Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said close races have her feeling better about the party’s prospects in this midterm election than in the Tea Party rout of four years ago.
“I think we are still really in a neck- and-neck situation in terms of whether or not we see pickups for Democrats or pickups for Republicans,” Wasserman Schultz told MSNBC this morning. “This is an election where, in every single competitive race, it’s coming down to the wire. Just an example, four years ago in 2010, the DCCC had cut loose a whole bunch of incumbents and there’s not a single incumbent Democrat that today you would predict would be losing.”
“And we’re doing well, because Republicans are so extreme,” she added.
The DNC leader cautiously said “the best thing” she could predict “is that we have an opportunity to pick up seats.”
“And beyond that, I wouldn’t make any other prediction.”
Wasserman Schultz said political observers need to be asking, “Why are Republicans doing so badly?”
“They’re do so badly in a second term midterm with a, you know, a Democratic president, where the president’s party loses, on average, 29 seats. And you know, there’s even a question mark whether the Republicans will pick up any seats at all,” she said.
“In fact, they could still lose seats, and that’s because they are extreme. They’ve put suing the president for doing his job at the top of agenda. They’ve put investigating Benghazi 13 times at the top of the agenda. And Democrats all across the country have put creating jobs, getting the economy turned around, fighting for the middle class by supporting an increase in the minimum wage. And so, that’s why the Republicans are not trending with history and why there’s still competitive races all over the country and Democrats are well-positioned, for governors, for the House and the Senate.”
Politico is predicting a loss of 10 seats for Democrats, with 14 toss-up races not included. Larry Sabato is predicting a “strong and increasing chance” for the GOP to gain control of the Senate, but a House map that “isn’t really expanding to a great degree.” The Washington Post is predicting a gain of 8 seats in the House for Republicans and seven seats in the Senate.
Wasserman Schultz framed the news for Democrats like so: “There’s not going to be historic gains in the House.”
“If you vote for Democrats, you are voting for candidates who are focused on creating jobs, getting the economy turned around and continuing to move us forward, creating more opportunities for people to succeed,” she said. “If you vote for a Republican, you’re voting for someone who has embraced that Tea Party agenda, who would double down on obstruction and who would stop us from moving forward.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie issued a series of tweets moments ago urging parents to talk to their children about Ebola and “calm their nerves,” and taking a dig at “people in public office” who have added to “hysteria” about the virus.
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 22, 2014
Everyone needs to be calm. I know with all of this media attention it creates hysteria. #Ebola
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 22, 2014
Unfortunately, the coverage in the media is reaching our children. Mary Pat and I had to assure our kids, they are not at risk. #Ebola
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 22, 2014
Also to people in public office, we need to be responsible and cautious when talking about Ebola. It’s not helpful to add to the hysteria. — Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 22, 2014
Let me be very clear: New Jersey and its officials will not be in the business of stoking the hysteria. #Ebola
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 22, 2014
Newark is one of the five airports accepting travelers from the Ebola “hot zone” of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
‘Simply Doesn’t Go Far Enough’: DHS Travel Restrictions Unlikely to Stop Congressional Ebola Efforts
Lawmakers who wanted a travel ban from the three West African countries hardest hit by Ebola aren’t satisfied with the Department of Homeland Security’s new travel restrictions announced Tuesday.
The new measures, which go into effect today, require travelers originating from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to land at New York’s JFK, Newark, Dulles, Atlanta or Chicago.
Those airports implemented last week implemented “secondary screening and added protocols, including having their temperature taken, before they can be admitted into the United States.”
“We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption. If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travelers should contact the airlines for rebooking, as needed,” DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement.
“We currently have in place measures to identify and screen anyone at all land, sea and air ports of entry into the United States who we have reason to believe has been present in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea in the preceding 21 days… We are continually evaluating whether additional restrictions or added screening and precautionary measures are necessary to protect the American people and will act accordingly.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the new procedures “strengthen the measures that are in place to protect the American public because it ensures that individuals who are traveling on commercial airlines to the United States are funneled to these five airports where there is personnel available to pull them aside and ensure that they get proper screening before entering this country.”
“You’ll recall that there are other measures that are in place, too,” Earnest added. “They are given information about Ebola — what signs they should be on the lookout for in terms of symptoms; their contact information is also collected so that if there’s a need to reach them on short notice, that that can be done as well.”
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said the DHS plan “simply doesn’t go far enough.”
“I continue to believe that the best approach is a temporary suspension on all travel visas for those traveling to the United States from Ebola-stricken countries,” Blunt said.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) maintained that the new rules are “not going to protect us.”
“What this policy does, what it provides is what we call the hospital gown coverage. Their goal at the White House is just to make you think you are covered, when actually you’re exposed from areas you don’t see,” Gohmert told Fox.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), though, said what the administration is doing is “still the best solution, because if you go to a travel ban, as some are advocating, then you get people really going to ground, really trying to evade any kind of testing.”
“And then I think you get people coming into the country surreptitiously and potentially spreading the virus if they have it,” Schiff told MSNBC. “So I think it’s the best option, it’s the one that I think uniformly health care experts are advising the president to undertake. And we should want the president to listen to the experts rather than listen to some hyperbole. So I think this is the right step.”
“But the White House also is sensibly saying they’re gonna keep an eye on things, and if things need to change, they’ll be prepared to do it.”
In the second shocking violent episode in Canada this week, a gunman reportedly exited a car near Canada’s parliament building in Ottawa. He shot one soldier standing guard in the chest.
Witnesses reported seeing a gunman firing at the Ottawa War Memorial and then running toward the government buildings, where more shots were heard.
A soldier has been wounded in the attack, Canadian media report.
The incident came hours after Canada raised its terror threat level following a fatal hit-and-run attack on two soldiers earlier in the week.
“Shots fired at War Memorial at 9:52am today; one person injured,” Ottawa Police tweeted on Wednesday as a witness reported seeing authorities search from room to room for the suspect.
Police have told those in the vicinity to stay away from windows and roofs as they search for the suspect.
The gunman – said to be carrying a rifle – fired on soldiers guarding Canada’s main war memorial and then ran into the parliament.
Whether this incident has any connection to Islamist terrorism or not is not yet clear, but Canada had just raised its terror threat from low to medium following a clear instance of Islamist terrorism.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was not near the scene of the shootings, and is reported safe.
There are reports that more than one gunman remains active in the area around the parliament and Canada’s National War Memorial. Police also report that there have been at least three shooting incidents in Ottawa today.
Update: The Mirror has video of the moment that the gunman opened fire inside the parliament building.
Update: The attacks come on the same day that Canada is set to bestow honorary citizenship on Malala Yousafazi. She won the Nobel Peace Prize last week, for advocating for women’s rights and education in her native Pakistan. That ceremony is to take place in Toronto.
Yousafzai’s activism on behalf of girls in her region in Pakistan made her a target of the Taliban at the age of 15, when a would-be assassin shot her in the head. Since recovering, she has become known worldwide as a spokesperson on the importance of access to education.
Update: The American embassy in Ottawa is on lockdown. One of the gunmen has reportedly been killed but others remain at large.
Update: The soldier who was shot at the beginning of today’s events has died.
Update: Reports now say that the first gunman was dressed all in black and was wearing a scarf over his face. He carjacked a car near the parliament and drove that car on the way to the first shooting.
Update: Canada’s government is tracking today’s violence as a terrorist incident, and will reportedly continue treating it as such until evidence suggesting that it is not terrorism comes to light. That is in sharp contrast to how the Obama administration handles suspected terrorist attacks in the US. The FBI and other government agencies in the US default to something other than terrorism first, and still considers Nidal Hasan’s 2009 terrorist attack at Fort Hoot, Texas an incident of “workplace violence.”
Update (1:23 PM Central): The Canadian authorities are holding a press conference on the shootings. Canada’s capital remains in lockdown as suspects are sought. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson described the day as a “sad and tragic day for our city and our country.” Authorities confirmed that a Canadian soldier and one gunman were killed.
The motive behind the attack has still not been determined, but it comes on the heels of one Islamist attack on Canadian soldiers, and ISIS chatter that western military personnel and their families should be targeted.
MORE: Police believe three gunmen were involved in shootings in Ottawa this morning and are looking for two shooters. http://t.co/IHV4galEtC
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 22, 2014
Update: A good guy with a gun stopped one of the bad guys with a gun. The good guy’s name is Kevin Vickers, and he is the sergeant-at-arms of the Canadian legislature.
