PJ Tatler

The PJ Tatler

European Train Attacker Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’Terrorism

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Quick action by unarmed off-duty U.S. servicemen on a high speed train from Amsterdam to Paris narrowly averted tragedy yesterday as they subdued a terrorist gunman before he could begin his rampage. And according to multiple reports, the suspect in custody was known to multiple European intelligence agencies — yet another case of what I have termed “known wolf” terrorism.

Since last year, I’ve noted here at PJ Media that virtually all of the terrorist incidents in the West have been conducted by subjects who were already known to law enforcement and national security agencies, refuting the “lone wolf” narrative floated by authorities and the establishment media that such terrorist activity is random and unpredictable.

And such appears to be the case yet again in the case of what happened on the Thalys train.

CNN reports:

The suspected gunman, a Moroccan national, was on the radar screen of European counterterrorism agencies for his radical jihadist views, the European counterterrorism official said.

A second security source told CNN the gunman was known by French intelligence. The official said it appeared the gunman was sympathetic to ISIS, but a full determination on his specific loyalties had yet to be reached.

Another report from The Telegraph indicates that the gunman was known to multiple European intelligence agencies:

The gunman who tried to bring carnage to a high-speed train is believed to have been an Islamist extremist who traveled to Syria last year.

The 26-year-old of Moroccan origin, named in the Spanish press as Ayoub El Qahzzani, is understood to have been on the watch lists of three European intelligence services.

The gunman was taken into custody at Arras station and the French authorities have not released his name. But if he was Qahzzani, he appears to have left Morocco in 2013 and moved to Spain, where he lived for about a year.

And Reuters indicates that Qahzzani was no “lone wolf”:

According to Le Voix du Nord, citing security sources, the suspected Islamist militant was seen on a plane to Turkey from Germany in May, and was thought to have visited Syria.

The French newspaper said he may have had connections to a group involved in a suspected Islamist shooting in Belgium in January.

One terrorism expert makes an important point:

An editor at the Jerusalem Post also asks another relevant question:

The case of yet another returned foreign fighter from Syria engaged in terrorism seems to refute the attempts by many counterterrorism researchers to say the threat is “exaggerated” and that terror returnees should be treated with a “hands-off” reintegration approach, most recently advocated by Charles Lister at Brookings Institution.

The “Known Wolf” terrorism phenomenon is something I have documented here at PJ Media going back to last year:

Oct. 24, 2014: ‘Lone Wolf’ or ‘Known Wolf’: The Ongoing Counter-Terrorism Failure

Dec. 15, 2014: Sydney Hostage Taker Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Jan. 7, 2015: Paris Terror Attack Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Feb. 3, 2015: French Police Terror Attacker Yesterday Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Feb. 15, 2015: Copenhagen Killer Was yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Feb. 26, 2015: Islamic State Beheader ‘Jihadi John’ Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Apr. 22, 2015: Botched Attack on Paris Churches Another Case of “Known Wolf” Terrorism

May 4, 2015:Texas Attack Is Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

June 26, 2015:France’s Beheading Terrorist Was Well-Known By Authorities

July 16, 2015:Report: Chattanooga Jihadist Was Yet Another ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorist, Anonymous Feds Dispute

This was also the subject of a Capitol Hill briefing I gave back in late January sponsored by the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET):

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So why is it that despite these repeated instances of “known wolf” terrorism, authorities have yet to even acknowledge the problem, let alone try to solve it?

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Bobby Jindal: Planned Parenthood Protesters ‘Too Scared to Watch’ Videos He Had Played on His Front Lawn (Video)

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 - by Debra Heine

On Thursday, Planned Parenthood held a lightly attended protest outside the Louisiana governor’s mansion because of Governor Jindal’s decision to cancel Louisiana’s Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood.

Governor Jindal had a screen set up on his front lawn and had the disturbing Planned Parenthood videos played on a loop for the duration of the protest so the demonstrators could see why he made the decision he did.

As the governor noted in his statement prior to the protest, “many Planned Parenthood supporters, including President Obama and members of the White House, said they have not or will not view the horrific Planned Parenthood videos.”

Apparently, the Planned Parenthood supporters outside the governor’s mansion Thursday also refused to watch the horrific videos.

According to Jindal, they moved their protest further away from the governor’s mansion in order to avoid them.

“We can understand why they wouldn’t want to watch,” concluded the governor.

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Parent’s Nightmare: Huggies Wipes Said to Contain ‘Glass Shards’

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 - by Rick Moran

The children’s care company Huggies is responding to some complaints by parents that their popular baby wipes contain shards of glass or fiberglass.

Within hours of the first complaints appearing on its Facebook page, the company issued a statement:

Hello Huggies Parents,

As some of you may have heard, a concern about our wipes was raised recently on Facebook. We take any concerns about our products very seriously and we are working directly with this parent to learn more about what happened and how we can help. Nothing is more important than the safety of the little ones who use our products.

Families put their trust in Huggies wipes every day, and all of our Huggies products have been thoroughly evaluated to ensure they are safe. In addition, we have stringent quality controls in place, and no glass is used during the manufacture of our wipes. As parents ourselves, we know you may have additional questions or concerns. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at http://bit.ly/8ZuAUH or by phone at 1-888-485-6839.

A mother in Guam was the first to report the problem and made a video that looks pretty convincing:

A mother in Denver also reported glass in her Huggies wipes.

Several other parents also reported the problem so it doesn’t seem to be an isolated incident:

The post was met with more complaints by parents questioning why their babies have rashes since using the wipes.

“We need to check Paisley’s wipes!!” one mother wrote. “That explains the little cuts we’ve been getting and the red rash she has in her diaper area!”

“I found them in my sons wipes as well!” wrote another. “I went to use one to take my makeup off and could feel it scratching my face. Threw the whole pack away.”

“No wonder why my son always crying and avoiding to change the diapers and the rash ….no more Huggies,” wrote another.

Without proof, it’s hard to discover if any of these parents’ claims are true. That last comment is especially dubious, given that babies cry for many reasons and just because the infant has diaper rash doesn’t mean he got it from Huggies wipes.

But there is enough smoke to guarantee a fire unless Huggies can be more convincing. Product tampering is a possibility, as is employee sabotage. There’s even a possibility of parents seeding the wipes with glass shards in order to get a big payday from Huggies.

As a lesson in crisis management, Huggies has so far acted responsibly. But this is the sort of thing that can snowball very quickly unless Huggies can convince parents of the safety of their products.

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Unarmed U.S. Marines Foil Terrorist Attack on French Bullet Train

Friday, August 21st, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Three unarmed U.S. Marines foiled a potentially serious terrorist attack on a bullet train between Amsterdam and Paris when they tackled a Moroccan gunmen armed with an AK-47 and at least 200 rounds of ammunition.

At least one of the Marines was shot and is in critical condition. Two others were also shot, including a Briton and a Frenchman.

Daily Mail:

The 26-year-old Moroccan national, who was known to security services, came out of the toilet brandishing the gun and opened fire. Fortunately, two US Marines were nearby and overpowered him before he could massacre passengers.

The suspected terrorist had at least nine full magazines of ammunition holding almost 200 rounds. He was also carrying a knife.

Unfortunately, one of the Marines was shot and is believed to be in a critical condition.  

Speaking in Arras, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve praised the Marines for their timely intervention.

He said: ‘Thanks to them we have averted a drama.

‘(The Americans were) particularly courageous and showed extreme bravery in extremely difficult circumstances.’

The man was arrested by police near the town of Arras in northern France. 

Train company Thalys confirmed the incident happened. A spokesman said: ‘The situation is under control, the travellers are safe. The train stopped and the emergency services are on site.’

No one at the SNCF French railways was immediately available to comment on the report.

A report on Twitter said that three US Marines detained the gunman until emergency services arrived.

The incident happened at approximately 6pm local time. 

French newspaper Le Monde is reporting that one Briton may be among the injured.  

The motives behind the attack were not immediately known, although a spokesman for the interior minister said: ‘It is too early to speak of a terrorist link’.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has been active in Morocco in recent years, so you have to think authorities will be looking closely for any links to that terrorist group.

But this could have gotten extremely bloody without the intervention of the Marines. A moving train is a perfect place for a mass-casualty terrorist attack. Passengers are trapped in a narrow corridor with no place to hide. They can’t get off either. One could easily imagine dozens of dead and wounded passengers before the gunman would have run out of targets.

Kudos to our Marines who performed courageously under fire.

Update:

Well, they weren’t Marines — an airman and a national guardsman from Oregon — but their actions were certainly heroic enough.  This Wall Street Journal story has the details of their efforts to disarm the terrorist before he could get started.

