BULLETIN: The expected “International Freakout of August 2014″ downgrade has been suspended until further notice, as panic conditions worldwide appear to remain unchanged. According to our sources there are indications that global panic conditions are on track to worsen, rather than improve, unfortunately, though we remain hopeful that a downgrade is still on the horizon. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience. Stay tuned for further announcements.
— Bob Owens (@bob_owens) July 31, 2014
Kirsten Powers on Iraqi Christian Nightmare: ‘Thanks to ISIS Persecution, Mosul is Without Christians for the First Time in 2,000 Years’Posted: July 30, 2014
Iraq’s Christians are begging the world for help. Is anybody listening?
For USA Today, Kirsten Powers writes: Since capturing the country’s second largest city of Mosul in early June, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has ordered Christians to convert to Islam, pay jizyataxes levied on non-Muslims, or die. The extremist Sunni group is also persecuting and murdering Turkmen and Shabaks, both Muslim religious minorities.
“This is a crime against humanity.”
Human rights lawyer Nina Shea described the horror in Mosul to me: “(ISIS) took the Christians’ houses, took the cars they were driving to leave. They took all their money. One old woman had her life savings of $40,000, and she said, ‘Can I please have 100 dollars?’, and they said no. They took wedding rings off fingers, chopping off fingers if they couldn’t get the ring off.”
“There is nothing to go back to even if ISIS left“
“We now have 5,000 destitute, homeless people with no future,” Shea said. “This is a crime against humanity.”
“Such misconduct need not be an indictable wrong. It could involve dereliction of duty, lies to Congress or the public about serious matters, the failure to honor an oath.”
I see this as sort of a ridiculous gambit by the president and his political team to try and change the narrative, raise money, and turn out their base for an upcoming election that they feel is not going to go their way… [The Republicans’ differences with the White House do] not rise to the high crime and misdemeanor level.
Wrong. To repeat, “high crimes and misdemeanors,” a British term of art borrowed by the Framers, does not refer to penal offenses. It refers to what Hamilton called “the misconduct of public men, or in other words . . . the abuse or violation of some public trust.” Such misconduct need not be an indictable wrong. It could involve dereliction of duty, lies to Congress or the public about serious matters, the failure to honor an oath (such as the oath to execute the laws faithfully), and any conduct that intentionally undermines the governing framework that safeguards our liberties and security (the president, of course, takes an oath to preserve the Constitution).
- The border is being overrun and the president, far from taking action to stop it, is encouraging it.
- Illegal aliens are being smuggled throughout the country by the federal government without notice to the states.
- The president refuses to enforce the immigration laws. The president is usurping the power of Congress to confer federal benefits on aliens.
- The president is unilaterally rewriting Obamacare, the drug laws, and other congressional statutes that are inconvenient to him.
- The president willfully lied to the country to get Obamacare enacted and to get reelected.
- The commander-in-chief took no meaningful action to protect Americans before and during the terrorist siege of Benghazi, and then he and his administration willfully lied to the country about the cause of the massacre in order to get reelected.
- The president has used the federal bureaucracy to harass and punish his political opponents. Evidence of the IRS’s wrongdoing has been destroyed.
- Evidence about the Justice Department’s Fast & Furious scandal, which resulted in the murder of a Border Patrol agent, has been withheld from Congress — with the attorney general held in contempt.
- The VA cooked its books to conceal the mistreatment of our veterans, some of whom died.
It is perfectly understandable — indeed, it is wise — for Republicans to explain that there is no prospect of removing President Obama from power because you’d need lots of Democratic votes in the Senate and the Democrats will protect President Obama no matter how lawlessly he conducts himself. Read the rest of this entry »
“The most frightening candidate I’ve met in seven years interviewing congressional hopefuls.”
— David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report
For The Daily Caller, Alex Pappas reports: The campaign of a conservative woman running for Congress in Louisiana is firing back after an analyst of the non-partisan Cook Political Report called her “frightening.”
