‘The IC is becoming more like the Praetorian Guard’
Kerry Picket reports: NSA surveillance program architect and later whistleblower Bill Binney told Sean Hannity on his radio program Monday that the intelligence community routinely listens in on Americans’ conversations without court ordered FISA warrants.
President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama on Twitter Saturday of wiretapping Trump Tower during the election.
“Under executive order one two triple three, they do surveillance of everybody in the United States without warrants and that’s done through various upstream programs Fairview, Stormbrew, Blarney and also in cooperation with other countries in terms of collection worldwide,” said Binney.
“So it’s all done without warrants and that was testified to by Adrian Kinney and David Murfee Faulk, who were transcribing at Fort Gordon George. They were transcribing conversations between U.S. citizens with no warrant at all.”
ABC News reported in in early October 2009, Murfee Faulk, a Navay Arab linguist, said he and other NSA intercept operators in Baghdad’s Green Zone from late 2003 to November 2007 listened to hundreds of Americans’ private phone conversations.
“Calling home to the United States, talking to their spouses, sometimes their girlfriends, sometimes one phone call following another,” said Faulk.
“Hey, check this out,” Faulk says he would be told, “there’s good phone sex or there’s some pillow talk, pull up this call, it’s really funny, go check it out. It would be some colonel making pillow talk and we would say, ‘Wow, this was crazy’.”
Binney, who resigned from the NSA in 2001 out of disgust wit how the program was being abused, told Hannity, “I will put it this way. The IC is becoming more like the Praetorian Guard. You know, where they’re trying to determine who the emperor is and also influence what the emperor does, so I just think that this is getting out of hand.” Read the rest of this entry »
Health Reform: The need for an overhaul of ObamaCare just got more acute, as a new survey shows that satisfaction rates among those enrolled in ObamaCare plans has taken a steep nose-dive this year amid premium hikes and reduced choices.
The new coverage of ObamaCare these days has been all about protests against repeal and the alleged increase in public support for the law.
But a survey of actual ObamaCare customers released this week paints an entirely different picture.
It found that just 22% of the 44,200 ObamaCare enrollees polled rate their health plan as good to excellent. That’s down from 77% who gave their ObamaCare plans high marks last year.
The reason for the sharp decline was higher premiums, worse service and lack of choice. The survey, conducted by Black Book Market Research, found that 96% reported a decline in customer service support, 90% noted premium increases, 80% said their plans had narrower provider networks, and 77% said their plans’ benefits had been trimmed. Nearly two-thirds (61%) complained about lack of competitors in their market.
In other words, the collapse of competition in the ObamaCare exchanges — which left five states and a third of U.S. counties with only one ObamaCare insurer — has led to the rapid deterioration in quality.
Black Book managing partner Douglas Brown says that the remaining plans “failed to congruently ramp up member services support to process claims, respond to enrollment issues, answer provider questions, denials, authorizations, and payment.” Read the rest of this entry »
The television anchors, reporters and analysts covering President Donald Trump’s inaugural speech may have appeared on different networks, but they were united in their depictions of Trump’s speech.
“A speech that, in the early 1960s, gave us ‘ask not,’ today gave us ‘American carnage,’” said MSNBC anchor Brian Williams.
“One of the most radical inauguration speeches we’ve ever heard … Pure populism,” CNN’s Jake Tapper said.
“This was Donald Trump seizing power, in the sense that there is a new sheriff in town,” Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said. “The American carnage must stop right here, right now. … This was the speech of an insurgent, the leader of a revolt that has won and taken control of Washington.”
Even the more charitable descriptions of the speech noted the darkness of his rhetoric.
“I thought the speech was not poetic, but quite strong. It was very much Trump. While it wasn’t soaring he had many lines that were quite memorable,” said Fox News’ Brit Hume. “He painted this dark landscape of circumstances in this country, and promised to fix it all, basically.”
“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election,” the report said. “We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.”
Russia’s objectives were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate former Secretary of State Clinton, make it harder for her to win and harm her presidency if she did, an unclassified report released by the top U.S. intelligence agency said.
“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election,” the report said. “We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.”
The report, although it omitted classified details, was the U.S. government’s starkest public description of what it says was an unprecedented Russian campaign to manipulate the American body politic.
Reports of Russian interference in the already divisive election have roiled Washington, even as the U.S. Congress on Friday certified Trump’s victory in the Electoral College. Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots.
“The report neither assessed ‘the impact Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election’ nor did it provide details on the evidence underpinning its conclusions, a fact likely to keep alive the controversy over what Moscow may have done.”
The report’s conclusions, though lacking details of how the Russians may have relayed the material to WikiLeaks and others, will give ammunition to Democrats and Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress who want tougher action against Russia, setting the scene for a potential showdown with Trump.
“The report’s conclusions, though lacking details of how the Russians may have relayed the material to WikiLeaks and others, will give ammunition to Democrats and Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress who want tougher action against Russia, setting the scene for a potential showdown with Trump.”
It could also give a boost to members of Congress seeking an independent, bipartisan investigation of Russian hacking. Read the rest of this entry »
Ever since the election, many Democrats have been desperately wondering how to slam the brakes on the Trump train. Well, one good way to start is by getting to know the conservatives who will be allies in that fight.
Here’s a list of five longtime Republicans liberals may grow to love in the Trump Era.
Even socialists who traveled to the Soviet Union and saw its immense poverty with their own eyes could not be shaken from their faith.
Marian L. Tupy writes: Albert Einstein is supposed to have defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Yet, as the economic implosion of Venezuela reminds us, we seem to be unable to stop repeating the same terrible mistake: trying to make socialism work.
To explain our insane fascination with socialism, I have pointed to a growing body of academic research, which suggests that we are, by nature, envious of and resentful toward people who amass “disproportionate” wealth and power.
Moreover, research suggests that we find it difficult to comprehend, let alone appreciate, what Friedrich Hayek called extended order — or the use of specialization and trade to create “an information gathering process, able to call up, and put to use, widely dispersed information that no central planning agency, let alone any individual, could know as a whole, possess or control.”
Our minds have evolved to deal with issues faced by our hunting and gathering ancestors (e.g., an exchange of meat for favors), not to deal with issues facing us today (e.g., outsourcing the assembly of the iPhone to China to make it more affordable in America). The extended order, in other words, has evolved in spite of, not because of, our best efforts.