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CNN Working Hard to Replace the New York Times as the Official Media Wing of the Democratic Party

Friday, August 21st, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

CNN wants to be clear that it doesn’t like any immigration policy that doesn’t conform to the Democrats’ vision of what immigration policy should be.

In the past twenty-four hours, they’ve made sure to hit both men leading the GOP polls.

First, they found a former Hillary Clinton aide to take a swing at Donald Trump on immigration.

Then, when Jeb Bush seemed to be drifting Trump’s way ever-so-slightly, they trotted out an MSNBC darling (yes, that’s how desperate CNN is) to go after him.

The network has been making its living off of Trump-bashing for a month now. The Donald is its new missing Malaysian Airlines flight — he’s practically all they cover. So it is no surprise that they’d go after him on any topic. The subtle bias comes in the form of the Hillary operative. She gets to drop the Clinton name in the post a couple of times, all the while implying that Hillary is more compassionate than Trump.

Hillary isn’t more compassionate than anyone.

Perhaps CNN is merely trying to capture the disgruntled leftists who have been fleeing the MSNBC brand recently. That would make some sense, if one assumes that demographic is actually looking for somewhere to go.

More plausibly, perhaps since it is a modern American, non-Fox News media entity, it reflexively belches Democrat talking points.

RIP Journalism.

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Judge Issues Tentative Ruling Against StemExpress Attempt to Block Release of Planned Parenthood Videos

Friday, August 21st, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

So, all the judges haven’t gone insane yet.

Free speech rights should allow an anti-abortion group to release videos of discussions with a California company that provides fetal tissue for research, even if they were illegally recorded, a judge said Friday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joanne O’Donnell issued a tentative ruling rejecting efforts by StemExpress to block the videos, though she said the company likely will prevail in its lawsuit claiming its privacy was violated by an anti-abortion activist posing as a biomedical company employee.

The case arose as the little-known Center for Medical Progress released videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing providing aborted fetal organs for research.

Abortion opponents said the video showed Planned Parenthood is illegally harvesting and selling the organs. Planned Parenthood said it did nothing wrong and the videos were deceptively edited to support extremists’ false claims.

Placerville-based StemExpress, which got some of its fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood, realized the center also secretly record its chief executive and others. It sued to pre-emptively block those videos from being seen.

StemExpress won a temporary restraining order last month, but O’Donnell said the center’s First Amendment rights trumped the company’s right to privacy in what it believed were confidential conversations.

O’Donnell still has to affirm her ruling, and if she does StemExpress is going to hit up an appeals court. This is a start, however. It’s also a glimmer of hope that every extreme leftist pet issue doesn’t have all of the judges in America running activist interference for them.

Another plus is that the mere attempt to suppress the videos is pretty much an admission that something wrong is going on.

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Media Bias 101: Scott Walker/Black Lives Matter Edition

Friday, August 21st, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Here is the headline:

Walker rejects meeting with Black Lives Matter leaders

Pretty harsh, huh? They offered to meet with him and he flat-out rejected them. At least that is what is clearly implied here.

Well…maybe that’s not exaclty how it went.

He was later asked if he would meet with representatives of Black Lives Matter, an activist group focusing on shootings by police of African-American citizens, Walker appeared to stumble, saying, “Who knows who that is? I meet with voters. Who knows who that is.” When reporters asked for elaboration, Walker said he would “talk to American voters.”

In reality he was hit with a hypothetical and never really said no to anything.

It’s ridiculous to expect presidential candidates to meet with self-appointed leaders of protest groups just because the Democrats love that kind of dog-and-pony show.

This headline is an intentional lie designed to make Scott Walker appear racist, pure and simple.

It’s also indicative about why so many of us are clamoring for Republican candidates who can man-handle the press.

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Facebook Tells Monsignor to Drop Title or Lose Site (Video)

Friday, August 21st, 2015 - by Debra Heine

Facebook is notoriously sensitive to a wide spectrum of “gender identities” and is eager to accommodate users wherever they see themselves on the spectrum.

Facebook now includes nearly 60 new custom options for genders, including: Gender Variant, Genderqueer, Intersex, Neither, Neutrois, Non-binary, Two-Spirit, and Other.

But Facebook is not sensitive to titles. Especially religious ones, as a Washington, D.C., area priest recently discovered.

Msgr. Charles Pope, a well-known blogger and writer in the Archdiocese of Washington, has been blocked from Facebook for using the title of monsignor on his personal-site profile.

Via Fox News:

Monsignor Charles Pope has held his title in the Catholic Church for 10 years.

“More people call me ‘Monsignor’ than call me ‘Charles,’” the soft-spoken Washington, D.C.-area priest told FoxNews.com on Thursday.

So Pope was perplexed earlier this week when Facebook informed him, after six years using the social-networking service, that they didn’t think he was using his real name.

“I thought it was a scam,” Pope said.

It wasn’t.

Facebook’s policy is to not allow titles on personal site profiles, a spokesman explained, something that goes for religious figures just as much as for politicians and celebrities. There is more flexibility for a Facebook “page.”

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If  Facebook’s policy is to not allow titles, the company should enforce that rule evenly. It doesn’t. A quick Facebook search using the titles “Father,” “Monsignor,” “Reverend,” and “Rabbi” brings up scores of individuals with religious titles — many of whom have personal sites.

“I thought, this is a strange abuse of power – and why should they care?” said Pope, who is assigned to Holy Comforter St. Cyprian Parish. “‘Monsignor Charles Pope’ is the name I routinely go by. I’m a priest and I’m always called ‘Monsignor’ or ‘Father.’ This is the name I go by.”

Pope had been on the site with his title for a number of years, and said he sees other Christian, Jewish and Muslim figures use their titles on their personal profiles. While he said he doesn’t believe he’s being singled out for his religious beliefs, it does appear someone has personally flagged his profile. Facebook would only initiate a name change such as the one that happened to Pope if another user reported the breach of the site’s “community standards.”

“Facebook is entitled to do whatever they want,” Pope said. “I just think it’s incredibly foolish on their part to try and treat people this way. I can understand if people have something ugly or nefarious or scurrilous in their name.”

Deacon Greg Kandra, of the popular Catholic blog The Deacon’s Bench, said the same thing happened to him last February.

I tried to sign in again, again using my three-name ID—Deacon Greg Kandra—and again the little box popped up saying, in effect, “No. Change it.” The box offered an unhelpful link to the Facebook name policy page.

So I changed it. It seemed easier than fighting with Facebook about it. Which is why my FB friends will now see me as “Greg Kandra.”

A few weeks back, priests were fuming about this development and some online were hinting that some form of religious discrimination was at work.  (A petition was even launched to have the policy changed.)

In a post reacting to Facebook’s action against Monsignor Pope, Kandra said:

This issue has gotten considerable attention since it first surfaced several months ago, and various public complaints haven’t done much good. It’s Facebook’s candy store; they can run it however they wish. But it strikes me as bad business, and bad policy—engendering a lot of ill will and hostility, not to mention a fair amount of negative press.

Somehow, though, I don’t think the gurus running FB really care.

Indeed. When Fox News asked a Facebook spokesperson if their new “inclusive spirit” should be applied toward figures with religious titles, the answer was  ”the current policy stood and was not up for review.”

Monsignor Pope, meanwhile, has discovered a Catholic alternative to Facebook:

It’s good to know there’s an alternative to Facebook for the monsignor, but at a Catholic forum, he’ll be largely preaching to the choir.

If his objective was to reach out to non-Catholics, Facebook has denied him that opportunity.

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Islamic War on Christianity Continues: ISIS Bulldozes Catholic Monastery in Syria

Friday, August 21st, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

While most of the MSM was sleeping…

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) militants have destroyed a historic monastery seized in their latest advance across central Syria.

Photographs appeared online of fighters from Isil with bulldozers at the Mar Elian monastery in Al-Qaryatain, in Homs province.

The monitoring group Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said the Catholic monastery was then destroyed “on the pretext that it was used for worshipping others than God”.

Remember the rules we’re supposed to be playing by here, kids: you can’t mention that Islamic terrorists are waging wholesale war on Christians because it hurts the Islamic terrorists’ feelings.

It’s not just property they’re seizing:

Isil took Al-Qaryatain and the monastery on August 5, kidnapping an estimated 230 people, including Christians. Some of the older captives have been released, but at least 100 people have been taken as hostages to the de facto Isil capital of Raqqa further to the north.

