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Obama’s Iran Deal Ignited an Arms Race in the Middle East

Regime uses sanctions relief to beef up weaponry, leading their neighbors to do the same.

When a speedboat manned by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) personnel approached American vessels operating in open water, the U.S. Navy patrol craft USS Thunderbolt issued a series of warnings, all translating as “stay away, keep safe distance.” The Revolutionary Guards kept coming, as they often do, probing until the USN reacts.

A fanatic’s boat weaving among American warships could disrupt the U.S. formation and cause a collision. Tehran propagandists would tout that as a victory at sea. Worse, an Iranian boat might be a water-borne bomb capable of sinking a big ship. The deadly October 2000 terror attack on the USS Cole is very much on the minds of Navy sailors when Iran’s small boats appear. Read the rest of this entry »

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African-American Women are Increasingly Buying Guns

Up to 59 percent of African-American households now view owning a gun as a “necessity,” according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center released this month, and African-American women have outpaced all other races and genders in terms of securing concealed carry permits in Texas between 2000 and 2016, according to demographic information released by the state. It wasn’t always this way — as recently as 2012, Pew had found that less than a third of black families saw gun ownership as a positive. Philip Smith, the founder of the National African American Gun Association, says that politics — and police shootings such as the recent slaying of Philando Castile — have caused the sudden upswing in gun ownership. And, in his opinion, owning a gun is perhaps the only way that African-American men and women can truly protect themselves.

CONCEAL CARRY ADVOCATE ANTONIA OKAFOR (TWITTER).

CONCEAL CARRY ADVOCATE ANTONIA OKAFOR (TWITTER).

“Regardless of what side you’re on, in the fabric of society right now, there’s an undertone, a tension that you see that groups you saw on the fringes 20 years ago are now in the open,” said Smith. “It seems to me it’s very cool to be a racist right now, it’s in fashion, it’s a trend.”

Marchelle Tigner, a domestic violence and sexual assault survivor, says that black women are particularly likely to be victims of domestic violence. She became a gun instructor, she explained, in order to give other women of color the fighting chance she wished she’d had.

“It’s important, especially for black women, to learn how to shoot,” Tigner said. “We need to learn how to defend ourselves.” Read the rest of this entry »


O’Hare Worker Wanted to Kill Infidels 

A Bosnian Muslim refugee and her five associates charged with attempting to provide support to ISIS invoked an unusual defense, according to ABC7 Chicago.

Mediha Medy Salkicevic has claimed that her support of ISIS constituted “legitimate warfare” and that she was waging war against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, just as the U.S. government is doing by supporting Syrian rebels.

Salkicevic was working for a cargo company at Chicago’s International O’Hare Airport when she was arrested in 2015. Investigators allege she said she wanted to “bury unbelievers alive” and kill infidels.

“Under United States law, acts of legitimate warfare during a civil war are not murder and are entitled to combatant immunity,” her attorneys said. They argue that Americans are “protected from prosecution as acts of legitimate warfare under the doctrine of combatant immunity.”

On Friday, her attorneys filed a motion to dismiss two charges: conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists.

Salkicevic and her alleged co-conspirators stand accused of sending money and military equipment to Bosnian national Abdullah Ramo Pazara, an ISIS leader in Syria. Read the rest of this entry »


OH HELL YEAH: U.S. Urges All Nationals In North Korea To ‘Depart Immediately’, Bans Tourists From Visiting

YA THINK? The U.S. is to ban its citizens from travelling to North Korea.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement that the ban would be published next week in the Federal Register, to come into effect 30 days later.

US officials linked the move to the death of jailed American student Otto Warmbier.

Once the ban is in effect, US citizens will need special validation to travel to or within North Korea.

Mr Warmbier travelled to North Korea with Young Pioneer Tours. He was arrested in 2016 for trying to steal a propaganda sign and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was returned to the US in a coma in June and died a week later.

How did the news come to light?

Koryo Tours and Young Pioneer Tours, who both operate in North Korea, revealed on Friday that they had been told of the upcoming ban by the Swedish embassy, which acts for the US as Washington has no diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.

Rowan Beard, of Young Pioneer Tours, told the BBC the embassy was urging all US nationals to depart immediately.

He said the embassy was trying to check on the number of US tourists left in the country.

What form will the ban take?

Ms Nauert’s statement said: “Due to mounting concerns over the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement, the Secretary has authorised a Geographical Travel Restriction on all US nationals’ use of a passport to travelling through, or to North Korea.

“Once in effect, US passports will be invalid for travel to, through, and in North Korea, and individuals will be required to obtain a passport with a special validation in order to travel to or within North Korea.

“We intend to publish a notice in the Federal Register next week.

“The restriction will be implemented 30 days after publication.”

Rowan Beard said that the 30-day grace period would “give leeway for any [Americans] currently in the country as tourists or on humanitarian work”.

How have the travel agencies reacted?

Simon Cockerell of Koryo Tours told the BBC the agency would still conduct tours and take Americans until the ban came into effect.

“If their country allows them to go, we will take them,” he said.

Mr Cockerell added: “It’s unfortunate for the industry but also for North Koreans who want to know what Americans are really like.”

After the death of Mr Warmbier, the China-based Young Pioneer Tours announced it would no longer take visitors from the US to the country. Read the rest of this entry »


Radical Opponents of Free Speech Can’t Tolerate Hearing Anything New

Turn Left and Go Over the Top

Stefan Kanfer writes: Pity the poor members of the Resistance. They decried violence on the right—only to have GOP congressman Steve Scalise shot by rifle-wielding left-winger James T. Hodgkinson. Then, a group of theater professinals decried any attempt to quash a staging of Julius Caesar with the title character, caparisoned as Donald Trump, assassinated with shouts of revenge and gouts of blood. But soon afterward, yet another assemblage of theater professionals decided that censorship was a good thing after all.

The Lincoln Center Festival is staging a four-night production this month of To the End of the Land, a dramatization of the acclaimed novel by Israeli author David Grossman. The play is underwritten by a cultural-outreach arm of the Israeli government. The Jewish State is anathema to the radical Left, and angry members of an organization identifying itself as “Adalah-NY, the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel,” are demanding that the production be taken off the boards before the Center dares to raise its curtain. Signatories to the demand include playwrights Tracy Letts, Lynn Nottage, and Annie Baker, as well as director Sam Gold, rock star Roger Waters, indie-film darling Greta Gerwig, and reliably anti-Israel playwright/actor Wallace Shawn.

[Read the full story here, at City Journal]

Adalah-NY says that production of To the End of the Land will aid the Isralie government in its “Brand Israel” campaign, which aims to use arts and culture to beguile audiences into thinking that Israel is a modern, civilized nation—while the wicked Hebrews continue their “violent colonization, brutal military occupation and denial of basic rights to the Palestinian people.”

