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Gov. Perry Will Challenge Indictment Next Week

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Gov. Rick Perry’s attorney, David Botsford, met with special prosecutor Mike McCrum in the chambers of Visiting Judge Bert Richardson today to discuss the August 15 indictment of the governor. Richardson appointed McCrum to investigate Perry’s veto, and McCrum led the grand jury in indicting the governor.

The Texas Tribune reports that Botsford informed the judge that he will file a challenge to the indictment on August 29. Botsford said that the challenge will be based on the First Amendment — Perry’s right to free speech — and his constitutional veto power.

As things stand, Perry has been indicted by a grand jury, which included at least one partisan Democratic Party activist, for telling the people of Texas what he intended to do, and then carrying out the action he described. We live in strange times when transparency and standing by your word, in order to remove a prosecutor who was guilty of drunk driving, have become indictable offenses.

On Thursday, Travis County Judge Julie Kocurek raised the stakes in the case, threatening Perry for — again — speaking, and invited anyone in the county to file another complaint against him which could open up yet another grand jury investigation. Heavily Democrat Travis County has no shortage of people who might file such a complaint just to harass the Republican governor. Texans for Public Justice, the Soros-funded group that filed the original complaint, exists for that very purpose.

The prosecutor says that he doesn’t expect Gov. Perry to go to trial on the August 15 indictment until next year. That would drag the case into the time Perry might be running for the GOP presidential nomination for the 2016 election.

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‘Sports and Leisure Activities are a Good Way for Release,’ White House Says of Obama Golf Optics

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Back in Martha’s Vineyard for another week of vacation, President Obama hit the golf course for more than four hours directly after giving a statement Wednesday on the beheading of American journalist James Foley.

He hit the links again Thursday for more than four hours.

Today, White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz was asked by reporters just why he kept golfing during times of crisis.

“I am not going to get into the president’s mindset on that. I will say that, generally, I think that, you know, sports and leisure activities are — are a good way for release and clearing of the mind for a lot of us,” Schultz replied.

“The president did give a powerful statement in this auditorium Wednesday afternoon. I think that anyone wondering his views on both the situation with ISIL, that video, or his concern for the Foley family should go back and review that statement. It was delivered from the heart, it was candid, it was honest, and it was open,” the spokesman said.

“And I think anyone trying to assess how seriously he takes the gravity of that situation should go back and watch that or read it or listen to it again.”

But what about the optics of Obama laughing on the golf course after giving a statement about the Foley tragedy, Schultz was asked.

“I understand you’re asking about the optics. But let me just take a minute to explain how we approach this,” he responded. “First and foremost, the president is focused on doing his job. And to us, that’s paramount. And what I think you’ve seen is just because the president is in a different location doesn’t mean he’s not doing his job. And I don’t think anyone in this room who’s been covering this or following the president for the past few weeks could deny that the president’s been deeply engaged on issues both domestic and abroad.”

“It’s important for us to understand, and I think that’s been evident, is that the issues the country is facing, both on the international stage and back here at home, have absolutely captured the president’s attention while we’ve been here.”

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White House Explains Why It Swapped 5 Taliban for Bergdahl But Wouldn’t Consider Foley Ransom

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz was asked at today’s press briefing why the administration was unwilling to negotiate with terrorists in James Foley’s case, yet traded five Taliban for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

“I think, again, what the president made clear at the time of the Guantanamo transfer was that his commitment to the men and women that serve overseas is a bedrock one, that we will leave no man or woman behind. That’s what he was keeping faith with, and that’s something that’s unshakeable for him,” Schultz said.

“As we’ve made previously clear, the administration determined that it was lawful to proceed with a transfer in order to protect the life of a U.S. servicemember held captive and in danger for almost five years, notwithstanding that Congress did not receive the 30 days’ notice. Again, we disagree with GAO’s conclusion and we reject the implication that the administration acted unlawfully.”

A brother and sister of the slain journalist told Katie Couric that the U.S. could have done more to free Foley, including considering a $100 million ransom demand made by ISIS before his death. But Michael Foley also appeared to reference the Bergdahl swap.

“We are sitting on prisoners for example in Guantanamo. It doesn’t have to be financial,” he said. “There’s ways to do it… I just feel strongly that more can be done, moving forward.”

Before Schultz delivered the regular briefing, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes delivered probably the strongest administration assessment of Foley’s beheading, calling it a “terrorist attack.”

“When you see somebody killed in such a horrific way, that represents a terrorist attack. That represents a terrorist attack against our country and against an American citizen, and I think all of us have the Foley family in our thoughts and prayers,” Rhodes said.

“The fact of the matter is, we’ve actually seen, you know, ISIL seek to advance too close to our facilities, certainly for our own comfort. And so the president’s decision to take military action a number of weeks ago was out of direct concern that if they were able to get into Erbil, that they could pose a threat to our personnel and our consulate there. So, we have seen them posing a threat to our interests in the region, to our personnel and facilities in the region, and clearly, the brutal execution of Jim Foley represented an affront, an attack, not just on him, but he’s an American and we see that as an attack on our country when one of our own is killed like that.”

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White House: Russia Facing ‘Additional Consequences’ for Latest Invasion Not Called Invasion

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The White House vaguely warned today that Russia would face “additional consequences” for its latest incursion into Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry, however, issued its own lengthy statement earlier today calling ”endless delays hampering the initial deliveries of the Russian humanitarian relief aid to southeastern Ukraine” simply “intolerable.”

“It is no longer possible to tolerate this lawlessness, outright lies and inability to reach agreements. All pretexts for delaying the delivery of aid to people in the humanitarian disaster zone have been depleted. The Russian side has decided to act. Our humanitarian relief convoy is setting out towards Lugansk,” the Russian MFA said.

“We are warning against any attempts to thwart this purely humanitarian mission which took a long time to prepare in conditions of complete transparency and cooperation with the Ukrainian side and the [International Committee of the Red Cross]. Those who are ready to continue sacrificing human lives to their own ambitions and geopolitical designs and who are rudely trampling on the norms and principles of international humanitarian law will assume complete responsibility for the possible consequences of provocations against the humanitarian relief convoy.”

In a statement this afternoon, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden confirmed that “in violation of its previous commitments and international law, Russian military vehicles painted to look like civilian trucks forced their way into Ukraine.”

“While a small number of these vehicles were inspected by Ukrainian customs officials, most of the vehicles have not been inspected by anyone but Russia. We condemn this action by Russia, for which it will bear additional consequences,” she said.

Furthermore, Hayden confirmed that the Red Cross was not escorting the convoy “and has no role in managing the mission, a condition that all parties had agreed would be required.”

“Under the agreed terms, the mission should have been accomplished by sending a small number of inspected trucks in to drop their supplies and return to Russia within 24 hours by the same approved route by which they entered,” she said. “That is not what is taking place. As we and governments around the world have said all along, Russia has no right to send vehicles, persons, or cargo of any kind into Ukraine, whether under the guise of humanitarian convoys or any other pretext, without the express permission of the government of Ukraine.”

At the White House press briefing, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said they “think this is part of a pattern that we’ve seen in recent weeks and that we’ve highlighted of Russian support to armed separatists in eastern Ukraine that, again, violates Ukraine’s sovereignty and destabilizes the situation.”

“So we are, again, deeply concerned about this. We’re in touch with the Ukrainian government,” he said. “We will be in touch today with our partners at the U.N. Security Council to discuss next steps.”

Hayden said “the primary barrier to the delivery of the humanitarian aid has been the lack of security guarantees from the Russia-backed separatists.”

“Russian military vehicles piloted by Russian drivers have unilaterally entered the territory controlled by the separatist forces Russia has been training, supplying, and reinforcing for months. The Ukrainian humanitarian assistance convoy was prevented from delivering much needed assistance to Luhansk city,” she said.

“At the same time as Russian vehicles violate Ukraine’s sovereignty, Russia maintains a sizable military force on the Ukrainian border capable of invading Ukraine on very short notice. It has repeatedly fired into Ukrainian territory, and has sent an ever-increasing stream of military equipment and fighters into Ukraine. As a result, the international community has been profoundly concerned that Russia’s actions today are nothing but a pretext for further Russian escalation of the conflict. We recall that Russia denied its military was occupying Crimea until it later admitted its military role and attempted to annex this part of Ukraine.”

Hayden added that if Russia “really wants to ease the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine, it could do so today by halting its supply of weapons, equipment, and fighters to its proxies.”

“It is important to remember that Russia is purporting to alleviate a humanitarian situation which Russia itself created – a situation that has caused the deaths of thousands, including 300 innocent passengers of flight MH17,” she said. “…Russia must remove its vehicles and its personnel from the territory of Ukraine immediately.”

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Obama’s ‘Whole Life is a Fantasy Camp!’

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

This is a good read on Obama’s habit of squeezing presidentin’ in between parties, fundraisers and rounds of golf, by Matthew Continetti at the Beacon.

Attacking the president for vacation is usually the job of the out party. But these days it is the job of all parties. Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, ISIL, Ebola, child migrants on the border, racial strife in Ferguson, an American murdered by the caliphate—critics say the president who danced to every song at Ann Jordan’s birthday party seems remote and aloof from, and even mildly annoyed by, such concerns.

I disagree. Not with the judgment that Obama is detached, dialing it in, contemptuous of events that interfere with his plans. I disagree with the idea that this August has been different, in any meaningful way, from the rest of Obama’s second term. For this president, the distinction between “time off” and “time on” is meaningless. For this president, every day is a vacation. And has been for some time. He is like Cosmo Kramer of Seinfeld. “His whole life is a fantasy camp,” George Costanza says of his friend. “People should plunk down $2,000 to live like him for a week.” Imagine what they would pay to live like Obama.

