Advertisements

Venezuela: a Nation Devoured by Socialism

Rich Lowry writes: Venezuela is a woeful reminder that no country is so rich that it can’t be driven into the ground by revolutionary socialism.

People are now literally starving — about three-quarters of the population lost weight last year — in what once was the fourth-richest country in the world on a per-capita basis. A country that has more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia is suffering shortages of basic supplies. Venezuela now totters on the brink of bankruptcy and civil war, in the national catastrophe known as the Bolivarian Revolution.

The phrase is the coinage of the late Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, succeeded by the current Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro. The Western Hemisphere’s answer to Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Maduro has instituted an ongoing self-coup to make his country a one-party state.

The Chavistas have worked from the typical Communist playbook of romanticizing the masses while immiserating them. Runaway spending, price controls, nationalization of companies, corruption and the end of the rule of law — it’s been a master class in how to destroy an economy.

The result is a sharp, yearslong recession, runaway inflation and unsustainable debt. The suffering of ordinary people is staggering, while the thieves and killers who are Chavista officials have made off with hundreds of billions of dollars. At this rate — The Economist calls the country’s economic decline “the steepest in modern Latin American history” — there will be nothing left to steal.

[Read the full story here, at New York Post]

Any government in a democratic country that failed this spectacularly would have been relegated to the dustbin of history long ago. Maduro is getting around this problem by ending Venezuela’s democracy.

The Chávistas slipped up a year or two by allowing real elections for the country’s National Assembly, which were swept by the opposition. They then undertook a war against the assembly, stripping it of its powers and culminating in a rigged vote this week to elect a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution. The opposition boycotted the vote, and outside observers estimate less than 20 percent of the electorate participated. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

[VIDEO] Hong Kong’s PLA Garrison Stages Biggest Military Parade in 20 Years as Xi Jinping Inspects Troops 

President Xi Jinping today inspected 20 squads of the People’s Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong at the biggest military parade since the city’s handover to China – marking 20 years since the army was first stationed here in 1997.

Xi Asserts Authority in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping inspected troops based in Hong Kong on Friday as he asserts Chinese authority over the former British colony China took control of 20 years ago.

Xi rode in an open-top jeep past rows of soldiers lined up on an airstrip on his visit to the People’s Liberation Army garrison. He called out “Salute all the comrades” and “Salute to your dedication” as he rode by each of the 20 troop formations.

Armored personnel carriers, combat vehicles, helicopters and other pieces of military hardware were arrayed behind the troops.

It was a rare display of the Chinese military’s might in Hong Kong, where it normally maintains a low-key presence.

Chinese President Xi Jinping inspects Chinese troops of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison at the Shek Kong Barracks in Hong Kong, Friday, June 30, 2017. Xi landed in Hong Kong Thursday to mark the 20th anniversary of Beijing taking control of the former British colony, accompanied by a formidable layer of security as authorities showed little patience for pro-democracy protests. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Xi, wearing a buttoned-up black jacket in the steamy heat, spent about 10 minutes reviewing the troops at the Shek Kong base in Hong Kong’s suburban New Territories. It’s part of a visit to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover, when Britain gave up control of the Asian financial hub to China on July 1, 1997.

Read the rest of this entry »


McDonald’s Hits All-Time High as Wall Street Cheers Replacement of Cashiers with Kiosks

Cowen believes McDonald’s digital ordering upgrades will drive the fast-food chain’s sales higher.

McDonald’s shares hit an all-time high on Tuesday as Wall Street expects sales to increase from new digital ordering kiosks that will replace cashiers in 2,500 restaurants.

Cowen raised its rating on McDonald’s shares to outperform from market perform because of the technology upgrades, which are slated for the fast-food chain’s restaurants this year.

McDonald’s shares rallied 26 percent this year through Monday compared to the S&P 500’s 10 percent return.

Andrew Charles from Cowen cited plans for the restaurant chain to roll out mobile ordering across 14,000 U.S. locations by the end of 2017. The technology upgrades, part of what McDonald’s calls “Experience of the Future,” includes digital ordering kiosks that will be offered in 2,500 restaurants by the end of the year and table delivery.

“MCD is cultivating a digital platform through mobile ordering and Experience of the Future (EOTF), an in-store technological overhaul most conspicuous through kiosk ordering and table delivery,” Charles wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. “Our analysis suggests efforts should bear fruit in 2018 with a combined 130 bps [basis points] contribution to U.S. comps [comparable sales].” Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Otto Warmbier Dies Days After Release from North Korean Detainment

Weeks after the group pictures were taken, Otto "confessed" in front of North Korean media. AFP

Warmbier returned from North Korea last week in a coma.

Susan Svrluga reports: Otto Warmbier, University of Virginia student who was detained in North Korea for nearly a year and a half, died Monday afternoon, his parents announced … (read more)

[Otto Warmbier’s father denounces North Korea]

DCtoBlMXsAA9TVF.jpg-large.jpeg

Source: The Washington Post – New York Post


[VIDEO] BREAKING: Car Crushes People in Finsbury Park, Multiple Dead in London

BREAKING NEWS: Vehicle hits pedestrians in Finsbury Park. One person arrested and “a number of casualties” as a vehicle hits pedestrians in Finsbury Park, London, police say.

A vehicle has struck pedestrians “leaving a number of casualties” in north London, police said. One person has been arrested following the incident on Seven Sisters Road in Finsbury Park.Officers were called at 12.20 BST, the Metropolitan Police said.London Ambulance Service said: “We have sent a number of resources to an incident in Seven Sisters Road.”

finsbury-park.jpg

DCpPf8JVYAEtcSg.jpg

london-finsbury.jpg

 


[VIDEO] Otto Warmbier: How Did North Korea Holiday End in Jail, and a Coma?

Everyone in frame is smiling and laughing in the North Korean cold. Otto Warmbier, like the other tourists, launches a snowball, captured in slow motion on what appears to be a camera phone.