Never mind that the play is actually an antiwar document, that its Israeli writer lost a son to battle and is understandably reluctant to fan any fires, and that, in fact, it has a sympathetic Palestinian character. Never mind that Israel is surrounded by would-be assassins who have sworn to destroy the Jewish state and all who live there. Never mind that a quick glance at the state of human rights or rule of law among any of Israel’s neighbors provides the sharpest possible foil, and that not a peep has been heard from Adalah-NY about the lives of the citizen-victims of Egypt, Gaza, Syria, or Lebanon. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Are Russian and NATO Forces Headed Toward a New Cold War?

The Cold War test of nerves is back. Risky close encounters between Russian and NATO forces have increased dramatically in the Baltic region over the past three years. The WSJ’s Tanya Rivero explains what’s at stake.

 


[VIDEO] President Trump’s Full Speech in Warsaw; Transcript, Network Commentary



President Donald Trump spoke Thursday in Warsaw, Poland, on his second international trip as President. These are his full remarks with first lady Melania Trump, as transcribed by the White House.

MRS. TRUMP: Hello, Poland! Thank you very much. My husband and I have enjoyed visiting your beautiful country. I want to thank President and Mrs. Duda for the warm welcome and their generous hospitality. I had the opportunity to visit the Copernicus Science Centre today, and found it not only informative but thoughtful, its mission, which is to inspire people to observe, experiment, ask questions, and seek answers.

I can think of no better purpose for such a wonderful science center. Thank you to all who were involved in giving us the tour, especially the children who made it such a wonderful experience.

As many of you know, a main focus of my husband’s presidency is safety and security of the American people. I think all of us can agree people should be able to live their lives without fear, no matter what country they live in. That is my wish for all of us around the world. (Applause.)

Thank you again for this wonderful welcome to your very special country. Your kindness and gracious hospitality will not be forgotten. (Applause.)

And now it is my honor to introduce to you my husband, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. (Applause.)

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PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. That’s so nice. The United States has many great diplomats, but there is truly no better ambassador for our country than our beautiful First Lady, Melania. Thank you, Melania. That was very nice. (Applause.)

We’ve come to your nation to deliver a very important message: America loves Poland, and America loves the Polish people. (Applause.) Thank you.

The Poles have not only greatly enriched this region, but Polish-Americans have also greatly enriched the United States, and I was truly proud to have their support in the 2016 election. (Applause.)

It is a profound honor to stand in this city, by this monument to the Warsaw Uprising, and to address the Polish nation that so many generations have dreamed of: a Poland that is safe, strong, and free. (Applause.)

President Duda and your wonderful First Lady, Agata, have welcomed us with the tremendous warmth and kindness for which Poland is known around the world. Thank you. (Applause.) My sincere — and I mean sincerely thank both of them. And to Prime Minister Syzdlo, a very special thanks also. (Applause.)

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We are also pleased that former President Leck Walesa, so famous for leading the Solidarity Movement, has joined us today, also. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

On behalf of all Americans, let me also thank the entire Polish people for the generosity you have shown in welcoming our soldiers to your country. These soldiers are not only brave defenders of freedom, but also symbols of America’s commitment to your security and your place in a strong and democratic Europe.

We are proudly joined on stage by American, Polish, British, and Romanian soldiers. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Great job.

President Duda and I have just come from an incredibly successful meeting with the leaders participating in the Three Seas Initiative. To the citizens of this great region, America is eager to expand our partnership with you. We welcome stronger ties of trade and commerce as you grow your economies. And we are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy. (Applause.)

Mr. President, I congratulate you, along with the President of Croatia, on your leadership of this historic Three Seas Initiative. Thank you. (Applause.)

This is my first visit to Central Europe as President, and I am thrilled that it could be right here at this magnificent, beautiful piece of land. It is beautiful. (Applause.) Poland is the geographic heart of Europe, but more importantly, in the Polish people, we see the soul of Europe. Your nation is great because your spirit is great and your spirit is strong. (Applause.)

For two centuries, Poland suffered constant and brutal attacks. But while Poland could be invaded and occupied, and its borders even erased from the map, it could never be erased from history or from your hearts. In those dark days, you have lost your land but you never lost your pride. (Applause.)

So it is with true admiration that I can say today, that from the farms and villages of your countryside to the cathedrals and squares of your great cities, Poland lives, Poland prospers, and Poland prevails. (Applause.)

Despite every effort to transform you, oppress you, or destroy you, you endured and overcame. You are the proud nation of Copernicus — think of that — (applause) — Chopin, Saint John Paul II. Poland is a land of great heroes. (Applause.) And you are a people who know the true value of what you defend.

The triumph of the Polish spirit over centuries of hardship gives us all hope for a future in which good conquers evil, and peace achieves victory over war.

For Americans, Poland has been a symbol of hope since the beginning of our nation. Polish heroes and American patriots fought side by side in our War of Independence and in many wars that followed. Our soldiers still serve together today in Afghanistan and Iraq, combatting the enemies of all civilization.

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For America’s part, we have never given up on freedom and independence as the right and destiny of the Polish people, and we never, ever will. (Applause.)

Our two countries share a special bond forged by unique histories and national characters. It’s a fellowship that exists only among people who have fought and bled and died for freedom. (Applause.)

The signs of this friendship stand in our nation’s capital. Just steps from the White House, we’ve raised statues of men with names like Pułaski and Kościuszko. (Applause.) The same is true in Warsaw, where street signs carry the name of George Washington, and a monument stands to one of the world’s greatest heroes, Ronald Reagan. (Applause.)

And so I am here today not just to visit an old ally, but to hold it up as an example for others who seek freedom and who wish to summon the courage and the will to defend our civilization. (Applause.) The story of Poland is the story of a people who have never lost hope, who have never been broken, and who have never, ever forgotten who they are. (Applause)

AUDIENCE: Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you so much. Such a great honor. This is a nation more than one thousand years old. Your borders were erased for more than a century and only restored just one century ago.

In 1920, in the Miracle of Vistula, Poland stopped the Soviet army bent on European conquest. (Applause.) Then, 19 years later in 1939, you were invaded yet again, this time by Nazi Germany from the west and the Soviet Union from the east. That’s trouble. That’s tough.

Under a double occupation the Polish people endured evils beyond description: the Katyn forest massacre, the occupations, the Holocaust, the Warsaw Ghetto and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the destruction of this beautiful capital city, and the deaths of nearly one in five Polish people. A vibrant Jewish population — the largest in Europe — was reduced to almost nothing after the Nazis systematically murdered millions of Poland’s Jewish citizens, along with countless others, during that brutal occupation.

In the summer of 1944, the Nazi and Soviet armies were preparing for a terrible and bloody battle right here in Warsaw. Amid that hell on earth, the citizens of Poland rose up to defend their homeland. I am deeply honored to be joined on stage today by veterans and heroes of the Warsaw Uprising. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: (Chanting.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: What great spirit. We salute your noble sacrifice and we pledge to always remember your fight for Poland and for freedom. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)

This monument reminds us that more than 150,000 Poles died during that desperate struggle to overthrow oppression.

