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Rick Moran

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.
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‘Over the Hill Gang’ Arrested in Huge Jewel Heist in Britain

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

It seemed like the perfect crime. Thieves broke into the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Box company and spent the entire Easter weekend leisurely going through the boxes, making off with an estimated $300 million.

The complicated plan worked to perfection. The thieves cut through the roof to gain access to Hatton Garden offices, rappelled down an elevator shaft to the basement, disabled a state-of-the-art security system, stole the hard drive of the CCTV system, and cut through an 18-inch thick metal wall.

Everything worked — except the part where they get away scot free. More than 200 Scotland Yard officers swooped down on the 9 thieves and arrested them, along with at least part of their booty. The crooks were between the ages of 43-76 — three of them were ages 67, 74, and 76 — which makes them something of an “Over the Hill” gang.

The police had come under withering criticism in the tabloids for first, missing an alarm tripped by the thieves on Good Friday, and second, for the halting, unsure manner in which the investigation seemed to be carried out.

BBC:

During a press conference, the Met said it felt officers had been portrayed as the Keystone Kops, while a relative of a victim said finding some of the haul could actually make things worse for those affected, as it could delay insurance pay-outs.

Thieves used heavy cutting equipment to break into a vault at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd, where they ransacked about 70 boxes.

The men were arrested in Enfield, east London and Dartford.

Police said bags containing a significant amount of high-value property were recovered at one of the addresses and they were confident some were items stolen during the burglary.

Head of the Met’s Flying Squad, Det Supt Craig Turner, urged victims of the crime to “stay patient”, adding police officers would be in contact with them in order “to restore this property back to its rightful owners”.

He said the investigation had been “complex and exceptional”.

In response to questions about why police did not respond to an alarm that went off at the premises during the time of the heist, Det Supt Turner, said: “We are now in a position to confirm that on this occasion our call handling system and procedures for working with the alarm monitoring companies were not followed.

“Our normal procedures would have resulted in police attending the scene and we apologise that this did not happen.”

There has been no official detail of what was stolen but it is believed jewellery worth up to £200m was taken during the raid.

Cdr Peter Spindler said: “At times we have been portrayed as if we’ve acted like Keystone Kops.

“But I want to reassure you that in the finest traditions of Scotland Yard, these detectives have done their utmost to bring justice for the victims of this callous crime.”

I guess the “finest traditions of Scotland Yard” now include failing to following procedures when an alarm is tripped. Tally Ho!

It would be easy to admire the crooks for their audacity, until you realize there were genuine victims of their crime who lost everything:

A relative of one of the victims said those affected were “probably worse off after this morning’s raids”.

“With the stolen goods vanished, there was pressure on insurance companies to settle quickly to enable holders to trade again,” the relative, who did not want to be identified, said.

“But now, with a whole mess of stuff to sort out, it may drag on for months.

“If batches of the stones were mixed up, it may be impossible to reunite them with their owners.”

Many of the boxes belonged to pensioners who lost their life savings in the heist. Most didn’t carry insurance.

The thieves are apparently non-descript working class types with no known skills in high end robberies. But with a decent plan and a little luck, they managed to carry out what will probably end up being the largest heist in British history.

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Boston University Professor Cited for Racist Tweets Accused of Bashing White Rape Victim

Monday, May 18th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

A recently hired Boston University professor, whose racist tweets were defended by the school’s administration, is now being accused of going off on and taunting a white rape victim on Facebook.

Saida Grundy eventually apologized for tweeting that she deliberately avoided white businesses and thought that white males were “THE problem” on campuses. The tweets were made last January, soon after she was hired, but didn’t come to light until earlier this month.

But in February, the good professor may have committed an act so egregiously offensive that even the academic-freedom stalwarts at BU might be forced into action. A young woman had a Facebook encounter with Grundy so jarringly inappropriate and insensitive that the professor’s basic humanity can be called into question.

Fox News:

Saida Grundy, a newly hired professor at Boston University who recently said she regrets tweeting that white males are a “problem population,” and other racially charged comments, is now accused of Facebook posts in which she appeared to taunt a white rape victim. That victim, Meghan Chamberlin, told FoxNews.com that the posts, made in a February public chat, felt “like a kick in the stomach.”

The woman who identified herself as Grundy posted the comments after Chamberlin took issue with a controversial article on race that the Facebook thread had linked to.

“I LITERALLY cry and lose sleep over this,” Chamberlin wrote, adding she had been raped as a child and felt that: “what this article did was tell me that I’m not aloud (sic) to ask for help… Because I am a WHITE woman… So when I read this article… you do understand what that does to me, right? It kills me…”

The woman, who identified herself as Sai Grundy in the Feb. 25 thread and uses the same photo the professor uses on tweets she acknowledged last week, responded by making fun of the victim’s crying.

“’I literally cry’…. While we literally die,” she said before adding, “try this article. A white woman explaining this issue to other white women… who manages NOT to cry while doing it!”

Chamberlin, the rape survivor, responded: “No really. I got it. You can take your claws out, thanks.”

To which Grundy exploded:

“^^THIS IS THE S**T I AM TALKING ABOUT. WHY DO YOU GET TO PLAY THE VICTIM EVERY TIME PEOPLE OF COLOR AND OUR ALLIES WANT TO POINT OUT RACISM. my CLAWS?? Do you see how you just took an issue that WASNT about you, MADE it about you, and NOW want to play the victim when I take the time to explain to you some s**t that is literally $82,000 below my pay grade? And then you promote your #whitegirltears like that’s some badge you get to wear… YOU BENEFIT FROM RACISM. WE’RE EXPLAINING THAT TO YOU and you’re vilifying my act of intellectual altruism by saying i stuck my “claws” into you?”

Whoa. I don’t know what’s more outrageous. Her massive insensitivity to a rape victim or the fact that a university is willing to pay this racist nutcase $82,000 a year.

It gets better/worse:

Chamberlin responded by trying to leave the discussion. “I am choosing to “exit” this conversation,” she wrote.

But Grundy posted again, finishing with: “go cry somewhere. since that’s what you do.”

Chamberlin responded: “Will do.”

Grundy then responded to others: “am I mocking her tears or am I saying that her tears are meaningless displays of emotions because they don’t reflect at ALL an intention to understand the issue from the prospective (sic) of women of color or queer women.”

She added, “my name is *Sai*, but you can call me Dr. Grundy.”

You will be forced to care. Even if you’re a rape victim.

Once Grundy discovered the jig was up, she began a mad dash to delete all the offending entries. Finally, she simply took down her Facebook page — but not before screen shots of the postings were taken by several sources.

Some people have a dead spot in their souls where empathy resides in the rest of us. In most walks of life, an individual so afflicted can function like a normal human being. But a teacher? Boston University would do well to withdraw their invitation to her to teach and allow her to gravitate to some other organization more suited to her beliefs and temperament.

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Al Sharpton’s Daughter Sues New York City $5 Million for Sprained Ankle

Sunday, May 17th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

The daughter of racialist Al Sharpton is suing the city of New York for a sprained ankle she suffered on a city street.

Dominique Sharpton is asking for $5 million from New York city taxpayers because she was “severely injured, bruised and wounded” after stumbling over her own feet at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway downtown last year.

Wish I had the balls to do this.

New York Post:

Currently on vacation in Bali, the membership director for her gadfly dad’s National Action Network claims she “still suffers and will continue to suffer for some time physical pain and bodily injuries,” according to the suit filed against the city departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection.

“I sprained my ankle real bad lol,” she wrote in a post to Instagram after the Oct. 2 fall.

She was pictured in a walking boot in the weeks following the tumble, but by December, Dominique was good to go for NAN’s Justice for All march in Washington, DC, and for a New Year’s Eve jaunt to Miami Beach.

And despite claiming “permanent physical pain” in a breathless notice of claim, there are social-media shots of her in high heels, and another of her climbing a ladder to decorate a Christmas tree.

The legal shakedown is right out of her dad’s pay-to-playbook.

Al Sharpton has used threats of protests and boycotts against large companies as a way to generate huge corporate donations, his critics charge.

Everyone from McDonald’s, Verizon, Macy’s, General Motors, Chrysler and Pfizer have forked over cash to the elder Sharpton.

The Rev on Saturday said he didn’t know the status of his daughter’s legal claim. “She’s 29 years old. Why would she have to talk to me about that?” he said of Dominique, whose mother is Sharpton’s ex-wife, Kathy. “I just know that she was hurt and that she got a lawyer and she’s a grown woman. [Where] she goes from there, I have no idea.”

Suing the city can be a hugely profitable endeavor for citizens. While you can see where it’s justified when cops beat a confession out of someone, or frame them for a crime they didn’t commit, there are dozens of lawsuits every year against cities for accidents involving buses and trains, icy pavement, as well as even more lawsuits where the city is named as a co-defendant.

Of course, you aren’t suing the city as much as you are suing taxpayers — your friends, neighbors, and family members. If Ms. Sharpton had suffered a serious injury, it might be justifiable to sue for medical bills and lost wages.

But $5 million? It’s partly a legal maneuver, hoping the city will settle for a lot less. But it still rankles when someone makes such outrageous claims of injury when you know they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.

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Homeland Security’s ‘The Dog Ate My Homework’ Excuse for Violating Amnesty Injunction

Sunday, May 17th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

The Department of Homeland Security is blaming a “technology glitch” for approving thousands of work authorization permits, allowing illegal aliens the right to hold a job in the US for three years, despite an injunction issued by a federal judge that prevented them from doing so.

A “technology glitch”? Yeah, right. And the dog ate my homework.

Washington Times:

The Obama administration blamed a technology glitch for why it continued to approve new amnesty applications in February, even after a federal judge issued an injunction, telling the court late Friday that they are now begging about 2,000 illegal immigrants to tear up their three-year work authorizations.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Homeland Security agency that approved the deportation amnesty applications for Dreamers despite the judge’s order, insisted it’s corrected the immigrants’ records at headquarters, but said it’s also asking the immigrants themselves to send back their three-year documents and accept two-year papers instead.

The agency also told Judge Andrew S. Hanen that more botched cases could still be found as employees dig through tens of thousands of applications.

President Obama’s lawyers are desperately trying to head off punishment by Judge Hanen after several embarrassing missteps.

First, the lawyers misled the court as to more than 100,000 three-year amnesty applications that were approved between Nov. 20 and Feb. 16, when Judge Hanen issued his injunction. The lawyers said they didn’t intend to mislead, and they assumed the judge knew those applications were being approved.

Then the Homeland Security Department announced it had approved the 2,000 or so three-year applications even after the injunction — a clear violation of the judge’s order, and raising questions about the lawyers’ excuses for the first 100,000 botched applications.

“As the director of USCIS, I accept full responsibility,” agency chief Leon Rodriguez said in an affidavit filed with Judge Hanen. “In retrospect, I believe that USCIS should have exercised greater management oversight of the efforts to halt the production and issuance of three-year notices and [Employment Authorization Documents] once the court issued its injunction.”

Judge Hanen has halted Mr. Obama’s expanded deportation amnesty, announced in November, that would grant tentative legal status and work permits, or Employment Authorization Documents, to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants. The amnesty expands an earlier 2012 program Mr. Obama announced that covers so-called Dreamers, or young illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

You are not going to believe — and neither should the judge — this explanation for the administration’s violation of the injunction:

Donald Neufeld, the agency employee who is overseeing the deportation amnesty, said when the inunction came down, they stopped all amnesty applications. A few days later they began processing two-year approvals again, but didn’t catch thousands of three-year cases that were in the pipeline.

“The February 20 instruction to resume production of EADs led to the issuance of three-year EADs for the previously held EAD-pending cases, although the intention had been for only the two-year EADs to proceed to production,” Mr. Neufeld said in an affidavit. “IT personnel had implemented a system-wide pause on the production of all DACA-related EAD requests in the queue. They had not removed production requests for three-year EADs from the queue.”

Blah, blah, blah…it’s double talk. The only question I have is, are we really to believe no one was watching as these 3 year authorizations were being spit out by the thousands? Who cares if they were already in the pipeline when the process was suspended? They didn’t just magically appear in the mailboxes of illegal aliens. The lawyers are trying to convince the judge that the authorizations went from being buried in the pipeline directly to the recipient with no human intervention.

Sheesh.

The judge should throw the book at the lawyers and the administration. Too bad the rack has gone out of style.