Today, I want to address another reason behind the persistent appeal of socialism: the power of self-delusion, or our ability and willingness to go on believing in things that are patently not true.
Soviet Five-Year Plan propaganda poster.
Consider the following two examples. In 1985, my Czechoslovak aunt Kate visited the USSR. She was a committed Communist Party member all of her adult life, and, as a reward, she was given a chance to spend a couple of weeks in the workers’ paradise. When she returned, I impetuously asked her if she had brought me anything. “Nothing,” she replied much to my disappointment, “the USSR is a very poor country.” Yet Kate never wavered in her commitment to the principles of communism and remained a party member until 1989, when her entire value system came crumbling down along with the Berlin Wall.
Some ten years later, an American college professor of mine recalled his own visit to the USSR. In 1970, he and his wife spent two weeks in Leningrad, Moscow, and Kiev. During their stay in the communist country, he was shocked by the poverty and inefficiency he saw. (From Kiev, he wrote a letter to his parents in New York, which I have transcribed, with his permission, below.) All the other tourists that he met expressed similar sentiments.
When he returned to the United States, however, he kept on reading reports in mainstream publications, including Time magazine and The New York Times, which maintained that the Soviet economy was working. These reports were written by people who lived in the USSR, spoke Russian and had Soviet friends. As such, he concluded that the impressions he had made during his stay in the USSR were not valid.
If the above two examples failed to convince you of the power of self-delusion, consider our Nobel Prize-winning physicist from Ulm.
Einstein was a self-declared socialist. In 1949, he even published an essay titled “Why Socialism?” In it, Einstein wrote, “The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil [of human suffering]… I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate… [this evil], namely through the establishment of a socialist economy.”
It is striking that the most brilliant scientist of the 20th century, who escaped from national socialist Germany (Hitler called his party “socialist” for a reason) and moved to the capitalist United States, published an essay castigating capitalism and calling for socialism — while Stalin was still alive and busy butchering millions of Soviet citizens. Read the rest of this entry »
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.
“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 »
Payton mentioned a conversation she had on Monday with a Californian who had been planning to vote for Hillary Clinton, but changed his mind after news broke that the FBI is re-opening its investigation into her use of a private e-mail server during her tenure as secretary of State.
“Early voting is bad for democracy,” she said. “I could see a lot of people who did cast a vote for Hillary Clinton, [who are now] seeing all this kind of stuff, become really frustrated with the political system and the way that powerful people are able to skirt the law.” Read the rest of this entry »
Charles Krauthammer said that newly released documents show that the FBI’s coordination with the State Department on the Hillary Clinton case indicates corruption.
“There are so many ironies here. The first is that this is probably normal procedure inside any administration, inside a bureaucracy: trading off favors, trading off probably shady maneuvers. But the problem is this — the charge that Republicans, Trump in particular, are making against Hillary Clinton is precisely that she represents business as usual. You can defend Clinton and say saying ‘Oh, this goes on all the time,’ but that’s the point. They are trying to wipe away this sort of culture of corruption. It is hard to deny that there is a quid pro quo, or at least one was proposed, when the phrase ‘quid pro quo’ is used to describe the transaction in the documents.”
“This is the ‘camera and sausage’ factor. I don’t think that we should be shocked that this happens in any bureaucracy, but once you see it in black in white, and you hear the charge that Clinton represents business as usual — and corrupt business as usual — that, I think, accentuates the charge, and makes it a very serious one.”
CIA Prepping for Possible Cyber Strike Against Russia
William M. Arkin, Ken Dilanian, and Robert Windrem report: The Obama administration is contemplating an unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia in retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the American presidential election, U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.
Current and former officials with direct knowledge of the situation say the CIA has been asked to deliver options to the White House for a wide-ranging “clandestine” cyber operation designed to harass and “embarrass” the Kremlin leadership.
The sources did not elaborate on the exact measures the CIA was considering, but said the agency had already begun opening cyber doors, selecting targets and making other preparations for an operation. Former intelligence officers told NBC News that the agency had gathered reams of documents that could expose unsavory tactics by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Vice President Joe Biden told “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd on Friday that “we’re sending a message” to Putin and that “it will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact.”
When asked if the American public will know a message was sent, the vice president replied, “Hope not.”
Retired Admiral James Stavridis told NBC News’ Cynthia McFadden that the U.S. should attack Russia’s ability to censor its internal internet traffic and expose the financial dealings of Putin and his associates.
“It’s well known that there’s great deal of offshore money moved outside of Russia from oligarchs,” he said. “It would be very embarrassing if that was revealed, and that would be a proportional response to what we’ve seen” in Russia’s alleged hacks and leaks targeting U.S. public opinion.
Sean Kanuck, who was until this spring the senior U.S. intelligence official responsible for analyzing Russian cyber capabilities, said not mounting a response would carry a cost.
“If you publicly accuse someone,” he said, “and don’t follow it up with a responsive action, that may weaken the credible threat of your response capability.”
President Obama will ultimately have to decide whether he will authorize a CIA operation. Officials told NBC News that for now there are divisions at the top of the administration about whether to proceed.
Two former CIA officers who worked on Russia told NBC News that there is a long history of the White House asking the CIA to come up with options for covert action against Russia, including cyber options — only to abandon the idea.
“We’ve always hesitated to use a lot of stuff we’ve had, but that’s a political decision,” one former officer said. “If someone has decided, `We’ve had enough of the Russians,’ there is a lot we can do. Step one is to remind them that two can play at this game and we have a lot of stuff. Step two, if you are looking to mess with their networks, we can do that, but then the issue becomes, they can do worse things to us in other places.”
How many deaths is too many? VOC’s #CommunismKills campaign begins with the premise that each individual life taken by communism is one too many. Communism has killed over 100,000,000 people over the last 100 years and continues to do so in the countries of China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, and Laos. This staggering number represents more than just an aggregate; it represents one hundred million individuals, each with his or her own history, dignity, and humanity.
In the last 100 years, since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, over 100 million people have been killed by communism. Many were executed directly by communist revolutionaries and functionaries who justified this murder as one more step toward an imagined communist utopia. Others were caught in the crossfire of civil wars, revolutions, and invasions as communist forces tried to expand their dominion by military force.
“21st century communist countries do not kill people by the millions anymore. But every year, communist countries disappear dissidents, silence journalists, and imprison innocent people. 100,000,000 deaths in 100 years is an astounding tally.”