From the other side of the river, the Soviet armed forces stopped and waited. They watched as the Nazis ruthlessly destroyed the city, viciously murdering men, women, and children. They tried to destroy this nation forever by shattering its will to survive.

But there is a courage and a strength deep in the Polish character that no one could destroy. The Polish martyr, Bishop Michael Kozal, said it well: “More horrifying than a defeat of arms is a collapse of the human spirit.”

Through four decades of communist rule, Poland and the other captive nations of Europe endured a brutal campaign to demolish freedom, your faith, your laws, your history, your identity — indeed the very essence of your culture and your humanity. Yet, through it all, you never lost that spirit. (Applause.) Your oppressors tried to break you, but Poland could not be broken. (Applause.)

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And when the day came on June 2nd, 1979, and one million Poles gathered around Victory Square for their very first mass with their Polish Pope, that day, every communist in Warsaw must have known that their oppressive system would soon come crashing down. (Applause.) They must have known it at the exact moment during Pope John Paul II’s sermon when a million Polish men, women, and children suddenly raised their voices in a single prayer. A million Polish people did not ask for wealth. They did not ask for privilege. Instead, one million Poles sang three simple words: “We Want God.” (Applause.)

In those words, the Polish people recalled the promise of a better future. They found new courage to face down their oppressors, and they found the words to declare that Poland would be Poland once again.

As I stand here today before this incredible crowd, this faithful nation, we can still hear those voices that echo through history. Their message is as true today as ever. The people of Poland, the people of America, and the people of Europe still cry out “We want God.” (Applause.)

Together, with Pope John Paul II, the Poles reasserted their identity as a nation devoted to God. And with that powerful declaration of who you are, you came to understand what to do and how to live. You stood in solidarity against oppression, against a lawless secret police, against a cruel and wicked system that impoverished your cities and your souls. And you won. Poland prevailed. Poland will always prevail. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. You were supported in that victory over communism by a strong alliance of free nations in the West that defied tyranny. Now, among the most committed members of the NATO Alliance, Poland has resumed its place as a leading nation of a Europe that is strong, whole, and free.

A strong Poland is a blessing to the nations of Europe, and they know that. A strong Europe is a blessing to the West and to the world. (Applause.) One hundred years after the entry of American forces into World War I, the transatlantic bond between the United States and Europe is as strong as ever and maybe, in many ways, even stronger.

This continent no longer confronts the specter of communism. But today we’re in the West, and we have to say there are dire threats to our security and to our way of life. You see what’s happening out there. They are threats. We will confront them. We will win. But they are threats. (Applause.)

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AUDIENCE: Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We are confronted by another oppressive ideology — one that seeks to export terrorism and extremism all around the globe. America and Europe have suffered one terror attack after another. We’re going to get it to stop. (Applause.)

During a historic gathering in Saudi Arabia, I called on the leaders of more than 50 Muslim nations to join together to drive out this menace which threatens all of humanity. We must stand united against these shared enemies to strip them of their territory and their funding, and their networks, and any form of ideological support that they may have. While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people, our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism of any kind. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We are fighting hard against radical Islamic terrorism, and we will prevail. We cannot accept those who reject our values and who use hatred to justify violence against the innocent.

Today, the West is also confronted by the powers that seek to test our will, undermine our confidence, and challenge our interests. To meet new forms of aggression, including propaganda, financial crimes, and cyberwarfare, we must adapt our alliance to compete effectively in new ways and on all new battlefields.

We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes — including Syria and Iran — and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself. (Applause.)

Finally, on both sides of the Atlantic, our citizens are confronted by yet another danger — one firmly within our control. This danger is invisible to some but familiar to the Poles: the steady creep of government bureaucracy that drains the vitality and wealth of the people. The West became great not because of paperwork and regulations but because people were allowed to chase their dreams and pursue their destinies.

Americans, Poles, and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty. We must work together to confront forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the South or the East, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are. (Applause.) If left unchecked, these forces will undermine our courage, sap our spirit, and weaken our will to defend ourselves and our societies.

But just as our adversaries and enemies of the past learned here in Poland, we know that these forces, too, are doomed to fail if we want them to fail. And we do, indeed, want them to fail. (Applause.) They are doomed not only because our alliance is strong, our countries are resilient, and our power is unmatched. Through all of that, you have to say everything is true. Our adversaries, however, are doomed because we will never forget who we are. And if we don’t forget who are, we just can’t be beaten. Americans will never forget. The nations of Europe will never forget. We are the fastest and the greatest community. There is nothing like our community of nations. The world has never known anything like our community of nations.

We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers.

We reward brilliance. We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression. (Applause.)

We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success. We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives. And we debate everything. We challenge everything. We seek to know everything so that we can better know ourselves. (Applause.)

And above all, we value the dignity of every human life, protect the rights of every person, and share the hope of every soul to live in freedom. That is who we are. Those are the priceless ties that bind us together as nations, as allies, and as a civilization.

What we have, what we inherited from our — and you know this better than anybody, and you see it today with this incredible group of people — what we’ve inherited from our ancestors has never existed to this extent before. And if we fail to preserve it, it will never, ever exist again. So we cannot fail.

This great community of nations has something else in common: In every one of them, it is the people, not the powerful, who have always formed the foundation of freedom and the cornerstone of our defense. The people have been that foundation here in Poland — as they were right here in Warsaw — and they were the foundation from the very, very beginning in America.

Our citizens did not win freedom together, did not survive horrors together, did not face down evil together, only to lose our freedom to a lack of pride and confidence in our values. We did not and we will not. We will never back down. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!

PRESIDENT TRUMP: As long as we know our history, we will know how to build our future. Americans know that a strong alliance of free, sovereign and independent nations is the best defense for our freedoms and for our interests. That is why my administration has demanded that all members of NATO finally meet their full and fair financial obligation.

As a result of this insistence, billions of dollars more have begun to pour into NATO. In fact, people are shocked. But billions and billions of dollars more are coming in from countries that, in my opinion, would not have been paying so quickly.

To those who would criticize our tough stance, I would point out that the United States has demonstrated not merely with words but with its actions that we stand firmly behind Article 5, the mutual defense commitment. (Applause.)

Words are easy, but actions are what matters. And for its own protection — and you know this, everybody knows this, everybody has to know this — Europe must do more. Europe must demonstrate that it believes in its future by investing its money to secure that future. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Linda Sarsour: ‘Muslims Should Not Assimilate’ Fighting Trump is ‘a Form of Jihad’

‘Our top priority … is to please Allah, and only Allah.’