Uncomfortable with all of the golf on Martha’s Vineyard? It is but a fraction of Obama’s habit. Since 2009, the president has played more than 185 rounds, typically with Wall Street cronies such as Robert Wolf and sports celebrities such as Alonzo Mourning, Tony Kornheiser, and Michael Wilbon. So devoted to golf is Obama that he wears Game Golf, which tracks how well a golfer shoots. Game Golf is not something you wear as a lark. You use it to study and hone your game. The hours on the course are just the start; there are also the hours spent analyzing results at home. Obama is not golfing like an amateur. He’s golfing like a man who wants to join the PGA tour.

That’s a lot of golf. More golf in six years than even some avid golfers will play in a couple of decades. And chances are, they’re nowhere near as busy as the President of the United States.

Obama came into the presidency promising that he would give all of himself to the job, and his outside interests would go away.

Now, his outside interests rule and being president seems to have gone away. He’s quick with a quip about whatever is happening in the sports world, and he can appreciate fine, expensive foods with the richest. But don’t ask him about foreign policy or any of his administration’s scandals. He only learns about those from the news — when they bother to report on them.

 

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Is It Time for Medicaid to Cover Species Dysphoria?

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Scott Ott

Janice Hickok’s Mom knew she that was different from other children as early as kindergarten.

“She kind of kept to herself,” Belinda Fenwell-Hickok says. “She could be affectionate when she felt like it, but even then, when I’d lean over to give her a hug, she’d turn her shoulder and just, sort of, rub it against my leg and start to walk away.”

The awkward behaviors multiplied, but Belinda says she was in denial…for years. She ignored the advice of friends, and eventually refused to return emails and text messages from the school guidance counselor.

Then came the virtually-inevitable moment.

“I walked into her bedroom one day,” Belinda said, “and Janice had something hanging out of her mouth.”

Even now, the memories cause her to well up with emotion — nine years later.

“I just screamed, ‘Janice, no! Spit him out. Spit him out!’ But it was too late,” she said. “Our pet hamster, Marvin, twitched a bit and just stopped moving. Janice let him drop to the carpet, and just strolled away like nothing had happened.”

Now in her mid-40′s, Belinda’s careworn face makes her look 20 years older.

“Back in the 1990s,” she explained, “nobody was talking about species dysphoria. How was I supposed to know she was a cat, trapped in the body of a girl.”

Janice refused to speak to a reporter about her condition, although she has “come out” to most of her friends and family.

Experts believe that as many as one-in-317 humans, and nearly all domesticated cats and dogs, may have some degree of species dysphoria. As with many rare conditions, it was education that helped her Dad come to terms with who Janice is.

Chad Hickok has lived alone, visiting his daughter one weekend per month at a local kennel since his 10-year marriage to Belinda collapsed — torn apart by the stress of what’s clinically known as second-hand species dysphoria.

“The toll it takes on the family can be greater than the impact on the species-dysphoric individual,” according to Jason Stenderweil, visiting professor of Species Identity at U.C. Berkeley. Dr. Stenderweil pioneered species-transition procedures, at a time when most academics and surgeons still classified the medical condition as a “mental illness or some kind of freakish hobby.”

According to Janice’s Mom, the ability to simply “be who she is” among her friends, co-workers and neighborhood cats, brings some measure of relief from the stress of their fight with the government.

For the past three years, Janice and her family have devoted thousands of hours to a fruitless effort to get Medicaid to cover the procedures she so desperately needs “to be whole.” But no government-run health care program will pay for any of it — from the physician-monitored dietary, fur-implant and quadrupedal-locomotion regimens, to the ultimate species re-assignment surgery and veterinary care. Surgery alone can cost upwards of $230,000, followed by tens of thousands of dollars in monthly maintenance therapy.

The family even lobbied their Congressman, who finally introduced a bill last month to amend Obamacare, requiring that employer-provided health insurance include diagnosis and the full range of treatments to allow species-dysphorics to live normal animal lives. The bill awaits consideration by the Appropriations Committee and the Agriculture Committee.

A White House spokesman said President Obama’s position on government-funded species-dysphoria treatment is “currently evolving,” but “whether someone who appears human might actually be a rabbit, or a tiger or a Galapagos tortoise is a question above the president’s pay grade.”

Meanwhile, Belinda is nearly at the end of her rope.

“I don’t need someone to ‘fix’ Janice, forgive the expression,” she said. “I need the federal and state governments to acknowledge that she has the same rights as any other American resident, to live out her brief lifespan as authentically as she can. And that takes money that we just don’t have.”

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Pentagon Details Russian Incursion into Ukraine, IS Threat, and a Disturbing Incident with a Chinese Fighter

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Earlier Today, Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby delivered a press briefing on Russia, Ukraine and the ongoing Islamic State threat in Syria and Iraq.

Adm. Kirby criticized Russia for sending a column into Ukraine’s territory under the guise of humanitarian aid. He said that the Russians have massed more than 10,000 troops on the Ukraine border, and that they are combined-arms capable, very ready and very capable. Russia, Kirby said are continuing to add troops to the forces massed border region. Kirby also accused Russia of directly assisting the separatists in Ukraine with armor and anti-aircraft missiles. It was a Russian anti-aircraft missile fired by separatists that shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine.

Kirby also detailed an incident involving a US P-8 anti-submarine aircraft and a Chinese fighter jet over international waters near Asia on August 19. The P-8 was on a “routine mission” according to Adm. Kirby. Kirby said that the Chinese fighter brought its wingtips to within 30 feet of the American aircraft, and it rolled in front of the P-8′s nose to show its weapons load to the US pilot. The Chinese aircraft made three close passes, and Kirby described its actions as “very dangerous” and “unprofessional.” Kirby said that the US government has made its concerns about the incident known to the Chinese government.

The Chinese incident follows several in which Russian bombers have penetrated US airspace.

Kirby revealed that US air forces have conducted 93 airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq, but at the same time insisted that there is no military solution to the threat that IS poses. “Good governance,” Kirby said, is what will ultimately defeat the Islamist terrorist group.

The Islamic State has thousands of fighters, and uses American weapons and vehicles that were left behind when Iraqi army units abandoned them. IS’s spread has only been slowed by military action so far — Kurdish peshmerga forces fighting it on the ground, and US airstrikes damaging it from above.

Under media questioning, Adm. Kirby admitted that the State Department has requested 300 more security forces for its facilities in Baghdad. The Pentagon, Kirby said, is evaluating that request but has made no decisions. He said that he knows of “no specific threat stream” that cause the State Department to make the request. The US currently has about 1,000 troops in Iraq, acting as security forces and advisers with no combat role.

Kirby also addressed the use of military vehicles by local police, an issue that has grown more prominent during the unrest in Ferguson, MO. Kirby said that most of the equipment that the Pentagon transfers to local police is not tactical, but office equipment and communications. He did acknowledge that the Pentagon provided two Humvees to the Ferguson Police Department, but they were “soft skinned,” not armored. He said that most of the gear in Ferguson that appears to be military gear from the Pentagon is not military gear and did not come from the US military.

You can watch the entire briefing here.

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VIDEO—Sen. Harry Reid Launches Racist Jokes Before Asian Audience

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Daily Caller has a story on this remarkable video of Sen. Harry Reid speaking before the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce. In it, Sen. Reid engages in ethnic humor. First he jokes about Asians being smarter than everyone else — a racial stereotype, albeit a positive one. Later, he jokes that he “can’t keep his Wongs straight.” That joke has a bit more bite. Would Reid joke to a white audience that he can’t keep his Smiths straight? Is he suggesting that all Asians look alike?

I’m asking as the husband of a Japanese woman…

Sen. Reid has a history of making racial remarks, as when he noted that Barack Obama was a viable black presidential candidate because he is “clean and articulate.” He had to apologize directly to Obama for that one.

The Senator’s efforts did not help his chosen candidate for Nevada lieutenant governor. He sought the Asian Chamber’s endorsement for Democrat Lucy Flores. But the Chamber backed Republican Mark Hutchison instead.

More: This shouldn’t go without a mention. Democrats in Kentucky have been attacking Sen. Mitch McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao — because she is Asian.

And, during his first run for governor, Louisiana Democrats launched a series of racist attacks on Bobby Jindal by referring to his given name, Piyush.

More: Reid has a long history of making racist and, frankly, idiotic remarks. That very history prompts the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake to grant him “gaffe immunity.”

A Republican with a similar history — there aren’t any, by the way — would be driven from office.

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Travis County Judge Shows Why Gov. Perry Cannot Get a Fair Trial There

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Travis County Judge Julie Kocurek is trying to shut Gov. Perry up. Or throw even more legal problems his way.

A Travis County grand jury indicted Perry last week, on two counts that criminalize free speech and the governor’s constitutional veto power.

The governor spoke out about the charges against him, as is his right, on Saturday.

Perry said, “I am confident that we will ultimately prevail, that this farce of a prosecution will be revealed for what it is, and those responsible will be held accountable.”

That last part has Judge Kocurek fuming.

A state district judge from Austin said Thursday that she intends to protect members of the grand jury that indicted Gov. Rick Perry from any threats — veiled or direct — from the governor or anyone else.

Judge Julie Kocurek, the judge of the 390th District Court, said Perry’s comments Saturday, a day after the indictment, could be construed as a threat and a possible violation of the law. Kocurek, as the administrative presiding judge of all criminal courts in the county, said that “no one is above the law,” and the public needs to know that grand jurors are legally protected from any threat. “I have a duty to make sure that our members of the grand jury are protected,” Kocurek said. “I am defending the integrity of our grand jury system.”

