Indiana Governor Mike Pence Informs Clueless Agenda-Driven Media that He Signed Same Bill Barack Obama Voted for in Illinois

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White House doesn’t dispute it

John McCormack reports: In an appearance on ABC’s This Week, Indiana governor Mike Pence defended his state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act by noting that Barack Obama had voted for the same law as an Illinois state senator.Pence_Mike

“Josh, you just heard the governor say right there this is the same law, he says, that Barack Obama voted for as a state senator back in Illinois.”

– This Week Host George Stephanoplous to White House press secretary Josh Earnest

“The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into federal law by President Bill Clinton more than 20 years ago, and it lays out a framework for ensuring that a very high level of scrutiny is given any time government action impinges on the religious liberty of any American.” Pence said. “After last year’s Hobby Lobby case, Indiana properly brought the same version that then-state senator Barack Obama voted for in Illinois before our legislature.”

[For more on the controversy surrounding Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, see this article]

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This Week Host George Stephanoplous later asked White House press secretary Josh Earnest to respond to Pence’s claim: “Josh, you just heard the governor say right there this is the same law, he says, that Barack Obama voted for as a state senator back in Illinois.”

Earnest didn’t dispute the Indiana governor’s statement….(read more)

weeklystandard.com


Religious Freedom Laws: True & False

Sarah TorreTorre_Sarah_TDS_lo1 writes: The mainstream media has launched an all-out blitz over a new law that protects the fundamental freedom of Indiana citizens from unnecessary and unreasonable government coercion.

The media’s gross mischaracterizations of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act ignore the truth: Religious Freedom Restoration Acts prevent government discrimination against religious free exercise and simply provide a way to balance religious liberty with compelling government interests.

Religious liberty isn’t an absolute right. Religious liberty doesn’t always trump. Religious liberty is balanced with concerns for a compelling state interest that’s being pursued in the least-restrictive means possible.

The First Amendment Partnership, an organization whose mission is “to promote and protect religious freedom for people of all faiths,” created the below infographic separating myth from fact on Religious Freedom Restoration Acts:

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….By passing its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Indiana joins the 19 other states that have implemented such laws. Eleven additional states have religious liberty protections that state courts have interpreted to provide a similar level of protection….(read more)

The Daily Signal


THE PANTSUIT REPORT: Hillary Did Nothing Wrong, You Know How You Can Tell?

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…After her representatives determined which emails were government-related and which were private, a setting on the account was changed to retain only emails sent in the previous 60 days, her lawyer, David Kendall, said. He said the setting was altered after she gave the records to the government.

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“Not only was the secretary the sole arbiter of what was a public record, she also summarily decided to delete all emails from her server, ensuring no one could check behind her analysis in the public interest.”

– Committee’s chairman Trey Gowdy

“Thus, there are no hdr22@clintonemail.com emails from Secretary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state on the server for any review, even if such review were appropriate or legally authorized,” Mr. Kendall said in a letter to the PANTSUIT-REPORTHouse select committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

The committee subpoenaed the server this month, asking Mrs. Clinton to hand it over to a third party so it could determine which emails were personal and which were government records.

At a news conference this month, Mrs. Clinton appeared to provide two answers about whether she still had copies of her emails. First, she said that she “chose not to keep” her private personal emails after her lawyers had examined the account and determined on their own which ones were personal and which were State Department records. But later, she said that the server, which contained personal communication by her and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, “will remain private.” The server was kept at their home in Chappaqua, N.Y., which is protected around the clock by the Secret Service.

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 “She’s ready and willing to come and appear herself for a hearing open to the American public.”

– A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton

Mrs. Clinton’s disclosure on Friday only heightened suspicions by the committee’s chairman, Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, about how she handled her emails, and it is likely to lead to more tension between her and the committee. Read the rest of this entry »


Landmark Legal Case: Unemployed Gender Studies Major Sues ‘The Patriarchy’

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The suit seeks $2 million in compensation and $139 million in punitive damages, which together equal $1 from every adult man in America.

An unemployed gender studies major from Eugene, Ore. sued “The Patriarchy” today in federal court for refusing to give her a job.

In a 25-page brief, attorneys for Sarah Miller-Jones, 24, argue that gender discrimination from the patriarchy has prevented their client from finding gainful employment since she graduated from university three years ago.

