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Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price Arrested (Updated)

Friday, July 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, Democrat, once demanded an apology because a fellow commissioner used the scientific term “black hole.”

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Today Price finds himself in a hole of an entirely different kind, jail, with the probability of heading to federal prison.

The loudmouth commissioner who answers just about every inquiry into his outrageous conduct with versions of “That’s racist!” was taken into custody by the FBI early this morning. Charges will be announced today.

WFAA TV in Dallas reports that Price’s arrest means that the federal grand jury that has been investigating him for years has completed its work, handed down indictments and now the commissioner will stand trial. Other defendants are being arrested around Dallas today, ahead of the 11 AM news conference the FBI has called.

Price has been under FBI investigation since 2011, on myriad corruption charges. The FBI searched his home that year, and turned up $229,000 in cash and expensive watches. One bag of cash that was allegedly found in Price’s home was full of $100 bills, and marked “cheerleaders.” Let’s hope the FBI tells us what that was about.

Price has been in office since 1984, becoming one of the most powerful politicians in north Texas over the years.

2011 was an auspicious year for Commissioner Price. That’s the year that the FBI started taking a close look at him, and it’s also the year that he told constituents to “all of you are white, go to hell.” He also called one constituent a “fat boy.”

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“Go to hell”? How about “go to jail”…

Update: The Dallas Morning News sheds some light on the charges Price faces.

Conspiracy to Commit Bribery Concerning a Local Government Receiving Federal Benefits

Deprivation of Honest Services by Mail Fraud and Aiding and Abetting

Conspiracy to Defraud the Internal Revenue Service

Subscribing to a False and Fraudulent U.S. Individual Income Tax Return

Hm, tax fraud. Perhaps Price will be the first to try claiming that his hard drive crashed on the IRS. And then shout “That’s racist!” when the IRS doesn’t buy its own excuse.

 

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Stephen King’s Immigration Idiocy

Friday, July 25th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

 

From the world of social media, controversy trended earlier this week around comments (seen above) by horror writer Stephen King. The author of best-selling novels like The Shining and Pet Sematary challenged the convictions of Christians and Tea Partiers when it comes to helping children in need. The Christian Post reports:

An aggregation of King’s tweets by Twitchy, however, revealed some pointed rebuttals casting him as a hypocrite, including a few from conservative radio host Dana Loesch.

“Didn’t see you amongst the Christians ministering to the hungry in McAllen last weekend, @StephenKing. Full calendar?” Loesch noted on Twitter.

“Hey @StephenKing, look at this MEDICAL TRUCK provided privately BY A CHRISTIAN,” she added in another tweet.

Journalist Lachlan Markay also found King’s tweet particularly odd.

“Very odd tweet, @StephenKing, given the lengths to which many prominent Christians have gone of late to help refugee kids at the border,” he tweeted.

The nature of King’s hypocrisy deserves note. Those Christians, conservatives, and Tea Partiers who have rallied charity to meet the needs of illegal immigrant children held in Texas have done so in pursuit of their own values. Their personal beliefs and convictions motivate their actions, and they act with their own resources. By contrast, King assigns others the task of caring and providing. He stands eager to see Christians and Tea Partiers sacrificed for what he regards as a greater good.

It’s the difference between egoistic charity and altruistic sacrifice. Unfortunately, our language largely confuses these concepts. Caring for others is regarded as altruism, when it’s actually an egoistic chosen value. And human sacrifice is justified by appeals to caring, as if sacrificing someone could ever be a caring act.

(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here. 38:23 minutes long; 36.91 MB file size. Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)

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Obamacare’s Architect Admitted in 2012 That Only State Exchanges Get Subsidies

Friday, July 25th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
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In a video discovered by the Competitive Enterprise Institute from January of 2012, one of the chief architects of Obamacare says the Affordable Care Act provides no tax credits for citizens in states that do not set up their own exchanges.

Speaking to an audience at Noblis, a nonprofit scientific and engineering research organization in Falls Church, Virginia, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber urged states to set up their own insurance exchanges so citizens could take advantage of the tax credits. An audience member commented, “It’s my understanding that if states don’t provide [exchanges], then the federal government will provide them for the states.” Gruber responded,

What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits—but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges. But, you know, once again the politics can get ugly around this. [emphasis added]

At the time, states were being pressured to set up their own exchanges instead of leaving the federal government to manage them.

Gruber’s remarks at Noblis came five months before Halbig v. Burwell was filed. Halbig claimed exactly what Gruber is saying in the video: that Obamacare’s subsidies for private health insurance were limited to state-run health exchanges. Earlier this week, the D.C. Circuit Court agreed, striking down the Obama administration’s implementation of the federal subsidies under an Internal Revenue Service rule. The IRS had expanded the meaning of  the “established by the state” language in the Affordable Care Act to include the federal exchanges after only a handful of states set up their own state-based exchange.

Jonathan Gruber, who helped design the Massachusetts law that was the model for Obamacare and was paid almost $400,000 to consult with the Obama administration on the new law, made no attempt to conceal his feelings about the new health care law in the 2012 speech. “I’m biased, I’m in favor of this type of law, I won’t hide that,” Gruber told the Noblis audience. In the years after the passage of Obamacare, Gruber worked as a busy consultant on the issue, with several states hiring him for his expertise in the area of health insurance markets.

Gruber has since evolved on the issue of subsidies for federal exchanges.

In January 2013, he called the idea that Congress only intended the subsidies and tax credits to be available through state exchanges a “screwy interpretation” of Obamacare. In an interview with Mother Jones, Gruber huffed, “It’s nutty. It’s stupid…it’s essentially unprecedented in our democracy. This was law democratically enacted, challenged in the Supreme Court, and passed the test, and now [Republicans] are trying again. They’re desperate.”

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Rice Lauds Freedom of Sudanese Christian Without Mentioning Christianity

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The White House lauded the freedom of Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her faith, without mentioning Christianity.

Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli helped arrange Ibrahim’s departure from Sudan to Rome, according to Vatican Radio. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi welcomed her at the airport; she then met with Pope Francis at the Vatican for about half an hour along with her husband, American citizen Daniel Wani, her son Martin and baby Maya, born in prison two months ago.

Before her death sentence was overturned, Ibrahim faced capital punishment for marrying a Christian man. Her father was Muslim.

“The United States is delighted that Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag is now safe and free and will soon be traveling to the United States. For months, Americans of all faiths kept Ms. Ishag in their thoughts and prayers as Sudanese authorities sentenced her to death for the alleged crime of apostasy,” National Security Adviser Susan Rice said in a statement. “Today, she and her family have left Sudan on their journey to freedom. Her departure with her immediate family—including her infant daughter, born in custody—is a testament to her unyielding faith and the support she received from friends and allies, including our Embassy in Khartoum and the broader U.S. government.”

“On behalf of the American people, I am proud to celebrate the arrival of Ms. Ishag and her family in Rome. We look forward to the day when they arrive in America,” Rice added. “In addition to heralding the tireless efforts of my U.S. government colleagues to ensure her safety, I also want to extend my profound thanks to the Italian Government for its dedicated efforts on their behalf.” Ibrahim’s death sentence was overturned last month but Sudanese officials kept her from leaving the country by questioning her travel documents.

“Ms. Ishag’s freedom, while meaningful in its own right, also serves as a reminder that all countries, including Sudan, must uphold the universal right to freedom of religion. The United States has and will continue to support those denied this freedom, drawing strength from Ms. Ishag’s example.”

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said today that the family does have the proper documents to enter the U.S. “She and her family will make the determination on their travel to the United States. It’s really up to the family,” Harf said, adding that she didn’t know if the Vatican interceded in Ibrahim’s case.

Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, noted chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), “have been extensively engaged in efforts to secure her release,” including a hearing to draw publicity to her case the day before she was released to the Italians.

“She and her family deserve an opportunity for a new chapter,” Royce said. “…While Meriam and her family escaped Sudan’s religious persecution, apostasy is still on the books in Sudan, leaving the chances open for other reprehensible cases like hers.”