The State Department is staying tight-lipped about why North Korea freed an Ohio father of three before he was supposed to go on trial.
Jeffrey Fowle was seized April 29 after entering the country as a tourist and acting “in violation of the DPRK law, contrary to the purpose of tourism during his stay,” the official Korean Central News Agency reported on June 6.
Reports have indicated that Fowle was arrested after a Bible was discovered in his hotel room.
Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters yesterday that the U.S. government sent a DoD aircraft flown by military personnel based out of Hawaii to pick up Fowle.
“What I can tell you is that, at the request of the State Department, we did provide an aircraft to effect the transportation of Mr. Fowle out of North Korea,” Kirby said.
The Korea Herald said Pyongyang’s motive for releasing Fowle was unclear.
“When it comes to the release of Fowle, it seems that there had been no consultations in advance between North Korea and the U.S.,” the paper quoted a high-ranking official at Seoul’s Foreign Ministry. “It is hard to gauge the North’s intention for the move, and it remains to be seen how the North deals with the two other American detainees.”
Those are Kenneth Bae, a Christian missionary sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in April 2013, and Matthew Miller, arrested April 10 while trying to enter the country and recently sentenced to six years of hard labor.
Sources told the paper that Washington had alerted South Korea before it sent a plane into the North to pick up Fowle.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told CNN that they had ”a time window where the DPRK asked for us to facilitate his travel home.” The plane stopped in Guam before bringing Fowle back to the U.S.
“We’re not going to get into the details of how these activities — how we work with the North Koreans or others that are trying to get these people back home with their families,” Harf said. “There are two Americans still there. We want to preserve our space to be able to bring them home, as well.”
North Korea curiously released Fowle without the apparent visit of any high-profile American to lead negotiations, such as when Bill Clinton went to Pyongyang in 2009 to secure the release of two American journalists.
“Well, you know, every case is different. You remember Merrill Newman, an American who returned home from the DPRK just a few months ago. I don’t want to speculate on how they make decisions in Pyongyang or how they decide when to release these Americans,” Harf said. “But what we are focused on is doing everything in our power, again, not always being able to talk about it publicly, to reunite these Americans with their families.”
The release comes after an extended disappearance of Kim Jong-un off the national stage, leading to speculation about whether he was gravely ill or had been deposed.
Harf said their assessment on Kim still being in power “hasn’t changed.”
“We have nothing to indicate otherwise. I know senior officials have talked about this before,” she said. “Obviously, it’s a very opaque society and we pay very close attention to it. But, again, our assessment of that has not changed.”
RIA Novosti is confirming reports seen on Twitter in the past few hours that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has been hit by rockets/mortars by ISIS:
BAGHDAD, October 22 (RIA Novosti) – The US Embassy in Iraq located in central Baghdad has been shelled with rockets, Al-Mustakillah news agency reported Wednesday citing a security source.
“On Tuesday night the US Embassy was hit with three rockets. They were fired from a park area in the Dora district [in southern Baghdad],” the agency’s source said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Al-Sumaria TV channel reported a mortar shelling of the so-called “green zone” in the center of the capital, housing government buildings and foreign missions. Security forces surrounded the area to repel a potential attack.
In my article last week on possible implications of ISIS taking Baghdad, I raised the issue of the problem of evacuating the thousands of U.S. military, diplomatic personnel, and American citizens from Iraq if Baghdad fell.
Reports yesterday indicated that ISIS had been walking rounds into the International Zone, presumably to sight in their rounds.
And the Washington Post reported last Thursday that ISIS had been lobbing rounds into the International Zone since early this month:
On Oct. 1, four mortar shells struck inside the Green Zone, a fortified area in central Baghdad filled with foreign embassies and government buildings, according to a U.S. Embassy security official, who declined to be identified. The rounds fell a few hundred yards from the U.S. Embassy and followed another mortar attack a week earlier, he said.
Brig. Gen. Saad Maan, spokesman for Baghdad Operations Command, confirmed that mortar fire had hit inside the Green Zone but said the shells landed on “empty space without any buildings.” He declined to give further details but said an investigation was underway to determine its source. He stressed that there have been no further incidents.
Consider today’s attack by ISIS a “further incident.”
Will the D.C. foreign policy establishment tell us, again, that ISIS attacking our embassy in Baghdad is a “sign of desperation” and an indication of their weakness?
Ben Bradlee, the editor of the Washington Post during the Watergate scandal, died at his home in D.C. yesterday. He was 93.
President Obama released a statement in the evening praising the man who presided over the newsroom for 26 years as managing editor then executive editor.
“For Benjamin Bradlee, journalism was more than a profession – it was a public good vital to our democracy,” Obama said. “A true newspaperman, he transformed the Washington Post into one of the country’s finest newspapers, and with him at the helm, a growing army of reporters published the Pentagon Papers, exposed Watergate, and told stories that needed to be told – stories that helped us understand our world and one another a little bit better.”
“The standard he set – a standard for honest, objective, meticulous reporting – encouraged so many others to enter the profession,” he added. “And that standard is why, last year, I was proud to honor Ben with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Today, we offer our thoughts and prayers to Ben’s family, and all who were fortunate to share in what truly was a good life.”
At the November 2013 Medal of Freedom ceremony, Obama noted that Bradlee was a veteran of World War II and more than a dozen Pacific battles.
“Ben Bradlee brought the same intensity and dedication to journalism,” Obama said then. “When Ben retired, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan put the admiration of many into a poem: ‘O rare Ben Bradlee/His reign has ceased/But his nation stands/Its strength increased.’”
“As editor of our hometown newspaper, Benjamin Bradlee defined an era of reporting that gave birth to investigative journalism as we now know it,” D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) said. “He will be remembered for his fearless journalism, for building a team of pathbreaking journalists, and for giving them the freedom to do what seemed to be the impossible.”
“Bradlee, his publisher Katharine Graham, and his reporters lived among the powerful in Washington, but were completely undaunted by them, including the president,” Norton stressed. “Outside of the newsroom, Bradlee did not forget our community, raising millions of dollars for the District’s Children’s National Medical Center.”
The Washington Post obituary stressed that the paper won 17 Pulitzer prizes during Bradlee’s reign.
Bradlee was portrayed by Jason Robards in All the President’s Men.
“Mr. Bradlee’s patrician good looks, gravelly voice, profane vocabulary and zest for journalism and for life all contributed to the charismatic personality that dominated and shaped The Post. Modern American newspaper editors rarely achieve much fame, but Mr. Bradlee became a celebrity and loved the status,” reads the WaPo article:
“He was a presence, a force,” [Bob] Woodward recalled of Mr. Bradlee’s role during the Watergate period, 1972 to 1974. “And he was a doubter, a skeptic — ‘Do we have it yet?’ ‘Have we proved it?’ ” Decades later, Woodward remembered the words that he most hated to hear from Mr. Bradlee then: “You don’t have it yet, kid.”
Mr. Bradlee loved the Watergate story, not least because it gave the newspaper “impact,” his favorite word in his first years as editor. He wanted the paper to be noticed. In his personal vernacular — a vivid, blasphemous argot that combined the swearwords he mastered in the Navy during World War II with the impeccable enunciation of a blue-blooded Bostonian — a great story was “a real tube-ripper.”
This meant a story was so hot that Post readers would rip the paper out of the tubes into which the paperboy delivered it. A bad story was “mego” — the acronym for “my eyes glaze over” — applied to anything that bored him. Maximizing the number of tube-rippers and minimizing mego was the Bradlee strategy.
Mr. Bradlee’s tactics were also simple: “Hire people smarter than you are” and encourage them to bloom. His energy and his mystique were infectious.
Just passing this along, from the Federalist. Not alleging that if you add this plus Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s subpoenas of pastors’ sermons, mix in what’s happening to various Christian business owners, you get a leftwing-driven war on the church.
California’s Department of Managed Health Care has ordered all insurance plans in the state to immediately begin covering elective abortion. Not Plan B. Not contraceptives. Elective surgical dismemberment abortion.
At the insistence of the American Civil Liberties Union, the DMHC concluded that a 40-year-old state law requiring health plans to cover “basic health services” had been misinterpreted all these decades. Every plan in the state was immediately ordered, effective August 22, to cover elective abortion. California had not even applied this test to its own state employee health plans (which covered only “medically necessary” abortions). But this novel reading was nevertheless quietly imposed on every plan in the state by fiat.