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Vox: Hillary Personally Enriched by Pay-for-Play Scheme

Sunday, May 17th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

The left-wing newsite Vox is reporting that even prior to running for president and while she was seeking a Senate seat, Hillary Clinton granted favors to huge corporations, which then invited Clinton to speak — often for fees in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Almost a decade ago, as Hillary Clinton ran for re-election to the Senate on her way to seeking the presidency for the first time, the New York Times reported on her unusually close relationship with Corning, Inc., an upstate glass titan. Clinton advanced the company’s interests, racking up a big assist by getting China to ease a trade barrier. And the firm’s mostly Republican executives opened up their wallets for her campaign.

During Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, Corning lobbied the department on a variety of trade issues, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The company has donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to her family’s foundation. And, last July, when it was clear that Clinton would again seek the presidency in 2016, Corning coughed up a $225,500 honorarium for Clinton to speak.

In the laundry-whirl of stories about Clinton buck-raking, it might be easy for that last part to get lost in the wash. But it’s the part that matters most. The $225,500 speaking fee didn’t go to help disease-stricken kids in an impoverished village on some long-forgotten patch of the planet. Nor did it go to a campaign account. It went to Hillary Clinton. Personally.

As this chart shows, there were several other companies that paid Clinton to speak and whose donations went to both the foundation and to Clinton personally.

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The entities that paid a Clinton for a speech, lobbied Hillary Clinton’s State Department and donated to the Clinton Foundation

That’s not the end of it:

There’s a solid set of companies and associations that had nothing to do with the foundation but lobbied State while Clinton was there and then paid for her to speak to them. Xerox, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, in addition to Corning, all lobbied Clinton’s department on trade matters and then invited her to earn an easy check.

Indeed, the long list of companies that were seeking favors suggests that Clinton hung out a shingle that all but announced her office was for sale for the right amount.

The fact that this story appeared on a reliable Democratic Party organ is interesting, but not surprising. As more and more revelations emerge about Clinton, Inc., the left is getting more antsy about the “inevitability” of Hillary. It’s also why there is a mini-boomlet for Martin O’Malley. Nervous Democrats fear that the cumulative effect of these revelations will damage Hillary Clinton in the general election.

Not too many voters can understand the ins and outs of the Clinton Foundation finances. But just about everyone can see the cynical corruption of companies paying Clinton for favors. This is exactly the sort of thing voters hate about the Clintons — and reminding them of how they operate could inflict significant damage on her.

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Don’t Mess With This Young Man’s American Flag

Saturday, May 16th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

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A great story from York, South Carolina, where Peyton Robinson, a senior at York High School, fought back against a school administration who wanted to force him to remove two large flags from his pickup truck bed — the American and POW-MIA flags.

Robinson’s truck is known throughout the county as he proudly displays those flags in his travels. He’s a volunteer firefighter, a bull riding enthusiast, a devout Christian — and someone willing to stand up to the politically correct school administration that sought to curtail his free speech rights.

On Wednesday, May 13, he was pulled from class and sent to meet an administrator in the parking lot, where he discovered his flags had been removed and placed in the bed of his truck. He was told by school officials, “Do not return to school with these flags.”

After school, Robinson drove home, re-mounted the flags, and decided that he was not going to allow anybody to mess with his truck, or his patriotism. He posted a photo of the American flag in his truck on social media with the promise: “Still flying, and it ain’t coming down.”

What happened next warms the cockles of the heart:

When word got out around York County and the town of McConnells, Robinson’s hometown, that one of their own was going to take a stand for the American flag, folks came from every direction to support him.

On Thursday, An impromptu parade of more than 70 vehicles filled with flag-waving friends, classmates, and local patriots made its way through town and then parked in front of the school for a demonstration, country-style.

The story topped the news all over this conservative-leaning South Carolina county, and was soon picked up by national media.

Robinson told a radio reporter that school officials gave him three different reasons for their anti-flag action. “First they told me that somebody had complained about it,” he said. “Then they said there was a rule against flags. Finally they said it was a safety hazard.”

The school’s superintendent, Vernon Prosser, cited a ‘standing policy’ against flags, but Robinson said no official policy was ever produced, and flags are neither mentioned in the student handbook nor on the school’s website.

“I’d understand if it was the Confederate flag or something that might offend somebody,” Robinson told WBTV news. “I wouldn’t do that. But an American flag? That’s our country’s flag. I have every right to do it.”

We see this sort of thing all the time in other idiotic incidents of school administrators arbitrarily enforcing political correctness. They claim there’s a written policy when there isn’t. They claim someone might be offended and nobody is. And then, when forced to change direction, they say they supported the action all the time.

Sickening.

“We appreciate the passion and pride of all who have called or come by YCHS over the past 24 hours,” the statement read. “America was founded by patriots who led positive change in a myriad of ways. We believe today is a great example of peaceful demonstration leading to positive change.

“This is the very process we advocate in our Social Studies classrooms and the fabric of American citizenship. Thank you for helping us as we educate the students of our community.”

Maybe there’s hope for the next generation yet.

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Video: Why ABC News Should be Ashamed that George Stephanopoulos is Still on the Air

Saturday, May 16th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

In the days following the release of the book Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer, ABC News’s Democratic party operative George Stephanopoulos vigorously defended Hillary Clinton against charges that she sold her influence as Secretary of State for cash donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Washington Free Beacon points out that Stephanopoulos was making this defense of Hillary and the Clinton Foundation on a variety of programs without telling anyone that he had donated $75,000 to the Foundation.

Watch the video after the copy and tell me if that’s a journalist or a shill for the Clinton gang?

Stephanopoulos, a former Bill Clinton communications aide, interviewed Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer on the April 26 edition of This Week, where he pushed back against his reporting and Schweizer himself, repeating Democratic attacks that he had a “partisan interest” in disparaging the Clintons.

“They say you used to work for President Bush as a speech writer. You are funded by the Koch brothers,” he said. “How do you respond to that?”

“As you know, the Clinton campaign says you haven’t produced a shred of evidence that there was any official action as secretary that supported the interest of donors,” he asked later. “We’ve done investigative work here at ABC News, found no proof of any kind of direct action. An independent government ethics expert at the Sunlight Foundation Bill Allison wrote this: ‘There’s no smoking gun. No evidence that the changed policy based on donations to the foundation. No smoking gun.’ Is there a smoking gun?”

Stephanopoulos did not point out that the Sunlight Foundation is funded by left-wing billionaire George Soros.

In an interview with Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart after his interview of Schweizer, Stephanopoulos called the case of allegations against the Clinton Foundation “a tough one.”

“I read the book that this is based on, Clinton Cash, and I actually interviewed the author on Sunday,” he said. “This is a tough one. Because when you actually look at, look closely at it, he even says there is no evidence of any direct action taken on behalf of the donors … But everybody also knows when those donors give that money, President Clinton or someone, they get a picture with him, there is a hope that is going to lead to something.”

That interview with Schweizer was shameful. Stephanopoulos peppered the writer with questions, interrupting him, talking over him, not giving him time to respond in his attempt to discredit him. What kind of “journalism” is that?

ABC must be shamed into shelving Stephanopoulos for the campaign. Republicans can help by refusing to appear on any ABC News program until they do.

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Coming Soon to a Middle School Near You: ‘Gender Fluidity’ Studies

Saturday, May 16th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

One of the nation’s largest public school systems is contemplating introducing the concept of “gender fluidity” into its curriculum. In case you’re not up to speed on the latest in the gender identity nonsense, gender fluidity posits the notion that biology doesn’t matter — that no one is 100% girl or 100% boy.

The radical gender-identity crowd is determined to mainstream transgenderism. In this campaign, science doesn’t matter. Biology is a fraud. Only personal feelings and fulfillment is what counts.

I know that kids are growing up faster these days, but is this really an appropriate subject for middle schoolers?

Fox News:

Fairfax County Public Schools released a report recommending changes to their family life curriculum for grades 7 through 12. The changes, which critics call radical gender ideology, will be formally introduced next week.

“The larger picture is this is really an attack on nature itself – the created order,” said Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council.

“Human beings are created male and female. But the current transgender ideology goes way beyond that. They’re telling us you can be both genders, you can be no gender, you can be a gender that you make up for yourself. And we’re supposed to affirm all of it.”

The plan calls for teaching seventh graders about transgenderism and tenth graders about the concept that sexuality is a broader spectrum — but it sure smells like unadulterated sex indoctrination.

Get a load of what the kids are going to be learning in middle school:

“Students will be provided definitions for sexual orientation terms heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality; and the gender identity term transgender,” the district’s recommendations state. “Emphasis will be placed on recognizing that everyone is experiencing changes and the role of respectful, inclusive language in promoting an environment free of bias and discrimination.”

Eighth graders will be taught that individual identity “occurs over a lifetime and includes the component of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

“Individual identity will also be described as having four parts – biological gender, gender identity (includes transgender), gender role, and sexual orientation (includes heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual).”

The district will also introduce young teenagers to the “concept that sexuality is a broader spectrum.” By tenth grade, they will be taught that one’s sexuality “develops throughout a lifetime.”

This is not a new movement. It has been on the fringes of the LGBT community for years. But trying to mainstream completely unproven theories about gender identity is political, not educational — and certainly not scientific.

The idea that there is more to gender than biology is not without merit. Under very rare and specific circumstances, people born male have been shown to have female biological characteristics and vice versa. This doesn’t mean these people should all be given free sex change operations under Obamacare. Neither does it mean that any of these gender-conflicted individuals will become gay, or bi, or have any sexual orientation beyond their biological attraction for the opposite sex.

But the scientific basis for transgenderism is still weak — especially as it is defined by the radicals. Like most of human sexuality, gender identity is poorly understood with much to learn. One thing is certain, however: it is a topic that should be approached with a lot more care and concern if it is going to be taught to middle schoolers.

Besides, the county schools recently passed a measure that would allow boys and girls to choose whatever bathroom or locker room they felt like using:

School Board spokesman John Torre told the Washington Times the proposed curriculum changes have nothing to do with last week’s vote to allow boys who identity as girls to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice.

He would have us believe it was purely coincidental.

To make matters worse, Lafferty contends parents will not be able to opt their children out of the classes because the lessons will be a part of the mandatory health curriculum.

However, Torre told me that parents will indeed be able to opt out of those classes “including the sexual orientation and gender identity lessons.”

“They are not being forthright with the information,” Lafferty said. “They are not telling people the truth. They are bullying parents. They are intimidating and they are threatening.”

So what’s new from this crowd? Bullying is their MO, as is intimidation and threats. Your kids will be forced to tolerate transgenderism as it is being promoted by the LGBT community, even though it has far more to do with politics than “health education.”

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Pope Francis Refers to Holocaust Denier, Anti-Semite, and Terrorist as an ‘Angel of Peace’

Saturday, May 16th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

What would possess Pope Francis to call PA President Mahmoud Abbas an “angel of peace”?

It’s like Francis announcing that Satan is just a misunderstood archangel, and really isn’t such a bad sort after all.

Voice of America:

Francis said he thought the gift was appropriate since “you are an angel of peace.” During his 2014 visit to Israel and the West Bank, Francis called both Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres men of peace.

Abbas is in Rome for the canonization Sunday of two 19th-century nuns from what was then Ottoman-ruled Palestine. The new saints, Mariam Bawardy and Marie Alphonsine Ghattas, are the first from the region to be canonized since the early days of Christianity.

Abbas on Saturday offered Francis relics of the two new saints.

Church officials are holding up the new saints as a sign of hope and encouragement for Christians in the Middle East at a time when violent persecution from Islamic extremists has driven many Christians from the region of Christ’s birth.

Abbas’ visit also comes days after the Vatican finalized a bilateral treaty with the “state of Palestine” that made explicit its recognition of Palestinian statehood.

The Vatican said it had expressed “great satisfaction” over the new treaty during the talks with the Palestinian delegation. It said the pope, and later the Vatican secretary of state, also expressed hopes that direct peace talks with Israel would resume.

“To this end, the wish was reiterated that with the support of the international community, Israelis and Palestinians may take with determination courageous decisions to promote peace,” a Vatican statement said.

Since the pope insists on ignoring the record, allow me to fill in some details about Mr. Abbas:

* Wrote his dissertation on the supposed collaboration between Nazis and Zionists and claims that the actual number of dead Jews as a result of the Holocaust was less than a million.

* Was named “Anti-Semite of the Year” by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in 2011.

* While acting as Yassar Arafat’s “moderate” face for the PLO in order to placate western complaints about PLO terrorism, Abbas funded the terror attack at the Munich Olympics and played a shadowy role in the attack on the cruise ship Achille Lauro with some former PLO members claiming he was the mastermind behind the attack.

