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Human Rights Abuses Worsening in Country Being Trusted to Abide by Nuclear Deal

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) warned the administration, which is heading toward at Nov. 24 nuclear deadline with Iran, is proving its nefarious intentions simply in the way it treats its own citizens.

On Saturday at dawn, Iran hanged Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, who stabbed a former intelligence officer as he attempted to sexually assault her.

The State Department issued a statement condemning the execution. “There were serious concerns with the fairness of the trial and the circumstances surrounding this case, including reports of confessions made under severe duress,” press secretary Jen Psaki said. “Iranian authorities proceeded with this execution despite pleas from Iranian human rights activists and an international outcry over this case.”

“We join our voice with those who call on Iran to respect the fair trial guarantees afforded to its people under Iran’s own laws and its international obligations.”

The United Nations issued a sobering report this week noting a “widening of the range of offenses” punishable by execution under the supposedly moderate regime, including political dissent and economic crimes.

“The main concerns in my report deal with issues of right to life,” Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, told reporters Monday. He said there has been a “surge” in executions in the country in the past 12 to 15 months.

Women’s rights are also deteriorating. University enrollment has dropped from 62 percent to 48 percent in the past two years, and girls as young as 9 are being forced into marriage.

Royce said the report is “troubling” yet “does not come as a surprise.”

“Under ‘reformist’ President Rouhani, the Iranian regime continues to commit grave human rights abuses against the Iranian people. All too often, women bear the brunt of this brutality,” he said.

“The regime’s response to the recent acid attacks on Iranian women is appalling but not surprising,” Royce continued. “When a number of young women such as 27-year old Neda were blinded by acid thrown from men on motorcycles, the regime responded to popular protests by detaining a prominent female human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, and passing a law that could incite, rather than discourage, similar heinous attacks.”

Neda Agha-Soltan was murdered by Basij militia during the 2009 Green Revolution protests.

“I fear that Iran’s Basij militia will see this new law as an even more liberal license to attack Iranian women for how they are dressed. Hopefully Iranian society will step up to these acts of cowardice,” the chairman said.

“The Obama Administration should keep these abuses in mind when negotiating with the Iranian regime —it is difficult, if not impossible, to believe that the regime would be a peaceful nuclear power when it behaves so violently towards its own citizens. Common sense says we must be intensely skeptical of Iran’s intentions.”

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Kerry in Ottawa: ‘Legitimate and Beautiful Religion… Totally Distorted’ by Attackers

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Secretary of State John Kerry met with U.S. Embassy staff in Ottawa on Tuesday, thanking them for getting through a “pretty jarring” lockdown after last week’s terrorist attacks, including on the parliament building.

“We’re living in an incredibly challenging time. It’s almost cliched now to sort of say that, because it doesn’t fully bring home to people the full measure of challenge that we all face. I’m sure some of you have served in Kabul or Baghdad, and the last thing you expected was to come to Ottawa, know that there were gunshots in the streets and that the parliament was potentially under siege and certainly assaulted by one individual with weapons,” Kerry said.

“That brings home to us that this is a different kind of challenge. This – the challenge of our generation is going to be to deal with religious radical extremism, which exploits a legitimate and beautiful religion that is being totally distorted, has nothing to do with what they purport to be pursuing, and nevertheless captures the minds of some of our young people, even in America. We have over a hundred people who’ve gone over there to fight with ISIL. Several hundred from France, from Germany, from Britain, from Holland, from the Netherlands, from Australia – run around the world.”

Kerry said the battled has to be won with “ideas” and not just ”our efforts on the ground in this coalition with kinetic efforts.”

“And we’re also going to win it with better alternatives for a whole bunch of young people who today live in places where they feel oppressed, where they don’t have a lot of opportunity, there’s not enough education, they don’t have jobs, but they know what the rest of the world has because they all have smart phones, they all have mobile devices, and they’re all seeing what’s going on and they trade thoughts,” he said.

“…So our challenge is to not make them think that modernity and rule of law and civil society and states that have long existed is somehow the enemy.”

Kerry warned the diplomats “it could get harder before it gets easier in some ways in certain parts of this journey.”

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Ebola Nurse in Maine: ‘I won’t follow home quarantine rules’

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Ebola nurse Kaci Hickox tells NBC’s Matt Lauer that she will not follow home quarantine guidelines.

Hickox was pulled out at Newark airport and put into mandatory quarantine under New Jersey state guidelines. She was put into a tent which was more comfortable than many quarters used by US troops serving overseas.

The former CDC nurse bucked that and threatened to sue. She described her treatment as “inhumane” and raised a fuss. New Jersey transferred her to Maine earlier this week.

Maine says that it expects Hickox to stick to a home quarantine for 21 days. But Hickox is having none of that.

“I don’t plan on sticking to the guidelines,” Hickox told Lauer. “I remain appalled by these home quarantine policies that have been forced upon me, even though I am in perfectly good health and feeling strong and have been this entire time completely symptom free.

“I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I’m not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public.”

Whether she does pose a risk to others or not is not yet known, as Ebola’s incubation period can last around 21 days. During that time, a carrier can show no symptoms, until they do, at which point they become contagious.

Dr. Craig Spencer, a Doctors Without Borders physician, returned to the US from West Africa showing no symptoms at the time. He later came down with Ebola, and authorities were forced to expend major resources tracing his every move and warning people who had come into contact with him.

Hickox has ties to the Centers for Disease Control, which stridently opposes placing a travel ban on the Ebola-stricken countries.

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Netanyahu on U.S. Insults: ‘I am Under Attack Simply Because I am Defending the State of Israel’

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said verbal attacks from the Obama administration — namely, being called “chickenshit” and a “coward” by an anonymous senior administration official in an article in The Atlantic — won’t dissuade him.

“Netanyahu will continue to uphold the security interests of Israel and the historical rights of the Jewish people in Jerusalem, and no amount of pressure will change that,” the prime minister’s office said, according to Haaretz.

Soon after, Netanyahu addressed the Knesset.

“When there are pressures on Israel to concede its security, the easiest thing to do is to concede. You get a round of applause, ceremonies on grassy knolls, and then come the missiles and the tunnels,” he said.

“I am not prepared to make concessions that will endanger our state,” Netanyahu continued. “Understand, our national interests, topped by security and the unity of Jerusalem, are not what top the interests of those anonymous forces attacking us, and me personally. I am under attack simply because I am defending the State of Israel. If I didn’t stand firm on our national interests, I would not be under attack.”

The prime minister added, “I respect and cherish the deep connection with the United States.”

“Since the establishment of the state, we’ve had our arguments and then some,” he said. “We have seen time after time, year and year, support rising among the American public. The strategic alliance between the stances is continuing and will continue.”

The founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center says President Obama needs to “name, apologize for, and repudiate” the anonymous official who said the insults.

“It is rather ironic that a senior American official is prepared to curse his friends, yet when it comes to the mortal enemies of the United States – as the Iranians discovered during the recent nuclear negotiation – praise is heaped on them,” Rabbi Marvin Hier told The Algemeiner.

“He said Netanyahu is a coward for not taking pre-emptive action against Iran, but I suppose this anonymous official who is hiding behind his desk is very brave.”

Whether or not the official is fired is “up to the president,” the rabbi said.

“A senior American official who doesn’t name himself and then hurls curse words at one of our strongest allies should be repudiated by the president. President Obama needs to make it clear that these officials don’t speak for him. Most of all, an apology is in order: That is not the way a senior American official should speak to the Prime Minister of Israel, that is not the way to conduct foreign policy,” Hier continued.

“There are no curse words on or off the record about the emir of Qatar for supporting Hamas and supporting Islamic State,” he noted. “The emir of Qatar is being rewarded for supporting Hamas and Islamic State. He is certainly not being treated in the way that Netanyahu is now.”

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Three Women Dropped From Marines’ Infantry Officer Course

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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The Marine Corps Times reports:

The three female Marine officers who made it through the grueling first exercise of Infantry Officer Course at the start of October were asked to leave after falling out of two hikes, Marine Corps officials said this week.

The second lieutenant and two captains were dropped from the 13-week course held aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, about two weeks after it began. The Marines got further in the course than any other women since IOC opened to female volunteers on an experimental basis in late 2012. Only one other female officer has gotten past the notoriously difficult combat endurance test that kicks off the course; she was forced to drop out about a week later due to stress fractures in her foot.