“They’re supposed to analyze the race. They’re supposed to talk about demographics. They’re supposed to talk about geography. They’re supposed to talk about our opposition. But he just jumped her from the beginning.”
– Chris Comeaux, communications director for Rep. Lenar Whitney
“It’s just liberal elites hating conservative women,” charged Chris Comeaux, the communications director for Louisiana state Rep. Lenar Whitney.
Earlier Wednesday, the Washington Post published an article by David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report calling Whitney, “The most frightening candidate I’ve met in seven years interviewing congressional hopefuls.”
“We were just like, this isn’t productive. You’re just trying to get her to say something stupid.”
Wasserman, who is the House editor for The Cook Political Report, described in his story how Whitney and her aides abruptly left during an in-person interview in Washington. Wasserman said he had been questioning Whitney on the scientific source of her claims about climate change, and whether she believes President Obama was born in the United States.
“They are lumping all the conservative women together. It’s just oh, you’re conservative and you’re a woman, we must destroy you.”
– Chris Comeaux
“It was the first time in hundreds of Cook Political Report meetings that a candidate has fled the room,” wrote Wasserman, who estimates interviewing 300 congressional candidates throughout his career. Read the rest of this entry »
Report Reveals ‘Disturbing Trend’ of Brazen Attacks Against Border Security by Gangs, Drug and Human TraffickersPosted: July 30, 2014
“This happens all the time. We’re out on the border, often we are alone, and all you hear is gunfire.”
– a Border Patrol agent working an overnight shift along the Rio Grande said last week.
“We are sitting ducks, and it’s only getting worse. Every night, it gets worse.”
And that was just last week.
“In recent weeks the traffic appears to have slowed slightly, yet assaults on law enforcement have increased. This is a disturbing trend that needs to be addressed.”
– Chris Cabrera, vice president of the National Border Patrol Union, Rio Grande Valley Sector
A weekly report distributed by a Texas state agency to senior law enforcement officials paints a grim picture of the Mexican border, where authorities regularly confront illegal immigrant gang members and draw automatic gunfire from across the Rio Grande, and where local, state and federal authorities fight a never-ending battle against drug smugglers. Read the rest of this entry »
Frustrated by GOP’s Unwillingness to Take the Bait, Obama Signs First-Ever Self-Impeachment Order
‘If the Republicans aren’t willing to work with me on this, I’ll do it myself.’
Critics Blast Obama’s Action as “Irresponsible”, “Reckless”, Dems Fear Constitutional Crisis.
Congress Accuses Obama of “Presidential Reach-Around.”
Report: Nancy Pelosi Seen in Senate Bathroom, Weeping and Throwing Up.
Senior White House Officials Not warned in Advance, Stunned by President’s Decision.
“I’m ready to retire anyway. Who needs this? They don’t appreciate what I’ve done for the middle class, what I’ve done for the children…”
“They don’t appreciate what I’ve done for the bureacrats, what I’ve done for the banks, and for Wall Street, what I’ve sacrificed for the future of the Democratic Party. Screw ‘em. I’m done.”
– Obama, after signing historic Self-Impeachment order.
Lois Lerner Called Conservatives ‘Assholes,’ Fantasized About Working At Obama Group
“Well, you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP. The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end. The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to.”
“So we don’t need to worry about teRroists [sic]. It’s our own crazies that will take us down,” Lerner wrote in a Nov. 9, 2012 email exchange with an IRS colleague.
Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp revealed the emails in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.
Lerner’s disdain for the right is central to an investigation into whether she targeted conservative groups who were seeking tax-exempt status. Republicans have accused the former director of the IRS’s exempt organizations division of possible criminal wrongdoing in targeting the groups.
“Great. Maybe we are through if there are that many assholes.”
– Lois Lerner
“This email shows that Ms. Lerner’s mistreatment of conservative groups was driven by her personal hostility toward conservatives,” Camp wrote. Read the rest of this entry »
For The Week, Steve Weintz, reports: Months after its scheduled re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere — and a surprise cameo appearance in hit space flick Gravity — China’s first space station boosted into a higher orbit. It still speeds around the planet, doing … what, exactly?
