping to avoid. They would very much like to get some sanctions relief.”

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made clear that they won’t accept a deal that doesn’t lift sanctions immediately; the White House said last Wednesday that they’re “most focused on …the actions, not the words.”

Secretary of State John Kerry said, “We’re not going to be guided by or conditioned by or affected by or deterred by some tweet that is for public consumption or for domestic political consumption.”

“But there are going to be some serious commitments that they’re going to have to make in terms of that — shutting down every pathway they have to a nuclear weapon, and complying with a verification regime to ensure that they’re living up to the commitments that they have made,” Earnest said today. “And all of that is, you know, will be part of any final agreement, consistent with the political agreement that was reached back in April.”

But there’s pressure on Capitol Hill to not extend the negotiations indefinitely.

“A supreme ruler who lives by the motto ‘Death to America’ seems to be setting the tone at the negotiating table. Count me among the many in Congress who are supremely concerned by the direction of these negotiations,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said.

“Secretary Kerry needs to know that Congress has its own redlines: anywhere, anytime inspections; no sanctions relief jackpot for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps; guaranteed sanctions snap-backs; and meaningful restraints on Iran’s nuclear program that last decades. The Administration should be making it clear to the Iranians that an agreement without these conditions, among others, won’t pass muster with Congress.”

Royce warned that the administration appears “to be on the verge of an agreement that – even if it was fully adhered to by Iran – accepts that after just ten years or so, Tehran would have the ability to produce nuclear weapons in very short order, perhaps within a matter of weeks.”

“That’s without Iranian cheating,” he added. “…Mr. President, I’ll be the last one to be critical if you walk away from this negotiating table.”

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden told Fox on Sunday that “what matters is what the ayatollah says the Iranians will do with what it is we believed we have agreed on in Vienna.”

“It’s a big deal as to what the ayatollah commits himself to,” Hayden said of Kerry’s dismissal of Khamenei’s tweets. “We went through this in April when we both walked away from the talks thinking we had an agreement. It was quite different what we said they agreed to and what they said they agreed to. Now, we’re down to brass tacks. What it is they say has to be what they actually agreed to and only the ayatollah can determine that.”

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Despite SCOTUS EPA Ruling, Obama’s Damage to Coal Industry Permanent

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Fundamentally transforming stuff…

President Barack Obama’s opponents won a Supreme Court skirmish in the “war on coal” Monday, but the ruling blocking his mercury pollution rule won’t do anything to reverse coal’s waning role in the nation’s power supply.

And on top of that, legal experts don’t expect the decision to hamper the administration’s plans for landmark climate regulations that are set to further cement the decline of the fuel that only a few years ago dominated the industry.
Story Continued Below

For utility giant American Electric Power and others in the power sector, the judgment on the mercury rule that started to take effect in April comes too late to save the dozens of plants that already closed, or are slated to in the next several months.

“We’re not bringing them back,” Nick Akins, AEP’s CEO, president and chairman told POLITICO. “Once that ball gets rolling, it’s not going to change.”

When one considers how cavalier this president and his moneybags Big Green handlers have been about destroying the coal industry jobs in some of the poorer parts of the country it’s easy to see why so many of us are unmoved when progressives blather on and on about “working Americans”. Progressives see constituent blocs, not people. If you happen to be in a bloc they need for photo ops like the “Fight For 15″ people, you get a little love. If those “Fight For 15″ people worked at coal plants, the progs would throw them out into the street without any remorse.

The schizophrenic Supremes may have finally acted like they are on their meds when it comes to this ruling and it should help curb a regulatory agency that has been running amok for far too long, but it is sadly not enough to help the people whose livelihoods have already been ruined by a president who is a faithful attendee of the Church of Climate Change Hysteria.

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GOP Field Catching Up To Jeb In Fundraising

Monday, June 29th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Every little bit helps.

As the first big fundraising deadline of the 2016 White House contest approaches, the major Republican contenders are scrambling to secure the money needed to keep their political ambitions alive in a crowded and still growing field.

No one is likely to top former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s fundraising even if he were to fall short of the $100 million target that his allies have predicted he will hit.

Aided by billionaire supporters, however, some of Bush’s Republican rivals have begun to tout their big hauls ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, which marks the end of the April-to-June fundraising quarter.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz may be best positioned to claim the No. 2 spot among Republicans. Cruz, a conservative firebrand who became the first major candidate to enter the race, said he has raised more than $40 million through his campaign and the super PACs supporting his candidacy.

“The Washington money isn’t with us,” the first-term senator told USA TODAY’s Capital Download. “It comes from courageous conservatives all over the country.”

If our glorious republic is to continue and be free, conservatives are going to have to defeat both Hillary Clinton and the Republican establishment in 2016. If Jeb and Hillary are our two choices, the country is well and truly screwed. It will only be a matter of how quick the demise is. The death rattle will show up a bit later on Jeb’s watch, but not much.

One of the great things about the digital media era is that political fundraising is no longer restricted to party drones manning phone banks and bothering nice people during dinner. Candidates who don’t have the blessing of the octogenarian power players in Washington can hit up normal Americans for donations. Cruz is ahead of the non-Jeb pack because he tends to work social media better than the others, although Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are pretty good too.

It may be nauseating to many that we are even talking about Jeb at this precarious time in American history, but there is still reason to hope. The GOP really does have a wealth of candidates superior to Mrs. Bill.

None of them are named Bush, however.

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