It’s the kind of innocent fun you expect to be captured on a tour group holiday. Otto turns to his right, mouth wide open, laughing.

_96526401_dfa5d369-b963-4800-ac60-f0330d0edb1a

Otto’s father Fred wore his son’s jacket as he spoke to journalists

“This is the Otto I know and love. This is my brother,” wrote Austin Warmbier, who released the video, which was shot during a three-night North Korea tour at the end of 2015.

Two months later, Otto would again appear on video, but in very different circumstances.

Head bowed and clutching a prepared “confession”, the 21-year-old student walked out in front of North Korean TV cameras to speak, explaining why he had been arrested at the end of that tour, when everyone else had been allowed to leave.

Danny Gratton Otto (centre, with others on the trip) was

Danny Gratton Otto (centre, with others on the trip) was “bright, intelligent and likeable”, according to Danny Gratton, who met him on the North Korea trip

Looming over him were the oversized portraits of North Korea’s former supreme leaders, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.

He wore a cream-coloured jacket and tie. Before speaking, he got up an offered a low bow.

_96532808_efb26674-faa9-4fc6-b214-21725a7d0ba4

Danny was the last person to see Otto (far right), witnessing the moment he was marched away

Otto thanked the North Korean government for the “opportunity to apologise for my crime, to beg for forgiveness and to beg for any assistance to save my life”.

He said he tried to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel as a “trophy” for a US church with the “connivance of the US administration” in order to “harm the work ethic and motivation of the Korean people”.

Weeks after the group pictures were taken, Otto

Weeks after the group pictures were taken, Otto “confessed” in front of North Korean media. AFP

Later, he would break down in tears: “I have made the single worst decision of my life, but I am only human.”

Otto is now back in the US after 15 months of captivity in North Korea. But he is in a coma, cannot understand language and has severe brain damage.

Otto - pictured in ear muffs - was in

Otto – pictured in ear muffs – was in “the wrong place at the wrong time”, says Danny

In the year-and-a-half since he threw that snowball, the life of a young man full of promise has been permanently altered.

Much remains unknown about how Otto’s health deteriorated. Doctors at Cincinnati Medical Center say they have seen no sign he was physically abused but they and his family also don’t buy North Korea’s story that he contracted botulism and fell into a coma after taking a sleeping pill.

p055sz43

But how did a brilliant student from an Ohio suburb with hopes of becoming an investment banker end up imprisoned in a pariah state? And why was he released in a coma?

The Warmbiers hail from a small suburb called Wyoming in Cincinnati, Ohio, where father Fred owns a small company.

Otto attended the best high school in the state, and was prom and homecoming king. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Port of Charleston Terminal Evacuated Over ‘Potential Threat’

Authorities are investigating a ‘potential threat’ in a container aboard a ship at the Port of Charleston in South Carolina.

Authorities are investigating a “potential threat” in a container aboard a ship at the Port of Charleston in South Carolina, the US Coast Guard said Wednesday night.

The ship, Maersk Memphis, is at the Wando terminal. The terminal is used for container cargo, and has been evacuated to allow federal, state and local bomb detection units to investigate, the Coast Guard said.

The threat came in at about 8 p.m. ET, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

conspiracy-e1497503359417

It later tweeted that a “safety zone has been established around the vessel while law enforcement authorities investigate the threat.”

#Update A 1 NM safety zone has been established around the vessel while law enforcement authorities investigate the threat.

— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) June 15, 2017

Capt. Greg Stump, the commander for the Coast Guard sector in Charleston, told ABCNews4 that a YouTube “conspiracy theorist” made a claim about a threat on board one of the ships.

Source: kcci.com

Coast Guard: FBI investigating report of dirty bomb in South Carolina.

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) – The U.S. Coast Guard is telling WCSC-TV in South Carolina that both state and federal authorities are investigating a potential dirty bomb threat at the Wando Terminal Wednesday night.

“the Maersk Memphis is currently moored at Charleston’s Wando terminal which has been evacuated while bomb detection units from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies investigate the threat.”

— Coast Guard official

According to witnesses on the scene, the terminal was evacuated and agents were seen taping off the ship.

A dirty bomb is an explosive made with radioactive material.  Read the rest of this entry »


Trump Continues to Collect Trademarks in China

President Donald Trump is growing his brand in China.

David Francis reports: According to a report from the Associated Press, the Chinese government has approved nine Trump trademarks it had earlier rejected, in whole or in part. The latest development is likely to add to the growing controversy over Trump’s potential conflicts of interest, and especially charges that he could be in violation of the emolument clause of the U.S. Constitution, which is supposed to prevent a sitting president from gaining a financial benefit from foreign nations.

 

There are now three lawsuits alleging the president is violating the Constitution by refusing to put his assets into a blind trust; Trump has put his son in charge of managing his many business dealings. Trump’s new Washington hotel is a particular sore spot, since many visiting delegations stay there. One was filed by nearly 200 Congressional Democrats Wednesday; a joint one was filed by the attorney generals of Washington, D.C. and Maryland; and a similar suit was filed by the watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

[Read the full story here, at Foreign Policy]

Benefitting from foreign governments, whether through hotel bills or the granting of trademarks, lie at the center of all these cases. In the case of the China trademarks, records don’t show why these requests were initially rejected or why they were reconsidered. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] CNN Anchor Scolds McAuliffe for Lecturing About Gun Control in Shooting Aftermath 

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D.) on Wednesday told reporters at a press conference that the United States loses “93 million Americans a day to gun violence.”

The Alexandria Police Department held a joint press conference on Wednesday morning with the United States Capitol Police to address the shooting that occurred hours earlier at a baseball field in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood. A gunman opened fire on Republican lawmakers practicing for a charity baseball game, wounding several people including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R., La.).

McAuliffe attended the press conference and was asked whether more needs to be done to protect politicians.