The news has slowly leaked out as insurers grappling with this change have begun quietly informing employers of this sudden change in the terms of their policy.
Irked that you pay Federal employees to goof off or surf porn on the clock when they should be working?
At least they show up.
President Obama — so enraged about the “do-nothing Congress” — might also want to find out how many of his 2.7 million executive branch employees get paid to stay home and watch “The View.”
According to the Washington Post, your tax dollars support tens of thousands of public servants on extended paid leave (a month to a year or more) while they await the adjudication of their disciplinary cases.
Unlike former Senator Barack Obama, they can’t even vote “present.”
During a three-year period that ended last fall, more than 57,000 employees were sent home for a month or longer. The tab for these workers exceeded $775 million in salary alone….While the employees stayed home, they not only collected paychecks but also built their pensions, vacation and sick days and moved up the federal pay scale. (Washington Post, Oct. 20, 2014)
That’s more than a $1 billion every four years going from the pockets of hardworking taxpayers, to the pockets of non-working bureaucrats. This accounts for only about three-fifths of the total federal workforce, since some government agencies don’t keep track of paid-leave data.
Under official rules, dating back to 1980, this “cannot” be, since employees under disciplinary review are to be sent home only in “rare circumstances.”
The extensive use of administrative leave continues despite government personnel rules that limit paid leave for employees facing discipline to “rare circumstances” in which the employee is considered a threat. The long-standing rules were written in an effort to curb waste and deal quickly with workers accused of misconduct.
And the comptroller general, the top federal official responsible for auditing government finances and practices, has repeatedly ruled that federal workers should not be sidelined for long periods for any reason.
Nevertheless, government bosses do as they please, sending bureaucrats home (with pay) for “alleged violations of government rules and laws, whistleblowing, doubts about trustworthiness, and disputes with colleagues or bosses. Some employees remain on paid leave while they challenge demotions and other punishments.”
If you work in the private sector, you know that administrative leave is granted sparingly, and only for brief bursts. Serious problems spark termination, or unpaid suspension. Oddly enough, private companies working government contracts cannot bill the government for employees on paid leave…so they don’t have many of those.
But it seems our passive-aggressive federal overlords would rather make a problem go away than deal with her.
The financial tally above does not include a calculation of productivity losses, although perhaps this is negligible for federal workers. (When Bob left, he didn’t leave no vacancy.)
By the way, one might expect a large number of disciplinary cases to happen in the Defense Department, both because of the sheer number of employees (roughly 35% of the total), and the psychological demands of the work. But only 9,623 of the extended-leavers worked (or didn’t) for the Pentagon (about 17%).
Truth Revolt‘s Ben Shapiro (a.k.a. the guy who took over the Breitbart mantle) has jumped on Christina Hoff Sommers‘ Factual Feminist bandwagon with his own info short Women are Winning the War on Women. Knocking down the pay gap, birth control, and sexual assault myths with statistical evidence, Shapiro declares, “It’s a great time to be a woman, which means we don’t need Hillary Clinton and her magical X-chromosomes to save the day.”
In the short Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew, touts the fact that his wife balances both motherhood and medical school, destroying the stereotype that religious men don’t (or can’t) support gender equality.
Using midterm hype to get ahead of 2016 Presidential electioneering, Shapiro applies his legal mind and quick wit to what is becoming a genre of informational videos geared towards the next generation of American feminists.
Check it out and pass it on.
The co-author of the 1998 Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act says she hasn’t gotten answers from the administration on whether suspected war criminals and SS guards have been receiving Social Security payouts.
The Associated Press reported the results of its two-year investigation that found at least 38 of 66 Nazi suspects removed from the United States since 1979 kept their Social Security benefits.
Four are still receiving checks from the U.S. government.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said Monday that she wrote to the inspectors general of the Social Security Administration and the Department of Justice to ask that they launch a probe into the allegations. Her 1998 bill created an interagency group to sift through wartime records about Nazi crimes and recommend files for declassification.
“We passed laws saying they should get no benefits and leave the country. But there’s a loophole. The law said they had to be deported. And some were denaturalized, some left of their own accord, so they have continued to receive benefits,” Maloney told CNN today.
“…Congress is not known for a lot of areas that we agree. But I — everyone I talk to is outraged across the country. The response is very strong.”
Maloney said neither the DOJ nor the Social Security Administration have responded yet to her requests, “but we’ll keep calling, and we’ll keep trying.”
“And they certainly should respond. The transparency is the hallmark of this administration and the sunshine is the best disinfectant. And they should come back with as much information or all the information that really respects our privacy laws, but there’s no reason that they can’t give numbers of how much has been spent and where,” she said. “These are known Nazi war criminals.”
Maloney said she’ll introduce a bill to close the loophole when Congress returns.
“Many of them weren’t even suspected. They had the proof that they were Nazi war criminals. And I have asked for that information of who received it, how much, how much of a period of time. And also the widows. In the event they died, their widows will continue to receive Social Security benefits,” she said. “So we need to get these numbers and see the span of it. A.P. reported four known criminals are receiving funds that they were able to locate. But I have asked the Justice Department and the Social Security Department to get back to me with the appropriate information, and I trust they will.”
Just a few feet from the site where Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner was gunned down by Mumia Abu-Jamal in 1981, Gov. Corbett on Tuesday signed into law a bill that would censor former offenders from causing victims mental anguish.
With Faulkner’s widow, Maureen, at his side Corbett assured the crowd that the law was not just about one particular killer.
Instead, he gave his rationale for signing what he called the “Revictimization Relief Act.”
“Over the years we’ve heard much about the constitutional rights of prison inmates when the focus should be on victims,” Corbett said.
Corbett added that the victim’s right to seek redress in court had been overlooked for far too long.
“This bill was meant to strengthen, to clarify, and to empower the victims,” Corbett said.
Of course, some of the “Free Mumia” bottom-feeders were there protesting the bill, which just shows that it is necessary. They are all probably too stupid to understand that they were making the case for the very thing they were opposing merely by being present.
That leftists have turned this murderer into a celebrity is really all anyone needs to know about the direction of politics in this country since the progressives began hijacking the Democrats and all things left-of-center in the early 1970s. One would think that a life sentence would be enough to keep a murderer out of the way of the victim’s family and legislation against the academic celebration of these sociopaths wouldn’t be necessary.
One would think.
In a time of war, plague and economic upheaval, Sen. Mark Udall (D) chose to base his re-election campaign on fear. Not fear of any of those things, but the irrational fear that the Republican nominee — whoever that turned out to be — was gunning for women’s birth control.
The Republican nominee turned out to be Rep. Cory Gardner, and he pre-empted the birth control fear game by advocating over-the-counter birth control.
Udall went so far all-in on the phony “war on women” schtick that he morphed into “Mark Uterus.” And he’s now tanking in the polls.
[O]bservers also say that Udall hasn’t helped matters by running a campaign that seems to be designed as a replay of the campaign that helped Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet eke out a win in 2010, despite lagging in the polls until the end. Back then Senator Bennet won, in large part, by focusing on women voters as well as reproductive rights. His opponent, Ken Buck, was a cultural conservative who believed abortion should be banned in all instances, and he made tone-deaf statements, once telling an audience they should vote for him “because I don’t wear high heels.”
In the end, women voted for Bennet by a margin of 16 percent, according to the exit polls, and were a big reason behind his victory.
Udall’s advisers have clearly wanted to re-create that victory, and reproductive rights have been such a focus of Udall’s campaign that his critics began calling him “Mark Uterus.” Unlike with Bennet, the focus has turned into a negative for Udall.
“It’s a case of the Democrats fighting the last war,” says Peter Hanson, a political science professor at the University of Denver. “The Republicans have seen this strategy and were prepared for it.”
Along with that, voters have seen reality. Udall has tried stoking phony fears, while he has either ignored or embodied real fears. He is a leftist prog Democrat who participated in the attack on Second Amendment rights, and who helped Obama foist Obamacare and his other disastrous policies on Colorado. Gardner just has to point that out, and he has.
The fear game has a shelf life, and it’s less likely to work for you when you’ve proven yourself to be scarier than the other guy, and oblivious to real threats at the same time.
“I have to tell you the truth,” said Christie, a potential 2016 presidential candidate. “I’m tired of hearing about the minimum wage. I really am. I don’t think there’s a mother or father sitting around a kitchen table tonight saying ‘you know honey, if our son or daughter could just make a higher minimum wage, my god – all our dreams would be realized.”