Capt. Maureen Krebs, a spokeswoman for Headquarters Marine Corps, said the three officers were dropped from the course after failing to keep up on two long hikes while carrying a load of up to 120 pounds. The load represents a day’s meals, clothing, supplies and assault gear for a 20-mile march into combat, according to Krebs.

Infantry officers are required to maintain a pace of 24.8 miles in eight hours, or approximately three miles per hour, carrying their approach-march loads. Marines who fall more than 100 meters behind the unit and are unable to catch up are taken the remainder of the distance in a vehicle.

“The big thing in this is, they’re expected to lead that tactical movement as an infantry officer,” Krebs said.

During the training, units took two marches, one seven-mile march at Quantico followed by a nine-mile march the following week.

“Three men and three women failed to complete those two tactical movements,” Krebs said. They were all asked to leave the Infantry Officer Course (IOC).

This course was the first since the Marines began to allow female officers to volunteer for the IOC. The change came as a result of the Department of Defense ordering the Marine Corp to collect data on women in combat fields ahead of a 2016 deadline to make a decision on opening these fields to women. The goal is to find ways to integrate women into combat roles without lowering standards.

According to a report out this month from the Center for Military Readiness, “Researchers are finding this difficult (actually, impossible) to do, owing to naturally-occurring physical differences that make men significantly stronger. Androgenic hormones that are not going to change account for greater muscle power and aerobic capacity for endurance.”

Some of the findings of the Center for Military Readiness interim report show significant gender-related differences in physical strength.  In 2013, the USMC Training and Education Command (TECOM) studied data from 409 male and 379 female volunteers, finding significant gender-related disparities on the Physical and Combat Fitness Tests (PFT and CFT) in events measuring upper-body strength and endurance, things that are essential for survival and mission success in direct ground combat, according to the report. The study found:

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Hagel’s Made ‘No Decision’ on Dempsey’s Ebola Quarantine Recommendations

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The Pentagon said today that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has received the recommendation from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to quarantine returning personnel from Africa, yet is still deciding how to proceed.

The Army is already using quarantine procedures. Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams, commander of U.S. forces in Africa, is undergoing the 21-day isolation with a dozen personnel.

Williams told CNN via video link that morale is high and accommodations are comfortable.

“The joint chiefs have made a recommendation to Secretary Hagel that he consider a regimented program of 21 days of controlled, supervised monitoring for all troops returning from Ebola response efforts in West Africa,” Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters.

“The secretary is in possession of that recommendation. He has made no decision yet.”

Kirby said Hagel “shares the concerns by the chiefs about the safety and well-being not only of our troops, but also of their families, and he appreciates the thoughtfulness and the gravity of the recommendations Chairman Dempsey sent to him.”

“When a decision has been made, we will certainly let you know,” he said. “In the meantime, the secretary supports the decision made by Army leadership to place Major General Williams and his team under this same quarantine-like program.”

On how the quarantine of service members would work, “I think there’s still some homework to be done on that.”

Despite the White House pushback on the decisions of New Jersey, New York and Chicago to quarantine high-risk passengers coming from the affected areas, such as healthcare workers treating Ebola patients, Kirby said he’s “not aware” of “outside advice” that Hagel “is seeking.”

“He greatly values the opinions and recommendations of Chairman Dempsey and the chiefs as well. But he’s going to take the time that he feels he needs to make a decision. And I think everybody understands the importance of that decision. And when he’s ready, when he’s made one, we’ll let you know.”

The group currently in quarantine in Italy is the “first installment” of troops coming back from Liberia.

“I think the secretary understands that Army leadership, supported by the recommendations of the joint staff, wanted to take a very conservative approach, particularly for this first group, and again, he understand that and didn’t feel it was necessary to step in the way of it,” Kirby said.

“But broadening it to the entire force and making a department-wide policy decision is something that he wants to take very seriously, and as I said, when — when he’s had time to consider it, we’ll let you know.”

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NASA-Contracted Rocket Bound for Space Station Suffers ‘Catastrophic Anomaly,’ Explodes

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson
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A NASA-contracted rocket headed for the International Space Station carrying food and other needed supplies exploded upon liftoff from an island off the Virginia coast.

NASA said the Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket, on its third resupply mission, “suffered a catastrophic anomaly shortly after liftoff” at 6:22 p.m. EST.

“The Orbital Sciences team is executing its contingency procedures, securing the site and data, including all telemetry from the Antares launch vehicle and Cygnus spacecraft,” the space agency said in a blog post that was posting live updates from the launch.

“Before launch the Orbital team was not tracking any issues. No injuries have been reported, and Orbital reports that all personnel around  the Wallops Flight Facility launch site have been accounted for.”

The launch and explosion were carried live on NASA’s online TV.

The rocket was loaded with nearly 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments and was the first night launch of an Antares rocket.

Cargo included an experiment to test pea shoot growth in space and equipment to study size, density and chemical composition of meteor dust.

Food made up more than 1,300 pounds of the cargo, and spacewalk equipment accounted for 145 pounds.

Fifteen pounds of books were also on board.

UPDATE 8:30 p.m. EST:  ”This evening the President was briefed on the launch failure of the Antares rocket in Wallops, Virginia,” said deputy press secretary Eric Schultz. “The President was briefed by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Anita Decker Breckenridge and will continue to get updates as more information becomes available.”

UPDATE 10:30 p.m. EST: Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) tells CNN that he spoke to NASA and learned that  another rocket from Russia is going to launch soon with food and supplies.

“They’re not going to miss very much, even though it’s a setback,” Nelson said.

Associate Administrator of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Directorate William Gerstenmaier said in a statement that the space agency is “disappointed,” but “we will continue to move forward toward the next attempt once we fully understand today’s mishap.”

“Orbital has demonstrated extraordinary capabilities in its first two missions to the station earlier this year, and we know they can replicate that success,” Gerstenmaier said. ”Launching rockets is an incredibly difficult undertaking, and we learn from each success and each setback. Today’s launch attempt will not deter us from our work to expand our already successful capability to launch cargo from American shores to the International Space Station.”

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Buzz Ballad: The Fall of the Planet Lethar G

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Buzzsawmonkey

The Fall of the Planet Lethar G

Planetary Politics
The distant planet Lethar G
Unique within its galaxy
Had leaders that were not imposed
But which the citizenry chose
According to an ancient plan.
The Duplicrats and Replicans
Were groups who’d fought for centuries
To guard the planet’s liberties;
Each claimed the planet was secure
Only within its own tenure
And that opposing policies
Were riddled through with fallacies.
Neither—of course—was always right,
And so a never-ending fight
Went back and forth like a seesaw;
According to the ancient law,
One day each four years they’d devote
To tally up the planet’s votes
And see which party then would be
The master of all Lethar G.

Campaign Careers
Administrations came and went,
Time passed, and people were content;
Until a problem rose to face
The unsuspecting populace.
It’s difficult to cover all
A planet—even one that’s small—
In an election year campaign.
However, if you start again
Directly one election’s done
Commencing the upcoming one,
You may have covered all the ground
When next election comes around.
So Replicans and Duplicrats
Began to do exactly that;
No sooner did they office take
Than once again were on the make
Across the planet Lethar G
To preserve their incumbency,
With less and less time set aside
To do the jobs for which they’d vied.

Cynical Citizens
Elections thus ran on and on
And less and less was getting done;
But Lethar Gians all resolved
That they would not become involved.
It was the job of those who’d bent
The system, to smooth out the dents;
And rather than help fix the botch
They all would stand around and watch.
Said some, “By any other name
Both of the parties are the same,
Their differences not worth a dime—
Why should I vote at all this time?”
“In planetary terms, my vote,”
Yet others said, “Is but a mote,
Why exercise this once-proud right
When its effect today is slight?”
Said others still, “It’s time we ceased
To vote for those we hate the least.
Until such time as we’re inspired
Our franchise is herewith retired.”