Most, however, died as a result of massive famines caused by communist economic policies. In the Soviet Union and China, where most of communism’s victims lie, the famines were not incidental or accidental. Stalin directly targeted ethnic Ukrainians by seizing their property and food in the name of common ownership. Mao Zedong, upon hearing that his people were starving due to his communist economic policies, famously said, “Educate peasants to eat less.”
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the United States Congress worried that the “heroic sacrifices of the victims of communism may be forgotten as international communism and its imperial bases continue to collapse and crumble.”
In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed Public Law 103-199, establishing the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, and reminding the world that “Congress finds that, since 1917, the rulers of empires and international communism led by Vladimir I. Lenin and Mao Tse-tung have been responsible for the deaths of over 100,000,000 victims.”
A veiled Muslim Uyghur woman walks past a statue of Mao Zedong in Kashgar in Xinjiang province. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
The 100,000,000 number is made all the more upsetting by the fact that it’s inexact and growing. Unlike the Nazis, communists did not keep accurate records of the amount of people they killed. In places like China and Ukraine, government archives have only opened in the last decade, revealing that there are tragically more and more victims to be discovered, counted, and memorialized. Over the course of the past decades, many scholars have attempted to establish solid numbers for communism’s victims, some of which can be found here. Read the rest of this entry »
The US government uses the term tax expenditure to describe both privileges granted to politically favored special interests and patches to the tax system that address economic inefficiencies created by the income tax code. This use of the term confuses two very different phenomena and muddies policy discussions about tax reform.
A new study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University examines the current accounting of tax expenditures, presents case studies of some corporate tax expenditures, and proposes reforms to reduce favoritism in the tax code. The study investigates the difference between tax expenditures that privilege a particular group at the expense of others and tax provisions that, if properly accounted for, would not be counted as tax expenditures at all.
A corporate tax expenditure is defined as a provision in the tax code that allows a firm or group of firms to not pay a tax which would otherwise be collected.
The modern US tax system is built on the income tax. This system double-taxes investment and savings, distorting market decisions and slowing economic growth.
To correct these distortions in the income tax, some special tax provisions were created to mitigate biases against savings and investment and offset other distortions.
Under the current accounting methods, broadly available tax expenditures that correct for economic bias are economically indistinguishable from government-provided tax subsidies that benefit some businesses and industries at the expense of others.
A superior tax expenditure baseline would rely on consumption, which would provide a more equal
treatment of economic activity and focus attention on tax provisions that truly provide unfair advantages.
However, even by the standards of a consumption baseline, most corporate tax expenditures are unnecessary privileges that provide unfair advantages to certain industries and firms.
Sixty-five percent of corporate tax expenditures privilege certain activities or industries while excluding others.
The proliferation of corporate tax expenditures results in disparate effective tax rates that distort consumption and investment and motivate wasteful rent-seeking.
The growth of tax expenditures also increases compliance costs by contributing to the lengthening of the tax code, which in the past 30 years has nearly tripled in length, from 26,300 pages in 1984 to the almost 75,000-page behemoth it is today.
Chaffetz called the hearing to question officials about why whole and partial documents had been withheld from Congress, including unclassified files.
Sarah Westwood reports: FBI Director James Comey refused to attend a classified briefing with the House Oversight Committee despite receiving an invitation to testify about the bureau’s reluctance to disclose thousands of pages of evidence compiled in its year-long investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email use.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the committee’s top Democrat, said Monday that Comey had declined to appear at the meeting because he had “already bent over backwards” to explain the FBI’s decision-making in the Clinton email case.
But Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the Oversight Committee, disputed the suggestion that he had invited Comey to the public hearing on redactions in notes from the Clinton email case, noting he had discussed specific points of concern in a personal phone call with the FBI director but had not issued a subpoena for Comey’s presence at the hearing.
Chaffetz called the hearing to question officials about why whole and partial documents had been withheld from Congress, including unclassified files.
The Obama administration disclosed to Congress on Tuesday that it transferred a total of $1.7 billion in cash through Swiss banks to Iran around the time American hostages were released this year, about four times the amount originally disclosed to the public, sources told Circa.
The materials include what appears to be a summary of Clinton’s interview with agents.
Matt Zapotosky and Rosalind S. Helderman report: The FBI on Friday released a detailed report on its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, as well as what appears to be a summary of her interview with agents, providing the most thorough look yet at the probe that has dogged the campaign of the Democratic presidential nominee.
“The FBI’s investigation and forensic analysis did not find evidence confirming that Clinton’s e-mail accounts or mobile devices were compromised by cyber means. However, investigative limitations, including the FBI’s inability to obtain all mobile devices and various computer components associated with Clinton’s personal e-mail systems, prevented the FBI from conclusively determining whether the classified information transmitted and stored on Clinton’s personal server systems was compromised via cyber intrusion or other means.”
The documents, which total 58 pages, do not seem to provide any major revelations about Clinton’s actions — though they paint her and her staff as either unaware of or unconcerned with State Department policies on email use. The materials also show that the FBI was unable to track down all of Clinton’s devices, including phones, it sought, and that made it impossible for agents to definitively answer every question they had, including whether Clinton’s emails were hacked.
“The FBI’s investigation and forensic analysis did not find evidence confirming that Clinton’s e-mail accounts or mobile devices were compromised by cyber means,” the author of the report wrote. “However, investigative limitations, including the FBI’s inability to obtain all mobile devices and various computer components associated with Clinton’s personal e-mail systems, prevented the FBI from conclusively determining whether the classified information transmitted and stored on Clinton’s personal server systems was compromised via cyber intrusion or other means.”
FBI Director James B. Comey announced in July that his agency would not recommend criminal charges against Clinton for her use of a private email server. Comey said that Clinton and her staffers were “extremely careless” in how they treated classified information, but investigators did not find they intended to mishandle such material. Nor did investigators uncover exacerbating factors — such as efforts to obstruct justice — that often lead to charges in similar cases, Comey said.
The FBI turned over to several congressional committees documents related to the probe and required that they be viewed only by those with appropriate security clearances, even though not all of the material was classified, legislators and their staffers have said.
Those documents included an investigative report and summaries of interviews with more than a dozen senior Clinton staffers, other State Department officials, former secretary of state Colin Powell and at least one other person. The documents released Friday represent but a fraction of those.
A summary prepared by FBI agents of their hours-long interview with Clinton in July shows that Clinton’s account to law enforcement was generally consistent with what she has said about her email situation publicly, though she repeatedly told agents she could not recall important details or specific emails she was questioned about.