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Deli Food for Thought

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Nathan D. Lichtman

Israel hasn’t been feeling the love lately. Not only are they in the midst of a literal war with Hamas, but also a PR war. I already wrote about how long it took President Obama to even make a phone call to Prime Minister Netanyahu, but his failure to lead has gotten worse, and has dictated another response from me.

This FAA debacle is indicative of an Administration that is throwing around its political leverage to bully Israel into succumbing to their harmful cease-fire demands. They prohibited all US flights from landing at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel. They haven’t even prohibited flights to Moscow, Kiev, or anywhere near Ukraine—and we just witnessed a plane shot out of the sky there! But Israel gets flights canceled?!?

John Kerry’s lobbying hard for a cease-fire arrangement, which would be more restrictive and harmful to Israel than the Egyptian one…which Israel accepted. Think about that: Egypt, a country that has traditionally not gotten along with Israel, is promoting a less-harsh cease-fire than the US Secretary of State.

Meanwhile, a coincidence—Israel gets flights banned. I think it’s more than a coincidence.

Israel relies heavily on tourism. In 2013, Israel had 3.5 million visitors, which propelled the market to a $12 billion industry. The situation in Israel has already slammed its tourism profits. According to a Yahoo Travel article: “’It is devastating us economically,’ said Leon Avigad, the developer of Brown Hotels, a small collection of boutique hotels in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. ‘We are losing tons of money by the minute. The entire profit from the summer is wiped out.’” And Avigad said these things in the days leading up to the flight ban.

So the FAA, under Obama, really hit Israel where it hurts. An already suffering tourism trade, and they ban flights… Doesn’t seem like how we should be treating one of our top allies.

Obama is flexing his muscles, likely because he can’t seem to get away with it against Putin. Israel, he thinks, is one situation he can dominate. His egotistical and radical nature leads him to assert himself into this problem, not on Israel’s side, but by condemning them with bad cease-fire proposals and by essentially threatening them economically.

It’s no wonder why Marc Schulman, of Newsweek, reports, “On a number of different levels, there is a growing sense of frustration with the Obama administration among average Israelis.”

So, rather than stay in Washington and deal with these problems, Obama went on another fundraising trip these past couple days. This time, he came to my neck of the woods—Los Angeles. Probably to get some of that big-time Hollywood money for the Democrats.

As an aside, his motorcade has been mucking up the traffic here pretty badly, even getting the nickname “Obamajam.” They even closed down a street, keeping a woman from crossing while in labor. He wasn’t even at the scene while this was going on.

But back on topic, the Jewish community here, in LA, is very close to the events in Israel, with pro-Israel rallies going on often and with much fervor. I, personally, attended New Community Jewish High School in the San Fernando Valley area of the city, and just found out that a fellow alumnus has been hospitalized after a bomb went off near him in Gaza. Max Levin was serving as a part of the Israeli Defense Forces, when the incident occurred. He is in stable condition, but wounded. I don’t know him, as he graduated several years after I did, but it touches the community. Out of my small private high school alone, 26 alumni currently serve in the IDF.

So with Obama being seen as a hindrance to Israeli needs, or maybe even a counterforce, what did he do while here?

Our photo-op-in-chief went to the famous Canter’s Deli, a Jewish deli that’s been in the predominantly Jewish Fairfax district for almost 85 years. The patronizing President figured he would show his support for the Jewish community by eating a rye bread sandwich and schmoozing.

I cannot believe the condescension he is exposing here, especially just after telling Governor Perry that he doesn’t participate in photo-ops.

We need a leader, not a schmoozer, and we need a President who will stand up for our allies.

Oy gevalt!

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Caliphate Adds Tourism Sector with Passport-Free Travel

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

isistour

The Islamic State has added a tourism sector to lure the ummah to the large swath of territory ISIS seized in Syria and Iraq:

Running twice-weekly tours from Syria’s Raqa to Iraq’s Anbar, ISIS buses fly the group’s black flag and play militant songs throughout the journey.

One of the first clients was Chechen militant Abu Abdel Rahman al-Shishani, aged 26, who took his new Syrian wife on honeymoon, according to activist Hadi Salameh.

“Just after they got married, he took her to Anbar. These militants are very romantic,” Salameh joked.

But the two weren’t able to sit together, because “women sit in the back, and men at the front. The bus driver plays militant songs all through the ride, and the ISIS black flag flies over the bus.”

ISIS proclaimed a “caliphate” last month straddling Iraq and Syria. According to a rebel from eastern Syria, the tours started operating immediately afterwards.

…Salameh said the group’s tour buses “start their journey in Tal Abyad (on Syria’s Turkish border) and end in Iraq’s Anbar. You can get off wherever you want, and you don’t need a passport to cross the border.”

The activist, who lives in Raqa and uses a pseudonym to avoid retribution from IS, told AFP via the Internet the company is for profit.

“Of course it’s not free. The price varies, depending on how far you go on the bus,” Salameh said.

Clientele has primarily been foreign fighters who speak English; a translator on board points out the sights. Tours run on Wednesdays and Sundays.

No word on whether this is one of the caliphate’s tour guides:

 

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Is Tech Site Mashable.com Siding with Hamas Terrorists?

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Mashable.com, one of the largest tech and culture websites on the planet, appears to be taking a side in the ongoing war in Gaza.

The site best known for posts about things buried in software user agreements and happy photo ops with the president who claims that he isn’t interested in photo ops is taking a decidedly pro-Hamas editorial point of view as it and Israel fight in Gaza.

That war started when terrorists linked to Hamas, which is itself categorized as a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department and the European Union, kidnapped three Israeli teenagers and later executed them. One of those teenagers, 16-year-old Naftali Frankel, also had American citizenship.

On June 14, when Mashable reported on the boys’ kidnapping, in describing Hamas it put “terrorist group” in scare quotes.

Even after the boys’ bodies were discovered, Mashable made sure to distance Hamas from the murders.

Hamas soon began to launch some of its estimated 10,000 to 20,000 rockets at Israeli population centers. Israel has responded with an air, land and sea campaign to destroy Hamas’ tunnels and its rocket arsenal.

Israel is going out of its way to avoid civilian casualties, while Hamas places civilian casualties at the center of its strategy. Hamas targets Israel’s civilians, and it places its weapons close to Palestinian schools and hospitals to force Israel to choose between risking killing Palestinian civilians to destroy those weapons, or leave its own civilians at risk if it does not destroy those weapons. If Palestinian civilians die in Israeli attacks, they become part of the group’s propaganda. If Israel decides not to strike Hamas weapons caches near civilian targets, then some Israelis will be attacked with those very weapons.

Mashable’s coverage of the conflict has tilted away from Israel, the Middle East’s sole democracy and one in which Arabs can become full citizens, and toward Hamas terrorists. Where Hamas rules, as in much of the Islamic world, Christians and Jews are at best second-class, are systematically persecuted and are often subjected to pogroms.

In an Associated Press story on the “disappearance” of rockets that Hamas hid in UN schools to which Mashable contributed reporting, the AP and Mashable hide the lead down in the sixth paragraph, and even then avoid calling Hamas what it is.

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. secretary-general on Wednesday said he was “alarmed” to hear that rockets were placed in a U.N.-run school in Gaza, and now “have gone missing.” He also demanded a full review of such incidents.

A spokesperson for Ban Ki-moon expressed the U.N. chief’s “outrage and regret” at the placement of weapons at a site run by the global organization. This has happened at least twice so far in the current conflict, according to the U.N.

“Those responsible are turning schools into potential military targets, and endangering the lives of innocent children,” U.N. staff and anyone seeking shelter, the statement said.

The rockets had been placed at one of the schools run by the U.N. refugee agency for Palestinians, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza (UNRWA).

Once they were found, “in accordance with standard practice, UNRWA handed them over to the local authorities. Since then, they have gone missing,” Ban’s deputy spokesperson, Farhan Haq, said in an email Wednesday evening.

The Islamic militant group Hamas controls Gaza. The U.S., Israel and the European Union all consider Hamas a terrorist organization, but the U.N. does not.

The entire story is written to hide what Hamas was doing — hiding its rockets in UN-run schools, rockets it uses against Israel’s civilian population. Both of those acts are war crimes.