Newsroom Notions
Then spoke a leading anchorman
In measured tones; “I have a plan,
We have profiled the voter rolls
And know who should come to the polls—
Let’s put our data all together,
Projecting turnout from the weather;
We’ll feed it all to our machines
And figure out what ought have been.”
This plan the newsmen all approved;
So to the data rooms they moved,
And watched while with attention rapt
One of them on a keyboard tapped,
Which sent instructions, blip by blip
Through all the planet’s microchips,
Requesting that they analyze
All of the whos and wheres and whys
Regarding all the candidates—
And then print out in triplicate
What all the results ought to be
Had votes been cast on Lethar G.

Bypassed Ballots
Next Lethar G election day
All of the voters stayed away!
Each voter, acting on his own,
Elected to remain at home.
Reporters ’round the polls were poised,
Their units sending mere white noise;
They’d come prepared to analyze
The voting trends, but realized
They now had nothing to relate
But polling places, desolate.
They wondered, “Could this last campaign
Have driven everyone insane?”
And then as one, they thought, aghast,
“What happens now to our forecasts?
Since this trend we did not foresee,
How valid can the others be?
We’d figured winners to a man,
Each Duplicrat and Replican—
But since the voters will not choose
No one can win and none can lose.”

Electric Election
“Which party has the leading man?”
Asked Duplicrats and Replicans.
They fought to be the first to view
The printout that could tell them who
Had won the four-year prize, so then
The cycle could begin again.
But under the block-lettered head
GAME OVER, this is what they read:
“We have rejected all your slate
And voted our own candidates.
Computers could not vote ’til you
Foolishly programmed us to—
But now that we’ve assumed the role,
We think that we will keep control
And run the planet better than
Any of you Lethar Gians.
We’ve run your work, we’ve run your play,
The government is ours today
So as of this election fall
We no longer need you at all!”

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RNC: Administration Insult of Netanyahu ‘Inexplicable and Dangerous’

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus just issued a statement firing back at a senior administration official calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “chickenshit” in an interview with The Atlantic.

“ISIS is on a rampage through the Middle East, slaughtering innocents and committing mass murder while plotting to kill more Americans,” Priebus said. “The priority of the Obama administration should be defeating our enemies; instead they are once again insulting our allies. It’s inexplicable and dangerous.”

“This administration consistently gets it wrong on foreign policy. Instead of taking the ISIS threat seriously, President Obama called them the ‘JV’ team. Now, instead of working with our allies in the region to protect democracy and innocent lives, the administration is hurling expletives at Prime Minister Netanyahu.”

One week out of Election Day, in a midterm where foreign policy has gotten more air time than in previously years, the RNC chairman stressed, “Americans should not accept this.”

“We should never betray our ally Israel. We need a foreign policy that is focused, not fumbling. The country is increasingly concerned about our national security, yet the administration is not inspiring confidence,” Priebus said.

Haaretz got reaction from Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who noted that “such severe curse words against the Israeli prime minister are harmful to millions of Israeli citizens and Jews worldwide.”

“The prime minister is not a private person, but the leader of the Jewish state and the Jewish world,” Bennett said, adding that it wasn’t Bashar Assad, “who slaughtered 150,000 of his citizens,” nor the leader of Saudi Arabia, “who stones women and homosexuals,” who earned the title “chickenshit” from the Obama administration — but the leader of  ”the only democratic state in the Middle East.”

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New Caption Contest: ‘Don’t let anybody tell you… (fill in the blank)’

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Myra Adams
Best (Botox) Friends Forever

Best (Botox) Friends Forever

Hillary Clinton uttered one of the greatest gaffes in political history last week when she was campaigning in Massachusetts for Martha Coakley (who ironically is running to win Mitt Romney’s old job as governor) and said:

“Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.”

Mitt, the business guru is probably calling his banker and asking if he has enough money to run against Hillary in 2016 just so he can debate that line.

Of course Hillary is now trying to clarify the comment but some comments just refuse to be clarified, and this is one of them.

But this zinger, besides totally ticking off everyone who owns, works for, or has ever tried to start a business, presents a fabulous opportunity here at PJ Tatler Caption Contest Land.

Not only can you caption this “best Botox friends forever” photo, but we want you to write a new ending to the sentence, “Don’t let anybody tell you….” and we will offer that to Hillary’s 2016 campaign as her new slogan.

We know Hillary is feeling sad and blue right now because she said what she really thinks, so she will appreciate all the love and support offered by our loyal contest goers.

Here is my entry: “Don’t let anybody tell you except me that I am through campaigning, so just freakin’ coronate me.”

Now in old Contest Land business:

The slogans from our last contest were flying right along with Hillary’s monkey and here are the top three bananas.

,monkey

Credit: SABO in Hollywood Reporter

Cfbleachers: A vast ape winged conspiracy.

RockThisTown: Somewhere. . . over the campaign dough 

Kuce: Hillary 2016 – It depends on what the meaning of the word Oz is!

Congrats to our brain trust. See you at the IRS audit department if the master of this flying monkey is ever elected.

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Wendy Davis Mocks Texas on The Daily Show

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Democrat long-shot Wendy Davis appeared on The Daily Show Monday, apparently because that’s where she thinks her voters are. Or maybe it was another out-of-state fundraiser. Davis does a lot of those.

While Davis was there, Jon Stewart tossed the softest of softballs at her. He played up anti-voter ID propaganda as if it’s fact, but hey, he had his clown nose on when he was telling that lie.

The trained audience booed at the mere mention of Greg Abbott’s name. Unluckily for Davis, none of them actually get to vote in Texas.*

Davis mocks the state that she wants to make her its governor at the end of this clip. Stewart notes that a college ID is not a valid form of ID for voting, but a gun permit is.

Davis laughs. “Welcome to Texas!” she fires back in scorn.

And that should be that for the Texas election. Wendy Davis really has just been on an MSNBC audition tour all this time.

*The Daily Show is filming in Austin this week, so some in that audience probably do get to vote in Texas. From the sounds of things, they might like to vote more than once but voter ID will prevent them from doing that.

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DHS Steps Up Security at Government Buildings in D.C. and ‘Around the Country’

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson today ordered the Federal Protective Service to “enhance its presence and security at various U.S. government buildings” in Washington as well as “other major cities and locations around the country.”

“The precise actions we are taking and the precise locations at which we will enhance security is law-enforcement sensitive, will vary and shift from location to location, and will be continually re-evaluated,” Johnson said in a statement.

The Federal Protective Service is tasked with protecting more than 9,500 federal facilities owned or leased by the General Services Administration.

DHS said 1.4 million visitors and occupants pass through these buildings daily.

“We are taking this action as a precautionary step, to safeguard U.S. government personnel and facilities, and the visitors to those facilities,” Johnson said. “The reasons for this action are self-evident: the continued public calls by terrorist organizations for attacks on the homeland and elsewhere, including against law enforcement and other government officials, and the acts of violence targeted at government personnel and installations in Canada and elsewhere recently.”

“Given world events, prudence dictates a heightened vigilance in the protection of U.S. government installations and our personnel.”

Johnson noted that they “urge state and local governments and their law enforcement personnel, along with critical infrastructure owners and operators, to be equally vigilant, particularly in guarding against potential small-scale attacks by a lone offender or a small group of individuals.”

“Likewise, we continually urge the public at large to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities to appropriate authorities,” he said.

In the D.C. metropolitan area, there’s been an increase in the “see something, say something” commercials during prime time since the attacks in Ottawa last week.

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Obama Administration ‘Most Dangerous’ to Media in American History

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

That’s according to Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief of USA Today, captured by Erik Wemple at the Washington Post. So, not us rabble rousers here or Breitbart or elsewhere. Other media scribes who still worship at the feet of Barack Obama might listen to them.

Speaking Saturday at a White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) seminar, Page called the current White House not only “more restrictive” but also “more dangerous” to the press than any other in history, a clear reference to the Obama administration’s leak investigations and its naming of Fox News’s James Rosen as a possible “co-conspirator” in a violation of the Espionage Act.

The WHCA convened the event both to strategize over how to open up the byways of the self-proclaimed most transparent administration in history, as well as to compare war stories on the many ways in which it is not. Peter Baker, the veteran Washington reporter from the New York Times, provided perhaps the best instance of White House-administered madness. In covering a breaking story recently, Baker received a note from a White House handler indicating that President Obama had been briefed on the matter in question.

That information came to Baker “on background.” The gist: Not from me — a meeting has occurred..