Perry was clearly referring to the Travis County DA’s office and the Public Integrity Unit, through which he was indicted, in his Saturday comments, not the grand jury. The Travis County Public Integrity Unit has engaged in political prosecutions for decades. Under DA Ronnie Earle, it even went after Democrats now and then if they had crossed Earle. The Perry indictment follows the Delay and Hutchison cases and is seen by most as revenge by Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg, who was caught drunk driving in April 2013. Perry’s veto threat was aimed at restoring the PIU’s credibility by getting Lehmberg to step down. She refused. Democrats backed her, because if she resigned, Perry would get to appoint her replacement.

Perry’s whole involvment has been an attempt hold Lehmberg and the Travis County DA’s office accountable. Not the grand jury. No one has threatened anyone on the grand jury, though revelations after the indictment have suggested that politics played a role in their decisions.

Judge Kocurek is a former Republican, appointed to the bench in 1999 by Gov. George W. Bush. She later switched parties. Her misunderstanding of Perry’s obvious statement looks forced and convenient. It may be a set-up to use the law to muzzle the governor as he faces the charges.

The Texas Penal Code that outlaws obstruction and retaliation says that anyone who “intentionally or knowingly harms or threatens to harm” a grand juror can face a second-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

If a citizen files a complaint against Perry for violating the statute, the governor could face another grand jury investigation.

Watch Soros-funded Texans for Public Justice rush in to file a complaint.

As I keep saying, Travis County’s judiciary, its district attorney’s office and its jury pool are so tainted that he cannot receive a fair trail there.

 

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New York State Fines Farms for Declining to Host Gay Weddings

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Your own private property is no longer safe.

ALBANY—Two farmers in rural Rensselaer County must pay $13,000 in fines and restitution after they rebuffed a lesbian couple who inquired about getting married at their farm, a state agency ruled.

Jennifer McCarthy and her now-wife Melisa (nee Erwin) found Liberty Ridge Farm, which overlooks the Hudson River in Schaghticoke, several miles north of Troy, on the internet and hoped to rent it for their wedding ceremony and reception. Cynthia Gifford, who along with her husband offer a corn maze, market and events at the 100-acre farm, told Melisa McCarthy her same-sex marriage would cause “a little bit of a problem” because the Giffords have a “specific religious belief regarding marriage,” according to court papers.

McCarthy and her wife brought a complaint in conjunction with the New York Civil Liberties Union, saying Liberty Ridge Farm was a public accommodation and the Giffords’ actions were unlawfully discriminatory under state law.

While the McCarthys never entered into a rental contract for the facility, an administrative law judge ruled Gifford “implicitly rescinded the invitation” when she learned Melisa McCarthy’s spouse-to-be was also a woman.

No contract is no protection. The mere inquiry is enough to cost thousands.

“The policy to not allow same-sex marriage ceremonies on Liberty Ridge Farm is a denial of access to a place of public accommodation,” Judge Migdalia Pares wrote. She said the Giffords should pay $3,000 to the women—$1,500 each—for “mental anguish each suffered as a result of respondents’ unlawfully discriminatory conduct.” Citing “the goal of deterrence” as well as the Giffords’ clear stance against same-sex weddings, Pares fined the Giffords an additional $10,000.

So, the judge is proactively punishing thoughtcrime.

My prediction that the current trajectory of this issue will end up with churches declining to support any weddings in their facilities is looking better and better.

The goal here, for some but by no means all same-sex marriage supporters, is to destroy the church or drive it underground. We’re a long way from that, but not as far as most seem to think. They’re making progress.

 

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‘MythBusters’ Drops Kari, Grant and Tory

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Discovery Channel’s lone remaining science series, MythBusters, has lost 60% of its cast. The show announced Thursday night that that episode would be the last to feature Kari Byron, Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara.

MythBusters started out with just the two main cast members, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, special effects gurus who used their science knowledge and engineering chops to test common pop culture myths. The show was fine in those early days, but MythBusters really took off when it grew to the current cast. The trio joined the full cast of MythBusters 10 years ago.  They brought a new chemistry to the show, and Byron brought a little nerd sex appeal too.

Now the era of five hosts busting multiple myths per show is over. And it sounds like money is at the root.

“I guess you guys are finding out the news right about now. After a decade of theMythBusters, we are no longer with the show,” Kari said in a series of tweets. “Thank you to all the fans who have supported us. The show is taking a new direction. It was an amazing run. I learned so much about myself and the world. I love you all @MythBusters. I am sad for an ending but there will be exciting new adventures for us.”

Chances are, budget cuts are to blame. Discovery Channel has all but dropped science programming in favor of reality shows about gold and cars, bogus documentaries about sharks, along with its survival hit Naked and Afraid. The reduced MythBusters probably isn’t going to last long now.

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Does Fighting ISIS Mean Allying With Assad?

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

The formation and execution of foreign policy can be complicated. Yet, the principles which inform those tasks are not. Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson reports on the awkward relationship emerging between the United States and the Assad regime in Syria as both find a common enemy in the Islamic State (ISIS):

“The Obama administration can’t partner with Assad overtly at this time, but the logic and trajectory of White House policy in Syria leads in that direction,” Tony Badran, a research fellow specializing in Syria and Hezbollah at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Fox News. “White House policy in Syria is predicated on preserving so-called regime institutions.”

In public, the administration is not changing its position on Assad. And State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf disputed that the U.S. and Syrian governments share a common goal in defeating ISIS.

“I would strongly disagree with the notion that we are on the same page here,” Harf said on Monday, while later admitting to Fox News, “We may be looking at some of the same targets.”

We need not wring our hands with concern over whether action taken against ISIS in defense of American lives places us in alignment with Assad on certain objectives. Moral clarity can be found by recalling the proper role of our armed forces in defending American citizens. Anxiety over “helping” Assad by undercutting his opposition in ISIS seems based primarily on concern over the death of innocents in Syria. But if ISIS presents a threat to American citizens, then failure to neutralize the aggressive Islamic totalitarian horde potentially sacrifices Americans for the sake of Syrians. That’s not a trade our government may properly make.

The other way to potentially view this, if we conclude that Assad also presents a threat to America, is that fighting the enemy of an enemy does not necessarily make friends. Certainly, when we recall the inclusion of the Soviet Union in the Allied Forces rallied to defeat the Axis, we would not in retrospect claim that common purpose made us lasting friends.

(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here. 7:58 minutes long; 7.72 MB file size. Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)

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Legal Analysis: Perry Indictment Will Get Thrown Out by a Judge, or Rejected by a Jury

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Rick Reed is a Democratic attorney in Austin, TX. A criminal defense attorney, he has analyzed the indictment of Gov. Rick Perry.

Reed knocks out one misconception about the indictment right off the bat. According to Reed, it does not allege two felonies. Rather, it alleges that Gov. Perry committed one felony and one misdemeanor.

I won’t quote the analysis, as it suffers if any part is taken out of context. It’s brief at just four pages, and it’s a good read for a legal analysis. You can read the entire analysis here.

The final paragraph deserves a quote, though:

“Whether this indictment will die a quick death from a judicial ruling granting a motion to quash or one prolonged by a jury trial ending in acquittal, only time will tell. One thing, however, is certain: it cannot survive both judicial and juror scrutiny.”

My only quibble with that is, if the indictment gets past a judge, a jury made of Travis County’s finest is literally capable of anything. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison escaped the Travis County DA’s flimsy charges against her in 1993 by getting her trial moved to Fort Worth. The jury took about 30 minutes to acquit her. Rep. Tom Delay’s trial stayed in Austin, and he lost — even though the law and the facts were clearly on his side. A judge later agreed and threw the convictions out on appeal. By then, Delay’s career was destroyed and the Democrats had flogged him hard enough that they took over control of the US House of Representatives.

Some disclosure on this analysis is probably in order. After Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg’s arrest for drunk driving, Rick Reed filed charges against her for abusing her power. The charges alleged, correctly, that Lehmberg threatened the processing officers when she tried to get Sheriff Greg Hamilton involved. The evidence of abuse of power was crystal clear. Yet a grand jury refused to indict Lehmberg, despite the clear and unambiguous evidence of her abuse of power, which was captured on video tape.

So Reed is not new to any of this. The grand jury’s failure to indict Lehmberg, and another grand jury’s evident eagerness to indict Perry, provide ample evidence that Rick Perry cannot get a fair trial in that county. The jury pool is beyond tainted against him. It is poisoned against him.

More: While we’re on the subject of the indictment and the Public Integrity Unit, the question has come up several times — How did a county DA get such widespread jurisdiction over elected political figures all over the state?

The answer: Former DA Ronnie Earle asserted jurisdiction on his own. Earle is no longer there, having retired in 2008. Lehmberg is his successor. After indicting Perry, the PIU’s days in Travis County may be numbered. There will be a strong push in the next session of the legislature to disband it or move it to the state attorney general’s office. The incoming lieutenant governor, state Sen. Dan Patrick, sponsored a bill to do just that in the last session, but it failed due to some political games in the state House.

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Legendary NFL Superstar Jim Brown Says He is Not Emphasizing Violence — or Nonviolence

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
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NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown was asked by ESPN Cleveland’s “The Really Big Show” last Friday about the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. Though he admitted he didn’t know anything about the circumstances of the shooting, Brown said, “A young man had to die that wasn’t a weapons threat to anyone. That’s the most unfortunate thing. ” While Brown said that looting was wrong as a form of protest and “it’s an excuse to do something that’s incorrect,” he said there there was an upside to the shooting. “Now, the good thing is that it calls attention to law enforcement and it tells law enforcement you need better training so that your officers can be heroes of the community and not enemies of the community. If your pattern is always that it’s a young black male being killed, that’s not right,” Brown said.