In the most biased story Mashable has run on the conflict to date, the site takes cues from Pallywood and puts a dying Palestinian child front and center. This is the kind of propaganda story Hamas hopes comes from Israel exercising its duty to defend its people.

In “‘Am I Going to Die, Daddy?’ The Child in Gaza Asked,” reporter Jon Snow states that “If the Israelis have proved anything, it is that there is no such thing as a forensic strike.” Snow never allows for the fact while Israel tries to avoid civilian casualties, while Hamas feeds on them.

After chronicling several heart-breaking cases of kids caught up in the crossfire, Snow rhetorically asks “Can they really be the acceptable collateral damage of targeting militants?”

The tone of the entire piece puts the moral responsibility for all casualties in Gaza not on Hamas, the terrorist group that is still dedicated to destroying Israel and which started the current conflict, but on Israel.

Snow ends his piece with this:

I was amazed to find a small sachet of shampoo as I went to a cold shower tonight — salty again. Obviously, you cannot make bombs out of shampoo and so there is no embargo on it. But clearly you can make bombs from paint because there isn’t any. This is the most wretchedly unpainted urban place I have ever been.

And beyond it all, why won’t they talk? This cannot go on. It is the children, tomorrow’s Palestinians, who are paying the price.

Today’s and tomorrow’s Israelis are paying a price too, are they not? You wouldn’t know it from reading Jon Snow, or indeed anything published at Mashable.

Snow’s piece fits well within Hamas’ anti-Israel propaganda. Why is a tech site like Mashable publishing it?

The closest that the site gets to fair reporting is probably this piece on Jews and Arabs who are making friends and more despite the conflict. Even this piece, though, plays up Arabs’ peaceful intent and ignores the anti-Semitism that pervades Arab culture and communications around the world.

The fact is, whether Mashable is aware of it or not, Palestinian voters elected Hamas to power knowing full well that that would mean war with Israel. And polls find that Palestinians continue to want to destroy Israel.

In the current war, Hamas and the Palestinians who still support Hamas are getting what they want.

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Bipartisan Bill Moving Forward to Condemn Obama for Taliban 5 Release

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The House Armed Services Committee will next week bring up a bipartisan resolution condemning President Obama’s release of five Taliban leaders in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Obama didn’t notify Congress before the early June swap, which brought to an end five years of captivity for Bergdahl. The administration claims they had to make an emergency decision because of concerns about Bergdahl’s health.

Bergdahl has completed his reintegration process and is now back on active duty in Texas while the Pentagon investigates the circumstances surrounding his capture.

On Tuesday, the committee will consider a bill from Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), along with Reps. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), John Barrow (D-Ga.), and Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), to condemn the commander in chief.

The bill has a total of 82 co-sponsors. It:

(1) condemns and disapproves of the failure of the Obama administration to comply with the lawful 30-day statutory reporting requirement in executing the release of five senior members of the Taliban from detention at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba;

(2) expresses grave concern over national security implications that may arise due to the release of Taliban officials, including the national security threat to the people and Armed Forces of the United States and complications of the current efforts of the United States to combat terrorism worldwide;

(3) expresses grave concern over the repercussions of negotiating with terrorists, and the risk that such negotiations with terrorists may further encourage hostilities and the abduction of Americans as a means of further prisoner exchanges;

(4) stipulates that further violations of the law set forth in section 1035 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 (Public Law 113-66; 10 U.S.C. 801 note) and section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014 (Public Law 113-76) are unacceptable;

(5) declares grave misgivings about the prospect of any other similar transfers from United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, even if undertaken pursuant to statutory requirements; and

(6) expresses that the Obama administration’s release of the five detainees has burdened unnecessarily the trust and confidence in the administration’s commitment and ability to constructively engage and work with the legislative branch, and therefore works against what is in the best interest of the people of the United States.

Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), who noted after the transfer that administration officials were giving contradictory information to lawmakers, stressed that “when the president takes his oath of office, he is duty bound to  follow the laws set by the American people.”

“Here, his office broke a law that was originally adopted by his own party in the Senate, passed by a large bipartisan majority in Congress and signed by the president himself.  Just as the president must do his duty, so must Congress,” McKeon said. “Congressman Rigell’s legislation sends the clear message that following the law isn’t optional.”

“President Obama’s actions in regard to the prisoner exchange ignore the law and put our national security at risk. America is not a monarchy and no president is king,” said Rigell, who has previously noted the president’s imperialist tendencies in an amendment last summer chiding Obama to abide the War Powers Resolution. “The House is prepared to remind the president of this. This bipartisan resolution is an official repudiation of President Obama’s actions, and I appreciate the chairman’s leadership in bringing this important resolution to the committee for a markup.”

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BIZARRE: Boeing 777s, After 18 Spotless Years, Crash Three Times Since July 2013

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by David Steinberg

Despite stunning achievements in air travel safety, terrible things happen. You are safe in the air, yes, but you are never guaranteed your safety in a world of men, or in a nature that plays dice.

Aaron Karp, senior editor of trade publication Air Transport World, points out the confounding events of the past year: not only has the grand Boeing 777 — which did not have a single fatality in its 18 years of operation — crashed three times in 377 days, those three crashes were just about the strangest ever seen by the industry:

In June 1995, United Airlines became the first airline to operate a Boeing 777. Since then, more than 1,200 777s have been delivered to airlines around the world and the popular widebody twinjet has clocked millions of flight hours. For 18 years, there were no fatal 777 accidents and only one hull loss resulting from a 777 flight — the British Airways 777-200ER that landed short of the runway at London Heathrow in January 2008, which caused substantial damage to the aircraft but no fatalities. There was also an EgyptAir 777-200ER that suffered irreparable damage from a cockpit fire on the ground before it was scheduled to take off from Cairo in July 2011. Everyone safely got off the aircraft.

This history underscores how stunning it is that, in the space of just 377 days, three 777s and 540 lives were lost in three of the most bizarre airline crashes ever. First, on July 6, 2013, there was the Asiana Airlines 777-200ER hitting a sea wall while attempting to land at San Francisco International, breaking apart and bursting into flames. Amazingly, 304 of the 307 passengers and crew aboard survived, including flight attendants ejected from the aircraft during the crash sequence.

Then, of course, there are this year’s twin Malaysia Airlines disasters. MH370, a 777-200ER, disappeared on March 8 with 239 passengers and crew aboard and still, more than four months later, not a trace has been found. Boeing chairman and CEO Jim McNerney this week called MH17, the 777-200ER that was barbarously shot down with 298 people aboard over eastern Ukraine on July 17, a “particularly unsettling and painful moment in the history of aviation.”

What makes the three 777 hull losses in fatal accidents in just over a year hard to fathom is that there is no safety issue with the 777 itself …

The disappearance of MH370 certainly appears to have been terror — the pilot intended to at least hijack the flight, though I have yet to hear evidence that he chose a 777 for any reason relating to the product itself. And MH17 most definitely was taken down by terror, though intercepted recordings point to the malicious operators of the Buk having not intended to target a passenger craft, much less a 777 specifically.

The San Francisco crash, strange at was, was stranger still in that a fatality occurred when a survivor was struck by an emergency vehicle.

In a year, 540 people have perished on one of the safest, soundest transports ever created — and it’s still just as safe as ever. Crazy world.

Also read: 

Today’s News of Fresh Disaster Sponsored by Time-Warner-CNN-HBO

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GM Just Issued Six More Safety Recalls

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Fox reports on the latest from Government Motors.

General Motors issued six more recalls on Wednesday, bringing its annual total to 60 recalls covering almost 30 million vehicles.

The latest recalls cover nearly 823,000 cars, trucks and SUVs mostly in North America but including a small number of exports. The largest is for faulty seats in just over 475,000 cars and small SUVs. Other problems include incomplete welds on seat brackets, turn signal failures, power steering failures, loose suspension bolts and faulty roof rack bolts.

GM is conducting a companywide safety review as it tries to correct a dysfunctional corporate culture in which safety was a low priority.

So was quality.