Jordan Schachtel reports: Linda Sarsour, a Hamas-tied and prominent Women’s March leader, Islamic supremacist, and anti-Semite, has called for a “jihad” (Islamic holy war) against President Trump.

Addressing the 54th Annual ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) Convention this past weekend, Sarsour delivered a 22-minute screed attacking the Trump administration and called on the Muslim community to unite against the White House.

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Sarsour began the speech thanking her “favorite person in this room … Imam Siraj Wahhaj, who has been a mentor, motivator, and encourager of mine.” She does not mention that Wahhaj was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.

“Why sisters and brothers, why are we so unprepared. Why are we so afraid of this administration and the potential chaos that they will ensue on our community?” she said.

Then, in a particularly vague, yet terrifying, segment of her speech, Sarsour said, “I hope, that when we stand up to those who oppress our communities, that Allah accepts from us that as a form of jihad.”

“We are struggling against tyrants and rulers not only abroad … but here in the United States of America where you have fascists and white supremacists and Islamophobes reining in the White House,” she continued. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage is Hurting the Workers It’s Intending to Help

Three years ago, the city of Seattle voted to gradually raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour in the name of human decency and basic fairness. Several cities, including New York and Los Angeles, have done the same thing. Critics argue that boosting wages by bureaucratic diktat leads to fewer hours and jobs for low-income and low-skilled workers.

Now what The Washington Post calls a “very credible” study from researchers at the University of Washington finds that the critics are right. The Post calls this bad news for liberals. But the real victims are low-skilled workers.

The study finds that when wages were increased to $13, employers cut hours by 9 percent. That means that low-skilled workers saw their monthly compensation decrease by an average of $125.

Studies that downplay the effects of minimum wage hikes have mostly focused on teenagers and fast food workers. But the study at the University of Washington paper looks at the impact on workers spanning all ages and all demographics.

The findings may surprise progressives who believe that the only limit to higher pay for workers is the greed and selfishness of business owners. But it doesn’t come as a surprise to those who remain unconvinced that the law of supply and demand can be amended by city councils. Labor is simply another cost for any business, and when the price of something goes up, we tend to buy less of it.

Another takeaway from the study is that if you want to raise the income of low-skilled workers, taxpayers should pay for that burden through direct cash payments or other forms of welfare. Offloading the cost to employers has unintended consequences, even though it’s a lot easier to demonize business owners for being greedy cheapskates than to build a consensus around raising taxes. Read the rest of this entry »


The Framers and the Fourth: Criticism Of Independence Day Celebrations Ignores Our Collective History

JONATHAN TURLEY

800px-American_1902_Fourth_of_July_fireworksEvery Fourth of July, some celebrity will attract national attention by denouncing the holiday as a type of slaver’s celebration. This year was no exception. In past years, I have said nothing because these comments reflect understandable conflicted feelings by African Americans and others whose ancestors lived through decades of oppression and discrimination. However, it is time to put part of this criticism to rest . . . at least in part. There is a tendency to ignore those Framers who advocated emancipation at our founding and the recognition of the scourge of slavery that would forever taint our history.

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Kurt Schlichter: We Should Cheer CNN’s Ritual Suicide

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Kurt Schlichter writes: If you ever had any doubt that Donald Trump was right that the mainstream media is the enemy of the American people, CNN corrected your inexplicable inability to comprehend this painfully obvious truth by choosing July 4th to threaten some guy for daring to make fun of Its Medianess Holiness. Apparently, if you dare defy the media it has the right to wreck your life – as long as you are an anti-Obama rodeo clown or a meme-making rando on Reddit. If you are a zillionaire like Anthony Scaramucci with the bucks to hire top flight law firms and Gawkerize its lame carcass – which I would have done in a split-second if CNN had lied about me the way it did about him – then you get a free pass.


Instead of comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, CNN’s new motto is apparently “Confront the afflicted and settle with the comfortable.” Every time I see the CNN logo I hear James Earl Jones‘s voice intoning “This is CNN, and we suck.”

But actually, maybe we should all thank CNN for its work guaranteeing Trump’s second term.

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Now, before we move on, someone is going to point out that the meme guy is kind of a jerk and said stuff that offends decent people. So? How is that the point? This is a multi-billion dollar media corporation using all its power to threaten an individual into not criticizing it. How is that ever okay? And don’t pretend for a minute this media extortion precedent gets limited to outlier Reddit guys. Normal Americans are next.

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The media babbles about “principles,” but as soon as they become inconvenient then out the window go those precious “principles.” A silly wrestling gif supporting the president “promotes violence against the media,” but a week before that funding a play where President Trump is stabbed to death was artful political commentary? That’s my objection to all this recent “principles” talk. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] History: Ronald Reagan’s 1986 Independence Day Speech

My fellow Americans:

In a few moments the celebration will begin here in New York Harbor. It’s going to be quite a show. I was just looking over the preparations and thinking about a saying that we had back in Hollywood about never doing a scene with kids or animals because they’d steal the scene every time. So, you can rest assured I wouldn’t even think about trying to compete with a fireworks display, especially on the Fourth of July.

My remarks tonight will be brief, but it’s worth remembering that all the celebration of this day is rooted in history. It’s recorded that shortly after the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia celebrations took place throughout the land, and many of the former Colonists — they were just starting to call themselves Americans — set off cannons and marched in fife and drum parades.

What a contrast with the sober scene that had taken place a short time earlier in Independence Hall. Fifty-six men came forward to sign the parchment. It was noted at the time that they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors. And that was more than rhetoric; each of those men knew the penalty for high treason to the Crown. “We must all hang together,” Benjamin Franklin said, “or, assuredly, we will all hang separately.” And John Hancock, it is said, wrote his signature in large script so King George could see it without his spectacles. They were brave. They stayed brave through all the bloodshed of the coming years. Their courage created a nation built on a universal claim to human dignity, on the proposition that every man, woman, and child had a right to a future of freedom.

For just a moment, let us listen to the words again: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Last night when we rededicated Miss Liberty and relit her torch, we reflected on all the millions who came here in search of the dream of freedom inaugurated in Independence Hall. We reflected, too, on their courage in coming great distances and settling in a foreign land and then passing on to their children and their children’s children the hope symbolized in this statue here just behind us: the hope that is America. It is a hope that someday every people and every nation of the world will know the blessings of liberty.

And it’s the hope of millions all around the world. In the last few years, I’ve spoken at Westminster to the mother of Parliaments; at Versailles, where French kings and world leaders have made war and peace. I’ve been to the Vatican in Rome, the Imperial Palace in Japan, and the ancient city of Beijing. I’ve seen the beaches of Normandy and stood again with those boys of Pointe du Hoc, who long ago scaled the heights, and with, at that time, Lisa Zanatta Henn, who was at Omaha Beach for the father she loved, the father who had once dreamed of seeing again the place where he and so many brave others had landed on D-day. But he had died before he could make that trip, and she made it for him. “And, Dad,” she had said, “I’ll always be proud.”

