PJ Tatler

The PJ Tatler

100,000 Taxpayer Records Stolen from IRS

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - by The Tatler

The IRS has been hacked. An online service provided by the IRS was used by thieves to access information of more than 100,000 taxpayers.

The IRS said the thieves accessed a system called “Get Transcript.” In order to access the information, the thieves cleared a security screen that required knowledge about the taxpayer, including Social Security number, date of birth, tax filing status and street address.

“We’re confident that these are not amateurs,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

The IRS was alerted to the theft when employees noticed an increase in requests for taxpayer transcripts. The system was exploited from February to mid-May, according to the agency. “The IRS said its main computer system, which handles tax filing submissions, remains secure.” A criminal investigation is underway.

“In all, about 200,000 attempts were made from questionable email domains, with more than 100,000 of those attempts successfully clearing authentication hurdles,” the agency said. “During this filing season, taxpayers successfully and safely downloaded a total of approximately 23 million transcripts.”

The agency is still trying to figure out how many fraudulent claims for refunds were made using the stolen transcripts.  Koskinen said a preliminary estimate puts the amount of refunds around $50 million.

The IRS will notify taxpayers whose information was compromised.

 

 

 

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White House Graduates Sacking of Ramadi from ‘Setback’ to ‘Not Unsubstantial Setback’

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The White House was calling the sack of Ramadi last week a “setback” in the war against ISIS, and got roundly criticized by some lawmakers on Capitol Hill for downplaying the ISIS victory.

Today, it was still a setback — just with a few qualifiers.

“I think there are a variety of contributors to what happened in Ramadi,” press secretary Josh Earnest said when asked about Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s contention that the Iraqi army showed no “will to fight” and essentially ran from Ramadi. “The first is that there — the Iraqi security forces, who were fighting in Ramadi, and have been fighting in Ramadi for a year and a half, didn’t have the benefit of the training of the United States and our coalition partners. There were clearly, as the Iraqis have indicated, some military command and planning problems that occurred. And we saw a pretty effective tactic used by ISIL. And all of that led to a not unsubstantial setback in Ramadi.”

The lack of “will to fight,” Earnest said, “certainly has been a problem that we’ve see in the past.”

“That’s what allowed ISIL to make such significant gains last summer. And so what the United States and our coalition has been focused on is making sure that we can enhance the capacity of the Iraqi security forces and supporting the Iraqi central government as they try to unite that country and build a multisectarian security force to face the threat that they — that is posed by ISIL,” he said.

The U.S. is trying to shut down the flow of foreign fighters and funding to Iraq, but taking the fight to ISIS within Iraq, Earnest added, is “not the something that the United States is willing to do for the Iraqi people.”

“And the Iraqi central government, Prime Minister Abadi, has made crystal clear on a number of occasions he doesn’t want anybody to step in and do this for them,” he said. “He’s prepared to unite that country, to bring that country together, and to mobilize a multi-sectarian security force to face down the security threat in his country. And that’s what the United States and our coalition partners stand ready to do.”

Still, Earnest insisted that the administration is “pleased with the progress that’s been made” against ISIS.

“There are going to be days of progress and there are going to be periods of setback… the sophistication and capability of some of these ISIL forces is not particularly surprising,” he said of the onetime JV team. “We’ve long acknowledged how dangerous they are. And that said, we also know that there are tools and techniques that can be used to counter and defeat them.”

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ISIS Likes to Talk About Sex, Baby, as a Terror Tactic

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Zainab Bangura headed a United Nations unit of sex crime investigators that recently completed a five year study of “the world’s war zones for evidence of forced marriages, slavery and mass rape.” Guess which area not only topped, but set new “standards” for gross crimes against women? The region infiltrated by ISIS. Bangura remarks:

During my recent five-country Middle East visit, I met officials, frontline workers and survivors. My focus was IS’s war on women, including from Yazidi, Christian and Turkmen Shia minorities.

After attacking a village, IS splits women from men and executes boys and men aged 14 and over. The women and mothers are separated; girls are stripped naked, tested for virginity and examined for breast size and prettiness. The youngest, and those considered the prettiest virgins fetch higher prices and are sent to Raqqa, the IS stronghold.

There is a hierarchy: sheikhs get first choice, then emirs, then fighters. They often take three or four girls each and keep them for a month or so, until they grow tired of a girl, when she goes back to market. At slave auctions, buyers haggle fiercely, driving down prices by disparaging girls as flat-chested or unattractive.

We heard about one girl who was traded 22 times, and another, who had escaped, told us that the sheikh who had captured her wrote his name on the back of her hand to show that she was his ‘property’.

For ISIS, “sexual violence” and the “brutalization of women and girls” isn’t just an ideological focus. It is also a “‘tactic of terrorism’ to advance key strategic priorities, such as recruitment, fundraising, to enforce discipline and order – through the punishment of dissenters or family members – and to advance their radical ideology.” 

And what will happen with all this research? It is set to be compiled into a UN report.

Sorry, ladies.

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Earnest: Weekend Urban Violence Shows Need for Gun Laws; Will See If Obama Wants to Talk About It

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the recent spate of urban violence shows a need for Congress to pass more gun laws — but President Obama may or may not comment on the rash of shootings.

A dozen people were killed and 43 were wounded in Chicago over the holiday weekend. In Baltimore, nine were killed in 29 shootings across the city this past weekend.

Asked about the violence at today’s press briefing, Earnest said the administration is “certainly continuing to be concerned by violence that we see in cities all across the country.”

“And I think it’s an indication of just how widespread this violence has become, that in some ways, it’s almost — it doesn’t sort of break through in the news coverage anymore when you see these kinds of — when you see this rash of violence. So this is something that, you know, the president’s talked about quite a bit,” he continued. “And this is a reflection of some pretty entrenched problems. And, you know, obviously, there’s some common-sense things that we can do. Certainly, passage of some gun safety laws in Congress that could keep guns out of the hands of criminals would be one thing that we could do to try to limit the violence.”

“There’s more that we could do to try to address some of the dire economic circumstances in some of these urban communities. And there’s more that we can do to support local governments and leaders in these communities to try to meet the needs of the local population. And — so there’s — there’s — this is going to require — there’s no one simple answer to trying to address this. But this is certainly a challenge that the president’s ready to confront.”

Asked if the president would like to comment on the crime wave himself, Earnest replied, “We’ll see what we can do.”

He referred reporters to the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and Education for questions about summer jobs programs, etc., to help prevent summer shootings.