Christie continued, “Is that what parents aspire to for our children?
The Democrats have seized on the minimum wage issue during this election cycle because it is one of those heartstrings-tuggers that make for an easy sell to the low-info crowd and because they are loathe to bring up Obamacare.
Christie gets close to the real heart of the matter here: Democrats don’t want people to aspire to bigger things. Now that the party is firmly in the grip of its progressive lunatic fringe, it behooves them to encourage Americans to remain in circumstances that will forever keep them dependent upon the government for survival, which a slightly increased minimum wage most certainly does. They demonize anyone who correctly describes what the minimum wage is supposed to be: an entry-level, part-time wage for younger people.
The fact that so many adults are working for minimum wage, rather than the wage itself, is the real problem.
OK, the fact that Democrats want to make people more comfortable in jobs they should be trying to get out of is the real problem.
This will go down as a moment in the war with ISIS that has little strategic meaning, but may have significant psychological meaning.
The US airdropped a cache of weapons, intended for our Kurish allies in Syria, on territory that the Islamic State controls.
The terrorists have published video showing the weapons while they brag about having them.
The weapons, in the grand scheme of a war that already has ISIS driving around in American tanks and using Howitzers made by the American defense industry, don’t amount to all that much. A grenade kit for making lots of those, and a few boxes of rocket launcher rounds. That cache by itself won’t turn the tide of the war.
But the Obama government is already reeling from its pitiful response to the Ebola outbreak on one hand, and has earned distrust for its handling of the US border and for quietly planning to issue tens of millions of guest worker cards after the elections on the other.
At home Obama’s government is either ridiculed, disliked, distrusted or dismissed. Now it’s dropping weapons into a war zone and hurting our allies there twice — by misplacing the weapons themselves, and by showing America’s unreliability as an ally.
According to most polls, Republicans have owned the “enthusiasm gap” for months. They also lead on the generic ballot on the question of which party the voters want to control Congress. President Obama has tended to dismiss his party’s concerns by promising that the Democrats’ turnout machine will save them
The Washington Post is tracking early voting trends. The president may be just as accurate on turnout as he was when he predicted that Ebola wouldn’t come to America.
Two weeks ago, we looked at initial early voting data compiled by the U.S. Election Project with the aim of sussing out how campaigns were doing at putting votes in the bank. At that point, it seemed like Democrats were doing particularly well in Iowa and North Carolina compared to voter registration numbers. Republicans were doing well in other battleground states.
Now, that’s changed. Compared to overall voter registration, Iowa and North Carolina Democrats are doing much worse than earlier in the month, and Republicans in those states much better. We’ve also added new states that recently began early voting: Nevada, California and Colorado. In each, Republicans are outperforming Democrats.
The news that Republicans are outperforming Democrats even in California early voting is bad enough for Democrats. But add in that the Democrats are even underperforming versus independents, who are even being targeted much by either party, and you have the makings of a disaster. For Democrats.
ISIS released video of what it says is a seized airdrop of arms and supplies that the U.S. intended for Kurdish forces trying to keep the Syrian border town of Kobane.
Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said that out of 28 bundles dropped ”we know of at least one that didn’t make it.”
The video includes an ISIS fighter rifling through a chest of grenades.
Kirby just told reporters that ”one bundle did not make it into the right hands,” but as the video was just released “we just don’t know” if U.S. arms were dropped into the hands of ISIS.
“We don’t know whether it’s authentic; you’ve got to give us a bit of time to figure it out,” he said.
The bundles included small arms and medical supplies.
When asked if they should be dropping aid rather than pressuring Turkey to simply let supplies come across the border crossing, Kirby replied, “Was there a better way?”
Kirby stressed that even if ISIS got one bundle they got 27 through to the Kurds. “I think that’s a pretty good record of success from the air.”
“I think we’re going to keep our options open to use that delivery mechanism in the future,” he added.
Starting Wednesday, all travelers to the US coming from the three Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa will have to go through one of the five airports that will be enhanced screening sites.
But the enhanced screening is a joke. It consists of answering more questions on a form, and having your temperature taken by a laser-infrared thermometer.
That screening would not have stopped Thomas Duncan from entering the US from his native Liberia.
The new restriction does mean that all travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea will have to go through the new screening, and not just the 94% who were already set to undergo the screening.
So, this isn’t really much of a change at all. It’s theater.
Meanwhile, because the United States still accepts travelers from the Ebola hot zone, Rwanda is set to begin screening travelers who travel there from the US.
Cue the conspiracy theories! President Obama has not just put Ron Klain, a political hack and crony with no medical experience whatsoever, in charge of his Ebola response. That hack and crony hasn’t just been involved in everything from the high-tech lynching of Clarence Thomas to the Gore recount to Solyndra.
That hack and crony, Ron Klain, the man who is charged with defending Americans from a deadly disease, thinks we have too darn many people around.
Say, isn’t there a conflict of interests lurking here somewhere?
Take a look.
The press pool flagged the White House for scrubbing the transcript of President Obama’s remarks at a DNC fundraiser in Chicago last night.
The original transcript released by the White House contained this quote: “One of the nice things about being home is actually that it’s a little bit like a time capsule because Michelle and I and the kids, we left so quickly that there’s still junk on my desk, including some — newspapers and all kinds of stuff.”
The White House reporter covering the event for the print pool transcribed the quote as this: ”One of the nice things about being home is actually that it’s a little bit like a time capsule. Because Michelle and I and the kids, we left so quickly that there’s still junk on my desk, including some unpaid bills (laughter) – I think eventually they got paid — but they’re sort of stacked up. And messages, newspapers and all kinds of stuff.”
The pool report was sent out before the official White House transcript. The discrepancy was noticed by the Associated Press.
This morning, the White House sent out a “corrected” transcript from the event.
“One of the nice things about being home is actually that it’s a little bit like a time capsule because Michelle and I and the kids, we left so quickly that there’s still junk on my desk, including some — *(inaudible) — newspapers and all kinds of stuff,” the transcript now says, the asterisk marking the change.
Attorney General Eric Holder, who recently announced that he’ll retire from the Obama administration, criticized former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for criticizing the president.
Panetta’s new book, Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace, came out earlier this month. In the text and a series of interviews around the book’s release, the retired secretary decried foreign policy that’s “damaging” U.S. credibility.
“I have to really disagree with his characterization of the president,” Holder told CNN. “The president is a deliberate person in an appropriate way. But he’s also resolute once he makes up his mind.”
“So I think that what Leon said in the book is unfortunate, and frankly I don’t think it’s something that a former cabinet member should do while the president you served is still in office,” the attorney general added. “That’s not something that I would even consider doing.”
Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told CNN on Monday that he’d add to Holder’s comments on Panetta by noting “the president has shown that he’s willing to use military force, not just against Osama bin Laden but against terrorist targets in Yemen and Somalia and Libya.”
“He’ll use force when it’s necessary. But we make no apologies for being deliberate about the use of force, particularly when it engages the United States in conflicts like in the Middle East,” Rhodes said. “After the last decade, I think the American people want a president who’s going to think hard before making those decisions, who’s going to ask the hard questions and then, when he does pursue a strategy, he makes sure he’s drawing from the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan so that we’re not putting our men and women at the same risks that they’ve been in this last decade.”
Holder has said he’ll stay on the job until his replacement, whom Obama has not yet nominated, is confirmed.
When asked about his biggest failure on the job, Holder replied, “I think the inability to pass reasonable gun safety laws after the Newtown massacre is, for me, something that I take personally as a failure and something that I think we as a society should take as a failure.”
His greatest success? “I’m happy with where we are with regard to our criminal justice reform issues, the stands that we’ve taken against voter suppression efforts, the attempts to include the LGBT community in ways that it has not been before and to knock down those final vestiges of discrimination,” he said. “It’s a whole variety of things I’m really proud of the people of this Justice Department and the way they’ve done them over the past six years.”
On the eventual outcome of the investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., Holder said he hopes “people will understand that certainly with regard to the federal government, that we looked at the facts, looked at the law, had to deal with that high standard and came to an appropriate conclusion.”
“I think what we’ll have to do as we always do in civil rights investigations from the federal perspective is look at what the state has done and then make a determination as to whether or not the state investigation was adequate,” he added.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal mocked President Obama’s “School of Crisis Management” stages including feigning anger, demanding more money from Congress and declaring that Republicans are standing in the way.