And I’ve seen the successors to these brave men, the young Americans in uniform all over the world, young Americans like you here tonight who man the mighty U.S.S. Kennedy and the Iowa and other ships of the line. I can assure you, you out there who are listening, that these young are like their fathers and their grandfathers, just as willing, just as brave. And we can be just as proud. But our prayer tonight is that the call for their courage will never come. And that it’s important for us, too, to be brave; not so much the bravery of the battlefield, I mean the bravery of brotherhood.

All through our history, our Presidents and leaders have spoken of national unity and warned us that the real obstacle to moving forward the boundaries of freedom, the only permanent danger to the hope that is America, comes from within. It’s easy enough to dismiss this as a kind of familiar exhortation. Yet the truth is that even two of our greatest Founding Fathers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, once learned this lesson late in life. They’d worked so closely together in Philadelphia for independence. But once that was gained and a government was formed, something called partisan politics began to get in the way. After a bitter and divisive campaign, Jefferson defeated Adams for the Presidency in 1800. And the night before Jefferson’s inauguration, Adams slipped away to Boston, disappointed, brokenhearted, and bitter.

For years their estrangement lasted. But then when both had retired, Jefferson at 68 to Monticello and Adams at 76 to Quincy, they began through their letters to speak again to each other. Letters that discussed almost every conceivable subject: gardening, horseback riding, even sneezing as a cure for hiccups; but other subjects as well: the loss of loved ones, the mystery of grief and sorrow, the importance of religion, and of course the last thoughts, the final hopes of two old men, two great patriarchs, for the country that they had helped to found and loved so deeply. “It carries me back,” Jefferson wrote about correspondence with his cosigner of the Declaration of Independence, “to the times when, beset with difficulties and dangers, we were fellow laborers in the same cause, struggling for what is most valuable to man, his right to self-government. Laboring always at the same oar, with some wave ever ahead threatening to overwhelm us and yet passing harmless . . . we rowed through the storm with heart and hand . . . .” It was their last gift to us, this lesson in brotherhood, in tolerance for each other, this insight into America’s strength as a nation. And when both died on the same day within hours of each other, that date was July 4th, 50 years exactly after that first gift to us, the Declaration of Independence. Read the rest of this entry »


The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro: A Speech by Frederick Douglass 

Former slave and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, gives a scathing address about the true meaning of Independence Day to the negro.

 writes: No other phrase in the founding documents of the United States stings an African American as much as this one: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The Declaration of Independence was not a declaration for all but for some. “All men” did not include people of African descent. “Unalienable rights” were stripped from those who were taken from their homeland and forced into lifelong servitude. And “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” could not be pursued at the end of a chain.

The former slave and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, gave a speech on July 5, 1852 in Rochester, NY commemorating the day of independence for the United States. Cognizant of the contradictions embedded into the foundation of the United States, Douglass expounded for his audience the significance of “independence” day for black people. In it, he loses no respect for the founders of the nation calling them “statesmen, patriots, and heroes.” But he does not fail to point out the hypocrisy of declaring freedom from Britain’s control while subjugating an entire race of people.

Below are some excerpts from Douglass’ speech. His words remind us that for some Americans, independence ends with an asterisk.

Read the full text of the speech here.

“I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us.”

“This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony.”

“My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave’s point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July!” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Ken Burns’ Thomas Jefferson Documentary , Parts 1 & 2



[VIDEO] Antifa Learn How To Fight in Surreal Non-Parody Training Video (REACTION) 

There’s been a lot of discussion in the United States over whether the group collectively known as “Antifa” (acronym for Anti-Fascist) would ever act out in such a way that would spark a civil war. People who are fearful of this cite the fact that Antifa has been spotted rabble rousing at Trump rallies and the like, trying to provoke the right into a fight. Cases such as UC Berkeley where the Professor allegedly hit someone over the head with a bike lock in a sneak attack. Then there’s the video of mobs of Antifa goons dressed in all black waving their flag while busting out windows and throwing objects at rally goers and sometimes police. Could all of this culminate into an unavoidable civil war?

Maybe not so much. Take a look at this video and see who Antifa really is, unmasked. Beyond the romanticization of them from the mainstream media, beyond the stereotype of them, see who they really are. What you’ll see are a people who are really afraid of the world more than the world should be afraid of them. Many of these guys have never engaged in any type of real one-on-one combat before in their lives. The lack muscle tone or any type of awareness on a street level. Read the rest of this entry »


CIA Contractors Fired for Stealing Snacks from Vending Machine

The spy group axed several contractors after it discovered they had stolen $3,314.40 in eats from compromised vending machines between fall 2012 and March 2013, according to a report obtained by BuzzFeed News.

When nosh began going missing from agency vending machines, the CIA did what it does best — it put up cameras and started spying on the break room, according to the report.

“Video footage recovered from the surveillance cameras captured numerous perpetrators engaged in the … theft scheme, all of whom were readily identifiable as agency contract personnel,” the report states. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Fearless Female Kurdish Sniper Laughs as ISIS Bullet Barely Misses Her Head 

Sam Webb reports: An astonishing video showing a Kurdish sniper laughing after a bullet fired by an ISIS terrorist narrowly misses her head has emerged online.

The YPJ (Women’s Protection Units) sharpshooter is seen taking aim through a window during fighting in Raqqa, the terror group’s besieged Syrian stronghold.

After she takes her own shot, a chunk of the wall just behind her head explodes, showering the room with dust and plaster.

sniper

She immediately ducks down and laughs at her close brush with death — and is even seen sticking her tongue out sheepishly.

The footage, which has not been verified, was posted online by a Kurdish journalist embedded with the YPJ fighters.

The reporter, Hemze Hamza, tweeted: “Kurdish women know no fear. Your average human being would be scared for life after being so close to death but she kept laughing.” Read the rest of this entry »


Three CNN Employees Resign Over Retracted Story on Russia Ties

reports: Three CNN employees have handed in their resignations over a retracted story linking president Trump to Russia, the network announced Monday.

Thomas Frank, who wrote the story in question; Eric Lichtblau, an editor in the unit; and Lex Haris, who oversaw the unit, have all left CNN.

“In the aftermath of the retraction of a story published on CNN.com, CNN has accepted the resignation of the employees involved in the story’s publication,” a network spokesperson told TheWrap in a statement.

On Thursday, CNN investigative reporter Thomas Frank published a story involving an investigation into a Russian investment fund with possible ties to several Trump associates.

According to the network, an internal investigation found that “some standard editorial processes were not followed when the article was published.”

Citing a single unnamed source, the story reported that Congress was investigating a “Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials.”

CNN explained Monday that “these types of stories” usually would go through several departments, including fact-checkers, journalism standards experts and lawyers.