She told the agents that she began using the private server as a matter of convenience and denied the set-up was intended to help evade public records laws. She indicated she never sought nor received permission to use a private server and said she largely turned over the set-up of the system to aides. Read the rest of this entry »
So far, his story is shaping up as the now-customary list of jihadist clichés.
America just suffered our worst terrorist attack since 9/11. We need to start talking honestly about the enemy that keeps butchering Americans.
John R. Schindler writes: Tonight we burn illusions. A terrorist attack on a popular gay club in Orlando, Florida in the middle of the night ended before the dawn with the violent deaths of at least 50 innocents and the maiming of 53 more. This was the bloodiest terrorist attack on America since 9/11. The Pulse nightclub, something of an icon in Florida LGBT circles, was transformed into a charnel house.
“While all Islamists view gays and lesbians with a distaste that veers easily into violence, ISIS kills them so routinely – pushing them off buildings before the cameras, for instance – that it scarcely attracts attention any longer. Nobody should be shocked that a murderer swearing allegiance to ISIS makes gays his target – particularly during Ramadan, when the group has exhorted its followers to make war on infidels with enhanced intensity.”
The United States had been lucky, having avoided truly mass casualty terrorist incidents since that awful day 15 years ago, through a combination of luck, inept enemies, and excellent intelligence work. But the Orlando horror demonstrates that attacks on soft targets in public places can cause huge numbers of casualties, here as well as in Europe, like last November’s assaults on Paris that killed 130 people, 89 of them at the Bataclan theater, where a hostage situation resulted in a bloodbath. Something similar has just happened in Florida.
His statement that his son was triggered by seeing two men kissing in public seems unlikely to endear the family to the American public.
“Within hours of the massacre, progressives and jihad apologists were insisting that the Orlando attack was ‘really’ about guns – and certainly not about Islamism or jihadism. The Pulse massacre was about guns the way that the 9/11 attacks were ‘really’ about box cutters and the 2013 Boston bombing was ‘really’ about pressure cookers.”
While the Paris attacks were the work of nine terrorists, plus several others providing logistical support, so far only one killer has been identified in the Orlando atrocity. While there are reports of other shooters, these remain unconfirmed, and the sole terrorist definitely involved was Omar Mateen, born in this country in 1986 to immigrant parents from Afghanistan. He was killed by police at the end of the nightmare he inflicted on Orlando.
So far, his story is shaping up as the now-customary list of jihadist clichés. The 29-year-old went from a relatively normal American life towards extremism, winding up on the radar of the FBI more than once for his aggressive beliefs. A brief marriage failed, in part because he frequently beat his wife, she claims, asserting that Mateen “was not a stable person.” A trauma like divorce leading to an embrace of jihadism is as common as can be in extremist circles.
The killer’s family has claimed that their son’s terrible act had “nothing to do with religion” – again, following the script we have come to expect whenever a young person, usually male, brutally murders strangers in the name of Islam. While Omar Mateen’s father claims to be utterly mystified by his son’s actions, that assertion should be examined closely, since Seddique Mateen has publicly praised the Taliban in his home country – the very people the American military has been fighting since late 2001. In a truly bizarre twist, Mateen Senior claims to be the real president of Afghanistan. His statement that his son was triggered by seeing two men kissing in public seems unlikely to endear the family to the American public.
Wasting no time, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Pulse nightclub. This should not surprise, since Mr. Mateen is reported to have declared allegiance to ISIS just before starting his rampage, and that group boasts of its pathological hatred of homosexuals. While all Islamists view gays and lesbians with a distaste that veers easily into violence, ISIS kills them so routinely – pushing them off buildings before the cameras, for instance – that it scarcely attracts attention any longer. Nobody should be shocked that a murderer swearing allegiance to ISIS makes gays his target – particularly during Ramadan, when the group has exhorted its followers to make war on infidels with enhanced intensity.
“There’s also a disturbing question about how Mr. Mateen managed to keep working as a security guard despite having been twice investigated by the FBI.”
Whether Mr. Mateen had any bona fide contacts with the Islamic State is another question, one that investigators will want to answer properly. Since he was known to the FBI, it seems likely that U.S. intelligence had questions about that too. Regardless, since the Islamic State has commanded jihadist wannabes worldwide to take action by themselves, without any direct orders from the group, it’s quite possible that this killer was simply doing what he thought ISIS would want him to do in their name. Read the rest of this entry »
The slideshow also informed the soldiers: “Race privilege gives whites little reason to pay a lot of attention to African Americans.” It alleged that there are unspecified “powerful forces everywhere” keeping different kinds of people from being valued, accepted, and appreciated, but “we act as if it doesn’t exist.” This alleged privilege creates a “yawning divide” in income, wealth, and dignity. The material described a mythical African woman who isn’t aware that she’s black until she comes to America, encounters “white racism” and discovers the U.S. is “organized according to race.”
Any and all materials used in an Equal Opportunity briefing provided on April 2, 2015, to the 67th Signal Battalion at Fort Gordon, Georgia, which included a discussion of “white privilege,” including but not limited to, handouts, PowerPoint presentations, audio/video tapes, course syllabi, and any recordings of the presentation itself.
The response to the Judicial Watch FOIA request included the entire Equal Opportunity Training PowerPoint presentation entitled “Power and Privilege,” which states:
Privilege exists when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, rather than because of anything they’ve done or failed to do.
Privilege has become one of those loaded words we need to reclaim so that we can use it to name and illuminate the truth
Race privilege gives whites little reason to pay a lot of attention to African Americans or to how white privilege affects them. “To be white in American [sic] means not having to think about it” [Quotation not attributed]
Imagine a school or a workplace where all kinds of people feel comfortable showing up. [sic] valued, accepted, supported, appreciated, respected, belonging. [sic] Something very powerful keeps this from us.
The truth of this powerful forces [sic] is everywhere, but we don’t know how to talk about it and so we act as though it doesn’t exist
It creates a yawning divide in levels of income, wealth, dignity, safety, health and quality of life.
It promotes fear, suspicion, discrimination, harassment, and violence.
Consider the “black woman” in Africa who has not experienced white racism and does not identify herself as a “black woman”. African, a woman, but not black.
She only became “black” when she came to the U.S. where privilege is organized according to race, where she is assigned to a social category that bears that name and she is treated differently as a result. [Emphasis added]
The trouble we’re in can’t be solved unless the “privileged” make the problem of privilege their problem and do something about it.