Abbas is not only corrupt, he has been accused of murdering Syrian intelligence officers in 1966. And this is a man the pope has called an “angel of peace”?

The pope’s warped worldview forgives all in Abbas’ past because Francis takes the terrorist at his word today that he wants “peace” with Israel. In the cuckoo land of leftists, despite all evidence to the contrary, Abbas is believed because his views line up with those who wish to blame Israel for the failure to achieve peace.

The Vatican formally recognized the “state” of Palestine for the first time earlier in the week. I don’t think this means that the pope actually wants to see Israel destroyed. But he has obviously bought into the lie that giving Palestinians their own country will allow everyone in the Middle East to live happily ever after.

The pope should stick to saving souls and leave the hard stuff to the grownups.

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Islamic State Takes Ramadi, But U.S. Says They’re Losing

Friday, May 15th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Meet our very own Baghdad Bob — Brig. Gen. Thomas D. Weidley, chief of staff for Combined Joint Task Force Operation. General Weidley wants to convince us that Islamic State forces are “on the defensive” and that the situation is going just as they planned it — despite the fact that the enemy has just taken Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.

McClatchy:

The Islamic State on Friday took control of the provincial government center of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s largest province, and appeared to be in control of most of the city in a major defeat for the Iraqi government.

Islamic State forces also appeared to be closing in on government positions in two other key locations in Anbar province, the towns of Baghdadi and Karmah, in a broad offensive that if successful would end the government presence in any of the province’s major population centers. The capture of Baghdadi also would cut the supply lines to the Iraqi garrison protecting the strategic Haditha Dam.

At Ramadi, government troops were still fighting in some isolated areas. But the city was essentially under the control of the Islamic State after a fierce assault that began with a series of car bombs on Iraqi government security facilities overnight. By late afternoon, security forces appeared to be in full flight as militants consolidated control over the area and prevented anyone from leaving.

The Islamic State’s black flag was flying over the governor’s compound, witnesses said, and a Ramadi resident reported that an Islamic State victory statement was being read from the public address systems atop mosque minarets in the city, warning people not to try to leave. Cell phone service appeared to have been cut in much of the area.

Associated Press all but called out General Weidley for his propaganda campaign:

Weidley appeared to be pressing his own “information campaign” designed to counter the militants’ message of defiance. While conceding the militants’ were managing “episodic control” of certain terrain in Iraq, he insisted their advances were minor and unsustainable.

The State Department offered a similar assessment. “There will be good days and bad days in Iraq,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said. “ISIL is trying to make today a bad day in Ramadi. We’ve said all along we see this as a long-term fight.”

Weidley said IS fighters had launched a complex attack Friday on Ramadi as part of an effort to “feed their information and propaganda apparatus.” He called Ramadi a “critical city” but said he could not confirm how much of the city had been lost to IS on Friday or what percentage remains in Iraqi control. He said his command had seen Islamic State social media postings of photos that depict a successful Ramadi offensive.

“This is similar to the (techniques) they’ve used in the past where they’ve conducted attacks trying to gain social media gains by taking photos and documenting small-term gains and then using it for propaganda purposes,” Weidley said, adding that IS was inflating the importance of its success.

“We’ve seen similar attacks in Ramadi over the last several months for which the ISF (Iraqi security forces) have been able to repel, and we see this one being similar to those,” he said, adding that the U.S. is confident the Iraqi government will be able to take back the terrain it has lost in Ramadi.

In fact, the Iraqi army fled in terror from Islamic State forces in Ramadi. And it appears from their attacks on Baghdadi and Karmah that there is strategic depth to this attack that Weidley isn’t acknowledging. In short, it doesn’t appear that this attack and seizure of Ramadi has much to do with a social media propaganda campaign at all; it appears to be a concerted effort on the part of IS to overrun key strategic points in Anbar province.

Nor is Islamic State “losing” in Syria. Since joining forces with al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, they have pushed back Syrian government forces across the board. We should be used to the military sugar-coating the situation in Iraq by now, but this is a particularly egregious example of U.S. statements bearing little resemblance to the reality on the ground.

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At This College, ‘Hurtful Statements’ Are Now Reportable to Authorities

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

I wonder if any college level literature courses teach George Orwell’s 1984 anymore. They evidently don’t teach it at the University of Colorado-Boulder, judging by a new campaign launched by the school to urge students to report the names of those responsible for any “bias-motivated incident” via an online form.

The Campus Fix:

The “Bias Incident Reporting” effort aims to “address the impact of demeaning and hurtful statements as well as acts of intolerance directed towards protected classes,” CU Boulder’s website states.

Examples of bias, according to a corresponding poster campaign highlighting the reporting system, include calling people names or making fun of their culture.

“This in no way is meant to curtail free speech,” campus spokesman Ryan Huff told The College Fix in an email. “We support the First Amendment and want our students to challenge one another in academic ways. We don’t support, however, the use of racial slurs and other demeaning bias-motivated acts.”

Students who perceive or witness “bias-motivated incidents” are asked to report them immediately by filing a “student of concern” report.

Is Mr. Huff a lunatic? Of course the policy is meant to “curtail free speech.” It’s truly frightening that so many people in positions of power have no clue what “free speech” actually means, and think they aren’t squelching it when they threaten people with being reported for saying anything anyone doesn’t much care for.

The reporting effort is designed to “ensure timely and appropriate responses to incidents that appear to be bias-motivated involving University of Colorado students,” the university’s website states. Bias reports are not treated as confidential, it adds.

The diversity commission of CU Boulder’s student government launched the Bias Motivated Incident poster campaign in late April, marked by a slew of posters hung up around campus.

One poster reads, “Go back to Africa, you don’t belong here.” Another says, “Your mom must be the janitor ‘cause that’s the only job for dirty Mexicans.” The student 2883D8F300000578-0-image-a-51_1431235643381government claims both statements, along with others used on various posters, originated from real incidents of bias that have occurred on campus.

“The purpose behind the campaign is two-fold,” student government officials stated on their Facebook page. “One of the objectives is to encourage and inform students to report bias motivated incidents on our campus and the surrounding community. The other purpose of this campaign is to highlight the fact that indeed BMI’s [Bias-Motivated Incidents] happen here on our very own campus and that we are not immune to acts of racism, sexism and overall discrimination toward people’s identities.”

It will be like walking on egg shells on that campus. You can well imagine activists claiming racism, sexism, homophobia and the like against people who disagree with them politically. Conservatives will probably have to wear specially colored armbands as a trigger warning for sensitive liberals who can’t abide anyone disagreeing with them.

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Obama’s Epic Fail on Trade

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

President Obama’s attempt to get fast track authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive free trade agreement with most of the countries in Asia, was shot down in the Senate when it failed to get to the 60 vote plateau to shut off debate.

Fast track authority, also known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), would allow the administration to negotiate the trade agreement with the assurance that there would be no attempt to amend the treaty in Congress. It would limit the House and Senate to a straight, up or down vote.

Democrats abandoned the president at the urging of Minority Leader Senator Harry Reid who was seeking to combine the TPA with 3 other trade-related pieces of legislation. One of them, the customs bill, is opposed by most Republicans who want to separate the trade bills into 4 different pieces of legislation.

But there are also Democrats who oppose the entire TPP agreement, saying it would ship jobs overseas. Senator Elizabeth Warren was the most prominent opponent of the treaty, believing it would keep wages low as well.

The Hill:

The White House downplayed the defeat, with press secretary Josh Earnest describing it as a “procedural snafu.”

“It is not unprecedented for the U.S. Senate to encounter procedural snafus,” he said. “We’re going to continue to work through these challenges.”

Earnest dismissed the notion that the vote is a sign the president’s aggressive sales pitch to Democrats on trade has fallen flat.

“I would urge you to withhold judgement about the president’s persuasion ability … until we’ve had a chance to advance this legislation,” Earnest said.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the panel, tried to hash out a last-minute agreement to allow the trade package to come to the floor but were unsuccessful.

Hatch said he would urge McConnell to pull the trade package from the floor if Democrats block it.

It could return in the next two weeks but Tuesday’s setback means it will be very difficult to pass trade legislation before the Memorial Day recess.

Two Republican presidential candidates, Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rand Paul (Ky.), voted in favor of moving to the trade bill.

Another, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), missed the vote, as did Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is considering a White House run. Rubio and Graham also missed Monday’s votes.

Most Democrats oppose the TPP, but there are probably a baker’s dozen of them who would vote for a final agreement. But in addition to fast track, Reid wants the customs bill, a trade adjustment assistance measure that would compensate workers and companies put at a disadvantage by the treaty, and a package of trade incentives for sub-Saharan Africa. Republicans are not likely to go along unless there are substantial revisions to the customs bill, and perhaps a separate vote on the trade adjustment assistance legislation.

Fast track is even more problematic in the House with many Republicans believing that it takes away some of the prerogatives of the legislative branch. Other conservatives believe they had been taken in by President Clinton on NAFTA and don’t want a repeat.

The TPP would create the largest free trading bloc in the world. Almost every nation in Asia except China is ready to sign on. It is, to quote Joe Biden, a big, effing deal and the fact that the president has failed largely as result of his inability to bring his own party along with him marks a low point in his second term.

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George Zimmerman Receives Minor Injuries in Road Rage Incident

Monday, May 11th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

George Zimmerman, the man who killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense in 2012, was slightly injured during a road rage incident in Lake Mary, Florida.

Zimmerman apparently suffered a minor gunshot wound, CNN affiliate WESH-TV reported, citing the police chief.

The affiliate spoke with one witness, Ricardo Berrare, who also said Zimmerman’s injuries didn’t look serious.

“He walked normally into the ambulance, so he wasn’t being helped or nothing,” Berrare told WESH.

The shooting is under investigation, but it appeared to be some type of road rage incident, Gillett told CNN.

Police said there were no fatalities in the shooting and said the department would not release additional information until a briefing planned for Monday afternoon.

An employee at a nearby business, Kenneth Cornell, said he was exiting his car after lunch when a man drove up and started yelling about the shooting.

The man shouted to Cornell: “I shot George Zimmerman, call 911. I don’t have a phone.”

Cornell said the man didn’t know whether Zimmerman was hurt. He called 911.

According to Cornell, the man told him that he and Zimmerman have had three disputes. This time, Zimmerman waved a gun and the man shot at him, according to Cornell.

Police arrived minutes after he called 911, Cornell said.

Police have not verified Cornell’s account to CNN.

This is only one side of the story. We should wait until Zimmerman has a chance to weigh in before judging what happened.

It looks like trouble is going to follow Mr. Zimmerman for the rest of his life. And he will be a target as well. Last year, a woman claimed that Zimmerman threw a wine bottle at her. She later recanted the claim and charges against Zimmerman were dropped.

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Houthis Accept Saudi Offer for 5 Day Truce

Sunday, May 10th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Houthi rebels in Yemen have accepted an offer for a 5 day cease fire from Saudi Arabia to facilitate the distribution of critical humanitarian supplies.

Reuters:

Neighboring Saudi Arabia had said on Friday that the ceasefire could begin on Tuesday if the Iranian-allied militia agreed to the pause, which would let in badly needed food and medical supplies.

Backed by the United States, a Saudi-led coalition has been conducting air strikes against the Houthis and army units loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh since March 26 with the aim of restoring the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

“We will deal positively with any efforts, calls or serious and positive measures that would help lift the suffering and allow aid, supplies and ships to move safely to Yemen,” the Houthis said in a statement carried by state media Saba.Colonel Sharaf Luqman, spokesperson for the Houthi-allied army, said on Sunday Yemeni forces had agreed to the truce but would confront any attacks by Hadi loyalists on battlefronts which stretch across much of the impoverished country.

The Houthis say their campaign is aimed at defeating al Qaeda militants based in Yemen and accuse Hadi’s forces of supporting the group.

Arab planes bombed for a second day in a row the vast compound in the capital Sanaa which is home to ex-president Saleh, a key player in Yemen’s political crisis whose loyalists in the army fight on the Houthis’ side.

Saleh, a wily political operator, appeared unscathed and stood before the ruins of his political residence to taunt Saudi Arabia in remarks televised by his TV channel, Yemen Today.”It isn’t just me who is being targeted but every citizen … This aggression is cowardly. Go ahead and come by land, we’ll make a welcome for you,” Saleh, wearing sunglasses, said calmly.

Arab air strikes also hit weapons caches at a military base and a presidential palace in the southern city of Aden, the epicenter of fighting for more than six weeks, and southern fighters questioned the proposed pause.

