PJ Tatler

The PJ Tatler

Would This Hillary Running Mate Spell Real Trouble for the GOP?

Monday, April 13th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Hillary Clinton jumped into the presidential race on Sunday, but could it be her running mate that throws the biggest hurdle in the path of the GOP?

Clinton took months to make official what people had been speculating about her entrance into the race, and during that time she and Bill were cultivating a relationship with a Democrat lauded as one of the party’s major up-and-comers.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, 40, was mayor of San Antonio from 2009 until 2014, when he resigned during his third term to take the cabinet post. He delivered a keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Back in August, the Washington Post reported that the Clintons invited Castro to their home in Washington “for a private dinner that friends described as a chance for Democratic leaders from different generations to become better acquainted.”

Castro “traveled to New York in July to join Hillary Clinton, as well as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, at a children’s song and dance performance for the Bronx Children’s Museum’s youth arts program. And in March, Hillary Clinton sat next to Henry Cisneros, who served in her husband’s Cabinet, at a private luncheon in New Mexico, where Cisneros said they discussed Castro and his political future.”

More from the WaPo story:

Said another person familiar with the discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to alienate either camp, “The Clintons are keeping the Castros very close to them.”

The behind-the-scenes maneuvering illustrates how the Clintons are trying to acclimate themselves into a Democratic Party that has evolved and nurtured new stars in the years since they ceded the stage to Barack Obama in 2008.

For the Clintons, there are clear advantages to building an alliance with Castro. A young and dynamic figure who broke onto the national scene with his keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Castro is arguably the only Hispanic Democrat with a broad following. Although his background as a Mexican American could have broad appeal to Hispanic voters, Castro does not speak fluent Spanish.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, married to a Mexican immigrant, speaks Spanish, as does first-generation Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Castro’s grandmother immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico in 1920.

Of course, Castro’s last name on the ticket may bring other connotations to Clinton’s campaign, in the mainstream press as well. On Friday, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell brought Castro’s twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), on to talk about Cuba — because “you have a Cuban-American background.”

“Well, I’m Mexican-American. But same last name,” Castro replied.

Rep. Castro said he believes Hillary is the best candidate”and I do think that ultimately she’ll be the Democratic nominee.”

“I do think people want to see a competition. That’s natural. It is a competition and not a coronation. But she’ll go into race as the best qualified, most experienced candidate of anybody in the field, Republican or Democrat,” he said.

On his brother as vice presidential candidate? “Of course, if you ask me, I would put him on, but I’m saying that as a brother,” Julian Castro said. “No, I think my brother would be great at whatever he does, but he’s focused right now on doing a great job at HUD.”

The New York Times’ Nate Cohn says Republicans can win without converting Hispanic voters — estimating Hispanics “will represent just 12 percent of eligible voters, and between 9 and 10 percent of actual voters,” with negligible gains in battleground states. Randy Borntrager, political director of People for the American Way, disagrees about Hispanic voters’ impact, arguing at the Huffington Post that Latinos put key Senate races within reach for Democrats even though they ultimately lost.

Mitt Romney got 27 percent of the Latino vote in 2012; George W. Bush won 44 percent of Hispanic voters in 2004. A Rubio pollster has estimated the eventual Republican nominee needs more than 40 percent of the Latino vote to win the presidency.

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After All We’ve Done to Hillary, We Owe Her: New Clinton Campaign Video

Monday, April 13th, 2015 - by Scott Ott

Here’s the script for the “Scott Ott Thought” video above.

SCOTT OTT: I’m Scott Ott, and here’s a thought.

I support Hillary Clinton’s latest White House run because we owe her. That’s right, we the People of the United States of America owe Hillary Clinton. Let me explain.

Think about what we’ve done to Hillary over the years.

First of all, Bill Clinton never would have met Monica Lewinsky if it were not for our votes that put him in the White House and thus in a position to be sexually tempted by an intern at the White House, and, therefore, to cause Hillary to throw lamps and obscenities at him. That’s on us.

And Hillary never would have lost those boxes of records from the Rose Law firm about her involvement in the savings and loan failure because of the Whitewater land scandal. Keep in mind: She lost those records in the White House where she would not have been if we had not put her there. Our bad. And she never would have botched the universal healthcare task force if she weren’t appointed to that position of leadership by the President of the United States we elected. And of course, she would never have secretly fired those employees in the White House travel office if she had not been there in the first place.

Scott Ott with Hillary Clinton what a difference they make.

Scott Ott thinks we owe Hillary Clinton the presidency because of what we have done to her. Watch the video to get the answer to the question: “What difference at this point does it make?”

Remember, when you’re pointing your finger at Hillary, you’ve got three fingers pointing back at you.

It was our elected President Obama that nominated her as Secretary of State and our elected Senate that confirmed that nomination.

Without us, she never would have presented the Russian foreign minister with a “reset” button that said “overcharged” in Russian. And so, it wouldn’t have seemed so ironic when Russia later charged over the border of Ukraine while the Obama administration watched helplessly.

So, now I think you can see how it’s our fault that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was left so vulnerable on the night of September 11, 2012, when four Americans were slaughtered. And how can we escape responsibility for the fact that Hillary later blamed that attack on a satirical video that no one had ever seen?

Can you really, with a straight face, deny complicity in the fact that Hillary destroyed tens of thousands of emails that she kept in her own house on her own email server, erasing public records from her time as Secretary of State? Can you?

I know you’re probably thinking, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

But I, for one, think we’re deeply indebted to Hillary Clinton and as partial payback the least we can do is elect her president in 2016.

Hillary Clinton has endured all of these missteps, lies and scandals, and has virtually no accomplishments to show for her many years of public service. And all of that time, you were the public she was trying to serve. You, my friend! Own it.

It’s time for you to man up, and take responsibility for the damage you’ve done to Hillary Clinton and thus, by extension, to this great country.

I’m Scott Ott, and there’s a thought.

[Scott Ott then sings "Don't Stop (thinking about tomorrow)," made famous by Bill Clinton when he chose the Fleetwood Mac song for the theme of his 1992 campaign. You've never heard it sung like this, accompanied by a list of reasons why we owe Hillary Clinton the presidency.]

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Wasserman Schultz: Like a ‘Prune’ with ‘Some Tinsel,’ Rubio Not ‘Fresh and New’

Monday, April 13th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) insists that her party’s presidential primary will be “competitive,” but not like “the clown car Republican candidates that are developing on the other side.”

Wasserman Schultz mentioned former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley when asked on MSNBC this morning how, possibly, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s entrance into the race sets the stage for competition among Dems.

“Look, I’m not prepared to make predictions about who our nominee is going to be. I think that we are going to have a primary,” she said. “I think there will be more than one candidate for president in this race on our side. And I think that, regardless of who or how many, we are — all of our candidates will present a stark contrast to the Republicans who simply continued to want to focus on more of the trickle-down economics that has failed, that got us — our economy into the worst economic crisis that we’ve faced in the Great Depression. And President Obama and Democrats in Congress helped bring us out through now 61 straight months of job growth in the private sector, and that’s a pretty stark contrast.”

“If you want to reach the middle class, we will elect a democratic president in 2016. And I think regardless of who that nominee is, that’s what voters will choose to do.”

Wasserman Schultz noted that Clinton is polling well, but “polls mean very little right now.”

“What’s going to matter at the end of the day is that the voters in America are going to choose the 45th president of the United States based on who they think has their back,” she said. “It’s very clear that, whether it’s Hillary Clinton or whoever the Democratic nominee is, that voters want to make sure that the candidate for president that they vote for is going to stand up to make sure that if you want to work hard and play by the rules in this country that you’ll have a fair shot to succeed. And you can climb those ladders to the middle class.”

The chairwoman dismissed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who’s announcing his candidacy this evening, as a “flat-Earth society worshiper.”

“And they’re going to try to portray him as some kind of new and fresh face. He is nothing more than the same old, tired Republican policies that he’s embraced,” Wasserman Schultz said. “…So really, I mean if you want to put what is essentially a prune and package some tinsel around it. That does not make you fresh and new.”

“Oh, I mean, look, a guy who says — who represents the state of Florida who lives in South Florida, can see the flooding that occurs on Ocean Drive, when there is a huge amount of rain, to continue to be a climate-change denier, is not fresh and new, he’s more of the same,” she continued. “…Just because he is Hispanic, does not mean that he automatically earns the votes of Hispanic voters across this country.”

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Menendez on Prosecution: ‘Cannot Imagine’ Any Admin Going to ‘Such Lengths’ to ‘Undermine’ Country

Monday, April 13th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

In his first TV interview since he was indicted by the Justice Department, Sen. Robert Menendez told Fox News Sunday that he will be vindicated to continue to “fight for our national security and against a nuclear-armed Iran.”

Asked if his strong criticism of administration policies on Iran and Cuba led to his indictment, the senator replied, “Look, it’s very clear that I have very strong views about democracy and human rights in Cuba and a policy that I think undermines our efforts to promote democracy and human rights in Cuba.”

He also has “a very clear concern to the national interests and security of the United States and our ally to the state of Israel about Iran and its nuclear weapon ambitions, but I cannot imagine that an administration, this or any other, would go to such lengths and undermine our constitutional democracy.”

President Obama, Menendez said, “has a misguided calculation that if you open your hands to dictators that they will un-clench their fists.”

“And while Raul Castro may have said some nice things about President Obama, at the same time, just last month, we had 600 arrests of innocent people inside of Cuba who were detained, many political activists and human rights activists who were not allowed to leave the country to go to the Panama Summit. And last year we had 1,600 detentions and there are still many long political prisoners sitting and languishing in Castro’s jails,” he said.

“And when you say that and provide those facts as well as their violations of armed shipments in contravention to international law and a whole host of other things like having one of the ten top terrorists of the FBI list in their country, then people change their attitude about what this policy is all about.”

On Iran, Menendez called Obama’s shift to try to “contain or administer” Iran’s nuclear program “a fundamental change in our global policy.”

“Many of us before the framework agreement was announced said is this going to be in writing because if, in fact, it’s not in writing then you’re going to have different interpretations and sure enough, you have different interpretations, you have different interpretations on sanctions relief. The Iranians shouldn’t get a sign-in bonus,” he said of Tehran coming out and contradicting the White House point of view.

“You have different interpretations about research and development, that’s critically important because how far can they advance their research and developments? Or at some point their breakout could even be shorter.”