Jindal tweeted the stages on Saturday, and elaborated on them yesterday on Fox.
“First he tells us he’s got this, his second step is he pretends madness. His third step, and now you see we’re actually getting to that third step now, he and his surrogates say they simply need more of our money. His fourth step finds a way to blame the Republicans,” the governor said. “We have seen this before. We saw it with the oil spill. Time and time again this president has shown his incompetence.”
“He told us the virus wasn’t going to come here, then it did. He told us it wasn’t going to spread and then it did. He feigns anger, he says he needs more money, the next step, it’s coming, it’s going to be the republicans fault. I guarantee you, it’s predictable, it’s going to happen.”
Jindal said the stages are ”all about managing the 24-hour news cycle.”
“It’s all about politics. It’s all about appearances and perception. The problem is we’ve got a commander in chief, we’ve got a president who’s never run anything before,” he said. “We see his incompetence on display here. This is malpractice now but it’s not the first time. Unfortunately, we’ve seen the failures domestically.”
“We saw it up close here in Louisiana with the oil spill. We saw it overseas with a failed red line. You just heard this nurse say — unfortunately, we saw this during the oil spill — they don’t want to listen to the people on the front lines. The so-called experts they don’t want to display common sense,” Jindal continued.
“Why not, for example, why not implement this travel ban? I called for it several days ago — a couple weeks ago. So, now you’re beginning to see elected officials, both Democrat and Republican, join in for this call. They’re not making common-sense decisions. Sometimes the so-called smartest guys in government are sometimes the dumbest guys. Why not use common sense?”
Last week, Jindal, a potential 2016 candidate, unloaded on Obama in a string of tweets about the president’s incompetence.
Here are the four stages from the @BarackObama School of Crisis Management.
— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) October 18, 2014
Stage 1 of Obama Crisis Management: Don’t worry, I got this.
— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) October 18, 2014
Stage 2 of Obama Crisis Management: I’m so mad.
— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) October 18, 2014
Stage 3 of Obama Crisis Management: More money will fix it.
— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) October 18, 2014
Stage 4 of Obama Crisis Management: Republicans are obstructing.
— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) October 18, 2014
White House press secretary Josh Earnest responded to concerns that President Obama isn’t facing direct questions from the press enough by noting that he recently took one question from a reporter.
This morning on MSNBC, it was noted to Earnest that Obama hasn’t done a full Q&A with members of the media since Sept. 5.
“Well, you know, the president does have this foreign trip that’s coming up where I would anticipate the president will typically do Q&A sessions with reporters when he’s traveling. The president was just in the Oval Office on Thursday where he did a meeting with his team to talk about the Ebola response and he took a question from the pool who asked him about appointing a czar,” Earnest replied.
The press secretary said one question isn’t the standard now, “but it is an example of the president having a regular interchange with the reporters who cover the White House.”
Obama flew to a DNC event yesterday in Chicago. Deputy press secretary Eric Schultz answered questions on the plane.
Earnest told MSNBC that taking over from former press secretary Jay Carney has been “a genuine thrill.”
“I’m not going to say it is easy, but it’s a heck of a good time,” he said.
“I think some of it is temperament, and not getting angry when someone asks you an unfair question is part of it… It happens very rarely but you have to be prepared when it happens.”
Earnest said the press secretary must learn about “not taking it personally, because the other thing is this, when they show the clip on your show, you never show the clip of somebody asking the question.”
“…If you can walk in and keep your cool and understand that’s what’s going to happen — then — that’s going to help you get — that’s going to help you succeed a little bit.”
He maintained that Obama can help instead of hurt Democrats in the midterms, but “ultimately it’s up to the individual candidates to learn lessons, right? They’re running their own campaigns.”
“In 2012 we applied a lot of lessons from 2010 and it involves a better organizing some communities. Some of that involved using technology. There’s been a lot of people who have written about Facebook and some of the efforts we did to engage voters that way,” Earnest said.
“Ultimately what we’re trying to share those lessons learned, those best practices, with the individual campaigns. That means giving them access to our volunteers, giving them access to people who were strongly supportive on the ground of our campaign during in ’08 and in 2012. And hopefully Democratic candidates, and I’m confident they will benefit from that.”
The Washington Post must be chock full of racists. Why else is that paper running such a negative story about the state of the healthcare system in Liberia?
MONROVIA, Liberia — For the 29th day, Linda Wilson came to the gates of the Ebola treatment center looking for her best friend, the woman whose picture she carried in her purse, so she could show it to guards or nurses or anyone else who might be able to help.
“Have you seen her?” Wilson asked them.
For the 29th day, the answer was no. Barbara Bai’s name was not on any list, even though she was admitted to a hospital one month earlier. There was no record of her death or her survival at any hospital in Monrovia. She was one of the many people who have simply vanished as Ebola tears through the city.
Ebola ravaged this capital so quickly that some patients passed through an already broken medical system with hardly any paper trail. Others were admitted to one clinic and transferred to another without notice. Hundreds were cremated long before their families were notified that they had died.
That sounds uncomfortably like the Veterans Administration under Obama. Which makes me a racist for pointing that out.
Relatives and friends spend hours each day outside the city’s four Ebola clinics. Some come to pray. Many are not sure if they’re in the right place.
They wait for visiting hours, held in special partitioned spaces, even though the loved ones they are looking for never show up. They check patient lists, even though they’re almost always incomplete.
As long as there remain open flights from the Ebola-stricken countries to the United States, we are depending on those countries’ record-keeping systems to keep us safe. It’s not like our own government has any interest in doing that job.
Howard Fineman fancies himself a courageous soul. Because no one brings up race in America anymore.
Well, other than Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, every single mainstream media columnist and pundit, every single Democrat candidate, officeholder, consultant, Twitter warrior, every single day on every network…
It’s just not talked about.
FINEMAN: “Can I mention race here?”
MATTHEWS: “You may.”
FINEMAN: “Let’s put the cards on the table here.”
MATTHEWS: “You mean the word Africa?”
FINEMAN: “No. The brown people coming from the South, the Arab people coming from the East, the black people coming from Africa, nobody’s saying that in so many words. Nobody’s saying it at all, but it’s in the background of this whole discussion, and anybody who would deny that doesn’t know how this country operates. It’s not the only way this country operates. We’re bigger than that in the end, but that’s definitely a subtext of a lot of what’s going on here. There’s just no question about it. And I’ll say it if other people won’t.”
MATTHEWS: “It is the arrival of them, even though African-Americans, hint hint, have been here before we got here.”
See there. Your concern about drug war violence spilling over the border is all really about racism. Your concern about terrorists chopping people’s heads off and filming it for the Internet — racism. Your concern about contracting an infectious disease that kills 70% of its victims, extremely painfully — racism. Your hope that you haven’t sent your kid off to school only to have it either blown up by terrorists, shot up by drug cartel operatives, or swept through by a deadly virus — all of which the government could have stopped, but for political reasons chose not to — racism.
Howard Fineman thinks you’re just a horrible person. Racist.
You’ve just been chastised for nearly 25 minutes by Monica Lewinsky — chastised for reading and writing on the internet about Ms. Lewinsky’s “intimate moments” with former President Bill Clinton nearly two decades ago. [See Lewinsky speech video on the next page.]
You see the genuinely immoral aspect of her adulterous affair with Hillary Clinton’s husband cannot be found in anything she did — unless loving too much is a crime — nor in anything he did, because she imputes no impropriety to him. Rather, here’s how she broaches the topic…
Fresh out of college, a 22-year-old intern in the White House, and more than averagely romantic, I fell in love with my boss, in a 22-year-old sort of way. It happens. But my boss was the President of the United States. That probably happens less often.
This, of course, is calculated to draw laughter and sympathy. But Lewinsky is quick to add a note of contrition — not a whole note, but perhaps a quarter note.
Now, I deeply regret it for many reasons, not the least of which is because people were hurt, and that’s never OK.
Observe the skillful use of the passive voice (“people were hurt“) and the stern consequences she accepts (“that’s never ok“).
But before she can rend her garment and fling dust on her head, she rapidly moves on to the real breach of morality in this saga.
No, it’s not that she was diddled by a man old enough to be her father. It’s not that the imbalance of power between them was perhaps the greatest since Mohammed took 9-year-old Aisha as his wife, making it prima facie sexual harassment in every corporation in the land.