“We doubt that the Houthis would stick to a ceasefire or truce because they have repeatedly broken political commitments they have made in the past,” a pro-Hadi militiaman in the city told Reuters.

The United Arab Emirates said on Sunday it had dropped 55 tons of food and medical supplies over the city, in the largest such airdrop by a coalition country since the campaign began.

This is the second effort to halt the fighting to allow food and drugs to be distributed to civilians. The first cease fire ended almost immediately as some Houthi tribesmen didn’t recognize it. Also, the deal does not include al-Qaeda or ISIS fighters who are also battling the Iranian-backed Houthis.

Houthis said previously that they would not give up ground during the cease fire, so it is likely that some fighting will continue. Meanwhile, civilians are without food or shelter in many cases and neither side is taking any pains to keep them out of the line of fire.

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Mark Halperin’s ‘Nauseating’ Interview of Ted Cruz

Sunday, May 10th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Double standard. Identity politics. Awful journalism. That just about covers Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin’s interview with Ted Cruz.

Ruben Navarrette called it “painful,” “uncomfortable,” and “nauseating.”

The online interview show that Halperin co-hosts on BloombergPolitics.com is called “With All Due Respect.” But there was nothing respectful about the line of questioning. It started off innocently enough with Halperin asking the 2016 GOP presidential candidate about whether he thinks Hispanics will vote for him. He also mentioned a speech that Cruz had given to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and gave Cruz the chance to explain his argument that Republican economic policies help Hispanics.

Nothing wrong with that. But then Halperin made it personal, and the interview careened into a ditch. He told Cruz that people are curious about his “identity.” Then, the host asked a series of questions intended to establish his guest’s Hispanic bona fides. What kind of Cuban food did Cruz like to eat growing up? And what sort of Cuban music does Cruz listen to even now?

I’ve known Ted for more than a decade and I could tell he was uncomfortable. But he played along, listing various kinds of Cuban food and saying that his musical taste veers more toward country.

I kept waiting for Halperin to ask Cruz to play the conga drums like Desi Arnaz while dancing salsa and sipping cafe con leche — all to prove the Republican is really Cuban.

Just when I thought I’d seen the worst, it got even more offensive. Earlier that day, independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, had entered the presidential race. So, Halperin said: “I want to give you the opportunity to directly welcome your colleague Sen. Sanders to the race, and I’d like you to do it, if you would, en español.”

What nerve, treating a U.S. senator like a trained seal! Who does this guy think he is, trying to evaluate how well a Hispanic speaks Spanish? And what does that have to do with being authentic anyway?

You know who, by their own admission, don’t speak espanol well? Housing Secretary Julian Castro and his twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, both friends of mine. You could bet Halperin would never put those questions to the Castros because, as Democrats, they’re assumed to be closer to the masses than Cruz is.

Asking Cruz to say something in Spanish is akin to asking a black person to eat watermelon or start dancing.

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No Mention of Nazi-Soviet Pact During Putin’s VE Day Extravaganza

Sunday, May 10th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Amid all the hoopla and self-congratulatory accolades coming from Vladimir Putin during the celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, there is one subject that is carefully and completely avoided: the fact that the Soviets assisted Hitler in starting the war.

In the history of diplomacy, there may be no more outrageously cynical and shocking deal than the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union, signed in Moscow a week before Germany invaded Poland. It gave Hitler a free hand in the west, allowing him to avoid a two-front war.

In a secret protocol appended to the treaty and discovered after the war, the two dictators carved up Eastern Europe like a roast. Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland were divided into German and Soviet “spheres of influence.”In the north, Finland, Estonia and Latvia were assigned to the Soviet sphere. Poland was to be partitioned with the Soviets seizing the western third of the country and Germany, the east.

The Soviets negotiated this treaty with the Nazis while also negotiating with France and England to coordinate a response to what everyone knew would be the turn of Poland to be victimized by Hitler. No one was more shocked than Neville Chamberlain when the pact was announced on August 24, 1939.

Vladimir Putin ignored this history in his remarks at the anniversary celebration of the end of the war:

“In recent decades the basic principles of international cooperation have been ignored ever more frequently. We see how a military-bloc mentality is gaining momentum,” said Putin.

While Putin thanked “the people of Great Britain, France and the United States for their contribution to victory” in World War II he said the West has tried to minimize Russia’s contribution to the war effort, contending that nations like the U.S. have tried to “rewrite history” regarding World War II.

Putin said World War II demonstrated the strengths of international cooperation but, likely in a nod to U.S. visibility in world affairs, warned that “in the past decades we have seen attempts to create a unipolar world,” according to the Associated Press.

The Russian people are apparently resentful at the west for raining on their victory parade:

Jill Dougherty, a Russia expert at the Wilson Center and CNN’s former Moscow bureau chief, said social media and TV reports indicate that many ordinary Russians feel insulted by the absence of Western leaders from the commemoration.

They feel it’s a victory that primarily Russians won with their deaths and are angered that it is not being marked by other Allied nations, she said.

“There’s a feeling of insult and anger,” she said. “Unfortunately that plays very much into the feeling that’s going on in Moscow right now, which is exactly about that — insult by the West, a feeling that the West has become the enemy once again.”

World War II is extremely important to Russians, she said, and provokes strong emotions in them.

It is amazing that there is no sense of responsibility by Russians from Putin on down for helping to start World War II. The Russian people have been told that Stalin made the deal because he didn’t trust the British and French. The tale is told that Stalin believed the allies wanted the Soviets to bear the major burden of facing Hitler and he needed time to rearm.

There is a germ of truth in that, but what made the deal so odious was the partition of Poland, and the subsequent invasion by the Soviets of Finland and the Baltic states. Certainly, that had absolutely nothing to do with not trusting the allies, but everything to do with Stalin’s manic desire for territory, which was almost as insatiable as Hitler’s.

There will be no apologies coming from Putin for Russia’s major assist in starting the war. Nor will there be any apologies for the hundreds of thousands of German prisoners of war who perished, or the half a million German women raped by Soviet soldiers as they advanced on Berlin and after the war. These uncomfortable truths are not brought up on these celebratory occasions lest they dampen the mood of triumphalism in Russia.

But you can bet that the Poles, the Finns, the Germans, and others who fell victim to Stalin’s cynicism and avarice will never forget it.

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‘Unfettered Capitalism’? 175,000 Pages of Federal Regulations

Saturday, May 9th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

000.1

Whenever a liberal like Paul Krugman talks about the American system of “unfettered capitalism” I break out laughing. There are currently about 175,000 pages of federal regulations governing anything and everything about American business.

In truth, many regulations have become necessary over the decades. Worker safety has benefitted enormously and death and injury rates on the job have plummeted in the last 50 years. Our air and water are cleaner, consumer products are safer, and predatory capitalists have largely been sidelined.

But it goes without saying that agencies like the EPA are out of control, that the IRS has become even more overbearing, and that the dizzying array of federal compliance rules make it possible to violate the law without even knowing it.

AEI scholar Charles Murray has a book coming out next week titled By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission. In this extended excerpt in the Wall Street Journal, he offers a novel solution for dealing with many of these regulations: ignore them.

We now live under a presumption of constraint. Put aside all the ways in which city and state governments require us to march to their drummers and consider just the federal government. The number of federal crimes you could commit as of 2007 (the last year they were tallied) was about 4,450, a 50% increase since just 1980. A comparative handful of those crimes are “malum in se”—bad in themselves. The rest are “malum prohibitum”—crimes because the government disapproves.

The laws setting out these crimes are often so complicated that only lawyers, working in teams, know everything that the law requires. Everyone knows how to obey the laws against robbery. No individual can know how to “obey” laws such as Sarbanes-Oxley (810 pages), the Affordable Care Act (1,024 pages) or Dodd-Frank (2,300 pages). We submit to them.

The laws passed by Congress are just the beginning. In 2013, the Code of Federal Regulations numbered over 175,000 pages. Only a fraction of those pages involved regulations based on something spelled out in legislation. Since the early 1940s, Congress has been permitted by the Supreme Court to tell regulatory agencies to create rules that are “generally fair and equitable” or “just and reasonable” or that prohibit “unfair methods of competition” or “excessive profits,” and leave it to the regulators to make up whatever rules they think serve those lofty goals.

It gets worse. If a regulatory agency comes after you, forget about juries, proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, disinterested judges and other rights that are part of due process in ordinary courts. The “administrative courts” through which the regulatory agencies impose their will are run by the regulatory agencies themselves, much as if the police department could make up its own laws and then employ its own prosecutors, judges and courts of appeals.

[...]

Seen in this perspective, the regulatory state is the Wizard of Oz: fearsome when its booming voice is directed against any single target but, when the curtain is pulled aside, revealed as impotent to enforce its thousands of rules against widespread refusal to comply.

And so my modest proposal: Let’s withhold that compliance through systematic civil disobedience. Not for all regulations, but for the pointless, stupid and tyrannical ones.

The clock is ticking on Mr. Murray’s upcoming tax audit.

The key here is Congress. They have the oversight authority to block many of these regulations. And, Congress could also go back to writing clear, plain-language rules to implement their legislation, rather than letting bureaucrats deliberately obscure their meaning.

But Congress is too busy posing for the cameras, passing bills naming the local post office after themselves, or voting to make Tuesday next week “National Fast Food Workers Day.” If they’re in session 3 days a week, we’re lucky. Or maybe not, if you consider that as long as Congress is out of town, they can’t reach into your pocket.

Complexity in government is not a bug, it’s a feature. I don’t know if Murray’s idea of ignoring regulations is all that smart. But at least it’s doing something to try to stem the tide of federal power rolling across the countryside, reaching into every nook and cranny of American life.

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Chinese Theme Park Boasts ‘Death Simulator’ Attraction

Saturday, May 9th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Ever wonder what it’s like to be dead? Before you check yourself into a mental institution, check out the Chinese theme park the Window of the World. There’s a special attraction popular with tourists there that makes inventive use of hot air machines and lights to simulate cremation.

Thats right. Being burned to death has become a theme park ride.

Daily Mail:

The ride, called ‘The Cremator’, offers the morbidly curious to opportunity to find out what it might feel like to be cremated using a system of hot air and light projections.

But punters at the ‘Window of the World’ amusement park must first be settled into their temporary coffins, according to the People’s Daily Online.

The Window of the World park is a ‘cultural theme park’ in Shenzhen that boasts an incredible range of attractions crammed into its 48 hectares.

Among these are an astonishing 130 models of the world’s most famous landmark attractions in miniature, including Buckingham Palace, the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Mount Rushmore.

But the park has branched out to include oddities such as ‘The Cremator’.

The experience begins with a journey through the ‘morgue’, following which they are placed in a coffin and put on a conveyor belt.

They are then carried through a chamber filled with hot air, to simulate the flames used during cremation.

Screams and shrieks echo through the chamber, and everyone who tries the ride comes out drenched in sweat.

Although whether the sweat is from fear or from the extreme heat has not been made clear.

‘I am never coming back,’ said a number of women on leaving the ride, while laughing nervously.

Another added: ‘It was horrifying.’

‘The experience was quite good,’ added another park-goer. ‘Quite good fun.’

000.1

This is not something that would appeal to me, but who am I to judge? Some candy company actually came out with the Harry Potter jelly beans that feature flavors like vomit and earwax — not flavors that I would sample, but then I’m a meat and potatoes kind of guy anyway.

I know it’s politically incorrect (so ask if I care) to lay this on the Chinese culture, but can you see anyone in the west coming up with a theme park attraction like this? Not that there’s anything wrong with giving the people what they want — at least the Chinese appear to have absorbed that lesson of capitalism — but what kind of mind could conjure up simulated death as entertainment?

Sheesh.Gives me the creeps.

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College Defends Anti-Male, Racist Prof’s Tweets

Saturday, May 9th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Saida Grundy, an incoming assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies at Boston University, is an obvious catch for any college in the nation.

Not necessarily because she’s a good teacher; she’s not. Nor is it the quality of her scholarship and intellect. I have no idea about either.

Rather, it is tweets like this that makes her a standout applicant for any left-wing sociology program in the country:

“White masculinity isn’t a problem for america’s colleges, white masculinity is THE problem for america’s colleges.”

Brilliant! Imagine solving all the problems with higher education in fewer than 140 characters.

Actually, Grundy is a major league twit, who is not only anti-male, but a certified, dyed-in-the-wool, four-square, in-your-face racist.

Fox News:

In another tweet from January, she wrote: “Every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses. and every year i find it nearly impossible.”

In another, she called white males a “problem population.”

“Why is white America so reluctant to identify white college males as a problem population?” she asked.