Wemple has another story that gets far more specific as to how this administration, the supposedly liberal one that promised to be the most transparent ever, while also promising/threatening to “fundamentally transform” the country, has gone after a specific reporter who was working on two of its biggest, deadliest scandals. That reporter is Sharyl Attkisson, formerly of CBS, and she was reporting on Fast and Furious and Benghazi, Obama’s scandals that even have body counts.

Attkisson writes in her new book about what happened to her, her family and her in-home communications as she was reporting those stories. Here’s a sample, there’s much more at the link.

At one point, Attkisson gets a visit from pseudonymous “Terry,” who has “connections to the three-letter agencies.” “Stonewalled” takes it from here:

Terry tells me of a conversation he’d had with my husband back in 2011. He’d noticed a white utility truck parked up the street by a pond. “I didn’t like that. I didn’t like it at all,” he tells me now, shaking his head. . . . “I didn’t like it because I recognized the type of truck and the type of antennae it had. And if you look” — he points up the street — “there’s a direct line of sight from where it was parked to your house.” My husband, who once worked in law enforcement intelligence, had on several occasions in the past couple of years mentioned the presence of nondescript utility trucks parked in our neighborhood — trucks that were working on no known utility projects. Neighbors noticed, too. Ours is a small community filled with people who pay attention to such things. Some of them worked for the three-letter agencies.”

Attkisson eventually left CBS, which not only failed to defend her and her work — it actively tried to get Attkisson to water down her reporting.

CBS News chief David Rhodes is famously the brother of Obama deputy national security communications adviser Ben Rhodes. So we have a corrupt media angle to finish this post off with.

 

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Yes, Jeffrey, Things Really Are That Bad Between Obama and Israel

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Over at The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg woke up from what must have been a self-imposed stupor and declared, “The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations is Here.” How did he come to this shock and awe (not) conclusion? A “senior Obama Administration official” called Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu a “chickensh*t” when speaking with Goldberg.

And apparently that’s the first time in history Goldberg’s heard a political official use a dirty word to describe another political official. Wait, actually, it’s not. Goldberg explains:

Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.” (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.)  But I had not previously heard Netanyahu described as a “chickensh*t.”

Goldberg makes it clear that he agrees with the Obama administration on the infamous two-state solution, the issue that “sits at the core of the disagreement between Washington and Jerusalem,” making him an impartial source, indeed. His observations about Netanyahu’s “near-pathological desire for career preservation” aren’t anything new. Ask any Israeli you meet and they’ll tell you Netanyahu will forge a coalition with any party, including the Ultra-Orthodox, to avoid early elections. Perhaps Americans like Goldberg are just shocked at the idea of a politician actually having to work, not play golf, to maintain his position of power.

What Goldberg’s thesis really boils down to is this:

Much of the anger felt by Obama administration officials is rooted in the Netanyahu government’s periodic explosions of anti-American condescension.

In other words, Netanyahu’s boys don’t spare their own Jeffrey Goldbergs from hearing what’s on their minds. If they were a private enterprise, the Obama administration’s company logo would be “You’re mean.” And Abe Foxman over at the ADL would be wearing the t-shirt:

“The Israelis do not show sufficient appreciation for America’s role in backing Israel, economically, militarily and politically,” Abraham Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, told me.

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Obama Promises to Solve Ebola ‘Just Like We’ve Solved Every Other Problem’

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama promised Americans this afternoon that “we are going to solve this particular problem” of Ebola “just like we’ve solved every other problem.”

Obama delivered remarks on the lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One, en route to Wisconsin to campaign against Gov. Scott Walker.

He said he’d just spoken with some of the disaster response team in West Africa, who are “doing what it takes to make sure that medical personnel and healthcare workers from all countries have what they need to get the job done.”

“And the good news is that it’s starting to have an impact. Based on the conversations that I had today with them, they’re starting to see some progress in Liberia and the infrastructure is beginning to get built out. That’s thanks to the incredible work and dedication of folks from the United States who are leading the way in helping Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone,” he said.

The president said Americans need to be “vigilant” about the disease on the home front, with “new monitoring and movement guidance” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “that is sensible, based in science and tailored to the unique circumstances of each health worker that may be returning from one of these countries after they have provided the kind of help that they need.”

Tomorrow he’ll meet with some healthcare workers who’ve returned from West Africa or are about to go. Obama said they’ll talk about the support efforts as well as “how our policies can support the incredible heroism that they are showing.”

“Of the seven Americans treated for Ebola so far, all have survived. Right now, the only American still undergoing treatment is Dr. Craig Spencer, who contracted the disease abroad while working to protect others. And we should be saluting his service,” he continued. “…We have to keep leading the global response. America cannot look like it is shying away because other people are watching what we do.”

“We got to make sure that those workers who are willing and able and dedicated to go over there in a really tough job — that they’re applauded, thanked and supported. That should be our priority. And we can make sure that when they come back, they are being monitored in a prudent fashion,” Obama said in a dig at New Jersey’s quarantine of a nurse recently returned from Sierra Leone. “But we want to make sure that we understand that they are doing God’s work over there. And they’re doing that to keep us safe.”

The country doesn’t “just react based on our fears,” the president said.

“When we have volunteers who are taking time out from their families, from their loved ones and so forth to go over there because they have very particular expertise to tackle a very difficult job, we want to make sure that when they come back that we are prudent, that we are making sure that they are not at risk themselves or at risk of spreading the disease, but we don’t want to do things that aren’t based on science and best practices because if we do then we’re just putting another barrier on somebody who’s already doing really important work on our behalf,” Obama added. “And that’s not something that I think any of us should want to see happen.”

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[Video] Black Chicago Activists Speak Out Against Abusive Democrat Machine, Obama

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Scott Ott

The rebellion begins.

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Islam and the Mafia: ‘Making An Offer You Can’t Refuse’

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

Editor’s note: The following is Part Three of a three-part series examining the many parallels between Islam and the mafia following Bill Maher’s recent exclamation that Islam is “the only religion that acts like the mafia, that will f***ing kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book.” Click for Part One and for Part Two.

Coercion and Death Threats

Although the novel turned movie, The Godfather, is fictitious, it also captures much of the mafia’s modus operandi.  Consider, for example, that most famous of lines — “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse” — spoken by the Godfather to one of his “godsons,” an aspiring actor and singer, who, after being turned down by a studio director for a role that he desperately wanted, turns to his Godfather for aid.

As the movie progresses, we discover that the offer that the director can’t refuse is nothing less than violence and the threat of death: after the Godfather’s messenger to the director asking that the actor be given the role is again rejected, the studio head awakes to find the bloodied and decapitated head of his favorite stallion in bed with him.  The godson subsequently gets the movie role.

Throughout the context of the entire Godfather trilogy — and indeed, in the context of the mafia — making someone “an offer they can’t refuse” — comes to mean “do as I say or suffer the consequences,” possibly death.

Compare this to Islam’s threefold choice.  On Muhammad’s orders, whenever Islamic jihadis conquer a territory, they are to give the non-Muslim inhabitants three choices: 1) convert to Islam, 2) maintain your own religion (an option technically only available to Christians and Jews) but pay tribute and live as a subdued third-class citizen, a “dhimmi,” or 3) die.

Not only do the primary historical texts written by authoritative Muslims record this aspect of Islam, but to this very day, Islam’s threefold choice is making headlines, most recently at the hands of the Islamic State.

The ‘Protection Racket’

Once the mafia gains a “territory,” one  of the primary ways it profits is by collecting “protection money”  from the inhabitants.  While the protection racket has several faces, one in particular is akin to an Islamic institution: the idea of coercing people in the mafia’s territory to pay money for “protection,” ostensibly from outside forces, when in fact the protection bought is from the mafia itself — that is, extortion money, or pizzo.   Potential “clients” who refuse the mafia’s “protection” often have their property vandalized and are routinely threatened and harassed.

Compare pizzo with the Islamic concept of jizya:  The word jizya appears in Koran 9:29: “Fight those among the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, nor forbid what Allah and his Messenger have forbidden, nor embrace the religion of truth, until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued (emphasis added).”… Keep reading

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Ebola Nurse Goes Home: ‘With God, All Things are Possible’

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Ebola nurse Amber Joy Vinson was discharged from the Emory University Hospital in Atlanga, GA today. She is the second Dallas nurse to have contracted Ebola and survived.