The fact that it’s so easy for me and other people in dominant groups not to do this is the single most powerful barrier to change.
Though news of the indoctrination incident was briefly reported in Stars and Stripes shortly after it occurred, only one of the above slides previously has been made public. Confronted with the information at the time, an Army spokesperson claimed the presentation was not officially sanctioned. Read the rest of this entry »
The official declaration was signed by 59 delegates, and five copies of the document were distributed to the Texas towns of Bexar, Brazoria, Goliad, Nacogdoches, and San Felipe. Read the rest of this entry »
US Now Ranks 11th in Fatalities and 12th in Frequency.
“But we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It’s not even close. And as I’ve said before, somehow we’ve become numb to it and we start thinking that this is normal.”
This claim is simply not true. Between January 2009 and December 2015, there are 11 European countries with a higher frequency of these mass public shootings than the US, and 10 European countries with a higher rate of deaths from these attacks.
Indeed, over that same period of time, the European Union (EU) suffered 303 deaths from mass public shootings, while the US had 199. In terms of injuries from these attacks the gap was even much greater, with EU countries facing 680 versus just 197 for the US. However, given the EU’s larger population, the per million people fatality rate for the US and the EU as a whole are virtually identical (0.62 for the US and 0.60 for the EU). By contrast, the injury rate in the EU is much higher (0.61 for the US and 1.34 for the EU).
This past year was a particularly bad one for Europe, with 8 Mass Public Shootings versus only 4 for the United States. Indeed, these 8 Mass Public Shootings for Europe in 2015 count for one-third of all their attacks over the entire seven year period of time…(read more)
Even if one puts it in terms of frequency, the president’s statement is still false, with the US ranking 12th compared to European countries.
U.S. government data showed that over 10,500 unaccompanied immigrant children crossed the southern border with Mexico.
Morgan Chalfont reports: A massive appropriations bill expected to be approved by Congress would provide more than $1.6 billion to resettle illegal immigrants arriving at the U.S. border through 2018.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the Department of Health and Human Services has begun a process to expand its temporary capacity to house unaccompanied children.”
— Department of Health and Human Services, in a statement
Congress would award the massive check to the government just as the U.S. is experiencing a surge in arrivals of immigrant children at the southern border. Last week, federal agencies said they were opening two temporary shelters with 1,000 beds in South Texas to cope with the surge. A 400-bed shelter is also to be opened in Southern California.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the Department of Health and Human Services has begun a process to expand its temporary capacity to house unaccompanied children,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement last Monday. Read the rest of this entry »
Benghazi questions yet unanswered ahead of Clinton testimony.
As the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was unfolding, a high-ranking Pentagon official urgently messaged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s top deputies to offer military help, according to an email obtained by Judicial Watch.
The revelation appears to contradict testimony Defense Secretary Leon Panetta gave lawmakers in 2013, when he said there was no time to get forces to the scene in Libya, where four Americans were killed, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.
“I just tried you on the phone but you were all in with S [apparent reference to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton],” reads the email, from Panetta’s chief of staff Jeremy Bash. “After consulting with General Dempsey, General Ham and the Joint Staff, we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak.”
” … we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak.”
– Jeremy Bash, Pentagon chief of staff
The email was sent out at 7:19 p.m. ET on Sept. 11, 2012, in the early stages of the eight-hour siege that also claimed the lives of Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith and two former Navy SEALs, Ty Woods and Glen Doherty, private CIA contractors who raced to the aid of embattled State Department workers.
Although the email came after the first wave of the attack at the consulate, it occurred before a mortar strike on the CIA annex killed Woods and Doherty.
“This leaves no doubt military assets were offered and ready to go, and awaiting State Department signoff, which did not come,” Judicial Watch, a nonprofit government watchdog said in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »
“That database will have information about everything on every individual on ways that it’s never been done before and whoever runs for President on the Democratic ticket has to deal with that. They’re going to go down with that database and the concerns of those people because they can’t get around it.”
“…And he’s [President Obama] been very smart. It’s very powerful what he’s leaving in place.”
Sending U.S. troops to intervene in Syria is a poorly thought out strategy that is likely to backfire.
In Senate testimony on October 27th, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter indicated that the U.S. might be taking on a more direct combat role in Syria’s civil war. Later today, President Obama is expected to announce the deployment of U.S. troops to northern Syria.
“It is time for the president to forcefully state what everyone knows to be true: the United States has no magic formula for solving the Syrian conflict…Outside involvement has fueled the multisided civil war, but failed to deliver a decisive victory for any one faction.”
— Christopher Preble, Cato’s Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies
“Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s statement…that the U.S. military ‘won’t hold back’ from engaging in ‘direct action on the ground’ in Syria is a troubling development,“ says Benjamin Friedman, Research Fellow in Defense and Homeland Security Studies at the Cato Institute. “It does not so much indicate mission creep as continuity of flawed policy. Competing objectives burden U.S. policy: helping weak rebels overthrow Assad, which prolongs the war and aids ISIS, and defeating ISIS, which aids Assad. Until we resolve that contradiction, the value of tactical gains against either foe will be limited. We should cease helping rebels and attack ISIS alone.”
“Unfortunately, there is probably little constructive the United States can do at this point to resolve the conflict in Syria and establish a stable new government. The Obama administration, therefore, should take care not to make a bad situation worse.”
— Visiting Research Fellow Brad Stapleton
Even without U.S. ground troops, the Obama administration’s policy of continuing to fund and arm Syrian rebel groups is problematic enough, especially now that Russia is more deeply involved in backing the Assad regime militarily. According to Visiting Research Fellow Brad Stapleton, this risks getting into a messy proxy war that won’t end well for Washington. “Unfortunately, there is probably little constructive the United States can do at this point to resolve the conflict in Syria and establish a stable new government,” Stapleton writes. “The Obama administration, therefore, should take care not to make a bad situation worse.”
Many commentators have proposed imposing no-fly zones or safe zones in Syria to ease the humanitarian crisis. But, as Emma Ashford, Visiting Research Fellow, explains, this is likely to backfire. “U.S. involvement in Syria displays no strategy, no boundaries and no clear goals,” Ashford writes. “The only viable long-term solution to Syria’s problems is diplomacy. But that has been pushed to the side in favor of airstrikes and limited, ad hoc rebel training programs.” Read the rest of this entry »
“Commissioner violated the public trust. He failed to comply with a congressionally issued subpoena, documents were destroyed on his watch, and the public was consistently misled.”
