PJ Tatler

The PJ Tatler

Earnest: Obama Has No Regrets Over Using the N-Word

Monday, June 22nd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters today that President Obama “does not” regret using the N-word during a podcast.

“Racism, we are not cured of,” Obama said on comedian Marc Maron’s “WTF” broadcast. “And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say ‘nigger’ in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.”

Earnest said Obama’s “use of the word and the reason that he used the word could not be more apparent from the context of his discussion on the podcast.”

The president was trying to make clear that it’s not possible “to judge the nation’s process on race issues based solely on an evaluation of country’s manners,” he added. “The fact is that we’ve made undeniable progress in this country over the last several decades, and as the president himself has often said, anyone who lived in this country through the ’50s and the ’60s and the ’70s and the ’80s notes the tremendous progress that we’ve made. That progress is undeniable.”

“But what’s also undeniable is that there is more work that needs to be done, and there’s more that we can do. And the fact is everyone in this country should take some inspiration from the progress that was made in the previous generation and use that as a motivation and an inspiration to try to make further progress toward a more perfect union.”

Prodded by reporters, Earnest said “I don’t know that I’ve heard” Obama speak the N-word before, even though it was used several times in his memoir.

“It was a free-flowing conversation,” he said of the president’s podcast interview. “It was pretty wide-ranging, and there was no decision made on the part of anybody here at the White House that we are going to capitalize on this audio interview from somebody’s garage in California, that this would be an opportune time for him to get this particular point off his chest.”

“In fact, I think the point he is making is entirely consistent with the way he has made this point both in settings where he is delivering from prepared remarks, but also when he is answering — in the context of answering other questions.”

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Obama Drops the N-Word During Podcast About Racism

Monday, June 22nd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
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President Obama dropped the N-word during a podcast with comedian Marc Maron, sparking controversy not only about his use of the word but how media outlets should run it.

Obama was the guest on Maron’s “WTF” broadcast, where the two talked about racism in the United States from the podcast host’s L.A. garage.

“Racism, we are not cured of,” Obama said. “And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say ‘nigger’ in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.”

The legacy of slavery “casts a long shadow and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on,” he added.

Obama also talked about his renewed push for gun-control measures, arguing “the question is just is there a way of accommodating that legitimate set of traditions with some common-sense stuff that prevents a 21-year-old who is angry about something or confused about something, or is racist, or is deranged from going into a gun store and suddenly is packing, and can do enormous harm.”

While the White House has not issued a statement on the interview, CNN cited a spokesperson noting that Obama used the N-word “about a dozen times” in his memoir Dreams from My Father.

CNN decided to not edit the audio and to spell out the word in its story when included as part of Obama’s quote. The New York Times also used the full word.

“We wanted to avoid any unsuspecting rip and read of our story resulting in ‘n—–’ getting on the air,” Associated Press spokesman Paul Colford told CNN in an email. The wire service used the N-word in its final story. “Our reasoning was: It’s the president talking, and using that specific word to make a point.”

Fox and MSNBC bleeped out Obama’s N-word, as well as NBC and ABC.

Obama, who was in L.A. on a fundraising swing, added during the podcast that he thinks “the American people are, overwhelmingly, good, decent people.”

“Everybody that I meet believes in a lot of the same things … they believe in honesty, and family and community and looking out for each other,” he said. “The problem is there is a big gap between who we are as a people and how our politics expresses itself.”

He also told Maron that his teenage daughters Sasha and Malia are “in the age where they still love me, but they think I’m completely boring.”

“And so they’ll come and pat me on the head, talk to me for 10 minutes, and then they’re gone all weekend,” he said, adding, “They break my heart.”

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Scott Welcomes ‘Robust Conversation’ About Race Relations After Charleston

Monday, June 22nd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said he expects a “robust” dialogue about race relations in the wake of last week’s massacre of nine parishioners at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

“When we look for as to the reasons why this happened, it’s hard to understand, when evil is just over taking the heart, the mind is just demented. This was obviously a case of racism. His actions were driven by hatred, and that is the clear and dominant reason this happened,” Scott said on CBS’ Face the Nation when asked if “racism, guns” caused the crime.

“There’s no doubt that when your mind and your heart are consumed with hatred and with racist motivations, that he sought to create a race war, according to, I believe, his own words, in this country, what he’s done for South Carolina and what he’s done for Charleston is, he’s brought our community together,” the senator said. “One of the beautiful scenes that I have had, that was etched into my memory now is Morris Brown Church, when we had such a diverse gathering of Charlestonians and South Carolinians coming to pay homage, pay respect to the families and to love on them, and just a day-and-a-half later, to have several thousand people show up, two- thirds or more not being black, here at home to see that kind of a unified group of people coming together to pray for and to just hug the families so much about what he has sparked, which is bringing people together.”

“I think we’re going to have a robust conversation going forward about race relations, a robust conversation going forward about bringing people together. And I look forward to participating in that conversation. The entire state now is, without any question, taking a leap forward. What the enemy meant for evil, I believe God will bring good out of it.”

Scott acknowledged that South Carolina “has a rich and provocative history” that includes the Confederate flag.

“For some, that flag represents that history. And for so many others, it represents a pain and oppression. I’m looking forward to our state leaders getting together and having robust conversation after the funerals about what is the next step,” he said.

Scott said he won’t state his personal position on whether or not to remove the flag in front of the state capitol until after the nine victims in the church shooting have been laid to rest.

“I am going to make sure that I am a part of that conversation. My voice will be clear. My position will be stated,” he said. “…I have made the commitment to wait until after the funeral to start that debate. And I’m going to honor that commitment.”

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If Burwell Sinks Obamacare, Administration Has a Plan: Do Nothing

Monday, June 22nd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

You knew this was coming, because the Democrats have been telegraphing it for weeks now: if the Supreme Court rules that the law actually is what the plain language of the law says it is, and outlaws the IRS’s illegal subsidies to peons forced to buy “health insurance” on the federal exchange, then it will all be the Republicans’ fault:

Days before the Supreme Court could strip it of a central component, there is still no “plan B” for Obamacare. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell warned the Obama administration will be unable to cover the millions of Americans who could lose their medical insurance if the Supreme Court decides to unravel much of the Affordable Care Act.

“We don’t believe there is an administration solution that would undo all of that damage,” Burwell said about the looming Supreme Court ruling in an exclusive interview with CNN. The court could rule as early as [today] in the health care case. They are expected to hand down a decision by the end of the month.

HHS officials worry most Americans are unaware of the potential chaos at stake should the justices decide against the administration in King versus Burwell, the latest legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The case rests on whether consumers who purchase their insurance on the Obamacare’s federal exchanges are legally eligible for hundreds of dollars in subsidies that makes their coverage more affordable.

Not wanting to be seen a blue meanies regarding a law that not a single one of them voted for, the Republicans are, naturally, getting ready to rush in with a fix. Can’t anybody here play this game?

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Clyburn: ‘Rightward Drift That Is Going Too Far’ Helped ‘Embolden’ Charleston Shooter

Monday, June 22nd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Assistant House Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.), speaking on NBC Sunday about the church massacre in his home state, said the attack was predictable because of the “rightward drift” in the United States.

“I’ve been saying for some time now, my friends in the Congressional Black Caucus will tell you, I’ve been saying to them that there’s this rightward drift in the country that I think is going too far. And people get emboldened by all of this,” Clyburn said.

“We hear all this discussion about the confederate battle flag…. That’s a battle flag that flies in front of the statehouse. That is a flag of rebellion. We would not be having this discussion if that were the confederate flag or the flag of the Confederate States of America. Because that flag is not a symbol of hate,” he said.

“So when you see the resurrection of this, a young man, 21 years old, wearing all of these apartheid things on his shirt, burning the United States flag and glorifying the elongated version of a battle flag, certainly you’re creating a climate that allows this kind of thing to happen.”

Clyburn helped negotiate a compromise years ago to keep the Confederate flag at the state capitol, but he said Sunday that “if they had followed the compromise, we would not be here.”

“The compromise was to put the flag in front of the office building next to the statue. What happened was when some people rejected the compromise, the legislature, out of defiance, put that flag where it is today, in front of the statehouse,” he said. “That is not what the compromise was. The compromise was to put it on the backside of the statehouse, out of public view.”

“…They keep saying that it takes two-thirds to bring it down. That may be true. But it only takes a simple majority to get rid of that two-thirds law.”

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Putin: I’m Not ‘Aggressive,’ I’m Just ‘Persistent’

Monday, June 22nd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Russian Vladimir Putin dove into his country’s recent acts of aggression in an interview with PBS, stressing that he insists upon respect for Mother Russia on the world stage — or else.

“I keep hearing that Russia wants to be respected. Don’t you want to be respected? Isn’t there anyone who wants to [not] be self-respected and humiliated? That is a strange way to see things — it’s not an exclusion which Russia demands to be respected. Is there anyone who wants to be neglected and humiliated?” Putin said.

“It’s something about respect or the lack of respect. The thing is we want to meet our own interests without detriment to our partners,” he said. “But sure we count on a constructive and substantial dialogue. And when there is none, or let’s say the unwillingness to talk to us, then there is a counter-response on our side.”