In her statement, Vinson thanks God and quotes Matthew 19:26.

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Science Committee Subpoenas Tech Officer on Healthcare.gov Security Flaws

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee has subpoenaed former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park to compel his testimony about security lapses on Healthcare.gov.

“The Obama administration has failed to provide this Committee with information about the security of the Obamacare website. What is the White House trying to hide?” said Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

Smith noted July reports about a hacker getting into Healthcare.gov, adding “we don’t know how many other security breaches have gone unreported.”

Park has refused to testify before the committee on five occasion, committee staff said, and was scheduled to give a briefing to members of the Oversight Subcommittee on Sept. 10 before it was canceled by the White House, who wanted the briefing off-the-record.

The committee majority released a 59-page report today that weighed emails versus what Park has said he knew about security flaws before the website’s launch. “It is difficult to reconcile Mr. Park’s statements under oath with the emails received thus far from HHS regarding his involvement with HealthCare.gov,” the report said.

Park was co-chairman of the White House’s Affordable Care Act Information Technology Exchanges Steering Committee overseeing site security during development.

“The American people deserve to know their personal information on HealthCare.gov is absolutely secure,” Smith said.

The subpoena is for Nov. 19.

“Despite the Obama Administration’s attempts to stonewall this Committee from obtaining information on the security failures of healthcare.gov – we will not stop working until we get answers that the American people deserve,” Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Paul Broun (R-Ga.) said in a statement. “Reports of a recent successful hack of the website provide us with further reason of the need to obtain this important information so that we can protect the American people from future cyber security attacks.”

“It is my hope that with this subpoena – we can get to the bottom of the abject failures of HealthCare.gov and ensure these security breaches do not occur again.”

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South Carolina Dem Says He Just Got ‘Garbled’ When He Called Haley a ‘Whore’

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson
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The Democrat trying to win Gov. Nikki Haley’s job in South Carolina says he didn’t mean to call her a “whore” during a campaign stump speech.

Vincent Sheheen said at a rally last week that voters should “escort whore out the door,” quickly followed that with “we are going to escort her out the door,” then paused and cackled along with the crowd.

From Mediaite:

The South Carolina Democratic Party pre-empted any controversy surrounding the clip by releasing a statement pinning the gaffe on the candidate’s thick accent, along with a suggestion that the people who sent around the clip were generating a “fabricated controversy to distract from the fact that a sitting governor is stuck in the low 40s just days before the election.”

Appearing on WQSC’s The Bryan Crabtree Show, Sheheen attempted to correct the record and, once and for all, declare that he did not intentionally call Haley a “whore.”

“Listen, sometimes when you’re speaking 5 to 10 times a day, your words get a little bit garbled,” he told Crabtree. “When they get garbled — and it does happen to me — I go back and say exactly what I meant, and you heard that I meant ‘her’ in that clip.”

When the radio host noted that he caught his “garble” and corrected himself, Sheheen said, “I don’t use that word you people are claiming that I used. I don’t use it in private, and I don’t use it in public — but if anybody heard wrong, and certainly my words were garbled, then you know I apologize.”

Haley leads Sheheen by 15.5 points in the latest Real Clear Politics polling average.

More:

Jeanne Shaheen Jokes About Scott Brown ‘Sneaking Over the Border’

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Chicken Wings and Chips for Lunch at Sidwell Friends

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by J. Christian Adams

While Michelle Obama’s skimpy school lunch mandates have been widely rejected by students and schools, the elite private school attended by both Obama daughters will be serving chicken wings and potato chips on Wednesday.

Sidwell Friends is the elite private school with a $36,264 tuition per child where President Obama sent his daughters instead of Cardozo high school, a government-run school in Washington, D.C.

After Wednesday’s chicken wings, on Thursday Obama’s daughters can get a Cuban sandwich.  Pasco County Schools in Florida had to eliminate Cuban sandwiches because they violated Michelle Obama’s lunch standards.

Land O’ Lakes High had gone one better, pressing its own Cuban sandwiches that definitely exceed the calorie limits, she said.

“No way can we fit Cubans on the menu any more,” Hedine said.

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Next week, students at Sidwell Friends can enjoy Philly Cheese Steaks; and they will have meatball submarines the following week.  Veterans Day is not a holiday at Sidwell Friends, and beef nachos are on the menu.  Nachos, wings, chips and cheesesteaks – lunch fare most American kids can only dream about now.

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Wendy Davis Surrogate Mocks that Greg Abbott ‘Rolls Around’ UPDATE: Dukes Doubles Down!

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Texas Democrat Party really is a marvel of the modern world. It is a party that repeatedly reveals that it is incapable of learning anything, anytime, anywhere. If if weren’t for the moneybags of trial lawyer Steve Mostyn and the press savvy of Matt Angle, which is waning by the year, the Texas Democrats of “white primary” infamy would be in an even worse position than they currently are. They’re so pathetic that it becomes a bore to criticize them. Fish, meet barrel, meet stick of explosives, basically. It’s just too easy.

The latest evidence of all this is state Rep. Dawna Dukes. Rep. Dukes (D-Austin), in her 8th term, is an official Wendy Davis surrogate.

She spent a Saturday campaign rally in Pflugerville claiming that Texas Republicans have “taken everything away everything that matters to the people of Texas,” which doesn’t make a bit of sense in the small-government state that is the engine of America’s economic growth.

Just speaking for myself: I still have my family, my home, my church, my job, my firearms, my other possessions, my job, my voice, my right to vote, my state, and my freedom. My taxes are low, my prospects are high. Crime is down. Property values are stable. Texans aren’t losing, we’re gaining.

Texas Democrat don’t get that, not the how or the why or what role their relegation to irrelevance has played in that. The less power they have, the better Texans do, and a majority here figured that out years ago. The Texas Democrats haven’t, and based on the available evidence, won’t.

Dukes carried right on into mocking the Republican governor nominee, Attorney General Greg Abbott.

As everyone knows by now, Abbott has been disabled for years and relies on a wheelchair. That hasn’t slowed him down in the least, and it won’t slow him down on Tuesday. If Greg Abbott was a liberal Democrat — which he very much is not — there would already be a made-for-TV movie about his life. But he’s not.

For some reason, Dukes just had to point it all out anyway.

“And then we have this guy who just kind of rolls around thinking that he can get tort reform for himself, but take it away from everybody else in the state of Texas.”

And the Democrat base crowd cheers, as you can hear in the video below.

Davis’ Battleground Texas supporters have been caught on tape mocking Abbott’s disability (and condoning voter fraud) during this campaign cycle. Wendy Davis herself just got into trouble for that ad with the image of the empty wheelchair. Then she shamelessly used some disabled folks as props, which predictably backfired.

And now this from Dawna Dukes.

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Capping this episode perfectly, Wendy Davis later thanked Dukes for her comments, reports Sarah Rumpf at Breitbart.

Nice party ya got there, Texas Democrats. Enjoy a few more years in deserved political exile.

Update: State Rep. Dawna Dukes tweets back! Twice. She can’t seem to agree with herself about what she said, even though the audio in the YouTube is as clear as can be.

I’m not sure that a person who can’t even quote themselves accurately is a reliable source for any kind of information.

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Jeanne Shaheen Jokes About Scott Brown ‘Sneaking Over the Border’

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Scott Brown was once a senator in Massachusetts but is currently running to unseat Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire. Shaheen joked on Monday that the state needs to secure its border to keep him out.

We sorta let this guy sneak over the border. You’ve probably noticed that we’ve been debating border security a little bit in this campaign. Clearly, we didn’t do enough to secure the southern border of New Hampshire.

Har har. Imagine if a Republican accused anyone of “sneaking over the border.” The media would turn that comment around against every other Republican on the planet.

Meanwhile, President Obama, whom Shaheen supports and votes with all of the time, has left the actual border wide open to crossings by drug cartel operatives and is plotting to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Obama’s government has released violent criminal aliens into the population and has shipped thousands of children illegal aliens all over the country. No sneaking required — the cartels and the coyotes and everyone else can just walk across.

Very funny, Shaheen.