“Impeachment is the appropriate tool to restore public confidence in the IRS and to protect the institutional interests of Congress. This action will demonstrate to the American people that the IRS is under repair, and signal that Executive Branch officials who violate the public trust will be held accountable.”
— Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz in a news release
….Here’s how the shutdown weapon works. The president and his Democratic allies in Congress dictate their priorities on the budget and spending. If Republicans don’t go along, if they pass a budget that doesn’t spend as much as the president wants, Democrats use the filibuster and the veto to block the budget and shut down government. They then use “shutdown theater”—things like erecting barriers around public monuments that require no federal money to stay open—to make this seem like a bigger crisis than it is, and they depend on the press to put all the blame on Republicans. The House GOP, seeing the public approval of Republicans taking a hit, backs down. That’s how the last two Democratic presidents have used the shutdown to beat a hostile Congress into submission.
Democracy isn’t a machine — it’s a dance. Americans have some recourse against Obama’s shutdown theater.
So long as Obama and the Democrats can use a government shutdown as a credible threat, they neutralize House Republicans’ power of the purse. And so long as that’s the case, the House GOP can’t do anything substantial. They’re reduced to pleading, “We can’t do anything until we have the Senate,” and then, “We can’t do anything until we have the presidency.” And eventually the Republican base and the Tea Party types get fed up and conclude that Republican leaders never really wanted to do anything in the first place, that they’re just marking time before they can go to K Street or Wall Street and cash out. (Which is partly correct.)
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
The House GOP needed to find a good opportunity to go to the matt on the government shutdown and force Democrats to compromise. If they had done that, they could have used budget negotiations to get at least some of what the base wanted, instead of caving in all the time…(read more)
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, left, with Speaker John Boehner spoke to reporters Tuesday in Washington. PHOTO: GARY CAMERON/REUTERS
WASHINGTON — Kristina Peterson and Siobhan Hughes report: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is expected to win House Republicans’ internal election Thursday to be the next speaker. Then his high-stakes audition begins.
The California Republican will have three weeks to try to tame the conservative opposition threatening to block his Oct. 29 election on the House floor. The timing is tough. Congress this month could consider a rush of contentious legislation—including a possible two-year budget deal and a debt-ceiling increase—likely to spark some GOP opposition.
Conservatives have made clear they will be weighing how Mr. McCarthy acts as they decide whether to stage an insurrection on the House floor. On Wednesday, the House Freedom Caucus, a group of about 40 conservatives, said at least 30 of its members would vote for Rep. Daniel Webster (R., Fla.) as speaker on Thursday and later on the House floor, unless Mr. McCarthy pledges to overhaul how the chamber is run.
“Whoever wins tomorrow has three weeks to make those changes,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R., Idaho) said Wednesday. This week’s vote, he said, “won’t settle anything.”
Mr. McCarthy, expected to easily win a majority of votes in the House Republicans’ secret-ballot election on Thursday, faces a higher hurdle at month’s end. To be elected speaker, a candidate must win a majority of all votes cast for individuals on the House floor, and almost all Democrats are expected to vote for Minority LeaderNancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) as speaker.
Mr. McCarthy therefore can only afford to lose 28 Republicans, assuming all members vote, excluding departing Speaker John Boehner. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) is also running for speaker. If no one wins a majority, the House repeats the roll-call vote.
“You’re much more likely to get some changes in how things operate in this place when people are trying to get votes,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio.), chairman of the Freedom Caucus. Read the rest of this entry »
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has pulled out of the race for House Speaker, NBC News confirmed Thursday.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has pulled out of the race for House Speaker, throwing further doubt on congressional leadership ahead of crucial budget negotiations, NBC News confirmed Thursday.
House Republicans said that the party’s leadership election would be pushed to a later date. The California Republican had been considered the frontrunner to replace John Boehner after he surprisingly announced he would leave at the end of October….
Despite losing political ground to Obama, Israeli prime minister condemns nuclear deal, says Tehran’s threats have been met by ‘utter silence’ at global body.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu glares silently at the United Nations for 45 seconds after berating the organization for their silence in the wake of Iran’s continued threats against the Jewish state.
UNITED NATIONS— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday delivered a fiery address here condemning the Iranian nuclear deal, largely unbowed in his opposition despite losing steep political ground to President Barack Obama over the issue this year.
In his speech to the General Assembly, Mr. Netanyahu thundered that Iranian threats to destroy Israel have been met in the world body by “utter silence, deafening silence.”
He then stopped speaking for 45 seconds, panning the hall with a furrowed glare.
“Perhaps you can now understand why Israel is not joining you in celebrating this deal,” he said.
The nuclear deal, reached in July between Iran and six world powers including the U.S., passed a crucial milestone when the U.S. Congress failed to adopt a resolution of disapproval that essentially could have blocked the deal from moving forward.
Mr. Netanyahu had thrown his support behind congressional opponents of the deal, delivering a controversial speech to Congress in March and meeting repeatedly with U.S. lawmakers.
After Mr. Netanyahu’s political loss, the White House sees him as wielding less influence over the president’s agenda.
Inside the White House, officials have come to expect forceful rhetoric from Mr. Netanyahu, especially at a high-profile platform such as the U.N.Read the rest of this entry »
Maloney cited mammograms as an example of “life-saving services provided by Planned Parenthood” in a statement decrying efforts by “anti-choice extremists” to defund the organization.
“To the best of my knowledge, not any [Planned Parenthood clinics] have mammogram machines,” Richards said in response to a question by Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R., Wyoming.).
REP. CAROLYN MALONEY: When you read this, there are certain things that jump out. All of the signatories are men, none of whom will get pregnant, or need a cervical screening for cancer, or mammograms, or a Pap smear, or other life-saving services provided by Planned Parenthood.
REP. CYNTHIA LUMMIS: Thank you, Ms. Richards, for being with us today. My first question is, how many Planned Parenthood clinics have mammogram machines?
CECILE RICHARDS: There aren’t any Planned Parenthood clinics—I believe, to the best of my knowledge, not any have mammogram machines at their facility.