But the network says there was a “breakdown in editorial workflow” which “disturbed the CNN executives who learned about it.”

The network’s investigative unit was told during a meeting on Monday that the retraction did not necessarily mean the facts of the story were wrong. But, rather, “the story wasn’t solid enough to publish as-is,” according CNN.com.

The story, which only appeared on the network’s site, was quickly disputed on Friday, as one Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci — who was mentioned in the story — pushed back on  Frank’s reporting, insisting he “did nothing wrong.” 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 »


Flashback: When Liberal Sites Mocked Otto Warmbier For Getting What He Deserved 

Unreal.

 reports: After suffering 17 months of brutal captivity in North Korea, Otto Warmbier died Monday, having spent more than a year in a coma before his release last week.

After news of his death, Twitter users were quick to resurface articles from liberal sites Salon, Huffington Post, and Bustle in 2016 mocking the college student for getting what he deserved.

Warmbier was accused of stealing a propaganda poster from the hotel he was staying at in North Korea and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

Huffington Post: North Korea Proves Your White Male Privilege Is Not Universal

Bustle: Why Do People Blame Otto Warmbier For His North Korea Sentence? Privilege Can Sometimes Come At A Price

Read more …

Source: townhall.com


‘If you’re a lawyer arguing against free speech at the Supreme Court, be prepared to lose’

Free Speech Wins (Again) at the Supreme Court

David French writes:

… Given existing First Amendment jurisprudence, there would have been a constitutional earthquake if SCOTUS hadn’t ruled for Tam. The Court has long held that the Constitution protects all but the narrowest categories of speech. Yet time and again, governments (including colleges) have tried to regulate “offensive” speech. Time and again, SCOTUS has defended free expression. Today was no exception. Writing for a unanimous Court, Justice Alito noted that the Patent and Trademark Office was essentially arguing that “the Government has an interest in preventing speech expressing ideas that offend.” His response was decisive:

[A]s we have explained, that idea strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.”

Quick, someone alert the snowflakes shouting down speeches on campus or rushing stages in New York. There is no constitutional exception for so-called “hate speech.”

Indeed, governments are under an obligation to protect controversial expression. Every justice agrees.  The ruling is worth celebrating, but when law and culture diverge, culture tends to win. The law protects free speech as strongly as it ever has. The culture, however … (read more)

Source: National Review

In two First Amendment rulings released this week, the justices argue they’re saving would-be censors from themselves.

reports: The U.S. Supreme Court handed down two notable victories for free-speech advocates on Monday as it nears the end of its current term. The two First Amendment cases came to the Court from starkly different circumstances, but the justices emphasized a similar theme in both rulings: Beware what the free-speech restrictions of today could be used to justify tomorrow.

In the first case, Matal v. Tam, the Court sided with an Asian-American rock band in Oregon named The Slants in a dispute with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The PTO had denied band member Simon Tam’s application to register the group’s name as a trademark, citing a provision in federal law that prohibits the office from recognizing those that “disparage” or “bring … into contempt or disrepute” any “persons, living or dead.” 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]

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Source: The Washington Post – New York Post


Megyn Kelly Interviews Alex Jones 

Megyn Kelly grilled Info Wars founder and host Alex Jones on his political leanings, connection to then-candidate and now President Donald Trump, conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook massacre and Chobani, and much more on this week’s broadcast of Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly.

Alex Jones held a live stream to respond to the Kelly interview as it was broadcasted on NBC News:

Transcript, via NBC News’ Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly:

MEGYN KELLY: First tonight, our report on the incendiary radio host, Alex Jones. For years, Jones has been spreading conspiracy theories, claiming, for instance, that elements of the U.S. government allowed the 9/11 attacks to happen and that the horrific Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax. Some thought we shouldn’t broadcast this interview because his baseless allegations aren’t just offensive, they’re dangerous. But here’s the thing: Alex Jones isn’t going away. Over the years, his YouTube channel has racked up 1.3 billion views. He has millions of listeners and the ear of our current president. We begin our report with his reaction to the recent terrorist attack in Manchester, England.

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KELLY: ALEX JONES WAS NEARLY 5,000 MILES AWAY FROM MANCHESTER, ENGLAND WHEN A SUICIDE BOMBER KILLED 22 PEOPLE AT A CONCERT LESS THAN FOUR WEEKS AGO. DESPITE THE DISTANCE, AND WITH FEW FACTS KNOWN, JONES DID WHAT HE OFTEN DOES: JUMPED MOUTH-FIRST INTO CONTROVERSY.

ALEX JONES (May 22, 2017 YouTube video): A big bomb goes off at a pop star’s rock concert bombing a bunch of liberal trendies.

MEGYN KELLY: You said, “It was a bunch of liberal trendies who were killed, the same people who are promoting open borders, bringing Islamists in.

ALEX JONES: Yes.

MEGYN KELLY: In response to which, many people looked at the victims, many of whom were 15, 14. There was a little eight … Read the rest of this entry »


[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.

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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.

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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.

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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 »


DO IT: Sarah Palin May Sue New York Times for Tying Her to Gabby Giffords Shooting

Sarah Palin indicated on Thursday that she might sue the New York Times over editorial that suggested she was in some way responsible for the 2011 shooting of then-Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords.

“Commonsense suggestion by a journalist, am talking to attorneys this [morning] and exploring options,” she said. “[By the way], wonder WHY someone would no longer be in public eye? Think constant libel & slander have anything to do with it?”

Attached to one of her tweets was an article that questioned whether Palin has “a libel case” against the Times.

The paper on Thursday corrected an editorial that claimed there was a “clear” link between the shooting of Giffords and Palin.

mother-bleepin

[Vintage MZHemingway read more here, at thefederalist.com]

The original version of the Times editorial, which focused on the shooting Wednesday at a recreational congressional Republican baseball practice outside of Washington, D.C., said “the link to political incitement was clear” in the Giffords shooting(read more)

Source: washingtonexaminer.com

Shame on the New York Times. Shame.

Its editorial about yesterday’s shooting doesn’t just twist the truth; it may be libelous.

David French writes: The New York Times published its editorial in response to yesterday’s vicious, violent, and explicitly political attack on Congressional Republicans — an attack that wounded four and left Representative Steve Scalise in critical condition in a Washington-area hospital — and it is abhorrent. It is extraordinarily cruel, vicious, and — above all — dishonest. The editorial doesn’t just twist the truth to advance the board’s preferred narratives; it may even be libelous, a term I choose carefully.

Yesterday’s shooter, James Hodgkinson, left little doubt as to his political leanings and his political motivations. He was a vocal Bernie Sanders supporter, belonged to Facebook groups with names such as “Terminate the Republican Party” and “The Road to Hell is paved with Republicans,” and he was constantly sharing angry anti-GOP messages and memes. Before opening fire, he reportedly asked whether the players on the baseball field were Democrats or Republicans. In other words, all available signs point to an act of lone-wolf progressive political terror. 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.