 

Asked about Dr. Martin Luther King’s nonviolent protest tactics, the legendary former Cleveland Browns player said, “Dr. King was a fine man with a flawed philosophy. He said ‘nonviolence.’ What is a non? That’s inactive. So if you’re inactive, what are you going to change?” Nonviolence won’t bring about anything, Brown said. “Gandhi — it didn’t really work. It only got the good people killed.”

 

Brown said the solution for the problems plaguing communities like Ferguson is education, self-determination, and personal responsibility. “Understanding how to protect your community rather than being a predator in your community,” is key said Brown.  But then he added, “I mean, when you say non-violence or violence, obviously you don’t want violence. But obviously I’m not emphasizing non-violence because what does that do?”

 

Obviously.

 

Listen to the full interview here.

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State Department Doesn’t Believe that ISIS is at War with the United States

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

There’s no question that ISIS believes that it as at war with the US. It keeps saying so.

And the US has launched several dozen airstrikes against them, while we are also arming and advising the Kurds who are fighting them on the ground. We’re also advising the Iraqi security forces. ISIS just beheaded an American journalist and is threatening to murder another one.

But the State Department, represented here by Marie Harf, doesn’t believe that those facts constitute “war.”

At a briefing Thursday, a reporter brought up anti-American comments from ISIL leaders: “I mean, even they are announcing, ISIL people in their message, whatever, the recorded message, other messages, that now we are in a war with America.”

“This is not about ISIL versus the United States,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf objected. “They are killing anyone who gets in their way: Sunnis, Shia Muslims, Christians, Yazidis, Iraqis, Syrians, anyone who gets in their way — and now an American.”

“So this is not about what the United States is or isn’t doing,” Harf continued. “This is about ISIL stated a commitment to murder, rape, enslave people who don’t agree with their ideology and who get in their way.”

“But they are announcing that it’s a war against America,” the reporter pressed. “Right or wrong, that’s what they are saying.”

Harf maintained, “Well, they can say whatever they’d like, but what I am making clear is that’s not what ISIL represents. And they don’t represent any religion. They are at war with everybody they come into contact with.”

They’re not at war with the westerners they keep recruiting. They have about 1500 British citizens they have come into contact with, who have joined ISIS.

What’s the game here that State is playing?

I’m on the record that Harf is cute, but that she’s a terrible spokesperson for the US. Terrible. She gets snarky and defensive when reporters ask her legitimate questions, and she is of a mind that hashtags have replaced tanks and airplanes in modern warfare.

It would be nice if that were true. But it’s a fantasy to believe that it is. Hashtags won’t even get you through a game of Risk.

Here, Harf is not speaking on her own. She is delivering the official message. She is representing what Secretary of State John Kerry believes, who is supposed to be in sync with what President Obama believes. But he may not be. Obama isn’t exactly fully on task these days, unless the task is working on his putting game.

So Kerry believes that it’s not in our interests not to admit that we’re at war with ISIS — the worst thing to hit the world since al Qaeda.

Kerry also tweeted yesterday that ISIS should be “crushed.”

How and why should we crush an entity that we’re not even at war with?

h/t Ace

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Teamsters Hurl Misogynistic, Racist and Homophobic Abuse at ‘Top Chef’s’ Padma Lakshmi

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The phrase “union thugs” was invented for people like the Teamsters, who have been threatening TV star Padma Lakshmi and her Top Chef crew.

The Teamsters picketers were already mad. By the time Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi’s car pulled up to the Steel & Rye restaurant in the picturesque New England town of Milton just outside Boston, one of them ran up to her car and screamed, “We’re gonna bash that pretty face in, you fucking whore!”

“She was scared,” said a Top Chef crewmember who witnessed the incident, which occurred in June while filming an episode for the upcoming 12th season of Bravo’s popular skein, which premieres October 15. “He was screaming at her aggressively and violently.”

“As any employee of our show walked on or off set, the picketers verbally attacked us, calling the gays ‘fags,’ the blacks ‘niggers’ and most of the women ‘sluts and whores,’ ” the crewmember said. “It got worse as the day went on. They chased us down the sidewalk when we had to run from one end of the location to the next in the middle of our busy work day. They threatened to kill us, beat us, and said that they would find us and force us out of the city. Needless to say, we were terrified. I’m a strong person, but being called names and yelled at and harassed for 12 hours while working, I started to crumble. I was scared and worried for my safety.”

More at the link.

One obvious solution to all this presents itself. Ms. Lakshmi should move production to a right-to-work state, like, just spitballin’ here, Texas. She and the jobs the show brings would be more than welcome here, and the Teamsters…not so much.

 

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Federal Judge Orders Holder’s DOJ to Hand Fast and Furious Doc to Congress

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

You lose, Eric Holder. And Barack Obama.

WASHINGTON –  A federal judge has ordered the Justice Department to provide Congress with a list of documents that are at the center of a long-running battle over a failed law enforcement program called Operation Fast and Furious.

In a court proceeding Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson set an Oct. 1 deadline for producing the list to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The Justice Department says the documents should remain confidential and President Barack Obama has invoked executive privilege in an effort to protect them from public disclosure.

It would be nice to see this investigation go somewhere. It’s not at all clear how, assuming their side of the story is correct, the government could have tracked firearms in Mexico’s drug war without actually tracking them.

It is clear that while Fast and Furious was in full swing, Holder, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were blaming that war on our Second Amendment. Coincidence? That doesn’t seem likely.

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Presidentin’ — Just Something that Barack Obama Does Between Rounds of Golf

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Daily Mail rounds up media reaction to President Obama’s habit of interrupting his golf rounds with the occasional foray into being President of the United States.

It’s not pretty.

President Barack Obama teed off again on Thursday, just 24 hours after pictures of his wide grin on the golf course drew condemnation in the wake of the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley.

‘Admit it,’ a White House pool reporter emailed the press corps. ‘You all made small-dollar bets that POTUS would be playing golf today. And … you would be right!’

‘We are at the Farm Neck Golf Club at 1:13 pm. and POTUS is hitting the links again.’

The president drew fire Wednesday after reacting to Foley’s on-camera slaying for just five minutes, and then gripping his driver.

He had told a global audience minutes earlier that ‘when people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done.’

Then he was seen laughing with friends and fist-bumping them during a five-hour round at Farm Neck on Martha’s Vineyard.

ABC News political director Rick Klein told Fox host Greta van Susteren three hours earlier that the White House is ‘well past the point of caring about the so-called “optics” of things like this. And the president himself clearly doesn’t … care about the way it looks.’

‘Golfing today is in bad taste,’ tweeted Vox editor-in-chief Ezra Klein, a long-time Obama backer.

Even little Ezra Klein gets it.

The president has been breaking speed records for getting to the golf course after commenting on some serious issue. He made the trip in just 7 minutes the other day.

It would be one thing is this was a typical August, but August 2014 is anything but. Ferguson MO has been embroiled in race riots, the Middle East is swarming with ISIS, who just beheaded an American, and there’s a shooting war brewing between Ukraine and Russia.

The president is supposed to set the tone. He just doesn’t care about that, or about the country that he’s supposed to lead.

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Hagel: Mission to Rescue IS Hostages was ‘Flawless.’ Omits Most Glaring Flaw.

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel took questions from the media today regarding the mission that the US military mounted to rescue hostages captured by the Islamic State.

Word of that mission leaked after IS terrorists beheaded American journalist James Foley.

Hagel described the mission as “flawless” despite the fact that it failed to rescue any hostages.

CHUCK HAGEL, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: As to your question as to whether this was a failure of intelligence. No. The fact is you all know intelligence doesn’t come wrapped in a package with a bow. It is a mosaic of many pictures of many factors. Te enemy always has a say in everything. The fact is, you have to work that reality in to any decision you make, but the underlying objective was to do everything we could as the president has said to rescue these hostages, knowing their lives were in danger, clearly in danger. It’s the responsibility of our government and our leaders to do all we can to take action when we believe there might a good possibility or chance to make a rescue effort successful. This operation, by the way, was a flawless operation but the hostages were not there.

As many pointed out on Twitter, the fact that the terrorists had already moved the hostages is a pretty large flaw in the operation. The intelligence was behind events on the ground.

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Armed Services Chairman: Leak on Unsuccessful Rescue Op Puts Hostages, Informants, Troops at Risk

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee today called for an investigation into the leak that led the Obama administration to say that it attempted a rescue of ISIS hostages earlier this summer.

The Pentagon and White House released details of the operation reportedly to beat some news stories that were expected on it.

“Earlier this summer the president authorized an operation to attempt the rescue of American citizens who were kidnapped and held by ISIL against their will in Syria,” Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “The president authorized action at this time because it was the national security team’s assessment that these hostages were in danger with each passing day in ISIL custody.”

“The U.S. Government had what we believed was sufficient intelligence, and when the opportunity presented itself, the president authorized the Department of Defense to move aggressively to recover our citizens,” Monaco said in the statement. “Unfortunately, that mission was ultimately not successful because the hostages were not present.”

Armed Services chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said in a statement this afternoon that he, “like all Americans,” continues to be “shocked and outraged at the brutal execution of James Foley at the hands of ISIS terrorists.”

“I commend the bravery of our forces who attempted to rescue him and other American captives earlier this summer. They put their lives on the line for people they’d probably never met, and we are forever blessed to have such men and women in service to our country,” McKeon said.