“It is outrageous that the patriarchy refuses to offer our client a decent career. She has applied for over 20 positions in the recording, publishing and television industries and has been rejected every single time.”

The suit seeks $2 million in compensation and $139 million in punitive damages, which together equal $1 from every adult man in America.

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“Despite the fact that Ms. Miller-Jones graduated with a 2.8 GPA from the prestigious University of Oregon, she has been unable to find a job fitting her qualifications,” the document reads.

“We all know that terms like ‘no experience’ and ‘lack of relevant education’ are codewords the patriarchy uses to keep keep women in their place. But Ms. Miller-Jones refuses to be a housewife or a nurse. She deserves a real job.”

“Ms. Miller-Jones has been on unemployment benefits for 18 months. And despite extensive coursework in Zambian feminist hip-hop she has only received six job offers — all of which were for entry-level call center and health care positions.

“It is outrageous that the patriarchy refuses to offer our client a decent career. She has applied for over 20 positions in the recording, publishing and television industries and has been rejected every single time.

“Despite extensive coursework in Zambian feminist hip-hop she has only received six job offers — all of which were for entry-level call center and health care positions.”

“We all know that terms like ‘no experience’ and ‘lack of relevant education’ are codewords the patriarchy uses to keep keep women in their place. But Ms. Miller-Jones refuses to be a housewife or a nurse. She deserves a real job.”

Millions of young Americans who recently graduated from university are finding themselves working in jobs below their educational level. Read the rest of this entry »


REWIND: The Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act Passed the House Unanimously and the Senate 97-3

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Remember When Democrats Used To Support Religious Freedom? Remarks on Signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993

By , November 16, 1993:

Thank you very much, Mr. Vice President, for those fine remarks and to the Members of Congress, the chaplains of the House and the Senate, and to all of you who worked so hard to help this day become a reality. Let me especially thank the Coalition for the Free Exercise of Religion for the central role they played in drafting this legislation and working so hard for its passage.

“What this law basically says is that the Government should be held to a very high level of proof before it interferes with someone’s free exercise of religion.”

It is interesting to note, as the Vice President said, what a broad coalition of Americans came together to make this bill a reality; interesting to note that that coalition produced a 97-to3 vote in the United States Senate and a bill that had such broad support it was adopted on a voice vote in the House. I’m told that, as many of the people in the coalition worked together across ideological and religious lines, some new friendships were formed and some new trust was established, which shows, I suppose, that the power of God is such that even in the legislative process miracles can happen. [Laughter]

We all have a shared desire here to protect perhaps the most precious of all American liberties, religious freedom. Usually the signing of legislation by a President is a ministerial act, often a quiet ending to a turbulent legislative process. Today this event assumes a more majestic quality because of our ability together to affirm the historic role that people of faith have played in the history of this country and the constitutional protections those who profess and express their faith have always demanded and cherished.

“I submit to you today, my fellow Americans, that we can stand that kind of debate in this country. We are living in a country where the most central institution of our society, the family, has been under assault for 30 years.”

The power to reverse legislation by legislation, a decision of the United States Supreme Court, is a power that is rightly hesitantly and infrequently exercised by the United States Congress. But this is an issue in which that extraordinary measure was clearly called for.

As the Vice President said, this act reverses the Supreme Court’s decision Employment Division against Smith and reestablishes a standard that better protects all Americans of all faiths in the exercise of their religion in a way that I am convinced is far more consistent with the intent of the Founders of this Nation than the Supreme Court decision.

“More than 50 cases have been decided against individuals making religious claims against Government action since that decision was handed down. This act will help to reverse that trend by honoring the principle that our laws and institutions should not impede or hinder but rather should protect and preserve fundamental religious liberties.”

The free exercise of religion has been called the first freedom, that which originally sparked the development of the full range of the Bill of Rights. Our Founders cared a lot about religion. And one of the reasons they worked so hard to get the first amendment into the Bill of Rights at the head of the class is that they well understood what could happen to this country, how both religion and Government could be perverted if there were not some space created and some protection provided. They knew that religion helps to give our people the character without which a democracy cannot survive. They knew that there needed to be a space of freedom between Government and people of faith that otherwise Government might usurp.

“We are a people of faith. We have been so secure in that faith that we have enshrined in our Constitution protection for people who profess no faith. And good for us for doing so. That is what the first amendment is all about.”