Plus, the senator added, “inspections are incredibly important.”

“They still have not come clean with the International Atomic Energy Administration over their past militarization efforts weaponizing their nuclear program,” he said. “So, we need to know how far did they get in their weaponization efforts so that we understand not only the breakout time, but how quickly they can weaponize that effort. All of these and many other elements are clearly in dispute.”

Menendez wouldn’t disclose the nature of his conversations about the Corker-Menendez bill mandating that Congress be able to review any final deal. “Let me just simply say, I’m not backing off,” he said.

“I honestly believe that it is congressional duty — and I would say to all my colleagues who originally believe that there was a congressional duty here — to review whatever agreement comes about,” he said. “This is simply a review process. That review may determine that at the end of the day people will think that it is an inappropriate deal. They may determine that it is not… But at least after 2 1/2 years of negotiation the Congress should have 60 days to be able to review probably the most significant nuclear nonproliferation agreement of our times.”

“…What I am not open to considering is delaying and/or not pursuing a vote for the Congress to ultimately have a process, an organized, thoughtful process to review any final deal that may be achieved. And I believe such a process no way undermines any potential negotiations from here to June.”

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Heat Turned Up on Obama to Recognize Armenian Genocide After Pope Angers Turkey

Monday, April 13th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Armenian lobbyists say that Pope Francis angering Turkey over recognition of the Armenian genocide sets the stage for President Obama to keep a 2008 campaign promise — or not.

“The facts are undeniable,” Obama said in a Jan. 19, 2008, statement. “An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as president I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”

That’s never happened.

In a Mass marking the 100th anniversary of the killing of 1.5 million Armenians, the pope said, “In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies. The first, which is widely considered ‘the first genocide of the twentieth century,’ struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks. Bishops and priests, religious, women and men, the elderly and even defenseless children and the infirm were murdered.”

“It is necessary, and indeed a duty, to honour their memory, for whenever memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds to fester,” the pontiff said. “Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!”

The Turkish foreign ministry, in addition to recalling its ambassador to the Vatican and summoning the Holy See ambassador in Turkey for consultations, issued a lengthy statement accusing Pope Francis of practicing “discrimination between the sufferings by solely emphasizing the sufferings of the Christians and foremost the Armenians.”

“With a selective point of view, he ignored the tragedies that befell on the Turkish and Muslim people who had lost their lives in World War I. During this Holy Mass, history was instrumentalized for political aims… Given his statements of today, we understand that Pope Francis is under the influence of the Armenian narrative which persists to derive enmity from history instead of leaving a legacy of friendship and peace to the future generations.”

“…What we expected from a divine rank as the Holy See is not to give credit to the one-sided interpretations of historical events and to religious discrimination but rather to support peace and joint approaches that will ensure a global language which rejects ethnic and religious discrimination, especially nowadays when our world is facing confrontations, divisions and intolerance.”

Turkey has paid D.C. lobbyists handsomely over the years to work against the Armenian Genocide resolutions that surface each Congress. Turkey has recalled its ambassador in a huff whenever the bill has made it out of committee.

Earlier this month, Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) led a letter with 48 bipartisan colleagues calling on Obama to recognize the killings as genocide in his expected April 24 statement.

“A clear recognition of the Armenian Genocide, particularly in this Centennial year, would affirm that the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence,” the lawmakers wrote. “A principled presidential statement clearly citing the Armenian Genocide would help strengthen condemnations of the past, and recognize the important relationship the United States shares with Armenia today.”

Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian said the pope’s “historic sermon on the Armenian Genocide sets the stage for President Obama to honor his own pledge to recognize this horrific crime.”

“By openly rejecting Turkey’s gag-rule against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, President Obama would, with a bold stroke, end a truly shameful era of complicity in Ankara’s efforts to deny the truth and obstruct justice for this crime,” Hamparian said. “Such a principled position by President Obama would put America back on the right side of this issue, while also advancing U.S. regional interests in fostering a better future for Armenian-Turkish relations based upon an honest reckoning with the past.”

In a separate statement, Hamparian stressed that “Turkey underestimates, at its own risk, the power of our worldwide movement – a profoundly moral movement inspired by truth and driven by our shared hope for a fair and enduring peace based on a just international resolution of the Armenian Genocide.”

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‘Fictional victims are much more important than actual people’

Monday, April 13th, 2015 - by Kathy Shaidle

GavinMcInnes

 

Gavin McInnes — or rather, his beta male leftoid “brother,” Miles — makes his debut at TheRebel.media.

Warning:

This is satire, but you may find it hard to distinguish from an actual “conversation” you’ve had with a far-left relative or co-worker.

You may want to share it with the “Miles” in your life…

YouTube Preview Image

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Putin Delivers Missile Air Defense Systems to Iran Days After ‘Historic’ Negotiations

Monday, April 13th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Days after the infamous nuclear agreement with Iran, Vladimir Putin has elected to lift the ban on delivering S-300 missile air defense systems to Iran:

The Russian president has repealed the ban prohibiting the delivery of S-300 missile air defense systems to Iran, according to the Kremlin’s press service. The ban was introduced by former President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010.

“[The presidential] decree lifts the ban on transit through Russian territory, including airlift, and the export from the Russian Federation to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also the transfer to the Islamic Republic of Iran outside the territory of the Russian Federation, both by sea and by air, of air defense missile systems S-300,” says the information note accompanying the document, RIA Novosti reported.

The decree enters into force upon the president’s signature.

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

Israel has monitored this transaction for years with Netanyahu coming out strongly against Putin’s rumored sale of the S-300 systems to Syria nearly two years ago. Russia has been seen as Tehran’s strongest ally throughout the recent negotiations, prompting one analyst to warn:

Russia’s warming relationship with Iran and its wider policies toward the Middle East pose significant challenges to U.S. security interests, and Washington should tailor its approach to dealmaking and Russia diplomacy accordingly.

…Both countries also oppose any attempts to support democratic movements in the Middle East. Most notably, they continue to back the Assad regime in Syria and hold similar views on the Taliban in Afghanistan.

 

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Defiant Father ‘Primary Suspect’ in 10-Year-Old Son’s Homicide

Monday, April 13th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

For nearly a month, community members in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center have been looking for a missing 10-year-old boy by the name of Barway Collins. Suspicion has surrounded the boy’s father, Pierre Collins, as authorities have cited his lack of cooperation in the case.

Sadly, young Barway’s body was found in the Mississippi River over the weekend. The case has since been designated a homicide, and Pierre has been named the primary suspect.

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Rand Paul for Prez Ad Conveniently Leaves Out Important Anti-Israel Fact

Monday, April 13th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

A little reminder for those still intent on believing Rand is nothing like his anti-Semitic daddy:

Back in 2011, when Paul was just settling into the Senate, he proposed a budget that was more fiscally conservative than the proposals offered by his Republican contemporaries. In a bid to cut $500 billion from the federal budget, Paul proposed a spending outline that would have eliminated foreign aid entirely.

Paul’s cuts weren’t targeted at Israel specifically, which gets about $3 billion a year from the United States, mostly in military assistance. But by cutting all aid to foreign countries, Paul’s proposal would have zeroed out Israel’s aid.

The younger Paul echoed his 2011 statements on his 2013 visit to Israel, a trip viewed as his attempt to distance himself from his father’s anti-Semitic character ahead of an anticipated 2016 presidential bid:

He said the U.S. should first target unfriendly countries for cuts, and only after that should Israel be subject to cuts. And he pointed out that Mr. Netanyahu told Congress in 1996 that “ultimately he would like to see Israel independent of foreign aid as well.”

Despite his support for the Iron Dome and presentation of an act that would end funding to the Palestinian Authority, Paul remains an isolationist. His views are reminiscent of the populists who ran amok in the decade before World War 2. One is left wondering if Paul’s hands-off approach to foreign intervention, financially or otherwise, wouldn’t just wind up being the Republican version of Obama’s head-in-the-sands of the golf course mentality.

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Milking Kids for Cash: Legislators Seek to Triple Funding Amidst Double-Dipping Scandal

Sunday, April 12th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

 

The Minneapolis school board will vote Tuesday on whether to renew a contract with the Minneapolis Urban League, an organization at the center of scandal regarding double-dipping between state and local governments. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:

The questions started after the Minneapolis School District awarded the Minneapolis Urban League as much as $800,000 a year for a program that never lived up to its promise of graduating the city’s most troubled high school students.

Then Minnesota legislators agreed to give the Urban League $300,000 a year for nearly identical work, paying some of the same staff to work with many of the same students the school district already was paying to help.

Now top state officials and Minneapolis school leaders are investigating whether the Urban League is getting paid twice for similar work.

“It’s alarming,” said Michael Goar, the Minneapolis School District’s interim superintendent. “When there is an issue that they are getting paid both [from the district and the state], then we have to look into it.”

That’s not stopping two Democrat state legislators from throwing even more taxpayer dollars at the group.

… Sens. Jeff Hayden and Bobby Joe Champion, DFL-Minneapolis, are seeking to triple funding for the program to $1.8 million over the next two years.

The senators defend the Urban League’s work as essential to closing the city’s achievement gap between white and minority students, which is among the worst in the country.

The only problem with that rationalization is its defiance of objective reality. The Urban League program, known as the 13th Grade, has failed to make significant progress toward closing the district’s troubling achievement gap.

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Turkey Recalls Vatican Ambassador After Pope Uses the ‘G’ Word Referring to Armenia

Sunday, April 12th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Pope Francis marked the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide by declaring that the mass killings was the first genocide of the 20th century.

Speaking at Sunday mass commemorating the anniversary of the genocide, Pope Francis became the second pope to risk the wrath of Turkey who, despite mountains of evidence, continue to deny that the deaths of 1 million Armenians was genocide.

Wall Street Journal:

Speaking at a Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican to mark 100 years since the Armenian killings, the pope spoke of the massacres in the context of the contemporary persecution of Christians in the Muslim world—a subject that has become an increasingly prominent and urgent theme in Pope Francis’ public statements.

Armenians say that as many as 1.5 million Armenians were systematically killed during World War I in today’s eastern Turkey, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire.

Many countries officially recognize the killings as genocide. But Turkey contests Armenian claims about the scale of losses; it argues that hundreds of thousands actually died in warfare and famine, and that many Turks were also killed by Armenians. Turkey argues that the question of genocide should be left to historians rather than politicians.