The monastery and attached church of St Elian was named after a third century Christian from Homs who was killed by his father, a Roman officer, for refusing to renounce his faith.

It was renovated ten years ago under the direction of Fr Paolo Dall’Oglio, an Italian priest who re-established the Mar Musa monastery near Damascus, and became known as an anti-Assad regime activist. He was later kidnapped, and is believed to have been killed, by Isil.

Mar Elian’s abbot, Fr Jacques Mourad, was kidnapped, presumably by Isil, in May, before the attack on the town.

There may have been a time in days past when the American media would be upset about Christians being targeted for kidnapping and execution anywhere in the world, but I haven’t been alive that long.

And I’m not the youngest kid on the block.

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Noose Tightening, Team Hillary Blames ‘Ridiculous’ Rules for Classified Material

Friday, August 21st, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

It has now become very clear that some of the emails Hillary Clinton sent and/or received on her private server are of the type that are classified from the beginning:

But the details included in those “Classified” stamps — which include a string of dates, letters and numbers describing the nature of the classification — appear to undermine this account, a Reuters examination of the emails and the relevant regulations has found.

The new stamps indicate that some of Clinton’s emails from her time as the nation’s most senior diplomat are filled with a type of information the U.S. government and the department’s own regulations automatically deems classified from the get-go — regardless of whether it is already marked that way or not.

So there goes the last of her excuses. In classic criminal fashion, Grandma immediately found fault with the rules (her campaign got this tweet out bright and early in the AM — don’t tell me they’re not worried about this). Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the Vast Right-Wing Classification Conspiracy:

 

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Don’t Let Agenda-Driven Bureaucrats Set Policy on Guns and Mental Health

Friday, August 21st, 2015 - by Liz Sheld

John Feinblatt, president and gun-grabbing propagandist extraordinaire for Everytown for Gun Safety, has published an adorable little fable in the The Hill about Senator Cornyn’s (R-TX) bill known as the “Mental Health and Safe Communities Act.” The op-ed is titled “Don’t let the NRA set policy on guns and mental health.”

Mr. Feinblatt opens with the question: “Do we really want to make it easier for people with dangerous mental illness to get guns?” He goes on to claim that the Cornyn bill “backed by the NRA” will do just that. (The bill is also backed by American Jail Association, Council of State Governments, Treatment Advocacy Center, National Association of Social Workers, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Association of Police Organizations,  and American Correctional Association. )

Nonsense.

What Cornyn’s bill does, among other things,  is clarify certain issues of mental illness with regard to the NICS system, the criminal justice system and law enforcement. One important feature of the bill is to clarify the way in which the term “adjudicated as mentally defective” is used.  Right now, it’s ambiguous for the purposes of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Take, for example, the veterans who are targeted by the most recent gungrabbing efforts of the administration. The administration now wants to claim that any veteran who has a “representative payee” handle their finances is “mentally defective” and shouldn’t be allowed to purchase a firearm. These folks would be added to the NICS system and denied their Second Amendment right without any due process.

Feinblatt writes, “And if your loved one is a veteran with dangerous mental illness? Right now, he can be prohibited from buying and possessing guns, after V.A. proceedings in which he has a right to a hearing. The NRA’s bill changes current law – and allows tens of thousands of veterans with mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder to get guns.”

No it does not.

Here is the relevant part of the bill, curiously omitted by Mr. Feinblatt:

the term ‘has been adjudicated mentally incompetent or has been committed to a psychiatric hospital’, with respect to a person—
“(i) means the person is the subject of an order or finding by a judicial officer, court, board, commission, or other adjudicative body—
“(I) that was issued after—
“(aa) a hearing—
“(AA) of which the person received actual notice; and
“(BB) at which the person had an opportunity to participate with counsel; or
“(bb) the person knowingly and intelligently waived the opportunity for a hearing—
“(AA) of which the person received actual notice; and
“(BB) at which the person would have had an opportunity to participate with counsel; and
“(II) that found that the person, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, mental impairment, mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease—
“(aa) was a danger to himself or herself or to others;
“(bb) was guilty but mentally ill in a criminal case, in a jurisdiction that provides for such a verdict;
“(cc) was not guilty in a criminal case by reason of insanity or mental disease or defect;
“(dd) was incompetent to stand trial in a criminal case;
“(ee) was not guilty by reason of lack of mental responsibility under section 850a of title 10 (article 50a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice);
“(ff) required involuntary inpatient treatment by a psychiatric hospital for any reason, including substance abuse; or
“(gg) required involuntary outpatient treatment by a psychiatric hospital based on a finding that the person is a danger to himself or herself or to others; and
“(ii) does not include—
“(I) an admission to a psychiatric hospital for observation; or
“(II) a voluntary admission to a psychiatric hospital.
“(B) In this paragraph, the term ‘order or finding’ does not include—
“(i) an order or finding that has expired or has been set aside or expunged;
“(ii) an order or finding that is no longer applicable because a judicial officer, court, board, commission, or other adjudicative body has found that the person who is the subject of the order or finding—
“(I) does not present a danger to himself or herself or to others;
“(II) has been restored to sanity or cured of mental disease or defect;
“(III) has been restored to competency; or
“(IV) no longer requires involuntary inpatient or outpatient treatment by a psychiatric hospital; or
“(iii) an order or finding with respect to which the person who is subject to the order or finding has been granted relief from disabilities under section 925(c), under a program described in section 101(c)(2)(A) or 105 of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (18 U.S.C. 922 note), or under any other State-authorized relief from disabilities program of the State in which the original commitment or adjudication occurred.

So what we see above is that the bill removes the VA as an arbiter (or any government agency) and places the process in the adversarial court system.  Before you start having your rights stripped away by some agenda-driven bureaucrat, you get to have your day in court. That this is so controversial is beyond me.

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Pro-Planned Parenthood Rally at Governor’s Mansion in Louisiana Draws Paltry Crowd

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

Around two dozen pro-Planned Parenthood protesters stood outside the governor’s mansion in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Thursday to protest Governor Bobby Jindal’s recent decision to have the abortion provider investigated and defunded.

When the Jindal administration caught wind of Planned Parenthood’s plan to hold a protest in the pro-life governor’s front yard,  they came up with a brilliant plan to counter them.

Jindal had a huge screen set up outside the governor’s mansion, and ran each of the seven disturbing expose videos of Planned Parenthood on a continuous loop for the duration of the protest.

The demonstration drew a paltry crowd of about 25 protesters (mostly women wearing pink), most of whom were carrying pink, pre-printed signs that read “Don’t Take Away Our Care” and “Stand With Planned Parenthood.” It’s not known how many of the protesters were actually Planned Parenthood employees.

Governor Jindal, who is also a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, missed all the excitement. He was in Spartanburg, South Carolina, participating in a town hall hosted by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC).

The governor put out the following statement prior to the event.

“Many Planned Parenthood supporters, including President Obama and members of the White House, said they have not or will not view the horrific Planned Parenthood videos.

Planned Parenthood has a right to protest today, but Governor Jindal’s office will ensure that anyone who shows up will have to witness first-hand the offensive actions of the organization they are supporting.

We hope the protesters will take a minute to watch them so they’ll have an opportunity to see first-hand our concerns with Planned Parenthood’s practices.”

In the wake of the release of the Planned Parenthood videos, Governor Jindal cancelled Louisiana Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood and launched a state investigation into the organization’s operations.

Louisiana is one of more than a dozen states that have launched investigations into Planned Parenthood, and/or taken steps to de-fund the abortion business following the shocking videos.

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Another Left-Wing Assault on Religious Freedom

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

BuzzFeed is reporting that 130 radical, far-left organizations have sent a letter directly to President Obama asking him to reverse a Bush-era policy that granted religious organizations an exemption from non-discrimination laws when seeking federal grants

The policy is contained in a Justice Department memo signed in 2007 that concluded the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protected religious groups from being forced to adhere to religious nondiscrimination laws in hiring.

The 130 organizations — including the ACLU, Anti-Defamation League, Human Rights Campaign, NAACP, and Planned Parenthood — counter in their letter to Obama that the opinion “relies on flawed legal analysis” that RFRA “provides a blanket override of a statutory non-discrimination provision.” A copy of the letter was provided to BuzzFeed News.

Members of the group have been asking the Justice Department or White House to rescind the OLC Memo since Obama took office, but this is the first time that the letter has been sent directly to the president. Previous letters were sent to then-Attorney General Eric Holder, as in 2009 and 2014, as well as to the head of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2013.

In the new letter, the group tells Obama:

RFRA was intended to provide protection for free exercise rights, applying strict scrutiny, on a case-by-case basis, to federal laws that substantially burden religious exercise. RFRA was not intended to create blanket exemptions to laws that protect against discrimination.