The crisis in Ukraine, he said, was their fault because they didn’t respect Russia.

“Ukraine was proposed to sign an association agreement. As everybody knows, Ukraine is area member within the framework. And it is Ukraine who insisted on establishing — there are lots of incentives and benefits. For 17 years we have been negotiating with Euro on the conditions of our accession to the WTO,” Putin said.

“It’s not the way people do things. And on our proposal to hold associations, we answered it is none of your business. Is that the way issues are discussed and settled, particularly with Russia? It isn’t about just respect. We want our interests to be protected.”

Russia, he insisted, “is aimed at developing good neighborly relations, both with Iran and with all the countries in the region.”

And if President Obama inks a final nuclear agreement with Iran, it will be one of “his main achievements in the foreign policy.”

“So I believe that the ball is on your side now. And we expect that among all the difficulties, the president of the United States will achieve the result,” Putin added.

The sanctions placed on Russia after Putin invaded Ukraine are “very far from a catastrophe,” he said.

“We would not like to respond to any destructive actions that our partners are imposing on us, even to the detriment of their own economy. Based on the calculations, including on those of our European partners, some of them even measure losses of $40 billion or $50 billion. Based on the recent details we have heard from Europe, experts believe that the losses of European producers there may amount up to $100 billion,” he said.

Putin chided interviewer Charlie Rose for calling Russian policy aggressive.

“We are not being aggressive. We are persistent,” he retorted. “We are consistent in pursuing our interests … for a long time, for decades, we were silent.”

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Netanyahu: Wake Up and Listen to the State Department’s Own Assessment of Iran’s Terrorism

Monday, June 22nd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of his weekly cabinet meeting Sunday that the State Department’s own annual terrorism report should serve as a wake-up call against a bad deal with Iran.

“In 2014, Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism worldwide remained undiminished through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), its Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and Tehran’s ally Hizballah, which remained a significant threat to the stability of Lebanon and the broader region,” the “Country Reports on Terrorism 2014″ states.

Iran used the IRGC-QF “to implement foreign policy goals, provide cover for intelligence operations, and create instability in the Middle East. The IRGC-QF is the regime’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.”

“…Iran remained unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qa’ida (AQ) members it continued to detain, and refused to publicly identify those senior members in its custody. Iran previously allowed AQ facilitators to operate a core facilitation pipeline through Iran since at least 2009, enabling AQ to move funds and fighters to South Asia and Syria.”

The mysterious Khorasan group in Syria that briefly was on the lips of the White House last fall was set up by al-Qaeda’s leader in Iran, Muhsin al-Fadhli.

“The U.S. State Department report on Iranian involvement in terrorism needs to be a wake-up call for anyone who does not understand the magnitude of Iranian subversion and aggression both within and beyond the Middle East,” Netanyahu said.

“The Iranian network now embraces over 30 countries and a new terrorist cell is added every few weeks, whether directly or via its proxy Hezbollah. For example, we recently saw in Cyprus a terrorist apartment in which a great quantity of explosives was discovered, and this is only one example out of dozens,” the prime minister continued.

“And this regime is now due to receive, under the nuclear agreement, both a certain path to nuclear bombs, in the wake of violations and oversight that has been full of holes, and billions of dollars, which will enable them to increase both the terrorist efforts I have described, their regional aggression and the accelerated arming of their proxies – Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and others,” he said. “Therefore, this is not a good agreement. This agreement endangers the State of Israel, the Middle East and – in my opinion – the peace of the entire world.”

The deadline for a final agreement is just eight days away.

Iran, Syria and Sudan are still on the state sponsors of terrorism list after the recent removal of Cuba.

Terrorist attacks around the world increased 35 percent in 2014 and terrorism fatalities were up 81 percent from 2013.

The number of people kidnapped or taken hostage by terrorists rose threefold.

The State Department has maintained that issues such as Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and other destabilizing activities around the world, in addition to holding four Americans, should be considered separate from a nuclear deal.

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Obama: NRA ‘Grip’ on Congress Is ‘Extremely Strong’

Monday, June 22nd, 2015 - by Liz Sheld

President Obama appeared on a podcast with comedian Mark Maron this weekend to talk about race and guns following the horrific shooting massacre at a Charleston, SC, church.

Obama lamented that he was unable to jackhammer some gun control legislation through Congress following the Sandy Hook shooting, saying “the grip of the NRA on Congress is extremely strong.”

But the NRA isn’t just some third party with control over Congress. The NRA represents millions of people who want to protect their right to keep and bear arms.  The only reason the NRA has any influence is because the NRA has a very large membership of people who vote. Obama is just upset that Congress isn’t disregarding the will of their constituents in favor of a progressive agenda much the way Obama has disregarded the Constitution and checks and balances to impose his progressive agenda on America.

“I will tell you, right after Sandy Hook, Newtown, when 20 6-year-olds are gunned down, and Congress literally does nothing — yes, that’s the closest I came to feeling disgusted,” he said. “I was pretty disgusted.”

“The question is just is there a way of accommodating that legitimate set of traditions with some common-sense stuff that prevents a 21-year-old who is angry about something or confused about something, or is racist, or is deranged from going into a gun store and suddenly is packing, and can do enormous harm.”

Obama is erroneously referring the alleged shooter, Dylann Storm Roof. The circumstances surrounding his gun possession remain unclear (not that this would stop Obama from exploiting the issue).

Initial reports indicated that Roof did not walk into a gun store and buy a gun but was given a gun by his father. Now the story has changed (probably because his father doesn’t want to face a straw purchasing charge) and the family says he was merely given the money to buy a gun. In any case, the gun grabbers always leave off the part where the criminal has obtained his weapon illegally because it would undermine their entire effort to impose some more laws as a “solution” to gun violence.  It sure looks to me like this maniac did not buy his gun within the confines of the law.

Roof already had been charged with felony possession of drugs earlier this year, which would have made him ineligible to purchase a firearm.  In South Carolina the mere charge of felony precludes purchasing a firearm, according to Dana Loesch. We will eventually find out how Roof got his gun — and if a store sold him the gun with a felony charge, the store will lose its license and be put out of business.

The solution to gun violence isn’t putting more restrictions on firearm purchasers. Making laws that are designed to restrict a class of people who by definition are lawless is a useless effort.

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Huckabee Breaks from Pack on Confederate Flag

Monday, June 22nd, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

The vile killing of nine black people at a church in Charleston has ignited fresh debate over the display of the Confederate battle flag on South Carolina’s capitol grounds. The question was presented over the weekend to several candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president.

Most tread gently in their replies, unwilling to take a definitive stance. One candidate, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, broke from the pack. From the Associated Press:

“Everyone’s being baited with this question as if somehow that has anything to do whatsoever with running for president,” Huckabee said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” ”My position is it most certainly does not.”

While other candidates offered generic deference to “the people of South Carolina,” Huckabee took a bolder stance, framing the issue in the context of the office he seeks. It shouldn’t matter what the president thinks a state ought to do in a matter that falls outside federal jurisdiction. As a candidate for president, expressing an opinion one way or the other implies federal intervention. It’s one thing to say the Confederate flag issue should be decided by the people of South Carolina. It’s another to specify why. By doing so, Huckabee stood out.

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Big Brother Fed Uses Biodata to Track School Lunch Choices

Monday, June 22nd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

From EAG News:

A Pennsylvania school district is scanning students’ thumbprints, tracking all of their lunch purchases, and turning the data over to the federal government.

The Hazleton Area School District recently announced it would be providing free meals to all students, regardless of need.

The move comes after the federal government began incentivizing school districts to provide more meals to more students.

The school district already purchased biometric software to track students receiving free or reduced lunches. Now that federal money is being granted to give every student, regardless of household income, a free lunch on the taxpayers’ dime, everyone’s thumbprint will be scanned. The data, in turn, will be sent to the feds for “transparency” purposes, infuriated parents be damned.

Never has there been a better time to brown-bag it.

Hazleton isn’t the first district to binge on biometrics. Biometric data has been collected by numerous public school districts since 2011 in order to track a number of programs including transportation, school lunch and library use. Everything from fingerprint scans to iris scans are being employed to track a child’s every move, from the time they step on the bus until they get off at the end of the day.

It gets creepier. Along with questioning who is receiving the data, how it is being stored and what it could potentially be used for in the future, critics are concerned that this form of data collection will acculturate an entire generation to the use of biometrics, regardless of security concerns:

They contend that using the technology so early in a child’s life makes the practice seem commonplace. As a result, they argue, students may become desensitized to issues such as whether it is right, fair, or overly intrusive for them to be asked to provide their biometric data in other settings later in life.

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‘Inevitable’? Not So Fast, Mrs. Clinton…

Monday, June 22nd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh
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The sham candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton — we may soon start referring to it as the political equivalent of Bruce Jenner’s “sex change” and Rachel Dolezal’s “African-American” heritage — continues apace. Only now more and more folks are noticing that the Dowager Empress of Chappaqua is shedding her cloak of invincibility faster than Blaze Starr used to shed her clothes:

Hillary Clinton has relaunched her campaign on Roosevelt Island with a 4,687-word speech. But it’s not clear whether she and her husband Bill Clinton can win four presidential elections as Franklin Roosevelt did. Negative news for Clinton’s prospects comes in the latest Quinnipiac polls in the key mega-states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. In each of them she leads or ties Republican opponents, though in many cases not by statistically significant margins.