“As with the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B robot space plane, mystery opens the door to daydream.”
No one outside of China’s popular but opaque space program seems to know.
Tiangong, or “heavenly palace,” blasted off atop a Long March 2F booster in 2011. “Chinese Gen. Chang Wanquan, commander of China’s manned space program, declared the launch a success from a control center in Beijing, drawing applause from assembled Chinese politicians and dignitaries,” Spaceflight Now reported.
“What are they doing up there? Only they know for sure. But it’s obvious that Tiangong could be more than a scientific habitat.”
During spaceflights Shenzhou 9 and Shenzhou 10, three-person Chinese crews lived aboard Tiangong’s small habitat for as long as 15 days at a stretch.
- U.S. Can Still Beat China Back to Moon (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- The Rise of Chinese Space Junk (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
The astronauts practiced rendezvousing and docking with the station, observed the Earth, conducted medical experiments, and tested equipment. Astronaut Wang Yaping wowed students back home with her live-cast zero-G science demos. The manned missions delivered NASA-style civil prestige and outreach. Read the rest of this entry »
— Byron York (@ByronYork) July 30, 2014
[VIDEO] MSNBC: Andrea Mitchell Ponders Soul Loss, Suffers Existential Confusion in Interview with Israeli Ambassador Ron DermerPosted: July 30, 2014
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell to Israeli Ambassador: ‘Israel May Be Losing Its Soul’ Over Gaza
[Also see: MSNBC Falls to 4th in Cable News Ratings...]
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell sat down today with Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, and asked him a provocative question: is Israel “losing its soul [and] may be losing the war because of the political impact of what is happening on the ground” in Gaza?
Mitchell brought this up in the context of images depicting wounded and killed Palestinians, in those conditions as a possible result of Israeli bombing.
“The difference is Hamas is using their civilians as human shields. They’re placing missile batteries in hospitals, they’re putting weapons depots in mosques. They’re storing rockets in UN schools. This is sick and grotesque.”
Dermer insisted, “Israel is not losing its soul. We are upholding our values under the most extreme circumstances.” Read the rest of this entry »
For Foreign Policy, Elias Groll reports: Three weeks into deadly fighting in Gaza and along its border, Israeli forces have been surprised to encounter an extensive, sophisticated tunnel system that has been used by Hamas to infiltrate Israeli territory and carry out raids. The destruction of that tunnel system has become a focal point of Israeli military operations, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has emphasized that any cease-fire must allow his forces to continue identifying and sealing those tunnels.
To understand why these tunnels have become such a hot-button issue, one need look no further than a video released by Hamas by Tuesday, July 29. That video shows a group of fighters exiting such a tunnel and attacking an Israeli military installation. Read the rest of this entry »
Demand for ever-smaller homes remains strong due to cheaper prices, with developers expected to build increasing numbers of shoe-box flats
This one’s for our Hong Kong Bureau Chief, splitting time zones between a ranch in Houston and a tiny cage Hong Kong:
South China Morning Post reports: Developers are expected to produce more tiny flats in their future projects given the frenetic buying spree for shoe-box homes by young homebuyers and investors, industry observers said.
“Building more small flats will become a trend, as they are sought after by younger home seekers and long-term investors.”
– Patrick Chow Moon-kit, head of research at Ricacorp Properties.
A Midland Realty survey showed that land that had been sold in the past two years and designated for building small flats would supply 12,400 units over the next few years.
Here’s how award-winning Hong Kong architect Gary Chang has managed to squeeze 24 rooms – including a home cinema and ”spa” – into 344 square feet of apartment space.
Upcoming new home sales include those at Sun Hung Kai Properties‘ 968-unit The Wings Phase 3 in Tseung Kwan O, which will offer about 200 small units of 334 sq ft to 360 sq ft. The official launch date has not yet been set. Read the rest of this entry »