Yet, in contrast to this, the OLC Memo relies on flawed legal analysis and wrongly asserts that RFRA is “reasonably construed to require” a federal agency to categorically exempt a religiously affiliated organization from a grant program’s explicit statutory non-discrimination provision, thus permitting the grantee to discriminate in hiring with taxpayer funds without regard to the government’s compelling interest in prohibiting such discrimination.

NRO’s David French explains what’s at stake:

In plain English, the letter — signed by the usual alphabet soup of leftist special interests – is asserting that the federal government has a “compelling interest” in prohibiting a religious organization from using religious criteria when hiring its employees, including key leaders of the organization. The Bush-era letter stood for the simple proposition that a religious grantee could only those people who affirm and practice the group’s faith. Unless one is consumed with malice for orthodox faith, this is one of the most common-sense principles imaginable. Precisely what real state interest — much less compelling interest – is preserved by forcing Jewish groups to hire Muslims, Christian groups to hire Hindus, or requiring Christian groups to retain employees who flout Christian doctrine and practice?

Religious charitable organizations tend to be the most effective organizations in the country in helping the poorest and most vulnerable citizens — and in helping those who struggle with drug addiction or are attempting to build new lives out of the ruin of a criminal past. They are effective precisely because of their faith, not in spite of it, and if the government undermines a group’s faith, it will also undermine its faith-based work. A government seeking to intelligently spend money on private grantees would do well to spend money where it will do the most good. But none of that matters to the Left, because somewhere a Christian group — for faith-based reasons – might be asking its employees to dissent from any given doctrine of the sexual revolution. And we can’t have that, because sex is god.

This is precisely the kind of oppression that universities try to impose on Christian student groups — slandering them as virtual segregationists for having the audacity to require Christian faith and practice from Christian leaders. It was sheer exclusionary bad faith when campuses started imposing this rule on Christian groups as early as 2000 — fifteen years ago. And it’s sheer exclusionary bad faith now. Intolerance in the name of tolerance and exclusion in the name of inclusion — the radical is now mainstream.

The left won’t consider the job done until all religious activity in the U.S. is overseen and regulated by the government. Faith of any kind is incompatible with the leftist worldview — except faith in their own moral superiority. Their objection to organized religion is that they view their independence of thought as apostasy.

It isn’t just a question of religious groups disagreeing with the left about some things; it’s that they don’t acknowledge liberals as the arbiters of moral behavior and beliefs.

For this, they must be forcibly brought to heel.

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Federal Judge: Hillary Clinton’s Private Emails Violated Policy

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

During a status hearing Thursday on a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a federal judge said Hillary Clinton violated government policy by storing official emails on her private server when she worked as secretary of State. He ordered the State Department to “establish a dialogue” with the FBI as it investigates the security of Clinton’s private email system.

“We wouldn’t be here today if this employee had followed government policy,” U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan declared in court, according to Politico:

After Justice Department lawyer Peter Wechsler argued that FOIA normally doesn’t allow for searches of government officials’ private accounts, the judge said he viewed it as an unusual situation because “there was a violation of government policy.”

“We’re not talking about a search of anyone’s random email,” Sullivan added.

The Hill reported that Judge Sullivan directed the department to cooperate with the FBI as it analyzes Clinton’s email server:

“I’m surprised that State didn’t do that already,” Sullivan said in an exchange with government lawyers.

“If you can get the information as result of a dialogue with the FBI … I think I may be satisfied,” Sullivan continued. “Let’s see what the investigation reveals, if anything.”

Amy Miller of Legal Insurrection reports that there will be “fireworks” in the weeks to come:

I expect fireworks in the coming weeks. Bekesha floated the idea of deposing the State Department’s Under Secretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy on what State knew about Clinton’s system of records. As was mentioned pre-update, Judge Sullivan suggested to JW (“suggested” as coming from a judge is more than a suggestion) that they hold off until the 30 day “dialogue” period is over before asking for any more discovery. If they do decide to request discovery, whether in the form of depositions or otherwise, we won’t have a ruling on that request until the October 1 status hearing.

One interesting nugget from the DoJ’s time at the podium: when asked about the status and timeframe of any additional responsive documents, counsel from the DoJ mentioned that State is reviewing pages containing communications from two additional employees; one of those employees is a senior advisor to Under Secretary Kennedy. DoJ declined to offer the names of those two employees in open court. (Counsel told the judge that he did not have the names in front of him, and that State has declined to release that information due to privacy concerns.) The existence of this additional review could increase the likelihood of a discovery request for information directly from the Under Secretary’s office regarding what State knew about Clinton’s system of records.

More: Monica Crowley Is Right: Obama Is Helping Torpedo Hillary, And It’s About Warren

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Game Changer: Kasich Secures Critical Charles Barkley Endorsement

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Call it.

If Charles Barkley had to vote tomorrow, he’d vote for John Kasich.

“Right now I like John Kasich, the governor of Ohio,” the retired basketball star said on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike Show” Wednesday. “He’s the only person that I’m really paying attention to right now, to be honest with you.”

Barkley said he usually votes for Democrats, but lately has been considering switching allegiances.

I have yet to meet one Republican who can give me a reason to vote for Kasich other than “he’s from Ohio.” How refreshing it will be if one day the GOP learns how to be competitive in presidential races without the need to relentlessly focus on one state.

Given Kasich’s use of Democrat talking points to justify the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in Ohio, voting for him won’t be much of a stretch for Barkley. Barkley also mentioned that he’d like to see Elizabeth Warren run.

As would everyone having dinner at the White House tonight.

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Contrary to Media Wishes, Scott Walker isn’t Giving Up Yet

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Via The Weekly Standard:

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is nothing if not a campaign veteran. He’s run and won three statewide races since 2010, including the highly contentious recall election in 2012. In fact, since an unsuccessful bid for the state assembly in 1990 when he was just 22, Walker hasn’t lost an election. That’s a great record to have going into a campaign for president, but just a month into his official candidacy, Walker is suffering from a perception that he’s already losing.

Stalling poll numbers and a threat to his top position in Iowa—where Donald Trump has overtaken him in a few polls there—have fed this narrative. In the national polls, Walker has been falling since his peak on April 1. According to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, Walker had a boost in support following his July 13 announcement that he was officially running for president, but since August he’s suffered a precipitous drop in support. Nor did the August 6 debate boost his position. In the latest CNN national poll, Walker is tied for fourth place with Marco Rubio at 8 percent, behind Ben Carson at 9 percent, Jeb Bush at 13 percent, and Donald Trump at 24 percent.

The media have taken note. Here’s a sample of some recent headlines: “Scott Walker struggles for the Iowa prize”; “Scott Walker slides as Trump rises”; “Walker chasing Trump, deepens his problem.”

Naturally, the media would love nothing more than to see a quick fade by Walker. His Democrat/Big Labor slaying record terrifies them, as evidenced by the fact that they’ve been doing hit pieces on him since long before he was a declared candidate.

Given what Walker went through during the 2012 recall election it is hard to imagine that he’s very rattled by this bump in the road. When you’ve stared the union nastiness in the eye and soundly defeated it, some bad polling almost a year out from crunch time isn’t going to keep you up at night.

As mentioned here on Monday, Walker is already retooling his approach, and could be in a very good position if/when Donald Trump exits the race for greener pastures.

Even if Walker doesn’t prevail, it’s wishful thinking on the part of the MSM hacks to think he’ll go away quickly.

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Perry Continues to Be the Anti-Trump: Building a Wall Not the ‘Best Way’ to Secure Border (VIDEO)

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

This is from the same interview where Perry doubled-down on his criticism and reiterated that he viewed him as a “cancer” on the GOP. Perry has obviously staked out his territory.

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Whip List Moving in Wrong Direction for Iran-Agreement Opponents

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Hopes are fading that an expected veto by President Obama of the Iran deal disapproval resolution can be overridden as more red state Democratic senators have come out to support the deal.

At this point, it has even become a question whether Senate foes of the agreement can muster the 60 needed to bring it to the floor.

Washington Post:

Congress is unlikely to override a promised veto by President Obama if both chambers reject a deal to curtail Iran’s nuclear capabilities, according to a Washington Post analysis of where the votes currently stand.

But several things have to happen first.

When both chambers return from the August recess, all 246 House Republicans are expected to vote against the deal, the analysis found. So far, 12 House Democrats have declared they too are opposed — more than enough to pass a resolution of disapproval through the lower chamber.