But she also is running under 50 percent of the vote in every pairing, averaging 47 percent against six different Republicans in Florida, 44 percent against seven Republicans in Ohio and 46 percent against four Republicans in Pennsylvania. That’s a danger zone for a candidate with universal recognition. Similarly, less than 50 percent — 47 percent in Florida, 44 percent in Ohio and 46 percent in Pennsylvania — express favorable feelings about her. Only 43 percent in Florida and 40 percent in Ohio and Pennsylvania feel she is honest and trustworthy.

And, perhaps surprisingly for a Democrat, only 48 percent in Ohio and Florida and 45 percent in Pennsylvania say she “cares about the needs and problems of people like you.”

Clinton campaign spokesmen have said their goal is to reassemble Barack Obama’s winning coalition. But she’s falling short in three large states which Obama carried in 2012 with 50, 51 and 52 percent of the vote. These states have 67 electoral votes, without which Obama would have won only 265 — and Mitt Romney would be president.

Maybe she isn’t “likable enough” after all.

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Uber Bans Firearms in Cars

Monday, June 22nd, 2015 - by Liz Sheld

Car service and free market darling Uber has modified its firearm policy to forbid drivers and passengers from possessing a firearm even if they are legally permitted to do so.

The service previously allowed drivers or “partners” as they call them, to carry a firearm as long as local, state, and federal laws were respected.

But now Uber says, “we have adopted a no-firearms policy to ensure that both drivers and riders feel safe and comfortable on the platform.”

Uber Policy

I feel safe and comfortable when I am equipped to protect myself from threats of violence, thank you very much.

Uber says it revised its policy after “reviewing recent feedback from both riders and driver-partners.” As a frequent Uber user, I have no idea if one of my drivers has a firearm so I wonder where this “feedback” came from. Color me suspicious that this issue was raised by Uber’s customers and not some astroturffed operation set up by the gun grabbers.  Criminals love “gun free zones” and you just gave them some more sitting ducks to target.

Shame on you, Uber.

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Karl Rove: We Can Stop Gun Violence if We Repeal the Second Amendment

Monday, June 22nd, 2015 - by The Tatler

Karl Rove made an appearance on Fox News Sunday and said the only way to stop gun violence is to repeal the Second Amendment and “remove guns from society.”

The subject was the tragic shooting at Charleston, South Carolina’s Emanuel African Methodist Church.

WALLACE:How do we stop the violence?

ROVE: I wish I had an easy answer for that, but I don’t think there’s an easy answer

We saw an act of evil. Racist, bigoted evil, and to me the amazing thing is that it was met with grief and love. Think about how far we’ve come since 1963. The whole weight of the government throughout the South was to impede finding and holding and bringing to justice the men who perpetrated the [Birmingham] bombing.

And here, we saw an entire state, an entire community, an entire nation come together, grieving as one and united in the belief that this was an evil act, so we’ve come a long way.

Now maybe there’s some magic law that will keep us from having more of these. I mean basically the only way to guarantee that we will dramatically reduce acts of violence involving guns is to basically remove guns from society, and until somebody gets enough “oomph” to repeal the Second Amendment, that’s not going to happen.

Also read: Uber Bans Firearms in Cars

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Trigger Warning: AP Photo Shows Gun Pointed at Ted Cruz’s Head

Monday, June 22nd, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during a "Celebrate the 2nd Amendment Event," Saturday, June 20, 2015, at the CrossRoads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during a “Celebrate the 2nd Amendment Event,” Saturday, June 20, 2015, at the CrossRoads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

 

A series of Associated Press photos from a 2nd Amendment event in Iowa on Saturday appear to show Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-Texas) with a gun pointed at his head. Cruz, who was speaking at a “Celebrate the 2nd Amendment Event” in Iowa, was photographed next to a poster of a gun, which looked like it was pointed right between the Texas senator’s eyes. 

Remember that whole media freakout about Sarah Palin being to blame for the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords because her SarahPAC used a crosshairs graphic to single out “targeted” districts? In case you’ve forgotten, ABC News wrote at the time:

Facebook executive Randi Zuckerberg said many people on the social networking site are asking whether Sarah Palin is to blame.

According to Zuckerberg that is the #1 question on the social network behemoth following the Tucson shooting.

Like so much with Palin, the roots are on Facebook. On her Facebook page last year when she posted the a map of 20 congressional districts targeted by SarahPac, the headline of the map: “It’s time to take a stand.”

At the time Giffords reacted to the map in an interview on a cable news program.

“When people do that, they’ve got to realize there are consequences to that action,” Giffords said.

After Twitter lit up with complaints about the photos of Cruz — none of them from the left that I could find — the Associated Press issued a statement Sunday night:

“Presidential candidate Ted Cruz was shown in a series of 14 photos taken by an Associated Press photographer at a ‘Celebrate the 2nd Amendment’ event Saturday afternoon, held at a shooting range in Johnston, Iowa,” the statement said. “Five of the photos published by AP included images of guns seen on a wall in the background so that it appeared a pistol was pointed at Sen. Cruz’s head.”

“The images were not intended to portray Sen. Cruz in a negative light,” the statement added.

No, of course not. The photographer had no idea what he had there when he lined up that shot (no pun intended) and then clicked the shutter. And the editor who approved the images for AP use also had no idea that there might be a problem with a picture of a gun pointed at a Republican presidential candidate’s head. They’d have done the same to a Democrat, right?

 

 

On the one hand, we’re told that things like crosshair graphics and Confederate flags incite violence. These images are so menacing– so inherently dangerous — they must be scrubbed from the public square because those images are the reason crazed lunatics kill. On the other hand, if the target is a Republican, then we’re supposed to believe that it’s harmless “art” or “journalism.”

They say you can’t have it both ways, but liberals always manage to find a way to do just that.

On the next page are some reactions to the hypocrisy on Twitter.

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Iran Parliament Rejects Inspections of Military Sites, Scientist Interviews

Sunday, June 21st, 2015 - by Rick Moran

The Iranian parliament passed a bill outlining the country’s “nuclear rights” as the deadline for a final agreement on their nuclear program approaches at the end of this month.

The bill would prevent any inspections of military sites, forbid the IAEA from interviewing its nuclear scientists, and insist that all sanctions on Iran be lifted at the time they begin implementation of the deal.

Administration talking points released after the framework deal was agreed to state that sanctions would be lifted over several years, that all sites deemed “suspicious” would be open to inspection, and that the IAEA would investigate previous efforts by Iran to build a nuclear weapon. This would necessitate interviewing Iranian scientists, something the Iranians have now taken off the table.

The Iranian semi-official news organ Press TV:

During an open session of the Iranian parliament (Majlis) on Sunday, 199 lawmakers voted in favor and only 3 voted against the bill. Five MPs abstained.

“In line with safeguarding national interests [of Iran] and in compliance with the Safeguards Agreement of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, any outcome of nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 countries shall be valid as long as” three requirements are met, read the text of the bill.

It said any agreement with the six powers should include the complete and immediate removal of all sanctions against Iran “on the day Iran starts fulfilling its obligations.”

Iranian lawmakers added that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be only permitted to “conduct conventional inspections” of Iran’s nuclear facilities within the framework of the Safeguards Agreement, noting that access to Iran’s “military, security and sensitive non-nuclear sites, documents and scientists is forbidden.”

The bill also calls on the Iranian government not to accept any restrictions on acquisition of peaceful nuclear technology, research and development.

Addressing the session, Iran’s Majlis speaker, Ali Larijani, said the bill has been amended to give a free hand to Iranian nuclear negotiating team within the framework of criteria set by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and the Supreme National Security Council.

The bill’s stipulation that Iran not accept any restrictions on its acquisition of technology flies in the face of the administration claim that the Iranians will be unable to install their next generation centrifuges. Those newer centrifuges would allow Iran to “break out” by building a bomb in a matter of weeks, not months.

It appears now that the framework deal was a mirage with both sides claiming an understanding of the agreement in direct opposition to what the other side’s understanding is.

You would think that what the Iranian parliament has done would be a deal killer. In order for a deal to be reached, the US will have to make massive concessions. But this deal is no longer about stopping Iran from getting the bomb — if it ever was. This is about securing Obama’s legacy and allowing us to pretend that the Iranian nuclear program has been checked.

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Stop Press Item: If Court Ruling Goes Against Obamacare, Dems Will Blame GOP

Sunday, June 21st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Of course they will. Even though not a single Republican voted for this monstrosity as it was shoved down the throats of the American people. Because, subsidies:

The pressing problem for the 2016 Republican field falls into the “dog catches car” category: It’s one thing to call for the Affordable Care Act to be repealed or to promise an Oval Office signing ceremony for its repeal. It’s another to endorse pulling insurance subsidies used by more than 6 million people in 34 states, including at least 1.3 million Florida residents.