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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 »


[VIDEO] Wyden, Sessions in Heated Debate Over ‘Stonewalling’ 

Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) and Attorney General Jeff Sessions got into a heated exchange when Mr. Wyden accused Mr. Sessions of “stonewalling” by declining to answer questions about his conversations with President Trump.


Migrant Influx Shifting but No Let-Up

© AFP/File / by Michel VIATTEAU | As ever greater numbers of migrants risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean from Africa, the European Union has beefed up its border agency Frontex to try and check the mass influx.

© AFP/File / by Michel VIATTEAU | As ever greater numbers of migrants risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean from Africa, the European Union has beefed up its border agency Frontex to try and check the mass influx.

WARSAW (AFP) – The migrants pouring into Europe have changed routes: the crossing between Turkey and Greece is practically closed, but ever greater numbers are risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean between Libya and Italy.

A criminal industry has flourished, while the European Union has beefed up its border agency Frontex to try to check the mass migration.

Frontex is at once both good cop and bad cop, rescuing migrants from sinking boats but also dropping them off at welcome centres where they risk being sent back home.

Frontex head Fabrice Leggeri summed up the situation in an interview with AFP.

– Who are the migrants? –

On the shores of Greece there are now “80 or 100 people who arrive every day, whereas we had 2,500 a day” before the agreement with Turkey, said Leggeri.

Among those who arrive from Africa via the central Mediterranean and Libya, whose number is up by more than 40 percent, most come from west Africa. They are Senegalese, Guineans, Nigerians. In 2016 they totalled 180,000.

They are mainly economic migrants and include many young men but also families and young women. Nigerian women are often exploited as prostitutes in Europe.

“It’s not the poorest who leave, because they have to be able to pay the smugglers,” said Leggeri.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), of the more than one million people who made it to Europe in 2015, 850,000 crossed into Greece via the Aegean Sea. More than half came from Syria and most of the rest from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Following a landmark EU-Turkey accord in March 2016, the total number arriving in Europe by sea fell that year to around 363,000, IOM figures show.

But as the number of arrivals in Greece dropped, the figures arriving from north Africa started to grow.

By mid-April 2017, “some 36,000 migrants had arrived in Italy since the beginning of the year, or an increase of 43 percent over the same period last year,” according to Frontex.

– Who are the smugglers? –

At the beginning of the most dangerous leg of the trip across the Sahara, the migrants are transported by Tuareg or Tebu nomads, for whom it is a traditional commercial activity, Leggeri said.

The Mediterranean crossing however is run by criminal networks, both big and small, as well as lone smugglers.

At the bottom of the ladder there are petty crooks, sometimes migrants themselves, who become the skippers of the small overloaded boats to pay for their own crossing, according to Leggeri. Read the rest of this entry »


While No One Was Looking, Congress Took A Huge Step Toward Fixing The Economy

Deregulation: Former FBI director James Comey‘s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee was the fixation of Washington on Thursday. But the big story was on the House side of Congress, which passed a bill to repeal the ruinous Dodd-Frank banking law.

The Financial Choice Act, approved in the House by a 233-to-186 vote (no Democrats voted for the bill), has generated almost zero attention. But it has the potential to be the most economically beneficial legislation Congress will consider this year.

Put simply, Dodd-Frank has been a complete failure. Signed into law by President Obama almost seven years ago in the wake of the financial crisis, this massive law was supposed to, in his words, “be good for the economy … foster innovation … stop taxpayer bailouts once and for all.”

It has lived up to zero of those promises.

Dodd-Frank’s 22,000 pages of regulations, which cost $36 billion to comply with in the first six years, has choked competition in the banking industry, made banking more expensive, harmed economic growth and, to top it off, failed to make the banking system safer or end “too-big-to-fail.”

Since Dodd-Frank became law, for example, more than 1,700 banks have disappeared — more than one a day, on average. The banking industry got more concentrated.

Left in place, Dodd-Frank will cut the nation’s GDP by nearly $900 billion by 2025, according to the American Action Forum. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Admin Did Not Publicly Disclose Iran Cyber-Attack During ‘Side-Deal’ Nuclear Negotiations 

Timing of hack occurred within days of the nuclear deal overcoming opposition in Congress.

writes: State Department officials determined that Iran hacked their emails and social media accounts during a particularly sensitive week for the nuclear deal in the fall of 2015, according to multiple sources familiar with the details of the cyber attack.

The attack took place within days of the deal overcoming opposition in Congress in late September that year. That same week, Iranian officials and negotiators for the United States and other world powers were beginning the process of hashing out a series of agreements allowing Tehran to meet previously determined implementation deadlines.

Critics regard these agreements as “secret side deals” and “loopholes” initially disclosed only to Congress.

Sources familiar with the details of the attack said it sent shockwaves through the State Department and the private-contractor community working on Iran-related issues.

[Read the full text here, at Washington Free Beacon]

It is unclear whether top officials at the State Department negotiating the Iran deal knew about the hack or if their personal or professional email accounts were compromised. Sources familiar with the attack believed top officials at State were deeply concerned about the hack and that those senior leaders did not have any of their email or social media accounts compromised in this particular incident.

Wendy Sherman, who served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs for several years during the Obama administration and was the lead U.S. negotiator of the nuclear deal with Iran, could not be reached for comment.

A spokeswoman for Albright Stonebridge LLC, where Sherman now serves as a senior counselor, said Tuesday that Sherman is “unavailable at this time and cannot be reached for comment.”

Asked about the September 2015 cyber-attack, a State Department spokesman said, “For security reasons we cannot confirm whether any hacking incident took place.”

At least four State Department officials in the Bureau of Near East Affairs and a senior State Department adviser on digital media and cyber-security were involved in trying to contain the hack, according to an email dated September 24, 2015, and multiple interviews with sources familiar with the attack.

[Read the full story here, at Washington Free Beacon]

The Obama administration kept quiet about the cyber-attack and never publicly acknowledged concerns the attack created at State, related agencies, and within the private contractor community that supports their work.

Critics of the nuclear deal said the Obama administration did not publicly disclose the cyber-attack’s impact out of fear it could undermine support right after the pact had overcome political opposition and cleared a critical Congressional hurdle.

The hacking of email addresses belonging to the State Department officials and outside contractors began three days after the congressional review period for the deal ended Sept. 17, according to sources familiar with the details of the attack and the internal State Department email.

In the week leading up to that deadline, Senate Democrats blocked several attempts to pass a GOP-led resolution to disapprove of the nuclear deal. The resolution of disapproval needed 60 votes to pass but the most it garnered was 58.

[Read more here, at Washington Free Beacon]

President Trump, during his trip to the Middle East in late May, talked tough against Iran and its illicit ballistic missile program but has so far left the nuclear deal in place. A Trump State Department review of the deal is nearing completion, the Free Beaconrecently reported, and some senior Trump administration officials are pushing for the public release of the so-called “secret side deals.”