GM has recalled 30 million of the 41.6 million cars recalled by all automakers this year so far. It sold 1.46 million cars in the first six months of 2014.

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The Creepiest Story About Government Replacing the Family That You’ll Read Today

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The federal government has allocated $10 million to build robot minders for our children. Or someone’s children.

The robots are being developed for the express purpose of messing with our kids’ minds.

The project will develop a “new breed of sophisticated ‘socially assistive’ robots,” designed to help children “learn to read, appreciate physical fitness, overcome cognitive disabilities, and perform physical exercises,” according to a news release by Yale University when the grant was first announced in 2012.

“Just like a good personal trainer, we want the robots to be able to guide the child toward a behavior that we desire,” said Brian Scassellati, a computer science professor at Yale and principal investigator for the study.

“…guide the child toward behavior that we (government bureaucrats) desire…”

Which you can bet means supporting Obamacare, thinking Barack Obama is the bestest president ever, being ever so tolerant of all things gay while being ever so disdainful of all traditional values, being open-minded to the Muslims while being closed to Christianity, opposed to ideas about strong national security, disbelief in American exceptionalism, disdain for support for Israel, soft like a metrosexual and of course against the Second Amendment. Robots against Republicans…

Plus, eat your veggies.

They’re coming to your local communities, eventually.

“What we want to do is move these robots out of the laboratory and into schools and homes and clinics, places where we can directly help children on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

The NSF grant said the project is necessary due to “critical societal problems.”

“The need for this technology is driven by critical societal problems that require sustained, personalized support that supplements the efforts of educators, parents, and clinicians,” the grant said.

Scassellati envisions the robots influencing nearly every aspect of children’s lives.

Of all the things government ought not be doing, building robots to “guide” kids has to be pretty high up on the list.

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Deval Patrick Not A Fan Of Hillary’s ‘Inevitability’

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

#WarOnWomen

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who raised eyebrows earlier this year by questioning the sense of “inevitability” around Hillary Clinton’s potential presidential candidacy, emphasized Thursday that he’s worried Clinton’s inner circle will perpetuate an “off-putting” feeling of “entitlement” surrounding her possible White House bid.

“I worry about the campaign; I don’t think it’s so much her,” the Bay State Democrat said during an appearance on WGBH-FM, a public radio station in Boston.

Patrick added that he had a chance to speak with Clinton at a biotech conference in San Diego last month but said that he and the former secretary of state aren’t close.

“It’s not like we’re pals,” he said.

Patrick, echoing comments he made to CNN earlier this year, said the feeling of inevitability played a role in sinking Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

“The worry of that is that that can be interpreted by people as entitlement. And that can be off-putting to folks,” he said. “They want you to sweat for it.”

The real big rift in party politics isn’t between the GOP establishment and the tea party conservatives (although that is genuine) but between the Clinton Democrats and the Obama Democrats. The media, of course, won’t talk about it because they just get too emotional when mom and dad fight.

Patrick and the New Guard aren’t impressed by Her Madameship and, thanks to a better relationship with the press, aren’t afraid to mention it.

He was very kind to imply that it’s only her perceived sense of entitlement that is off-putting.

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Vox Wants More Abortion Clinics

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Vox’s Sarah Kliff dismissed the Gosnell abortion slaughterhouse trial as a “local story” that was not worth her time. That was when she wrote for the Washington Post. The Gosnell trial implicated more than just his own abortion mills. Planned Parenthood referred clients to him.

Could Kliff’s inattention to Gosnell have been because she is an ardent, militant supporter of unrestricted abortion, and Gosnell’s horrors inconvenience her politics?

Now Kliff writes for Vox, the prog explanatory journalism site that can’t seem to get anything right, and apparently local stories are in her bailiwick.

Kliff has a sad that Texas’ 2013 HB2 has increased regulation and improved standards in the state’s abortion clinics, and some clinics have closed as a result.

For many Texas clinics, these types of restrictions have proved too burdensome to comply with.  ”It’s heartbreaking for us,” Amy Hagstrom Miller, the chief executive of Whole Woman’s Health, told the New York Times shortly after her clinic closed this May. “It’s been a very difficult decision. I tried everything I can. I just can’t keep the doors open.”

Obamacare hurts businesses and kills jobs.

The EPA’s war on coal is ravaging the American coal industry. It’s also raising energy prices, which hurts businesses and makes our money worth less. Raising energy prices is inflationary.

Vox supports Obamacare and all of Obama’s energy regime, despite the fact that both hurt businesses and families.

Generally speaking, progs like Sarah Kliff have no problem with government enacting regulations that end up hurting businesses — as long as those businesses don’t abort babies.

Abortion mills remain the only businesses that progs want to leave almost entirely unregulated, and the abortion lobby is never ever described by progs for what it is — a cash-rich special interest that buys access by donating to Democrats. Even though that’s exactly what the abortion lobby is.

By the way, check out Kliff’s correction:

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the year that House Bill 2 passed. It passed in 2013, not 2011.

How does an explanatory journalist get such a basic fact wrong before hitting the publish button?

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Pew Poll Gives GOP Enthusiasm Advantage For Midterms

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Feelings, nothing more than feelings

More Republicans are on the edge of their seats to vote for who will fill the seats of Congress than Democrats, according to a new poll.

In a Pew Research Center poll that measures voter enthusiasm, Republicans were found to be more enthusiastic about voting in November, but they are still not as enthused as they were for the midterm elections four years prior.

Forty-five percent of those polled who plan to vote Republican say they are more enthusiastic about voting this time around than in previous years. Of those who plan to vote Democratic, 37 percent expressed enthusiasm for the November elections. Four years ago, Republicans weighed in at 55 percent, and 42 percent of Democrats were enthusiastic for the midterms.

I’m leery of polls like this because “enthusiastic” Republicans can often turn into “cocky” and let almost certain victory slip away. It does, however, indicate that, just as in 2010, the Democrats don’t have much to get excited about without Barack Obama on the ballot. Or the idea of Barack Obama. The reality can’t be helping.

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VIDEO: Is Rick Perry Making Border Moves Out of Concern for Security, Or Is It Political?

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Yours truly appeared on Newsmax TV’s Midpoint today with host Ed Berliner. Along with Morgan Chalfant of Red Alert Politics, we discussed Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to send the National Guard to protect the Texas-Mexico border.

Gaffes and hipster glasses came up too. Click to watch.

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Escalation: Russia Firing Artillery Across Ukraine Border

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Russia is now directly militarily the “pro-Russian rebels” in eastern Ukraine. The US State Department, the Pentagon and Reuters have all confirmed that the Russian military is firing artillery at targets inside Ukraine from the Russian side of the border.

“We have new evidence that the Russians intend to deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers to the separatist forces in Ukraine, and have evidence that Russia is firing artillery from within Russia to attack Ukrainian military positions,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

Harf, speaking at a regular media briefing, said the information was based on intelligence reports. “I can’t tell you what the information is based on,” she said.

Up to now, Russia has maintained an implausible deniability on the war in Ukraine, supporting the rebels (many of whom are former and current Russian military and intelligence operatives) with words and equipment but not direct fire. That has changed today, just a week after a Russian-made BUK missile was used to shoot down MH17 over Ukraine, killing all 298 civilians aboard.

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Sen. Walsh on Plagiarism Charge: No Excuses, But My Excuse is PTSD

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

Montana Senator John Walsh’s campaign was already in trouble when the New York Times broke the story of his massive plagiarizing for his master’s thesis at the Army War College.

His disingenuous “explanation” should seal his doom.

Walsh, appointed to fill the remaining term of Max Baucus and now running for a full term, is a former adjutant general of the Montana National Guard. He was a battalion commander in the Iraq War — the only senator who served in that conflict.

But the plagiarism charge — and Walsh’s effort to minimize it — reveals a soldier who lacks the integrity to admit his mistakes honestly and forthrightly.

Walsh dismissed the notion that the plagiarism allegations will affect his candidacy.

Associated Press reports:

“I don’t really see it as having a negative impact on the campaign,” he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday. “Montanans are really pleased with what I am accomplishing back here (in Washington).”