Pope Francis said Sunday that “it is necessary, and indeed a duty” to “recall the centenary of that tragic event, that immense and senseless slaughter whose cruelty your forbears had to endure…Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it.”

[...]

Pope Francis went further than the 2001 declaration, calling the killing of Armenians one of “three massive and unprecedented tragedies” in the 20th century.

“The remaining two were perpetrated by Nazism and Stalinism,” he said. The latter reference was apparently to the 1932-33 man-made famine in Ukraine, part of Joseph Stalin’s effort to collectivize Soviet agriculture, which killed as many as 7.5 million.

The evidence is overwhelming that the Ottoman Turks systematically organized the deliberate deaths of up to 1.5 million Armenians. Government documents, photos, testimony from survivors prove that Turkey wished to rid itself of its Christian minorities, largely because they believed that the Armenians and others were siding with Russia against Turkey in World War I. They also needed a convenient scapegoat for the losses suffered on the battlefield.

The greatest number of killings occurred on horrific death marches of hundreds of miles where the Turks drove women, children, and old people (most of the young men had already been massacred) into the Syrian desert. There was no food or water given to the victims along the way — again, by design.

Few recognized historians take Turkey’s side — that the deaths were regrettable but not part of an organized effort to kill all Armenians. And Turkey is fanatical about the subject. After Pope Francis identified the Armenian massacres as genocide, Turkey angrily recalled its ambassador to the Vatican.

CNN:

His use of the term genocide — even though he was quoting from the declaration — upset Turkey.

The nation summoned its ambassador to the Vatican for “consultations” just hours after Francis’ comments, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said. Earlier, Turkey summoned the ambassador from the Vatican for a meeting, Turkish state broadcaster TRT reported.

Turkey’s former ambassador to the Vatican, Kenan Gursoy, told CNN in a telephone interview that while it is the first time Turkey has summoned its ambassador home from the Vatican, “This does not mean that our diplomatic ties with the Vatican are over.”

“Since this is a situation that we do not approve of, as a first reaction, (the ambassador) is summoned to get consultation,” Gursoy said, adding that the Pope’s use of the word “genocide” was “a one-sided evaluation.”

In a tweet Sunday on his official account, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called the Pope’s use of the word “unacceptable” and “out of touch with both historical facts and legal basis.”

“Religious offices are not places through which hatred and animosity are fueled by unfounded allegations,” the tweet reads.

This is actually a mild reaction compared to when the US House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a resolution in 2010 calling the actions of the Turkish government genocide:

Barack Obama’s administration, which regards Turkey as an important ally, was today desperately seeking to defuse the row. It expressed its frustration with the House of Representatives’ foreign affairs committee, which voted 23-22 yesterday in favour of a resolution labelling the 1915 massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians a “genocide”.

A furious Turkey may now deny the US access to the Incirlik air base, a staging post for Iraq, as it did at the time of the 2003 invasion, or withdraw its sizeable troop contribution to the coalition forces in Afghanistan.

On the diplomatic front, the US needs the support of Turkey, which has a seat on the UN security council, in the push for sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme. Turkey is also helpful to the US on a host of other diplomatic issues in the Middle East and central Asia.

The White House and state department began work today to try to prevent the controversial issue making its way to the floor of the house for a full vote.

In Turkey, Suat Kiniklioglu, the influential deputy chairman for external affairs in the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP), warned of “major consequences” if the resolution was accepted by the full House of Representatives.

“If they choose to bring this to the floor they will have to face the fact that the consequences would be serious – the relationship would be downgraded at every level,” he said. “Everything from Afghanistan to Pakistan to Iraq to the Middle East process would be affected.

“There would be major disruption to the relationship between Turkey and the US.”

The Obama administration was successful in keeping the measure from the House floor.

It is shameful that the US hasn’t stood up and sided with the victims of this atrocity. Turkey cannot continue to deny its culpability for this crime against humanity any more than the Germans can deny the Holocaust. They have been convicted by their own words and deeds and given the Islamist bent of the Erdogan administration, Turkey is becoming less and less important to the US — and NATO.

The truth is out and the fact that Turkey refuses to acknowledge it should play no part in the world’s condemnation of this horrible crime.

 

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Oooops! Four Episodes of Game of Thrones Leaked Online

Sunday, April 12th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Tonight marks the premiere of Season 5 of HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones and, as is becoming common these days, 4 episodes of the drama have leaked online.

Since I am not a spoiler-mongerer, I won’t link to where you can find them. But I don’t think it really matters as far as the viewing audience is concerned. In fact, in the past, HBO has celebrated the piracy.

Forbes:

Bad news today for HBO, which is attempting to marry the recent debut of their HBO Now streaming service with season 5 of Game of Thrones. As of last night, the first four episodes of the new season, nearly half of the ten total episodes, have been leaked online to various torrent sites.

After appearing online yesterday afternoon, the episodes have already been downloaded almost 800,000 times, and that figure will likely blow past a million downloads by the season 5 premiere tonight.

Game of Thrones has consistently set records for piracy, which has almost been a point of pride for HBO. Last year, when it was announced HBO set a world record for illegal downloads after the season four premiere, Time Warner TWX -0.14% CEO Jeff Bewkes had this to say.

“Our experience is [piracy] leads to more penetration, more paying subs, more health for HBO, less reliance on having to do paid advertising… If you go around the world, I think you’re right, Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world. Well, you know, that’s better than an Emmy.”

It’s a refreshing view of piracy as a means of audience engagement, but that was in reference to the ability of pirates to upload episodes of Game of Thrones shortly after they air, and this is a different situation in which four episodes have leaked weeks before the later ones were supposed to air.

How this happened isn’t a mystery. The press has had their hands on four episodes worth of press screeners for a while now, so someone that was trusted with those review materials clearly should not have been. We see this happen every single year with screeners for the top Oscar nominated films, but to my knowledge, Game of Thrones hasn’t had to deal with this kind of leak before.

This is a variation of the famous actor’s dictum, “I don’t care what they say about me as long as they spell my name right.” Indeed, the downloads represent advertising that HBO can’t buy at any price. I can’t say that HBO is necessarily pleased that episodes that won’t be seen for a month are available for download, but neither is there likely to be panic at the prospect.

I prefer to get my Game of Thrones as it’s broadcast, spoilers be damned. The bewildering array of characters are nearly impossible to remember and follow, so here are a couple of handy guides to help you. If you’ve follow the series closely, this chart by USA Today will be of great assistance as you watch the show.

But if you’re new to the series, this photo guide from Access Hollywood with thumbnail commentary will bring you up to speed.

In telling us what he likes about Game of Thrones, Jim Geraghty says the multitude of characters is a big plus:

What I love about Game of Thrones:

It’s different. It doesn’t look like any other show on television. Almost every episode looks like an epic movie: The scale is huge, the sets are huge, the number of key characters is enormous. Every season is just ten episodes, and something important and consequential occurs in just about all of them.

It’s complicated. Here’s where Game of Thrones compares to Twin Peaks; my favorite early-90s surreal comic-horror murder mystery had a good thirty-to-forty characters of significance during its run. A lot of shows effectively “talk down” to their audience by simplifying things and creating worlds where everything of importance is done by the same half-dozen people every week. For example, on Castle, we almost never see Castle and Becket interacting with any cops or police personnel outside of the main cast. As far as viewers can tell, the precinct consists of three detectives, a captain, two medical examiners, and Castle the consultant. To keep costs down, anyone in the background – other detectives, uniformed officers, secretarial staff, etc. – rarely, if ever, speak a line of dialogue. Most cop shows are the same, as are most doctor shows and legal dramas.

The limited terms of those shows work well enough, but in real life we interact with lots of people throughout the day – and the world of Game of Thrones presents multiple members of multiple families in an enormously complicated web of rivalries, shifting alliances, secret agendas and vendettas, etc. This is a show that rewards playing close attention – and like most of my cult-hit favorites, you feel as though there’s a lot going on off-screen.

No doubt there will be shocks and plot twists to satisfy the most cynical among us. Characters we’ve come to know and love will be killed off — probably suddenly and brutally. But that is why the series is so compelling.

My DVR is already set. Is yours?

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It’s Official: Hillary Clinton Announces Presidential Run

Sunday, April 12th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Hillary Clinton is officially running for president.

The news was leaked in an email from her campaign manager, former chief of staff to President Clinton and counselor to Obama John Podesta, shortly before her video announcement.

Podesta, who was also president of the Center for American Progress think-tank, left the Obama administration in February.

The video with her announcement was released at the point her campaign website, HillaryClinton.com, went live.

The campaign video focuses on Americans making transitions, whether planting a spring garden or getting ready for a baby. “Retirement means reinventing yourself in many ways,” one woman in the video says.

“I’m getting ready to do something, too,” Hillary then says in the video. “I’m running for president.”

“The deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top,” the former first lady and secretary of State continues, striking a tone favored by supporters of Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) or Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion. So you can do more than just get by, you can get ahead and stay ahead. Because when families are strong, America is strong.”

“So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote. Because it’s your time, and I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) was maybe the quickest lawmaker to issue a Clinton endorsement.

“Whoopee, Hillary is off and running! I’m ready for Hillary. And America is ready for Hillary. She is going to break that glass ceiling once and for all,” said Mikulski, who’s retiring at the end of this Congress.

“When we put Hillary in the Oval Office, she will make history and change history. She will take our hopes and dreams with her. She’s got the right stuff and the right agenda – jobs, families, opportunity for all. Hillary 2016!”

The Democratic National Committee issued a statement stressing that it’s “just the beginning of the next race for the White House,” but “a crucial period to spread the word on why our 45th president should be a Democrat.”

“We are so excited to welcome her to the race,” the DNC said of Hillary.

Clinton’s campaign said she’ll stop in Iowa this week, “ramping up” to another campaign kickoff in mid-May, including house parties in all 50 states.

The “ramp up” will include building “a nation-wide grassroots organization” as Clinton spends time “engaging directly with voters.”

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Watch: Boston University Goalie Personifies the ‘Agony of Defeat’

Sunday, April 12th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport… the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition… This is ABC’s Wide World of Sports!

So began the most iconic, longest-running general interest sports program in TV history. ABC’s Wide World of Sports broadcast sports that Americans rarely saw outside of Olympic programming. Skiing, skating, track and field, and swimming were staples of the broadcast, but hurling, curling, Australian Rules football, bocce, log rolling … even shuffleboard were occasionally featured.