Maloney appeared to react with surprise when Lummis asked Richards about Planned Parenthood’s provision of mammograms. Read the rest of this entry »
…The plot of the Shakespearean succession drama is fixed as the stars: The entertainment wing of the conservative movement prepares to rain brimstone upon Republican whipKevin McCarthy, the presumptive front-runner among House leaders, or Paul Ryan, a conservative hero until the day before yesterday now cast into the outer darkness for various heresies related to his being an elected lawmaker rather than the host of a radio program.
“Due in part to the massive shift in power away from the most accountable representatives of the people to a president and five judges, we have needed leadership with vision for the future that did not continue the downhill slide.”
— Representative Louie Gohmert
Expect Louie Gohmert or another conservative standard-bearer to shine for a moment before opinion settles on some disappointment or another, and expect the vast majority of the American electorate to go on not knowing who the speaker is or what he does regardless of who is elected.
“The waxing of the president and the consequent waning of Congress is a result of the deep psychological structure of mass democracy on the American scale, probably an inevitable one.”
On the subject of Representative Gohmert, his statement following the speaker’s resignation is on point: “Due in part to the massive shift in power away from the most accountable representatives of the people to a president and five judges, we have needed leadership with vision for the future that did not continue the downhill slide.”
“…these United States are in the process of transforming the form of their union government from that of a democratic republic to that of a unitary autocratic administrative state. Barack Obama and other progressives have hastened that transformation in no small part because they consider the American constitutional order in purely instrumental terms rather than as a good in and of itself.”
As Gohmert notes without quite saying so, these United States are in the process of transforming the form of their union government from that of a democratic republic to that of a unitary autocratic administrative state. Barack Obama and other progressives have hastened that transformation in no small part because they consider the American constitutional order in purely instrumental terms rather than as a good in and of itself. Sometimes the constitutional order serves progressive ends and sometimes it constrains them, which is why President Wilson despised the Constitution and President Obama simply ignores it when he believes it necessary, adopting as he has — with rather less fuss than one might have expected — a Gaullist rule-by-decree model.
“Sometimes the constitutional order serves progressive ends and sometimes it constrains them, which is why President Wilson despised the Constitution and President Obama simply ignores it when he believes it necessary, adopting as he has — with rather less fuss than one might have expected — a Gaullist rule-by-decree model.”
The familiar ratchet effect is in operation: The Left in power expands the state, particularly the executive, and the Right in power does not reverse the turn, in part because conservative politicians like power, too, in part because reversing those expansions is difficult, and in part because even if conservatives win the fight there’s not much juice in it.
As my colleague Charles C. W. Cooke points out, the lack of an American king and an American prime minister has not prevented the traditional English contest between crown and parliament from sneaking into American politics. And the crown is winning.
“The familiar ratchet effect is in operation: The Left in power expands the state, particularly the executive, and the Right in power does not reverse the turn, in part because conservative politicians like power, too, in part because reversing those expansions is difficult, and in part because even if conservatives win the fight there’s not much juice in it.”
This isn’t only a matter of executive opportunism and legislative sloth. The waxing of the president and the consequent waning of Congress is a result of the deep psychological structure of mass democracy on the American scale, probably an inevitable one. Read the rest of this entry »
Marco Rubio announced Speaker John Boehner‘s upcoming resignation at the Values Voter Summit, the crowd erupted into a standing ovation. Rubio, one of the many speakers invited to the 10th annual VVS in Washington, paused from discussing his paid family leave plan to mention Boehner’s resignation: “Just a few minutes ago, Speaker Boehner announced that he will be resigning.”
Needless to say, the audience’s reaction to the news was everything but silent. “With all due respect to people who serve in government,” Rubio continued, “it is important at this moment, with respect to him and the service he has provided to our country, it’s not about him, and I’m not here today to bash anyone, but the time has come to turn the page.” Initial reports described the VVS crowd’s response as a “standing ovation,” a choice of phrase that could be interpreted one of two ways. The audience was either (a) applauding Boehner’s service as speaker with a salutatory round of clapping and standing, or (b) expressing a wild excitement akin to “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead!” in The Wizard of Oz.
The New York Times broke the news Friday morning, citing aides in his office…Boehner has served as a Congressman from Ohio since 1991. He was elected House Majority Leader in 2006, and became House Minority Leader in 2007 after Republicans lost control of the House. He became Speaker of the House in 2011 after the Tea Party resurgence saw massive Republican sgains in the House and Senate. from mediaite…..Religious conservatives broke into a rowdy and prolonged cheer when they learned House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) would resign from Congress. Read the rest of this entry »
“Boehner resigning at end of October,” a Republican representative texted National Review from the House conference meeting. A second congressman confirmed the news.
Boehner has been under pressure from a group of rank-and-file conservatives for months, culminating in the House Freedom Caucus vowing not to vote for any continuing resolution to fund the government that contains money for Planned Parenthood. That pledge came after an HFC member, North Carolina RepresentativeMark Meadows, filed a motion to vacate the chair — that is, depose the speaker — in August.
Boehner considered holding a vote on the motion, according to one House Republican familiar with his thinking, but did not do so out of concern that he would not have the support needed to defeat the motion outright.
Poverty is a serious obstacle to human potential. Free enterprise can help fight it.
Michael R. Strain writes: Washington, D.C., where I live and work, is abuzzwith talk of Pope Francis’s upcoming visit, commencing Tuesday. But what matters much more for the universal church will take place seven days after the pope departs the United States for the Vatican, when the Synod of Bishops on the Family begins.
Free enterprise dramatically reduces extreme poverty. In 1970, over one-quarter of the world lived on less than one dollar per day. By 2006, about one in 20 people lived in extreme poverty — an 80 percent reduction. We have the adoption of free markets across the developing world to thank for this massive reduction. That it happened in less than four decades is all the more impressive.
Due to a recent move by the pope, the upcoming synod may include a discussion of broader issues than did last year’s. I sure hope so. Hot-button issues related to divorce and homosexuality are obviously important and need to be discussed, but so do many other issues. The synod bishops and critics of the Church alike should spend more time on those issues. And I hope one such issue will be the relationship between economics and the family, the topic of a great panel I sat on at Georgetown University earlier this month. The Church’s understanding of this relationship — or, more accurately, this Catholic’s understanding of the Church’s understanding — may be instructive and edifying to our national conversation.
“Poverty is obviously a serious obstacle to the flourishing life – it is hard to reach your full potential if you don’t have enough to eat, and it is hard to meet your obligations to your family, as well. By reducing poverty in the developing world, free markets help to strengthen families.”