“Successful or not, such operations are incredibly sensitive, even after they have concluded. Disclosure of these missions puts our troops at risk, reduces the likelihood that future missions will succeed, and risks the lives of hostages and informants alike.”

The chairman said while he found it “unwise for the White House and Department of Defense to formally acknowledge this operation, it is outrageous that someone would be so selfish and short sighted to leak it to the media.”

“Secretary Hagel should investigate this matter immediately and thoroughly to determine who, if anyone, at the Department of Defense was the source of this damaging leak,” McKeon said. “Likewise, the heads of the other agencies involved should take similar steps.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to address the media at 3:30 p.m. EST.

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GAO: Obama Broke the Law in Bergdahl Swap

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Government Accountability Office has handed down its verdict over whether the swap of terrorists for Bowe Bergdahl was legal. The question centers on whether the administration was in the right, legally, when it failed to give Congress 30 days notice that terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay would be released.

It wasn’t.

The Department of Defense (DOD) violated section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014 when it transferred five individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the nation of Qatar without providing at least 30 days notice to certain congressional committees. Section 8111 prohibits DOD from using appropriated funds to transfer any individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay unless the Secretary of Defense notifies certain congressional committees at least 30 days before the transfer. As a consequence of using its appropriations in a manner specifically prohibited by law, DOD also violated the Antideficiency Act.

Open and shut. Where’s the indictment?

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Wendy Davis is Dodging Big Questions About the Perry Indictment

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Is the political indictment of Gov. Rick Perry already backfiring on Democrat governor hopeful Wendy Davis?

Gov. Perry’s official courthouse portrait immediately became the Mugshot Seen ‘Round the World. Instead of becoming a liability, it became a badge of honor. It will probably be on campaign T-shirts, mugs and shot glasses (the Rick Perry “MugShot” is irresistible) before long.

Perry followed that visit up with a trip for ice cream, sealing the win on what the Democrats hoped would be a terrible day for him and the beginning of the end of the Perry era.

The case itself is already ripping the heart out of what’s left of the Texas Democratic Party. The lead investigator has destroyed, as in burned to the ground and salted the earth, the TDP’s narrative that Perry battled Travis County drunk driving DA Rosemary Lehmberg in order to scuttle an investigation into a Texas anti-cancer agency, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. Not true, says Chris Walling, lead investigator on that case. So, that’s done and dusted.

The CPRIT allegations have been swirling for a while. Back in May, Democrat governor hopeful Wendy Davis was trying to tie the CPRIT investigation around the neck of Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republicans’ nominee for governor. The leftwing Texas Observer dutifully transcribed her attack.

On Tuesday, Davis appeared at the Austin Tex-Mex restaurant Juan in a Million to level some of the same criticisms. “Greg Abbott allowed our cancer institute to become a piggy bank and allowed his donors to siphon off millions of tax dollars from cancer patients and from taxpayers,” she told a crowd of supporters. “When Abbott served on the oversight board of our state’s cancer research institute, he wasn’t looking out for cancer patients. He was looking out for his political donors.”

That was an appalling misuse of a fine restaurant and an Austin institution. Juan in a Million has even been featured on Man Vs. Food. Davis is without excuse for using it as a platform for such a scurrilous attack. A reliable witness tells the Tatler that Davis didn’t even eat the restaurant’s world famous fare during the stop. That’s practically a crime by itself.

Abbott, like Perry, was never tied to the CPRIT investigation and was not a target of it. Never. Despite what Davis said.

Now that the indictment has become a fiasco for the Democrats, Wendy Davis is dodging questions about it, reports the Dallas Morning News Trailblazers blog.

Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth and Democratic nominee for governor, even avoided answering a question about Perry’s link to the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, an agency embroiled in scandal.

Davis wants some distance now, but it’s too late for that. Perry’s indictment is world news, and even the likes of the New York Times think that it’s bogus. Liberal professor Alan Dershowitz even compared it to show trials in the Soviet Union.

Davis undoubtedly took her cue to launch the CPRIT attack from Matt Angle’s Lone Star Project. He posted a hit piece on CPRIT the day after Davis’ comments at Juan in a Million.

Here’s how this works. Matt Angle is the out-of-state operative who controls the Democrats’ shadow party in Texas. He lives in Washington, operating off of millions of dollars left to him by the late Fred Barron, the Dallas lawyer who helped John Edwards hide his awful behavior.

 

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‘Dating Naked’ Cast Member is Really Upset Because…People Saw Her Naked

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Let’s push the pause button on politics, to note the decline and fall of what was a great civilization.

Have you seen this show, Dating Naked? It follows similar cable fare such as Discovery’s Naked and Afraid. These shows have “naked” in the title, which is a dead giveaway of what they’re about.

They’re about regular people getting naked for basic cable. Duh. That ought to be clear. It’s censored but still R rated stuff.

Dating Naked is a twist on earlier highbrow fare like Love Connection. Only, the daters are naked together on the first date. And they have a full crew around them shooting every word and every move in every contrived situation. And there are editors who will go over every frame of footage to condense hours of nakedness into a 30-minute show, with the naughty bits blurred out to keep the show’s maturity rating below the Hustler level.

When a person signs on to appear on Dating Naked, they’re taking enormous risks. But those risks are pretty obvious.

For one, a whole lotta people are gonna see you naked. If there’s even one mistake, one innocent error, a whole lot more people are gonna see you naked.

And what if any of the raw footage leaks onto the forever Internet? Game over for whatever might be left of your privacy and dignity.

The risks weren’t obvious to Jessie Nizewitz, 28. Her naughty bits weren’t blurred for a couple of seconds that aired. So she wants an apology, and by the way, millions of dollars. Because of all the hurt it caused her.

Jessie Nizewitz, 28, says she was repeatedly promised by the producers that her private parts would be “blurred out” during the show’s third episode in May.

So she stripped down to her birthday suit with wet beach sand covering parts of her body and performed a WWE-style wrestling move on her date while the producers egged her on, according to the $10 million suit filed in Manhattan by her high- powered lawyer, Matthew Blit.

“I felt lied to, manipulated and used. I was horrified,” Nizewitz told The Post, explaining that she was brought to tears.

When the episode aired on July 31, Nizewitz became the butt of jokes on YouTube, Twitter and Tumblr, the papers state.

“…butt of jokes…” We see what you did there, New York Post.

Even the runway model’s family caught an eyeful.

“My grandma saw it. I saw her this week and she didn’t have much to say to me. She’s probably mad. My parents are just annoyed,” Nizewitz lamented.

She says that the seconds of accidental clarity cost her a budding relationship with a boyfriend. Seeing her prancing around butt naked but mostly blurred on national TV — not a problem!

“He never called me again after the show aired. I would have hoped we could have had a long-term relationship. He was employed, Jewish, in his 30s and that’s pretty much ideal,” Nizewitz said.

You know what’s not ideal? Starting off a relationship with a lovely young woman who you really like, only to turn on the TV and see that she’s willing to romp around naked in front of her grandma and your family and everyone else, for a few thousand bucks.

To some people — horrible prudes stuck in the Victorian era, no doubt — that might even be a deal-breaker.

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Cheney Rips Obama: ‘It’s Hard to Believe That This President Is as Ineffective as He Clearly Is’

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Americans need to take the “terrible development” of the beheading of journalist James Foley and “magnify that a million times over because that’s what’s in store for the rest of the world if we don’t deal effectively with this crisis.”

“There’s no question what with the developments of Iraq and Syria, the development of a caliphate, that the ISIS organization in charge is very much a threat to the United States, to our friends and allies not only in the Middle East but in Europe,” Cheney told Fox last night.

The veep said he’s still wrestling with the question of whether Obama is operating from “naivete or lack of experience or because that’s the way he wants things to work.”

“I’ve just about reached the point where I’ve concluded that what he is discovering fairly late in his administration is that his basic world view is fundamentally flawed, that the world is a mean, nasty place on occasion, that you need a very strong America, you need superior American military forces to deal with it,” Cheney said.

“And I think every single day that goes by, he’s finding that there’s a bigger and bigger gulf between his hoped-for view of the world and reality. He’s not up to speed and does not want to believe all that’s going on out there. But every day, we find new evidence that he’d rather be on the golf course than he would be dealing with the crisis that’s developing rapidly in the Middle East.”

Obama headed straight for a game with Alonzo Mourning and others after yesterday’s statement at Martha’s Vineyard about Foley’s murder.

Cheney compared this with the reaction of British Prime Minister David Cameron. Foley’s killer had a Londoner accent.

“He wanted to immediately leave his vacation spot, head back to London and go to work, trying to deal with the problems that that represents. And of course, our president headed for the golf course as soon as he made his relatively, I thought, ineffective statement,” he said.

“I think the danger is enormous. I don’t think the president understands it… The intelligence is there for all to see. There’s no question about what’s happening. But this president and the people around him refuse to recognize it and certainly refuse to deal with it.”

Cheney maintained that Obama is making the situation even worse with military cuts.

“They’re taking our Army down below levels we haven’t seen since Pearl Harbor. They’ve made major reductions in the Air Force and the Navy. There was a recent excellent study done by a commission, bipartisan commission, Republican and Democrat alike, studying the long-term trends of the defense budget that basically concludes that there’s no way under current circumstances we can execute the national strategy,” he said. “So it’s a train wreck. And there’s one more train wreck every day. It’s hard to believe that this president is as ineffective as he clearly is.”