They have seen now, all of us, that religion and religious institutions have brought forth faith and discipline, community and responsibility over two centuries for ourselves and enabled us to live together in ways that I believe would not have been possible. We are, after all, the oldest democracy now in history and probably the most truly multiethnic society on the face of the Earth. And I am convinced that neither one of those things would be true today had it not been for the importance of the first amendment and the fact that we have kept faith with it for 200 years. Read the rest of this entry »


Statements from Amanda Knox and Her Family

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Statements from #AmandaKnox and her family

Statement from Amanda Knox:

“I am tremendously relieved and grateful for the decision of the Supreme Court of Italy. The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal. And throughout this ordeal, I have received invaluable support from family, friends, and strangers. To them, I say: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your kindness has sustained me. I only wish that I could thank each and every one of you in person.”

Statement from Amanda Knox’s family:

“We want to express our profound gratitude to all of those who have supported Amanda and our family. Countless people – from world-renowned DNA experts, to former FBI agents, to everyday citizens committed to justice – have spoken about her innocence. We are thrilled with and grateful for today’s decision from the Supreme Court of Italy. And we are grateful beyond measure for all that so many of you have done for her.”

King5.com


[VIDEO] Amanda Knox Murder Conviction Overturned by Italy’s Highest Court

Los Angeles (AFP) – American Amanda Knox expressed “tremendous” relief Friday after Italy’s top court cleared her of the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher, drawing a line under the eight-year legal saga.

“I am tremendously relieved and grateful for the decision of the Supreme Court of Italy,” Knox said in a statement shortly after Italy’s Court of Cassation cleared her and Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.

Amanda Knox waves to supporters as she makes her first appearance at SeaTac Airport after arriving in Seattle following her release from prison in Italy on October 4, 2011 (AFP Photo/Kevin Casey)

Amanda Knox waves to supporters as she makes her first appearance at SeaTac Airport after arriving in Seattle following her release from prison in Italy on October 4, 2011 (AFP Photo/Kevin Casey)

“I am tremendously relieved and grateful for the decision of the Supreme Court of Italy.”

Knox, convicted with Sollecito for a second time last year for taking part in the brutal knife slaying of Kercher, has always vehemently maintained her innocence.

“The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal.”

“The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal,” Knox said.

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“And throughout this ordeal, I have received invaluable support from family, friends and strangers. To them, I say: Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

“And throughout this ordeal, I have received invaluable support from family, friends and strangers. To them, I say: Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

“Your kindness has sustained me. I only wish that I could thank each and every one of you in person.”

“Your kindness has sustained me. I only wish that I could thank each and every one of you in person.”

A separate statement from Knox’s family expressed “profound gratitude” to those who had championed the former student’s innocence. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Perfect: As Italy Continues to Hound Amanda Knox and Rafael Sollecito For a Brutal Murder They Didn’t Have Anything to Do With, They Release Rudy Guede, The Actual Murderer, from Prison’

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The DNA results from the crime scene come in. It turns out there’s lots and lots of DNA at the crime scene. Unfortunately, not a speck of it is Knox’s or her boyfriend’s. Not. A. Speck.

Incredible.

Ace of Spades HQ writes:

Let me explain what happened. Under pressure to solve a brutal murder quickly — in a sleepy college town where such things were rare — Italian prosecutors fixated early upon Amanda Knox and her boyfriend Rafael Sollecito as Meredith Kercher’s murderers. They also thought a third man, a black nightclub owner with no criminal history, was involved, because Amanda had texted “See you later” to him on the night of the murder, but in Italian. Amanda worked at this guy’s bar, and the night wasn’t busy, so he had told her not to bother coming in, and she said “See you later,” literally translating the English phrase.

They thought this literally meant “see you later,” rather than “Until next time.” Or as the Italians would say it, arriverdercci.

I say he’s black because it’s relevant. I’ll explain later.

They interrogated Knox almost nonstop for three days, telling her that the killer was this black nightclub owner and they knew it, and that she was a coconspirator so why didn’t she just admit it before she went to jail for life?

[Read the full text here, at Ace of Spades HQ]

Finally, they asked her to envision what it would have been like to see this black nightclub owner at the murder scene, and she wrote out a statement speaking of herself “having a vision” of the man at the scene.