Walsh has a short window in which to figure out whether the allegations could be too toxic for him to win the Nov. 4 election. A candidate has until Aug. 11 to withdraw from this year’s contest, and the state party has until Aug. 20 to name a replacement candidate, Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch said Thursday.

If Walsh decides to drop out after the ballots are certified on Aug. 21, a new candidate can’t be appointed, and Walsh’s name will stay on the ballot, she said.

Walsh said that when he wrote the thesis, he had post-traumatic stress disorder from his service in Iraq, was on medication and was dealing with the stress of a fellow veteran’s recent suicide.

“I don’t want to blame my mistake on PTSD, but I do want to say it may have been a factor,” the senator said. “My head was not in a place very conducive to a classroom and an academic environment.”

He said he didn’t plagiarize but that his thesis contained “a few citations that were unintentionally left out.”

A “few citations”? AP supplies details of Walsh’s dishonesty:

Walsh submitted his thesis, titled “The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy,” nearly two years after he returned from Iraq and about a year before he became Montana’s adjutant general overseeing the state’s National Guard and Department of Military Affairs.

The first page borrows heavily from a 2003 Foreign Affairs piece written by Thomas Carothers, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and a 2009 book by Natan Sharansky with Ron Dermer, “The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror.”

Sharansky is a former Soviet dissident and chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Dermer is the Israeli ambassador to the United States.

All six of the recommendations that Walsh listed at the end of his paper are taken nearly word-for-word without attribution from a Carnegie paper written by Carothers and three other scholars at the institute.

One section is nearly identical to about 600 words from a 1998 paper by Sean Lynn-Jones, a scholar at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, a research institute at Harvard.

We should sympathize and support Senator Walsh in his battle against PTSD, but how is it remotely connected to deliberately using the work from others and claiming it as your own? It is certainly far more than leaving out a few “citations.”

Previously, his military record was questioned when it was revealed that he received a letter of reprimand from the Army as the result of an inspector general’s report that accused him of improper conduct. The AP reports:

Walsh’s military record was first questioned in January when records revealed the Army reprimanded him in 2010 for pressuring Guardsmen to join a private association for which he was seeking a leadership role.

Walsh was adjutant general at the time and wanted to become vice chairman of the National Guard Association of the United States. In the reprimand, Army Vice Chief of Staff Peter Chiarelli said he questioned Walsh’s ability to lead.

Most analysts had already place Montana in the GOP column. But a recent poll suggests the race is tightening:

Human Events and Gravis Marketing polled the US Senate race in Montana first. Gravis found a tightening race between Senator John Walsh and Representative Steve Daines. Representative Daines lead Senator Walsh 45%-41% with the Libertarian candidate Roger Roots taking 6% of the vote. Daines’ lead might increase as time goes on because third-party candidates have been known to have their percentages fizzle closer to Election Day. “An incumbent such as Senator Walsh might be getting worried,” Gravis Marketing head Doug Kaplan said, “An incumbent that has percentages in the low 40’s at this time of the year might have a hard time getting re-elected.”

The Daines campaign had no comment on the charges. No doubt they are allowing their opponent to destroy himself without any help from them. For, indeed, if the Army War College finds substance in these charges, it will destroy a major selling point for Walsh’s campaign: his honorable service as National Guard commander.

Politicians like Joe Biden have survived plagiarism charges before. In and of itself, plagiarism is probably not a deal killer with the Montana electorate. But the dual blows to Walsh’s military record are probably enough to either cause him to withdraw from the race, or lose handily in November.

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Celebrity-In-Chief Still Isn’t Interested in Photo Ops

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

He’s just, you know, mingling.

While the world is burning down.

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Obstructionist Lawmaker Wants More Info From White House Before OKing Arms To Iraq

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Stupid Repub…oh wait.

An influential Democratic senator threatened Thursday to block U.S. arms sales to Iraq if Congress doesn’t get an assessment of Iraqi forces and assurances the weapons won’t fall into the hands of extremist militants.

In a testy exchange, Sen. Bob Menendez lashed out at senior State Department and Defense Department officials appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he chairs.

The New Jersey senator, who has previously held up the transfer of Apache helicopters to Iraq, said lawmakers haven’t been informed about potential military assistance to Iraq or about its troops’ capability to push back the growing insurgency by rebels calling themselves the Islamic State.

“You know, this committee has jurisdiction over arms sales,” Menendez said. “And my reticence to arms sales to Iraq has in some respects been proven true when in fact we had much of our equipment abandoned and now in the hands of (Sunni extremists).

“So unless you are going to give us a sense of where the security forces are at, moving forward, this chair is not going to be willing to approve more arms sales so they can be abandoned to go to the hands of those who we are seriously concerned about in terms of our own national security.

It seems Menendez is frustrated by the lack of information and clarity coming from the Most Transparent Administration ever. When chastised by a member of Team Lightbringer about believing leaks, the party boy from New Jersey replied:

“Well, the absence of having information leads me to only publicly reported resources,”

Barack Obama may yet become the uniting force that all the hopeychangeys dreamed about: we could very well all end up disliking him.

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North Korea Hates this Viral Video of Kim Jung Un. So Of Course We’re Gonna Post It.

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Pudgy North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un can dance. He can ride a pig. He can kung fu fight. He can sit next to Obama with a cast on his broken arm.

Or someone is very good at Photoshopping and motion tracking, and they digitally glued Kim’s head onto bodies doing those things.

The result is this viral video that has the hermit Communist monarchy fuming.

YouTube Preview Image

NPR reports that Kim is so unhappy with the video, which was apparently made in China, that he demanded that China’s Communist government take it down.

China responded that it is “unable to do so.” Which means that they don’t want to. Which is interesting.

 

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Sarcastic Posters Meet Obama at Silicon Valley Fundraiser

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Oleg Atbashian

Imaginative satirical posters mocking President Obama appeared yesterday in various locations of Silicon Valley, where the president was scheduled to speak at yet another fundraiser with California’s rich and powerful on Wednesday, in spite of all the troubles piling up, domestically and internationally.

Obama’s last two-day fundraising visit to Silicon Valley was less than three months ago. This time he came accompanied by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Steve Israel, and a few local Democrat politicians. The expensive $32,400 per couple brunch and VIP reception was held in the house of a local restaurateur and real estate broker, George Marcus, inside an upper-class gated community protected from the rabble and the disastrous effects the president’s policies have on lower- and middle-class Americans.

In addition to the posters, an “invitation” flyer was mailed to all neighbors within the half-mile radius of the host’s home in Los Altos Hills. Describing the fundraiser as “A Feast in Time of Plague,” the mock invitation pointed to the frightening gap between the increasingly entrenched political elites and the harsh reality of joblessness, insecurity, and loss of incomes for the rest of us.

A few larger versions of this flyer were also posted on the streets of Los Altos.

Other posters describe the president as a wily SiliConMan, or show him holding the iconic map of Silicon Valley while uttering his famous quote, “You didn’t built that.” A series of iPod parody posters in vibrant colors display Obama’s silhouette holding an NSA listening device under the mock “iSnoop” brand next to the small Liberty Bell with a piece bitten off as in the famous Apple logo.

The street artists posted more photos of their satirical campaign in an anonymous online gallery. They can be found here: http://imgur.com/a/KUnUD. Click on each image in the gallery below to enlarge.

 

 

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Islamic State Orders All Women in Mosul to Undergo Genital Mutilation

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

There is no “war on women” in the United States. Those who claim that there is are either cynical are woefully misinformed.

There is a very real war on women in Iraq.

The Irish Times says that the Islamofascists are behaving like Islamofascists in the lands they now hold in Iraq.

Militant group Islamic State has ordered all girls and women in and around Iraq’s northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), the United Nationssaid today.

The “fatwa” issued by the Sunni Muslim fighters would potentially affect 4 million women and girls, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Iraq Jacqueline Badcocktold reporters in Geneva by videolink from Arbil.

“This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is of grave concern and does need to be addressed,” she said.

Obviously the caliphate’s thugs are most directly to blame for this. Maliki bears some blame as well.