Well, when one in six white, college-age males are incarcerated, then perhaps we can identify them as a “problem population.”

The tweets were first noticed by student Nick Pappas, who posted them on his website “SoCawlege.com” and questioned how Grundy could be able to teach a diverse classroom given the racial hostility in her tweets.

“You have to teach college aged white males eventually, no?… this seems like you are unqualified to grade their work as you clearly demonstrate some kind of special bias against them,” he wrote.

Pappas, a junior at University of Massachusetts Amherst, told FoxNews.com that he hopes to “show the rest of America how nasty people on the far left can get at colleges.”

Those who follow campus politics say they are not shocked.

“I’m not surprised that Boston University is hiring a racist to teach African American Studies,” David Horowitz, author of “Reforming our Univerisities” told FoxNews.com. “Anti-white racism is rampant in Black Studies programs which are generally indoctrination programs in left wing politics.”

Of course, Boston College became outraged over these racist, anti-male tweets and rescinded their offer to the good professor immediately, right?

Right?

Boston University stands by the professor, who will start working at the college in June.

“Professor Grundy is exercising her right to free speech and we respect her right to do so,” Boston University spokesman Colin Riley said.

How very brave and valiant of them. I’m assuming the next politically incorrect utterance from a white male prof will be met with the same steadfastness.

Not.

Fun question: What’s worse? The unrivaled hypocrisy of the university administration or the fact that if your white male kid is attending Boston University, they may have to endure a sociology course taught by this harridan?

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Detroit Reporter Tells Truth About Muslims in Michigan: Forced to Apologize

Saturday, May 9th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

A reporter for a Detroit TV station got in hot water earlier this week when she mentioned that, given the substantial Muslim population in the state, “it should not come as a real surprise” if there was a Michigan connection to Islamic State.

The reporter was roundly criticized. Not for stating the obvious, but because she said the words “Muslim” and “ISIS” in the same sentence.

Mediaite:

During a Wednesday broadcast on NBC-affiliated WDIV-TV Local 4, anchor Carmen Harlan discussed a possible ISIS-connected threat in the state. “Given the fact that we have the largest Arab population outside of the Middle East, I guess this should not come as a real surprise,” she said.

Seeing as the state has a substantial Muslim population, several organizations spoke out against Harlan, calling upon her and the network to officially apologize, the Lebanese Examiner reported.

“This shocking lapse of professional conduct was directed against law-abiding citizens who strive to create vibrant, diverse communities wherever they live,” said Fatina Abdrabboh, director of the Michigan American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

“Comments like these are an example of racial profiling at its worst and Carmen Harlan should apologize immediately,” said Progress Michigan’s executive director Lonnie Scott.

Separately, the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) said of Harlan’s comment: “As a reporter, she has a responsibility to remain objective in her reporting and not draw conclusions for her audience. We request that WDIV immediately address this racially charged comment.”

Harlan issed an apology on Thursday: “In no way did I mean to imply that because of our community’s make up, there was a higher risk of ISIS threats.”


(Video courtesy of Grabien)

Let’s put it this way: What are the odds that there isn’t an ISIS connection in Michigan? It’s a dog bites man story, and the reporter was simply stating the facts.

If you asked the FBI, they would no doubt confirm that they are watching several Muslims in the state, so perhaps the Islamic “civil rights” organizations can stop their laughable charges of “racial profiling” and start cooperating with authorities to root out the terrorists. (Islam is a religion, not a race, and to try to make it so is absurd.)

The reporter should not have apologized for reporting the obvious.

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Illinois Supreme Court Says 2013 Pension Reform Law is Unconstitutional

Friday, May 8th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

The Illinois Supreme Court struck a huge blow against everyone in the state not getting a public pension. The justices ruled unanimously that a 2013 effort to reform the public pension system and get costs under control violated the state’s constitution.

The result of the decision can’t be overstated. Currently, fully one quarter of the state’s budget goes to funding the gold-plated pensions of former state workers. And the unfunded liability for that pension system — now at $104 billion — will rise by millions every day.

Voters elected a Republican last November, Bruce Rauner, to fix this mess. He has proposed a constitutional amendment to allow the state to cut benefits — something the current constitution prevents the legislature from doing. It’s really the last arrow in his quiver and the unions will fight him tooth and nail to prevent it.

Reuters:

“Crisis is not an excuse to abandon the rule of law,” the supreme court said in its ruling. “It is a summons to defend it.”

The court said that while Illinois faced significant financial challenges, it had an obligation to ensure the state constitution, which protects public worker pensions, was followed.

The state had contended the legislature was entitled to invoke police powers, in which a state has authority to make changes for the good of its citizens, to solve a fiscal emergency. However, the court called the state’s “police powers” defense “fatally flawed.”

The ruling was a victory for unions who had fought to protect pensions.

“We are thankful that the Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the will of the people, overturned this unfair and unconstitutional law, and protected the hard-earned life savings of teachers, police, fire fighters, nurses, caregivers and other public service workers and retirees,” said Michael T. Carrigan, president of Illinois AFL on behalf of the We Are One Illinois union coalition.

So, now what? A committee looked at what would happen if the 2013 law was struck down:

A state legislative commission reported in November that without the 2013 law, pension payments would jump to $7.6 billion in fiscal 2016 from $6.8 billion this year, reaching $16.3 billion in 2045. The unfunded liability would climb as well, topping out at $128.7 billion in 2029.

Governor Bruce Rauner, a critic of the 2013 law, has proposed his own pension reform plan that largely relies on a constitutional amendment that must be approved by voters.

Illinois Policy Insitute CEO John Tillman said the ruling suggested that raising taxes would be the way to pay for pensions – which he said was a flawed premise.

“Raising taxes will not fix a broken system,” said Tillman. “The pension system is beyond repair, and there will never be enough money to fund it.”

The Chicago Tribune agrees with Mr. Tillman:

If anyone doubted the truth of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s insistence that Illinois must radically restructure the costs and scope of government, Friday’s ruling settles that. The state with some 7,000 local governments, with the credit rating worse than its 49 peers, with unfunded pension liabilities above $100 billion and rising by more millions daily, with taxation at levels that already are driving businesses (and jobs) beyond its borders — that state has to overhaul its operations.

Expect to hear politicians or advocacy groups or finance experts float notions you’ve never heard in Illinois. That to preserve money for pension costs, the state workforce may have to be drastically reduced, that work contracted to private firms that don’t have to provide such benefits. That as the cost of retirement benefits continues to skyrocket, more of the obligation must be placed on the workers who will reap the benefits. That’s not to blame the workers; that’s to recognize brutal reality.

You won’t hear these and other dramatic thoughts only about state government: Friday’s ruling vastly complicates life for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and thousands of other local officials. They prayed that the court would uphold state attempts to curtail retiree benefits, or at least explain how future laws might be written to meet constitutional constraints. Friday’s decision offered neither. Maybe Emanuel et al. can offer the court more compelling arguments: Unlike the state, cutting benefits really is our last resort. But after Friday’s ruling, they’re running uphill.

So the huge enterprise of government in Illinois now confronts a financial challenge unlike any it has known: The new taxation necessary to satisfy all of these state and local pension demands would make this a ghost state.

Do you think the unions care? A “ghost state” would still be liable for all those pension obligations, so the prospect of state employees serving an ever dwindling number of Illinoisans doesn’t bother them a bit. Not their problem.

There’s no doubt Rauner has taken the bull by the horns on this and other fiscal issues. His first budget resulted in howls of rage from the usual government benefit recipients. They want to tax the “rich” — something tried in 2011 with predictable results:

Tillman said a 2011 temporary tax increase generated more than $31 billion, yet 90 cents out of every $1 collected from the tax increase went to pensions – “still was not enough to make the pension system whole.”

A long night is descending on Illinois and many of its villages, towns, and cities with pension problems of their own may eventually be forced into bankruptcy. Rauner’s plan may push back the day when the pension crisis comes to a head, but unless something radical and drastic is done, Illinois doesn’t have much of a future.

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Why Are Pollsters Consistently Undercounting Conservatives Around the World?

Friday, May 8th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

They had an election in the United Kingdom yesterday, and the last polls before the votes were cast showed a narrow victory for David Cameron’s Conservative Party, but with far too few seats to form a government.

With 325 seats needed to govern, the Conservatives were projected to win no more than 278 compared to Ed Miliband’s Labor Party’s share of 267 seats. This would have meant a “hung parliament” with smaller parties scrambling to make deals in order to form a coalition government.

But something strange happened on the way to a gridlocked government: the Conservatives annihilated Labor and won an outright majority of 331 seats.

How could the polls have been so crazily wrong?

Nate Silver points out some other instances this year where the polls proved to be a joke:

Consider what are probably the four highest-profile elections of the past year, at least from the standpoint of the U.S. and U.K. media:

Is it a coincidence that the parties in all three nations that have bee massively undercounted are conservative? Or are there other, more technical explanations that show what’s happening?

Silver:

Perhaps it’s just been a run of bad luck. But there are lots of reasons to worry about the state of the polling industry. Voters are becoming harder to contact, especially on landline telephones. Online polls have become commonplace, but some eschew probability sampling, historically the bedrock of polling methodology. And in the U.S., some pollsters have been caught withholding results when they differ from other surveys, “herding” toward a false consensus about a race instead of behaving independently. There may be more difficult times ahead for the polling industry.

Pollsters cooking the books? Say it ain’t so. “False consensus” or not, I think there’s something else entirely different at work here:

Mr. Korteweg attributed the pollster’s failings in this latest election to the fact that voters often give socially desired responses during polling, only to behave differently when they vote. “People say who they are voting for with their heart and then vote with their wallets,” he said.

Liberals and the media have been so wildly successful in demonizing conservatives — including Netanyahu in Israel, Cameron in Great Britain, and Republicans in the U.S. — that voters responding to these surveys don’t want the person on the other end of the phone to think them out of touch, or worse, intolerant and evil. Hence, the phenomenon known as “shy conservatives” – voters who tell pollsters what they think they want to hear and then go and vote their true interests.

Pollsters are doing a lot of navel gazing today, and who can blame them. But I don’t think they’ll find the answer by trying to come up with new and better ways to poll people with cell phones. The problem is existential and out of their hands. The more desperate the left and their media allies get — the more anxious they are about the prospects for electoral success of liberal and labor parties around the world — the harder they try to demonize the opposition. The armies of shamers and smear merchants on social media are only the tip of the iceberg. Delegitimizing not only the policies, but the people who oppose them is just about all they have left.

So, “shy” or not, conservatism would appear to be on the rise in the world.  Meanwhile,  from now on, polls should be released with a message 14 points high in great, big, black letters:

Caveat Emptor.

 

 

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‘Knights Templars’ Arrested for Operating a Fictitious Police Department

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

From our “Now We’ve Heard Everything” file, three men have been arrested for operating a fictitious police department that they say has jurisdiction in 33 states and Mexico and has existed for 3,000 years.

One of those arrested worked in the office of California Attorney General Kamal Harris.

It gets even more bizarre, as this AP report explains:

Brandon Kiel, David Henry and Tonette Hayes were taken into custody last week on suspicion of impersonating officers as members of the so-called Masonic Fraternal Police Department, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.

Kiel, 31, has worked as deputy director of community affairs at the California Department of Justice. He is on administrative leave, and the department can’t comment on an ongoing personnel matter or criminal investigation, agency spokesman David Beltran said.

An investigation into the Masonic Fraternal Police Department was launched after various police chiefs in Southern California received a letter in late January that announced new leadership for the group, sheriff’s officials said.

Later a man claiming to be Kiel and describing himself as the police force’s “chief deputy director” called various law enforcement agencies to schedule sit-down meetings, officials said.

Capt. Roosevelt Johnson of the sheriff’s department’s Santa Clarita Valley station said he met with members of the Masonic Fraternal Police Department in February.

Henry and Hayes showed up in black jumpsuits wearing patches with their department name on them, along with stars indicating they were brass. Hayes was carrying a handgun and wearing a utility belt, Johnson said.

Kiel was there too, wearing a dark navy business suit. They told Johnson they were opening a new Canyon Country police station.

Johnson said he grew wary when they couldn’t answer questions about where they derived their authority, or jurisdictional issues.

“Brandon Kiel gave me a business card from the Department of Justice, showing he worked out of Kamal Harris’ office,” Johnson said. “That really raised red flags for me.”

Kiel, who was hired in July 2013 in a civil service job, “worked with members of the public basically on issues and questions regarding the work of the department,” Beltran said.