“Let me say this, I think we need to do more to protect all of our citizens,” McAuliffe said. Read the rest of this entry »


Jason Bourne Not Available for Comment

Bob Fredericks writes: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) comically mocked the allegations that Attorney General Jeff Sessions collluded with the Russians during a campaign event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington during a campaign …

“It’s just like through the looking glass. I mean, what is this? I explained how in good faith I said I had not met with Russians because they were suggesting I as a surrogate had been meeting continuously with Russians. I didn’t meet with them.”

— Attorney General Jeff Sessions

“Mr. Sessions, are you familiar with what spies call trade craft?” Cotton asked, prompting the attorney general to warily reply, “A little bit.”

“That involves things like covert communications and dead drops and brush passes, right? Do you like spy fiction? Do you like Jason Bourne or James Bond movies?” Cotton continued before slamming the probe.

“Have you ever, ever in any of these fantastical situations heard of a plot line so ridiculous that a sitting United States senator and an ambassador of a foreign government colluded at an open setting with hundreds of other people to pull off the greatest caper in the history of espionage?” he asked, prompting Sessions to laugh for the first time during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. Read the rest of this entry »


FORECAST PARTLY CLOUDY: Comey to Testify that Trump Sought ‘Loyalty,’ Asked to Lift Russia ‘Cloud’

Judson Berger reports: James Comey plans to testify Thursday that in the months before he was fired as FBI director, President Trump sought his “loyalty” while also pressing him to “lift the cloud” of the Russia investigation and lay off Michael Flynn, according to written testimony released ahead of his Senate committee appearance.

The prepared remarks for his opening statement, released by the Senate Intelligence Committee, also make clear that Comey repeatedly assured Trump he was not personally under investigation.

federalist-comey.jpg

Comey’s statement detailed several meetings he had with Trump dating back to January.

He extensively described a Jan. 27 dinner where he said Trump told him: “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty.”

[READ COMEY’S STATEMENT]

Comey plans to say as well that Trump sought help ending any probe of former national security adviser Flynn, reiterating previously published reports about such claims.

Comey’s testimony will mark his first Capitol Hill appearance since his firing a month ago. Lawmakers are eager to hear his side, amid a raft of reports suggesting Trump had pressured Comey over investigations of Russian meddling in the election and coordination with his associates.

Trump has denied pressuring Comey as well as any collusion with Russia.

If Comey’s opening statement is any gauge, Thursday’s testimony will be explosive. Read the rest of this entry »


Exclusive Test Data: Many Colleges Fail to Improve Critical-Thinking Skills 

students at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire showed extensive progress in critical thinking over four years, as measured by a test called the CLA+. Above, Kate Frederick, a sophomore. Photo: Cheryl Senter for The Wall Street Journal

Students at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire showed extensive progress in critical thinking over four years, as measured by a test called the CLA+. Above, Kate Frederick, a sophomore. Photo: Cheryl Senter for The Wall Street Journal

Results of a standardized measure of reasoning ability show many students fail to improve over four years—even at some flagship schools, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of nonpublic results.

writes: Freshmen and seniors at about 200 colleges across the U.S. take a little-known test every year to measure how much better they get at learning to think. The results are discouraging.

At more than half of schools, at least a third of seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument, assess the quality of evidence in a document or interpret data in a table, The Wall Street Journal found after reviewing the latest results from dozens of public colleges and universities that gave the exam between 2013 and 2016. (See full results.)

At some of the most prestigious flagship universities, test results indicate the average graduate shows little or no improvement in critical thinking over four years.

Some of the biggest gains occur at smaller colleges where students are less accomplished at arrival but soak up a rigorous, interdisciplinary curriculum.

For prospective students and their parents looking to pick a college, it is almost impossible to figure out which schools help students learn critical thinking, because full results of the standardized test, called the College Learning Assessment Plus, or CLA+, are seldom disclosed to the public. This is true, too, of similar tests.

Plymouth State University student Madalyn Stevens, standing, performed in a mock trial in a class led by Prof. Maria Sanders, seated at rear, designed to develop critical-thinking skills. Photo: Cheryl Senter for The Wall Street Journal

Plymouth State University student Madalyn Stevens, standing, performed in a mock trial in a class led by Prof. Maria Sanders, seated at rear, designed to develop critical-thinking skills. Photo: Cheryl Senter for The Wall Street Journal

Some academic experts, education researchers and employers say the Journal’s findings are a sign of the failure of America’s higher-education system to arm graduates with analytical reasoning and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in a fast-changing, increasingly global job market. Read the rest of this entry »


Seattle Police Officer Charged in Large Coast-to-Coast Pot-Smuggling Operation

From left, Seattle Police Officers Alex Chapackdee, Jojo Cambronero, James Manning and Craig McRae do the Cupid Shuffle with the crowd at the Othello Park International Music and Arts Festival at Othello playground in South Seattle Sunday, August 19, 2012.

 reports: Veteran Seattle police Officer Alex Chapackdee is accused of helping his brother-in-law and others smuggle at least 100 kilograms of marijuana to the East Coast. In return, Chapackdee was paid $10,000 a month, charges allege.

Federal prosecutors will ask that a suspended Seattle police officer charged with being part of a large-scale East Coast marijuana smuggling ring be held in jail pending trial.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida set a detention hearing Friday for Alex Chapackdee, who faces a mandatory-minimum five-year federal prison sentence — and perhaps up to 40 years — for his role in allegedly transporting hundreds of pounds of marijuana from Washington to Baltimore then driving back with boxes of cash. The court also could impose a fine of up to $5 million if he’s found guilty.

Chapackdee, a veteran Seattle police officer, appeared briefly in U.S. District Court in Seattle Monday afternoon along with three co-defendants named in a 15-page complaint unsealed Monday. He was arrested last Friday and suspended from duty without pay.