But President Obama deserves a share of the blame for abandoning Iraq. This real and brutal Islamist war on women has his fingerprints on it.

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Hillary: ‘Yeah, I’m Kind of A PR Trainwreck’

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Well, almost.

Hillary Clinton, who has long had a tempestuous relationship with the media, on Thursday said she may need to “work on” her “expectations” of the press.

Her comments, which came on NPR’s “On Point” program, follow criticism from former New York Times editor Jill Abramson that Clinton expects loyalty from journalists, especially female journalists.

“I think maybe one of the points Jill was making is that I do sometimes expect perhaps more than I should,” the former secretary of state and possible Democratic presidential front-runner said.

This is classic Madame Clinton: imperious, dismissive and always finding a way to blame it on someone else.

It’s just that she expects too much from the poor dears, who are forever failing to live up to what she wants from them.

This “inevitable” woman who would be president is a Democrat who can’t get along with the MSM, a group of people who have mostly become the publicity wing of the party in the past twenty years. Hillary Clinton is such an awful human being that the lap puppies can’t warm up to her.

The best thing that could happen to the Republicans would be Mommy Dearest being the nominee. Fingers crossed…

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Sudanese Christian Woman Finally Leaves Country, Meets Pope at Vatican

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

meriam

The Sudanese Christian who narrowly escaped death for her beliefs was finally out of Khartoum today and in safe hands at the Vatican.

Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli helped arrange Meriam Ibrahim’s departure from Sudan to Rome, according to Vatican Radio. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi welcomed her at the airport.

Along with her husband, American citizen Daniel Wani, her son Martin and baby Maya, born in prison two months ago, Ibrahim met with Pope Francis for half an hour.

The pope thanked Meriam for her “courageous witness to perseverance in the Faith,” and she thanked the pontiff for his prayers.

Under intense international outcry, her death sentence was overturned last month but Sudanese officials kept her from leaving the country by questioning her travel documents.

The family’s next — and final — stop will be the United States.

“As Christians around the world are being persecuted, attacked and even killed, Meriam’s freedom is good news in an otherwise depressing state of affairs,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

“Meriam is just one of thousands, potentially millions, of Christians worldwide whose lives are in danger because of their religious beliefs,” he added. “The U.S. government must continue to make religious freedom a core of our global human rights agenda, by speaking out for those being denied it and using every tool at our disposal to pressure repressive governments to recognize the virtues of tolerance and religious pluralism.”

The State Department’s report on international religious freedom is due for Monday release.

Rubio said that should be a time for the Obama administration to “back its words with actions.”

“This means targeting religious freedom violators with sanctions under existing law, as well as finally taking the long overdue step of filling the post of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom,” said the senator. “There is no excuse for this important post to have gone vacant as it has for nine months.”

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China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela Condemn Israel for Violating Human Rights

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the latest condemnation of the Jewish state at the UN Human Rights Council as a “travesty” that “should be rejected by decent people everywhere.”

With council members accusing Israel of war crimes, the body approved a “commission of inquiry to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

The United States was the only country to vote against the measure.

Seventeen countries abstained, and among the 29 states voting in favor of the resolution were human-rights violators China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.

“Rather than investigate Hamas, which is committing a double war crime by firing rockets at Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians, the UNHRC calls for an investigation of Israel, which has gone to unprecedented lengths to keep Palestinian civilians out of harm’s way, including by dropping leaflets, making phone calls and sending text messages,” Netanyahu said. “The UNHRC should be launching an investigation into Hamas’s decision to turn hospitals into military command centers, use schools as weapons depots and place missile batteries next to playgrounds, private homes and mosques.”

“By failing to condemn Hamas’s systematic use of human shields and by blaming Israel for the deaths that are caused by this grotesque human shields policy, the UNHRC is sending a message to Hamas and terror organizations everywhere that using civilians as human shields is an effective strategy,” the prime minister continued.

“Like the investigation that led to the infamous Goldstone report, a report which was ultimately renounced by its own author, this investigation by a kangaroo court is a foregone conclusion. The predictable result will be the libeling of Israel and even greater use of human shields in the future by Hamas. Those who will pay the price will be not only Israelis but also Palestinians who Hamas will redouble its efforts to use as human shields in the future.”

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters yesterday that the U.S. voted against the resolution because “we’re opposed to one-sided and biased inquiries of any kind.”

“Unfortunately the Human Rights Council has often put forward one-sided documents,” she added.

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Democrat Mark Begich will Flog the Hobby Lobby Hobby Horse Until It Falls Over Dead

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Alaska Democrat Sen. Mark Begich has an editorial on the Hobby Lobby decision in today’s Juneau Empire.

You won’t be surprised that Begich precisely apes the Democrats’ dishonest talking points on the case completely. His editorial is entirely devoid of any originality or independence from the Obama orthodoxy.

Talking point #1: Gender renders the court’s decision illegitimate.

In late June, a narrow majority of five male justices issued an opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, in which for-profit companies challenged the guarantee that women receive health insurance coverage of birth control of her choice without cost-sharing.

The Democrats’ consistent slamming of the SCOTUS majority is sexist and anti-male.

Talking point #2: Letting some Americans who own closely-held corporations set their own insurance policies somehow constitutes putting government into your healthcare.

As Alaskans, we don’t want the government intruding into our lives and telling us how to make personal decisions. Bosses should not be able to dictate family planning and birth control options for Alaska women.

The kindest response to that is that it is total BS. Obamacare is one, gigantic and permanent government intrusion into Americans’ personal healthcare decisions, which includes millions of ways that government intrudes on personal healthcare decisions. Begich voted for all of that and continues to support it. The abortifacient mandate was created under Obamacare. The above talking point is dishonesty from end to end.

Talking point #3: Choosing not to fund 4 of 20 kinds of contraception somehow constitutes “discrimination.”

That is why I recently cosponsored the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, also known as the Not My Boss’ Business Act. The bill makes it illegal for any company to deny its workers specific health benefits, including birth control, required to be covered by federal law.

This makes it clear that bosses cannot discriminate against their female workers, ensuring equal treatment under the law. This bill was recently blocked from moving forward on the Senate floor, but I remain undeterred in my efforts to ensure women have the right to choose the birth control and reproductive care options that are best for them.

It simply is not “discrimination” in any way, shape or form. The mandate can be seen as discrimination against Americans who oppose abortion. But a company choosing not to pay for a particular kind of controversial abortifacient drug is not discrimination.

The real reason Begich supports that bill, which has no chance of passing, is because the Democrat base is fired up by it as a wedge issue. The Democrats, including Begich, are using bedrock religious and property rights as a wedge issue for the mid-terms. That’s how little the Democrats as a party consider those fundamental rights. They put those rights up for grabs for the sake of trying to hold onto the Senate.

Begich also supports a bill that would discriminate against religious people who own businesses, and object to abortifacient drugs.

In an effort to make sure women are informed about their employer’s stand on this issue, I am the lead co-sponsor of The Preventive Care Coverage Notification Act. It ensures that current employees and job applicants at for-profit corporations are informed in advance if the corporation intends to deny birth control coverage.

Again, even Hobby Lobby is not “denying birth control coverage.” It objects to paying for four abortifacient drugs. It does cover 16 types of contraception.

The rest of Begich’s piece just rehashes the Democrats’ other talking points against the Hobby Lobby decision.

The Obamacare bill would not have passed if the abortifacient mandate had been included when it was up for consideration. The Obama administration wrote it into regulations after passage. It’s a regulation that can be unwritten at any time. But it’s clear that the mandate’s purpose all along was to generate a phony “war on women” when anyone objected to the mandate, and it’s clear now that it’s a phony issue built to stir up the hard left, anti-religious Democrat base and its ill-informed hangers on.

And dishonest Washington partisans like Mark Begich.

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FAA Lifts Ban on Flights to Tel Aviv, May Take ‘Additional Actions’

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The Federal Aviation Administration lifted its ban on U.S. flights into Tel Aviv a day and a half after imposing the controversial restrictions.