Case closed, they say in a dramatic press conference, in which very high ranking members of the Italian prosecutor corps and police are all flanking the main prosecutor. They then drive Amanda and Rafael around the town of Perugia, doing laps with them in the back of the squad car like Achilles dragging Hector behind his chariot, as the town cheers.

And bonus, they can lock up this black nightclub owner with no possible motive to kill Kercher and no history indicating he’d be interested in killing anyone at all.

Yeah one problem with that: The black nightclub owner was at his bar all night and at least nine witnesses could put him there all night.

So, the prosecutors decide their theory is still sound, but now they just need a different third man.

See, their theory has just been completely refuted, but no sweat, it just needs to be tweaked.

Well, after a few days, the DNA results from the crime scene come in. It turns out there’s lots and lots of DNA at the crime scene. Unfortunately, not a speck of it is Knox’s or her boyfriend’s. Not. A. Speck.

However, there is a ton of DNA material identified as that of one Rudy Guede, a drifter with a prior background of breaking into homes for petty theft while armed with a knife (on a previous burglary, he merely warned the startled occupant of the home away with the knife, rather than killing him).

He only casually knew Amanda Knox because he occasionally played basketball with Knox’s downstairs neighbors, some Italian boys. They had merely been present in the same room when the girls and Guede were watching tv with the downstairs boys.

Guede had murdered Kercher with a frenzied attack with the knife, and had cut himself on the hand with the blade (as happens). He had a cut on his hand when arrested. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: ITALIAN COURT RULES NOT GUILTY, AMANDA KNOX ACQUITTED

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Amanda Knox’s conviction overturned by Italian court. She will not be sent back to prison

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Italy’s top court orders acquittal of Amanda Knox in Meredith Kercher murder case

ROME — Italy’s highest court overturned the murder conviction against Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend Friday, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case that captivated people on both sides of the Atlantic.

‘‘Finished!’’ Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova exulted after the decision was read out. ‘‘It couldn’t be better than this.’’

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The decision by the supreme Court of Cassation is the final ruling in the case, ending the long legal battle waged by Knox and Italian co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito. Both Knox, who was awaiting the verdict in her hometown of Seattle, and Sollecito have long maintained their innocence in the death of British student Meredith Kercher.

The supreme Court of Cassation overturned last year’s convictions by a Florence appeals court, and declined to order another trial. The decision means the judges, after thoroughly examining the case, concluded that a conviction could not be supported by the evidence.

Their reasoning will be released within 90 days.

The case has aroused strong interest in three countries for its explosive mix of young love, murder and flip-flop decisions by Italian courts…(read more)

Boston Globe

TIME reports: The Italian Supreme Court overturned Amanda Knox’s conviction Friday for the 2007 murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher.

Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted as co-conspirators in Kercher’s murder in the apartment they shared as exchange students in Perugia in 2009. But that conviction was overturned in 2011 and in 2014, after prosecutors argued that evidence had been omitted in the appeal, the original guilty verdict was reinstated.

But Italy’s Supreme Court ruled Friday afternoon to finally acquit the American of the long-hanging charges over her. She had faced extradition to Italy if the conviction had been upheld. Read the rest of this entry »


Still Waiting for Ruling in Amanda Knox Case

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ROME – Italy’s highest court was expected to decide Friday whether to uphold the murder convictions of Seattle resident Amanda Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito. But by noon Seattle time — 8 p.m. in Italy — nothing had been heard from the justices.

While Knox is watching what is happening from Seattle, Sollecito is in Italy. His lawyer made a last-ditch appeal to overturn the pair’s convictions for the 2007 slaying Meredith Kercher, Knox’s British roommate.

Attorney Giulia Bongiorno began her defense of Sollecito by offering what she called a “little sampling” of the errors and contradictions of “colossal proportions” in the 2014 Florence appeals court verdict that convicted her client and Knox.

Bongiorno noted, for example, that trial documents indicate that there were “no traces of Sollecito in the room” where Kercher, 21, was sexually assaulted and fatally stabbed.

A one-hour warning will be given before the verdict is read. Read the rest of this entry »


HOT GOVERNMENT SEX: DEA Agents also Arranged Hookers for Secret Service

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Susan Crabtree reports: Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Colombia who allegedly engaged in “sex parties” with prostitutes hired by local drug cartels also arranged for paid sex for at least two Secret Service agents traveling to the country to protect President Obama in 2012.