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(VIDEO) ‘Morning Joe’ Panel Breathlessly Speculates About Hillary’s Coattails and 2016 Dem Landslide

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

It’s never out of the realm of possibility that Scarborough’s entire panel on any given day is concussed. The new theory: Mrs. Bill’s “historic” candidacy is helping to recruit top-notch candidates that will lead to a big election for Democrats next year. Side note: why do most MSNBC panelists look like creepers in an elevator?

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Dem Congresswoman Challenging McCain for Senate Seat

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

While Tea Party Republicans are mulling a primary challenger for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the Democrats have announced their candidate to take on the incumbent as he vies for his sixth term.

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) announced in a video today in which she tells of growing up in Arizona and shows the boots “I bought with my waitressing tips… yup, I still wear ‘em.”

“I respect John McCain’s service to our nation; I just believe our state’s changing,” she said. “Arizonans should have a real choice who they send to the United States Senate.”

Kirkpatrick, a former city attorney for Sedona, was first elected to the House in 2008 but lost her seat to Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) in 2010. After redistricting, Gosar ran for 2012 re-election in a newly created district and won, while Kirkpatrick ran for her old seat and was victorious.

A survey released earlier this month by Dem-leaning Public Policy Polling found McCain with just 41 percent job approval among Republican voters. However, McCain led prospective Dem challengers, including Kirkpatrick.

McCain also has a slim edge over potential GOP challengers Reps. Dave Schweikert (R-Ariz.) and Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.). Only Salmon fares well in hypothetical polling against the Dems.

Dean Debnam, president of PPP, called the Arizona Senate race reminiscent of Indiana in 2012.

“John McCain should be fine if he makes it to the general, but like Richard Lugar, unhappiness with him among conservatives could cause him to lose a primary. And if that happens the general election could get interesting,” he said.

Democrat Joe Donnelly won Lugar’s seat after campaign stumbles by Tea Party nominee Richard Mourdock.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s targets in 2016 include Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), being challenged by former Sen. Russ Feingold, and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), being challenged by Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).

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‘No Will to Fight’ Iraqis Faced Multiple Oklahoma City-Sized Bombs in Ramadi Fall

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

A former military planner in Iraq said that Baghdad has a right to react indignantly to Washington’s suggestions that they ran away from Ramadi in the face of the ISIS assault.

“What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told CNN in an interview aired Sunday. “They were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force, and yet they failed to fight, they withdrew from the site, and that says to me, and I think to most of us, that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and defend themselves.”

Lt. Col. Douglas Ollivant (Ret.), who served on the National Security Council under presidents George W. Bush and Obama, told PBS “there are clearly problems with the Iraqi army; they need to be addressed, but the counterpoint is also true.”

“The Iraqi army was in Ramadi for a year-and-a-half and did fight off the Islamic State there for a year-and-a-half, and, if we’re to believe the accounts, really were at the receiving end of a well-planned, well-executed attack by the Islamic State that involved a number of very, very large explosive car bombs, some of which were said to be the size of those in the Oklahoma City bombing, literally kind of leveling blocks or at least large buildings, an assault that any military force would have a hard time with,” Ollivant said.

“So there is some truth to what the secretary is saying, but at the same time, the indignation on the part of the Iraqis is very valid. Some of these soldiers have fought very well.”

Ollivant acknowledged that the Iraqi troops have received support from the United States in terms of training, but rumors persist that soldiers have not been paid by the Iraqi government.

He opined that the Iraqis can take back Ramadi in four to eight weeks, similar to Tikrit.

“The Iraqi forces that were in Ramadi didn’t have the anti-tank missiles that they needed to stop these vehicle-borne, these explosive car bombs from attacking their positions. It wouldn’t hurt to have more unarmed surveillance drones. If we were to push those, then the Iranians wouldn’t have to provide them. That’s a way for us to kind of use a chess move against the Iranian influence in Iraq, which we do need to be concerned about,” Ollivant said.

“So there are a series of things we can do, but essentially it’s more of what we’re doing, more training, more equipping, more intelligence support.”

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Thank God That America Is the World’s Policeman

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

Our friends from Prager University have released another great video. The subject (for Memorial Day): is America the world’s policeman? And if so, is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and foreign affairs expert Bret Stephens weighs in:

Let me share my Dutch perspective on this matter: I thank God every day that the United States is the world’s only superpower and that it behaves like an international policeman.

Think about it: what’s the alternative? If the United States withdraws, Russia and China will immediately expand their sphere of influence. These countries are ruled by authoritarian regimes who literally torture and kill critics… and who want to dominate other countries by the use of force. Just look at what China has done in Tibet, and what Russia has done in the Krim and the country of Georgia, and what it’s trying to do in Eastern Ukraine. You want that to happen to the rest of the world? Great: just force the U.S. to withdraw within its borders and China and Russia will take over in no time.

That’s a troubling thought, but it becomes downright scary if you think about the many radical Islamic forces that are trying to turn earth into one big battle zone. If you’re concerned by what’s going on in the Middle East now, just wait until the U.S. goes isolationist again; the current situation will look downright utopian in comparison.

What’s more, historically, superpowers went to war to build an empire. They’d conquer entire nations and then subjugate them to slavery. When the U.S. goes to war, however, it does so to protect foreign peoples. It doesn’t occupy, it liberates. See World War II: America sent millions of soldiers overseas, some to Asia, many others to Europe. When they beat the Nazis, they could’ve done what the Soviets did: occupy the newly liberated countries and make them part of a new empire.

Instead, the United States withdrew most of its forces — and the ones that were left behind were only there to protect Europeans against Stalin. Next, the U.S. gave European (and Asian!) countries billions and billions in aid and helped them build up democratic institutions. Because of this, Europe is now — once again — one of the most prosperous regions on earth.

If that’s what all “international policemen” do, give us one or two more!

Sadly, America’s magnanimity is the exception, not the rule. And that’s precisely why not only Americans, but all non-Americans too should thank the almighty every single day that the U.S. is the most powerful country on earth and that it’s not afraid to use that power.

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Muslim Televangelist: Masturbating Men Will Make Their Hands Pregnant

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
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Mucahid Cihad Han is a Muslim televangelist of sorts. On Turkey’s 2000 TV Sunday, he sat there with his laptop answering questions about what’s haram or halal, and received one question that, based on the uproarious Twitter reaction, may have just been thrown out at the cleric as bait.

The concerned viewer told the “self-styled” cleric, as described by Hurriyet Daily News, that he can’t help himself — he’s married but masturbates all the time, even while on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Han mulled the concern and figured he could, indeed, help the Mecca masturbator:

After repeating the question a few times, Han claimed that Islam strictly prohibits masturbation as a “haram” (forbidden) act. “Moreover, one hadith states that those who have sexual intercourse with their hands will find their hands pregnant in the afterlife, complaining against them to God over its rights,” he said, referring to what he claimed to be a saying of Prophet Muhammad.