A website for the police force says the group was created by the Knights Templar in 1100 B.C.

“When asked what is the difference between the Masonic Fraternal Police Department and other Police Departments the answer is simple for us. We were here first!” the site says.

Investigators searched a Santa Clarita home and office and found badges, weapons, uniforms and law enforcement paraphernalia, sheriff’s officials said.

I would assume that the “Masonic Fraternal Police Department” has something to do with Freemasonry, although it’s probably as much a puzzle to them as it is to us. There are a lot of people who believe the Masons control our lives already, so it makes perfect sense to them that they would have a police force.

But then there are hints at the three men fancying themselves part of the Illuminati – the grandaddy of all conspiracy tales.

Henry on his Google Plus account fashions himself GRANDMASTER HENRY X under “ILLUMINATOR JURISDICTION.” A YouTube video uploaded to his account shows that he was able to parlay his cosplaying into an appearance with the LAPD in a press conference calling for peace after the acquittal of George Zimmerman for Trayvon Martin’s death.

Here is Mr. Henry and some of his fellow “officers” in full regalia:

000.1

KTLA reports that “investigators also believe there are other people associated with the group. According to the website, there are roughly 500,000 members in the U.S.” Probably a slight exaggeration, but it gives one pause to consider even a few of these armed nutcases running around the country trying to arrest people.

I think I prefer the Freemasons.

 

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Nepal Proves the Bureaucratic Mindset is Universal

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 - by Rick Moran

More than 7,000 people lie dead in Nepal, victims of a massive earthquake. Hundreds of thousands are sitting in ruined villages with no food, no clean water, and no shelter from the elements.

But as the New York Times reports, relief supplies are piled high at the Kathmandu airport, and desperately needed food and medicine is not reaching the victims as intended.

The reason? Nepalese bureaucrats refuse to cut the red tape that would speed the relief supplies along.

Relief supplies for earthquake victims have been piling up at the airport and in warehouses here because of bureaucratic interference by Nepali authorities who insist that standard customs inspections and other procedures be followed, even in an emergency, Western government and aid organization officials said on Sunday.

“The bottleneck was the fact that the bureaucratic procedures were just so heavy,” Jamie McGoldrick, the United Nations resident coordinator, said in an interview. “So many layers of government and so many departments involved, so many different line ministries involved. We don’t need goods sitting in Kathmandu warehouses. We don’t need goods sitting at the airport. We need them up in the affected areas.”

The United States ambassador to Nepal, Peter W. Bodde, said he had spoken to Nepal’s prime minister, Sushil Koirala, about the issue and “he assured me that all the red tape will be stopped.”

[...]

“Everyone was panicked, everything was closed, and we all tried to save our own lives,” Purna Bahadur Khadka, joint general secretary of the governing Nepali Congress, said in an interview at the prime minister’s official residence. “And some critics can say there was no proper coordination for the first two days.”

But sometime over the past week, the government revived, Mr. Khadka said. And that is when, Western aid officials say, government officials began insisting that an entire list of rules must be followed, even for emergency relief supplies.

Mr. Bodde said it was a problem that the United States intended to help fix, as a huge C-17 transport plane unloaded a UH-17 helicopter and, separately, four Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft flew into Nepal on Sunday to help carry supplies from Kathmandu to devastated rural areas.

“That’s why we’re here today,” Mr. Bodde said as the C-17 rolled to a stop.

But even that help had been delayed, according to Marine Lt. Col Edward Powers, the helicopter pilot.

“We’ve been sitting on a ramp in Okinawa for the last 72 hours” waiting for permission to land at Kathmandu, Colonel Powers said at the airport.

The bureaucratic foul-ups are also occurring at border crossings with India , who is trying to get relief supplies overland into the interior of Nepal. The same heavy handed “inspections” are happening there as well.

Nepal, being a third world country, has no doubt experienced problems with crooked customs inspectors with sticky fingers. But this doesn’t look like any illegal activity is going on. Rather it is the perfect storm of bureaucrats who take their jobs seriously meeting a situation where they shouldn’t. For bureaucrats the world over, dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s” even though the end of the world is nigh, is what we should expect.

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O’Malley to Make Virtue Out of Necessity

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Former Maryland Governor — and mayor of Baltimore — Martin O’Malley is probably going to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president.

But there are some analysts who think his nascent campaign received a fatal blow this week with the riots in Baltimore.

Martin O’Malley’s political career, which started on the streets of Baltimore, may also end there: Half of Democratic insiders in the early states believe this week’s riots have hurt the former mayor’s already long-shot presidential hopes.

The POLITICO Caucus, our weekly bipartisan survey of the most important activists, operatives and elected officials in Iowa and New Hampshire, found that Democrats are evenly split over whether racial unrest will be a minor or significant issue in the presidential campaign.

“I really like and respect O’Malley, so it pains me to write that I think the Baltimore violence will essentially disqualify him as a viable presidential candidate for a broad swath of Americans,” said a New Hampshire Democrat, who – like all 73 respondents – completed the questionnaire anonymously in order to speak candidly.

“The renaissance of Baltimore has been such a huge part of his biography when he speaks to Democrats, so when your TV shows Baltimore on fire, riot police on the streets and baseball at an empty Camden Yards, one can only wonder what kind of lasting progress he made there.”

What’s an ambitious politician to do?

If he’s smart, he makes a virtue out of necessity and embraces the cause of the cities.

“We haven’t had an agenda for America’s cities probably since Jimmy Carter … We have left cities to fend for themselves. … But look, the structural problems that we have in our economy, the way we ship jobs and profits abroad, the way we failed to invest in our infrastructure and failed to invest in American cities, we are creating the conditions. Please, Speaker Boehner and his crocodile tears about the $130 million, that is a spit in the bucket compared to what we need to do as a nation to rebuild our country. And America’s cities are the heart of our country. We need an agenda for American cities. We need to stop ignoring especially people of color and act like they are disposable citizens in this nation. That’s not how our economy is supposed to work, it’s not how or our country works,” an impassioned O’Malley said.

NBC host Chuck Todd asked, “Do you think you can run on your record as mayor of Baltimore and governor of Maryland, given all this? You are getting a lot of scrutiny now. Do you think this is a positive thing voters will look at and say Martin O’Malley ought to be president?”

“I did not dedicate my life to make Baltimore safer and more just place because it was easy. And I am more inclined and deeply motivated to address what’s wrong with our country and what needs to be healed and  what needs to be fixed. This should be a wake-up call. What’s happened in Baltimore should be a wake-up call for the entire country. The protests that also happened in New York, Philadelphia, and other cities–we have deep problems as a country. And we need deeper understanding if we are going to give our children a better future,” said O’Malley.

You’ve got to hand it to O’Malley. He constantly touts his wonderful tenure as Baltimore mayor despite the fact that he left office less than 8 years ago. Has the city plummeted to its current depths in 8 short years?

Not hardly. The police were just as corrupt 8 years ago, as was city government. Urban blight was just as bad 8 years ago. The schools were just as bad 8 years ago.

But we’re supposed to forget all that and elect O’Malley anyway? Washington already sends tens of billions in direct aid to the cities and more in indirect subsidies for schools, health care, and other social needs. Perhaps before we start worrying about “developing an agenda” for the cities, we look at what we’re already spending to see what’s working and what isn’t.

Most major metropolitan areas in America are having financial difficulties, largely brought about by their own ruinous fiscal policies. It isn’t a question of neglect. It is a question of mismanagement, corruption, cynicism, and political manipulation by the one-party state — the Democratic Party.

 

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Video: Small-Town Councilman Goes to Restroom, Forgets to Take Off Microphone

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 - by Rick Moran
georgetown_town_council_5-3-15-1

Click on screen capture to watch.

Oh, dear. This video of a Georgetown, Texas, town councilman leaving the council meeting to attend to the call of nature, only to leave his microphone on, has gone viral.

Mashable:

Things got real awkward during a council meeting in Georgetown, Texas, when an unidentified councilman excused himself to use the bathroom. Unfortunately, the man forgot to turn off his microphone, so everyone heard his trip to the lavatory as it was amplified throughout the meeting. It seems he also forgot to wash his hands.

Rachael Jonrowe, the city’s mayor pro tem who tried her best to speak seriously about infectious diseases while the man relieved himself, was not immediately available for comment or additional information. But we have to admit, she handled it really well.

Bathroom humor is very popular, and listening to someone urinate loudly and flush a toilet is irresistible.  But why something like this went viral is a mystery.

If you figure it out, please write me and I will share in the gazillion dollars we will make by writing the book.

 

 

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Nightmare: Lawyer Says Hospital May Have Stolen Black Babies

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 - by Rick Moran

This is incredibly sickening. A hospital in St. Louis, now closed, may have taken babies from black mothers to sell elsewhere, telling the mothers their babies had died.

Most of the babies were born in the 1940s and ’50s.

Reuters:

A lawyer for a long-separated mother and daughter said on Friday he is investigating whether staff at a now-closed St. Louis hospital may have taken babies from impoverished young black women to put them up for adoption.

Melanie Gilmore was reunited with her mother, gospel singer Zella Jackson Price, after 49 years in March in an emotional video that has been seen by almost 300,000 people on YouTube. Price was told by a nurse at Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis in 1965 that her baby had died, said family attorney Albert Watkins.

Gilmore’s children had reached out to Price on Facebook because Gilmore had seen the name Zella Jackson on her birth certificate. A DNA test proved the connection, Watkins said.

Watkins said he has since heard from more than 20 elderly black women who gave birth at Phillips in the 1950s and 1960s with similar stories – nurses said their babies were dead, and the mothers were not allowed to see the bodies. There were no death certificates, he said.

Watkins said he suspects that babies were taken to be adopted by middle-class black families and is asking state and city officials to investigate.

“It points to a very dark place,” said Watkins, of the women’s stories.

Phillips, a city-owned hospital which served black patients during a time of segregation and was a training ground for black doctors, closed in 1979.

Former staff at the hospital said they can’t believe something so sinister could have happened.

“None of my staff members would have ever done anything like that,” said Helen Wallace, a former head nurse who worked at the hospital from 1947 through 1979.

Dr. Mary Tillman, who worked at the hospital between 1960 and 1979, said that the nursing staff “ran a tight ship,” with identification bracelets matching mother and child, and only a doctor, not a nurse, would have told a woman if her baby had died. Tillman had one of her own children at the hospital.

One part of this story that gives me pause is the number of children involved. It would be very difficult to carry out a scheme like this involving 20 infants. Too many people inside and outside the hospital would have been involved.

It’s more likely that, if there was a plan and not just a mix-up, it would have involved a handful of babies, and two or three hospital staff. Presumably the parents who bought the babies would have been in the dark about how they were obtained.

 

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Cops Investigate Report of Two Seven Year Olds Kissing at School

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 - by Rick Moran

The tipping point for the downfall of our civilization is near.

Police in Manatee County, Florida, were called to investigate a report that two seven-year-old kids were kissing at school — on the lips!

Florida police last week investigated whether a kiss exchanged by seven-year-old elementary students amounted to “lewd and lascivious” behavior, according to an incident report.

Responding to “allegations” that the children kissed “on the lips” during class last Tuesday, a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy was dispatched to the school to investigate, according to the report, which includes a charge description as “unnatural and lascivious.”

The report, which contains redactions, does not indicate the source of the kissing “allegations.”

Deputy April Culbreath reported speaking with a teacher who “witnessed the incident.” Thereafter, Culbreath concluded that there was “no indication that there was anything sexual about this incident” and no evidence that Florida state law had been violated.

Well, I’ll bet those kids will think twice before they kiss anyone again.

Is it a requirement for teachers at American schools to be mentally unbalanced? Or are teachers just totally besotted with fear that the children in their charge might grow up without their help?

There is a mindlessness to much of what is going on in schools that is directly related to the idea that unless the school is in total control of everything kids do, they are failing. The mania for organized activities, the panic when a kid fashions a gun out of a Pop Tart, suspending a kid because he got a “soldier’s haircut” or shaved their head to show solidarity with a classmate who had cancer — and these are incidents that have made it on the news. How many hundreds or thousands of similar demonstrations of stupidity have gone on around the country that didn’t receive any press attention?

I’ve always thought homeschooling was a great idea. After hearing this story, I’m more convinced than ever before.

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Thousands Expected for ‘Victory Rally’ In Baltimore

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 - by Rick Moran

There will be a celebratory atmosphere among the thousands of people in Baltimore expected to take part in a “victory rally” on Saturday. Marchers will be celebrating the indictments handed down by states’ attorney Marilyn Mosby, who charged six police officers with murder and assault in the case involving Freddie Gray.