The Justice Department inspector general uncovered the DEA’s sex parties after allegations arose about misconduct by the Secret Service and DEA agents in the Newspaper-legs-red-tint2012 prostitution scandal in Colombia. The IG on Thursday released a 97-page report detailing the allegations, including an explosive charge that local drug cartels funded the “sex parties.”

“Many of the contacts deleted had telephone numbers that the OIG was able to link to sexual services websites in Colombia.”

While the allegations about the DEA facilitating paid sex for Secret Service agents in Colombia is not new, the Washington Examiner obtained detailed information through a Freedom of Information Act request last fall about how three DEA agents stationed in Cartagena allegedly made the arrangements.

According to a DOJ Office of Inspector General report of the investigation, on the night of April 13, 2012, three DEA agents stationed in Cartagena, Colombia, had dinner with at least two Secret Service agents at a local restaurant and invited them back to one of the agent’s government-furnished apartments for drinks afterward.

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“The pair retreated to a spare bedroom where the woman performed oral sex during the massage, according to the report. The OIG determined that after the encounter took place, one of the DEA agents provided the woman a ‘wad’ of pesos in exchange for $50 in U.S. currency, which one of the agents provided the woman for her services.”

The OIG report is redacted to exclude the names of the DEA and Secret Service agents involved.

During the dinner, at least one agent was on his cell phone texting or emailing women, and two women joined the group after the meal.

Back at the apartment, one of the women offered an agent a massage, and one DEA agent interceded and negotiated a price of 150,000 Colombian pesos or $75 U.S. dollars for the massage.

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According to one Secret Service agent‘s account in the report, before the pair retreated to a spare bedroom, one of the DEA agents allegedly offered the Secret Service agent two condoms “in case you need them.”

The DEA agent who rented the apartment denied providing the condoms.

“When confronted with that information, the two Secret Service agents admitted to paying for and receiving ‘erotic massages’  that included oral sex.” 

The Secret Service agent in question denied being interested in sex at first and said he shoved the condoms into his pocket because he didn’t want to refuse them.

The pair retreated to a spare bedroom where the woman performed oral sex during the massage, according to the report. The OIG determined that after the encounter took place, one of the DEA agents provided the woman a “wad” of pesos in exchange for $50 in U.S. currency, which one of the agents provided the woman for her services. Read the rest of this entry »


AND YOU WEREN’T INVITED: DEA Agents Allegedly Participated in Wild ‘Sex Parties’ Funded by Drug Cartels, Report Finds

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DEA agents allegedly participated in “sex parties” funded by drug cartels, report finds. Read more…

ABCNews


BREAKING: Desertion Charge for Bergdahl

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Déjà Vu: U.S.A. vs Italy ‘Double Jeopardy’ Extradition Fight on Horizon as Italy’s Highest Court to Rule in Amanda Knox Case

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Italy’s high court set to rule on Amanda Knox case

Italy’s highest court on Wednesday took up the appeal of Amanda Knox’s murder conviction, more than seven years after the American was accused in the brutal killing of her British roommate in Perugia.

The decision is likely to spark a U.S. versus Italy extradition battle that would call into play the American legal system’s “double jeopardy” rule.

“To date, the high-profile legal saga of Knox and Sollecito has produced flip-flop guilty-then innocent-then guilty verdicts, polarizing observers in three nations.”

The court will consider the fate of a “very worried” Knox, according to her attorney, as judges decide whether the former undergraduate student’s convictions and 28 ½-year sentence should stand. The court also will decide on the 25-year sentence of Knox’s ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, who was also convicted in the murder of  21-year-old British student  Meredith Kercher.

“Knox has been portrayed alternately as a victim of a botched investigation and shoddy Italian justice, or a promiscuous predator who falsely accused a Congolese bar owner of the murder.”

Kercher was found dead Nov. 2, 2007, in the apartment she shared with Knox in the idyllic hillside town of Perugia, where both women were studying. Her throat was slashed and she had been sexually assaulted.

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“Amanda is innocent.”

– Luciano Ghirga, attorney for Amanda Knox

Suspicion quickly fell on Knox and Sollecito, who were arrested in the days after the murder. The couple denied involvement and said they had spent the evening at Sollecito’s place watching a movie, smoking pot and making love.