“If our viewer was single, I could recommend he marry, but what can I say now?” the televangelist added, advising the viewer to “resist Satan’s temptations.”

…Despite Han’s assertive religious stance, only a limited number of Islamic interpretations categorize masturbation as “haram,” while most of others call it a “makruh” (disliked) act. Many of the mainstream Islamic interpretations even allow it in certain conditions, like if the act could be used to avoid the temptation of an extramarital affair.

The TV fatwa reaped lots of mocking on social media, but Han stoked that by tweeting the above video of his masturbation edict.

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Homeland Security Congressman: ‘Rand Paul Is Consumed by the NSA’

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) accused Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) of being “consumed” by the NSA and wrongly painting the agency as villainous.

Before the Senate left for the Memorial Day recess, Paul blocked a motion to extend the Patriot Act without debate or amendments. This followed his nearly 11-hour speech on the Senate floor against NSA metadata collection.

“This is a debate that should be had, and the reason I am objecting is because I’ve made a very simple request, to have amendments, to have them voted on, and to have a guarantee that they’re voted on,” Paul said late Friday. “I started out the day with a request for six amendments; I’m willing to compromise to having two amendments at a simple majority vote. I think that’s a very reasonable position, and if we can’t have that and we can’t have an extensive debate over something we’ve had four years to prepare for, I will object, and I do. I object.”

His office said the senator will “pick up where he left off in the battle to defeat this illegal spying program” when Congress returns May 31.

King, the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, railed on CNN against “people like Rand Paul, who, again, somehow make the NSA the villain when it’s al-Qaeda, it’s ISIS, it’s this whole array of Islamist terrorists we’re against, and somehow Rand Paul is consumed by the NSA.”

“We can’t allow it to expire, because the majority of both houses want the program to continue in one form or another. I would support it being reauthorized as it is. I realize that’s virtually impossible at this stage. Either there should be a brief extension, or they should adopt a bill that the House passed,” he said.

That’s the USA FREEDOM Act, which reins in some of the NSA powers.

“Again, I didn’t fully support that bill, but I ended up voting for it, because that was the only way to keep the program going,” King said. “The NSA is essential. I’d rather have it continue as-is, but at least under having it continue under the amended form, or the revised form that came out of the House. But it’s irresponsible.”

The congressman stressed that he’s “never met a more patriotic group of people than the men and women of the NSA, and I also believe that constitutional protections are in place right now.”

“The House bill would increase those protections, and there’s no excuse for it to be allowed to lapse,” he said. “If we can’t come to an agreement by June 1, because that’s the date, then at least have a 30- or 60-day extension so we can get this resolved. We can’t be basically, you know, fiddling while Rome is burning. That’s what’s going to happen here.”

Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard charged in an ABC appearance that Paul “has now decided he wants to be a liberal Democrat” and “undercut necessary intelligence collection, weaken the police officers and our intelligence services.”

“And Rand Paul thinks that’s going to sell in a Republican primary,” he said. “I think he’s deeply misguided about that. But I guess he sincerely believes it. And he’s welcome to make the case.”

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GA Mom Arrested, Shackled for Son’s Unexcused School Absences

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Despite the fact that her son was just recognized as Student of the Month, Julie Giles was arrested because he “had too many unexcused absences from school.”

Her fourth grade son, Samuel, “missed 12 days for illness – double the amount the school district allows.” So they decided to…throw mom in jail? “Giles is by no means the only parent sent to court for not working with the district, Screven County Schools Superintendent William Bland said, noting court was ‘a last resort.’”

The story comes not long after a Missouri student was sent home with a note for her mother, criticizing her lunch-making skills. Who knew it was the job of a public school district to police parents? Aren’t they busy enough wrestling with federal and state governments for those almighty testing-based dollars? I mean, I know the focus isn’t on teaching, but shackling parents over a lack of doctor’s notes takes it to a new, lame height.

Is it any wonder, then, that:

According to information from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the number of homeschooled students between the ages of 5 and 17 has increased dramatically over the last decade, soaring 61.8 percent. The data also indicates that the more educated the parents, the more likely they are to homeschool their children.

Add “staying out of prison” to the list of reasons to explore alternative education options.

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The 33 Radical Islamic Problems Obama Chooses to Ignore

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

In need of a little light reading on Islamic terror at home and abroad? Check out the ZOA’s litany of incidents of radical Islamic terror at home and abroad that President Barack Obama has openly chosen to ignore in favor of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and several rounds of golf. Highlights include:

Why has President Obama ordered all official military and U.S. government documents to delete and never use terms such as “Islamic terrorism,” “jihad,” “Islamist,” or “radical Islam”?

Why did President Obama officially call the attack at Ft. Hood by psychiatrist Nidal Hasan – resulting in the murder of 13 U.S. soldiers and injuries to 31 others – “workplace violence” instead of an act of Islamic terrorism, even though Hasan’s business card stated “Soldier of Allah” and he screamed “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Great) during the massacre?  Hasan also stated he wanted to become a member of ISIS.

Why did President Obama release numerous Islamic terrorists from Guantanamo prison despite their designation by experts as “high risk” to commit repeated terrorist attacks?

Why have members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic terrorist group,  and their front groups been invited to numerous meetings at the White House, the State Department, and the National Security Council? The Obama White House even helped clear their path to avoid standard airport inspections as they landed in the United States.

Why did President Obama talk about the “legitimate claims of terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas,” both of whom are responsible for numerous deaths of Americans and Israelis?  He made this statement during his 2008 campaign for president.  (May 16, 2008, New York Times.)

Can you think of any to add to the list? Log them into the comments section below.

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Touching Reunion Between Teen and the Soldier Who Saved Her Life

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - by Chris Queen

Once in a while among the horror stories of war, we hear stories that touch the heart. One of those occurred last week in a suburb of Atlanta when a former soldier reunited with the infant he rescued from Iraq in 1996.

Awaz Barwari found her name on Saddam Hussein’s kill list in 1996. The United States allowed her to escape the country, but her infant daughter Lava was not on the list. Baby Lava would have had to stay behind had soldier Greg Peppin not intervened.

Peppin “renamed” the baby after himself and smuggled her out of Iraq. He and the Barwaris had not seen each other since — until last week, when Baby Lava graduated from high school.

“I said, ‘My name is Greg, so if the baby’s name is Greg it’s got to be a relative and that means she can go,’” Peppin said.