Over in the Senate, the vote to pass a resolution of disapproval is closer. About 31 Democrats either support the deal or are expected to back it, while 56 senators — including all Republicans plus two Democrats (Sens. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Bob Menendez (N.J.)) — are either overtly against the pact or presumed foes. But as of now, that’s not sufficient to clear the 60-vote hurdle needed to pass the disapproval resolution.

If Congress rejects the deal at first pass, Obama has pledged to veto the resolution, meaning that opponents would then need to corral a two-thirds majority of both chambers to override the president and kill the deal.

But our analysis found that it will be very difficult for the deal’s opponents to override the president’s veto. In the House, rivals of the deal would need 44 of the remaining undecided Democrats to break with Obama, while in the Senate, 10 of 12 Democrats who are still undecided or haven’t tipped their hands would have to defy Obama to overturn the deal.

Given the full-court press from the White House and the fierce lobbying campaign currently afoot, that is a tall order — in the Senate especially.

A key red state Democrat, Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana, came out in favor of the deal today. Recently, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Tim Kaine of Virginia also said they’d back the president. The math is now becoming a real problem for treaty opponents, but the fact that the remaining Democrats are still on the fence at this point offers a little hope that the situation can be salvaged.

Even the revelation of the IAEA’s deal with Iran to “inspect” the Parchin military base by using Iranian scientists hasn’t appeared to make much of a difference with those undeclared Democrats. Sad to say that unless something extraordinary emerges that’s in the deal, President Obama will make his “history” while the rest of the world ponders the future of living in a world where Iran has the bomb.

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Poll: Americans Want Congress to Reject Iran Deal

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

No kidding.

A growing majority of Americans are turning against the nuclear deal with Iran and believe Congress should reject the deal brokered between the U.S., five other world powers and Iran.

As Congress inches closer to a vote to approve or disapprove of the deal, 56% of Americans now say they think Congress should reject the deal with Iran — up from 52% less than a month ago — according to the latest CNN/ORC poll released Thursday.

And 6-in-10 Americans also disapprove of President Barack Obama’s handling of the U.S. relationship with Iran, according to the poll.

At this point one would have to assume that it is only the most hardcore supporters of The Idiot King who want this to proceed. In their world, saving face for him is more important than long term national security concerns.

That this is such a priority for the administration lends tragic context to just how awful foreign policy has been during his tenure. This wildly unpopular deal is being feverishly pushed to enhance (in their minds, anyway) his legacy.

The deal will, sadly, probably survive, as the dumber, weaker Democrats keep falling in line.

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Pentagon Looking at U.S. Locations for Gitmo Detainees

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 - by Liz Sheld

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said today that the Pentagon is looking at local venues to move terror detainees currently at Gitmo.

“The top two sites are the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and the naval brig at Charleston, S.C.,” Carter said.

Let’s see how that goes over in those states.

Carter says that as long as the U.S. keeps terrorists in Gitmo, they will be used for jihadi propaganda. He also said he has not gotten any pressure from the White House. “I see it exactly as the president does.”

S.C. Governor Nikki Haley was quick to respond to the potential new state residents.

“It is extremely concerning that we are now getting word that they are looking at us and one other state to move terrorists from Guantanamo Bay,” Haley said in a statement. “Let’s be very, very clear, this is a violation of federal law. Even though the president signed this on his first day in office, Congress has never given him the support to move these terrorists into any of our states. We are absolutely drawing a line that we are not going to allow any terrorists to come into South Carolina.”

Would these terrorist be mixed in the with general prison population? Prison seems like a nice place to recruit some new members.

 

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Family Member Tells CNN that Both of Shaun King’s Parents Were White

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Shaun King, the Black Lives Matter activist who claims he’s biracial, has been caught in a massive lie as one of his family members told CNN’s Don Lemon that both his parents were white.

Previously, some conservatives had strongly suggested that King was white, only to have the activist deny it and refer to his accusers as racists.

King has received notoriety because of his compelling personal story — now shown to be a tissue of lies. He claims he has been a victim of racism all his life and that he was  “the focus of constant abuse of the resident rednecks of my school.”

His dramatic account of being attacked at his high school because of his race is partly true. Called the “first hate crime in Kentucky,” King was beaten in 1995 — he says because he was black. (Police reports described his injuries as “minor.”)

But the family member told Lemon that King was beaten up because he was a white man dating a black woman. Still a despicable crime, but the facts were cynically altered by King to advance his bona fides with the black activist community.

Mediaite:

“A family member tells CNN that both of King’s parents are white,”Lemon said on Wednesday night’s edition of CNN Tonight.

Conservative websites have also accused King of embellishing or fabricating a racial hate crime during his high school days. The same family member told Lemon that the altercation he had in high school was racially motivated… but because King was “a white guy dating a black girl.”

Lemon also revealed that he had a conversation with King about his racial identity. “Initially he did not answer but later referred to himself as biracial,” he said. “But then when I asked him if that’s what it shows on his birth certificate I did not hear back from him. No answer on that.”

King’s wife defended him:

“Just know this, there is nothing fake about Shaun King. He’s no Rachel Dolezal,” wrote Rai King, referring to the former NAACP chapter leader who passed herself off as black. “What’s white about him is white, and what’s Black about him is Black and always has been from the time he was a child. There’s no spray tan, no fake Black hairstyles, no attempt to make himself appear any more ethnic than he already does. Whatever you think you know about him, you don’t. Whatever you think has been uncovered, hasn’t.”

There’s the question of whether he misrepresented himself to Oprah Winfrey in order to get a scholarship to the all-black school Morehouse College.

King flatly denied Wednesday that he had misrepresented his race to get a scholarship from Oprah Winfrey to the historically black Morehouse College — which declined comment about the situation but said it did not grant admissions or scholarships based on race.

It is blacks themselves who demand “authenticity,” referring to conservatives blacks as “Uncle Toms” — or worse. But they will stand by him, as they mostly stood by that other fake black person Rachel Dolezal. They are as oblivious to their own hypocrisy as they are of objective reality.

In truth, race shouldn’t matter when it comes to standing up for your beliefs. If King, a white person, wants to advocate for his idea of “social justice,” then more power to him. But he should be forthright and honest about his race when doing so. Otherwise, he is simply perpetrating a sham, the victims being the very people he says he wants to help.

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Will Carly Fiorina Make the Cut for CNN’s Debate?

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

Carly Fiorina seems to have benefited most from the first GOP presidential debate, catapulting from the also-ran tier to a serious contender. However, her recent boost in the polls may not be enough to warrant inclusion in the CNN debate scheduled for September. From The Hill:

The CNN debate methodology, released earlier this year, weighs polls from July 16 to Sept. 10.

The use of the earlier surveys will hurt the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, who barely registered in the polls before the Aug. 6 Fox News debate. But since then, she has seen a significant bounce.

“It acts as sort of an anchor on those people who had done poorly early and a bit of a parachute for those people who have done well early,” said Cliff Zukin, a Rutgers University political scientist and former president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

The criteria could also protect Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) from sliding out of the top 10 despite his recent dip in polls.

It seems unlikely that the debate criteria will change, or that Fiorina will perform well enough in future polls to make the cut.

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When Will Subway-Jared Van Show Up at Hillary’s?

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 - by J. Christian Adams

Now we are told that Hillary Clinton’s do-it-yourself email sever was wiped clean.  There are different levels of wiping.  Hillary obtusely thought wiping might mean “with a cloth.” I guess it all depends on what the definition of wipe is.  This family seems to live in a state of continuous deceit.

But if Hillary only wiped her servers “with a cloth,” then figuring out what classified information she kept on her bathroom servers should be pretty easy.  Even if the servers were wiped in the way everybody (but Hillary) understands wiping to mean, the FBI can still get the goods on her.

Just ask Jared Fogle.

Subway Jared awoke at 6:30 a.m. on July 7 to find a large white FBI van in his driveway.  The van was a mobile unit with advanced technology to image, capture and reconstruct data that people don’t want to be found. It can find data even if it is wiped, and wiped and wiped again.

FBI in front of Fogle house.

FBI in front of Fogle house.

If Hillary wiped her server “with a cloth,” the FBI would be able to grab any classified information on her server in about five minutes.

If Hillary had a flunkie wipe the server, for real, the FBI would still be able to image the server and deconstruct the wipe and retrieve data.  In other words, the FBI can get to the bottom of how much classified information Hillary illegally kept on her bathroom server.

The FBI executed the Fogle warrant with much fanfare.  When the vans and the cameras arrived, it was effectively lights out for Subway Jared’s career.