They were found guilty by a trial court in Perugia in 2009, but freed in 2011 after an appellate court overturned the convictions.

They found themselves back in an appellate court after the Court of Cassation vacated the acquittals in 2013 in a harsh rebuke of the Perugia chief appellate judge’s reasoning.

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“Some legal experts say the U.S. Constitution’s ‘double jeopardy’ ban on being tried twice for the same offense after an acquittal would stand in Knox’s favor, and that U.S. courts would frown on her having been tried in absentia.”

To date, the high-profile legal saga of Knox and Sollecito has produced flip-flop guilty-then innocent-then guilty verdicts, polarizing observers in three nations. Knox has been portrayed alternately as a victim of a botched investigation and shoddy Italian justice, or a promiscuous predator who falsely accused a Congolese bar owner of the murder.

Now, Italy’s highest court could decide to confirm the convictions, throw out the convictions and order a third appeal trial or, less likely, it could overturn both convictions without ordering a retrial, which would be tantamount to an acquittal.

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“Others argue the very existence of an extradition treaty implies that the United States accepts the Italian justice system, strengthening the case for extradition.”

A decision by the judges to confirm the convictions would then raise questions of extradition for Knox since she is free in the U.S. That verdict would then divert attention from Italy’s judicial process to a matter of diplomatic ties. Read the rest of this entry »


FOOD STAMP BANDIT! Prosecutors: Illinois Man Stole $1 Million via Food-Assistance Cards

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BURBANK — Prosecutors say a southwest suburban Chicago man used more than 3,000 Link cards to steal almost $1 million in government funds by purchasing energy drinks and candy and then reselling them.

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The Chicago Tribune reported that 46-year-old Wael Ghosheh has been charged with theft of government property, identity theft, money laundering and unauthorized use of food stamp benefits, and wire fraud.

He’s being held in Cook County Jail after appearances Wednesday and Thursday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

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Officials say Ghosheh used multiple Link cards, which provide federal funding to low-income individuals for nutrition assistance, to make large-volume purchases at a store, which alerted law enforcement. Read the rest of this entry »


A Reminder from Alan Dershowitz: President is not Commander in Chief of Foreign Policy

US President Barack Obama attends a military briefing with US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (L) at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

To be sure, when politicians call our president the ‘Commander-in-Chief,’ they are using that term rhetorically. But it is a dangerous rhetoric, because it suggests a concentration, rather than a division, of power

images Alan M. Dershowitz writes: Politicians should stop referring to the President of the United States as “the Commander-in-Chief,” as he is often referred to. Most recently, Hillary Clinton, whom I admire, said the following about Republican senators who wrote an open letter to Iran:

“Either these senators were trying to be helpful to the Iranians or harmful to the Commander-in-Chief in the midst of high-stakes international diplomacy.”

But the president is not the Commander-in-Chief for purposes of diplomatic negotiations. This characterization mistakenly implies that President Obama — or any president — is our Commander, and that his decisions should receive special deference. This is a misreading of our constitution, which creates a presidency that is subject to the checks and balances of co-equal branches of the government. The president is only the commander in chief of “the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States.” This provision was intended to assure civilian control over the military and to serve as a check on military power.

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“As President, he cannot even declare war, though he can decide how a war should be fought after Congress declares it. He cannot make a treaty without the approval of 2/3 of the Senate. He cannot appoint Ambassadors without the consent of the Senate. And he cannot terminate sanctions that were imposed by Congress, without Congress changing the law.”

The only people he is empowered to command are soldiers, sailors and members of the militia — not ordinary citizens.

This important limitation on the president’s power is highly relevant to the current debate about Congress having the authority to check the president’s decision to make the deal that is currently being negotiated with Iran. The Constitution is clear about this. The President is not the Commander-in-Chief of our nation’s foreign policy. When he is involved in “high-stakes international diplomacy,” his involvement is not as Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces, but rather as negotiator-in-chief, whose negotiations are subject to the checks and balances of the other branches.

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“Our Constitution separates the powers of government — the power to command — into three co-equal branches. The armed forces are different: power is vested in one commander-in-chief.”