You see, she wasn’t sexually harassed, she was in love. Her two-year affair with 15-year-old Chelsea Clinton’s Daddy was what Lewinsky calls “my everything.” That was “the golden bubble part for me,” Lewinsky said. “The nice part.”
The nasty part was that it became public — public with a vengeance.
So, nearly 20 years after she and the president jeopardized national security by conducting a clandestine sexual relationship in the White House, making the commander in chief vulnerable to blackmail, it’s time for the perpetrators to be called out — starting with Matt Drudge and you.
Overnight, I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one.
She goes on to recount her depression and suicidal thoughts, and falls just short of launching a crusade to “Save the Love-Struck Presidential Interns from Internet Shaming.”
For just 73 cents a day — that’s less than a cup of coffee — you can rescue a “more than averagely romantic” young woman from the savagery of social media slut-shaming and help her to live a quiet life of secret trysts with leader of the free world.
Personally, after watching Monica Lewinsky’s entire speech, I’m as chastened as she was chaste.
[See Lewinsky speech video on the next page.]
The State Department is lauding Cuba for sending resources to help fight Ebola in West Africa, with spokeswoman Marie Harf not ruling out further cooperation with the communist island in the future.
“Cuba, a country of just 11 million people, has sent 165 health professionals and it plans to send nearly 300 more,” Kerry said in Washington on Friday while noting “nations large and small stepping up in impressive ways to make a contribution on the front lines.”
Granma reported that Raul Castro said today Cuba ”is ready to work shoulder to shoulder with all nations, including the United States” to stop the spread of Ebola “and that urgently needed is the will to integrate, organize and plan, as well as articulate efforts – not only for assistance and treatment, but for prevention and strict adherence to medical protocols, as well.”
Today, Harf was asked if the U.S. welcomes Castro’s remarks.
“Well, you heard Secretary Kerry last Friday in his comments about Ebola recognize that Cuba dispatched hundreds of health care workers to the region as part of the U.N. mission for the emergency response here and said that this is a significant contribution to the overall international response,” she said.
“We have recognized and appreciate this contribution, as we do from other countries, as well. But the fact that such a small country is providing so many resources — more than many other countries, quite frankly — is a significant contribution.”
Harf said she “saw some of those comments,” but doesn’t have “more analysis of how we might have discussions with them in the future”
“You know we do have discussions with them from time to time on certain issues, but I don’t have anything to preview for you,” she said.
“In recognizing what they’ve done, that doesn’t seem the same thing as saying you’re willing to cooperate?” a reporter asked.
“I’m not saying we’re not,” Harf replied. “I’m just saying I don’t have any more for you on those comments, and I can check with our folks and see if we have more to say tomorrow.”
She added that Cuba is “absolutely” helping by “pulling their weight.”
“The secretary very publicly and openly said that we thought this is a significant contribution by the Cubans… And I would of course welcome additional support and resources and contributions from the Cubans. The question, I think, was about whether we will work together, and I just don’t know the facts. But, of course, we would welcome them doing more, absolutely.”
Former vice president turned unofficial environmental czar Al Gore pitched climate control to a packed house at Dreamforce 2014 with some 150,000 registrants and 5 million online via Salesforce Live. But what caught my eye most wasn’t what Gore said (as we’ve all heard these alarming stats before), it was the barrage of disparaging comments I received online after posting highlights from his speech (read on for those).
Wows Some, Nauseates Others
Nearly all the replies on Twitter were aimed at giving Gore a new bunghole. Really. Plenty pockmark Gore carte blanche and rubberstamp him as a political-has-been, fraud and profiteer. Here are screen captures of these digs (I omitted any with four-letter unmentionables:
Just the mere mention of Gore’s name either wows those who hang on his every word as gospel or nauseates others who would rather eat a dirt sandwich then sit through his lecture. There seems to be no middle ground either. Some attendees were psychologically pumped by his seemingly vast knowledge of our eroding ozone layer noticeable by their cheers, applause and standing ovation.
One slide Gore presented, interestingly enough, was dated two days before his keynote on October 13, 2014, from the U.S. Department of Defense 2014 Climate Change Roadmap:
“Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty and conflict.”
Another slide featured insight from Jason Box, a Lead Researcher with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. Yet another covered the 10 cities at risk from sea level rise in 2070 (which most of us won’t be around to dispute): Calcutta, Mumbai, Dhaka, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Shanghai, Rangoon, Miami, and Haiphong.
Another shared this less-known insight:
“In 2014 the ice sheet is precisely 5.6 percent darker, producing additional absorption of energy equivalent to roughly twice the US annual electricity consumption.”
Gore spent a good 20 minutes on the nuances of every monster storm of the last decade. One of the proof points environmentalists offer while making their case is the increased frequency of colossal storms and single out global warming as the culprit.
Oops. He Did It Again.
Gore ramped up the wattage of his speech by bringing legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young on stage. Young was already at Dreamforce stumping his new digital-download music service and dedicated high-quality music player, Pono (I tried it out and easily give it two thumbs up).
Yet Gore couldn’t quite get to his end game on the evil-ways-we’re-polluting-our-planet-diatribe on fact-based evidence alone. He relied on mammoth monitors displaying a serene image of Earth from space and a few dry jokes. One poked fun at former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in reference to dissing anyone who talks about space colonies. His next zinger fell sideways yet was as expected as Hillary’s pantsuit jests: his “election win” that lost.
How Did Gore Fare?
I give Gore’s a C- on his controversial climate research, a D on his lengthy delivery and need to add A-list glitter with a legendary musician yet still have one overriding question: “Shouldn’t you let that loss go already?” That was 14 years, one separation, one girlfriend, two presidents and four terms ago.
The Department of Homeland Security will begin early next year a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program to “expedite family reunification for certain eligible Haitian family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of the U.S. and to promote safe, legal and orderly migration from Haiti to the United States.”
The program will allow those already approved under family-based immigrant visa petitions to come to the U.S. up to two years before their immigrant visa priority dates become current.
“Due to annual caps, more than 100,000 Haitians with approved family-based petitions remain on waiting lists of up to more than 12 years in Haiti. In creating a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program next year, the Obama administration has reaffirmed its commitment to reuniting Haitian families, saving lives, and accelerating Haiti’s recovery efforts following the devastating 2010 earthquake,” Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said. “This will not only help ensure that migration from Haiti is safe and legal, but strengthen Haitian families and provide them with greater opportunities to succeed.”
Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas called “the rebuilding and development of a safe and economically strong Haiti is a priority for the United States.”
“The Haitian Family Reunification Parole program promotes a fundamental underlying goal of our immigration system – family reunification. It also supports broader U.S. goals for Haiti’s reconstruction and development by providing the opportunity for certain eligible Haitians to safely and legally immigrate sooner to the United States,” Mayorkas said in a statement Friday.
“The United States strongly discourages individuals in Haiti from undertaking life-threatening and illegal maritime journeys to the United States. Such individuals will not qualify for the HFRP program and if located at sea may be returned to Haiti.”
Secretary of State John Kerry met earlier this month with Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe. “The government has worked hard and we have worked hard and the international community has worked hard to make a difference to the lives of the people of Haiti,” Kerry said.
Lamothe said Haiti “has tremendous challenges ahead of it,” but is recovering from the 2010 earthquake that took 250,000 lives and caused $14 billion in damages.
“The country is progressing very much, and that’s thanks very much to the U.S. support of Haiti’s growth, Haiti’s progress. We have a thriving industrial park in the northern part of Haiti,” the prime minister said.
DHS said legal authority for the reunification program “is provided under the Immigration and Nationality Act which authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to parole into the United States certain individuals, on a case-by-case basis, for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.”
“This is the same legal authority used to establish the Cuban Family Reunification Parole program in 2007.”
Hastings said it’s his “sincere hope” that the program “will be expanded, so that all Haitians with approved petitions may join their families in the United States as soon as possible.”
BREAKING: Possible Terror Attack in Canada by Reported ISIS Sympathizer, Dead Suspect Is Martin ‘Ahmad’ Rouleau
NOTE: Updates below this post
According to multiple reports, Canadian authorities are investigating a hit-and-run and subsequent high-speed car chase this morning in St. Jean sur Richelieu in Quebec province as a possible terror attack. (HT: Stewart Bell)
A man in his 30s was shot by police in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., earlier this afternoon after he hit two members of the Canadian Forces with his car and led police on a dramatic high-speed chase.
The soldiers were hit in a parking lot of a commercial plaza at around 11:30 a.m. ET. Both were injured, one critically.