But the common thread running through all of its programming was “the human drama” of competition. And no one man represented that drama quite like Vinko Bogataj.

Bogataj was a Yugoslavian ski jumper of Slovenian descent who etched himself into the consciousness of Americans thanks to a spectacular failure at the World Ski Championships in West Germany in 1970. Wikipedia describes the scene:

A light snow had begun falling at the start of the event, and by the time Bogataj was ready for his third jump, the snow had become quite heavy. Midway down the ramp for that jump, Bogataj realized that the conditions had made the ramp too fast. He attempted to lower his center of gravity and stop his jump, but instead lost his balance completely and rocketed out of control off the end of the ramp, tumbling and flipping wildly, and crashing through a light retaining fence near a crowd of stunned spectators before coming to a halt.

Despite the horrific crash, Bogataj suffered only a minor concussion.

The Slovenian ski jumper then became the symbol of the “Agony of Defeat” on Wide World of Sports from 1971 until the last broadcast in 1998.

The story of Mr. Bogataj comes to mind when viewing what happened to Boston University goalie Matt O’Connor, who was playing in the NCAA hockey championship game against Providence College.

O’Connor had a stellar season for the Terriers, winning 25 of 28 games. But he will always be remembered for pulling the biggest bonehead play in NCAA hockey history. With BU winning 3-2 in the 3rd and final period, O’Connor mishandled an easy dump-in from the blue line by Providence that he promptly dropped, the puck trickling backwards between his legs into his own net for the tying goal. Providence went on to score in the final minutes to ice the 4-3 victory and win the championship.

Is this not the personification of the “Agony of Defeat”?

Those of you who have played sports, even if only at the high school level, know that the difference between victory and defeat is often measured in inches, or tenths of a second. It is that difference that compels us to watch athletic competitions and become captivated by the performances.

Matt O’Connor showed genuine courage when he took full responsibility for the loss and sat patiently for a couple of hours after the game answering every last question put to him by reporters:

They could have spirited Matt O’Connor down the back stairs, into a cab, and whisked him back to Boston University.

And everybody would have understood.

They could have issued a stern and to-the-point directive to the media that, no, sorry, Matt O’Connor would not be available for interviews.

And everybody would have understood.

And, yes, O’Connor himself could have told the first wave of reporters, the second wave, the third wave . . . he could have told them all to please just leave him alone.

And everybody would have understood.

Yet the young man sat there, seemingly for hours, answering every last question, including a few dumb ones. As soon as one group had finished, some of the reporters patting him on the back and thanking him for his time, another group would push forward and the process would begin all over again.

At one point, associate head coach Steve Greeley leaned in to O’Connor and apparently whispered something about stopping this madness.

“No,” O’Connor said. “It’s better to get it over with.”

Hopefully, that’s what’ll happen to Matt O’Connor . . . that he’ll get it over, that he’ll get on with his life. Hopefully he’ll be buoyed by friends, by family, by teammates. He’ll find a way. He’s young, he’s strong, he’s smart.

O’Connor may have lost the game in agonizing fashion. But the kid is no loser.

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U.S.-Britain ‘Special Relationship’ Now Toast Under Obama

Sunday, April 12th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

You knew this was coming, because payback time:

Washington believes that the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and the US is over, according to a secret briefing document seen by The Mail on Sunday. The memo for members of Congress states damningly that ‘the UK may not be viewed as centrally relevant to the United States in all of the issues and relations considered a priority on the US agenda’.

Dated April 2015 and drawn up to brief the Senate and House of Representatives on the impact of Britain’s General Election, the memo also warns that the UK faces turmoil if there is a hung parliament.

The document – prepared by the Congressional Research Service, an in-house intelligence body that gives confidential analysis to legislators – states that while Britain and the US are likely to ‘remain key economic partners’, a ‘reassessment of the special relationship may be in order… because its geopolitical setting has been changing’.

The memo, edited by Derek E Mix, the CRS’s chief European affairs analyst, says that the development of organisations such as the G20 group of major economies has led to a decline in the ‘influence and centrality of the relationship’.

To be fair, Britain hasn’t been militarily or economically worthy of the “special relationship” for a long time; there is almost nothing Britain could do to help the United States in a pinch. But the historic ties between the two anglophonic nations, the one the child of the other, used to be deemed worthy of respect. But not, of course, under Obama, whose resentment toward Britain was evident on day one of his disastrous presidency.

The ‘special relationship’ has been deployed by generations of politicians – most notably Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – to describe the close political, diplomatic, cultural, economic, military and historical relations between the two countries. It was first coined in a 1944 speech by Winston Churchill, when he said it was his ‘deepest conviction that unless Britain and the United States are joined in a special relationship… another destructive war will come to pass’. Increasingly, however, the relationship has come to be seen as one-sided, with British Prime Ministers more keen to flag up the alliance than US Presidents.

When David Cameron visited the White House in January, he insisted the President had said the special relationship was ‘stronger than it has ever been’.

Sucker!

 

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Can a Cabbie Order 2 Women Not to Kiss in His Taxi or Does He Deserve His $15,000 Fine?

Sunday, April 12th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

Who’s right (and wrong) here? The cab driver? The two ladies who kissed each other and filed a report about the cab driver? Or the policeman who gave the cabby a $15,000 fine?

A cabby who claimed he had a “no-kissing policy” in his yellow taxi was hit with $15,000 in fines for ordering two female passengers to stop smooching — and then shouting vulgar epithets at them when they got out. TV producer Christina Spitzer and her actress girlfriend, Kassie Thornton, said they barely exchanged a peck in the back seat early into their ride when hack Mohammed Dahbi became ­enraged.

As John Hawkins points out, liberals will undoubtedly be torn in this case because the driver is a Muslim (and therefore supposedly deserving of preferential treatment) while the women are gay (and therefore also supposedly deserving of preferential treatment). However, that isn’t what this issue is really all about.

The question is: whose rights triumph in this particular case? Do the women have the “right” to do as they please, to show affection to each other wherever they go and whenever they want? Or can a cabbie say that he doesn’t want any kissing in his car? Would he have dealt differently with them if one of them was a guy? If so, does that matter?

As I see it, this boils down to property rights. When the women entered Dahbi’s taxi they had to adhere to his rules, no matter how bigoted and backwards they are. He’s clearly a fundamentalist who deserves no sympathy whatsoever, but that doesn’t mean his right to property doesn’t exist. Don’t like it? Get out of his taxi and find another one — preferably one driven by a man (or woman) with at least something approaching a modern worldview.

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USMC Infantry Officer Course Defeats Every Female Candidate

Sunday, April 12th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

That’s why they call Marines “the few.”

The two-and-a-half year period in which the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course became gender-integrated for research will end without a single female graduate. The final iteration of IOC to accept female Marines on a volunteer basis began April 2 with two female participants. One was a volunteer and one was a member of the newly integrated ground intelligence track.

Both were dropped that same day during the grueling initial Combat Endurance Test, said Capt. Maureen Krebs, a spokeswoman for Headquarters Marine Corps. Nine of the 90 men who began the course were also cut.

Social engineering with the military has always been a bad idea; with the Marines, it’s an even worse idea:

IOC, held quarterly at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, began accepting female officers fresh out of training in September 2012 as part of a larger research effort into the feasibility of opening ground combat jobs to women. Lieutenants who made it through the legendarily tough 86-day course would not receive an infantry military occupational specialty or career advancement; they did it only for the challenge and the hope of being part of a historical Marine Corps achievement.

But as the research continued, few volunteers took advantage of the opportunity. By July 2014, only 20 female officers had attempted the course. Only one made it through the Combat Endurance Test, and none made it to the end.

Still, the Social Justice Warrior brigade hasn’t given up — and won’t, as long as there’s a Democrat in the White House:

Officials have said that ongoing research will consider many aspects of temporarily integrating IOC, including the number of volunteers, their pass rate, and performance in the course. That data will be taken alongside other research points, including the much higher success rate for enlisted female Marines in passing the Infantry Training Battalion course at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. As of February, 358 women had attempted the course, with 122 graduates, for a pass rate of 34 percent.

Also considered will be data generated from the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, which is conducting assessments with male and female troops in a variety of infantry specialties now on the West Coast. All this information will be compiled this summer and used to inform Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford’s recommendation to the secretary of Defense on whether or not to open remaining ground combat units to female troops.

A decision is expected from the Pentagon early next year.

Gee, do you think the fix is in?

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Russian Fighter Buzzes U.S. Spy Jet Over Baltic

Sunday, April 12th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

The Russian air force has become more aggressive over the last few months, invading NATO air space and coming close to civilian aircraft.

But this sort of thing is downright dangerous.

A Russia Su-27 jet fighter flew dangerously close and nearly collided with a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft this week in the latest aerial provocation by Moscow, defense officials revealed to the Washington Free Beacon.

The Su-27 conducted the close-in intercept of an RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace over the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, said officials. The incident prompted a diplomatic protest.

“On the morning of April 7th, a U.S. RC-135U flying a routine route in international airspace was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 Flanker in an unsafe and unprofessional manner,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen M. Lainez.

“The United States is raising this incident with Russia in the appropriate diplomatic and official channels,” she said in a statement.

A defense official said the Russian fighter jet flew within 20 feet of the unarmed reconnaissance jet in what the official called a “reckless” encounter that endangered the lives of the RC-135 crew.

No details were available regarding the mission of the RC-135, which was in a position to monitor Russian military activities in western Russia and Kaliningrad.

In Moscow, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman confirmed the incident.

Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, the spokesman, said the intercept was carried out after the aircraft was detected by Russian radar.

“Russian air defense radars spotted an unidentified air target over the Baltic Sea making steady progress toward the national border,” he said according to several state-controlled news outlets. The report said the U.S. aircraft was operating without its signal transponder turned on.

“No emergency situation was reported during the fly-by of the American reconnaissance aircraft,” Konashenkov said.

Needless to say, a confrontation of two military aircraft is fraught with meaning — and danger. Given that both sides are on high alert, an “accident” could lead to a misunderstanding which could spiral out of control.

The Free Beacon details some past encounters with Russian military aircraft:

The threatening aerial encounter followed a series of provocative Russian military aircraft encounters, mainly involving the dispatch of nuclear-capable Tu-95 Bear bombers near U.S. and European coasts.