A ruling that subsidies provided to consumers to help them purchase health insurance are not legal could spark chaos in the insurance marketplace and help shape the electoral landscape in several key swing states. Beyond those voters directly affected, many more could see their premiums increase if the law unravels, driving up the number of uninsured.

The administration has said it has no Plan B if the court rules against it. The sitting governors and senators in the GOP presidential field would be among those who need to implement an emergency fix that helps people remain insured. The rest of the candidates would be called upon to offer policy alternatives. All of them would need to balance demands that they support an emergency restoration of benefits with the demands of a conservative base that wants to seize any opportunity to gut Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement.

“The politics of this for Republicans are extremely tricky and treacherous, and most Republicans privately would like to see the Supreme Court take a pass on this one,” said John Ullyot, a Republican strategist.

“A Republican strategist.” Says it all, doesn’t it?

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‘The Camp of the Saints’ Marches On

Sunday, June 21st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Italy: Emergency Influx of Immigrants in Milan

This will not end well for anybody:

As Europe struggles to agree on how to deal with the thousands of migrants arriving on its shores, Hollande showed support for Italy in dealing with the influx. “It is not because Italy is in the South of Europe that it should together with Greece and Malta, be the (only) ones to make an effort for the benefit of all. It is not Italy’s duty to take care of this operation and this mission, other countries are to be concerned,” he announced at a press conference.

While Renzi took aim at an EU agreement which means that migrants must be processed in the first state they entered, which currently puts a lot of pressure on countries with a Mediterranean coastline. “Let me be clear, I do not think that signing the Dublin agreement was a good idea, especially for Italy, but I’m not interested in creating a controversy within my country against the political party that was then in the government,” explained Renzi.

The so-called “Dublin regulation” states that “asylum seekers” must be processed in the first EU country in which they land.

For many European countries including the UK, Dublin is a key tool in a regime of tough border controls, allowing refugees to be deported back to Europe’s southern border countries where they first entered the EU. Countries such as Italy and Greece, with minimal welfare provision for refugees, receive the most Dublin returns each year because so many of the asylum seekers who land there do not wish to stay. To the men in this hot, dark room and to thousands more who attempt to beat the system each year, Ireland’s capital city is a dirty word. “Dublin is a virus,” Awet says. “Yes, Dublin is like Aids.”

So how is France going to help Italy out? It’s not:

Behind the rhetoric the issue of sharing responsibilities remains visible along the French-Italian border, where many African migrants turned out in Ventimiglia to protest against France blocking them from crossing the frontier.

What a mess.

 

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With Rubio’s Senate Seat Now In Play, Dems Are Sidelining Grayson, Licking Their Chops

Sunday, June 21st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh
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Senator Marco Rubio’s premature entry into presidential politics has one immediately conspicuous downside: the very real possibility that his hard-won Senate seat could flip back to the Democrats in 2016. But first the Dems have one very large obstacle to overcome: sidelining the ultra-lefty, ultra-wacky, ultra-nasty Alan Grayson from making a play for it.

Democrats see a chance to pick up the Florida Senate seat being vacated by Republican Marco Rubio — but only if U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson stays out of the race. Democratic leaders fear Grayson could spoil the party’s chances for capturing the seat by challenging Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy in the primary. Rubio is running for president instead of seeking a second term.

Grayson, who is considering a Senate run, is known for using fiery rhetoric to knock down opponents. He made headlines for describing the GOP health plan as “don’t get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.” He called a Republic opponent “Taliban Dan” in an effort to paint him as a religious extremist, compared the tea party to the Klu Klux Klan and called his estranged wife a gold digger during an explosive divorce.

Democratic leaders see Grayson, 57, as too inflammatory and too liberal to win a general election and have coalesced around Murphy, a 32-year-old accountant in his second congressional term. Party leaders see Murphy, who is the only prominent Democrat in the race so far, as a strong candidate and don’t want him bloodied by Grayson’s aggressive campaign tactics.

“I can’t support Alan Grayson,” said Rachel Pienta, a member of the state Democratic Party’s executive committee. “If Alan Grayson gets in and if Alan Grayson somehow manages to pull off the primary win, we lose the Senate seat.”

For his part, the churlish Grayson doesn’t give a damn what his fellow Democrats think:

Grayson says he’s probably running and will make an announcement in July. And he doesn’t care about what party leaders think. ”The only Democrats that matter are the voters. It’s clear to me that if there’s a contested primary, we’ll win. We’ll have the black vote, the gay vote, the Hispanic vote, the labor vote and the liberal vote,” he said. “We’ll have it all.”

One wonders whether Rubio thought all this through before embarking on his quixotic quest for the GOP nomination. His party just reconquered the senate last year (and a fat lot of good that has done for conservatives) and needs every vote it can get as it faces what is likely to be a reduced majority at best. If Rubio did consider the ramifications of abandoning a seat he’s held for all of one term, and didn’t care, then he’s put himself above party; if he didn’t, he’s too irresponsible to run for president.

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Rep. Meadows Pays the Price of Defying GOP Leadership on Trade

Sunday, June 21st, 2015 - by Rick Moran

North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows has been booted from one of his subcommittee chairmanships for defying the Republican leadership on a procedural vote on fast track trade authority taken last week in the House.

There were 34 Republicans who voted against the procedural motion — including several subcommittee chairman — who have not been disciplined for their actions. Clearly, Speaker Boehner was in a mood to set an example and put the fear of God into those conservatives challenging his leadership.

Politico:

On June 11, 34 Republicans voted against the rule that allowed for consideration of President Barack Obama’s request for fast-track authority to negotiate the largest trade deal in history. Conservatives said Boehner and GOP leaders were working too closely with Democrats, and ignoring Republicans. Boehner said he has worked closely with conservatives. In a closed meeting this week, the speaker told rank-and-file Republicans that he was angry that conservatives were voting against the motions. The GOP leadership has told lawmakers that there will be ramifications for voting against such resolutions.

Meadows was one of the 34 lawmakers who voted against the motion. Chaffetz said there were a “variety of factors” that led to him losing his chairmanship of the Government Operations subcommittee.

“I’m just going to leave it at that,” he said, when asked about the other factors. “There were a variety of factors, but I did what I felt was in the best interest of the oversight committee.”

Chaffetz said he this was his decision, not the Republican leadership’s.

Many subcommittee chairs voted against that resolution, and have not been punished. Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who chairs the conservative Freedom Caucus, chairs an oversight subcommittee that oversees health care, benefits and administrative rules. He has not lost his chairmanship.

Others who voted against that rule include: New Jersey Rep. Scott Garrett, who chairs the Financial Services subcommittee which oversees capital markets and government-sponsored enterprises; Louisiana Rep. John Fleming holds the gavel of a Natural Resources subcommittee which oversees water, power and oceans; Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert is the chairman of the oversight panel on Natural Resources; Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming chairs the interior subcommittee on Oversight.

Boehner has apparently had enough opposition from conservatives on these procedural votes. Historically, the vote to bring a bill to the floor falls along party lines. But two or three dozen conservatives have been defying Boehner, claiming he’s too close to the Democrats or he doesn’t consult them.

They aren’t just opposing Boehner; they are humiliating him. A speaker who can’t control his own caucus on procedural matters is as impotent as they come. Hence, Boehner probably took great relish in dropping the hammer on Meadows.

Chafetz will continue to pretend this was all his idea, but conservatives know full well who’s behind it. But if Boehner thinks this will make his life any easier, he’s probably mistaken. If anything, these kinds of punitive actions make it more likely that the pushback will intensify.

And the speaker’s enemies list is going to grow as well.

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As the Fence Goes Forward, Hungarians Get Blowback from Serbia

Sunday, June 21st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

The Hungarians have finally had it with being the entrepot for the invaders politely known as ‘migrants,’ who know that once they get to Hungary they will be able to move freely around the European Union and bleed it for all it’s worth. But the Serbs are kicking about it:

Balkan countries and the European Union on Thursday criticized Hungary’s plans to build a fence along the border with Serbia to stop the flow of migrants reaching the country. Serbia’s prime minister, Aleksandar Vucic, said he was “shocked and surprised” by the project that could isolate his country.

Vucic said “walls and fences” weren’t a solution for the crisis that has seen tens of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa crossing the western Balkans, trying to reach the European Union as they flee wars and poverty in their home countries. Announcing the plans, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Wednesday the 4-meter-high (13-foot-high) fence along the 175-kilometer (110-mile) southern border with Serbia wouldn’t contravene any of Hungary’s international legal obligations.

The plan leaves a bitter taste in Serbia whose leadership is keen to become part of the EU rather than isolated from it. ”We don’t want to live in an Auschwitz,” Vucic said, referring to a Nazi concentration camp during World War II.

Wow. Serbia isn’t being penned in — it’s being fenced out. And surely Vucic can’t be implying that allowing the Muslim “migrants” to pile up in Serbia would be like living in a concentration camp, could he? Although given Serbia’s history with Islam, he might just well be.