The former VP acknowledged the “lack of appetite” among many Americans to declare war on ISIS after Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Of course, it’s difficult to persuade the American people that we ought to send our sons and daughters off to fight a war. But sometimes, it’s absolutely necessary. And that’s why we have presidents. And that’s why they have the authority as commander-in-chief to make those decisions and why those of us who are involved need to do everything we can to support them and support our troops in the field,” Cheney said.

“Now, is there a great threat coming? Absolutely. Remember what happened on 9/11, when 19 guys armed with airline tickets and box cutters came here and killed 3,000 of us, took down the World Trade Center, blew a big hole in the Pentagon. I’m absolutely certain that some day, there will be another mass casualty attack against the United States. Only next time, they’ll have far deadlier weapons.”

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McCain: ‘Failures of Policies Have Consequences, and We’re Paying Those in Human Blood’

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) stressed that “failures of policies have consequences, and we’re paying those consequences in enormous… cost of human blood.”

“The president wanted out of Iraq. We predicted — many of us predicted that this chaos would ensue. We did not predict the rapidity of the collapse of collapse of the Iraqi military, but certainly this was all predictable when the president of the United States — and he — he’s not telling the truth when he says that he wanted to leave a residual force behind. He did not. And that’s a huge mistake,” McCain said this morning on Fox.

“These things are not like earthquakes or hurricanes… And he still doesn’t get it.”

“He gave a very moving statement about Mr. Foley which all touched us. And then what? He said we have to contain ISIS. We don’t have to contain ISIS. We have to defeat ISIS. And we have to do whatever is necessary. And ISIS is in Syria. And they have obliterated the — the boundary between Iraq and Syria. And we have to go in, and it’s more than pinprick air strikes. And we’re going to need more boots on the ground. And that does not mean combat troops, but it does mean a significant increase,” McCain continued.

“And rather the incrementalism that we are — that they are now practicing, we need a comprehensive strategy that can be explained to the American people, which is designed to defeat ISIS wherever they are. And I hope that this tragic thing that happened with — with Foley will serve to — as a — as a strong message to the United States of America that these people are going to attack us, and they’re going to attack us in the United States of America.”

He reminded all of the words Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — now the self-styled caliph — said when he left U.S. custody at Camp Bucca in 2004: “See you in New York.”

McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) issued their first statement on the execution of journalist James Foley after President Obama’s statement yesterday.

“We agree with the President that America must take the necessary actions against ISIS to protect our people, but ISIS is not just a threat to our personnel serving in Iraq. It is a threat to our nation, as all of our top military, national security, and intelligence leaders have clearly stated. America and our allies and partners will only be secure when ISIS is defeated. That means we must get beyond half-measures, tactical responses, and defensive actions. We need to develop a comprehensive strategy – political, economic, and military – to go on the offensive against ISIS, both in Iraq and Syria,” they said.

The senators noted that Obama “did not articulate a commitment to the comprehensive strategy necessary to defeat ISIS.”

“We cannot allow the darkness to spread, and we must accept our share of the responsibility to stop it, for the sake of our people and the entire civilized world,” McCain and Graham added.

McCain reminded viewers on Fox that Obama previously said, ”It’s not a question of whether Bashar Assad will go, it’s a matter of when.”

“Another debacle, which is the 170,000 dead, 150,000 Syrians still in Bashar Assad’s prison. And the barrel bombs that are so horrendous are continuing to be dropped on innocent men, women and children,” the senator said. “This is an abject failure. And I get emotional about it, because I know these people, and what they’re going through is horrendous.”

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‘War Is Deceit’: Tipsheet Tells Jihadists How to Shake Off Intel Agencies During Online Ops

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

ISIS members and supporters took over not just land in Syria and Iraq but a lot of Internet territory in their push to expand the Islamic State, advertise their operations, threaten the West and recruit new members.

Many of the accounts that spread like wildfire across Twitter, though, came under suspension Tuesday for tweeting photos or video of the beheading of journalist James Foley. Other Islamic State tweeters announced that they were voluntarily turning off their accounts for a few days until the storm passed, or resurfaced with altered account names.

A document posted on JustPaste.it, where ISIS has placed previous announcements such as photos posted Wednesday of its presence dangerously close to Aleppo, tells supporters and jihadists how to lay low online for the most effectiveness — including deceptively tweeting that they don’t support the bloody jihad of ISIS.

“The intelligence agencies specifically monitor the internet with the intention of dismantling anti-colonial narratives and attacking those who postulate them. Whether Muslim, radical socialist, anarchist, or anti-government activist, they want you. They want to know what you send, when you send it, to whom you send it to, why, and how to use it against you. They monitor your social media. Even if you never use your real name, post a picture, or leave any hints, they can track your IP address, know your identity, and jail you for a few online posts. They search for keywords such as ‘kafir’ in order to find specific individuals,” warns the paper, which begins with the verse, ”And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows.”

It stresses that the dangers posed online for jihadists aren’t a big deal in “South Africa or Sham [Syria],” but in the West, where the terror group wants to quietly maintain and grow its influence, “kafir intelligence agencies are particularly interested in entrapping young Muslims.”

“Is it lying to trick the kufar into thinking we live in different locations than we actually do, through words or otherwise, even if other Muslims may hear or see this?” the paper asks as a “minor issue,” before stressing that “war is deceit.”

“The people we are fooling are ones who have an open war with Allah, his messenger, our khilafah, and just about every sincere Muslim on this planet. You are engaging in war tactics so that you can spread the true dawah and discuss matters of jihad, to uncover news about your mujahid brothers, to dismiss lies. You are entering into a sort of psychological warfare with them, they do not take it lightly, and we do not take it lightly. Therefore, we can trick them and it is totally permissible.”

The paper was posted and pinned in a tweet by a user named Amreeki Witness, who is “dedicated to raising awareness about the upcoming conquest of the Americas, and the benefits it has upon the American people.” His avatar uses a State Department symbol and his Twitter cover photo is the White House with an Islamic State flag perched on top. He also posted the tips on remaining anonymous on a WordPress blog.

First, the tipsheet advises using a ghost VPN so “if the agencies attempt to track you, their search will lead them to a dead end,” and an Internet browser named TOR so “instead of simply placing you in one location, it sends you internet signal through nodes, or servers, across dozens of countries. That way, any searches will come up inconclusive.”

Users are then walked through how to create an encrypted email address “to confuse any spies who wish to uncover who sent what email to who” and install a TAILS operating system that runs off a flash drive instead of a hard drive. Instant messaging is encouraged only on Cryptocat or ChatSecure.

“One might be asking themselves if they can continue using their old social media on these. The answer is yes, but I do not recommend it whatsoever,” the paper continues. “If one feels they post things in which they would need this security, which is most Muslims upon haqq who are active online, then they should make a disclaimer saying something similar to, ‘I recant all opinions deemed dangerous or violent expressed on this page. This page was run for educational and analytic purposes only, to study the radical Muslim community for recreational purposes. I invite all those who follow this page to leave such corrupt ideology. I am not affiliated with any groups or organizations deemed terrorist or dangerous otherwise by any Western government or union of governments. I am a law abiding citizen in every regard.’”

“And then proceed to delete all other tweets/posts on the page and after leaving this up for a few minutes, simply delete the page. Make no indication that you have done this based on instructions. You are in a war with these people, we have discussed this earlier. Now, once you are on either TOR with a VPN, TOR, and/or TAILS OS, make a new bitmessage email. Make an alias. Sign-up for Twitter on TOR. Do not post pictures or any indication of who you are explicitly. If you feel the need to alter your writing style a bit, if you were a popular page, do so. You can make subtle indications that this is so and so, however, nothing that can be proven in a court of law. Allah’u must’a'n, may we never see inside one of those rooms for such a purpose.”

The writer asks Allah ”to hasten our venturing to the lands of jihad and hijrah, the lands in which there is no worry about people spying on private matters, in which the justice of Allah is supreme over the paranoia of men.”

A new Twitter account named @KhilafaHackers — Caliphate Hackers — also appeared online today, indicating that the Islamic State doesn’t plan on just playing defense against intelligence agencies trying to track them down.

“When it comes to Muslims in America i Quote Yasser Fazaga: The Less you Talk the more you Walk,” tweeted a user called @TheArabWitness today. “Too many informants. Keep it down.”

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Lead Investigator: Perry Was Not Under Investigation When He Tried to Get Travis County’s Drunk DA to Resign

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Texas Democratic Party and its operatives have tried to build a defense of their indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

According to that narrative, Perry tried to get Lehmberg removed because the Travis County Public Integrity Unit was circling around the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. There were allegations of crony corruption in CPRIT. According to the Democrat narrative, the suspicion of crony corruption had the PIU looking into Perry and several close associates. So, according to this narrative, Perry wanted to push Lehmberg out as Travis County district attorney, so he could appoint her successor and get that investigation killed off.

The Austin American-Statesman, no friend of Gov. Perry, already shattered that narrative earlier this week. The timeline of the CPRIT investigation does not match the timeline of Perry’s effort to rid Travis County of its drunk-driving, abusive DA.

Now one of the Travis County DA’s investigators has given a sworn statement in the case that ought to kill the Democrats’ narrative with fire.

Chris Walling was a criminal investigator with the Public Integrity Unit. Not only that, he was the primary investigator who was looking into the CPRIT case.

Walling submitted an affidavit on Wednesday, and in that affidavit he says:

“At no time in CPRIT investigation was Governor Rick Perry or anyone from the Governor’s office a target. At no time did I ever obtain evidence that suggested any wrongdoing on behalf of Governor Rick Perry or the Governor’s office. At no time did the evidence that I obtained as investigator ever suggest any wrongdoing on the part of any appointed Board Member of CPRIT. Any suggestion that Governor Rick Perry or anyone associated with him was being investigated is untrue; and, based on my investigation, there was absolutely no evidence whatsoever that suggests wrongdoing on the part of any individual other than the individual ultimately indicted by a grand jury.”