We must begin with the human person — that is always the starting point. And we must begin with the understanding that each of us is called to love God and to love others. I do not refer here to sentimentality, but rather to a deep, abiding commitment, rooted in duty — to live for others, our families not the least. This is the central human calling, and the benchmark against which to judge the efficacy of social and economic systems.
“If I’m reading him correctly, the Holy Father’s view is a shame, because dramatically rolling back free markets would weaken the greatest anti-poverty tool in human history. It would, of course, extract a large toll from families.”
The free enterprise system, then, is good insofar as it enables individuals to fulfill this central human vocation. It does this quite well.
First, free enterprise dramatically reduces extreme poverty. In 1970, over one-quarter of the world lived on less than one dollar per day. By 2006, about one in 20 people lived in extreme poverty — an 80 percent reduction. We have the adoption of free markets across the developing world to thank for this massive reduction. That it happened in less than four decades is all the more impressive.
Poverty is obviously a serious obstacle to the flourishing life – it is hard to reach your full potential if you don’t have enough to eat, and it is hard to meet your obligations to your family, as well. By reducing poverty in the developing world, free markets help to strengthen families.
The effect of liberalizing markets on extreme poverty and the good this does for families is a fact I wish the Holy Father discussed more often, and that I hope will be part of the upcoming synod. Reading His Holiness’s encyclical on the environment, I was left with the impression that the pope’s primary socio-environmental concern is not pollution per se, but rather mankind’s ability to generate pollution — an ability which is the consequence of industrialization and market economies. If I’m reading him correctly, the Holy Father’s view is a shame, because dramatically rolling back free markets would weaken the greatest anti-poverty tool in human history. It would, of course, extract a large toll from families. Hopefully the Holy Father sees that markets generate solutions to intractable problems, in addition to causing problems of their own. Read the rest of this entry »
…according to Politico, Hillary Clinton is likely to make Republicans’ opposition to Planned Parenthood a staple of her campaign: “What will matter for the Republicans a year from now is that each candidate stood on the stage and said they would defund Planned Parenthood,” Clinton’s communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, told the outlet, “[and] would even favor shutting down the government in order to defund Planned Parenthood. That is what’s going to stand out from this debate, and that’s what is going to matter a year from now.”
Today was the day we learned that some number approaching zero of reporters have actually watched the @ppact videos.
Good. It should stand out. Fiorina delivered a powerful statement that highlighted — perhaps for people who had never given it a thought — the spirit of barbarism that animates an organization that receives taxpayer dollars. Perhaps that is something unwitting Americans ought to think about.
Let’s have this fight. It’s long past time that Planned Parenthood’s unchallenged status as the sine qua non of women’s health care be challenged. Why not talk about how Planned Parenthood, despite its vague “women’s health” rhetoric, does not provide services such as mammograms?
Why not give Planned Parenthood’s $528 million subsidy to the 9,000 local Community Health Centers that provide women with a wider range of services (such as mammograms), that are more responsive to local health needs, and that don’t provide abortions? Secretary Clinton: Why not? Read the rest of this entry »
Michael Barone writes: in this presidential cycle, voters in both parties, to the surprise of the punditocracy, are rejecting experienced political leaders. They’re willfully suspending disbelief in challengers who would have been considered laughable in earlier years.
“In our system the widespread rejection of experienced leaders ultimately comes from dismay at the leader in the White House. In 1960 Richard Nixon, after eight years as vice president and six in Congress, campaigned on the slogan ‘Experience counts.’ No one is running on that theme this year.”
Polls show more Republicans preferring three candidates who have never held elective office over 14 candidates who have served a combined total of 150 years as governors or in Congress. Most Democrats are declining to favor a candidate who spent eight years in the White House and the Senate and four as secretary of state.
Psephologists of varying stripes attribute this discontent to varying causes. Conservatives blame insufficiently aggressive Republican congressional leaders. Liberals blame Hillary Clinton’s closeness to plutocrats and her home email system.
But in our system the widespread rejection of experienced leaders ultimately comes from dismay at the leader in the White House. In 1960 Richard Nixon, after eight years as vice president and six in Congress, campaigned on the slogan “Experience counts.” No one is running on that theme this year.
Nixon could, because over the preceding quarter-century the majority of Americans mostly approved of the performance of incumbent presidents. Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower still look pretty good more than 50 years later.
Barack Obama doesn’t. His deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes recently said that the president’s nuclear weapons deal with Iran was as important an achievement of his second term as Obamacare was of the first. Historians may well agree.
David French writes: It’s entirely appropriate that the Democratsfilibustered Republican efforts to block the Iran Deal on September 10. After all, the Democrats — now fully the party of jihadistappeasement — are the primary political repository of September 10 thinking, but without the excuse of ignorance. We know what jihadists are capable of. We know their war aims.
And yet the Democrats overwhelmingly voted to grant the world’s most powerful terrorist state a $150 billion economic stimulus, access to international arms markets, and access to ballistic missile technology – without even stopping their nuclear program or establishing a viable inspection program….(read more)
Israel will not survive the next 25 years, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday, making a series of threatening remarks published online.
“After negotiations, in Zionist regime they said they had no more concern about Iran for next 25 years; I’d say: Firstly, you will not see next 25 years; God willing, there will be nothing as Zionist regime by next 25 years. Secondly, until then, struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists.”
In a quote posted to Twitter by Khamenei’s official account, Khamenei addresses Israel, saying, “You will not see next 25 years,” and adds that the Jewish state will be hounded until it is destroyed.
The quote comes against a backdrop of a photograph apparently showing the Iranian leader walking on an Israeli flag painted on a sidewalk.
An Iranian worker at the Uranium Conversion Facility at Isfahan, 410 kilometers, south of Tehran. AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
“Khamenei’s statements also reaffirmed his view that the US is a “Great Satan” and that there would be no detente with Washington beyond the nuclear talks.”
“After negotiations, in Zionist regime they said they had no more concern about Iran for next 25 years; I’d say: Firstly, you will not see next 25 years; God willing, there will be nothing as Zionist regime by next 25 years. Secondly, until then, struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists,” the quote from Iran’s top leader reads in broken English.
The quote was apparently taken from a speech given earlier in the day.
The remarks came as US lawmakers began to debate supporting a recent nuclear agreement between Tehran and six world powers. Critics of the deal have pointed to fiery anti-US and anti-Zionist rhetoric as proof that the regime should not be trusted. Read the rest of this entry »