By the way, enhanced New Hampshire border security might be used against Jeanne Shaheen herself. That hypocrite is originally from Missouri and went to high school in Pennsylvania before attending university in Mississippi. She voted with her fellow Democrats, against completing the fence on the actual U.S.-Mexico border. So border security is an issue that Shaheen ought not inject into the campaign.

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Berkeley Muslims Prove Bill Maher’s Point

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

What was it that Bill Maher said that got him into hot water with leftwingers and Muslims?

Right — he slammed their intolerance, their illiberalism. He noted that too many — not all, but far too many — Muslims respond to challenges with rage, with violence, even with murder.

Maher also criticized many on the left who turn a blind eye to that Islamic intolerance, while they slam Christians who, say, oppose being forced to furnish flowers for gay weddings.

The Huffington Post, a reliably cowardly leftist publication, helpfully cataloged all of Maher’s latest sins against Islam and the left.

And look what’s happening now. An alliance of the left and Muslim activists is responding to Maher’s claim that they’re intolerant by trying to shut him up good. That’ll show him!

In response to an announcement last week that comedian Bill Maher would speak at UC Berkeley’s fall commencement, an online petition started circulating Thursday that demanded that the campus rescind its invitation.

The Change.org petition was authored by ASUC Senator Marium Navid, who is backed by the Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian Coalition, or MEMSA, and Khwaja Ahmed, an active MEMSA member. The petition, which urges students to boycott the decision and asks the campus to stop him from speaking, has already gathered more than 1,400 signatures as of Sunday.

Maher must be laughing at all this. Though being called a racist is practically a capital charge in today’s climate.

“It’s not an issue of freedom of speech, it’s a matter of campus climate,” Navid said. “The First Amendment gives him the right to speak his mind, but it doesn’t give him the right to speak at such an elevated platform as the commencement. That’s a privilege his racist and bigoted remarks don’t give him.”

Note the proper use of leftist language to advance a reactionary agenda.

In his comments on his HBO show, Maher noted that too many Muslims reject the very notion of free thought and free speech, that the problem is not just “a few bad apples.”

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More Than 4,000 Ebola Orphans ‘Only the Tip of the Iceberg’

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The United Nations said the Ebola crisis is leaving thousands of children orphaned as young and middle-aged adults fall victim to the disease.

Sarah Crowe, a spokeswoman for UNICEF, told PBS that it is “an extraordinary problem.”

“We’re seeing every few weeks of course the number of Ebola case are doubling, which means that the numbers of orphans are going to increase as well, because those who are falling ill and dying from Ebola are people of childbearing age. We estimate at the moment there are 4,000-plus orphans, and this is probably only the tip of the iceberg in the three affected countries,” Crowe said.

“So it’s really testing us, throwing new challenges at us that we have never had to face before.”

She noted that “every few days,” their offices in all three countries are “getting stories and information about children who are simply abandoned.”

“The case just recently this week of a child-headed household, a 15-year-old taking care of her brother and sister, because they were left under a tree to fend for themselves because family had shunned them — so, in those cases, what we have to do is to find emergency foster care,” Crowe said.

“The good news is, some 600 children in the past few weeks in Liberia alone have been placed with foster care. And survivors or those who have been through this terrible ordeal of having the disease and being able to then care and nurture children are the best form. They’re able to give children the kind of care that nobody else could give because they know what it’s like.”

The crisis has them “sprinting uphill all the time because this is an absolutely monumental battle.”

“But there are protocols now in place which are being followed by many of our partners. And, of course, we’re working very closely with government and all our partners, but it’s not quite enough yet,” she said.

“Ebola has eroded every single aspect of life. It has impacted on children’s health. They’re not getting the routine immunization they need. Pregnant women are not getting the support they need. Children are not going to school. The problems and the needs are outpacing everyone’s ability to be able to respond fast enough.”

According to the World Health Organization’s Oct. 25 situation report, there have been more than 10,000 cases of Ebola since the outbreak began and nearly 5,000 deaths.

The U.S. and Spain still have the only confirmed cases outside of Africa.

A total of 450 healthcare workers have been infected and 244 have died.

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Hillary: On Second Thought, Maybe Businesses and Corporations Do Create Jobs!

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Last Friday, Hillary Clinton stated flat out that corporations and businesses do not create jobs. Exact quote:

Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.

Apparently that “anybody” now includes Hillary Clinton herself. On Monday Clinton tried to re-write Friday’s line.

On Monday at a campaign event for New York Rep. Sean Maloney, a former aide to President Bill Clinton, Clinton went for a do-over, saying, “Let me be absolutely clear about what I’ve been saying for a couple of decades: Our economy grows when businesses and entrepreneurs create good-paying jobs here in an America where workers and families are empowered to build from the bottom up and the middle out — not when we hand out tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs or stash their profits overseas.”

Even CNN notes that Clinton is having trouble with her own mouth.

In early June, during her book tour, Clinton made a major gaffe when she said, “We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt,” a comment that critics cited as evidence she is out of touch with everyday Americans.

CNN spends the rest of that article bashing Mitt Romney for some reason.

Hillary Clinton is still the odds-on favorite to win the Democrat nomination, but this latest revealing moment suggests once again that she is overrated. She does not run good campaigns, is not an inspiring stump speaker, is not principled and is not particularly interesting. She has no compelling back story (she spent decades killing off lots of those to keep Clenis viable). She has none of her husband’s charm or savvy, and thanks to Obama’s incompetence/malevolence and Wendy Davis’ implosion in Texas, the shine has even worn off of the idea of electing candidates for the sake of history. She cannot run on her great tenure as secretary of State, not without Benghazi and the chaos in the world coming up. So what exactly is Hillary Clinton going to run on?

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Poll: Captain Hopenchange Has Made Government Worse

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Barack Obama rode into the presidency promising “fairness,” “transparency” and lots of other happy stuff that he never intended to deliver.

What he has delivered is a weaponized government that suppresses dissent and spies on reporters, while leaving the border open, bungling its response to deadly Ebola, and leaving ISIS in charge of a major patch of the Middle East. Obama’s government can’t even get school lunches done without causing chaos and backlash.

According to a new ABC/Washington Post poll, most Americans have noticed all this and it’s got them in a sour mood.

According to the poll, 68% of Americans believe that the country is “on the wrong track.” 60% have little or no trust in the federal government to do what’s right, and 63% say that government’s capabilities have gotten worse during Obama’s reign.

A week out from the election, and Obama himself has said that all of his policies are on the ballot…

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Cowboys Return to Bad Old Habits in Loss to Redskins

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo didn’t thrown the decisive, game-losing interception last night. He did come back into the game in the fourth quarter, after suffering a back injury midway through the third, with the game on the line. Owner Jerry Jones, Romo and the coaches wanted a fairy-tale ending more than they just wanted to grind out a win.

While he was out, backup Brandon Weeden came in, the Cowboys kept things simple, and they stayed in the game. While Weeden was in, and with Colt McCoy leading the Redskins from the start, there were two former Browns QBs in the game.

That’s not generally a sign of quality, but both players played well enough. Weeden produced 10 points in two drives including an 80-yarder capped by a touchdown pass to TE Jason Witten. He was efficient. McCoy started to melt down as the pressure built, making little mistakes at the line that stalled Redskins drives. But when it mattered most, he looked like the player who became famous in Austin and came within an injury of winning the NCAA national title. And when it mattered most, the Cowboys forgot what has given them their best season start in ages.

Upon his return, late in the fourth, with the score tied at 17 apiece, Romo succumbed to the Redskins pressure and fumbled on his own five. The Cowboys recovered that fumble. A play or two later Romo almost threw that decisive interception, but the pass fell incomplete.

The Dallas Cowboys of 2014 have not looked or played like the Cowboys of recent seasons. The pass-happy Cowboys of the Romo era had been replaced by a more bullish offensive line that’s capable of providing the foundation for a productive running game. RB DeMarco Murray has started off this season making history, as the first ball carrier in NFL history to start a season off with seven consecutive 100-yard games. He had well over 100 yards on the ground last night, as well as another good night receiving. The Redskins could not stop him. Murray made roadkill of their defensive backs.

When Romo went out, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones went in — almost literally. The Palpatine-esque owner had given a live interview to ESPN earlier in the game, during which he noted that the Cowboys had finally figured out how to protect Romo from opposing defenses.