It’s obvious, but probably worth clarifying anyway, that Walling is not referring to the indictment of Perry there. He is referring to the lone indictment of a staffer in the CPRIT case.

Walling’s statement not only destroys the Democrats’ partisan narrative of the case, it destroys the indictment of Perry itself.

Walling’s affidavit addresses what he told the special prosecutor, Michael McCrum, about CPRIT.

“Special prosecutor Michael McCrum contacted me to interview me about the CPRIT investigation. During the interview, Mr. McCrum questioned me about Governor Rick Perry’s potential involvement in the CPRIT situation. I made it clear to him that there was absolutely no evidence even suggesting wrongdoing on the part of Governor Perry and in no uncertain terms that, after a lengthy investigation, no evidence was found to suggest wrong doing on the part of the Governor, the Governor’s office, nor any Board Member of CPRIT.”

Walling also says that he did not have any active investigation during or after the veto of PIU that targeted Gov. Perry or anyone from his office.

Walling’s affidavit raises a huge question: Did McCrum take his testimony to the grand jury? Did the grand jury ever hear this obviously exculpatory testimony?

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Hamas Admits Kidnapping and Killing Three Israeli Teens (and Therefore Starting the War)

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Early on in the latest Israel-Hamas war, which was started by the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers, many on the medialeft tried their best to exonerate Hamas of that crime.

Hamas itself has now debunked that.

“There was much speculation about this operation, some said it was a conspiracy,” [senior Hamas leader] Saleh al-Arouri told delegates at the International Union of Islamic Scholars in Istanbul on Wednesday, according to a recording of the meeting posted online by organizers.

“The popular will was exercised throughout our occupied land, and culminated in the heroic operation by the Qassam Brigades in imprisoning the three settlers in Hebron,” he said, referring to Hamas’s armed wing.

“This was an operation from your brothers in Qassam undertaken to aid their brothers on hunger strike in (Israeli) prisons,” he added.

Jewish seminary students Eyal Yifrach, 19, and Gilad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel, both 16, were abducted while hitchhiking in the Israeli occupied West Bank on June 12 and killed.

So they did it. Case closed.

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Caption Contest Winners: Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned, Obama Dances While the World Burns

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Myra Adams
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Credit: Photo from the event tweeted by Elliott Schwartz

Thanks to everyone who entered our latest caption contest.

Contest participants were asked to answer several questions, write an overall photo caption or provide “thought bubbles” from the white circle lights. If you are confused, or are a low information voter, please refer back to the original contest.

We had a problem in that there were too many hilarious and clever entries compared to the space available for this winner’s post. Thus, since most of you provided numerous answers to our many contest questions, the winners below are announced by name rather than by your snappy answers to our contest questions.  Got all that? OK, so now let’s enter the winner’s circle.

Kuce had two winners: 

Song, Dance, and Dance Partner – Well, as a narcissist, it could only be “Dancing with Myself.”

From Barack to the lady on the left –  ”Hey! It’s my favorite song – Iran, (so far away)”

rbj with four winners:

Dance: The Hustle

Laughter: Because there are no peasants on Martha’s Vineyard, except for the ones used for trap shooting.

Dance partner: Himself, as he’s the only one worthy.

A good time was had by all after Obama joked: those voters actually thought I cared about the 99%.

RelayerM31: Song: Bohemian Rhapsody. “Nothing really matters, anyone can see. Nothing really matters to me.”

Zipcode had two winners:

Light globe thought bubble,—We might as well shut down, that guy brought a halo with him.

Name of song,—[ I did it my way]—Frank Sinatra

Chris Henderson with two winners:

Three of the lights partially powered by Solyndra.

The completely unbiased Nobel Committee just added a “Dancing” category.

RockThisTown had two winners:

“Hey, look everybody! I’m doing the pen & phone polka!”

Night of the Living Dead, The Sequel: Trance the Night Away

Allen Crowson had three winners:

Of course an overall photo caption is also needed. Dancing President Leads…From Behind

What is the woman to the left of Obama laughing about? BHO just said, “I am the greatest bridge builder in this neighborhood since Teddy Kennedy.”

Who is Obama’s dance partner? No partner. The One Dances Alone.

MeridianMan had one overall caption winner:

America, Barack’s dance partner, trips and falls over his two left feet.

And guess who had the most winners?  Cfbleachers of course!

Song: If I Ruled The World

Laughing: Working on improving GDP. Golfing, Dancing and Partying!

Lights: Doesn’t matter how many of us they turn on, it’s nothing but darkness here

Woman Laughing: “and I thought his bowling was bad”

Lights: “so this is what they mean when they say that we are on… but nobody’s home”

Laughing: “Even both his feet are leftists!”

Overall: I’m partying with an 80-year-old woman, practicing for a Hillary presidency.

Lights: “They’re indoctrinated leftists, you can’t illuminate them”

Overall: Why’s Everybody Always Picking On Me

Lights: if something goes wrong, we’ll be blamed. We’re white.

Song: Eve of Destruction

Then, the one and only Cfbleachers wrote this clever description of Farm Neck Golf Club in Martha’s Vineyard where our hard working president is STILL vacationing.

You might be in Farm Neck if:

You might be in Farm Neck if you celebrate the Fourth of July by lighting the flag on fire.

You might be in Farm Neck if you flew in on your private jet to complain about carbon footprints.

You might be in Farm Neck if your foursome are all billionaires who give speeches about the evils of the 1%.

You might be in Farm Neck if the women have higher testosterone levels than the men.

You might be in Farm Neck if the New York Times is gospel and the Bible is fantasy.

You might be in Farm Neck if the men incessantly ride pink Barbie bikes and the women incessantly ride men.

You might be in Farm Neck if you believe ISIS and Iran need outreach and Israel needs to be slapped down.

You might be in Farm Neck if you advocate open borders from behind your high security gated community walls.

You might be in Farm Neck if every hand is manicured and the only calluses are from bad golf grips.

See you all next time a photo is worthy of a Tatler photo caption contest and the purveyor of this contest is back from vacation.

 

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Holder Drags His Own Personal Bitterness Into Ferguson

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

USA Today reports on AG Eric Holder’s trip to Ferguson, MO. Holder offered comments that, like Gov. Jay Nixon’s comments calling for a “vigorous prosecution” before there has even been an investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown, will probably end up inflaming rather than calming.

“I am the Attorney General of the United States, but I am also a black man,” Holder told Ferguson residents at a community meeting. “I can remember being stopped on the New Jersey turnpike on two occasions and accused of speeding. Pulled over. … ‘Let me search your car’ … Go through the trunk of my car, look under the seats and all this kind of stuff. I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me.”

As the attorney general, Holder is supposed to set aside his own prejudices and biases and act solely based on evidence and the law. But as attorney general, Eric Holder has shown a stubbornness and a bitterness over the years that have contributed to his politicization of the entire Justice Department.

“The eyes of the nation and the world are watching Ferguson right now,” Holder told a group of community leaders assembled at a local community college. “The world is watching because the issues raised by the shooting of Michael Brown predate this incident. This is something that has a history to it, and the history simmers beneath the surface in more communities than just Ferguson.”

What about this case? What about the robbery that Brown did before the shooting? What about how that may have impacted his state of mind when Officer Wilson approached him? What about the reports that Brown attacked Officer Wilson?

What about the facts of this case?

Bringing evidence and prejudice — there’s that word again — from other cases will not stand up in a fair trail in a court of law. But it doesn’t sound like Eric Holder is interested in a fair trial.

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Eric Holder’s Soros-Sponsored Police Sensitivity ‘Training’

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by J. Christian Adams

The vice president’s Boeing 757 delivered Eric Holder to St. Louis yesterday. In Ferguson, Holder announced that he was “a black man” and therefore had the power to heal Ferguson in ways that no other law enforcement official could. Yet his comments were sure to throw gasoline on fire burning hot with racial division.

That shouldn’t shock anyone. It’s the community organizing model of running the Justice Department. What is shocking is who is fueling the Justice Department’s “training” of police departments around the country: radicals, communist-affiliated organizations, and George Soros. I stumbled across this section of my book Injustice this morning. It notes:

A stable of academics serving as paid consultants help to fuel the DOJ’s fixation on racial profiling by the police. One such consultant, Dr. Jack McDevitt of Northeastern University, heads the Institute on Race and Justice (IRJ). Past collaborators with the IRJ include Angela Davis, a former member of both the Communist Party USA and the original Black Panther Party. The IRJ receives at least $440,448 in DOJ funds to teach department lawyers about racial profiling by police departments. But the IRJ’s reports on this issue have another deep pocket benefactor—George Soros and his Open Society Institute. Soros sponsored the IRJ’s project “Confronting Racial Profiling in the 21st Century: Implications for Racial Justice,” the very same work that IRJ is doing for the DOJ. Thus, police departments are subjected not only to DOJ muscle, but DOJ muscle with the financial backing of George Soros.

The DOJ training is basically sensitivity training for local cops. It is DOJ’s way to let them know what is and is not acceptable in Washington, D.C. If you behave in a way DOJ does not approve of, expect a visit from the Civil Rights Division.

But police training with even one degree of separation from Angela Davis is totally unacceptable. She is the perhaps the most toxic symbol of radical, violent, murderous opposition to the police and the legal system. In a sane government, the Justice Department wouldn’t have anything to do with any organization that has anything to do with her. But under Eric Holder, at least half a million dollars of your money goes to an organization she has collaborated with.