Flights of Russian strategic aircraft near U.S. and allied airspace have sharply increased as part of a campaign of nuclear saber rattling by Moscow.

Adm. William Gortney, commander of the U.S. Northern Command, expressed his military concerns about the increase in Russian military flights and provocations during a briefing with reporters the same day of the RC-135 incident over the Baltic.

“The Russians have developed a far more capable military than the quantitative, very large military that the Soviet Union had,” Gortney said, adding that Moscow has adopted a new strategic doctrine that is being demonstrated by the provocations.

“At the same time, they are messaging us,” he told reporters at the Pentagon. “They’re messaging us that they’re a global power—we do the same sort of thing—with their long-range aviation.”

Gortney said the numbers of incidents have gone up but he did not have the percentages.

“And so we watch very carefully what they’re doing,” he said. The Russians need to adhere to “international standards that are required by all airplanes that are out there,” he said, “and everybody is flying in a professional manner on their side and our side as we watch very closely.”

Eric Edelman, former undersecretary of defense for policy, said the latest incident appears to be part of a pattern of activities by Russia that began around 2007 when Russian President Vladimir Putin began protesting U.S. missile defenses in Europe. The provocative activities have taken place in both the skies and on the sea, Edelman said.

Putin can afford to play a confrontational game as long as Obama is in office. He knows there will be no pushback from the U.S.. The question is, will this behavior continue when the next president takes office? I suspect like most bullies, Putin will back off once it is made clear that the new president won’t tolerate such provocations.

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Iraq: We Will Gladly Pay You Later for Billions in Arms Today

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi is coming to Washington next week with his hand out. Reuters is reporting that the PM will ask President Obama for billions of dollars in U.S. weapons to fight Islamic State, but wants to defer payment until later.

Wimpy couldn’t have asked more politely for his hamburger.

But is this really a good idea? What guarantee is there that there will even be an Iraqi government a year from now — or at least one that would be willing to live up to its commitments to pay the U.S. back?

But Iraq thinks they have a hole card — Iran. If they don’t get the arms from us, they say they will look to Tehran for assistance.

Reuters:

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi is grappling with an insurgency by militants from Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that emerged from the chaos in Iraq and neighboring Syria and seized much of northern and central Iraq last year.

He is also facing a cash crunch thanks to a plunge in oil prices that is ravaging Iraq’s state finances. The government is projecting a budget deficit of roughly $21 billion this year.

Visiting Washington for the first time as prime minister, Abadi hopes to convince a war-weary United States Iraq deserves more U.S. manpower and arms three years after U.S. troops withdrew from the country in December 2011, as his fledgling army confronts Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL.

“ISIS is everybody’s problem now,” said the senior Iraqi official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “You can’t run away from the problem if it comes to Canada or goes to France,” he said in reference to attacks by people influenced by Islamic State or al Qaeda in those countries.

The senior Iraqi official hinted Baghdad could turn to Tehran if it did not get the aid it wants from Washington.

“If that’s not available, we’ve already done it with the Iranians and others,” he said, saying that was not the first choice. “The PM is committed to the U.S. … What he also wants to make sure is that he has a partner that he can rely on.”

That makes two of us, Mr. Iraqi official. The Iraqi government has yet to show that they have any desire to include the Sunni Muslims in the national life of the country. There is a reason a lot of them are supporting Islamic State: Iraqi Shias are massacring them, stifling economic opportunity, shutting them out of government jobs, and not allowing them to rise through the ranks in Iraq’s security services.

I say let them go to Tehran for arms. The Iranians are already exerting tremendous influence on the government. They even control the half million Shia volunteer militias that make up the most reliable fighters in the Iraqi forces. No amount of U.S. aid will change the dynamic that Iran is going to dominate Iraq for the foreseeable future.

Why waste the money and arms on a country that might not even exist in a few months?

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[VIDEO] Ted Cruz at the NRA: Can a Positive Campaign Produce a Winner?

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

At the NRA’s annual convention yesterday, Senator Ted Cruz once again presented his vision for America… and for his presidential campaign. The biggest take-away isn’t that he’s pro-Second Amendment (we already knew that), but that he’s determined to run a positive campaign. Just watch the video:

Of course Cruz criticized President Obama and other Democrats for implementing horrendous policies that do tremendous damage to America and the rest of the world, but his message was — overall — very positive. He emphasized time and again that he’s inspired and motivated to fight “for your constitutional rights” and that he still believes that “the promise of America” can be reignited.

He already promised he’d run a positive campaign shortly after he announced his candidacy.

The question is whether such a campaign can produce a winner. Many modern-day experts believe it can’t, which is why we’re seeing attack ad after attack ad when elections are close. However, there are some success stories of mostly positive campaigns that aimed to inspire. Think about Ronald Reagan in 1980 and especially in 1984. He, too, had a clear vision for America and tried to rally people behind it.

Cruz is taking a risk — winning a negative campaign is easier — but if it pays off, it’ll pay off big time. After all, he’ll then have won the nomination without having made a lot of enemies, which will make it likelier that they and the grassroots will throw their support behind him if he’s the last man standing (against Jeb).

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Lerner Email Shows Attempt to Pressure IG Conclusions in IRS Targeting Scandal

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

About 5 months before former director of the IRS exempt division Lois Lerner casually let slip the revelation that her department had been targeting conservative organizations for special scrutiny, she sent an email to the inspector general investigating the matter, accusing the IG of being “too narrow” in their scope of the targeting investigation, claiming that she was just doing her job.

It is unusual for the subject of an investigation to plead their case so directly with the inspector general. But the email also shows that Lerner was well aware of the problems in her office with targeting and was looking for a break from the IG in reaching his conclusions.

Washington Examiner:

In an email on Jan. 31, 2013, Lerner encouraged Troy Patterson of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to back off of his investigators’ view that the tax agency was targeting political groups for excessive attention.

“We feel your folks are being too narrow in their view and have decided that because of the language on the earlier BOLO list regarding Tea Party, everything that followed was tainted. They seem to believe that if a case was initially sent to the advocacy group, but ultimately determined to be an approval, that our action in putting it into the advocacy group in the first place is incorrect, and illustrates ‘targeting,’” she said.

“BOLO” was the tax agency’s abbreviation for categories of nonprofit applicants to “be on the lookout” for as they were received.

Lerner continued in the email to Patterson, arguing that she was “willing to take the blame for not having provided sufficient direction initially, which may have resulted in front line staff doing things that appeared to be politically motivated, but I am not on board that anything that occurred here shows that the IRS was politically motivated in the actions taken.”

The email was made public Thursday by nonprofit government watchdog Judicial Watch, which obtained it via a Freedom of Information Act request. The email was among multiple documents the tax agency only provided after being ordered to do so by a federal judge.

The IRS had previously claimed all of Lerner’s emails were lost when her computer crashed and the hard drive was subsequently destroyed as a matter of routine practice by the agency’s information technology staff.

Another email released by Judicial Watch shows Lerner wanting a training program for employees of her division so that they could be “sensitive” to the fact that Congress might review what they were doing:

In another email made public Thursday by Judicial Watch, Lerner said she wanted a training program set up to teach underlings reviewing conservative and Tea Party non-profit tax exemption applications to be “sensitive” to “the fact that anything we write can be public — or at least be seen by Congress.”

In a Feb. 16, 2012, email to colleague Holly Paz, Lerner, who was then head of the federal tax agency’s exempt organizations division, said “we are all a bit concerned about the mention of specific Congress people, practitioners and political parties.”

Lerner suggested that Paz’s staff in the IRS Rulings and Agreements department “could put together some training points to help them understand the potential pitfalls, as well as how to think about referrals.”

Judicial Watch sums up the findings:

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the latest email disclosures “show that the IRS scandal is not over. These documents point to document gaps caused by the refusal of the Obama IRS to search for Lois Lerner’s emails. The incredible email from Lois Lerner admitting (and denying) culpability by her and the IRS in the scandal further undermines President Obama’s lie that the IRS scandal was entirely the fault of ‘bonehead decisions in local offices.’”

The more we read of Lerner emails, the less the bumbling bureaucrat she looks and the more the devious, duplicitous manager she becomes.

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Democrats: They Never Stop, They Never Sleep, They Never Quit

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Even when voters kick their sorry rear ends out:

Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday to try and hold on to her leadership spot after voters approved a constitutional amendment that was likely to result in her demotion.

For the past 126 years, the chief justice position has gone to the most senior member of the Supreme Court. Since 1996, that has been Abrahamson. But the amendment approved by voters on Tuesday would instead allow the seven justices to decide who should be chief. The liberal Abrahamson is expected to be voted out by the four-justice conservative majority.

This Abrahamson is a real piece of work; you may recall she was another one of the leftist dragons Wisconsin governor Scott Walker had to face down during his first term. Now the superannuated sore loser is whining that democracy works. And, of course, suing everybody in sight:

Abrahamson, 81, argued in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Madison that the change should not be applied until after her current term ends in four years or if she leaves before then. To have the selection process change immediately would shorten the 10-year term of office to which Abrahamson was elected as chief justice, she argued, and would therefore violate her constitutional rights to due process and equal protection rights. She also is asking for a temporary restraining order to block the other six justices on the court from taking any action to remove her as chief justice.

The lawsuit names the other members of the court and top state officials charged with implementing the amendment. It was brought on behalf of Abrahamson and a handful of state residents who voted for her.

That’s how Democrats play the game; when you can’t win, work the refs, rile the crowd — anything but lose. The principal reason they hate Walker is that in him they finally met their match.

 

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New York Times Determined to Prove Abe Lincoln Was Really a Democrat

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

That’s the gist of this nasty piece by Timothy Egan, ostensibly honoring the country’s first Republican president on the anniversary of his assassination by a Democrat — but in reality thumping the GOP for not conforming to Egan’s ideas of political correctness. (Worth noting before we begin that the Assassinated Presidents score is GOP 3, Dems 1; talk about a War on Republicans.)

Think of [Lincoln's] legacy on this anniversary of the American passion play. Think of free land for the landless, the transcontinental railroad, the seeding of what would grow into national parks, the granting of human rights to people who had none. And think of how much the party of Lincoln has turned against the expansive political philosophy of Lincoln. Not the emancipation of four million people — Northern Democrats who died on southern battlegrounds, and certainly the Republicans who held power then, get their share of credit for ending the Original Sin of the United States.