[Read the feds’ complaint against Le, Chapackdee, others (PDF)]

More than two dozens shocked friends and family members crowded Tsuchida’s courtroom during the brief hearing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Vince Lombardi said the serious allegations and significant penalty prompted him to seek detention for all four defendants. Read the rest of this entry »


Sources: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray to Announce Tuesday He Will No Longer Seek Re-Election

SEATTLE — Mayor Ed Murray will announce Tuesday morning that he will no longer seek re-election to a second term, two sources close to the mayor confirmed Monday night.

Murray will make the surprise announcement at a news conference at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the sources confirmed.

Murray previously said he would continue to run for re-election but his campaign has been troubled since a 46-year-old Kent man, Delvonn Heckard, filed a lawsuit in April claiming Murray paid him for sex when the man was a teenager in the 1980s and Murray was in his 30s.

Murray denied the allegation and said it was politically motivated. Read the rest of this entry »


FOURTH man Accuses Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of Paying Him for Sex

A Murray spokesman denied the latest allegations, made in a court filing late Tuesday, calling them a “sensational media stunt.” The mayor’s lawyers Wednesday morning redoubled their effort to get a judge to sanction the attorney who submitted the new court filing and is representing another man who filed a lawsuit last month.

The new accuser, 44-year-old Maurice Jones, said in a sworn court declaration he was introduced to Murray by Delvonn Heckard, the Kent man who filed last month’s lawsuit claiming Murray sexually abused him as a teenager in the 1980s.

Jones’ declaration, filed in King County Superior Court, was brief, saying he had been to Murray’s Capitol Hill apartment at an unspecified time and that Murray “gave me money for sex.”

ulie Kays, one of Heckard’s attorneys, said Wednesday that Jones was in his midteens at the time. “He recalls at least two instances when, as a teenager, Murray paid (him) for sex. Once at Murray’s apartment and once in a car,” she said.

Jones’ declaration added he was “not part of any right-wing conspiracy” and that he is gay — a reference to Murray’s argument that accusations against him by Heckard and two other men are politically motivated.

The handwritten declaration was taken at the King County Regional Justice Center in Kent on Tuesday by Kays and Lincoln Beauregard, Heckard’s lead attorney.

Jones, who has a lengthy criminal record, has been held on drug charges since late March.

The document was prepared and passed through a glassed-off visitation partition to Jones for his signature, Kays said. The declaration was filed in court along with a photograph of Beauregard holding the document, with Jones on the other side of the glass partition. Both men are smiling.

As he has with previous allegations, a Murray spokesman vehemently denied the latest claim. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] France Elections: Topless FEMEN Activists Storm Voting Station Wearing Putin, Le Pen Masks

Topless FEMEN activists wearing masks of Russian President Vladimir Putin and National Front leader Marine Le Pen protested outside the Henin-Beaumont voting station on Sunday, as Le Pen arrived to cast her ballot.

Topless demonstrators from the Femen activist group have caused a commotion as they staged a stunt against Marine Le Pen outside a polling station where the far-right presidential candidate was heading to vote.

femen2.jpg

Around six topless Femen activists were detained Sunday morning after jumping out of an SUV limo wearing masks of Le Pen and United States President Donald Trump.

Police and security forces quickly forced them into police vans, confiscating their signs.

femen3.jpg

Le Pen voted at the station shortly after without further disruption.

The election is taking place amid heightened security. The government has mobilized more than 50,000 police and gendarmes to protect polling stations. (more)

Source: fox8live

 


Our Right to Trial by Jury Is Under Attack. Will SCOTUS Save Us?

The Constitution guarantees our right to a jury trial in “all criminal prosecutions.” Our commitment to this constitutional safeguard is tested when the government haughtily claims a trial isn’t necessary…

Earlier this week,  the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Lee v. United States.

The case, which concerns the right to counsel and the right to trial by jury, is a very interesting one.

In 1982, Jae Lee came to the United States from South Korea as a child. Now 48 years old, Lee has lived in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for decades.  In 2009, he pled guilty to a drug crime after his lawyer assured him that he could not be deported as a result.

As it turned out, Lee received bad legal advice. His conviction made Lee subject to mandatory removal, meaning that after serving several years in prison, he would eventually be deported to South Korea and essentially banished from the U.S.

When Lee learned of this mistake, he asked the court to vacate his plea, arguing that his counsel’s assistance was ineffective and he only pled guilty because of the recommendation from his lawyer. 

He wants to take his case before a jury. The district court denied this motion because of the overwhelming evidence against Lee, ruling that his conviction at trial was so certain that his counsel’s bad advice didn’t actually harm him, particularly given the much longer prison sentence he would receive if convicted after trial.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit agreed that a jury wasn’t needed to determine Lee’s guilt and that denying the “chance to throw a Hail Mary at trial is not prejudicial” and therefore doesn’t violate Lee’s Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial.

Federal prosecutors say there’s no need for a trial because the evidence against Lee is strong, but our constitutional right to trial by jury doesn’t depend on the government’s assessment of its own case.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reasoned that that the only chance Lee had was acquittal by “jury nullification,” which is the doctrine that says a jury can return a “not guilty” verdict even after it has concluded that the person on trial violated the law. Why order a new trial based upon an idea so irrational and antiquated, the Court reasoned.

Well, for one thing, there’s nothing wrong with jury nullification. The Framers of our Constitution believed that jury nullification was part and parcel of what a jury trial was all about.

The Supreme Court itself has noted that the jury is supposed to be the “conscience of the community” and should check the government when necessary to protect individuals from injustice or oppression. The jury cannot perform that function if it is told that it must always apply the law mechanically, without regard to justice.

Lee is now pressing the matter at the Supreme Court, which heard his argument earlier this week. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Gorsuch Finds Himself in the Middle of a Senate Showdown 

A growing number of Democrats say they will not support the Supreme Court nominee, while GOP leaders are coy on plans to use the nuclear option; Shannon Bream provides insight on ‘Special Report’


[VIDEO] Eugene Volokh for PragerU: Is Gun Ownership a Right? 