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Time to Hold Dysfunctional ‘Countries’ Responsible for Refugee Crisis

Sunday, June 21st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Once upon a time, immigrants were expected to bring something to the nation they hoped to adopt. Now, what they mostly bring is crime, disease and pathological dysfunction. But why should Europe and America have to shoulder the burden of the Third World’s failure?

Crisis: At 60 million and rising, the global refugee population has never been larger. But instead of blaming the states that take in the refugees, isn’t it time to demand accountability of the nations that create their misery?

The U.N. refugee agency’s “Global Trends Report: World at War” got virtually no press when it was released Thursday, but it should have. Its stark data signal a global crisis of refugees and a great wrong in the established world order. Fifty-nine-and-a-half million people were driven from their homes in 2014 as a result of war, conflict and persecution, the highest number in history, as well as the biggest leap in a single year. A decade ago, refugees totaled 37.5 million. An average 42,500 are displaced each day, 1 out of every 122 people on earth, or, if placed together, a nation that ranks 24th among world populations.

“We are witnessing a paradigm change, an unchecked slide into an era in which the scale of global forced displacement as well as the response required is now clearly dwarfing anything seen before,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres. Guterres rightly sees the scope of the problem, and as a global bureaucrat can be forgiven for his concern about “the response required.” But that focus on the response is precisely why the crummy Third World dictatorships, terrorist groups and corrupted democracies that create the refugees keep getting away with it.

Where is the scorn for the nations whose anti-free market, oligarchical and hostility-to-minority policies are the root of the problem?

Where indeed? Kipling’s poem comes to mind:

Take up the White Man’s burden And reap his old reward:

The blame of those ye better, The hate of those ye guard—

The cry of hosts ye humour (Ah, slowly!) toward the light:—

“Why brought he us from bondage, Our loved Egyptian night?”

As Investors Business Daily notes:

It seems that the only criticism and attention that ever comes to refugee issues centers on whether the countries are able to take them in. Southern Europe, for example, is being browbeaten by the U.N., the Vatican and the European Union for not rolling out the welcome mat for the thousands of smugglers’ boats full of refugees from Syria, Niger, Chad, Libya, Afghanistan and elsewhere fleeing to their shores…

Are there any war-crimes tribunals in the works for captured Islamic State members whose terror is the No. 1 reason for refugee flight? Where’s the criticism of the government of Afghanistan, which makes corruption the priority over a livable homeland? How about the governments of Chad, Niger and Somalia, or the leftist regimes in Central America, that actually encourage refugee outflows so they can live off their remittances instead of developing their economies through free markets?

Good question.

 

 

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Any Number Can Play: ‘Why Does Obama Criticize SCOTUS So Much?’

Sunday, June 21st, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Well, gee, lemme think about that one for minute. Could it be because he’s an arrogant, inexperienced party animal of a president who was never told “no” when he was growing up and thus takes any opposition or criticism personally? The Washington Post poses the question:

President Obama seemed to relish the chance to take yet another swipe at the Supreme Court justices who were deliberating a case that could determine the fate of his landmark health-care law. “This should be an easy case,” he said earlier this month regarding the latest legal showdown over the Affordable Care Act. “Frankly, it probably shouldn’t even have been taken up.”

This time the president was taking questions from reporters at a recent summit of world leaders in Germany. The case before the court would decide whether millions of Americans who receive tax subsidies to buy health insurance on federal exchanges are doing so illegally. In his more than six years in the White House, Obama has to an unusual degree — for a serving president — offered strong opinions on how the court’s justices should decide cases central to his legacy. In a few instances, those pointed opinions have sounded a lot like outright criticism.

Obama’s willingness to plunge into the court’s business reflects his background as a constitutional law lecturer, his irritation with the legal and political wrangling surrounding the landmark health-care law and his view of the court’s role in American society.

Well, that’s one way to look at it, I suppose. Please feel free to add your thoughts and theories in the comments section.

 

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FBI Director Says Charleston Shootings Not an Act of Terror

Sunday, June 21st, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Is Dylann Roof a terrorist? Was his murder of 9 innocent black Americans at an historic black church in Charleston, SC an act of terror?

FBI Director James Comey doesn’t think so. At a press conference yesterday, Comey said:

“Terrorism is act of violence done or threatens to in order to try to influence a public body or citizenry so it’s more of a political act and again based on what I know so more I don’t see it as a political act.”

But the FBI’s own definition of terrorism suggests otherwise:

The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

(Emphasis mine)

That definition opens the door to several different interpretations. For instance, the consequences of Roof’s actions may be the intimidation of black Americans. But was that his intent? Or were the shootings simply the result of Roof’s unbalanced hatred for black people?

One terrorism expert disagrees with Comey:

“When we talk about terrorism the important things are ideological motivations – politics, religion – but equally as important is target selection,” says Simi, who teaches at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

On 9/11, Simi points out, terrorists targeted the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, symbols of American capitalism and military might. In Charleston, the target was an historic African-American church, an institution that had a central role in fighting slavery.

And yet, when the FBI initially announced Thursday that they were entering the investigation of the massacre, they said that they were probing the case as a possible hate crime. That is, according to Professor Brent Smith of the University of Arkansas, their prerogative.

“The FBI has exclusive jurisdiction to investigate acts of terror in the U.S.,” said Smith, who is the director of the Terrorism Research Center at the University of Arkansas. “If the FBI labels it as terrorism, it is terrorism. If they don’t, it isn’t.”

[...]

According to the University of Nebraska’s Simi, the way we define terrorism – selecting a target based on ideology and motive, to terrorize a community – is very similar to how we describe a hate crime. But, he says, hate crimes – which are typically defined as a traditional crime plus bias – tend to be more spontaneous. They are often committed by younger people, people who are intoxicated, and those who can sometimes be described as thrill-seekers.

Terrorists, on the other hand, plan their attacks, as Roof allegedly did. Simi compared the Charleston murders with the 2012 massacre inside a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and the shootings outside a Jewish Community Center and a retirement complex near Kansas City in 2014. All of these attacks were allegedly perpetrated by “lone wolf” shooters, and, at least in the case of Oak Creek and Kansas City, the perpetrators had long histories of affiliation with right-wing groups that espoused violent ideologies. Yet, they were not referred to as terrorist acts.

There is no denying a political element to the killings, but it’s another question whether it was an overt political act. Comey is probably correct using a strict interpretation of the definition of terrorism — at least, based on what we know so far. But how much does it really matter? Nine innocent people are dead because Dylann Roof acted out his extreme hatred for black people in a church. Perhaps it’s best we keep our eye on that ball, rather than trying to score political points by claiming what he did was terrorism.

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Dem Strategist: Imagine the Horror if Charleston Churchgoers Had Been Armed (Video)

Saturday, June 20th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

Longtime Democratic strategist Bob Shrum told MSNBC host Ed Schultz Friday that he could “not imagine the horror that could’ve unfolded” if the churchgoers had been armed during the massacre in Charleston, South Carolina. Rational people, on the other hand, have been imagining since Wednesday the horror that could have been prevented had at least one of the churchgoers been armed.

Via The Blaze:

Nine people were slaughtered on Wednesday night after suspected gunman Dylann Roof allegedly opened fire in the historically black church. Only three people survived, including a grandmother who played dead and laid on top of her granddaughter to protect her.

Roof reportedly had time to reload his gun several times.

“I cannot imagine the horror that could’ve occurred if people were sitting around with concealed weapons, this thing started and you had a full-scale gunfight,” Shrum said Friday. “You might not even have three survivors.”

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Well, for starters, a few more people might be alive today had one or more of them been armed. And the bad guy would probably be dead or wounded. It takes quite an insane leap of logic to think the tragedy would have been even worse had the victims been able to defend themselves.

The legendary strategist noted that “this is going to be a big issue” in the 2016 Democratic primaries —  a prediction that has already panned out to be true. Democrats  have been employing the old “never let a crisis go to waste” tactic by wringing every bit of political capital they can out of the devastating, blood-soaked ordeal.

Various Dems have found ways to blame the shooting on the GOP, the NRA, Fox News, the Confederate flag, Gov. Nikki Haley and even Donald Trump.

Bob Shrum is considered an institution in Democratic politics after more than four decades of working on such losing campaigns as those of Richard A. Gephardt, John Edwards, Al Gore and John Kerry.

In eight presidential elections — for either the nomination or for the presidency itself — Shrum’s candidates have lost.

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Sheriff Joe to Send Armed Posses to Protect Black Churches

Saturday, June 20th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will send armed volunteer posses to 60 black churches to provide security in the aftermath of the murder of 9 blacks at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

USA Today:

He said the Rev. Jarrett Maupin, who describes himself as a Progressive Baptist preacher and civil-rights campaigner on his Facebook page, asked him to provide the protection because he was worried about problems with white supremacists in the area.

“I am the elected sheriff of this county. He asked me to help, and I’m going to help,” Arpaio said Friday.

Maupin said he wasn’t aware of any specific threats against churches within the county, the largest in Arizona, but he added that places of worship with black congregations often get hate mail.

“We do have a fear, a very real worry, that the incidents that occurred in Charleston can happen here in Phoenix,” Maupin said.

More than two years ago, Arpaio sent hundreds of posse volunteers to provide security outside of school grounds in wake of a shooting that left 26 people dead at a Connecticut elementary school.