But beyond: Could the Republicans who control Congress in 2015, the party of no, ever pass a Homestead Act? That law, which went into effect the very day, Jan. 1, 1863, Lincoln’s wartime executive order to free slaves in the breakaway states did, carries a clause that very few Republicans would support now…

In 1862, Lincoln signed legislation spurring construction of the transcontinental railroad. That same year, he approved a bill that led to the creation of land grant colleges. Today, Congress will not even approve enough money to keep decrepit bridges from falling down, and has whittled away funds to help working kids stay in college. It’s laughable to think of Republicans’ approving of something visionary and forward-looking in the realm of transportation, energy or education. Government, in their minds, can never be a force for good…

what unites the Republican Party, on this 150th anniversary of the murder of Lincoln, is that they are against the type of progressive legislation that gave rise to their party. Lincoln is an oil painting in the parlor, to be dusted off while Republican leaders plot new ways to kill things that he would have approved of.

On and on it goes, the usual hate-filled, sickening, ignorant drivel by the Democrat Party ops who call themselves journalists. Their propaganda campaign against the nation continues unabated. They hate us. They really, really hate us.

 

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Astounding Cave-in by Obama on Venezuela Threat

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

There’s been a  remarkable about-face by President Obama regarding the threat of Venezuela to the national security of the U.S..

Last month, the president issued an executive order imposing some mild sanctions on seven Venezuela officials who the U.S. says were responsible for the growing climate of human rights violations. The White House said of President Maduro’s crackdown on the opposition, “We are deeply concerned by the Venezuelan government’s efforts to escalate intimidation of its political opponents./..Venezuela’s problems cannot be solved by criminalizing dissent.”

In addition to the sanctions, the president declared a national emergency and referred to the Venezuelan regime as an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United State.”

Sounds serious, right?

After President Maduro threw a tantrum against “American imperialism” and gathered 10 million names on a petition against the sanctions, President Obama backed down and, in an interview this week, said that “Venezuela is not a threat to the U.S. and the U.S. is not a threat to Venezuela.”

So much for the “national emergency.”

Maduro claimed “victory” — as well he should.

Fox News:

Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, is claiming “victory” after President Obama said in an interview earlier this week that “Venezuela is not a threat.”

Maduro is attributing Obama’s supposed change of stance to his initiative of gathering 10 million signatures protesting “U.S. imperialism.”

[...]

“This rectification of vocabulary means a lot and it was possible thanks to the help we received from other Latin American governments and the entire world,” Maduro said Thursday to a crowd gathered in front of the Miraflores Presidential Palace.

He said that Obama’s change of language could open a “new era” of relations between the U.S. and Venezuela.

It gets worse — or better if you’re Maduro. When some reporter timidly asked if the president’s statement represented something of a retreat from the language in the executive order (Jesus, what else could it be), a State Department spokesman referred to former Obama speechwriter, now foreign policy expert Ben Rhodes, who gave this incredible explanation earlier:

Asked whether the U.S. was walking back from its previous depiction of Venezuela as a national security threat, a State Department spokesman, Justen Thomas, referred to remarks by a deputy national security advisor, Ben Rhodes, at a press briefing this week in which he said: “The wording [of the executive order], which got a lot of attention, is completely pro forma. This is a language that we use in executive orders around the world. So the United States does not believe that Venezuela poses some threat to our national security. We, frankly, just have a framework for how we formalize these executive orders.”

By his side was Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, a willing signer of the petition that will be delivered this weekend to President Obama at the Summit of the Americas taking place in Panama City.

This is actually good news. Doesn’t this mean that the president’s executive orders on immigration are merely “pro-forma” and they don’t really mean what they say? What a relief. For a while we all thought the president was serious about tearing up the Constitution and doing an end run around Congress.

Obama reminds me of the punch-drunk boxer, cowering in the corner, covering up, as the champ pummels him with blow after blow after blow. It appears that his entire second term will be spent caving in to the thugs and evil fanatics of the world who have been largely kept in a box by presidents of both parties since the end of the cold war. They have been released now, free to run wild and dominate and bully their neighbors — with the president of the United States their chief enabler.

But we shouldn’t be surprised. This is the foreign policy that the most radical liberals have been wanting for 40 years: a humbled, apologetic United States, playing second fiddle to the United Nations, agreeing with every claim of “imperialism” made by every tin pot dictator in all the benighted cesspools of the world. Obama believes it’s time for the U.S. to be taught a lesson through humiliation. And school has just begun.

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Head of D.C. Bordello Tells Employees: Lay Off the Hookers

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

That would be the federal Department of Racial Payback, aka the Dept. of Justice under Eric Holder:

Attorney General Eric Holder sent a memo to employees of the Department of Justice Friday, reminding them that soliciting prostitutes is against agency rules and that violation of those rules could lead to suspension or termination. “The solicitation of prostitution threatens the core mission of the Department, not simply because it invites extortion, blackmail, and leaks of sensitive or classified information, but also because it undermines the Department’s efforts to eradicate the scourge of human trafficking,” the memo said.

The memo was sent weeks after a Justice Department watchdog report alleged several Drug Enforcement Administration agents attended “sex parties” with prostitutes in an unnamed “host country” paid for by local drug cartels.

And just where were these parties, Madame Holder?

The alleged parties took place over a period of several years. According to the report by the Justice Department inspector general, the parties were even held in agents’ U.S. government-leased quarters. The IG report found such allegations often went unreported or underreported, or were not pursued properly.

“Not pursued properly”? By Eric Holder? Who would ever suspect such a thing? It is a blot upon this nation’s escutcheon that a man of this low moral character should have been given so much power — but then, look at who appointed him.

 

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How New York City Strangled New York State

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Having lived in the Empire State on two separate occasions, once upstate and once in the city, I can say with high confidence that the place is a complete and utter mess. In fact, there is no “New York State” anymore, just the Empire of the Five Boroughs and the taxpaying serfs in the hinterlands:

Upstate New York is becoming Detroit with grass.

Binghamton, New York — once a powerhouse of industry — is now approaching Detroit in many economic measures, according to the U.S. Census. In Binghamton, more than 31 percent of city residents are at or below the federal poverty level compared to 38 percent in Detroit. Average household income in Binghamton at $30,179 in 2012 barely outpaces Detroit’s $26,955. By some metrics, Binghamton is behind Detroit. Some 45 percent of Binghamton residents own their dwellings while more than 52 percent of Detroit residents are homeowners. Both “Rust Belt” cities have lost more than 2 percent of their populations.

Binghamton is not alone. Upstate New York — that vast 50,000-square mile region north of New York City — seems to be in an economic death spiral.

“Seems to be”? From Albany westward, the place is a basket case: Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo — the former Erie Canal and Great Lakes powerhouses have hit the skids. The population imbalance between them and the NYC metro area is so great that it doesn’t matter what they do or how they vote: the governor of New York is elected exclusively by the residents of the city and Westchester County.

Upstate New York, the portion that lies beyond the New York metropolitan area, has become “The Land That Time Forgot,” a broad swath of depressed cities and low-profit farmlands that stretches from Newburgh and Poughkeepsie in the Hudson Valley through the old manufacturing centers of Schenectady and Troy, across the Allegheny Plateau to Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo, all the way west to Jamestown, the city with the lowest percentage of college graduates in America.

For more than half a century, this huge region — once the nation’s breadbasket and a manufacturing capital — has been losing jobs, dollars and people. “It all began in 1959 when the interstate highway system was completed,” says Carl Schramm, professor of innovation and entrepreneurship at Syracuse University. “That was also the year commercial jets went into service and half the homes in Florida were air-conditioned.”

… upstate New York is tethered to New York City, whose residents overwhelmingly support higher taxes, stricter regulation and bigger spending than the national averages. Those policies are blamed for upstate’s economic woes by many in the region.

“Basically what you’ve got in New York is a state tax code and regulatory regimen written for New York City,” says Joseph Henchman, vice president for state projects at the Tax Foundation in Washington. “Legislators say, `Look, New York is a center of world commerce. Businesses have to be here. It doesn’t matter how high we tax them.’ I hear that a lot. But when you apply that same logic to upstate, the impact is devastating.”

Illinois finds itself in a similar position, as does California, where the Bay Area and Los Angeles, with a fraction of the state’s physical space, treat the “other California” as peasants to be exploited. The fact that all three are blue states speaks for itself.

 

 

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How Wacky Are Your Democrat Friends? A Handy Test

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Hard to believe any sane person can take the Democrats seriously, other than as a criminal organization masquerading as a political party. But, incredibly, some folks actually do. Time to gauge just how crazy your pals are, as the Washington Post‘s Ed Rogers writes:

Yesterday, in a somewhat useful exercise, my Democratic friend and sometimes sparring partner Carter Eskew compiled a “Republican Nutcase Check List” for Republican presidential candidates to take. (If you want to see how you’d rank, you can take that survey here.) With his quiz as motivation, and in the same spirit, I wrote a corresponding checklist for Democrats in general, given that their presidential candidate bench is so weak.

In order to slant his test and present Republicans as Democrats want them to be, Carter had to scour some remote corners of the country in search of narrow positions and specific incidents. Here, I’ll stick pretty close to what passes for “mainstream” Democratic positions in our nation’s capital. This is called the Democratic Whackjob Survey, and I propose that all Democrats take it. There are eight questions and the answers will be tallied to give you a score on the whack-o-meter. And yes, all of these are based on well-known Democratic positions . . .

Be sure to click on the link above to take the test. Questions are typical Democrat positions on baby-murder, the “global warming” hoax, the necessity of raising taxes just because, President Obama’s genius, and even the ineffable Debbie Wasserman Schultz, one of the Democrats’ principal Faces of Death.

Just for laughs, you can take the GOP nutball survey here. Warning: it’s the usual hate-America first and imminent theocracy nonsense.

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Does the Nuclear Framework Deal with Iran Actually Exist?

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

The framework agreement with Iran announced last week by the White House consisted of an outline memorandum of what the deal covered.

But there have been so many differences in interpretation between Iran and the U.S., that it makes you wonder if there’s any agreement at all.

The Hill:

Iran supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s claim that the United States is “lying” about the terms of a framework nuclear agreement will not derail the negotiations, the White House said Friday.

“The test of whether or not that framework can be memorialized in a deal is not going to be a comment on any given day by a particular Iranian leader,” deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters.