As President, he cannot even declare war, though he can decide how a war should be fought after Congress declares it. He cannot make a treaty without the approval of 2/3 of the Senate. He cannot appoint Ambassadors without the consent of the Senate. And he cannot terminate sanctions that were imposed by Congress, without Congress changing the law. Were he the “Commander-in-Chief” of our country — as Putin is of Russia or as Ali Khamenei is of Iran — he could simply command that all of these things be done. But our Constitution separates the powers of government — the power to command — into three co-equal branches. The armed forces are different: power is vested in one commander-in-chief.

“The only people he is empowered to command are soldiers, sailors and members of the militia — not ordinary citizens.”

To be sure, when politicians call our president the “Commander-in-Chief,” they are using that term rhetorically. But it is a dangerous rhetoric, because it suggests a concentration, rather than a division, of power. Military metaphors are as inappropriate in a democracy as is martial law, which does empower the executive to act as the commander of all people, but only in cases of extreme emergency. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘White Supremacist’ Cops Hop Out of Patrol Car and… Join Kids’ Football Game

It’s usually a really bad sign when a police car pulls up and two cops jump out and head towards you.

KARE 11 viewer Michelle Keenan thought that was the case Monday night when a Plymouth squad car pulled up to her apartment complex, two officers got out and began walking towards her son and his friends who were playing football on the lawn.

Her heart started racing as she watched from the balcony. “What’d they do?”, Keenan thought to herself.

“It’s a good feeling to know that we live in a community where police officers are willing to do this and be there for us.”

– Michelle Keenan

She was about to run down and investigate when she saw Officers Matt Kaley and Mike Passig each join one of the teams and start playing. Keenan says the game lasted for 20 to 25 minutes, and her son later told her it was the coolest thing ever.

“Just a friendly game of football, and the kids loved it.”

– Officer Matt Kaley

“It’s a good feeling to know that we live in a community where police officers are willing to do this and be there for us,” said Keenan, who thought the story was a good one in light of the negative attention police have received lately. As a parent, she tells KARE 11 that she appreciates what the officers did, building trust with the kids and creating a memory they will always remember. Read the rest of this entry »


Washington Post: ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ Did Not Happen in Ferguson

Hands-Up-Didn't-Happen-NEON

Michelle Ye Hee Lee reports: This phrase became a rallying cry for Ferguson residents, who took to the streets to protest the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer, Darren Wilson. Witness accounts spread after the shooting that Brown had his hands raised in surrender, mouthing the words “Don’t shoot” as his last words before being shot execution-style. The gesture of raised hands became a symbol of outrage over mistreatment of unarmed black youth by police.

That narrative was called into question when a St. Louis County grand jury could not confirm those testimonies. And a recently released Department of Justice investigative report concluded the same.

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Yet the gesture continues to be used today. So we wanted to set the record straight on the DOJ’s findings, especially after The Washington Post’s opinion writer Jonathan Capehart wrote that it was “built on a lie.” From time to time, we retroactively check statements as new information becomes available. In this case, the Justice Department has concluded that Wilson acted out of self-defense, and was justified in killing Brown.

Does “Hands up, don’t shoot” capture the facts of Brown’s shooting? What has it come to symbolize now?

Hands-Up-Didn't-Happen-Yellow-Neon

The Facts

“Hands up, don’t shoot” links directly to Brown’s death, and it went viral. After the shooting, St. Louis Rams players raised their hands as a symbolic gesture entering the field before a football game. Protesters chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot” during rallies after a grand jury in the state’s case against Wilson decided not to indict Wilson in Brown’s killing. The phrase and gesture were on signs, T-shirts, hashtags, memes and magazine covers. It even has its own Wikipedia page.

In November 2014, a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson after finding that witness reports did not match up with evidence. Other witnesses recanted their original accounts or changed them, calling their veracity into question. In particular, the grand jury could not confirm the “Hands up, don’t shoot” narrative the way it was told after the shooting. By then, however, the phrase had taken on a message of its own.

On Dec. 1, 2014, four members of the Congressional Black Caucus repeated the gesture while delivering speeches on the House Floor titled, “Black in America: What Ferguson Says About Where We Are and Where We Need to Go.” Each of the members held up their hands, and the image spread widely online.

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Yet the Department of Justice’s March 4, 2015, investigative report on the shooting of Michael Brown found federal investigators could not confirm witness accounts that Brown signaled surrender before being killed execution-style. The department’s descriptions of about 40 witness testimonies show the original claims that Brown had his hands up were not accurate.