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Terrorist-Supporting Kent State Professor’s Incendiary, Anti-Semitic Facebook Posts

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Kent State University associate professor of history Julio Pino is well known for his anti-Semitic, jihad-supporting views. In 2002 the Cuban-born convert to Islam wrote a poem published in the Kent Stater that praised a female suicide bomber in Israel, saying her actions should be “pronounced ‘justice’ and spelled C-O-U-R-A-G-E.” In 2007, at the same time he was on the payroll of Ohio taxpayers as a tenured professor, he was also writing for Global War, a now defunct blog that supported violent global jihad. In 2011, Pino made news after he shouted ”Death to Israel” when an Israeli diplomat spoke at a campus event sponsored by the Jewish Hillel organization.

In early August of this year, Pina wrote an open letter to his fellow academics who support Israel, holding them “directly responsible for the murder of over 1,400 Palestinian children, women and elderly civilians over the past month.” Pino said, “Your names are scrawled on every bullet fired, bomb dropped, body buried and burnt forehead in Gaza. May your names become a curse word on the lips of every justice-loving person on earth, along with ‘Obama’ and ‘Netanyahu.’” He accused his fellow academics of being fascist collaborators and ended with a veiled threat saying, “We both know the fate of collaborators.” Pino signed the letter with a Che Guevara slogan: “Hasta la victoria siempre!” (“Until Victory, Always!”), and added, “Jihad until victory!”

While Kent State has, over the years, condemned Pino’s actions and violent rhetoric, it has not announced any official disciplinary actions against Pino for his incendiary rhetoric and attacks on Jewish and pro-Israel members of the campus community. The university called his most recent statements “reprehensible” and irresponsible” and said that “at Kent State, we value collegiality and mutual respect. Assailing the public with broad statements of culpability violates these principles.”

The toothless condemnations from the university have done little to quell Pino’s zeal for terrorist causes and the destruction of Israel, if his recent Facebook posts are any indication.

Pino’s profile picture shows protesters draped in Hamas flags.

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Politico Notices That Social Media Really Isn’t Helping the Ferguson Situation

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Duh.

Unrest in Ferguson, Mo., continues to dominate America’s attention more than 10 days after Michael Brown was shot and killed in what was a little-known St. Louis suburb. Unrelenting social media dispatches and shocking images of aggressive police force have only intensified the spotlight as officials seek calm. Attorney General Eric Holder visited the local FBI field office Wednesday to discuss the investigation and meet with community leaders — Washington’s strongest step yet toward de-escalating drama.

But social networks like Twitter highlight tensions in the moment rather than calm them, with tweets and photos detailing the scene as things unfold in real time. Social media has captured public violence and the detainment of two Washington journalists last week, and tweets, Instagram photos and Vine videos broadcast images of looting and police aggression to the world. Mini dispatches from those near skirmishes involving protesters and police have played a critical role in shaping the news: The #Ferguson hashtag has been tweeted almost 8 million times this month, according to figures from Topsy, a Twitter analytics service.

I have started to write about this perhaps ten times in the last week. While I agree that social media isn’t doing much to calm things down, I am not sure it should be looked at as much of an instigator. Cable news is still cranking up the tension more than anything else. Americans are TV people and all of the caterwauling on Twitter and Facebook is usually a response to something that was just seen on CNN, Fox News or MSNBC. Yes, social media helps spread the collective angst quicker but it is television that delivers that angst at Level 10 to the public in the first place. Let’s be honest-Al Sharpton was unnecessarily ratcheting up racial tension decades before Twitter even existed.

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Obama Admin Says It Tried to Rescue Americans from ISIS ‘Earlier This Summer’

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The White House said that it attempted to rescue U.S. hostages held by ISIS, including James Foley, who was beheaded in a video distributed by the terror group yesterday.

“Earlier this summer the president authorized an operation to attempt the rescue of American citizens who were kidnapped and held by ISIL against their will in Syria,” Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco said in a statement. “The president authorized action at this time because it was the national security team’s assessment that these hostages were in danger with each passing day in ISIL custody.”

“The U.S. Government had what we believed was sufficient intelligence, and when the opportunity presented itself, the president authorized the Department of Defense to move aggressively to recover our citizens,” Monaco said in the statement. “Unfortunately, that mission was ultimately not successful because the hostages were not present.”

She added that “given the need to protect our military’s operational capabilities, we will not be able to reveal the details of this operation.”

“But the president could not be prouder of the U.S. forces who carried out this mission and the dedicated intelligence and diplomatic professionals who supported their efforts. Their effort should serve as another signal to those who would do us harm that  the United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to hold their captors accountable.”

Foley’s news outlet, the Global Post, received an email a week ago from ISIS stating their intentions to execute the photojournalist.

“We received an email from the captors on Wednesday night of last week stating their intention to execute Jim,” Philip Balboni, president of the online news service, told a Boston Fox affiliate.

“The email was full of rage. We pleaded (to his captors) for mercy, but to no avail,” he added.

The White House knew of the email. It released the statement about the attempted rescue op hours after the news that ISIS gave warning of Foley’s execution.

In a Pentagon statement, press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the operation “involved air and ground components and was focused on a particular captor network within ISIL.”

“As we have said repeatedly, the United States government is committed to the safety and well-being of its citizens, particularly those suffering in captivity. In this case, we put the best of the United States military in harms’ way to try and bring our citizens home,” Kirby said.

“The United States government uses the full breadth of our military, intelligence and diplomatic capabilities to bring people home whenever we can. The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will work tirelessly to secure the safety of our citizens and to hold their captors accountable.”

It has not been revealed exactly how many Western hostages are being held by ISIS, including journalists and aid workers.

At the end of the gruesome video of Foley’s murder, his executioner held journalist Steve Sotloff by the shirt and threatened to kill him next if Obama didn’t stop airstrikes against the caliphate.

At the State Department today, spokeswoman Marie Harf said they ”remain very deeply concerned” about Sotloff’s “safety and whereabouts.”

“Obviously, the intelligence community is looking to get anything they can to possibly use from this video,” Harf said. “Obviously I’m not going to outline what tactical military or intelligence options are at our disposal to respond here and don’t want to get ahead of any discussions in that regard. But we have the ability to hold people accountable for what they’ve done. We have reserved the right to take action to protect our people, including when our people have been harmed. The principle will guide what we do going forward.”

The U.S. military conducted an additional 14 strikes around Mosul dam today, she said.

When asked if any sort of rescue operation was in the works to get Sotloff, Harf replied, “I’m not ruling anything in or out specifically. I don’t — I’m not going to have more specifics to share with you right now on that.”

“But I just want to be very clear that we — no effort is spared in trying to bring our people home. While we can’t always talk about it publicly for obvious security and safety reasons of the remaining people being held, I just want to make very clear that we are taking and will continue taking steps.”

Foley’s parents appeared outside of their Rochester, N.H., home today to speak of their son — and the cruelty of his death.

“It’s horrific,” said John Foley. “People can die in lots of different ways but this was the most horrific and it haunts me how much pain he was in and how cruel this method of execution is.”

His parents learned of their son’s beheading at the same time everyone else did — when ISIS posted the video on YouTube and distributed the link widely on social media.

“It testified to his courage. He was courageous to the end and I think he accepted his situation and I think he accepted God’s faith in him and his faith in God,” John Foley said.

James Foley’s mother, Diane, stressed that her son was ”a great American and he believed in the very best of this country.”

She said they pleaded with Obama to rescue Sotloff, and she asked people to pray for the president.

“How long are we going to tolerate this?” John Foley said of the terrorists’ crimes.

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Texas Democrats Are Pretty Happy About Depriving Gov. Perry of Some of His Firearm Rights

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Democrats even in Texas hate guns, and they really really hate Rick Perry, so the malicious indictment of him is a win-win. Anyone under felony indictment is deprived of certain gun rights, and that now includes the governor of Texas.

As an indictee, Perry’s state-issued Concealed Handgun License, assuming he still has one — his office didn’t know as of Tuesday afternoon — will be suspended until the case against him is decided. (Cue the cheering coyotes.)

The indictment’s impact on Perry’s gun rights was brought to my attention by a former Democratic state legislator who seemed happy to point it out.

“I’m surprised that you haven’t analyzed the most significant and immediate impact of the governor’s indictment,” ex-state Sen. Steve Carriker, D-Roby, told me in an email including the applicable federal law.

Carriker also was most helpful in providing the official federal “Firearms Transaction Record Part 1” form, which must be filled in by firearms purchasers. Question 11b asks “Are you under indictment or information in any court for a felony, or any other crime, for which the judge could imprison you for more than one year?” (An information is a formal accusation of a crime by a prosecutor.)

For Perry that’s now a big ol’ yes. And yes means no new guns or ammo.

Gov. Perry is a victim of this prosecution but he isn’t exactly defenseless here. He has state-provided body guards most of the time. He does like to jog on his own, though, and can no longer carry the gun that commemorates his duel with a coyote. I once ran into him ambling about by himself at a little function in downtown Austin, no bodyguards to be seen anywhere. He just walked in as if he were an average guy. But I never doubted that he was packing. You can always count on him, Jerry Patterson and, well, most other prominent Texas Republicans to have their CCL up to date and in use.

You can see from the tone of the Austin American-Statesman story above, and the comments within it, that some in the media and the Texas Democrats are happy about depriving the governor of his rights. They like it.

Don’t think they would be any less happy about depriving you of yours, if you happen to disagree with them. The Democrats would indict every single Republican in the entire state if they thought they could get away with it.

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