Is that why the FBI doesn’t seem to take Hillary’s problem as seriously as others?  Isn’t child porn more serious, you might ask?

Not so fast.  If Hillary’s server had classified information regarding national security policies and the location of assets, strengths and weaknesses, lives were at risk.  If Hillary had classified information on her server, you can be sure the information has been pored over by Mikhail Fradkov in Moscow and housed on the servers at the MSS in Beijing.

I doubt Fradkov keeps his copies of Hillary’s emails on a residential server stashed in his bathroom.

Which raises another question.  Who is Scott Bloch?

Remember him?  Bloch was the head of the Office of Special Counsel, a federal agency.  He found himself in the crosshairs of the various gay activist groups a decade ago.  Bloch hired Geeks on Call to do a wipe of his work and home computers after he was sucked into litigation by other federal employees.  He used more than a cloth to wipe the servers and discs.

Sounds familiar, right?

Scott Bloch

Scott Bloch

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Biden Ascending?

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 - by Liz Sheld

A new Qunnipiac Swing State poll shows Vice President Joe Biden beating the GOP frontrunner Donald Trump in a head to head race. Biden has not yet decided if he will throw his hat in the ring. Is this the encouragement he needs?

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are clear winners in the Democratic and Republican primaries in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, but Vice President Joseph Biden runs as well as or better than Clinton against top Republicans in general election matchups in these key swing states, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today.

On the flip side, Clinton and Trump have the worst images of any of the leading candidates:

While they lead in the race for the nomination, Clinton and Trump have the worst overall favorability ratings among all voters of any of the leading candidates, and the lowest scores for being honest and trustworthy.

Said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll:

Vice President Joseph Biden, who is spending his time in seclusion, contemplating whether to take on Secretary Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries for president, has some new information to consider.

In head-to-head matchups against the three leading contenders for the Republican nomination, he runs as well or slightly better than she does.

Joe Biden

Biden could siphon off a chunk of the lady vote from Hillary.

And the news is not good for Hillary:

Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers are like a leaky faucet: drip … drip … drip. She is now getting less than half the vote in all three states’ Democratic primaries … Perhaps most telling is how poorly she scores when all voters in these three key states are asked about her empathy, honesty and temperament. In Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania she averages a negative 37 to 55 percent favorability. Donald Trump is in the same leaky boat, averaging a negative 34 to 53 percent favorability.

It’s very hard, if not impossible, to win the presidency when people do not like you. In the primaries, voters are more interested in substance like past job performance, but in general elections voters chose candidates that they “like.”

Can Trump and Clinton turn around their negative images? I’m skeptical. Both have very high name ID, so they can’t simply introduce themselves to more voters to win them over. They have to change rather than help form opinions, and that’s a steeper hill to climb.

Strategically, Biden should get in the race. Hillary is tanking and Sanders is a radical who won’t move far beyond the progressive cohort, so the veep could sweep in an as the “sensible” one, scooping up the voters who are frightened of Sanders and suspicious of Hillary. (I laughed as I typed that.)

The latest CNN/ORD poll of registered voters show Biden’s favorability is about even, which is better than Hillary, who is upside-down. Sanders has the best ratio (35% F/27%U), but 28% haven’t heard of him.

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Monica Crowley Is Right: Obama Is Helping Torpedo Hillary, And It’s About Warren

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

Monica Crowley has come to the conclusion I came to over five months ago: the Obama White House must have told the gatekeepers to close the gates in Hillary’s face. The only question is why.

Writes Crowley, in her article “Why Obama is torpedoing Hillary Clinton”:

If Mr. Obama does not want an investigation to go forward, it does not go forward. Witness the scandals involving the Internal Revenue Service, Benghazi, Veterans Administration and Operation Fast and Furious gunrunning. In each case, Mr. Obama claimed he learned about the scandal “from the news.” (That’s interesting coming from a guy who claims he only rarely watches or reads said “news.”)

He then expressed his “outrage” and vowed to “get to the bottom” of each scandal. (Of course, it’s tough to “get to the bottom” of something when you are the bottom of it.)

In those cases, he protesteth too much. His faux outrage was a “tell” that he had no intention of investigating. In Mrs. Clinton’s case, he’s been quiet. Too quiet. That’s a “tell” that he wants this investigation pursued, likely to the point of charging her.

For me, the biggest “tell” was the media. The MSM knows how to ignore a story when it’s inconvenient to their chosen narrative. Witness their breathtaking negligence on the Planned Parenthood story, and before that, the Gosnell story.

Consider how they denied oxygen to the myriad Obama scandals that have broken over the years, letting game-changing bombshells burn out and ushering in a more convenient lead story. Obama would never have been elected had they have done due diligence on Obama’s outrageously radical past that should have torpedoed his campaign.

Most of the anti-Hillary stuff is coming from the New York Times and Washington Post, his house organs. Now, even government-funded NPR is getting in on the fun with a story about how federal authorities are getting ready to step up their “inquiry” into Hillary’s “unique email arrangement”:

Two lawyers familiar with the inquiry told NPR that a formal criminal investigation is under consideration and could happen soon – although they caution that Clinton herself may not be the target.

Actually, Clinton herself may not be the only target.

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A Scientist Has Grown a Human Brain in a Vat

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 - by Liz Sheld

Ok, not a vat, but a petri dish. A biological chemistry and pharmacology professor claims to have grown a human brain in a petri dish.

Professor Rene Descartes Anand said he has grown a nearly complete human brain that is equivalent to a 5-week-old-fetus brain:

Anand’s lab-grown brain is the size of a pencil eraser and contains 99 percent of the genes found in a complete human brain.

“It not only looks like the developing brain, its diverse cell types express nearly all genes like a brain,” Anand said.

With all those genes, it should come as no surprise that the tiny brain has a spinal cord, signaling circuitry and even a retina.

The only important thing that’s missing is consciousness.

Holy medical ethics, Batman.

“We don’t have any sensory stimuli entering the brain. This brain is not thinking in any way,” Anand assured The Guardian:

Anand pulled off his amazing feat by mimicking the conditions that naturally occur in utero in his lab and 15 weeks later he had grown the equivalent of a 5-week-old fetal human brain.

He couldn’t grow a bigger brain because after five weeks the brain needs a vascular system, something Anand can’t produce yet.

“We’d need an artificial heart to help the brain grow further in development,” said Anand.

This development opens up the door to advances in personalized medicine.

“If you have an inherited disease, for example, you could give us a sample of skin cells, we could make a brain and then ask what’s going on,” Anand told The Guardian.

And then you can donate your brain clone to someone in Congress who may be in need.

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Have Planned Parenthood Vids Moved You on Abortion?

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

Reason author Shikha Dalmia is wringing her hands over “the death of pro-choice Republicans.” There used to be a time when the party had room for nuance on abortion, she writes. Not anymore, not after the release of several videos highlighting illicit practices by Planned Parenthood.

David Daleiden, the man who produced the Planned Parenthood videos, told National Review that the purpose of his exercise was—as the headline noted—to “end the tyranny of euphemisms” and show “buyer and end users haggling over the price of living children and negotiating the ways they will be killed in order to do experiments that they want.”

“Living children”? “Killing”? Seriously? Such terms used to be reserved for late-term abortions, even in the pro-life camp. But the majority of fetuses in Daleiden’s footage were 12 weeks or under, with some in the first month of the second trimester. Deploying such lacerating terminology is meant to create an equivalence between early-term fetuses and live children. This implies that every abortion at any time regardless of circumstances is murder.

She’s right. That’s exactly what such terminology implies. The question becomes: is not such terminology accurate? Is a fetus 12 weeks or under something other than a living child? If so, what? That’s what the Planned Parenthood footage compels us to answer.

Has the footage changed your opinion on abortion? If all abortion is murder, should there be exceptions for rape, incest, and the health of the mother? Dalmia worries that the answer might be no.

… if all abortions are murder, then isn’t the rape exception tantamount to “killing babies” for the sins of men? Yet if “babies” are allowed to be “killed” for their fathers’ transgressions, then by what moral standard can we force mothers who slip up to give birth except as a punishment for their turpitude?

What all of this shows is that in its obsession for moral clarity, the GOP is trying to shoehorn an enormously complex issue into a black-and-white framework…

Is the issue really that complex?

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CNN Poll: Hillary’s Favorability Numbers Lowest Since 2001

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Mrs. Bill’s Summer of Love continues.

Hillary Clinton’s lead in the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination has narrowed and her overall favorability ratings have fallen to their lowest levels since 2001, CNN reported on Wednesday.