Whether a final deal is reached will depend on the ability of negotiators from the U.S., Iran and five other world powers to produce a document by the end of June that “meets our core objectives of preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” Rhodes said.

Khamenei on Thursday accused the U.S. of publishing a fact sheet about the framework agreement that misrepresented what was agreed to, particularly on the pace of sanctions relief and inspections of nuclear sites.

The ayatollah’s comments raised concerns that the differences between Iran and other world powers would be too vast to reach a final deal by the June 30 deadline.

Republicans, meanwhile, have seized on his remarks to argue that the “framework” announced last week wasn’t really a deal at all.

“The Ayatollah and President Obama appear to be talking about two separate agreements and unfortunately, I can’t say I’m surprised,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is considering a run for president in 2016, said in a statement Friday.

“President Obama wants a deal way too badly, and his administration has been trying to sell a deal which may not actually exist,” he added.

Under the framework agreement, Iran would accept limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions that have crippled its economy.

Iran has called for the sanctions to be removed upon the completion of a deal, but the U.S. and its negotiating partners want them lifted gradually as Iran proves it is abiding by the terms of an agreement.

Basically, Rhodes is saying only we can spin what the deal means, not the Iranians.

And it isn’t just that the two sides aren’t on the same page as far as what was negotiated in the framework deal. They are talking about two different deals — one with sanctions lifted immediately upon implementation and one where sanctions are lifted gradually. One where nuclear inspections are severe and complete and another where military sites are off limits to inspectors. One where the facility at Fordow is converted into a kind of nuclear school and another where research can continue and 1000 centrifuges can continue spinning.

And that’s just a few of the massive contradictions coming from both sides. In short, it looks like there was no agreement at all — that the two sides simply gave up and stopped negotiating so that the administration could run out in front of the TV cameras and claim an achievement that is all smoke and mirrors and not real in any sense of the word.

It takes a lot of cynicism to pull off this kind of diplomatic lie, as well as complete confidence that the press won’t make a big deal about it.  But it is a big deal. President Obama is going to negotiate a final agreement on Iran’s nuclear program that Congress won’t have the opportunity to vote up or down, where the UN Security Council will have the final say, where the ludicrous idea that sanctions, once lifted, can be “snapped back” into place if Iran cheats is pushed on a gullible public, and where the safety and security of the U.S. and our allies may be subject to differing interpretations of what has been negotiated.

Those who say opponents of the framework deal need to come up with an alternative are wrong. There is no deal — never was and never will be unless negotiators on our side cave in and agree that the Iranian interpretation of the framework agreement is correct. There is no way to reconcile what both sides are saying about the deal with reality. The agreement exists in Never-Never Land and with the administration more desperate to complete a deal rather than halt Iranian efforts to get the bomb, Captain Hook has a better chance of beating Peter Pan than the U.S. has of convincing Iran that its interpretation of the agreement is more than just spin.

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Dos Amigos: President Obama and Raúl Castro Shake Hands in Panama

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

President Obama and Cuban leader Raúl Castro passed each other in a crowd and stopped to shake hands Friday night at the Summit of the Americas in Panama. Obama spoke briefly with Castro, with whom he is expected to meet on Saturday.

The president is pressing for normalization of relations with Cuba. Castro, however, has made removal from the terrorist-sponsor list a condition for the opening of a U.S. embassy in Havana and has also demanded reparations for economic damage caused by the U.S. embargo of Cuba and the immediate transfer of Guantanamo Bay to the Cuban government.
Not everyone thought this was a great moment of diplomacy for Obama (have there been any?).

Ted Cruz’s communications director pointed out that Cruz, whose father fled the brutal Castro regime to come to the United States, skipped out on a meeting with Castro:

David Limbaugh thinks that it’s just party politics as usual:

But least Obama didn’t bow before Castro like he did the Saudi leader. Or did he?

EXCLUSIVO: encuentro del pdte de Cuba Raul Catro y el pdte de EEUU Barack a Obama

A video posted by Madelein Garcia (@madeleintelesur) on

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New Islamic State Video Calls for Attacks on the American Homeland, Promises Another 9/11

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

The Islamic State has released a new 11-minute video called “We Will Burn America” that calls for supporters to attack the American homeland and promises another 9/11.

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Here’s the full video — WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT:

At this juncture I would note the New York Times’ front page article on December 29 that described how America’s top war fighters, namely Special Operations Command, freely admit that they don’t understand the ideology driving ISIS and other Islamic terror groups:

WASHINGTON — Maj. Gen. Michael K. Nagata, commander of American Special Operations forces in the Middle East, sought help this summer in solving an urgent problem for the American military: What makes the Islamic State so dangerous?

Trying to decipher this complex enemy — a hybrid terrorist organization and a conventional army — is such a conundrum that General Nagata assembled an unofficial brain trust outside the traditional realms of expertise within the Pentagon, State Department and intelligence agencies, in search of fresh ideas and inspiration. Business professors, for example, are examining the Islamic State’s marketing and branding strategies.

“We do not understand the movement, and until we do, we are not going to defeat it,” he said, according to the confidential minutes of a conference call he held with the experts. “We have not defeated the idea. We do not even understand the idea.”

General Nagata’s frustration is shared by other American officials. Even as President Obama and his top civilian and military aides express growing confidence that Iraqi troops backed by allied airstrikes have blunted the Islamic State’s momentum on the ground in Iraq and undermined its base of support in Syria, other officials acknowledge they have barely made a dent in the larger, longer-term campaign to kill the ideology that animates the terrorist movement.

You can call in all the marketing executives and Harvard academics all you like, but when the Obama administration — meaning the entire U.S. government – as a matter of established policy refuses to acknowledge the ideology and intentions that our enemy publishes IN ENGLISH in the form of videos, audio recordings and magazines, and actively prohibits anyone in a government department or agency from discussing or speaking about said ideology, you really are beyond hope. And so is America.

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A Florida County Wants to ‘Plant’ Cadavers in a ‘Body Farm’

Friday, April 10th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard
Photo Credit: Natalie Maynor via Wiki Commons

Photo Credit: Natalie Maynor via Wiki Commons

From the Brandon Patch:

The University of South Florida and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office have joined forces to bring this particular proposal to life.  The program, dubbed the Facility for Outdoor Experimental Research and Training (FORT), is being proposed to serve as a resource and training center for Florida’s medical and legal communities.

The “body farm” would sit on 2 acres of county owned and controlled land at the Walter C. Heinrich Practical Training Center in Lithia. Bodies for the farm would come from USF’s After Life Body Donation Program to advance research in forensic anthropology and legal medicine, the county explained in a media release. The cadavers “planted” on the farm would be left exposed to the elements so they can be studied by researchers and law enforcement.

Researchers want to help law enforcement better understand human decomposition under a variety of conditions. The facility will also be used as an outdoor crime scene training location.

Colorado, Illinois, Maine, and Texas also have active body farms, but the facility in Florida would offer a unique view into the effects of Florida’s subtropical climate on human remains.

No word on what this will do to the property values in the neighborhood.

 

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FBI Previously Dismissed Would-Be Fort Riley Suicide Bomber as ‘No Imminent Threat’ Last Year

Friday, April 10th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

A bizarre turn of events as a 20-year-old man who had previously been deemed by the FBI as “no imminent threat” was arrested today for planning to conduct a suicide bombing on the Fort Riley U.S. Army base.

According to a press release from the FBI Kansas City field office:

John T. Booker Jr., 20, of Topeka, Kansas, was charged in a criminal complaint unsealed today with one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives), one count of attempting to damage property by means of an explosive and one count of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Booker is expected to make an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree of the District of Kansas in federal court in Topeka.

Booker was arrested this morning near Manhattan, as he completed his final preparations to detonate a vehicle bomb targeting U.S. military personnel [...]

Booker is alleged to have spent months discussing multiple plans before deciding on a plan that involved the execution of a suicide bombing mission.

The complaint alleges Booker told another person “that detonating a suicide bomb is his number one aspiration because he couldn’t be captured, all evidence would be destroyed, and he would be guaranteed to hit his target.” Booker identified Fort Riley as a good target, “because the post is famous and there are a lot of soldiers stationed there,” the complaint alleges.

It is alleged that since March 2015, Booker plotted to construct an explosive device for an attack on American soil. It is alleged he repeatedly stated that he desired to engage in violent jihad on behalf of ISIL. Over a period of months, he took a series of actions to advance his plot. As alleged in the complaint, Booker assisted in acquiring components for a vehicle bomb, produced a propaganda video, rented a storage locker to store components for the explosive device, identified Fort Riley as the target and talked about his commitment to trigger the device himself and become a martyr.

However, this is not the first time that Booker has been in the news.

In April 2014, Fox News reported that military authorities had issued an alert for Booker stating that he intended to commit an attack on U.S. military personnel:

The FBI is searching for a recent Army recruit believed to be planning a “Fort Hood-inspired jihad against U.S. soldiers,” FoxNews.com has learned.

The alert, whose legitimacy was confirmed by military and law enforcement officials, stated that a man identified as Booker had told friends of his “intention to commit jihad.” Booker, who is also known as Muhammad Abdullah Hassan, was recruited by the U.S. Army in Kansas City, Mo., in February 2014 and was scheduled to report for basic training on April 7. But he was discharged last week, apparently after law enforcement authorities learned of his alleged plan.

Both the FBI and the 902d Military Intelligence Group at Fort Leavenworth are involved in the hunt.

The alert, a copy of which was obtained by FoxNews.com, was sent out by the FBI’s Kansas City Division on Friday and distributed through the U.S. Marine Corps. The portion obtained by FoxNews.com did not include Hassan’s photo or age. It was also sent to the Kansas City Police Department, which could indicate authorities believe he may have remained in the area where he was recruited.

And yet just days later, the same Kansas City FBI office that arrested Booker today was saying then that he presented “no imminent threat”:

The FBI put out an alert on Monday for an apparent homegrown jihadi who had enlisted in the Army in Kansas with possible plans to commit a massacre on a military base.

A spokeswoman for the FBI said later in the day that agents had interviewed the man in question and decided that he didn’t, in fact, represent a threat. “There is no manhunt. There’s never been a manhunt,” said Bridget Patton, of the Kansas City-based FBI field office. “The individual was interviewed, and it is believed there is no imminent threat to the public.”

In light of today’s events, that assessment last year seems either premature or intentionally deceptive. [See update below on active attempts by FBI & military to downplay the threat.]