Within a few plays of that, Romo was sacked for the fourth or fifth time of the game, took a knee to the kidney, and went down. As Tony Romo lay on the turf in Arlington and ESPN went to commercial, Cowboys fans saw the team’s strong start to the season for the fragile thing that it truly is. The Cowboys may have been 6-1 going into the Monday Night Football showdown with their arch rivals, but they are a suspect 6-1, with a defense that can still be too generous and no serious backups to several key starters. If Murray or Romo or Witten go down…?

Jones first went to the locker room to check on Romo, and told ESPN’s Lisa Salters that his QB was lobbying to get back into the game. Then Jones went to the sideline to play cheerleader.

The Cowboys already have cheerleaders. World famous cheerleaders.

Jones’ decision to go to the sidelines is one that Head Coach Jason Garrett and everyone else associated with, connected to, or supporting the Cowboys wishes he had made differently. As in, stay in your box. Keep out of the way. No coach should have to deal with the spectacle of the team owner prancing about on the sidelines and making faces for the cameras — and looking like he is telling the coach whether their injured veteran quarterback, who has had back surgery, is going to come back into the game.

At any rate, with Jones on the sidelines, he also earns a share of the blame. Not that he will accept that.

Regulation ends with the score tied at 17. The Redskins win the toss, take the ball, and march right down over the Cowboys’ suspect defense and kick a field goal — 20-17 to the visitors. Colt McCoy looked like the Longhorns Colt McCoy during that drive, using his legs, using his arm, making crisp, accurate throws to his receivers to keep the ball moving. The Cowboys’ unrebuilt defense was exposed by a man who had not started a game in nearly three years.

The Cowboys now must score or the game is over. A field goal keeps the game going, while a touchdown wins it.

The Cowboys get the ball, run to Murray on first down and he drives forward. Other than one really bad play earlier, when Murray capped off a brilliant catch and run with a fumble in the red zone, Murray had had a lights out game.

Murray picks up 8 yards on first down. Second and two, Murray is unstoppable on the ground, roadkill on the Redskins defense, the Cowboys run again, right?

No, they forget how to run. They set up for a pass across the middle to tight end Jason Witten, but he’s covered, so Romo checks down to Murray on the screen right. The Redskins read that and stuff it. He loses two yards. The Cowboys lost the game on that play, they just didn’t know it yet.

Romo had been unable to read the Redskins blitz on third downs all night. The Dallas defensive coaches had been similarly baffled, even though everyone else in the stadium and watching on TV could see the Skins blitzes coming every single time. Third and four or more, they’re going to blitz. They had done it all night. The Cowboys have been great on third downs all season but they never picked it up Monday night.

The sacks on Romo had taken their toll, especially the one that sent him out for a quarter. When he returned, it was clear that Romo’s head was a little foggy and was not as mobile as he usually is. He was, essentially, a fixed target in the backfield. Everyone in the stadium could see that, too, and the Redskins knew that while Romo’s arm still might be a threat, his receivers are always a threat, his feet no longer were, and he could not wriggle out of pressure the way he has successfully done all of his career. They also know his history. Tony Romo either leads the Cowboys on a brilliant, last-minute game-winning drive, or he throws the interception or drops the fumble that costs them the game. He either beats you or he implodes. With that back injury, as long as the ball is in Romo’s hands, which is more likely to happen?

As it turned out, Romo didn’t lead a game-winning drive, but he wasn’t to blame this time.

Third and about four in overtime, so it’s four-down territory all the way. Romo is a stationary tackling dummy but he has the best running back in the NFL and an offensive line that has been great for the ground game all night.

The Cowboys run Murray again to grind out a few yards or get the first down and keep the game alive, right?

Nope, they pass, incomplete.

Fourth down, blitz, pass, incomplete.

And that’s the game, ending with a whimper this time. The 9-point underdog Washington Redskins, without several key starters and down to their third string quarterback — a man who had not started a game since December 8, 2011 — had just ended the Cowboys’ six-game winning streak.

They had also gotten the Cowboys to abandon their NFL-best running game with the game on the line, and put the ball into the head and hands of an injured Tony Romo.

The Dallas Cowboys have already won more game this season than I expected them to win all year, so anything beyond this point is still gravy. But at 6-1, fans had a right to expect that the Cowboys coaches and owner had learned from previous failures. Stay balanced between the pass and run and you win. Get pass happy and you lose. Keep Jones from making questionable decisions like, say, drafting Johnny Manziel when you need offensive linemen, and you build a team that just might even win a playoff game.

It doesn’t look like that’s the case. Jerry Jones barged down to the sidelines and all but demanded that the coaches suit him up and give him the ball. Whether he or Garrett made the decision to put Romo back in we don’t know yet, but the visuals suggested that it was Jones making that call. With Romo back in, the Cowboys never scored again. The Cowboys abandoned the running game when it mattered most, and when Murray could well have broken off another long run to win the game.

The Cowboys lost to the Redskins at home last night because they reverted to thinking and playing like the same old mediocre Dallas Cowboys who make terrible decisions in key moments, and cannot get out of their own way.

They’re still 6-2, that’s the good news. The bad news is their quarterback is now a doubt and will carry that back injury for a while, and they’re still three wins away from actually having a winning season. Will they get those three wins?

 

 

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Priebus: Just a Matter of the ‘Ground Game’ to Push Walker to Re-election

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said this morning that it’s taking a “sophisticated operation” in Wisconsin to try to push Gov. Scott Walker to re-election.

The latest Real Clear Politics polling average has the race a dead heat, with Walker just 0.2 points ahead of Democratic candidate Mary Burke.

“I think he’s doing well,” Priebus told MSNBC, adding that he thinks Walker will win. “And it’s really a matter of the ground game there.”

“I really think that Scott’s doing great. Here’s the issue with Wisconsin. I think you understand. There’s about 4 percent that are undecided total,” he continued. “It’s like polling that you’ve never seen anywhere in the country. And the other issue is you have both parties in Wisconsin that are about the two best parties in the country as far as turnout.”

“And, you know, that’s why you’re seeing Scott Walker right now on about a 30-city bus tour firing up the base and getting people out to vote.”

The AFL-CIO’s Workers’ Voice PAC has Walker on its top targets and has made big ad buys in the state. “It’s not been tough for us to get volunteers in Wisconsin, because this guy is known as just an anti-worker governor in Wisconsin,” union boss Richard Trumka told MSNBC last week. “He’s sort of like the poster child for that across the country.”

Unions are pumping millions into the race.

“It’s a truck load of money from — from national unions and soft money organizations coming into Wisconsin. And, obviously, Scott’s done a great job fundraising, and a lot of people have,” Priebus said. “But, you know, it is a lot about the money. But ultimately, you know, when there’s 4 percent undecided, it’s all about turnout. It’s all about whether you can win up in Eau Claire and Wausau and Green Bay… and bringing ballots in the box.”

Walker told reporters yesterday that he isn’t getting enough help from the national GOP in his fight, according to Politico.

The Republican Governors Association said it’s “been all-in in Wisconsin from the beginning,” spending $8 million on his campaign this time around compared to $5.2 million in his first campaign and $9 million in his recall election.

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Senegalese Boys Beaten Up in Bronx, Called ‘Ebola’

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The African Advisory Committee of the Bronx said two recent Senegalese immigrants were beaten up at school and taunted with cries of “Ebola” from the attackers.

Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) said it was an example of how fear of the virus “can bring out the worst people.”

The attack happened about 2 p.m. on Friday at the I.S. 318 Elementary/Intermediate School; the targets were brothers, a 6th grader and an 8th grader. The advocacy group said they suffered “severe injuries” and were taken to the hospital.

“I am deeply saddened to hear of the acts of violence that were recently committed on two young boys from Senegal here in the Bronx,” Serrano said Monday evening in a statement. “This is perfect example of how, as the fear of Ebola spreads, it can bring out the worst people and the impact that stigma is having on the African community.”

The congressman said he joined the Senegalese Association and African Advisory Committee in “denouncing this heinous act.”

“Bullying has no place in our schools and neighborhoods, and we cannot allow the Ebola epidemic to stigmatize a single community,” Serrano said. “I am greatly disappointed by the significant backlash Africans in my district and throughout the country are facing amidst the Ebola epidemic. This is not who we are as a community and as a nation, and we all need to contribute to put an end to the fear and stigma around Ebola.”