It said 47 percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters surveyed in a poll this month said they supported Clinton for the party’s nomination, down 9 points since July and marking “the first time her support has dipped below 50 percent in national CNN/ORC polling on the race.”

Backing for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, her closest rival for the Democratic nomination, has risen 10 points since July to 29 percent, CNN said. Vice President Joe Biden, who has yet to announce whether he will run, is third at 14 percent.

The poll still shows her winning head-to-head match ups with the GOP candidates, but Trump is closing on her. The free-for-all nature of the Republican primary this year was bound to help Hillary in that kind of polling anyway, so there isn’t much to worry about there yet.

This is merely indicative of how poorly this imperious shrew wears on the public when her handlers absolutely have to expose them to her. There is a reason the DNC doesn’t want to have a lot of debates: no good can come of Hillary’s prolonged exposure to the American people.

I still believe the Clintons are such accomplished criminals that this email scandal won’t do her in, but her personality just might.

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Playing the Game Better: Trump Show Drowns Out Jeb in New Hampshire

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

As my PJ Media and PJTV colleague Scott Ott says, Trump is the only one doing what he’s doing.

For Donald Trump, it wasn’t enough to upstage Jeb Bush by booking a town hall meeting at the same time as the former Florida governor. Trump had to attack him, too.

In a 30-minute press conference in Derry, New Hampshire, that was broadcast live on Fox News and CNN, the real estate mogul ripped into his GOP primary rival, saying, “I don’t think he’s electable.”

“Jeb Bush is a low-energy person. For him to get things done is hard,” a feisty Trump said.

Trump went after the former Florida governor on multiple fronts, dismissing Bush’s positions on education, health care, immigration and foreign policy.

While not an enthusiastic Trump supporter, I am not as dismissive of him as many who aren’t on board the Trump Train. In describing Jeb as “low-energy,” Trump is echoing something that many observers have said about Bush in recent weeks. He did it in a way that regular voters might say it, however, and that has been one of his singular gifts throughout all of this.

Trump’s timing today is a card he can play again and again. If he hits the same part of the campaign trail at the same time as one of the other candidates, the spotlight is swinging his way. He knows how to work the media. The others can try to play his game, but they don’t have the flexibility of spending their own money or the bombastic entertainer/salesman experience. Most of them are merely used to competing for attention against other politicians, which is a lower bar than Trump has had to deal with on network television.

Jeb may be low-energy, but he probably worked up quite a sweat today.

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State Dept.: We Totally Trust IAEA with Inspections Where Only Iran Can Inspect

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The State Department said today that everybody shouldn’t worry about the Iran side agreements, because the International Atomic Energy Agency will do a great job with inspections where they’re not allowed.

Press secretary John Kirby was grilled about an Associated Press story focusing on a draft seen of one of the final inspection agreements. According to “separate arrangement II” — the AP didn’t see a “separate arrangement I” — Iran will take its own photos and video of Parchin and other military sites believed to be linked to the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.

“As we’ve said before, including in classified briefings for both chambers of Congress, we’re confident in the agency’s technical plans for investigating the possible military dimensions of Iran’s former program. Issues that, in some cases, date back more than a decade,” Kirby told reporters at today’s briefing.

“Just as importantly, the IAEA is comfortable with arrangements which are unique to the agency’s investigation of Iran’s historical activities,” he continued. “When it comes to monitoring Iran’s behavior going forward, the IAEA has separately developed the most robust inspection regime ever peacefully negotiated to ensure Iran’s current program remains exclusively peaceful, the overarching objective, as you know, of the JCPOA.”

He stressed that he wouldn’t comment on the “purported draft document” cited by the AP.

“I wouldn’t amend the secretary’s comments about this at all. I mean, unless you’ve seen every single arrangement that the IAEA has with every other country in which it has a program for monitoring nuclear activity, I don’t know,” Kirby said. “It’s routine that the IAEA has these arrangements with individual counties. Those arrangements are, as we’ve said, confidential by the nation itself and the IAEA. That’s what’s routine here.”

“And this is, and remains, as I think the secretary has described it, as a technical arrangement between those two parties, and it’s — regardless of that detail it’s not unlike, in terms of framework, the kinds of arrangements they have with other nations that have nuclear capacity.”

Congress has not seen the arrangements, a withholding that many lawmakers are calling a deal-breaker on the vote next month.

But Kirby says they should be satisfied because both houses of Congress were “briefed” on the deal.

“But because it is reflective of a relationship between the IAEA and Iran, it is not for the P5+1 to endorse or negate,” he added. “…That is what the P5+1 has endorsed: make sure that the IAEA is satisfied.”

“Not an expert on IAEA protocols, but I can tell you that Secretary Kerry remains fully confident that the IAEA will manage their part of these requirements just as ably and efficiently as they do anywhere else in the world.” But, he insisted, this inspections regime “is much more robust than in any other case around the world.”

“We have full confidence in the IAEA and in the inspection regimen that they will establish and set up to make sure that Iran cannot achieve nuclear weapons capability. We’re very comfortable with the arrangement.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said it should be a no-brainer: “International inspections should be done by international inspectors. Period.”

“The standard of ‘anywhere, anytime’ inspections – so critical to a viable agreement – has dropped to ‘when Iran wants, where Iran wants, on Iran’s terms.’ For weeks, Congress has been demanding access to this document to assess the viability of the inspections measures,” Royce said. “Congress must now consider whether this unprecedented arrangement will keep Iran from cheating. This is a dangerous farce.”

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We’re #20! U.S. Sinks Again in Cato’s Human Freedom Index

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Cato Institute has published its annual Human Freedom Index, ranking 152 countries in the world according to the level of liberty enjoyed by its citizens, and once again, the U.S. fell in the rankings from the previous year.

Standing 17th in 2014, the U.S. now occupies the 20th spot, reflecting deteriorating economic freedom and a drop in adherence to the rule of law.

Other criteria used in the rankings:

The index published here presents a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It uses 76 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom in the following areas:

Rule of Law
Security and Safety
Movement
Religion
Association, Assembly, and Civil Society
Expression
Relationships
Size of Government
Legal System and Property Rights
Access to Sound Money
Freedom to Trade Internationally
Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business

The U.S. rank has been declining since 2000 as the war on terror, the war on drugs, and a weakening of property rights have taken their toll on liberty in America.

My co-author Tanja Porcnik and I look at 76 indicators in 152 countries to capture the degree to which people are free to engage in voluntary exchange and enjoy major liberties such as freedom of speech, religion, and association. We also include measures on freedom of movement, women’s freedoms, safety and security, and rule of law. We use data from 2008 to 2012, the most recent year for which sufficient data is available.

Hong Kong and Switzerland top the rankings, followed in order by Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, and Canada. The United States ranks in 20th place, below the United Kingdom (9) and Chile (18). Other countries rank as follows: Singapore (43), India (75), Russia (111), China (132), Venezuela (144), and Zimbabwe (149).

The United States fell from 17th place in 2008 to 20th place in 2012. The decline reflects a long-term drop in every category of economic freedom and in its rule of law indicators. The U.S. performance is worrisome and shows that the United States can no longer claim to be the leading bastion of liberty in the world. In addition to the expansion of the regulatory state and drop in economic freedom, the war on terror, the war on drugs, and the erosion of property rights due to greater use of eminent domain all likely have contributed to the U.S. decline.

We do not measure democracy in the index, though we consider it important. Indeed, we find a strong relationship between human freedom and democracy, a link that merits further study. As such, Hong Kong is an outlier in our index. Its high ranking is due to its traditionally strong rule of law, and high levels of both personal and economic freedom, something that all advocates of freedom, including democracy advocates, should seek to protect. The danger there is that China’s efforts to limit democracy will lead to increasing interference in the territory’s institutions—including on the independence of its legal system and the freedom of its press—which will reduce its overall freedom.

Here are the top 25:

1. Hong Kong

2. Switzerland

3. Finland

4. Denmark

5. New Zealand

6. Canada

7. Australia

8. Ireland

9. United Kingdom

10. Sweden

11. Norway

12. Austria

12. Germany

14. Iceland

14. Netherlands

16. Malta

17. Luxembourg

18. Chile

19. Mauritius

And then finally..

20. United States

Just after the U.S.,

21. Czech Republic

22. Estonia

22. Belgium

24. Taiwan

25. Portugal

The U.S. is tumbling toward banana republic status. And what will our ranking be next year? The EPA is readying thousands upon thousands of pages of new regulations for the oil and gas industry, the waste disposal industry, not to mention new IRS and HHS Obamacare regs coming all the time.