The Kansas City Star added:

Roughly a year ago in early April 2014, FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said the bureau had questioned Booker in the wake of reports he harbored “jihad sympathies” and determined there was no public danger. She declined to release additional details.

“It is the belief that the public is in no imminent danger,” Patton said at the time.

She also told The Topeka Capital-Journal “there was never a manhunt” for Booker. When asked by the newspaper then if Booker was in custody, Patton said additional information wouldn’t be released.

If the current reporting is accurate, the FBI allowed a man with clearly expressed intentions to commit terrorist acts to roam freely between last April and October, when according to the indictment he encountered an FBI informant. Or alternatively, the FBI lied to the media and the public last year about how imminent a threat Booker really was. What we know now is that John T. Booker was ready to wage jihad against America and decided in recent weeks to act on those intentions.

This is yet another episode in the FBI’s extensive history of failure with respect to what I have termed “known wolf” terror cases. While in this case Booker was targeted by a FBI sting and his bomb was inert, the Boston marathon bombs weren’t inert and led to the deaths of three Americans.

How many more Americans have to die before the FBI is made to get its act together?

UPDATE: If to emphasize the point that the FBI worked HARD last year to publicly dismiss the nature of the threat, note this article “Military downplays threat from Army recruit“:

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Law enforcement officials say they interviewed a U.S. Army recruit about his Jihad sympathies and the FBI sent out an alert about him.

But officials downplayed a report by Fox News that the FBI in Kansas City had sent out an alert that was entitled, “Fort Hood-inspired threats against U.S. soldiers by Army recruit.” The network said the man was to report to basic training next week.

The report alarmed many area residents. Law enforcement and military officials said the Fox story was a bit of a stretch, but the FBI did confirm interviewing the recruit.

“An individual was contacted by the FBI and was interviewed by the FBI but at no time was it believed that the public was in any imminent threat,” FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said.

Fox News indicated that there was an active manhunt for the man.

“There’s not a manhunt. There has never been a manhunt for an individual,” Patton said.

She went on to say that the FBI follows up on tips from all different kind of sources and often shares that information with other law enforcement agencies and the military.

The FBI and military owe former Fox News reporter Jana Winter an apology.

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Bobby Jindal at NRA Conference: Liberal Elite Attack RFRA Now, Second Amendment Next

Friday, April 10th, 2015 - by Liz Sheld

Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana addressed the NRA membership this afternoon in Nashville, specifically slamming the liberal elites who “bullied” Indiana and Arkansas on their religious freedom bills.

He called it an “attack on the Constitution” and warned that the Second Amendment is next.

“Now, I know you did not come here today expecting to hear a speech on religious liberty,” Jindal said. “But my friends, if these large forces can conspire to crush the First Amendment, it won’t be long before they come after the Second Amendment.”

He went on to say:

“Michael Bloomberg is already trying.  He’s pressuring grocery stores and restaurants to ban guns. Next, he will bully sporting goods stores to quit selling guns and ammo. Bloomberg can not beat Chris Cox and Wayne LaPierre in the elections — so he’s trying to beat us in the boardrooms of corporate America.”

Jindal is one of many potential presidential candidates making the rounds at the NRA 2015  Annual Meeting & Exhibits.

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Letter Circulated on Behalf of a Victim of Global Warming Witch Hunt

Friday, April 10th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

You probably recall the case of Dr. Willie Soon, a respected solar astrophysicist and expert in how the sun impacts earth’s climate. Dr. Soon fell victim to a witch hunt by global warming hysterics who accused him of accepting money from the fossil fuel industry and not acknowledging the supposed conflict of interest in his work.

A group affiliated with the Center for American Progress gathered 20,000 signatures and sent a letter to the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, affiliated with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics where Dr. Soon had served for 25 years as a tenured but unsalaried employee. The petition said:

Dr. Willie Soon — an astrophysicist employed by the Smithsonian — is a go-to “scientist” for climate deniers in Congress, despite his lack of climate credentials. Worse yet, he’s received research grants exclusively from fossil fuel companies and dark money groups since 2002.

Now The Boston Globe is reporting that Soon just published a paper on climate change without disclosing his fossil fuel funding — a violation of the journal’s ethics code and a no-no in the science community.

Tell the Smithsonian: Don’t lend your good name to fossil fuel-funded climate denial. Drop Dr. Willie Soon.

Joe Bast, the Heartland Institute’s CEO and president, responded to these wild, unsubstantiated accusations:

The claim that Dr. Soon lacks “climate credentials” is false and meant to harm his reputation. Dr. Soon is a distinguished astrophysicist with many published articles in peer-reviewed climate science journals. A bio at heartland.org/willie-soon lists many publications and awards and features this quotation from Freeman Dyson, one of the world’s most respected physicists: “The whole point of science is to question accepted dogmas. For that reason, I respect Willie Soon as a good scientist and a courageous citizen.’’

Forecast the Facts’ second lie is more serious, because alleging a violation of professional ethics is taken seriously in the academy. Dr. Soon and his coauthors told the editor ofScience Bulletin, “None of the authors has received funding from any source for this work. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.”

The petition misrepresents a Boston Globe article which reported only that an environmental group “accused” Dr. Soon and his coauthors of failing to report possible conflicts of interest to the journal’s editor. The petition fails to tell potential signers that the article quoted Soon’s coauthor, Christopher Monckton, vigorously refuting the claim. It also fails to note the reporter said the Science Bulletin had not responded to a request for comment, so he had no way of knowing whether there was a “violation of the journal’s ethics code.”

We have reviewed the Science Bulletin’s policy regarding disclosure of potential conflicts of interest and the coauthors’ letter to the editor explaining their decision to declare no conflicts of interest. We believe the coauthors were correct and there was no violation of the journal’s ethics code.

The phrasing of this petition is plainly misleading, making it meaningless regardless of how many people are fooled into signing it. It should immediately be withdrawn and a public apology extended to Dr. Soon.

Now, there is an effort by Dr. Soon’s co-authors of that important paper to push back against the smears and call out the Smithsonian for their deliberate campaign to delegitimize Dr. Soon’s work, and to damage him personally. Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, David Legates and Matt Briggs are circulating a letter addressed to the Smithsonian IG and the Attorney General of Massachussets outlining specific charges against the Smithsonian stemming from their organized and deliberate campaign against Dr. Soon.

There is a mountain of evidence:

We are friends, colleagues, or supporters of Dr Willie Soon, a solar physicist who has been on the strength at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, part of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, for a quarter of a century. Recently, with Lord Monckton, Professor David Legates and Dr Matt Briggs, Dr Soon co-authored a paper in the Science Bulletin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences that led to widespread but false allegations by the Smithsonian, echoing various advocacy groups, that he had improperly failed to disclose a source of his funding for his work on the paper.

When those allegations were proven false, the extremist advocacy group originally responsible for them circulated further false allegations that in 11 earlier papers Dr Soon had acted improperly in not having disclosed the source of his funding. However, the Smithsonian had negotiated a contract with the funder in question by which the funder’s identity was not to be published. The only papers in which Dr Soon had not disclosed his funders’ identity were those papers covered by that contractual obligation of confidentiality, for which the Smithsonian, not he, was solely responsible.

The Smithsonian, however, unlawfully and publicly issued a series of statements intended to blame Dr Soon, though it was at fault for having improperly agreed to the obligation of confidentiality by which he was bound. His three co-authors of the Science Bulletin paper have investigated the allegations by the Smithsonian and various political advocacy groups against their colleague. Their findings are set out in the first two pages of their report to the Regents, attached hereto, followed by the evidence.

We now ask you –

(1) to instruct the Inspector-General of the Smithsonian to investigate the co-authors’ findings (pages 2-3) and the evidence in support of the findings (pages 4-17) as part of his investigation of this matter,

(2) to investigate Dr Alcock’s malicious and dishonest interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education; his subsequent refusal to make any correction of his falsehoods upon request by Dr Soon and separately by Dr Soon’s lead author; and his failure to pass on to the general counsel the lead author’s freedom of information request;

(3) to request the Attorney-General of Massachusetts to investigate those aspects of the conduct of the Smithsonian in general and of Dr Alcock in particular that constitute a fraudulent campaign of connected and co-ordinated deceptions, persisted in despite requests to cease and desist and, therefore, intended to cause not only continuing reputational harm but also financial loss to Dr Soon; and

(4), if the report’s findings are in substance correct, to order the Smithsonian to apologize publicly to Dr Soon and to make just and full restitution to him for the loss and damage it and its defalcating senior management have caused.

The hypocrisy of the Smithsonian is astounding. After signing the confidentiality agreement with the funder, preventing Dr. Soon from disclosing his funding, they then have the gall to accuse Soon of unethical behavior!

There may be merit — or there may not be — to Soon’s theories about the sun’s effect on climate. But the goal here is not to examine the scientist’s findings, but rather to stifle scientific dissent. And for a government-affiliated organization like the Smithsonian to willingly and deliberately take part in this organized attempt to smear a fellow scientist only shows how small-minded those who oppose Soon and his colleagues truly are.

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Earnest Calls McCain ‘Naïve and Reckless’ for Citing Supreme Leader’s Words on Nuke Deal

Friday, April 10th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The White House protested today that senators shouldn’t be listening to what the supreme leader of Iran says about the nuclear framework.

In response to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s comments about the the White House fact sheet being “wrong on most of the issues” of the deal and stressing that there might not be a deal with the “devilish” United States, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) issued a statement yesterday noting that the remarks “suggest that Iran and the Obama administration are on very different pages.”

“It is the Supreme Leader, not Iran’s president or foreign minister, who really calls the shots in Tehran,” McCain said. “So for him to say, as he did today, that Iran will not permit inspections of its nuclear facilities anytime, anywhere — and that sanctions relief must be complete and immediate — would appear to be a major setback.

“These differences need to be thoroughly explained by the Administration if we are to give serious consideration to this agreement.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest replied that the five-term senator, former presidential nominee and current chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee has no idea what he’s talking about:

The White House has maintained that everything from insistence on elements of the deal to statements about destroying Israel and America are just rhetoric for Iranian leaders’ domestic audience.

Iranian leaders — from negotiators to the parliament, in addition to Khamenei — said in the weeks preceding the framework agreement that they would not accept a deal that doesn’t lift all sanctions immediately. Current statements just reiterate that demand.

 

 

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