Apparently not all the black churches are eager to welcome armed men in their houses of worship. When told of one pastor’s worries on that score, Arpaio said at a press conference, “But I’ll tell you, he’s going to get them whether he likes them or not.”

I think the overwhelming majority of worshippers will be grateful for the security. The shootings in Charleston have shaken the nation and a little reassurance — a gesture of support and concern — from a white sheriff will be appreciated.

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Hillary: ‘Deeper Challenge’ After Charleston Is Racism, and Not Just ‘Kooks and Klansmen’

Saturday, June 20th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

On the heels of President Obama’s gun-control advocacy before the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in San Francisco, Hillary Clinton told the leaders today that the racism behind the mass murder in South Carolina isn’t isolated but systemic.

“Just as earlier generations threw off the chains of slavery and then segregation and Jim Crow, this generation will not be shackled by fear and hate,” the Democratic presidential hopeful said, adding that upon hearing the news of Wednesday’s massacre of nine people in Charleston by a white supremacist “I was so overcome, how to turn grief, confusion into purpose and action.  But that’s what we have to do.”

“For me and many others, one immediate response was to ask how it could be possible that we as a nation still allow guns to fall into the hands of people whose hearts are filled with hate,” she said.

Having been first lady of Arkansas before being first lady of the United States, she said, “I know that gun ownership is part of the fabric of a lot of law-abiding communities.”

“What I hope with all of my heart is that we work together to make this debate less polarized, less inflamed by ideology, more informed by evidence, so we can sit down across the table, across the aisle from one another, and find ways to keep our communities safe while protecting constitutional rights.”

Agreeing with Obama about the need to renew gun-control efforts, Clinton said, “I stand before you because I know and you know there is a deeper challenge we face.”

“Once again, racist rhetoric has metastasized into racist violence. Now, it’s tempting, it is tempting to dismiss a tragedy like this as an isolated incident, to believe that in today’s America, bigotry is largely behind us, that institutionalized racism no longer exists. But despite our best efforts and our highest hopes, America’s long struggle with race is far from finished,” she said.

“I know this is a difficult topic to talk about. I know that so many of us hoped by electing our first black president, we had turned the page on this chapter in our history. I know there are truths we don’t like to say out loud or discuss with our children. But we have to. That’s the only way we can possibly move forward together. Race remains a deep fault line in America. Millions of people of color still experience racism in their everyday lives.”

Clinton highlighted the gap in median wealth between black and white families, higher death rates from asthma among black children, and blacks serving longer prison sentences for the same crimes as whites.

“Our problem is not all kooks and Klansmen. It’s also in the cruel joke that goes unchallenged. It’s in the off-hand comments about not wanting ‘those people’ in the neighborhood,” she continued. “Let’s be honest: For a lot of well-meaning, open-minded white people, the sight of a young black man in a hoodie still evokes a twinge of fear. And news reports about poverty and crime and discrimination evoke sympathy, even empathy, but too rarely do they spur us to action or prompt us to question our own assumptions and privilege.”

Clinton evoked the goal of “what I once called ‘a village,’ where there is a place for everyone.”

“I know it’s not usual for somebody running for president to say what we need more of in this country is love and kindness. But that’s exactly what we need more of. We need to be not only too busy to hate but too caring, too loving to ignore, to walk away, to give up.”

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Russia to Greece: ‘Will You Walk Into My Parlor, Said the Spider to the Fly’

Saturday, June 20th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Greece and Russia have signed a $2 billion dollar gas pipeline deal that will create some much needed jobs in Greece.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin and Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras may also make a deal on aid that would help Greece avoid defaulting. Greece has a $1.6 billion payment due to the IMF on June 30, and failure to make the payment will start a chain of events that could lead to a Greek exit from the euro.

USA Today:

Russia said Friday it would consider giving financial aid to Greece as the cash-strapped nation runs out of time to resolve its long-running debt crisis and avert an exit from the eurozone.

“We will support any solution on regulating the Greek debt crisis that is suggested by Greece and our European partners,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said, according to the state-run TASS news agency. “The most important things for us are investment projects and trade with Greece. If financial support is required, we will consider this question.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office also said Friday that Russia would consider giving loans to Greece, adding such aid should be considered par for the course for countries that are partners. Putin’s office stressed Greece has not yet formally asked for any financial assistance from Moscow.

The development came as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met Friday with Putin in St. Petersburg, where the Russian leader was hosting an annual investment forum. However, Russian financial aid for Greece was not discussed between the two, Putin’s spokesman said later Friday.

Speaking earlier at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Tsipras said that Russia’s role in the world was expanding and that Europe was misguided to think of itself as being at the center of the world.

What would Russia want in return? Putin wants to use Greece as a wedge with the rest of the EU to prevent sanctions on Moscow for their Crimea adventure being extended. But Putin’s leverage with Greece wouldn’t have to be that specific. Having an ally on the southern periphery of Europe who is also a member of NATO would be reward enough and given Greece’s dire fiscal and financial straits, Russia would be able to exploit the rift between Greece and the EU for years.

It seems improbable given the previous instances in the past 5 years when Greece has gone to the brink of default only to be rescued at the last by her EU partners. But Tsipras has become so poisonous in the capitals of Europe that there are some who are actually rooting for a collapse. An emergency meeting is set for Monday where Greece’s fate will likely be decided. That is, if it doesn’t become moot as a result of the teetering Greek banking system melting down:

The European Central Bank (ECB) intervened again Friday to prop up Greece’s banks, as savers, fearing their imminent collapse, withdrew record amounts of deposits.

Following the collapse of talks between Greece and its creditors—the European Union (EU), the ECB and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—over the terms of a further spending cuts programme, billions of euros in deposits were withdrawn from Greek banks. This week alone €4.2 billion were withdrawn, including €1.2 billion on Friday.

To stave off financial collapse and a default on its overall debt of over €300 billion, Greece’s Syriza-led government requested that the ECB loan Greece’s Central Bank an additional €3.5 billion. The ECB, which loaned the Greek banks another €1.1 billion of “Emergency Liquidity Assistance” on Wednesday to reach a total of €84.1 billion, released additional money Friday, though it is unclear how much. According to some reports, it was just enough to tide Greece over until Monday.

Speculation mounted that Greece could even be forced to impose capital controls and limit deposit withdrawals as early as this weekend. The Financial Times commented that fear of Greek default on its €1.6 billion debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund at the end of June “is rapidly being overtaken by a separate—and possibly more dangerous—ticking time bomb: the solvency of Greece’s banks.”

The ECB’s strategy is to keep Greece faced with imminent collapse with the aim of ensuring that a deal is signed after Monday evening’s emergency summit of EU leaders, convened by President of the European Council Donald Tusk. It is an extraordinary and reckless example of brinksmanship—threatening not only the decimation of the Greek economy but a potential domino effect that could impact on the entire European economy.

There are whispers of a bank holiday in Greece next week, but even that may not help. Depending on the outcome of the emergency meeting on Monday night, the ECB may refuse to loan Greek banks any more cash. This would be a catastrophe for the Greek people, but how about the rest of the EU?

The contagion of a Greek banking collapse would be serious but limited, given that most other banks in Europe have had years to protect themselves from the fallout. And the ECB has also built a firewall around vulnerable bondholders, minimizing risk.

So it appears that the can kicking on the Greek debt crisis that the EU has been performing these last 5 years is finally, mercifully over and the endgame for Greece is upon them.

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Arm Candy Report, Hollywood Division: Shiksas, Asians Out, Hot Yoga Instructors In

Saturday, June 20th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Don’t take it from me, take it from the Hollywood Reporter:

Just as tastes in fashion, food and music evolve, so do tastes in arm candy, girlfriends and trophy wives. In Hollywood, one’s got to keep up with the ceaseless tide of status symbols…

When it comes to trendy trophy women, these alpha men compete in every venue of their lives. You can’t keep good testosterone down. So what possible genre of human could usurp the shiksas, shopgirls and Asian beauties? Who or what could be more desirable to powerful men of Hollywood and beyond? Yoga teachers. That’s right: Satnam to the new sex symbols. Whether practitioners of Ashtanga, Kundalini, Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar or Bikram, they’ve got major industry players in a twist.

The hands-on physical intimacy that comes with a private session or yoga class is a petri dish for hormones, and celebrities and industry people going for yoga teachers is just hitting its zeitgeist zenith now. On June 13, Crown Prince of Sweden Carl Philip married former erotic model/reality TV star/yoga instructor Sofia Hellqvist. Owen Wilson had a baby with yoga teacher Caroline Lindqvist in 2014. The wife of Paul Tudor Jones, a hedge fund billionaire, is former model Sonia Klein, now a yoga teacher who partnered with the family of late Ashtanga master Krishna Pattabhi Jois in 2012 to found Jois studios and clothes. The wife of New York-based hedge fund billionaire Dan Loeb is yoga teacher Margaret Davidson Munzer, whom he married in 2004. Scrubs star John C. McGinley wed his yogini Nichole Kessler in 2007; screenwriter Greg Pruss married his, Anna Getty, in 2003. Pop maestro Dr. Luke has two children with his yoga teacher. So if you think Alec Baldwin was ahead of the curve — marrying yoga instructor Hilaria Thomas in 2012 — he wasn’t. He was just catching the wave. Kundalini master Guru Jagat of Venice’s Ra Ma Yoga Institute says of the hot-for-yoga-teacher trend, “I’ve definitely observed the phenomenon — lots of it.”