You would think that the indictment of anyone for murder would have been met by a more solemn reaction. But this isn’t about reflection, or solemnity, or any uplifting civic virtue. It isn’t even very much about Freddie Gray.

This is about sticking it to the police, good and hard, and the satisfaction of seeing the “enemy” humbled.

Washington Times:

Gray’s stepfather, Robert Shipley, said the family was happy the officers were charged, and he reiterated a plea to keep all public demonstrations peaceful.

“We are satisfied with today’s charges; they are an important step in getting justice for Freddie,” Shipley said. “But if you are not coming in peace, please don’t come at all.”

The family lawyer, Billy Murphy, said the charges are “a first step but not the last,” adding that Baltimore now has an opportunity to set an example for cities across the nation grappling with police brutality.

“The overwhelming number of people who have protested over the days didn’t know Freddie personally, but the people of Philadelphia, New York, Cincinnati, and in numerous cities and towns are expressing their outrage that there are too many Freddie Grays,” Murphy said. “If Freddie Gray is not to die in vain, we must seize this opportunity to reform police departments throughout this country, so there are no more days and times like this.”

A lawyer hired by the police union insisted the officers did nothing wrong. Attorney Michael Davey said Friday that Mosby has committed “an egregious rush to judgment.”

But for others who saw Gray’s arrest and death as a reflection of the city’s broad social and economic problems, the announcement of charges prompted celebrations in the streets.

At City Hall, Andrea Otom, 41, sobbed with something like joy.

“You have to be able to expect that at some time, the pendulum will swing in your favor, and in the black community we’ve seen it over and over and over where it doesn’t,” Otom said. “I’m so happy to see a day where the pendulum has finally begun to swing.”

Black Lawyers for Justice is expecting at least 10,000 people to show up for a protest rally Saturday in downtown Baltimore.

Justice isn’t a pendulum. It isn’t always, but it’s supposed to blind. It doesn’t depend on keeping score, giving one side a victory and then the other. If that’s the attitude of the black community in Baltimore, they are going to be royally disappointed. At least one liberal lawyer believes there’s a good chance the charges against the officers will be dropped:

Charges filed against the six Baltimore police officers for their involvement in the death of Freddie Grey will be dismissed, a George Washington University law professor predicted in an interview with The Daily Caller.

John Banzhaf, who teaches public interest law, says that the charges announced by Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby on Friday “go too far.”

“I think a prosecutor is going to have a hard time proving that the actions did in fact cause death, since they seem to have no theory as to how it occurred,” Banzhaf said in a phone interview.

And Alan Dershowitz thinks there’s a good chance that the officers will be acquitted:

Alan Dershowitz really went after Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby today for charging the six cops involved in the death of Freddie Gray, saying it was entirely based on politics and “crowd control.”

Dershowitz lamented that “this is a very sad day for justice” and told Steve Malzberg that Mosby acted out of a “desire to prevent riots.” It will be “virtually impossible,” he predicted, for the six officers involved to get a fair trial.

And as for murder charges, Dershowitz said there’s “no plausible, hypothetical, conceivable case for murder” and “this is a show trial.” He predicted that Mosby might get removed as prosecutor and Baltimore citizens may get upset if and/or when they “move to a place with a different demographic.”

He concluded that it’s “unlikely they’ll get any convictions in this case” and if they do they’ll likely “be reversed on appeal.”

The haste with which these indictments were handed down — one day after prosecutor Mosby received the police report — suggests that Dershowitz may be on to something. “Riot prevention” seems a plausible explanation for what a lawyer for one of the arrested officers is calling a “rush to judgment.”

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Baltimore Police Union Calls on Prosecutor to Recuse Herself

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 - by Rick Moran

The local lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police in Baltimore is calling on states’ attorney Marilyn Mosby to recuse herself from the case involving six policemen who have been indicted for killing Freddie Gray because of a conflict of interest.

Mosby has a personal relationship with the attorney for Freddie Gray’s family and her husband is a Baltimore city councilman.

Baltimore Sun:

The letter from Gene Ryan, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, also states that none of the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest and death were responsible for the 25-year-old West Baltimore man’s death that spurred protests and unrest, including rioting and looting on Monday. The letter was released just minutes before Mosby announced charges against the officers.

“Not one of the officers involved in this tragic situation left home in the morning with the anticipation that someone with whom they interacted would not go home that night,” the letter states. “As tragic as this situation is, none of the officers involved are responsible for the death of Mr. Gray.”

Ryan requests that Mosby appoint a “Special Independent Prosecutor.”

“I have very deep concerns about the many conflicts of interest presented by your office conducting an investigation in this case,” the letter states.

“These conflicts include your personal and professional relations with Gray family attorney, William Murphy, and the lead prosecutor’s connections with members of the local media,” the letter states. “Based on several nationally televised interviews, these reporters are likely to be witnesses in any potential litigation regarding this incident.”

Murphy supported Mosby during her campaign last year. He donated $5,000 to her campaign and served on her transition committee.

In a statement to The Baltimore Sun, Mosby said the Gray case doesn’t pose any conflicts for her and the police union donated to other candidates in election to be the state’s attorney.

“State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has been elected by the residents in Baltimore City to uphold the law in every neighborhood including her own, regardless of if her husband is the councilman within the district where numerous crimes occur,” said spokeswoman Rochelle Ritchie. “Hundreds of people donated to her campaign. There is no conflict of interest surrounding Billy Murphy. He is representing the family in a civil case which has nothing to do with the criminal case.”

The FOP letter also expresses problems with Mosby’s marriage to Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby.

“Most importantly, it is clear that your husband’s political future will be directly impacted, for better or worse, by the outcome of your investigation,” the letter states. “In order to avoid any appearance of impropriety or a violation of the Professional Rules of Professional Responsibility, I ask that you appoint a Special Prosecutor to determine whether or not any charges should be filed.”

Several prominent attorneys have come out against the rush to judgment against the police by prosecutor Mosby, including Alan Dershowitz:

Alan Dershowitz really went after Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby today for charging the six cops involved in the death of Freddie Gray, saying it was entirely based on politics and “crowd control.”

Dershowitz lamented that “this is a very sad day for justice” and told Steve Malzberg that Mosby acted out of a “desire to prevent riots.” It will be “virtually impossible,” he predicted, for the six officers involved to get a fair trial.

And as for murder charges, Dershowitz said there’s “no plausible, hypothetical, conceivable case for murder” and “this is a show trial.” He predicted that Mosby might get removed as prosecutor and Baltimore citizens may get upset if and/or when they “move to a place with a different demographic.”

He concluded that it’s “unlikely they’ll get any convictions in this case” and if they do they’ll likely “be reversed on appeal.”

In ordinary circumstances, Dershowitz would be right. But these indictments are not about giving anyone a “fair” trial, or “justice.” The railroad has been built and no judge is going to stand in the way of assuring a conviction for these defendants.

This is about giving the mob what they want. That’s not to say the officer’s are innocent of wrongdoing. But when a prosecutor is motivated by more than simple justice — when personal considerations and politics play a role — the entire system is damaged.

 

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MDA Labor Day Telethon to go Dark

Friday, May 1st, 2015 - by Rick Moran

The Muscular Dystrophy Association announced that it will end its annual Labor Day Telethon — an American institution that has aired for 48 years.

Comedian Jerry Lewis, who hosted the event from 1966 to 2010 when he left under murky circumstances, had no comment on the announcement. The 89-year old entertainer was the signature personality for the telethon and since his departure, the event had seen donations drop and interest by celebrities to appear flag.

Associated Press:

The telethon was a relic from a different age, a tuxedoed Lewis oozing show biz schmaltz and hosting stars from Frank Sinatra to Jennifer Lopez over 45 years, pushing through his exhaustion to sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as a tote board rang up millions of dollars in donations.

From 21 and a half hours in Lewis’ final year, the show had been reduced to two hours the last two years on ABC.

“It’s not a 21-hour world anymore,” said Steve Ford, MDA executive vice president, on Friday.

With television time costly, the MDA’s fundraising efforts will move primarily online, he said. The success of a viral event like “The Ice Bucket Challenge” proves this is a potent area for philanthropy, he said.

“The real heroes have always been our families, and what we need to do is make sure that every dollar we raise is spent working for our families,” he said.

The Labor Day tote board hit a record of $65 million in 2008, a figure Ford said reflected a full year’s worth of fundraising activities capped off by the telethon. The MDA says the telethon itself has been responsible for more than $2 billion in giving.

Lewis’ abrupt exit, announced by the MDA a month before the 2011 telethon, was never fully explained.

The 89-year-old comedian declined to comment on Friday’s announcement, a spokeswoman said.

His history with the charity goes back nearly to its beginning: the MDA was started in 1950 and, a year later, Lewis and his comic partner Dean Martin mentioned the charity on their NBC show. The two comics hosted a 1956 telethon before breaking up. Lewis began hosting it regularly in 1966, starting on a single television station in New York.

The telethon was not without controversy; in the early 1990s it was picketed by a handful of disabled people who said people with the disease were being made objects of pity by Lewis to raise money.

Yet his roster through the years represented a who’s who of entertainment, including a post-Beatles John Lennon, Michael Jackson singing with and without his brothers, Liberace, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Celine Dion. Former Johnny Carson sidekick Ed McMahon filled the same role with Lewis on Labor Day for many years.

In 1976, Sinatra engineered a reunion of Lewis with Martin, his estranged former partner.

At its height, the “Love Network” featured 213 stations carrying the telethon in every television market in America. Local tie ins increased interest and donations.

The irrepressible Lewis brought energy and show-biz pizazz to the broadcast, being on a first name basis with the biggest stars in Hollywood. His jokes could be lame, and his schtick got tired over the course of 21 hours of the broadcast, but his interaction with the victims was sincere and heartwarming.

No matter what I was doing on Labor Day, right before 7:00 PM when the show was set to sign off, I always made sure to watch Lewis battle his exhaustion and emotions to sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” — the brilliant Rodgers and Hammerstein song from the musical Carousel. It was shameless emotionalism but great showmanship.

It is estimated that more than $2 billion was raised for MD during the life of the telethon. Much progress has been made in battling the disease, but no cure has been found yet. The MDA Labor Day Telethon brought prominence to a once obscure disease and demonstrated the power of the medium to improve society.

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Man Who Shot Freddie Gray Arrest Video Detained by Police

Friday, May 1st, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Kevin Moore, the man who shot the video of Freddie Gray’s arrest by Baltimore police, was himself arrested on Thursday at gunpoint.

The circumstances surrounding the arrest are unclear, but Moore claims the police have been harassing him since his video went viral.

New York Daily News:

It’s believed police detained Moore Thursday night along with two other people after handing over a copy of this video to detectives with the department’s Office of Internal Oversight.

Photography is Not a Crime reports authorities took Moore into custody at gunpoint during a traffic stop. He was released two hours later.

It’s not clear what charges Moore faces, but the Baltimore Sun previously reported that police wanted Moore for questioning.

An image from surveillance footage was released by Baltimore police showing Moore at the site of Gray’s capture, an intimidation tactic, Moore believed.

“They plastered my face all over the Internet like (they) don’t know who I am when (they) very well know who I am,” Moore told Photography is Not a Crime after his arrest.

The two suspects, identified as Chad Jackson and Tony White, by Counter Current News, are members of We Cop Watch.

I would urge caution in that we are only getting one side of the story, told by activists with a stake in proving police wrongdoing.

But from what I’ve read about the Baltimore Police Department over the last two weeks, harassment wouldn’t surprise me a bit. This is a police department as dysfunctional as any big city police department in the country, including New Orleans, which is known as a cesspool of corruption and bad behavior.

But we don’t know if Moore is wanted for another crime, or whether the police just wanted to “question” him about his video. Needless to say, drawing a gun on Moore seems a little extreme if all they wanted to do was question him. More intimidation? Unknown at this time.

Incidents involving citizens who are placed under arrest simply for filming police in action are happening with disturbing frequency.  The standard appears to be a “reasonable” belief by the police that the citizen is interfering or otherwise in the way. For the most part, courts have been siding with law enforcement on this issue. But there’s a line between cops who are genuinely concerned about the safety of onlookers and police trying to cover up wrongdoing.

Proving the latter is very difficult.

 

 

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Six Baltimore Police Officers Charged in Freddie Gray’s Death

Friday, May 1st, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Maryland State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Friday that the six officers involved in the arrest and transport of Freddie Gray have been criminally charged after he died in their custody.