“Before making this decision, the FAA worked with its U.S. government counterparts to assess the security situation in Israel and carefully reviewed both significant new information and measures the Government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation,” the FAA said in a statement last night.

“The FAA’s primary mission and interest are the protection of people traveling on U.S. airlines. The agency will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation around Ben Gurion Airport and will take additional actions, as necessary,” the statement continued. “The FAA initially instituted the flight prohibition on Tuesday, July 22, in response to a rocket strike that landed approximately one mile from the airport.”

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg flew to Israel on El Al in protest of the ban, and was greeted at the airport by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I just wanted to do something personally to show my support for standing up for what’s right. I think Israel is doing that. Hamas is trying to kill the Palestinians and kill the Israelis, and somebody has got to say that they have got to stop this. And then along comes the FAA, which I think made a mistake. I hope they will rectify it soon, but they said they didn’t want American planes flying into the world’s most secure airport,” Bloomberg told CNN.

“And so I decided I would take a trip over here on the world’s most secure airline going to the world’s most secure airport. It’s a good lesson for all of us how to run security. Unfortunately, in America, too many times we find people walking across runways, people carrying guns and getting through security onto planes, baggage not being claimed afterwards,” he continued.

“And so it’s a good lesson for us how to run an airline and how to run an airport and I think the FAA should try to make sure that American airports and American airlines follow what is done here. And we certainly don’t want to stop flights into airports in America. It would be devastating for America. It’s devastating for Israel when you stop flights in.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) threatened to hold all State Department nominees until the administration answered his questions about the ban, which was announced shortly after Secretary of State John Kerry announced $47 million in aid to the Palestinians. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf called Cruz’s assertion that there were political motivations “offensive” and “ridiculous.”

“Serious questions were asked about the nature of a decision that handed Hamas a public relations victory and will cost Israel billions of dollars,” said Cruz. “The only thing ‘offensive’ about this situation is how the Obama Administration is spurning our allies to embolden our enemies; the only thing ‘ridiculous’ is the administration’s response to basic questions. Until the State Department answers my questions, I will hold all State Department nominees.”

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Asia Tells Obama to Take a Hike on His Energy Schemes

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Energy prices are rising for Americans because Barack Obama wants it that way. He told the San Francisco Chronicle that he would use energy prices hikes to socially engineer energy use, and that is one promise on which he is following through. His EPA’s war on coal alone stands to jack up power prices 70 to 80 percent, according to Dr. Julio Friedmann, of the US Department of Energy.

In recent remarks to the League of Conservation Voters, Obama said that he expects the rest of the world, including developing countries and the largest economies, to do what he is doing to their own energy consumers.

“[W]e’ve got to lead by example.  They’re waiting to see what America does.” Obama said on June 25. “And I’m convinced when America proves what’s possible, other countries are going to come along.”

About that.

Asia’s two largest economies are not waiting to see what America does, and they’re showing no sign of following Obama’s anti-coal lead.

China says it shares Obama’s goal, but it is following its own lead.

China’s chief climate official Xie Zhenhua said China should not be subject to the same rules for greenhouse gas emissions as the United States and other rich countries, signaling that Beijing will oppose any attempt to impose them at next year’s world climate conference.

“We are in different development stages, we have different historical responsibilities and we have different capacities,” Xie told reporters.

Japan is not only not following Obama’s war on coal, it is increasing coal use in new domestic energy projects, according to Mari Iwata in the Wall Street Journal today.

Japan said Wednesday it would step up support for coal-fired power plants in developing nations, challenging a U.S. policy that seeks to discourage such plants in an effort to fight global warming. […] The move represents a repudiation of the Obama administration’s strict stance of carbon emissions. Washington is talking to members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a club of developed nations, about a rule that would ban national export-credit agencies from financing new overseas coal power plants.

Japan understands that coal can safely power its economy.

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s growth strategy, Tokyo seeks each year to back overseas coal power-plant projects worth about $4 billion. Typically those projects have Japanese investors and use at least some Japanese equipment. While the annual target hasn’t been reached yet, several major projects have recently gotten under way.

Japan has long supported energy efficiency. Unlike Barack Obama, who claims to support an “all-of-the-above” strategy that in reality only supports the development of expensive so-called “clean” or “green” energy, Japan actually does support all-of-the-above.

China and Japan are the world’s second and third largest economies respectively.

They’re not buying the Luddite, anti-energy radicalism that Barack Obama is selling on energy.

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Senate Effort Underway to Require Congressional Approval of Iran Deal

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

GOP senators bit back at the Obama administration’s four-month extension of nuclear talks with Iran today, introducing legislation that would require congressional review of any deal and makes clear that this is the last extension before sanctions go back into effect.

It’s a bill that many Democrats would vote for — if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) allows it to come to the floor.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the top GOP on the Foreign Relations Committee, introduced the bill in a colloquy Wednesday with his co-sponsors: Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho).

Corker gave a nod to the work on sanctions pushed forward by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), though it was unclear if either would sign on to the bill.

“Congress must weigh in on any final deal, ensure Iranian compliance is strictly enforced, and provide a backstop to prevent a bad deal from occurring,” Corker said. “While this bill does not include new sanctions on Iran, it allows Congress to seek further sanctions if an acceptable final deal can’t be reached.”

What it does include is the requirement that the president submit any agreement to Congress within three days of reaching a final deal. Lawmakers would have 15 days to review the deal, then have the option to introduce a joint resolution of disapproval that would have to pass the House and Senate.

If Obama failed to submit a plan to Congress or a resolution of disapproval would pass, sanctions that the administration had rolled back during the negotiation process would automatically be reimposed.

“Additionally, if Iran at any time violates the terms of its nuclear agreements, this legislation rightly obligates the Obama administration to re-impose all previous sanctions and start over,” Risch said. “Given Iran’s history and bad faith on this issue, this legislation is absolutely necessary.”

Additionally, sanctions would be re-imposed on Nov. 28 — four days after the newly extended deadline is up — should Obama fail to submit a comprehensive agreement to Congress.

“Congress played a fundamental role in enacting sanctions against Iran and should have a say whether this agreement is strong enough to lift sanctions,” Graham said. “President Obama felt he needed congressional approval to move forward in Syria and Congress should insist on being involved in any nuclear deal with Iran.”

Rubio said on the Senate floor that refusing to let Congress give the final approval to a deal “leaves us vulnerable – not just to a terrible deal –  but to a dangerous one that could potentially endanger the future of our allies and even of our own country.”

“So the Iranians in this whole negotiation view themselves as being in a position of strength. To be quite frank, they believe that our president wants this deal more than they do. They believe he wants this deal more than they do. And that’s what puts them in this tremendous position of strength. And the result is that these negotiations are not going to, in my view – I hope that I’m wrong, I hope that tomorrow we open up and read, you know what? They’ve changed their mind. They don’t want to do any more terrorism, no rockets and no nuclear weapon program and they’ve become just a normal government and a normal country,” Rubio said.

“Don’t hold your hopes out for that because that is not what they’ve shown in the past, that is not what they’re doing now, and they are negotiating from a position of strength because they believe that the president wants a deal much more than they want or need a deal.”

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Schumer, Graham, Cardin to Obama: Don’t Force Israel Into Cease-Fire that Doesn’t ‘Remove’ Rocket Threat

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Two Democratic senators joined Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) today in insisting that President Obama not force any cease-fire in the Middle East that leaves Israel in danger of rocket attacks.

Graham, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) wrote to Obama that “the threats posed by Hamas rockets and tunnels whose only purpose is to kill and kidnap Israelis are intolerable, and Israel must be allowed to take any actions necessary to remove those threats.”

Obama dispatched Secretary of State John Kerry, who met today with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to forge a cease-fire agreement.

The senators wanted to impress upon Obama their “strong belief that any viable cease fire in Gaza must remove the threat to Israel posed by Hamas rockets and tunnels.”

“Any cease fire should create a situation in which Israeli citizens no longer face the threat of brazen terrorist attacks,” they wrote. “Israeli citizens have faced over 1800 rocket launches from Hamas since June. While Iron Dome has saved countless lives, over five million Israelis live in fear of incoming rockets fired indiscriminately from Gaza. Twenty-eight tunnels have been discovered by the IDF since the ground operation in Gaza began. Israel has an absolute right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel.”