So now you know.

Like all good mating rituals, this one speaks to its time. “Most sexual norms are reflective of cultural norms,” says L.A. sex and relationship therapist Dr. Chris Donaghue. “With yoga on the rise, it’s expected that a yoga identity and body would become a highly eroticized commodity.” Yogini Mandy Ingber, who since 2003 has been instructing the likes of Aniston, Jennifer Lawrence and Emilia Clarke, says: “When you’re looking for a connection to the self, you’re more open to connecting with someone else. The relationship between a yoga instructor and client is very intimate.”

In other words, boy meets girl — in tights.

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In the Wake of Tragedy, the New York Times Slurs the Irish. UPDATED

Saturday, June 20th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

This story has caused a commotion here in Ireland. Imagine if this lede were written about, say, blacks or Jews:

BERKELEY, Calif. — They come by the thousands — Irish students on work visas, many flocking to the West Coast to work in summer jobs by day and to enjoy the often raucous life in a college town at night. It was, for many, a rite of passage, one last summer to enjoy travel abroad before beginning a career.

But the work-visa program that allowed for the exchanges has in recent years become not just a source of aspiration, but also a source of embarrassment for Ireland, marked by a series of high-profile episodes involving drunken partying and the wrecking of apartments in places like San Francisco and Santa Barbara.

Early Tuesday, 13 people, most of them young Irish students here on the visa program, were crowded onto a fourth-floor balcony off Unit 405 for what neighbors described as a loud party when the balcony collapsed, sending people tumbling onto the street below. Six people were killed; five were Irish and the sixth had dual Irish-American citizenship, according to the Irish Embassy. Three of the dead were men, three were women, and all were in their 20s. At least seven others suffered injuries, some serious.

It’s almost impossible for me to address this without throwing something. Or, better yet, getting rip-roaring drunk and then trashing a handy nearby apartment building in my stereotypically wild Hibernian way. Nothing this execrable newspaper writes surprises me any more. With a bunch of dead Irish kids whose parents are even now starting to bury them, Adam Nagourney and two other Times hacks see fit to report their deaths like this.

UPDATED: 

  • Mary McAleese, the former president of Ireland, responds to the Times here. Excerpt:

Today in Ireland we are hanging our heads in shock and sorrow at the needless deaths of six of our brightest and best young adults and the serious injuries to others. Today the New York Times should be hanging its head in shame at how outrageously and without the remotest evidence it has rushed to judgment on those deaths… Shame on you.

Spokesperson for the NY Times, Eileen Murphy, said that the article in question was “intended to explain in greater detail why these young Irish students were in the US. We understand and agree that some of the language in the piece could be interpreted as insensitive, particularly in such close proximity to this tragedy,” Murphy continued. “It was never our intention to blame the victims and we apologize if the piece left that impression. We will continue to cover this story and report on the young people who lost their lives.”

  • Still unsatisfied, the Irish minister for equality, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, slammed the Times’s racist insensitivity in a tweet:

@nytimes Your attempt at an apology for your offensive #Berkeley article is pathetic. It’s clearly futile appealing to your better nature.

What better nature? Ireland becomes the first country in the world to pass gay marriage by popular referendum and this is the thanks it gets from the New York Times.

 

 

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Liberals Discover That Vermont’s Sanders Is, Well, Liberal on Guns

Saturday, June 20th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Apparently, it’s just come a shock to the folks over at Slate to learn that, when it comes to guns, Vermont, is one of the most liberal in the nation. Which is to say, it has almost no restrictions on firearms. Naturally, they’re hysterical:

When Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders jumped into the 2016 presidential race, he was widely hailed as a far-left socialist who would appeal to the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. A liberal challenge to Hillary Clinton, said Politico. True progressives’ liberal alternative, trumpeted FiveThirtyEight. But before liberal Democrats flock to Sanders, they should remember that the Vermont senator stands firmly to Clinton’s right on one issue of overwhelming importance to the Democratic base: gun control. During his time in Congress, Sanders opposed several moderate gun control bills. He also supported the most odious NRA–backed law in recent memory—one that may block Sandy Hook families from winning a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the gun used to massacre their children.

Sanders, an economic populist and middle-class pugilist, doesn’t talk much about guns on the campaign trail. But his voting record paints the picture of a legislator who is both skeptical of gun control and invested in the interests of gun owners—and manufacturers. In 1993, then-Rep. Sanders voted against the Brady Act, which mandated federal background checks for gun purchasers and restricted felons’ access to firearms. As a senator, Sanders supported bills to allow firearms in checked bags on Amtrak trains and block funding to any foreign aid organization that registered or taxed Americans’ guns. Sanders is dubious that gun control could help prevent gun violence, telling one interviewer after Sandy Hook that “if you passed the strongest gun control legislation tomorrow, I don’t think it will have a profound effect on the tragedies we have seen.” (He has since endorsed some modest gun control measures.)

None of these views are particularly shocking for a Vermont representative: Sanders’ deep-blue state has both high gun ownership and incredibly lax gun laws, and it’s perfectly logical for the senator to support his constituents’ firearms enthusiasm. And a close friend of Sanders once said that the senator “thinks there’s an elitism in the anti-gun movement.”

But Sanders’ vote for a different kind of pro-gun bill is more puzzling—and profoundly disturbing. In 2005, a Republican-dominated Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). This law doesn’t protect gun owners; it protects gun manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers. The PLCAA was the No. 1 legislative priority of the National Rifle Association for years, because it shields gun makers and dealers from most liability when their firearms are used criminally. It is one of the most noxious pieces of pro-gun legislation ever passed. And Bernie Sanders voted for it. (Sanders’ campaign has not replied to a request for comment.)

Blah, blah, blah. The act in question merely immunizes gun manufacturers — an industry historically central to New England’s prosperity and one protected by the constitution — from idiotic, ruinous lawsuits by anti-gun Leftists. The rest of this piece is a typically ignorant rant about firearms written by somebody who obviously doesn’t know the first thing about them, which is why people have them: to protect themselves, not to murder other people. But leave it to the Left to attribute only the basest of motives to its political enemies, like us.

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Great News: Iran Still Big Supporter of Terrorism Despite Nuke Talks

Saturday, June 20th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

The State Department’s annual report on terrorism was released yesterday, and Iran continues to be front and center as a supporter of terrorism.

Strangely, the administration doesn’t seem too concerned about that — or, at least not as concerned as they are about how the report will affect the negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program. In fact, the administration goes out of its way to decouple the nuclear issue from the terrorism issue, despite the fact that lifting the sanctions on Iran would boost their ability to support terrorism around the world.

Washington Examiner:

Obama administration officials said they remain concerned about Iran’s role as a state sponsor of terrorism, but insist the effort should be kept separate from the nuclear talks, which are reaching their climax ahead of a July 1 deadline for a permanent agreement.

“Our very serious and grave concerns about Iran’s support for terrorism remains unabated. And the negotiations that Iran has agreed to with the P5+1, our international community, is solely focused on making sure that they don’t obtain a nuclear weapon,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Friday.

“So our view is, because of their support for terrorism, that is all the more reason that we need to make sure that they don’t obtain a nuclear weapon. And so that’s where our focus is right now.”

But many lawmakers don’t buy that argument and have been pushing the administration to take a tougher line against Tehran’s actions in the region. They have expressed concern that administration officials are going easy on Iran so as not to disturb the chances for a nuclear deal.

“You’ve got to take into account what Iran is doing and their influences throughout this region. And, by the way, I do not think I got any sort of answer about what’s your plan for dealing with Iran other than the nuclear issue,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, told reporters Wednesday after a hearing on U.S. Middle East policy at which Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the 35,000 U.S. troops in the region were there partly to check Iran’s “malign influence.”

The report notes that Iran continues to support Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, the Shiite extremist group Hezbollah in Lebanon and Shia militias in Iraq that have been accused of abuses against Sunni Arabs there.

Iran also is providing arms, financing, training and travel to foreign fighters helping the Assad regime in Syria, including Afghans, the report noted. The Wall Street Journal reported June 11 that Iran is backing the Taliban in Afghanistan with cash and arms.

Much of the activity is funneled through the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and its Quds Force, which are the targets of much of the U.S. sanctions against Iran. Though the administration insists it will lift sanctions only related to the nuclear issue if there’s any deal with Iran, lawmakers have raised concerns that the lifting of any sanctions will provide a cash infusion for those groups to expand their activities.

Iran is backing groups that have killed Americans over the years, but it’s ok to lift sanctions because for sure, they are not going to get their hands on nuclear weapons. That dubious assertion — given what we know about what the Iranians will be able to get away with under a final deal — should be placed in the context that the extra tens of billions of dollars that Iran will earn from oil, gas, and other business interests will find its way into the coffers of terrorists.