What does the Second Amendment say? Is gun ownership a right for all Americans? Or just for a small militia? Eugene Volokh, Professor of Law at UCLA, explains what the Founding Fathers intended.

eugene-volokh-prager-u-680x365

Source: PragerU – Eugene Volokh


Captive Islamic State Militant says Mass Rapes were ‘Normal’

massrapist

Hussein said his emirs, or local Islamic State commanders, gave him and others a green light to rape as many Yazidi and other women as they wanted.

Michael Georgy reports: Islamic State militant Amar Hussein says he reads the Koran all day in his tiny jail cell to become a better person. He also says he raped more than 200 women from Iraqi minorities, and shows few regrets.

“Young men need this. This is normal.”

Kurdish intelligence authorities gave Reuters rare access to Hussein and another Islamic State militant who were both captured during an assault on the city of Kirkuk in October that killed 99 civilians and members of the security forces. Sixty-three Islamic State militants died.

Hussein said his emirs, or local Islamic State commanders, gave him and others a green light to rape as many Yazidi and other women as they wanted.

“Young men need this,” Hussein told Reuters in an interview after a Kurdish counter-terrorism agent removed a black hood from his head. “This is normal.”

Hussein said he moved from house to house in several Iraqi cities raping women from the Yazidi sect and other minorities at a time when Islamic State was grabbing more and more territory from Iraqi security forces.

Kurdish security officials say they have evidence of Hussein raping and killing but they don’t know what the scale is.

Reuters could not independently verify Hussein’s account.

Witnesses and Iraqi officials say Islamic State fighters raped many Yazidi women after the group rampaged through northern Iraq in 2014. It also abducted many Yazidi women as sex slaves and killed some of their male relatives, they said.

Human rights groups have chronicled widespread abuses by Islamic State against the Yazidis. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Alan Dershowitz on the Michael Flynn Controversy 

Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz on the controversy surrounding national security advisor Michael Flynn.

alan-dershowitz1


Japan, U.S. Affirm Senkakus Defense Under Article 5 

trump-abe.jpg

WASHINGTON — Yujiro Okabe reports: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday afternoon (early Saturday JST) before they held a press conference together.

Regarding the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, Abe said during the press conference, “We have affirmed that they are within the scope of Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty,” which obliges U.S. forces to defend Japan.

Trump stressed, “We are committed to the security of Japan.”

Abe also revealed that they have agreed to start holding a dialogue headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso and Vice President Mike Pence, aiming to expand trade and investment between the two countries. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Most Destructive Weapon of All Time for Sale: Hitler’s Phone 


Libby Watson reports: If you have hundreds of thousands of dollars and are extremely creepy, you can now buy a one-of-a-kind piece of history: Adolf Hitler’s personal telephone.

The phone will be sold by Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland, and is expected to sell for between $200,000 and $300,000. It was taken from Hitler’s bunker shortly after his death by Brigadier Sir Ralph Rayner, who died in 1977; his son Ranulf inherited the phone. According to the auction listing, Rayner was given the phone by Russian officers:

hitlers-phone

Very likely the first non-Soviet victor to enter the city, Rayner went to the Chancellery where Russian officers offered him a tour. On entering Hitler’s private quarters, Rayner was first offered Eva Braun’s telephone, but politely declined claiming that his favorite color was red. His Russian hosts were pleased to hand him a red telephone – the telephone offered here.

The listing goes on to note the phone’s uniquely horrific history:

It would be impossible to find a more impactful relic than the primary tool used by the most evil man in history to annihilate countless innocents, lay waste to hundreds of thousands of square miles of land, and in the end, destroy his own country and people…with effects that still menacingly reverberate today.  Read the rest of this entry »


The Jacksonian Revolt 

American Populism and the Liberal Order

Walter Russell Mead writes: For the first time in 70 years, the American people have elected a president who disparages the policies, ideas, and institutions at the heart of postwar U.S. foreign policy. No one knows how the foreign policy of the Trump administration will take shape, or how the new president’s priorities and preferences will shift as he encounters the torrent of events and crises ahead. But not since Franklin Roosevelt’s administration has U.S. foreign policy witnessed debates this fundamental.

Since World War II, U.S. grand strategy has been shaped by two major schools of thought, both focused on achieving a stable international system with the United States at the center. Hamiltonians believed that it was in the American interest for the United States to replace the United Kingdom as “the gyroscope of world order,” in the words of President Woodrow Wilson’s adviser Edward House during World War I, putting the financial and security architecture in place for a reviving global economy after World War II—something that would both contain the Soviet Union and advance U.S. interests. When the Soviet Union fell, Hamiltonians responded by doubling down on the creation of a global liberal order, understood primarily in economic terms.

Wilsonians, meanwhile, also believed that the creation of a global liberal order was a vital U.S. interest, but they conceived of it in terms of values rather than economics. Seeing corrupt and authoritarian regimes abroad as a leading cause of conflict and violence, Wilsonians sought peace through the promotion of human rights, democratic governance, and the rule of law. In the later stages of the Cold War, one branch of this camp, liberal institutionalists, focused on the promotion of international institutions and ever-closer global integration, while another branch, neoconservatives, believed that a liberal agenda could best be advanced through Washington’s unilateral efforts (or in voluntary conjunction with like-minded partners).

The disputes between and among these factions were intense and consequential, but they took place within a common commitment to a common project of global order. As that project came under increasing strain in recent decades, however, the unquestioned grip of the globalists on U.S. foreign policy thinking began to loosen. More nationalist, less globally minded voices began to be heard, and a public increasingly disenchanted with what it saw as the costly failures the global order-building project began to challenge what the foreign policy establishment was preaching. The Jeffersonian and Jacksonian schools of thought, prominent before World War II but out of favor during the heyday of the liberal order, have come back with a vengeance.