When you have an administration, a Congress, and a Supreme Court that treat the Constitution so shabbily, the rule of law suffers and freedoms fought for over many generations gradually erode and disappear.

This is our fate unless we can turn it around — and do it quickly.

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AP: UN Agreement Allows Iran to Inspect Its Own Nuke Site

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

Remember those “secret side deals” no one was supposed to know anything about? According to a document seen by the Associated Press, a secret UN agreement will allow Iran to use its own experts to inspect an Iranian site that has allegedly been used to develop nuclear arms.

Calling it an “unusual arrangement,” the AP exclusive goes on to note that “the revelation is sure to roil American and Israeli critics of the main Iran deal signed by the U.S., Iran and five world powers in July.”

Those critics have complained that the deal is built on trust of the Iranians, a claim the U.S. has denied.

The investigation of the Parchin nuclear site by the International Atomic Energy Agency is linked to a broader probe of allegations that Iran has worked on atomic weapons. That investigation is part of the overarching nuclear deal.

BREAKING: AP Exclusive: UN-Iran deal will let Tehran inspect its own alleged nuclear weapon site: http://t.co/OLqw57Cztz

— The Associated Press (@AP) August 19, 2015

Meanwhile, via Ace of Spades HQ: Senators Rubio and Kirk charged today that Obama has been sending secret letters to foreign governments promising that no action will be taken against them if they do business with Iran.

Two leading U.S. senators are calling on the Obama administration to release secret letters to foreign governments assuring them that they will not be legally penalized for doing business with the Iranian government, according to a copy of a letter sent Wednesday to the State Department and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon…..

The Obama administration is purportedly promising the foreign governments that if Iran violates the parameters of a recently inked nuclear accord, European companies will not be penalized, according to the secret letters.

Ace sums it up quite nicely:  ”Obama is not hiding secrets from foreign enemies, but domestic enemies — American voters and their representatives in Congress.”

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Peek at Iran-IAEA Agreement Shows Iran Will Use Own Inspectors on Military Site

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Congress has been rebuffed in its requests to see the deals between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, with many arguing that lawmakers can’t consider the deal as they’re entitled by law without knowing all the details.

But the Associated Press has seen one of those documents, and reports today that “Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate a site it has been accused of using to develop nuclear arms” — Parchin:

The document seen by the AP is a draft that one official familiar with its contents said doesn’t differ substantially from the final version. He demanded anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the issue in public.

The document is labeled “separate arrangement II,” indicating there is another confidential agreement between Iran and the IAEA governing the agency’s probe of the nuclear weapons allegations.

Iran is to provide agency experts with photos and videos of locations the IAEA says are linked to the alleged weapons work, “taking into account military concerns.”

That wording suggests that — beyond being barred from physically visiting the site — the agency won’t get photo or video information from areas Iran says are off-limits because they have military significance.

While the document says the IAEA “will ensure the technical authenticity” of Iran’s inspection, it does not say how.

The draft is unsigned but the proposed signatory for Iran is listed as Ali Hoseini Tash, deputy secretary of the Supreme National Security Council for Strategic Affairs. That reflects the significance Tehran attaches to the agreement.

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) announced his “no” vote today, and cited the IAEA agreements as one of many reasons why.

“While I remain deeply concerned with what I have been able to review in the Iran nuclear agreement, I am even more disturbed by the fact that there are agreements between the IAEA and Iran that Congress has not been allowed to read,” Isakson said. “These secret agreements will serve as a baseline, yet we will not be able to know where that line actually is. To vote for something that I am not allowed to read would be an injustice to the people I represent.”

Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress that he hadn’t read the agreements, and the administration doesn’t have a copy. The IAEA chief told lawmakers the agency won’t reveal anything about the agreements because of confidentiality.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) blasted the existence of a side agreement as proof that the deal is a “sham.”

“After Iran spent years developing their nuclear capacity in secret while denying that they were doing so, we would now allow Iran to police these sites themselves,” McCarthy said in a statement. “This is a very serious development and should concern every member of Congress who supports or is thinking about supporting this deal. President Obama said that this deal is ‘not built on trust,’ but on verification.”

“This side agreement shows that true verification is a sham, and it begs the question of what else the administration is keeping from Congress.”

“Trusting Iran to inspect its own nuclear site and report to the U.N. in an open and transparent way is remarkably naïve and incredibly reckless,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said. “This revelation only reinforces the deep-seated concerns the American people have about the agreement. It is time for the Obama administration to come clean with the American people and provide all information about these secret side agreements between Iran and the IAEA.”

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State Dept. Says Clinton Aides’ BlackBerrys Have Likely Been Destroyed

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

State Department officials told a federal court today that the BlackBerry devices belonging to former Hillary Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin have likely been destroyed or sold off as surplus.

Judge Emmet Sullivan had ordered the State Department to file a reply to Judicial Watch’s August 17, 2015, response no later than 12:00 p.m. Wednesday.

Judge Sullivan yesterday issued a court order granting Judicial Watch’s request for a hearing this Thursday where State Department officials will have to explain what steps they’ve taken to track down Mrs. Clinton’s emails, and what electronic devices she and two of her closest advisors may have used to send them.

Via the Washington Times:

Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm, has sued to get a look at the emails of Mrs. Clinton and two top aides at State: Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills.

All three used email accounts not issued by the State Department to conduct government business, and all three are now under court orders to return those documents to the department to belatedly comply with open-records laws.

After Mrs. Clinton said she had deleted messages from her server, Judicial Watch prodded the State Department to try to dig up her electronic devices to see if any messages could be recovered.

State, on Wednesday, said that was impossible.

“[The department] does not believe that any personal computing device was issued by the department to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and has not located any such device,” administration officials said.

State Executive Secretary Joseph Macmanus wrote that Mills and Abedin were issued BlackBerry devices, but those were likely turned in at the end of their service.

“Because the devices issued to Ms. Mills and Ms. Abedin would have been outdated models, in accordance with standard operating procedures those devices would have been destroyed or excessed,” Macmanus said

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said that “the questions just keep popping up.”

“Every time the State Department tries to justify its stonewalling, one more bit of information arises. If the State Department was not providing secure email devices to Mrs. Clinton, who was? Best Buy? Target? Mrs. Clinton clearly did whatever she wanted, without regard to national security or federal records keeping laws.”

 

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Codename ‘Flipper’: Hamas Claims to Catch Israeli Spy Dolphin Off Coast of Gaza

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Hamas says it has scored a significant counterintelligence coup by capturing an Israeli spy off the coast of Gaza.

Strangely, the spy does little except swim around his cage and eat fish. And he won’t even give his name, rank and serial number.

Hamas claims they caught the spy red handed — er, red flippered? The spy, it seems, is a dolphin.

Times of Israel:

The dolphin was said to have been equipped with “spying equipment” including cameras.

It was captured off the Gaza coast by the naval unit of the Hamas military brigades, the radio report said.

The capture was made several weeks ago.

The Israeli Navy maintains a fleet of Dolphin class submarines. But the Army Radio report made clear that Hamas was talking about a mammal, not a boat.

Spying allegations against Israel involving various creatures are not uncommon in the region.

Twice in recent years, Turkish media have highlighted allegations that birds tagged with Israeli university tracking devices were on espionage missions.

In 2012, an eagle with an Israeli tag in Sudan was captured and touted as a Mossad spy.

Two years earlier, an Egyptian official said Israel-controlled sharks could be involved in a number of attacks on tourists in the Red Sea.

Before we get too carried away in laughing at the terrorists for their stupidity, it should be pointed out that the U.S. Navy has experimented with dolphins for several decades and trained them to perform a variety of tasks. They are apparently adept at sniffing out underwater mines, as well as rescuing downed flyers. Rumors of more sinister uses for them are apparently just that — rumors.

While dolphins are extremely intelligent, they don’t accept military discipline very well and would be poor candidates for any kind of a spy mission. Their loyalty lies with whoever gives them food, which would make them unsuited to undercover work.

But what would dolphins be able to discover about Hamas that an Israeli sub wouldn’t be able to find? The answer, of course, is nothing. Which raises an interesting question about animal Israeli spies in the Middle East.

Do they really believe this crap or are they just throwing stuff out there to rile their people up about Israel? The trouble is, you can’t dismiss the notion that they actually believe Israel can control animals to do their bidding. These aren’t “backwards” countries; they are nations going in reverse. They are de-evolving right before our eyes, retreating far into the past when the natural world was poorly understood and animals possessed magical properties.

Today, it’s dolphins. What will it be next week?

Is Dr. Doolittle Working with Mossad?

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