The incident was raised in the House of Commons this afternoon by Conservative MP Randy Hoback, who questioned Prime Minister Stephen Harper about “unconfirmed reports of a possible terror attack” targeting members of the Canadian Forces.
Harper, reading from a piece of paper, would only say he was ”aware of these reports” and that they are troubling.
Police have not named the soldiers but confirmed at an afternoon news conference that they were members of the armed forces.
Another report indicates that the suspect was inside the military office beforehand talking about ISIS and may be an ISIS sympathizer.
“Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.”
“If you are unable to do so, then burn his home, car, or business. Or destroy his crops. If you are unable to do so, then spit in his face.”
If this is a confirmed attack, it may be a copycat attack based off of the May 2013 killing of British Army drummer Lee Rigby on the streets of Woolwich.
UPDATE2: Rouleau’s Facebook page is filled with caliphate imagery.
UPDATE3: Here’s a picture of Rouleau from his Ummaland (Muslim social networking site) page, where is user name was “Ahmad the Convert”:
UPDATE4: Canadian Prime Minister’s Office says that Rouleau “had become radicalized”:
“The individual who struck the two CAF members with his car is known to federal authorities, including the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team,” said the statement from Jason MacDonald, the prime minister’s spokesman.
“Federal authorities have confirmed that there are clear indications that the individual had become radicalized. As Canada’s national security agencies have said, Canadians should remain vigilant.”
UPDATE5: Stewart Bell of the National Post reports on Rouleau’s online activity:
A Twitter account under the name Ahmad Rouleau featured the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham, the terrorist group that last month called on its followers to kill Canadians because of Ottawa’s role in the anti-ISIS military coalition.
“Islam is the only true religion. Anyone who want scientific proof of God that your terrorist Zionism Rothschild media hide, contact me or add me if you re open minded,” he commented beneath an online Time magazine article last May.
On a Facebook page under the same name, French and English posts — the last one on Friday — denounced Christianity and Judaism. “Allah has promised the hypocrite men and hypocrite women and the disbelievers the fire of Hell, wherein they will abide eternally. It is sufficient for them. And Allah has cursed them, and for them is an enduring punishment,” he wrote.
UPDATE6: The Toronto Sun adds this interesting tidbit:
A source says the suspect called 911 during the chase to say that he carried out his acts in the name of Allah.
And also reports:
Couture-Rouleau became known to the RCMP after a relative alerted police to the man’s terrorist leanings, a police source told QMI Agency.
A neighbor told QMI that Couture-Rouleau had grown out his beard and started wearing a turban after converting to Islam a year ago.
UPDATE7: National Post reports that one of the soldiers run down by Rouleau has died.
Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the 30-person Ebola strike team ordered by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will likely begin training this week.
Kirby told Fox that the idea was developed out of discussions between Hagel and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.
“We have some unique capabilities in the United States military and our medical health professionals, and we wanted to be able to lend this capability to the government if needed, to civilian medical authorities if needed,” the press secretary said.
“They’re going to start their training probably this week. The training will take place for about a week long session, and then they’ll be on this 30 days prepare-to-deploy ready status where they could be ready to go within 72 hours. And we think we have some expertise that could be of help, again, only if needed and if required.”
The strike team would be limited to use within the United States. Kirby said there’s no significance to the fact that they’ll be training in Texas, where the first Ebola cases in the country occurred.
“It just so happens that that’s where the training, the U.S. Army training that they’re going to go through, that’s where it is. And the training that they’re going to be going through is really about Ebola protocols, to help them take the right precautions, to teach them how it wear the protective personal equipment, and to get them a little bit more up to speed on the latest on the virus,” he continued. “But that’s where the training really is, and that’s why it’s going to Texas. It has nothing to do with the issues in Dallas.”
Kirby told CNN none of the troops currently deployed in Liberia have contracted the Ebola virus.
“None of them have shown any symptoms. It’s going OK. And OK I mean that we’re on track to get those first emergency treatment units up. The first one will be done by the end of this month. The second one probably the first week of November. We’re building the training site,” he said.
“It’s going OK. But the weather and the infrastructure still a problem. I mean, it still rains much of the day and it just slows us down a little bit. But our troops are working really, really hard and they’re very proud of the contributions that they’re making.”
Kirby stressed that ”it’s still going to be quite a lift.”
“This disease is very, very deadly and it’s spreading down there, there’s no question about that. “
The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria “Ebola-free” after 42 days elapsed without a new case being diagnosed.
WHO announced that Senegal was Ebola-free on Friday.
Neither country experienced the kind of outbreak of the disease seen in other West African countries. But the reason for that has a lot to do with how they handled the crisis in the first few days after diagnosing the first patient.
In the case of Nigeria, the country immediately declared an emergency, and set out to identify all the people who had come in contact with the patient. The early detection of the disease, the swift emergency response, and a massive public education effort all combined to limit the spread of the virus to 20 people, eight of whom died.
“This is a spectacular success story that shows to the world that Ebola can be contained but we must be clear that we have only won a battle, the war will only end when West Africa is also declared free of Ebola.”
The outbreak there began when Patrick Sawyer, an American-Liberian citizen, was diagnosed with the illness in July.
Nigeria declared a national public health emergency and Mr Sawyer later died of the disease, followed by seven Nigerians.
These included Dr Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, who diagnosed Mr Sawyer and is credited with helping to contain the outbreak at its source.
Dr Adadevoh’s son, Bankole Cardoso, told the BBC that because Mr Sawyer had been so quickly diagnosed, Nigeria was able to trace all those who could possibly have contracted the disease from him.
“That was probably the difference between us and our West African neighbours,” he said.
John Vertefeuille, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that Nigeria had taken the right steps to contain the outbreak.
“Nigeria acted quickly and early and on a large scale,” he told AFP news agency.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., authorities have released 43 people from quarantine when they failed to show symptoms of the disease after 21 days. All 43 had come in contact with the first Ebola patient, Thomas Duncan. Authorities say that 120 people who came in contact with the other two Ebola patients are still being monitored in Texas with dozens more in Ohio, and up to 800 more across the country who had flown on the plane taken by Amber Vinson, the third Ebola patient.
Vinson’s family is pushing back from the CDC’s contention that the nurse was told not to use public transportation, including flying in commercial aircraft, prior to her trip to Cleveland.
Health officials gave Texas nurse Amber Vinson permission to fly to Ohio and back even though she voiced concern about Ebola, her relatives said Sunday, adding that they have retained a high-profile attorney.
Their statement contradicted a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention account of what took place before the nurse was diagnosed with the virus.
CDC officials said last week that Vinson had been told to avoid public transportation, including commercial airlines, while monitoring herself for symptoms. CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden said her trip to Ohio, which began before fellow nurse Nina Pham had been diagnosed with Ebola, violated that restriction. The agency has acknowledged approving Vinson’s return flight.
“In no way was Amber careless prior to or after her exposure to Mr. Thomas Eric Duncan,” the Ebola patient she treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Vinson’s family said Sunday in a statement detailing her interactions with health officials.
The family also said they have retained attorney Billy Martin, a veteran of numerous high-profile cases. He represented NFL star Michael Vick during his dogfighting case, actor Wesley Snipes during his tax case, the parents of federal intern Chandra Levy after her disappearance and the mother of former White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky during the sex-and-perjury investigation of President Clinton.
Vinson’s family said that before the nurse flew to Cleveland on Oct. 10, she contacted the CDC through her work supervisor “and was fully cleared for travel.”
Say it isn’t so! The CDC tried to blame the victim for the agency’s own stupidity? I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that a government agency would lie to cover its own behind.
In a Politico poll concluded before the 3rd case of Ebola was diagnosed, just 22% of voters in swing states said they had a lot of confidence that the government could contain the disease while 33% said they didn’t. Those numbers may change as days pass and no more new cases of Ebola are diagnosed in the U.S. But the glaring, nearly incomprehensible missteps made by the government in their efforts to contain the virus in the first days of the crisis is a warning that in the months ahead, as the outbreak worsens in West Africa, the U.S. may again be challenged and found wanting in its response. No “czar,” no smooth assurances from health bureaucrats can mask the fundamental truth that we’re not ready to face an outbreak here.