For the last year, we have been assured that Iran is in a box and can’t afford to offend the west. But we  now know that Iran has enriched more uranium and continues to support terrorism. We are constantly finding out that the assumptions that undergird these negotiations are as wrong as wrong can be and the Obama administration hasn’t a clue about the nature of the enemy they are up against.

 

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The Confederate Battle Flag Murdered Those People in Charleston, Not Dylann Roof

Saturday, June 20th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Judging from numerous articles and statements over the last 48 hours, you can be forgiven if you believe that Dylann Roof was not responsible for the deaths of 9 black Americans attending Bible study at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

In fact, it’s been made very clear that many liberals believe that the Confederate battle flag was responsible for the murders…or something. It’s not exactly clear how they are connecting the flying of the battle flag with murder. But they are trying very hard.

Actually, this outpouring of battle flag bashing is an excellent way to accuse all white people of racism and by extension, make them accomplices to Roof’s dastardly act. And the focus appears to be on the flag flying on the grounds of the South Carolina statehouse.

The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates:

The Confederate flag’s defenders often claim it represents “heritage not hate.” I agree—the heritage of White Supremacy was not so much birthed by hate as by the impulse toward plunder. Dylann Roof plundered nine different bodies last night, plundered nine different families of an original member, plundered nine different communities of a singular member. An entire people are poorer for his action. The flag that Roof embraced, which many South Carolinians embrace, does not stand in opposition to this act—it endorses it. That the Confederate flag is the symbol of of white supremacists is evidenced by the very words of those who birthed it:

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth…

This moral truth—“that the negro is not equal to the white man”—is exactly what animated Dylann Roof. More than any individual actor, in recent history, Roof honored his flag in exactly the manner it always demanded—with human sacrifice.

Surely the flag’s defenders will proffer other, muddier, interpretations which allow them the luxury of looking away. In this way they honor their ancestors. Cowardice, too, is heritage. When white supremacist John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln 150 years ago, Booth’s fellow travelers did all they could to disassociate themselves. “Our disgust for the dastardly wretch can scarcely be uttered,” fumed a former governor of South Carolina, the state where secession began. Robert E. Lee’s armies took special care to enslave free blacks during their Northern campaign. But Lee claimed the assassination of the Great Emancipator was “deplorable.” Jefferson Davis believed that “it could not be regarded otherwise than as a great misfortune to the South,” and angrily denied rumors that he had greeted the news with exultation.

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Obama: No ‘Wild-Eyed Plot to Take Everybody’s Guns Away’

Friday, June 19th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama continued his latest gun-control push in a speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors in San Francisco today, insisting there’s no “wild-eyed plot” at hand to seize guns.

“Obviously, the entire country has been shocked and heartbroken by what happened in Charleston. The nature of this attack — in a place of worship, where congregants invite in a stranger to worship with them, only to be gunned down — adds to the pain,” Obama said. “The apparent motivations of the shooter remind us that racism remains a blight that we have to combat together. We have made great progress, but we have to be vigilant because it still lingers. And when it’s poisoning the minds of young people, it betrays our ideals and tears our democracy apart.”

“But as much as we grieve this particular tragedy, I think it’s important, as I mentioned at the White House, to step back and recognize these tragedies have become far too commonplace.”

The president drew criticism from the right, including Gov. Bobby Jindal, for pushing gun control not even 24 hours after the massacre at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.

“Few people understand the terrible toll of gun violence like mayors do,” Obama said today. “Whether it’s a mass shooting like the one in Charleston, or individual attacks of violence that add up over time, it tears at the fabric of a community. It costs you money and it costs resources. It costs this country dearly.”

“More than 11,000 Americans were killed by gun violence in 2013 alone — 11,000. If Congress had passed some common-sense gun safety reforms after Newtown, after a group of children had been gunned down in their own classroom — reforms that 90 percent of the American people supported — we wouldn’t have prevented every act of violence, or even most. We don’t know if it would have prevented what happened in Charleston. No reform can guarantee the elimination of violence. But we might still have some more Americans with us. We might have stopped one shooter. Some families might still be whole. You all might have to attend fewer funerals.”

Obama told the mayors “we should be strong enough to acknowledge this.”

“At the very least, we should be able to talk about this issue as citizens, without demonizing all gun owners who are overwhelmingly law-abiding, but also without suggesting that any debate about this involves a wild-eyed plot to take everybody’s guns away,” he continued.

He took another stab at Congress, saying that “today’s politics makes it less likely that we see any sort of serious gun safety legislation.”

“I remarked that it was very unlikely that this Congress would act. And some reporters, I think, took this as resignation. I want to be clear — I am not resigned. I have faith we will eventually do the right thing,” Obama said. “I was simply making the point that we have to move public opinion. We have to feel a sense of urgency.”

“Ultimately, Congress will follow the people. And we have to stop being confused about this. At some point, as a country, we have to reckon with what happens. It is not good enough simply to show sympathy.”

The president asserted as he did in the White House briefing room on Wednesday that “you don’t see murder on this kind of scale, with this kind of frequency, in any other advanced nation on Earth.”

“Every country has violent, hateful, or mentally unstable people. What’s different is not every country is awash with easily accessible guns. And so I refuse to act as if this is the new normal, or to pretend that it’s simply sufficient to grieve, and that any mention of us doing something to stop is somehow politicizing the problem,” he said. “We need a change in attitudes among everybody — lawful gun owners, those who are unfamiliar with guns. We have to have a conversation about it and fix this.”

“And ultimately, Congress acts when the public insists on action. And we’ve seen how public opinion can change. We’ve seen it change on gay marriage. We’ve seen it beginning to change on climate change. We’ve got to shift how we think about this issue. And we have the capacity to change, but we have to feel a sense of urgency about it. We, as a people, have got to change. That’s how we honor those families. That’s how we honor the families in Newtown. That’s how we honor the families in Aurora.”

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Perry’s ‘Oops’ Moment When Describing Charleston Shooting

Friday, June 19th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
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Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry isn’t done with his presidential campaign “oops” moments.

In an interview on Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg Show, Perry ripped President Obama’s call for gun control after the Charleston church massacre in which a white supremacist gunned down nine people at a Bible study.

“This is the MO of this administration. Anytime there is an accident like this — the president’s clear, he doesn’t like for Americans to have guns and so he uses every opportunity, this being another one, to basically go parrot that message,” Perry said.

Perry’s campaign told Business Insider that he meant to say “incident” instead of “accident.”

“When watching the entire interview, it’s clear from the context of his comments that Governor Perry meant incident,” communications adviser Lexi Stemple said.

Perry said the focus needs to be about prescription drug abuse. “Also, I think there is a real issue to be talked about. It seems to me, again without having all the details about this, that these individuals have been medicated and there may be a real issue in this country from the standpoint of these drugs and how they’re used,” he said.

“There are a lot of issues underlying this that I think we as a country need to have a conversation about rather than just the knee-jerk reaction of saying, ‘If we can just take all the guns away, this won’t happen.’”

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O’Malley ‘Pissed’ That Ball Dropped on ‘National Crisis’ of Guns

Friday, June 19th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama said “at some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.”

Hillary Clinton asked of gun control in the wake of the Charleston church massacre, “How many people do we need to see cut down before we act?”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said “while we have made significant progress in advancing civil rights in this country, we are far from eradicating racism.”

The former Maryland governor who’s competing against Clinton and Sanders for the 2016 Democratic Party nomination is just “pissed.”

“I’m pissed,” O’Malley said in an email to supporters today. “I’m pissed that after an unthinkable tragedy like the one in South Carolina yesterday, instead of jumping to act, we sit back and wait for the appropriate moment to say what we’re all thinking: that this is not the America we want to be living in.”

“I’m pissed that we’re actually asking ourselves the horrific question of, what will it take? How many senseless acts of violence in our streets or tragedies in our communities will it take to get our nation to stop caving to special interests like the NRA when people are dying?” he continued.

“I’m pissed that after working hard in the state of Maryland to pass real gun control—laws that banned high-magazine weapons, increased licensing standards, and required fingerprinting for handgun purchasers—Congress continues to drop the ball. It’s time we called this what it is: a national crisis.”

O’Malley touted his “F” rating from the NRA, saying he “never backed down” to the gun lobby group.

“So now, I’m doubling down, and I need your help. What we did in Maryland should be the first step of what we do as a nation. The NRA is already blaming the victims of yesterday’s shooting for their own deaths, saying they too should have been armed. Let’s put an end to this madness and finally stand up to them,” he said.

The reference is to NRA board member Charles Cotton, who wrote on an online forum of victim and pastor state Sen. Clementa Pinckney: ”Eight of his church members, who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church, are dead. Innocent people died because of his political position on the issue.”

O’Malley advocated a national assault weapons ban, stricter background checks, and fingerprint requirements “to reduce straw buying.”

“Not one of the GOP presidential candidates comes even close to being right on this issue—and some actually believe that things like background checks are excessive, or that high-capacity magazines are a basic right,” O’Malley wrote with a link to his campaign website. “Well, I believe we all have a basic right to safe schools, safe places to worship, and safe streets.”

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