Some witnesses who claimed they saw Brown’s hands raised had testimonies that were inconsistent with physical and forensic evidence. Some admitted to federal investigators they felt pressured to retell the narrative that was being spread after Brown’s shooting. Read the rest of this entry »


Islam: 5 Areas that Require Amendment

Ali

Here are the five areas that require amendment

1. Muhammad’s semi-divine status, along with the literalist reading of the Quran.
Muhammad should not be seen as infallible, let alone as a source of divine writ. He should be seen as a historical figure who united the Arab tribes in a premodern context that cannot be replicated in the 21st century. And although Islam maintains that the Quran is the literal word of Allah, it is, in historical reality, a book that was shaped by human hands. Large parts of the Quran simply reflect the tribal values of the 7th-century Arabian context from which it emerged. The Quran’s eternal spiritual values must be separated from the cultural accidents of the place and time of its birth.

2. The supremacy of life after death.
The appeal of martyrdom will fade only when Muslims assign a greater value to the rewards of this life than to those promised in the hereafter.

3. Shariah, the vast body of religious legislation.
Muslims should learn to put the dynamic, evolving laws made by human beings above those aspects of Shariah that are violent, intolerant or anachronistic.

4. The right of individual Muslims to enforce Islamic law.
There is no room in the modern world for religious police, vigilantes and politically empowered clerics.

5. The imperative to wage jihad, or holy war.
Islam must become a true religion of peace, which means rejecting the imposition of religion by the sword.

I know that this argument will make many Muslims uncomfortable. Some are bound to be offended by my proposed amendments. Others will contend that I am not qualified to discuss these complex issues of theology and law. I am also afraid—genuinely afraid—that it will make a few Muslims even more eager to silence me….(read more)

From Why Islam Needs a Reformation by Ayaan Hirsi Ali


Democrats Are the New party of No

Democrats

It’s depressingly clear that what Democrats aren’t thinking about was the needs of vulnerable people, mostly young women and girls, who are the victims of sex trafficking

Democrats who have been filibustering the Senate’s consideration of legislation to combat human trafficking cited concerns with language they claimed would greatly expand the reach of Hyde Amendment restrictions on abortion. But when John Cornyn (R-Tex.), chief sponsor of the trafficking bill and Senate majority whipoffered a compromise that would seem to answer their stated objections, it was rejected out of hand. Perhaps Democrats thought they could score political points, or maybe they didn’t want to anger their traditional allies in the abortion rights lobby.

[Also see Harry Reid Filibusters on Behalf of Slaveholders – by Kevin D. Williamson]

Either way, it became depressingly clear that what they weren’t thinking about was the needs of vulnerable people, mostly young women and girls, who are the victims of sex trafficking.

No

“The answer was no. Democrats unfortunately seem to believe that response is in their political interest.”

The stalemate over the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 has now occupied two weeks, and with the Senate next set to take up the budget, it’s unclear when — or how — the impasse will be resolved. At issue in the legislation, which had been expected to glide through the Senate with bipartisan support, is a provision — backed by Republicans and initially overlooked by Democrats — that would prohibit a new trafficking-victims compensation fund from being used for abortions save for exceptions covered by the Hyde Amendment. Democrats didn’t like the application of Hyde restrictions to funds that are not taxpayer dollars — the compensation fund was to be drawn from criminal fines — and they objected to the anti-abortion provision being in place for five years.

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Mr. Cornyn responded by offering to create the compensation fund with an annual congressional appropriation drawing on the fines. Since all such appropriations are already covered by the Hyde Amendment, there would be no change in the political status quo on abortion. “Can they take yes for an answer?” asked Mr. Cornyn on Thursday, contending, “We’ve made a proposal to them to give them what they’ve asked for.” The answer was no. Read the rest of this entry »


Self Defense Update: Texas Senate Approves Concealed Handguns In College Classrooms

A Glock .40 caliber handgun is displayed

Closing the Victim Loophole

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Senate has given preliminary approval to allowing concealed handguns in college classrooms, a day after passing a measure allowing open carry of guns most everywhere else in America’s second most-populous state….(read more)

TIME


Shown in Court at Trial Yesterday: Instagram Pic of Tsarnaev and His Black Flag of Jihad

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Via Michelle Malkin, Twitter


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