Mom and baby ultimately made it to the Atlanta suburbs where Lava would rise through the Gwinnett County school system.

Peppin went on to become Vice President of Boeing International.

The families never saw each other again, but as Lava planned her graduation, she decided she had to track Peppin down.

“It was the first story I ever heard. She’s always told me about the man who saved my life,” Lava told WSB-TV’s Tony Thomas.

“The day I got Lava’s email was one of those signature days that kind of make your life worthwhile,” Peppin said.

And a reunion 18 years in the making finally happened Thursday between Peppin and “Baby Lava.”

“I’m happy you tracked me down. I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” Peppin told Lava.

At Lava’s graduation Thursday night, that man who saved her life planned to be there, too.

“It was worth it… it was! Absolutely,” Peppin said.

Featured image courtesy of WSB-TV

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Defense Sec at Arlington: ‘Troops of Such Caliber’ Have ‘Great Leader’ in Obama

Monday, May 25th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

At today’s Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Day observance, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said “troops of such caliber demand great leaders, and there’s no doubt they have one in our commander in chief.”

“I see that every day,” continued Carter, who assumed his post in February. “He knows well the challenges we must face, the obligations we must meet, and the opportunities we must seize in order to keep our nation safe and to make a better world for our children. And I see that he cares deeply about the safety, welfare, and dignity of our men and women in uniform and their families.”

“For all that, and so much more, I am tremendously proud to serve as his secretary of Defense,” he added.

Carter named Fallujah among the battles that left “a legacy that has made our military the finest fighting force the world has ever known.”

A decade ago in the first and second battles of Fallujah, 134 coalition soldiers lost their lives. The city fell to ISIS in February 2014, and nearby Ramadi fell this month.

“On a day set aside for Americans to honor and remember those who perished while serving our country, our obligation and our opportunity are one and the same. Our obligation is to give voice to the fallen, honor them, and share their stories of sacrifice and heroism,” Carter said. “Our opportunity is to use this day to inspire new generations to understand the freedom they have been given, to grasp how and why it is theirs, and to dedicate themselves to pass it on to generations unborn.”

President Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns this morning before the Arlington ceremony attended by about 5,000, including Gold Star families.

“For many of us, this Memorial Day is especially meaningful; it is the first since our war in Afghanistan came to an end. Today is the first Memorial Day in 14 years that the United States is not engaged in a major ground war,” Obama said. “So on this day, we honor the sacrifice of the thousands of American servicemembers — men and women — who gave their lives since 9/11, including more than 2,200 American patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan.”

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) said on the Senate floor Friday that “we should say a special prayer for the parents of young Americans who fought and died in Iraq and Afghanistan and the current wars today.”

“We had a tragedy with the fall of Fallujah, we had a tragedy with the fall of Ramadi, we need those parents to know their sons and daughters did not die in vain,” Isakson said.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), an Iraq war veteran, told CNN on Sunday that Obama is wrong when he says the U.S. is not losing the war against ISIS.

“Clearly, ISIS has gained momentum, in particular over the last week, as we have seen the ground that they have gained both in Iraq and Syria,” Gabbard said. “…You have this solution. You have got the Kurds, the Kurdish Peshmerga, and you have Sunni tribesmen who are literally begging — I met with a Sunni tribal leader last week in Washington — they are begging for arms, heavy weapons, ammunition, to be able to fight against ISIS to protect their families and their tribal lands and their territories, but still to this point, both the U.S. and the central Iraqi government is failing to provide that, and, therefore, ISIS continues to be able to grow.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), also an Iraq veteran, said “you are not losing and you are not winning because we are not really engaged in this fight.”

“In essence, what the president did was say, look, we need to destroy ISIS, until that takes boots on the ground, in which case the existence of boots on the ground is worse than the existence of ISIS,” Kinzinger said.

“This is not just a situation where, if the house catches on fire, it will burn down and then we just look at a burned-down house. This is now a house on fire in a densely packed neighborhood, where this is going to spread to other places.”

The White House said Vice President Joe Biden called Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi today “to reaffirm U.S. support for the Iraqi government’s fight against ISIL.”

“The vice president recognized the enormous sacrifice and bravery of Iraqi forces over the past eighteen months in Ramadi and elsewhere,” the administration readout said. “The vice president welcomed the Council of Ministers’ unanimous decision on May 19th to mobilize additional troops, honor those who have fallen, and prepare for counter-attack operations. The vice president pledged full U.S. support in these and other Iraqi efforts to liberate territory from ISIL, including the expedited provision of U.S. training and equipment to address the threat posed by ISIL’s use of truck bombs.

 

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A Day of Remembrance Is Nothing Without Poetry

Monday, May 25th, 2015 - by Robert Wargas

I have always been deficient in expressing emotion through anything other than the written word. It’s one reason I always return to poetry when the occasion calls for some depth of feeling.

My favorite American poet, the late Richard Hugo, is a forgotten figure. You will not see his sinewy free verse quoted during special occasions in the manner one might invoke Shakespeare, Whitman, or Frost. But his strong, declarative style is appropriate for times of remembrance like Memorial Day.

A bombardier during the Second World War, Hugo continually returned to that conflict in his writing. His 1969 collection “Good Luck in Cracked Italian” distills many of the feelings he took with him from his combat missions in Europe. Here, for example, is the opening stanza of “G.I. Graves in Tuscany”:

They still seem G.I., the uniform lines
of white crosses, the gleam that rolls
white drums over the lawn. Machines
that cut the grass left their maneuvers plain.
Our flag doesn’t seem silly though plainly
it flies only because there is wind.

The last two lines might strike you as flippant. But what appears to be frivolity or cynicism, in a Hugo poem, often turns out to be simple bewilderment: something seen through the eyes of a broken man whose honesty has an unintended comic effect.

In “April in Cerignola,” Hugo ponders his own role in war and death:

I was desolate, too, and so survived.
I had a secret wish, to bring much food
and feed you through the war. I wished
you also dead. All roads lead to none.
You’re too far from the Adriatic
to get good wind. Harsh heat and roaring cold
are built in like abandonment each year.

This is a poetic voice lacking in any kind of self-dramatization; it’s almost clinical in its description. It might be why the poem sounds so odd and, in a way, so dated.

Poetry is how I make sense of strange times. Perhaps it can help you as well. With these modest offerings, I give endless thanks to our fallen guardians.