“…Any effort to broker a ceasefire agreement that does not eliminate those threats cannot be sustained in the long run and will leave Israel vulnerable to future attacks.”

Schumer, Graham and Cardin stressed to Obama that Israel “has taken great pains to avoid unnecessary civilian casualties.”

“The IDF has used text messages, leaflet drops, phone calls, and other methods to clear out areas before attacks. The same cannot be said about Hamas. Their rockets have only one purpose: to kill as many innocent Israelis as possible. At the same time, they use their own civilians as human shields by placing missile launchers next to schools, hospitals, mosques, and private homes. The Hamas interior ministry has called on Gaza residents to ignore IDF warnings to get out of harm’s way,” they continued.

“The human toll in this crisis is tragic. Both Palestinian and Israeli civilians are dying because of the distorted priorities of the leaders of a terrorist organization whose primary goal is to destroy Israel. We must do everything possible to ensure they do not succeed.”

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said today that “obviously our top priority is getting a ceasefire and achieving a ceasefire.”

“What the contours of that ceasefire will look like, I’m obviously not going to outline. But longer term, the issue of rocket fire does need to be addressed. We’re very serious about that. Again, how that looks like, what that looks like, I’m not going to get into the details of that either,” Harf said.

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Images of Syrian Victims Poached for Hamas Propaganda

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

More than 170,000 people have been killed in Syria as the world has largely ignored the slaughter. So, Hamas figured it could poach some of those victims for its own use without the world noticing:

 

 

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Romney Says He’s Not Running for President

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

On Wednesday’s Sean Hannity Show, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney told Sean Hannity that he is not running for president in 2016. “I’m not running, Sean, but I’ll be rooting for the nominee,” Romney said. Saying that he had his chance in 2012  and lost, Romney thinks it’s time for someone else to have a shot at beating the Democrats.

He then ticked off a list of potential candidates he hoped would consider running:  Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio.

Romney suggested that he wouldn’t fare well in a face-off with Hillary. “I am not the person who should be the nominee to run against the Democratic nominee, who I think will be Hillary Clinton,” he said. However, Romney lambasted the former secretary of State for her disastrous record, including the “reset” button debacle with the Russians.

Romney also criticized President Obama saying, “He lacks the experience to do what America needs to do,” adding that he’s more focused on golf than on world events.

Hannity, meanwhile, gushed about what a great president Romney would have been, saying the country had “buyer’s remorse” for choosing Obama over the more experienced and more qualified Romney.

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Kerry: Abbas ‘Committed to Nonviolence and Committed to a Harder Route’

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Secretary of State John Kerry said today in Ramallah that he’s “very grateful” to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for his “tireless” leadership in the conflict between his unity government partner Hamas and Israel.

Following his meeting with Abbas, Kerry noted to reporters that he’s “been in constant touch with President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority over the course of the last months.”

“But particularly in the last days, we have been talking about how to achieve an end to the current violence and an effort to try to not only have a cease-fire, but build a process that can create a sustainable way forward for everybody,” he said. “I’m very grateful to President Abbas for his leadership, for his deep engagement in the effort to try to find a cease-fire. He has traveled tirelessly, he has been working with all of the interested groups and parties, and encouraging people to do the responsible thing, which is to come to the table – not only have a cease-fire, but then negotiate the immediate issues and the underlying issues.”

Abbas was criticized for a trip to Turkey last week on which he was photographed posing with TV stars.

“We had a good conversation today about how we can take further steps, and we’re doing this for one simple reason: The people in the Palestinian territories, the people in Israel, are all living under the threat or reality of immediate violence, and this needs to end for everybody,” Kerry continued. “We need to find a way forward that works, and it’s not violence.”

“President Abbas has been committed to nonviolence and committed to a harder route,” he said of the leader who has vowed “no way” will he recognize the Jewish state. “Sometimes it’s very satisfying for people to see the immediate impact of the violence, but it doesn’t take you to a solution. President Abbas understands the road to the solution, and that’s what we’re working for.”

Kerry said the U.S. will continue to push for a cease-fire, and “will continue to work with President Abbas and others in the region in order to achieve it.”

“And I can tell you that we have, in the last 24 hours, made some progress in moving towards that goal,” he said. “And I will leave here now with President Abbas’ thoughts about how we could make some progress, and I will go and meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and subsequently return to Cairo, where we will continue in the hopes that before long, we can change course and, for everybody’s sake, end this violence and move to a sustainable program for the future.”

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Cruz: Is the FAA Ban on Flights to Israel Really an Obama Economic Boycott?

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The US FAA has extended the ban on flights into Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, citing increased risk after a Hamas rocket landed within a mile of the airport. Hamas is calling the ban a “great victory,” while several European countries are following up with flight bans of their own.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is now asking, is the FAA’s decision really based on risk, or is it a stealth economic boycott of Israel?

In a press release, Cruz notes that the FAA still allows flights into Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, all of which are under constant terrorist threat.

Sen. Cruz also notes that so far in the current battle with Hamas, the terrorist group has launched over 2,000 rockets. Only one has landed anywhere near Ben Gurion.

Mindful of the shootdown of MH17 last week, Cruz also notes that that shootdown was accomplished by a sophisticated BUK anti-aircraft missile made by Russia. Yet the FAA still allows flights into Ukraine.

According to Sen. Cruz’s statement, tourism is an $11 billion industry in Israel. Thanks to the FAA’s ban, though, tourist charters are canceling trips at a 30% rate, costing the Israeli economy enormously. At the same time, Secretary of State John Kerry arrive in Israel — at Ben Gurion, incidentally — pledging $47 million in aid for the Palestinians, which really means more money for Hamas.

Taking the impact of these decisions together with Kerry’s previous statements, in which he has accused Israel of being an “apartheid state,” Cruz wonders what is behind the FAA’s decisions — true risk or politics?

Read Sen. Cruz’s full statement on the next page.

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Meanwhile, in the Capital of the Caliphate, the Trains Run on Time, Impressing the NY Times

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 - by Scott Ott

One can’t help but compare today’s New York Times’ dispatch from Raqqa, the “capital” of the new Islamic caliphate, with previous Times reports highlighting the troubles afflicting U.S. efforts in Iraq.

While sturm und drang prevailed in the latter, the leaders of the Caliphate seem to make the figurative trains run on time (something even Mussolini didn’t do).

More pragmatically, ISIS has managed to keep food in markets, and bakeries and gas stations functioning.

“What I see in Raqqa proves that the Islamic State has a clear vision to establish a state in the real meaning of the word,” said a retired teacher in the city of Raqqa. “It is not a joke.”

Many said that they received official receipts stamped with the ISIS logo and that the fees were less than they used to pay in bribes to Mr. Assad’s government.

 “I feel like I am dealing with a respected state, not thugs,” said a Raqqa goldsmith in his small shop as a woman shopped for gold pieces with cash sent from abroad by her husband.

In fairness, the story also notes that Muslim Sharia law leaves the hands of thieves disarmed,  smokers without a break, drinkers dry and women cloaked.

But there is a darker side to Islamic rule, with public executions and strict social codes that have left many in this once-tolerant community deeply worried about the future.

Of course, mentioning “a darker side” indicates the reader should weigh the relative merits of the coming Muslim dynasty with an open mind. Take the good with the bad.

O, and by the way, all three of Raqqa’s Christian churches have been shuttered, stripped of crosses, black flagged and converted to Islamic suicide bomber recruitment centers.

Nevertheless the story ends on a high note.

After ISIS’s advance into Iraq last month, the Jordanian went to Mosul to help organize a hospital there before returning to Raqqa.

“He talked with an eager shine in his eyes, saying that the caliphate of the Islamic State that began in Raqqa would spread over the whole region,” one of his employees said.

There was a time when the Left pooh-poohed theories that jihadis would establish a caliphate from which to launch their conquest of the rest of the earth.

Now, it seems, the caliphate exists, but it’s not as bad as those radical Right-wing scaremongers said.

 

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