[Read the full story here, at Foreign Affairs]

Jeffersonians, including today’s so-called realists, argue that reducing the United States’ global profile would reduce the costs and risks of foreign policy. They seek to define U.S. interests narrowly and advance them in the safest and most economical ways. Libertarians take this proposition to its limits and find allies among many on the left who oppose interventionism, want to cut military spending, and favor redeploying the government’s efforts and resources at home. Both Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas seemed to think that they could surf the rising tide of Jeffersonian thinking during the Republican presidential primary. But Donald Trump sensed something that his political rivals failed to grasp: that the truly surging force in American politics wasn’t Jeffersonian minimalism. It was Jacksonian populist nationalism.

The distinctively American populism Trump espouses is rooted in the thought and culture of the country’s first populist president, Andrew Jackson. For Jacksonians—who formed the core of Trump’s passionately supportive base—the United States is not a political entity created and defined by a set of intellectual propositions rooted in the Enlightenment and oriented toward the fulfillment of a universal mission. Rather, it is the nation-state of the American people, and its chief business lies at home. Jacksonians see American exceptionalism not as a function of the universal appeal of American ideas, or even as a function of a unique American vocation to transform the world, but rather as rooted in the country’s singular commitment to the equality and dignity of individual American citizens. The role of the U.S. government, Jacksonians believe, is to fulfill the country’s destiny by looking after the physical security and economic well-being of the American people in their national home—and to do that while interfering as little as possible with the individual freedom that makes the country unique. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] The Dick Van Dyke Show: ‘You Wonderful You’, Mary Tyler Moore

Oh How We Met on that Night We Danced- Rob cons his way into dancing with Laura so he could meet her and talk to her. Things don’t go exactly as planned. The Dick Van Dyke Show is an American television sitcom that initially aired on CBS from October 3, 1961, until June 1, 1966. The show was created by Carl Reiner and starred Dick Van Dyke, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Larry Mathews, and Mary Tyler Moore. It centered on the work and home life of television comedy writer Rob Petrie (Van Dyke). The show was produced by Reiner with Bill Persky and Sam Denoff. The music for the show’s theme song was written by Earle Hagen.[1]

dick-van-dyke-show

The series won 15 Emmy Awards. In 1997, the episodes “Coast-to-Coast Big Mouth” and “It May Look Like a Walnut” were ranked at 8 and 15 respectively on TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.[2] In 2002, it was ranked at 13 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time[3] and in 2013, it was ranked at 20 on their list of the 60 Best Series. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Spicer Again Skips AP For First Briefing Question, Chooses LifeZette 

lifezette-spicer

 


7 Most Egregious Acts Of Social Justice In Obama’s Military

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

The Bible apparently perpetuating sexism is just one example.

1604983_10152762140466241_379100650864863767_n-e1421878431501-171x150Jonah Bennett reports: Former President Barack Obama left a legacy of radical social change in the military, but aside from major shifts like allowing women in all combat roles and repealing the ban on open transgender service, many cases of rampant political correctness have been memory-holed.

Here are just seven egregious examples of social justice that creeped into the armed forces over the last eight years.

1. Handbook tells soldiers not to criticize pedophilia 

A proposed U.S. Army handbook from 2012 ordered soldiers not to make any nasty comments about the Taliban or criticize the common practice of pedophilia in Afghanistan. The handbook also suggested that the West’s failure to grasp culture in Afghanistan was partially responsible for the spate of insider attacks. In 2012 alone, insider attacks accounted for 63 deaths of members of the U.S. coalition.

According to a draft of the document leaked to The Wall Street Journal, the document urges troops to stop “advocating women’s rights,” or bring up “any criticism of pedophilia,” or “anything related to Islam.”

[Read the full story here, at The Daily Caller]

Commands to ignore pedophilia in Afghanistan have by no means been limited to the 2012 draft handbook. Rather, The New York Times reported in 2015 that troops have been told repeatedly to ignore cases of pedophilia and extreme sexual assault — even on U.S. military bases.

2.  The Bible disrespects diversity

In December 2014, the Army punished Chaplain Joseph Lawhorn for listing Bible verses as an optional resource in a suicide prevention training class. While his training was very well-received, one soldier complained and contacted an outside organization to put pressure on the military. Army Col. David Fivecoat, Lawhorn’s superior, condemned him for supposedly violating Army policy. Fivecoat told him he was to stop mentioning the Bible because it disrespects diversity.

3. An Air Force base banned the greeting, “Have a blessed day.” 

The Robins Air Force Base in Georgia banned the greeting “Have a blessed day” in March 2015 after a non-religious, anonymous airman bitterly complained that the greeting made him feel as though he was supposed to believe that a higher power affected the course of his day. Just over 10 other airmen joined in his objection to the greeting.

The old greeting was replaced with a new phrase of, “Have a nice day.” But after attention was raised to the issue, the backlash on social media was so swift and severe that Air Force officials outside the base stepped in and reversed course, allowing the original greeting to stand. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] A Libertarian Builds Low-Cost Private Schools for the Masses 

Higher-education reformers shouldn't have to rely on the government to experiment with new methods. (Thinkstock)

Bob Luddy was tired of trying to convince North Carolina educrats to improve the state’s public schools, so he built his own network of low-cost private schools that the government can’t meddle with.


BREAKING: Senate Confirms General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense

gettyimages-631546680

It’s official. ‘Mad Dog’ is defense secretary.

Joe Perticone reports: The Senate confirmed President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of defense on Friday evening.

Shortly after the Inaugural ceremonies concluded, the Senate convened to vote on the confirmation of retired U.S. Marine Corps General James Mattis to helm the Pentagon.

mattis-hearing

Mattis was viewed as a non-controversial pick by Trump, prompting Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to go along with having their confirmation votes.

Mattis initially faced a hurdle to becoming the new Pentagon chief, needing a waiver from Congress to assume the role despite having been less than seven years from active military duty. Upon being sworn in Friday, Trump signed the passed waiver into law, clearing the way for Mattis’ confirmation.

Image Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Image Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was the only member of the Senatorial committee to vote against confirming Mattis as defense secretary. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) had previously voted against the waiver, but ultimately supported Mattis’ confirmation. Read the rest of this entry »


Guy Benson: How Could Anyone Have Possibly ‘Misunderstood’?

maybe

Lies of the Year.