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Obama Uses Memorial Day Address to Explain That Our Soldiers Are No Longer Fighting a Real War

Monday, May 25th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard
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On Memorial Day, a day that we remember and honor our fallen heroes, those who gave the “last full measure of devotion” for their country and for the cause of freedom, President Obama took a few minutes out of his busy day (which no doubt will include some time on the golf course) to make sure all Americans know that this whole business we’re caught up in over in Afghanistan is not a real war — because he was the Great War Hero who ended that war.

“Hi, everybody!” Obama breezily begins his solemn tribute to our fallen heroes. “This year, the holiday is especially meaningful.  It’s the first Memorial Day since our war ended in Afghanistan.”

The president paid tribute to Specialist Wyatt Martin and Sergeant First Class Ramon Morris, who were “the final two Americans to give their lives during our combat mission in Afghanistan.” He then drew a contrast between the service of those who died before Obama unilaterally ended the war in Afghanistan in December and those who have given their lives since that date, noting that Army combat medic Corporal John Dawson was “the first American to give his life in this new mission.”

We still have 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, some of whom may not make it home to their families. Are those who die in Afghanistan from here on out going to have “this new mission” (or “this new ambiguous and convoluted mission”) engraved on their headstones at Arlington National Cemetery? Because of Obama’s ego and his fear of the left wing of his party, the families of American soldiers who die in combat will be denied the honor of saying their loved one died in a real war. Instead, they’ll have to mumble something about them dying in Obama’s Debacle in Afghanistan.

Because, you know, everything after December doesn’t count as a real war because Obama declared “game over” and turned his attention to global warming. Meanwhile, our soldiers in Afghanistan daily risk their lives so Obama has the luxury of hob-knobbing with his celebrity friends who sit around fretting about global warming and boasting about whose toilet uses the least amount of water.

Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan, May 25, 2015 (AP Images)

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Sarah Silverman vs. Rand Paul on ‘Free Healthcare’

Monday, May 25th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

Sarah Silverman recently posted the above via her WhoSay page, retweeting “Rand Paul. Republican. Presidential candidate. Pragmatist. Thinker. Knob.” Clearly, the factually challenged comedian takes issue with Senator Paul’s description of “free healthcare” as slavery.

At first blush, the comparison may seem extreme. However, at root, it proves accurate. If your neighbor claims a right to the service you provide, you have no right to deny them access to that service. Fundamentally, a “right” to healthcare proves no different than a plantation owner’s “right” to cotton-pickers.

Paul paints a dramatic picture of doctors and other healthcare professionals being pulled out of their homes and compelled to work at the point of a gun. While that may not literally happen under Obamacare, force has been applied to set prices, limit and compel relationships, and tax individuals for services provided to others.

Slavery offends by denying individuals their right to live their life for their sake. That’s the crime. When we recognize that, we realize how prolific slavery actually is, and how rapidly the institution has expanded despite exaggerated reports of its demise.

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Memorial Day, 1945: A Commander Apologizes to the Dead

Monday, May 25th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

One of the most unusual Memorial Day commemorations occurred in Nettuno, Italy, on May 30, 1945. Lt. General Lucian Truscott was dedicating the American cemetery where thousands of soldiers who lost their lives in Italy were buried.

About 3,000 of those American lives were lost during the battle of Anzio. Truscott commanded the 3rd Infantry Division at the time — the spearhead of the attack. The plan called for a combined British-American landing in January, 1944 at Anzio-Nettuno and a breakout from the beaches into the hills beyond where the allies would be able to cut off the German retreat from the Gustav line further south and eventually flank the German Winter Line.

There were questions about the landings from the start, especially from Truscott who believed that unless the allies were to move quickly, they’d be cut to pieces by German defenders ringing the hills surrounding the beaches.

And that is essentially what happened. Commanding the landing forces was General John Lucas, who got his wires crossed with overall commander General Mark Clark, and apparently didn’t understand that speed was of the essence. While Lucas was carefully arranging his troops on the beaches, preparing studiously for the breakout, German Field Marshall Kesselring was rounding up every soldier who could walk or crawl and rushing them to the hills surrounding Anzio. Three German divisions surrounded the beachhead before Lucas could get organized.

The resulting blood bath was one of the more avoidable catastrophes of World War II. A month after the landings, Lucas was relieved and sent home, Truscott taking his place as commander of VI Corps. After a hard, slogging fight, Truscott’s men were able to capture Rome two days before D-Day.

Anzio haunted Truscott to the end of his life. While blaming his superiors, he didn’t spare himself when it came to criticism. Hence, his remarkable action during the Memorial Day commemoration in 1945.

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BREAKING: DC Bomb Squad Detonates Suspicious Device Found Inside Car Near U.S. Capitol

Sunday, May 24th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Just getting news reports that a bomb squad has detonated a device found in a suspicious car near the U.S. Capitol Building.

Breaking 911 reports:

DC Officials, including the bomb squad, have apparently blown up a device from a ‘suspicious’ vehicle parked near Capitol and a Memorial Day Concert.

The item looks like a pressure cooker and propane tanks have been removed from the car.

Thousands of people eager to get into the National Memorial Day Concert were delayed from entering.

Police are still searching the vehicle.

Jay Korff of the local ABC affiliate is tweeting details:

OK then:

UPDATE: The plot thickens…

UPDATE2: The Washington Times identifies the arrested man as Israel Shimlis.

Fox News reports:

The incident began at around 5 p.m. local time, when Capitol police officers on patrol noticed a vehicle they deemed “suspicious” on a street that crosses the National Mall west of the Capitol between Constitution and Independence Avenues. Further investigation revealed that the vehicle contained a pressure cooker and detected an odor of gasoline.

A bomb squad was called in and streets were temporarily closed off. The pressure cooker was detonated at approximately 7:45 p.m. The investigation was closed approximately 35 minutes later with nothing further found.

Senior security officials told Fox News that investigators initially believed that the pressure cooker “might be the real deal.” Pressure cookers have been used in several recent terror attacks, mostly notably the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and injured 260 others.

Sources told Fox News that the pressure cooker may have been part of a propane tank used in a food truck.

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VSU Flag Stomper Eric Sheppard Still At Large — Now Issues Vicious Anti-White Manifesto

Sunday, May 24th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

shepard

Valdosta State University student Eric Sheppard, who has been on the run since April 21, has put out a violent, 4,700-word manifesto bashing white people and threatening to “annihilate those who come after me.” Sheppard is wanted on  weapons charges and for making terrorist threats via social media.

On April 17, Sheppard was videotaped with other black radicals pontificating on race, and using the United States flag as a doormat as part of a protest on campus. He got into a tussle with Air Force vet  Michelle Manhart after she snatched the flag away from them in an attempt to prevent its desecration.