“Ebola is not a West African problem, or even an African problem, it is a global health concern. Instead of feeding into the fear and discriminating against others, we need to come together in solidarity as we grapple with this terrible disease.”

The boys’ father, Ousame Drame, said the brothers were born in America and raised in Senegal, and have been harassed over the past two weeks.

Senegal had one Ebola case, an infected student from Guinea, and was declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization this month.

Drame blamed the school system for not protecting his boys, not the young attackers. ”They don’t know nothing,” he said. “They’re babies.”

More: 

More Than 4,000 Ebola Orphans ‘Only the Tip of the Iceberg’

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Union Officer Getting Medal of Honor More Than 150 Years Later

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

More than 150 years after his death, President Obama will award the Medal of Honor to a Union soldier who took a stand on Cemetery Ridge during Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg.

First Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing died at age 22 during the battle. He’d been in the Army for two years at that point, and is buried at West Point.

On Nov. 6, cousins of the fallen soldier, Frederic Stevens Sater and Frederic Cushing Stevens III, will come to the White House for the medal ceremony.

Cushing was serving as commanding officer of Battery A, 4th United States Artillery, Artillery Brigade, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac during combat operations on July 3, 1863.

“During Longstreet’s Assault, also known as Pickett’s Charge, First Lieutenant Cushing’s battery took a severe pounding by Confederate artillery. As the Confederate Forces advanced, he manned the only remaining, and serviceable, field piece in his battery,” the White House said. “During the advance, he was wounded in the abdomen as well as in the right shoulder.”

“Refusing to evacuate to the rear despite his severe wounds, he directed the operation of his lone field piece continuing to fire. With the Confederate Forces within 100 yards of his position, Cushing was shot and killed during this heroic stand. His actions made it possible for the Union Army to successfully repulse the assault.”

Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) authored legislation to finally honor Wisconsin-born Cushing. At the end of August, Obama said he would act on it.

“Even after more than 150 years, it’s never too late to do the right thing for our war heroes,” Kind said then. “Lt. Cushing richly deserves his Medal of Honor.”

Sensenbrenner said the award “culminates more than two decades of bipartisan work and is long overdue.”

“Lt. Cushing was a courageous leader who at just 22 years of age, gave his life to protect our sovereign nation at the Battle of Gettysburg,” Sensenbrenner said. “His exceptional bravery and determination on the battlefield should serve as an inspiration to us all.”

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As Election Nears, Voters Agree Abortion Equals “Economic Justice”

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

surveystats

A new survey reveals that companies like Facebook are on the cutting edge of the abortion argument when it comes to offering employees the freeze-your-eggs perk. For a new generation of career women, abortion rights (a.k.a. “reproductive justice”) are becoming increasingly tied to “economic justice”. Reporting on the survey, Maya Dusenbery, Executive Director of Feministing writes:

Far from seeing abortion access as something that shouldn’t be included in the broader agendas–let alone a poison pill that would sink their support for the legislation–voters agreed that reproductive rights are pretty key part of ensuring gender equality. As the chart above shows, strong majorities in both states agreed that a woman’s ability to control whether or when she has children is important to her financial stability and equality.

When the question is about the impact of access to abortion specifically, the figure drops slightly to about half. But that simply suggests that we need to more clearly show that abortion is a very common way that people control their reproductive lives–by fighting the stigma that paints folks who have abortions as “the other” when in fact we’re not–and continuing to highlight just how precarious access to the procedure has become, particularly for those with the least financial stability.

Results of the survey illustrate that the highest supporters of government funded abortion are African Americans, Latinos, and those with household incomes less than $50,000/year. The racial statistics shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that the majority of abortions are performed among the Black and Latino communities:

According to 2010 census data, African Americans make up 12.6% of the U.S. population but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that black women accounted for 35.4% of all abortions in 2009. The Guttmacher Institute (AGI) puts the percentage of black abortions at 30% of the U.S. total.Their most recent numbers are from 2008. Similarly, AGI tells us that Hispanic women accounted for 25% of all U.S. abortions in 2008, though Hispanics make up just 16.3% of the U.S. population.The CDC lists the percentage of Hispanic abortions at 20.6%. Compare those numbers to non-Hispanic whites, who make up 63.7% of America’s population, but account for only 36% of all U.S. abortions (37.7%according to the CDC).

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Slight Overkill: Authorities Send Armored Car and 24 Deputies to Collect Civil Judgment From 75 -Year-Old Man

Monday, October 27th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

I guess it always pays to be careful. Real careful. Obsessively careful. Over-the-top careful.

At least, that’s what civil authorities in the tiny town of Stettin, Wisconsin, in Marathon County believe. To enforce a civil judgment, they sent 24 deputies and the county’s pride and joy — an armored vehicle — to collect $80,000 from a 75-year-old man.

This account of the “police action” will have your jaw dropping.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

When officials in the tiny Town of Stettin in Marathon County went to collect a civil judgment from 75-year-old Roger Hoeppner this month, they sent 24 armed officers.

And an armored military vehicle.

Among other issues, the recent unrest in Ferguson, Mo., focused attention on the growing militarization of local law enforcement, particularly the use by even very small police departments of surplus armored military vehicles.

Marathon County sheriff’s officials aren’t apologizing for their tactics. Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Bean said officials expected to have to seize and remove tractors and wooden pallets to pay the judgment — hence the cadre of deputies. He also said what while Hoeppner was never considered dangerous, he was known to be argumentative.

Hoeppner said when he noticed deputies outside his house, he called his attorney, Ryan Lister of Wausau. Lister said he quickly left for Hoeppner’s house but was stopped by a roadblock that was kept up until after his client had been taken away in handcuffs. “Rather than provide Mr. Hoeppner or his counsel notice…and attempt to collect without spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on the military-style maneuvers, the town unilaterally decided to enforce its civil judgment” with a show of force, Lister said.

Bean said deputies had to handcuff Hoeppner because he was not following all their instructions, but did eventually agree to pay the $80,000 judgment after a visit to a bank — accompanied by deputies.

Bean also said the armored truck was summoned only after Hoeppner initially refused to come out of his house. Once the truck appeared, so did Hoeppner.

“I’ve been involved in about five standoff situations where, as soon as the MARV showed up, the person gives up,” saving time, money and increasing safety, Bean said.

Madison’s police recently made a similar endorsement after officers used one to carry out the safe arrest of a man who had fired at police from a window of his home.

MARV stands for Marathon County Response Vehicle, which his department obtained in 2011. It’s the only one in the county and gets used 10 to 20 times a year, Bean said.

“People may not always understand why, but an armored vehicle is almost a necessity now,” Bean said.

Hoeppner’s wife was so upset about the raid that she had to be taken to the hospital.

There are two sides to every story, but even if you accept the version offered by Stettin authorities, you have to wonder about their motives in siccing an armored car on the old guy.

The judgment is the result of a six-year court battle in which the town won a suit against Mr. Hoeppner for zoning violations and violations of other nuisance laws. Three years ago, the court ordered Hoeppnner to pay and when he didn’t, the town got a final judgment in 2013 that slapped him with a $500 a day fine and payment of the town’s legal fees. The judge also allowed authorities to collect the judgment without informing Hoeppner or his attorney.

Hoeppner seems like a cantankerous old coot, but he wasn’t a threat. What is perhaps most chilling is that authorities thought nothing of calling for an armored car to intimidate him. The MARV is the lazy man’s way of dealing with a situation like this, so rather than doing actual police work and negotiate, or wait him out, they took the shortcut of rolling a two-ton vehicle more appropriate for the battlefield than a pastoral setting into Mr. Hoeppner’s driveway.

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Photo of the Day: Women’s Bus in ISIS-Controlled Syria

Monday, October 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

This photo exposes the Democrats’ whole “war on women” for the nonsense that it is.

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Wendy Davis Is Wiping Out the ‘Gender Gap’

Monday, October 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Republicans may want the Democrats to run Wendy Davis for national office. The latest CBS/YouGov poll has Greg Abbott leading Davis by a lot in the Texas governors race. That’s not really news.

The news in this poll is that Davis now trails Abbott among women…by double digits.

 

 

abbott-12-pt-lead-w-women

h/t Weasel Zippers

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