With leaders in both chambers coming under increased pressure to call Congress back into session to address the Ebola crisis, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) today said he’s preparing to introduce legislation to put a temporary ban on new visas from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
That follows last week’s announcement by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) that he’s preparing a bill to restrict flights to and from Ebola-affected countries “until the virus is declared to be contained and no longer a threat.”
In a Friday letter, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) reached out to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), arguing that Congress can’t wait until after Election Day to reconvene.
“Without improvements to border control, our nation runs the risk of additional Ebola cases reaching our shores. This is simply unacceptable,” Vitter and Garrett wrote.
“The Obama administration has failed to recognize this public health threat.… The House and Senate must reconvene to direct the administration on what steps must be taken to protect the American people.”
There are no signs yet that Congress will be coming off the campaign trail to return to Washington, though, so Rubio is planning for a November unveiling of his legislation.
The ban would go into effect as soon as the bill is signed and would remain in effect until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have decided the outbreak in West Africa is contained.
If the disease spread in “significant levels” to another country, that would be added to the visa ban as well.
The bill will include an exemption for “individuals who are approved to come to the U.S. for training related to the Ebola outbreak.”
Dozens of Republicans and Democrats have come out in favor of a travel ban, though it’s clear that the extent of a ban and whether or not it extends to incoming flights, visas or both would be debated in both chambers.
“While Ebola’s deadly reach has proven to be a complex and unique international challenge, the many uncertainties surrounding this virus continue to threaten U.S. national security,” Rubio said in a statement. “Our biggest priority is ensuring that sufficient safeguards are in place to limit the spread of Ebola, contain it at the source, and protect Americans.”
“We must take any and all necessary precautions to contain this virus – and common sense restrictions on travel from countries now confronting this epidemic is an important step,” added Rubio. “The most effective way to combat this deadly virus is to address it at its source.”
Ross’ bill, the Contain Ebola and Stop the Epidemic (CEASE) Act, would “ban the arrival of any commercial aircraft from a country in which the Ebola virus disease has reached epidemic proportions as determined by the Director of the Center for Disease Control and to deny a visa to any individual whose travel itinerary includes a departure from such a country.”
“Now that two of our health care workers have contracted the virus I am putting my foot down. This legislation is a more serious approach to preventing Ebola from further infiltrating our homeland,” Ross said. “Airport security screening is a complete smoke and mirror approach to the virus and Americans aren’t buying it. I urge my colleagues to sign onto this legislation and hope Speaker Boehner will quickly call Congress back into session to debate my legislation.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Sunday on CNN that the administration’s assertion a travel ban would hamper relief flights is “very different from saying commercial airliners should fly day after day after day with hundreds of passengers connecting with thousands of passengers coming all throughout the country.”
“The arguments they’re giving don’t make sense,” Cruz said. “And what is unfortunate is watching the Obama administration treat this as yet another political issue rather than as a public health crisis; for the same reason, you’ve seen virtually no attention from the administration on the need to secure the southern border.”
Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told MSNBC today that “there’s no ideology” in their Ebola strategy and signaled the administration’s resistance to calls for blocking travel from the hot zone.
“Frankly, the judgment of the professionals who know how to deal with these issues is that if you have a travel ban in place, it drives people underground. Instead of traveling through existing protocols that allows us to screen for Ebola, they seek to evade detection,” Rhodes said. “And, the fact of the matter is what we’ve been focused on, therefore, is screening. If people are trying to travel from West Africa into the United States, how can we screen them to make sure that they’re not posing a risk?”
“We believe that a travel ban could actually endanger people more by driving them underground and having people seeking to find ways into the United States that are outside the existing travel protocols.”
Rubio stressed that his bill banning the issuance of new visas “does not mean we will be completely cutting off the affected countries from the outside world.”
“We must continue to increase our assistance to those countries as they struggle to contain this outbreak,” the senator said. “That is, ultimately, the only way we will be able to stop this outbreak and keep Americans safe from this horrible disease.”
I can not wait until the day after the midterm elections when the 2016 presidential campaign “officially” begins. But in the meantime, our latest contest photo is an indication of the high-quality entertainment that awaits us on the campaign trail.
This photo and news appeared on October 17 in the Hollywood Reporter (so it must be true) with the headline:
Hillary Clinton Flying Monkey Signs Deface Brentwood Ahead of L.A. Fundraiser
Guerrilla street artist SABO, who made headlines with his Gwyneth Paltrow” Obama Drone” poster, has struck again — this time ahead of Hillary Clinton‘s upcoming Democratic fundraiser at Tavern restaurant in Brentwood. The Los Angeles artist early Friday hung signs depicting Wizard of Oz flying monkeys holding “Hillary 2016″ signs from traffic lights and pasted them on utility boxes near the San Vicente Boulevard restaurant. Although, as SABO told The Hollywood Reporter on Friday, one poster near a Whole Foods had been “violently” torn down.
“All these leftists, I’m tired of their s—,” SABO said via email.
There is nothing I can add to that report except reveal your contest mission which is to answer the following questions:
What is the flying monkey’s name?
What is the monkey saying?
What is the monkey thinking but afraid to say?
Extra credit: On the sign under “Hillary 2016,” add another pithy phrase.
The only rule for this contest is “be nice,” PLEASE be nice.
Now, here are the winners from our last photo caption contest which asked the question, “Is this Obama’s JV Team?”
The grand prize winner went to Chris Henderson for:
Never in the field of human conflict has so much been botched by so few endangering so many.
Here are the three runners- up.
Obama: “Just look at these water glasses. Did I not promise you the most transparent administration ever?”
Obama: Just because the secret service puts on a Kobe jersey doesn’t mean the sex is consensual.
And finally, Chris Henderson won again for:
Obama: “The buck never got here!”
Thanks to all who played along and thanks in advance to our loyal contest goers who will fly along and help the monkey become an influential opinion leader in the 2016 presidential campaign.
San Antonio Express-News reporter Peggy Fikac runs a story in which she attempts to tie Texas Republican governor nominee Greg Abbott to a little misstep made by a fellow Republican who is several states away.
The subject is state-level bans on interracial marriage, which were struck down by courts decades ago. They are not relevant today, but reporters like Fikac are attempting to equate them with the current trend of courts striking down bans on same-sex marriage. And Wendy Davis’ campaign is running with that.
Texas AG Greg Abbott Doesn’t Know If He Would’ve Defended Bans on Interracial Marriage 50 Years Ago http://t.co/ykQexLCgjW
— Zac Petkanas (@Zac_Petkanas) October 20, 2014
That’s the spokesman Davis imported from Harry Reid’s smear shop, demonstrating his total lack of honesty, facts and sense.
It didn’t take Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott any time at all to decide that not answering that question was the best course during a meeting with the San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board.
“Right now, if there was a ban on interracial marriage, that’s already been ruled unconstitutional,” Abbott pointed out. “And all I can do is deal with the issues that are before me … The job of an attorney general is to represent and defend in court the laws of their client, which is the state Legislature, unless and until a court strikes it down.”
When I said I wasn’t clear if he was saying he would have defended a ban on interracial marriage, he said, “Actually, the reason why you’re uncertain about it is because I didn’t answer the question. And I can’t go back and answer some hypothetical question like that.”
Asked about the similarities some see between the ban on gay marriage and past prohibitions on interracial marriage, Abbott said, “Well, the Supreme Court has disagreed with that” by holding that sexual orientation isn’t due protected-class status in the way that race is.
What Abbott is doing there is staying away from hypotheticals, in this case, one set up by the media to help Democrats who favor gay marriage and who want some issue to use against their Republican opponents. It’s a gotcha, and everyone — the media, Abbott, everyone — knew that.
Why is it a “gotcha”? Because there’s no way to answer it and satisfy the press, and the media hardly ever uses the same technique against Democrats. Go one way and you get the report above, go another and you get “Abbott disagrees with fellow Republicans,” go another and you get the media putting him on the defensive in some other way.
In this case, Wendy Davis admitted that she would violate current state law, but media evidently did not follow up or chase her down on that, so she is not being forced to defend that.
“I do,” she said in her meeting with the San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board. “I think it’s a very fair comparison in that the time has … come for us to move forward in understanding that we’ve been kind of stuck in the same place that our country was stuck when it had the ban on interracial marriage. And I’m pleased to see the rapid advancement that is happening around the country in us accepting that and moving forward in a more productive way.”
Davis has called on Abbott to stop defending both Texas’ gay marriage ban and its public education finance system, which is being challenged in court by school districts.
Wendy Davis wants the Texas attorney general to violate his official duties under state law.