Guy Benson writes: President Obama huddled with Congressional Democrats on Wednesday to discuss best practices for fending off Republican efforts to repeal and replace his failingsignature domestic legislation once Donald Trump is sworn into office. Mike Pence, meanwhile, has met with Republicans on the Hill to plot the path forward to repeal. Both discussions were closed-door, but details quickly leaked out — and this one made me literally laugh out loud:

Heavens, how could anyone have possibly “misunderstood” the degree to which there would be unwelcome changes to the healthcare system under Obamacare? Might it have anything to do with this very same president repeatedly and brazenly lying, assuring everyone that their satisfactory arrangements wouldn’t change at all, and that all other conceivable changes for everyone else would be universally positive?  Virtually every single promise he made, and certainly all the big ones, have been violated.

[Read the full story here, at TownHall.com]

Perhaps the most egregious (tied with lower costs and “affordability“) was Obama’s infamous “keep your plan and doctor” whopper, which was rated by left-leaning Politifact as the 2013 Lie of the Year.  And wouldn’t you know it?  Obama is still lying about Obamacare, which remains unpopular.   Read the rest of this entry »


Debbie Reynolds Has Died

debbie-r-tmz

Debbie Reynolds has died after suffering a stroke at her son’s home in Beverly Hills.

Debbie Reynolds — who rose to stardom in “Singin’ in the Rain” and quickly became a staple among Hollywood royalty — died Wednesday as a result of a stroke, TMZ has learned … just one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher passed away … this according to her son Todd.

Debbie was rushed to a hospital shortly after 1 PM when someone at the Beverly Hills home of her son, Todd, called 911 to report a possible stroke. We’re told Debbie and Todd were making funeral plans for Carrie, who died Tuesday of cardiac arrest.

Debbie famously divorced Eddie Fisher in 1959 after his affair with Elizabeth Taylor. Debbie married 2 more times in 1960 and 1984.

She played iconic roles in “Tammy and the Bachelor” and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” … for which she earned an Oscar nomination. Read the rest of this entry »


Miller’s Alleged Affair with Transition Aide A.J. Delgado Led To White House Rejection

aj-delgado_miller

Phillip Stucky reports: Campaign staffer Jason Miller for Donald Trump recently turned down a job working as Director of Communications, but new information has surfaced that could explain Miller’s decision, according to a Politico report Monday.

miller2

Miller allegedly had an affair during the course of the campaign, according to Politico’s report. The allegations come from transition aide A.J. Delgado, who tweeted congratulations to the “baby-daddy” for his promotion, calling Miller the “2016 version of John Edwards.”

aj

“When you try to put a brave face and tweet about nonsense to distract, your feed looks like @JasonMillerDC’s,” Delgado wrote Twitter. “When people need to resign graciously and refuse to, it’s a bit … spooky.” Delgado then clarified who she was talking about, “Jason Miller, who needed to resign … yesterday.” Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Russian Military Plane Carrying 91 ‘Disappears from Radar’

airplanes

Moscow (AFP) – A Russian military plane carrying 91 people has disappeared from radar after taking off from the southern city of Adler, local news agencies reported the defence ministry as saying Sunday.

The ministry said that there were 83 passengers and 8 crew members on board, and that search and rescue groups had been dispatched to locate the missing Tu-154Read the rest of this entry »


North Korea Able to Launch Nuclear Warhead on Missile, US Military Official Warns, But Controlling it? Not So Much

northkoreakimjongun

WASHINGTON — North Korea now has the capability to launch a nuclear weapon, a senior U.S. military official said Thursday, adding that while the U.S. believes Pyongyang can mount a warhead on a missile, it’s not clear that it can hit a target.

“It is the threat that keeps me awake at night, primarily because we don’t know what the dear leader in North Korea really is after. Truthfully, they have the capability, right now, to be able to deliver a nuclear weapon. They’re just not sure about re-entry and that’s why they continue to test their systems.”

The official said it appears that North Korea can mount a nuclear warhead on a missile, but may not have the re-entry capabilities for a strategic strike. That would include the ability of the weapon to get back through the atmosphere without burning up and the ability to hit the intended target. The official said North Korea continues to try and overcome those limitations.

The Pentagon continues to revise itscontingency plans regarding a North Korean strike, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity. The military routinely develops plans for all threat possibilities.

“It is the threat that keeps me awake at night,” the official said, “primarily because we don’t know what the dear leader in North Korea really is after. Truthfully, they have the capability, right now, to be able to deliver a nuclear weapon. They’re just not sure about re-entry and that’s why they continue to test their systems.”

U.S. officials have steadily expanded their assessments of Pyongyang’s nuclear abilities. Adm. William Gortney, then-head of U.S. Northern Command, said in March that Pyongyang may have figured out how to make a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on a long-range missile. Read the rest of this entry »


Japan in Depth: Pearl Harbor Visit Final Stage of Japan-U.S. Reconciliation

DTMANAGE.000000020161206151330760-1.jpg

It was previously thought that Abe was not inclined to visit Pearl Harbor. In the process of arranging Obama’s visit to Hiroshima, the U.S. State Department communicated secretly with Japan about the possibility of Abe visiting Pearl Harbor. However, the Japanese side declined. The prime minister apparently thought his visit would have a negative impact on Japan-U.S. relations because the focus would be on whether or not an apology would be made during the visit and historical arguments would resurface.

Hiroshi Tajima and Satoshi Ogawa report: Minister Shinzo Abe’s planned visit to Pearl Harbor later this month is based on his decision to demonstrate a mature and future-oriented Japan-U.S. alliance to the world. The prime minister announced Monday night that he will visit Hawaii on Dec. 26 and 27, and visit Pearl Harbor with U.S. President Barack Obama during the Hawaii stay.

“I have long thought of demonstrating the significance and symbolism of visiting Pearl Harbor and the importance of reconciliation.”

— Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

The visit with Obama — following the U.S. president’s visit to Hiroshima in May — will be a historic event to symbolize Japan-U.S. reconciliation, as the leaders of the two countries that fought fiercely against each other in World War II will have paid their respects to victims of the war on those occasions.

[Read the full story here, at The Japan News]

“I have long thought of demonstrating the significance and symbolism of visiting Pearl Harbor and the importance of reconciliation,” Abe told reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday night.

pearl-harbor-newspaper

The prime minister said he has had the idea of visiting Pearl Harbor for a long time, and started specific planning last year.

Pearl Harbor is a significant place in Japan-U.S. history along with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On Dec. 7, 1941 (Dec. 8 Japan time), the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor and sank and damaged eight U.S. battleships, including the USS Arizona. Americans fought World War II with the phrase “Remember Pearl Harbor” in their minds.

The day after the attack, then U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt described the day of the attack as “a date which will live in infamy” in a speech at a joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

At the same place Roosevelt made the speech, the prime minister delivered a speech in April last year and said: “History is harsh. What is done cannot be undone,” naming locations of battles such as Pearl Harbor and Bataan and Corregidor in the Philippines.

obama-pearl-harbor-wh-photo

With this, the prime minister expressed “deep repentance” in a speech that drew standing ovations from U.S. lawmakers and symbolized Japan-U.S. reconciliation.

Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE: Video Restored (Was PragerU Gets Censored Again By YouTube)


censored

How do devout Muslims born in the West feel about Jews? How do they feel about Western values in general? Kasim Hafeez, who was raised a devout Muslim in England, explains.

Source: PragerU

YouTube censors video of pro-Israel Muslim as ‘hate speech’

A petition to restore the video promptly gathered over 105,000 signatures in less than a day. Late Monday evening, Youtube re-uploaded the video in “Restricted Mode,” partially restoring it. This mode marks the video as explicit content, similar to pornography, and effectively makes the video impossible to view on public internet connections at libraries and schools.

Prager is a conservative, nonprofit educational organization that produces short, educational videos. This isn’t the first time Youtube has targeted the group. YouTube put 21 of Prager University’s videos on “restricted mode” in October and currently still lists 18 PragerU videos under that mode…(read more)

Source: Daily Caller Foundation – Bizpac Review


Russia: Progress MS-04 Space Ship Malfunctions, Breaks up Over Siberia 

12583475_g

The Progress MS-04 cargo craft broke up at an altitude of 118 miles over the remote Russian Tuva region in Siberia that borders Mongolia.

An unmanned Russian cargo spaceship heading to the International Space Station broke up in the atmosphere over Siberia on Thursday due to an unspecified malfunction, the Russian space agency said.

The Progress MS-04 cargo craft broke up at an altitude of 190 kilometers (118 miles) over the remote Russian Tuva region in Siberia that borders Mongolia, Roscosmos said in a statement. It said most of space ship’s debris burnt up as it entered the atmosphere but some debris fell to Earth over what it called an uninhabited area.

The Progress cargo ship had lifted off as scheduled at 8:51 p.m. (1451 GMT) from Russia’s space launch complex in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, to deliver 2.5 metric tons of fuel, water, food and other supplies. It entered an orbit nine minutes later and was set to dock with the space station on Saturday. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Tsunami Warning Issued After Quake Off Fukushima in Japan

TOKYO (AP) — An earthquake with preliminary magnitude of 7.3 struck Tuesday off the coast of Fukushima prefecture in Japan. A tsunami warning for waves of up to three meters (10 feet) was issued.

The Japan Meteorological Agency says the quake struck around 6 a.m at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles). It warned people along the coast to move to higher ground.

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the magnitude at 6.9. The earthquake shook buildings in Tokyo, 240 kilometers (150 miles) southwest of the epicenter.

Fukushima prefecture is home to the nuclear power plant that was destroyed by a huge tsunami following an offshore earthquake in 2011…(more)

Developing…


BREAKING: After NY Talks, Abe Confident He Can Build Trust-Based Ties with Trump

n-abetrump

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the two talked about various issues but refrained from disclosing the contents of the meeting with Trump because the talks were unofficial.

He made the comments in New York after a meeting that was intended to smooth relations following Trump’s campaign rhetoric that cast doubt on long-standing U.S. alliances.

Abe became the first world leader to meet Trump on Thursday, seeking reassurances over the future of the U.S.-Japan security and trade relations.

Abe met with Trump in New York, where the incoming president is working on setting up an administration after his surprise election victory last week that has injected new uncertainty into old U.S. alliances.

cxgvmcixaaeldiq

“I do believe that without confidence between the two nations (the) alliance would never function in the future and (after) the outcome of today’s discussion I am convinced Mr. Trump is a leader in whom I can have great confidence,” Abe said following the meeting.

Trump’s campaign rhetoric caused consternation in many world capitals, including Tokyo. Trump has said he would demand that allies such as Japan and South Korea contribute more to the cost of basing U.S. troops in their countries.

Such comments have worried Japan at a time when the threat from North Korea is rising, and China is challenging the U.S.-led security status quo in the Pacific. Read the rest of this entry »


The Man Behind the USC/L.A. Times Poll that Predicted Trump Winning: ‘Beats Me!’

“It was an odd experience,” Arie Kapteyn said Wednesday morning.

The same might be said of the furor that surrounded the Daybreak poll during the campaign. It was the only major public survey that consistently showed Donald Trump winning. As a result, it drew frequent and loud denunciations from many Democrats, especially as election day neared and passions rose.

obmama-despair

“What you think personally doesn’t matter. I thought Clinton would win. But that shouldn’t change the numbers.”

But on Wednesday, as many other pollsters struggled to explain why their surveys seemed blind to Trump’s support, Kapteyn and his colleagues were among the few who could say their work got the basic issue right.

“To be honest, I was surprised.”

“To be honest, I was surprised,” said Kapteyn, a USC economist and expert on public opinion. Read the rest of this entry »