The former Playboy model was briefly detained by campus police and banned from the premises after the incident. The following week, when VSU police were performing extra patrols due to the anti-flag protests at the university, they discovered Sheppard’s backpack, which contained a handgun. In addition to that, several alarming videos surfaced of Sheppard  telling VSU students on campus about his visceral hatred of white people and the need to “kill our oppressors.”

Meanwhile,  Sheppard’s supporters imitated his flag-stomping stunt on Twitter using the hashtag “#EricSheppardChallenge,” photograhping themselves stomping on Old Glory.

In “a rambling, profanity-laced” “memorandum ultimatum” sent to the Valdosta Daily Times this week, Sheppard condemned white people and the local police, and said he will “annihilate” anyone who comes after him.

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Not Fooling Around: 71 Arrested During Protests After Cleveland Officer’s Acquittal

Sunday, May 24th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

Cleveland Police Shooting

Cleveland police were taking no chances in the wake of the acquittal of police officer Michael Brelo, going to great lengths to ensure that Saturday afternoon’s peaceful protests didn’t evolve into violent riots like Baltimore and Ferguson have experienced in recent months.

In addition to having the National Guard on standby, police followed protesters through the streets and arrested anyone who acted violently or refused to obey police orders to disperse. A total of 71 people were arrested, including one journalist who left his press pass at home.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported:

“We only moved into make arrests when things got violent and protesters refused to disperse,” [Police Chief Calvin] Williams said. “We wanted to make sure people understand we are going to help you in this process, but if things turn violent, we will take action to preserve safety.”

While most of the protests were peaceful throughout the day, Williams said, “things got more aggressive” in the early afternoon hours.

The first incident happened on Huron Avenue outside Quicken Loans Arena. Three people were arrested there.

Williams said that one of the protesters picked up a restaurant sign and threw it at a bar patron walking into the building. The sign hit that person in the head. Williams said two others tried to fight with police while that person who threw the sign was being arrested.

Another fight broke out between protesters and patrons of Greenhouse Tavern after demonstrators went to the East 4th Street restaurant strip. Four others were arrested there.

Two more were arrested about a half-hour later on Euclid Avenue near East 8th Street. Williams said some protesters there used pepper spray on bar patrons who were standing outside.

The final clash came after protesters ended up blocked into Johnson Court between West 6th Street and West 9th Street.

Williams said police reported seeing “random acts of violence” between protesters and patrons of the popular nightlife area. Williams said police made dozens of commands for the protesters to disperse.

He said they then decided the situation became dangerous for the bystanders, protesters and police officers. Dozens were arrested there, including Northeast Ohio Media Group crime editor Kris Wernowsky, who was later released.

“When people are given a command to disperse from what started off as a lawful protest and degenerated into random acts of violence against people just standing on the street, we have to move in and enforce our laws,” Williams said. “And that’s what we did.”

Williams said that police will not be in riot gear “unless i’ts appropriate” but added that officers will continue to escort protesters throughout the city.

The Cavaliers will play Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday night. LeBron James has called for peace. ”For the city of Cleveland, let’s use our excitement or whatever passion that we have for our sport tomorrow, for the game tomorrow night, bring it tomorrow night … our team we’ll try to do our best to give it back to them,” James said following the Cavaliers’ light workout on Saturday.

The approach the city of Cleveland is taking seems to be working. No businesses were looted or destroyed on Saturday and there were no reports of injuries. The streets have thus far been calm on Sunday as well.

 

 

Also, this is insane. Someone needs to get these babies out of traffic and explain to this father that putting your children in danger in order to make them props for your cause is not cool:

 

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Kicking Off the Summer: A Brief History of the Bikini

Sunday, May 24th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Offered as a public service as the U.S. marks the unofficial beginning of summer, and for historical purposes only:

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God Bless America.

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True Grit, Singapore-Style

Sunday, May 24th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Some guys just won’t quit, especially when it comes to money:

A man who drove to a police post with a friend he owed money to clinging to his windscreen was fined $2,000 and banned from the road for nine months on Thursday.  Mr Haresh Govindaraju, 46, and two other friends went to see Murali Krishnan Naidu, 44, at his King Albert Park condo to discuss some money he owed them.

While waiting outside they saw Naidu drive in with his wife and teenage son and ran towards his car but he drove away to avoid confrontation. The trio shouted vulgarities at Naidu’s wife and banged his vehicle, and at some point Mr Harish leapt onto the bonnet and held onto the sides of the windscreen. The couple tried to persuade Mr Haresh to get off the bonnet – but he refused and threatened to “break their heads”

Worried for the safety of his family, Naidu decided to drive to the nearest Neighbourhood Police Post. Mr Haresh was still on the bonnet when they arrived at Bukit Batok NPP. He eventually got off the car after several warnings from the police.

More details here, reported at the time of the original incident.

 

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The Departed, Japanese-Style

Sunday, May 24th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

When you gotta go, you gotta go:

A Japanese man turned himself in to authorities after trying to flush the ashes of his “hated” dead wife down a supermarket toilet, reports and police said today. The 68-year-old man told police he dumped his wife’s ashes into the toilet bowl at a Tokyo supermarket immediately after she was cremated last month. Police were alerted after the ashes, and bone fragments including a human chin, were discovered, but were at a loss to explain them until the man handed himself in, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

Apparently, the flushing was the climax of a long-simmering resentment:

He had felt growing resentment towards his spouse over the years of their unhappy marriage, according to the daily. “I had hatred mounting against her,” the man, whose name was not disclosed, was quoted as saying. “Life was such a pain before she died.” His wife had died at the age of 64, following an illness. Prosecutors are now considering whether to lay charges of abandoning a human body, as ashes can only be scattered in approved locations, a Tokyo police spokesman told AFP

I wonder if he feels relieved.

 

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Puerto Rico, You Lovely Island…

Sunday, May 24th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Obama economy still in the tank, Latino people of color hardest hit:

The posh boutiques that once lined cobbled Calle Fortaleza are gone now, replaced by T-shirt and souvenir shops grasping for dollars from passengers swarming down the gangways of the Carnival cruise ships that dock here most mornings. Bars advertise “happy hours” lasting from noon till night, while old men pushing tatty ice-cream carts go mostly unnoticed.

Old San Juan, the colonial gem of Puerto Rico’s capital San Juan, is tired but clinging on. Elsewhere on the island, the story is graver. Exhausted by a recession that has lasted for most of the past eight years and by talk of a possible default on government debt, Puerto Ricans are leaving in droves. Many who stay are jobless; doctors who haven’t been paid in months are downing their stethoscopes.