The news was greeted with joy across the city. The Baltimore Sun reports:

Desmond Taylor, 29, shouted in jubilee in front of the War Memorial Building.

“I did not expect this, but I prayed for it,” he said. “This day means that your actions bring consequences in Baltimore City.”

Word traveled quickly of the charges against the officers. In West Baltimore, cars honked their horns. A man hanging out of a truck window pumped his fists and yelled; “Justice! Justice! Justice!”

At the corner where Gray was arrested, 53-year-old Willie Rooks held his hands up in peace signs and screamed, “Justice!”

The prosecutor threw the book at the officers:

Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., 45, who was the driver of a police van that carried Gray through the streets of Baltimore, was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, second-degree assault, two vehicular manslaughter charges and misconduct in office. A man who answered the phone at Goodson’s home declined to comment and hung up the phone.

Officer William Porter, 25, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

Lt. Brian Rice, 41, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

Sgt. Alicia White, 30, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

Officer Edward Nero, 29, was charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

Officer Garrett Miller, 26, was charged with second-degree assault, misconduct in office and false imprisonment.

It’s apparent that the prosecutors believe that the driver, Officer Goodson, deliberately drove the police transport van to maximize the discomfort of Gray, who was not buckled up despite it being department policy. The New York Times explains:

In Baltimore, they call it a “rough ride.” In Philadelphia, they had another name for it that hints at the age of the practice — a “nickel ride,” a reference to old-time amusement park rides that cost five cents. Other cities called them joy rides.

The slang terms mask a dark tradition of police misconduct in which suspects, seated or lying face down and in handcuffs in the back of a police wagon, are jolted and battered by an intentionally rough and bumpy ride that can do as much damage as a police baton without an officer having to administer a blow

It’s unknown if any of the officers charged in the case have had their charges reduced for cooperating with the prosecutor.

One issue that will need to be resolved is a possible conflict of interest involving prosecutor Mosby:

The Fraternal Order of Police asked Mosby to appoint an independent prosecutor in the case, citing her ties to the Gray family’s attorney, William Murphy, as well as her lead prosecutor’s connections to members of the local media. Murphy donated $5,000 to Mosby’s campaign and served on her transition committee.

“While I have the utmost respect for you and your office, I have very deep concerns about the many conflicts of interest presented by your office conducting an investigation in this case,” Ryan wrote in his letter.

The FOP letter also expresses concerns regarding Mosby’s marriage to Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby.

“Most importantly, it is clear that your husband’s political future will be directly impacted, for better or worse, by the outcome of your investigation,” the letter states. “In order to avoid any appearance of impropriety or a violation of the Professional Rules of Professional Responsibility, I ask that you appoint a Special Prosecutor to determine whether or not any charges should be filed.”

Mosby responded to that request by saying: “The people of Baltimore City elected me and there is no accountability with a special prosecutor.”

“I will prosecute any case within my jurisdiction,” she added.

The lengthy process of bringing the defendants to trial now begins. But the protests that became violent earlier this week will not stop and it wouldn’t take much to set the mob off again.

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Fever Swamps Go Mainstream in Texas

Thursday, April 30th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

000.1Governor Greg Abbott has ordered the state’s National Guard to “monitor” federal military exercises that will take place in Texas and four other states beginning July 15.  In so doing, Abbott is feeding the wild paranoia that has gripped some residents in his state who think that the special-ops exercise, dubbed “Jade Helm 15,” is a precursor to a declaration of martial law, or a crackdown on conservative groups.

And the paranoia is not limited to Texans. Thanks to radio host, 9/11 truther, and conspiracy nut Alex Jones, the temperature in the fever swamps on the right is rising precipitously. Jones has singlehandedly whipped up fear and outrage over what every responsible military expert says is a routine training exercise for our special-operations forces.

Abbott may be trying to douse the flames with his announcement that the Guard will monitor the exercise. But by acknowledging people’s paranoia, he gives it prominence and legitimacy.

The Dallas Morning News:

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday ordered the Texas State Guard to monitor federal military exercises in the state, responding to citizen fears, stoked by online conspiracy theories, that the maneuvers are a ruse to impose martial law.

Operation Jade Helm 15 is a large-scale training operation scheduled for elite military forces, such as the Navy SEALS and Green Berets. The operation will involve about 1,200 personnel operating in Southwestern states including Texas from July 15 to Sept. 15.

Fears about the exercise have roiled for weeks online. Several websites, videos and Twitter users have argued that it is really a federal takeover of hostile states, including the confiscation of guns.

To address those concerns, Abbott instructed Maj. Gen. Gerald “Jake” Betty, commander of the Texas State Guard, to keep a watch over the exercises and help keep local law enforcement agencies and their citizens informed.

“During the training operation, it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed,” Abbott told Betty in a letter Tuesday.

A U.S. military spokeswoman said “we cannot speculate on the public response to this exercise,” and declined to react to Abbott’s use of the state guard. “The Texas State Guard stands ready to serve the state and governor when called upon,” she said.

The Texas Democratic Party questioned the judgment of Abbott, a Republican, for giving countenance to questions about the military’s integrity and credence to “the most extreme right” aspects of his party.

“If the governor truly respects the men and women of our armed forces, both national and Texan, he shouldn’t make public policy and operational decisions on the basis of tea party Internet chatter or the rants of conspiracy theorists,” said party spokesman Manny Garcia.

The Guard will not deploy, nor, as far as I can tell, do much of anything about the exercises. The governor’s announcement is window dressing, nothing more.

Why and how did this routine military exercise become a plot to deprive Americans of their constitutional rights? Elizabeth Price Foley, posting about the governor’s announcement on Instapundit, put it this way:

A healthy dose of suspicion is warranted, especially with this Administration.

“Warranted” suspicion of exactly what? Martial law? Gun grabbing? Occupation? There’s even been an attempt to connect the sudden closing of five Walmart stores with the exercise, as some nutcases are claiming they will be used to house political prisoners.

I’m a skeptic by nature but this is bat guano crazy stuff. It’s not that it could never happen here. It’s that the Obama administration wouldn’t use a measly 1200 special-operations forces to conquer the state of Texas. Nor would they announce the operation six months in advance.

Thinking critically of these paranoid scenarios for 30 seconds would show them to be the imaginings of troubled minds. The scenarios debunk themselves.

So what is Jade Helm 15? Justin King, whose blog The Fifth Column is hardly a bastion of reason and restraint, fleshes out some of the details:

To start out it may be best to clarify what Jade Helm is not. It is not a precursor to martial law. It is not an operation designed to round up American citizens for FEMA camps. It is not a UN ordered invasion. The truth behind Jade Helm is much less conspiratorial, but much more interesting.

After speaking to several former and active duty soldiers, The Fifth Column can say with almost certainty that Jade Helm is a massive Field Training Exercise (FTX) to enhance the SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) capabilities of American special operations troops.

The uproar of Jade Helm was triggered by a map that surfaced on the internet labeling some areas of the United States as “hostile.”  Had the sites that cast this as some plan for martial law researched the acronyms on the map, they would have quickly realized it was a large scale training exercise involving some of America’s most secretive units. It should have also been immediately evident that there is currently no “insurgent pocket” in Southern California.

Why hold the exercise in the U.S.?

“That notion was proposed by a few individuals who are unfamiliar with how and why USASOC conducts training exercises,” he said in an email. “This exercise is routine training to maintain a high level of readiness for Army Special Operations Forces because they must be ready to support potential missions anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice.”

He said the only thing unique about this particular exercise, which is slated to take place between July 15 and Sept. 15, is “the use of new challenging terrain” which was chosen because it is similar to conditions special operations forces operate in overseas.

Almost all of the exercises will take place on private land where the owner has granted permission for our special operators to train.

According to the Statesman, Lastoria attempted to assuage residents’ concerns, saying the operation in Bastrop County will take place almost entirely on private land leased to the Army by the owner. And participants won’t be trying to sneak through the population undetected — everyone involved will wear uniforms or orange armbands signaling that they are part of the exercise, he said.

That’s hardly a recipe for a coup d’etat.

Governor Abbott has done what he thought he had to do to get some of his more excitable citizens to relax. The last thing the army or the governor wants is for an armed confrontation to take place between some paranoid nuts who believe the military is after them and lethal special forces warriors who don’t have much of a sense of humor about conspiracy theories.

In that sense, Abbott is acting responsibly. But by mainstreaming the concerns of the fringe, he risks making this a political issue that could harm him and the Republicans in Texas.

 

 

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Saigon Evacuation 40 Years On

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Forty years ago, with the North Vietnamese army entering the outskirts of Saigon, a remarkable evacuation of American civilians and at-risk South Vietnamese was undertaken by a small number of CIA and military helicopter pilots.

Since the airport was under attack, it was impossible to use fixed wing aircraft to evacuate the many thousands of Vietnamese allies who would surely suffer once the North took over.

Dubbed Operation Frequent Wind, pilots from Air America and several search and rescue units began to land on rooftops all over Saigon where American civilians, alerted to the evacuation by the playing of Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” over the radio, had assembled. Vietnamese who were thought to be most at risk of North Vietnamese reprisals were airlifted from the US embassy.

All told, the few dozen pilots, flying in some cases for 14 hours straight, managed to evacuate more than 7,000 people.

On April 29, Coalson flew alone, without a co-pilot. Often when he would land on a rooftop, his chopper would be “mobbed by people. You had to watch your tail rotor so somebody didn’t walk into that.”

For a lone pilot, cutting off the stream of anxious evacuees when the chopper filled up was tricky. He couldn’t leave the cockpit. And the passengers wouldn’t stop trying to get aboard.

So, Coalson used his chopper to give them a hint that he was leaving.

“You just slowly start to lift up, very, very slowly,” Coalson said. “And people knew, ‘Well, if we can’t get in, we’re certainly not gonna be able to get on, because this aircraft, I think, is takin’ off’ — which it was.” Coalson flew more than 10 hours that day without rest.

Other pilots reported that some evacuees wouldn’t let go. As the choppers took off, they’d find themselves dangling from the landing skids until the pilot was able to shake them off.

At about 2:30 p.m., 41-year-old Caron unintentionally starred in one of the most famous photographs of the Vietnam War. It happened because CIA air officer Oren “O.B.” Harnage asked Caron and co-pilot Jack “Pogo” Hunter to pick up “the deputy prime minister and his family.”

United Press International’s Hugh van Es photographed Caron and Hunter’s chopper perched atop Saigon’s Pittman Building, about a half-mile from the embassy. In the picture, Harnage is seen standing on the roof, helping evacuees climb a ladder to get on board. The iconic photograph has come to symbolize the chaos and desperation of that day.

“I remember looking out there at the people coming up the ladder,” Caron told CNN. “And I turned to Pogo and said, ‘I tell you what, this prime minister has a pretty damned big family!’ It was 50 people. As you can imagine, as word spread, everyone they knew suddenly became ‘family.’ “

000.000

It’s a myth that this was a shot of the last helicopter leaving the rooftop of the embassy. It was actually a few blocks away — the rooftop of an apartment building where the CIA station chief and a few agents lived. And it was nowhere near the last helicopter to leave Saigon. The airlift would continue into the early evening until the last few embassy Marines were taken away.

Myths about the Vietnam War that have become part of the anti-war left’s permanent narrative also include the aftermath of the war. The North Vietnamese, who deliberately and without provocation violated the peace agreement, rolled through the South pushing aside the poorly armed Saigon army who were suffering huge shortages because of a cut off in aid by the US Congress.

Once in charge, the North Vietnamese went to work. In great secrecy, the drumhead trials began and tens of thousands of South Vietnamese were summarily executed (A US embassy official admitted that a list with the names of 30,000 South Vietnamese who cooperated with Project Phoenix was not destroyed. It is believed most of those people were executed.).

Hundreds of thousands more were incarcerated in “re-education camps” where it is estimated by one scholar that up to 10% of prisoners died.

Between 200,000 and 400,000 Vietnamese boat people died on the high seas. The total number of South Vietnamese murdered by the North may never be known to any degree of accuracy. But scholar R.J. Rummel, after an exhaustive search of available records, came to the following conclusion:

Finally, I can calculate the overall democide of Vietnam in the post-Vietnam War period (lines 762 to 764). This amounts to 346,000 to 2,438,000 Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians, probably about 1,040,000.

That death toll only points up the fact that while Operation Frequent Wind was a brave attempt to rescue as many Vietnamese as possible, it fell far short of protecting the vast majority of South Vietnamese who risked everything to help America in the war effort. How many of those million who died could we have saved? We’ll never know.

History condemns us for not making a better effort.

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