The pain that is Puerto Rico’s – and could soon be Wall Street’s if the debt crisis isn’t resolved – is poignant. Some blame its step-child relationship with America, neither a fully-fledged US state nor an independent nation. It hardly helps that Washington barely seems to care while at the same time it is suddenly lavishing attention on Cuba, its near neighbour to the west. The island has lost 20 per cent of its jobs since 2006. The unemployment rate stands at over 13 per cent. It’s no wonder people want to get out.

If you’ve been to old San Juan lately, you know it’s a dingy, sad-sack place in serious disrepair.

“People who graduate from the university go straight to the airport and never come back,” lamented Christopher Torres, 25, an activist studying computer engineering at the University of Puerto Rico, who recently led a student protest against proposed spending cuts. Some 144,000 Puerto Ricans decamped for the US last year and a higher number may depart in 2015. A White House official privately described it as the biggest population displacement ever seen outside of a war.

Population displacement seems to be one thing Barack Hussein Obama is very good at it. Also, nation-swallowing debt:

The next big payment on debt, of $655m, is due on 1 July. Meanwhile, the current administration of Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla has publicly warned it may run out of cash by 30 September. In its latest report, the Government Development Bank, its lending arm, which faces its own liquidity crisis, raised the possibility of a “moratorium” on debt servicing to maintain at least essential government services – an opaque way of saying default.

Wake me when this nightmare is over.

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The Perils of Selfie-ness: Man Overboard

Sunday, May 24th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Don’t try this at home, kids:

A Singaporean man died after falling off a cliff and into the sea while attempting to take a selfie photograph on Nusa Lembongan Island, off the southeast coast of Bali. Mohamed Aslam Bin Shahul, 21, died on Thursday afternoon after falling into the ocean from a two-meter high cliff during a holiday with eight friends at the Sandi Bay Beach.

“He could not control his balance when he was hit by a wave. He slipped and fell into the ocean. He apparently couldn’t swim,” said Nusa Penida Police chief Adj. Comr. Gede Arianta. Arianta said Shahul’s body was found at a depth of five-meters. Local residents brought him to Jungut Batu community health center where doctors declared him dead.

Possible Darwin Award nominee, although I suspect this does not qualify him for the 72 virgin raisins of Paradise.

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Black State Senator Rebukes Cleveland Protester Walking Streets in Slave Garb

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

A man protesting the verdict in the Michael Brelo case in Cleveland walked the streets on Saturday in slave garb. His hands were shackled with chains, he wore torn clothing, and he had a hand-written sign taped to his back that read “NEW SLAVES.”

State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) had a strong reaction when she saw video of the protester during her appearance on local station WEWS. “That visual disturbs me a bit,” Turner said. “And I hope that the understanding of the history…that African Americans were shackled and chained and brought over to this country for 400 years…. I want to make sure they’re not minimizing the struggle of the ancestors.”

“Okay, we are enduring our own type of struggle, but my God!” said Turner, who teaches African American history at the local community college.

“While I respect our young people and their bringing this out in a very powerful way, let’s understand that for 400 years this country was built on the blood, sweat and tears of African Americans who were brought here on ships and chained and shackled and sold on auction blocks,” Turner continued. “Now we’ve gotta understand this. And I want to make sure we’re not minimizing what happened to our ancestors in our frustration to get our story out today. So as a historian …. I’m troubled by this visual.”

Oddly enough, Turner didn’t shy away from using Jim Crow imagery in 2012 when she used it to describe our voting laws. Appearing on CNN’s Newsroom Turner, who unsuccessfully ran for secretary of state last year, said that “Jim Crow has been resurrected” Ohio, referring to what she called voter suppression happening in “Democratic areas and also areas that are predominantly African-American.”

“It’s tragic that in the 21st century, 2012, we have voter suppression going on,” Turner said. ”You know, Jim Crow has been resurrected, making repeat performances in the South and has packed his bags and moved north, in Ohio in particular.”

Pot, meet kettle.

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This Is What Memorial Day Means to Barack Hussein Obama

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

A picture is worth a million words. Because, deep down, you know he means it:

Let the good times roll

Let the good times roll

To see the original tweet, check out @TheDemocrats twitter feed.

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Donald Trump, American Clown, Pops Off Again

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

If you ever needed an example of the provincialism of the New York-based media, Donald Trump is it. A perennial clown who periodically threatens to run for president but somehow never does, Trump commands an inordinate amount of attention from the Manhattan media. No matter how stupid his utterances, they insist on treating him seriously, even as they know they are being played:

Billionaire Donald Trump continues to tease a potential presidential run. Appearing on Fox News Wednesday evening, Trump reiterated he will announce in June what his intentions are in regards to 2016. “I’m gearing up and we’ll see what happens,” Trump said on “The Kelly File.”

The “Apprentice” star said he wants to make America “great again.” “I want to make the country great again,” he said. “This country is a hellhole. We are going down fast.”

To read some of The Donald’s other brilliant political insights and policy prescriptions, click on the link above. And don’t miss this as well. The late humor magazine Spy was right when it habitually referred to him as a “short-fingered vulgarian.”

 

 

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Meanwhile, Back on the Home Front…

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

A couple of ISIS recruits have been arrested near Los Angeles:

Two men arrested by the FBI on suspicion of terrorism in Southern California were charged Friday with conspiring to support ISIS after agents tapping their phones heard them saying it would be “a blessing to fight for the cause of Allah,” according to prosecutors. Nader Elhuzayel, 24, from Anaheim, was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport with a one-way ticket to Tel Aviv, with a stop in Istanbul, Turkey, according to a criminal complaint filed in the Central District of California.

Elhuzayel admitted to agents after his arrest that he had no intention to continue to Israel but planned to “travel to the Islamic State, pledge allegiance to ISIL (ISIS), and defend ISIL against attackers,” according to the complaint. Investigators have also found that Elhuzayel expressed his support on social media for Elton Simpson, one of the two men killed in a shootout with police after trying to attack an event in Garland, Texas, earlier this month, the complaint said. Elhuzayel lauded the attempted attack on Twitter and said Simpson was a martyr, according to the complaint. Neither suspect is accused of plotting attacks in the U.S.

In the meantime, the borders remain open, “immigrants” continue to flock in, etc.

 

 

 

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Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Ever get the feeing that somebody in Washington does not wish us well?

Alarmed about the growing threat from Islamic State, the Obama administration has dramatically stepped up warnings of potential terrorist attacks on American soil after several years of relative calm. Behind the scenes, U.S. authorities have raised defenses at U.S. military bases, put local police forces on alert and increased surveillance at the nation’s airports, railroads, shopping malls, energy plants and other potential targets.

Driving the unease are FBI arrests of at least 30 Americans on terrorism-related charges this year in an array of “lone wolf” plots, none successful, but nearly all purportedly inspired by Islamic State propaganda or appeals. The group’s leader, Abu Bakr Baghdadi, drove home the danger in a 34-minute audio recording released online Thursday. He urged Muslims everywhere to “migrate to the Islamic State or fight in his land, wherever that may be.”

Recall, this is the jayvee.

U.S. counter-terrorism officials initially viewed Islamic State as primarily a regional security threat, focused on expanding and protecting its self-proclaimed Islamist caliphate in Syria and Iraq, rather than launching attacks abroad. But the analysis has shifted sharply as gunmen inspired by the group, but not controlled or assisted by them, opened fire at the Parliament in Ottawa; at a cafe in Sydney, Australia; at a kosher grocery in Paris; and, on May 3, in Garland, Texas.

Meanwhile, brave Sir Barry launches pinprick strikes on ISIS and thinks he’s winning the war. Not that his minions entirely agree with him:

The United States has entered a “new phase, in my view, in the global terrorist threat,” Jeh Johnson, director of Homeland Security, said Friday on MSNBC. ”We have to be concerned about the independent actor, and the independent actor who is here in the homeland who may strike with little or no warning,” he said. “The nature of the global terrorist threat has evolved.”

And yet, the borders stay open, the “migrants” continue to flock in, innocent Americans are spied upon by their government, and the president hasn’t missed a round of golf in years.

 

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Kurdish Fighters Recapture Dozens of Syrian Towns From ISIS (Video)

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 - by Debra Heine

While Obama’s 60-nation coalition dithers,  Syrian Kurdish fighters of the YPG (People’s Protection Units) are making gains against the Islamic State (aka Daesh). In a two-week long offensive, they routed the jihadis, retaking dozens of Christian villages and towns.

Via the Voice of America, Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer was on the frontlines in Tal Shamiran to talk with with the YPG fighters. Jordan Matson, an American volunteer who has been in Northeastern Syria fighting with the YPG since September of 2014, said, “we’re here cleaning out the last Assyrian villages. There was some minimal resistance, but we had enough forces to push through, today.”

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The 28-year-old Matson is a U.S. Army vet who volunteered to join the Kurds in the fight against ISIS when he saw all of the gains that had been made in Iraq crumble away.

“I decided that if my government wasn’t going to do anything to help this country, especially Kurdish people who stood by us for 10 years and helped us out while we were in this country, then I was going to do something,” Matson said last fall.

He has vowed that he will not return home to Wisconsin “until the fight is finished and [the Islamic State] is crippled.”

Jordan Matson is among “dozens” of foreign fighters from Europe and America who have joined the Kurdish militia in the fight against ISIS. Unfortunately, some 20,000 foreigners have joined the Islamic State according to the State Department.

In an appearance on Hannity earlier this week, Matson complained about the low-watt U.S. bombing campaign. “They’re dragging this out – we could have ended this a long time ago,” he said.

He said that the way things are going, now, the fight will continue for a long time because the U.S. has limited itself to just doing bomb strikes, but with no one on the ground to help mark the targets.

“There’s so much more we could be doing to make these bombs more accurate,” he said.

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In Praise of Rand Paul (for Now)

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Senator Rand Paul is not my first choice for the GOP nomination next year, but you have to give the man props for sticking it to his fellow Kentuckian, the loathsome Mitch McConnell:

The sleepy United States senators thought they were done voting. But then, around 1 a.m. on the Saturday before Memorial Day, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and presidential candidate, marched spryly to the Senate floor to let it be known that, no, he would not agree to extend the federal government’s bulk collection of phone records program. Not even for one day.

With that, Senator Mitch McConnell, a fellow Kentucky Republican who only a few hours before was ebullient with the passage of a major trade package, was reduced to ordering his colleagues back to Washington next Sunday to try again to prevent the act from expiring.

The unexpected legislative collapse on the Senate floor, and Mr. McConnell’s morose departure, pointed up the quandary that has emerged since Republicans took control. They have had successes, like passage of the hard-fought bill that could pave the way to the largest trade agreement in a generation and a bill to give Congress a voice in the Iran nuclear negotiations. And more senators are allowed to try to influence legislation through amendments, which Mr. McConnell’s Democratic predecessor as majority leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, prevented.

But as senators raced for the airport on Saturday after a six-week session that ended in disarray, they left behind a wreck of promises made by Mr. McConnell on how a renewed Senate would operate. Mr. McConnell has found himself vexed by Democratic delaying tactics he honed in the minority, five presidential aspirants with their own agendas and a new crop of conservative firebrands demanding their say.

Gee, that’s too damn bad. The odious McConnell, whose defeat everyone should have been rooting for in his re-election bid last fall, has double-crossed conservatives time and again, and if Sen. Paul is making his life miserable, good for Sen. Paul. But, hey — it’s not like the loathsome McConnell doesn’t have some friends and allies. Here’s one now:

With another Republican presidential aspirant, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, visibly rolling his eyes, Mr. Paul and his allies took to the Senate floor around 1 a.m. Saturday to object to a series of brief extensions proposed for the Patriot Act: seven days, four days, two days, even one day. That bit of theatrics came in large part because Mr. McConnell’s vaunted restoration of the committee process had so badly broken down.

Translation from New York Times-speak into English: the Republicans can’t govern!

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Official Democratic Party Twitter Account Commemorates Memorial Day with Pic of Obama Eating Ice Cream

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Stunningly clueless:

Here are a couple of responses:

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Emails Reveal Hillary Was Deeply Concerned After Benghazi Attack…About Her Image

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Really? REALLY?!?!?

Top aides to former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fretted over how she would be portrayed after the 2012 Benghazi attacks that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, emails released on Friday showed.

The emails also showed Clinton received information on her personal email account about the Benghazi attacks that was classified “secret” by the FBI just prior to their release.

OK, it was her staff expressing concern in the emails, but after two decades of watching this woman in action, I think it is probably safe to infer that they were reflecting the boss’s angst.

The excuses du jour for the classified items are that it was “only a couple of sentences” and it wasn’t classified at the time, neither of which mean anything. The point is that she shouldn’t have been using a private server anyway.

The Clintons are so practiced at not getting caught when violating the law (think Al Capone with a better accountant) that I have no doubt that anything remotely incriminating was long ago removed from the emails by Mrs. Bill’s little “fixers”.

The best hope for the future of the Republic is that the press gets angry enough at being shut out that Team Hillary will give her a little more face time with the public, which rarely works out well for the Missus.

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