State Department alerts outside contractors of cyber-attack

State Department officials in the Office of Iranian Affairs on Sept. 24, 2015 sent an email to dozens of outside contractors. The email alerted the contractors that a cyber-attack had occurred and urged them not to open any email from a group of five State Department officials that did not come directly from their official state.gov accounts. 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 »


Feds Continue Funding Sanctuaries to the Tune of Tens of Millions of Dollars 

Don Rosenberg is the father of a young man who was killed by an illegal alien initially held on criminal charges by police, who chose to release the alien to the streets rather than into the hands of immigration agents who wanted to initiate proceedings to deport him. It was this failure that led to the son’s death. It happened in San Francisco, that model of progressive thinking, which has more than once done this with similarly disastrous results to its innocent citizenry.

Rosenberg is among a distressingly large and diverse group of families who have faced similar tragedies. He is now the face of a public service announcement slamming sanctuary jurisdictions, and asking President Trump to make good on his campaign promise to halt federal funding for these jurisdictions.

Shortly after inauguration, the president did issue an executive order to that effect, but as he is coming to learn, executive orders are a lot easier to issue than to see put into action — in part because we live in an aggressively litigious society where progressivists and open-borders advocates have merged to speak with nearly one and the same voice; and in part because bureaucracies are somewhat like gigantic aircraft carriers: mighty and powerful, but disturbingly slow to turn about.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had a great deal of experience with immigration matters in his prior job as a senator from Alabama, has worked diligently to overcome the litigation and press forward with his agenda to make good on the president’s mandate to defund sanctuaries, where grant funding is made available via programs administered by the Department of Justice.

I wish I could say the same for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). On June 2, DHS published a press release saying this:

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly today announced the release of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Notices of Funding Opportunity for 10 DHS preparedness grant programs totaling more than $1.6 billion. The grant programs provide funding to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as transportation authorities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, to improve the nation’s readiness in preventing, protecting against, responding to, recovering from and mitigating terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies. The grants reflect the Department’s focus on funding for programs that address our nation’s immediate security needs and ensure public safety in our communities. (Emphasis added.)

Unfortunately, those grants do nothing of the sort where public safety is concerned, because among the major recipients are a significant number of sanctuary jurisdictions that pride themselves on stiff-arming federal immigration enforcement efforts, and ignoring immigration detainers, including New York City, which to date has not honored one single detainer, even when serious criminals such as sex offenders are concerned. Read the rest of this entry »


Theresa May Wants to End ‘Safe Spaces’ for Terrorists on the Internet. What Does That Even Mean? 

In the wake of the U.K.’s most recent terrorist attacks, its prime minister is talking tough on Internet regulation, but what she’s suggesting is impractical.

Tragically, there have been three major terrorist attacks in the U.K. in less than three months’ time. After the second, in Manchester, May and others said they would look into finding ways to compel tech companies to put cryptographic “back doors” into their services, so that law enforcement agencies could more easily access suspects’ user data.

May repeated her stance in broaders terms Sunday, following new attacks in London. “The Internet, and the big companies” are providing “safe spaces” for extremism, she said, and new regulations are needed to “regulate cyberspace.” She offered no specifics, but her party’s line, just days from the June 8 national election, is clear: a country that already grants its government some of the most sweeping digital surveillance powers of any democracy needs more and tougher laws to prevent terrorism (see “New U.K. Surveillance Law Will Have Worldwide Implications”).

The trouble is, this kind of talk ignores how the Internet and modern consumer technology works. As Cory Doctorow points out in a detailed look at how you would actually go about creating services with cryptographic holes, the practicalities of such a demand render it ludicrous bordering on impossible. Even if all of the necessary state-mandated technical steps were taken by purveyors of commercial software and devices—like Google or Apple, say—anyone who wanted to could easily skirt their restrictions by running open-source versions of the software, or unlocked phones.

That isn’t to say that May and the Conservatives’ general idea that the government should be able to probe user data as part of an investigation should be dismissed out of hand. The balancing act between national security and digital privacy has become one of the central themes of our digital lives (see “What If Apple Is Wrong?”). And while there are advocates aplenty on both sides, simple answers are hard to come by. Read the rest of this entry »


The New York Times is Hoping to Persuade Readers to Burn More Carbon

Climate and the New York Times

At least on the surface, the Manhattan-based news organization is keeping the faith. The various items in Friday’s editions amount to a collective primal scream against President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Paris climate accord. As of this writing, the home page of the paper’s website features stories claiming that Mr. Trump’s decision was “stupid and reckless” as well as “disgraceful” and based on “dubious data” from “distorted reports.” A news report says that Mr. Trump made a political “calculation” to ignore the popular will and instead placate his base. Meanwhile a Times column carries the subtle headline, “Donald Trump Poisons the World.”

[MORE – The Left’s Unhinged Freakout over Trump’s Paris Accord Withdrawal]

But the Times seems to have made its own calculation about the risks of environmental catastrophe. And the only reasonable conclusion is that folks at the Times don’t think burning carbon is quite as dangerous as you might think from reading their product.

[ALSO SEE – Democrats Have Lost On Climate Change, And It’s Their Own Fault]

Even as the newspaper warns about impending doom if Americans don’t limit their emissions, the Times has also been trying to persuade its readers to dramatically increase theirs. In print and online this week, the Times has proudly presented advertisements for an exciting product offering called, “Around the World by Private Jet: Cultures in Transformation.” It sounds delightful, assuming you like the company:

Fly around the world in a customized Boeing 757 jet for the ultimate in luxury travel. Spend 26 days visiting such places as Israel, Cuba, Colombia, Australia, Myanmar and Iceland. Four award-winning New York Times journalists will accompany you, each for several days as you visit areas where they have expertise.

The Times promises, “In the air, your private jet comes with lie-flat beds and a dedicated cabin crew and chef.” Most Americans, who are generally not as well-heeled as the Times’ target demographic, probably couldn’t leave carbon footprints this big if they tried. And it wouldn’t be easy for the Times to design a less efficient means of circling our beloved planet. This week the print version of the advertisement noted there would be just 50 travelers—on an aircraft that can carry more than 200. Read the rest of this entry »


New Rules Surged in Obama’s Last Year to 3,853, Most Pages in Federal Register Ever

Joseph Lawler reports: President Barack Obama’s last year in office set a high watermark for new federal rules and regulations as the outgoing Democrat sought to leave his mark on the country through a “pen and phone” strategy.

The total number of Federal Register pages in 2016 rose nearly 20 percent to 95,894, the most ever, and the number of final rules, at 3,853, was the most since 2005, according to a new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Read the rest of this entry »


The Left’s Unilateral Suicide Pact 

After the Manchester bombing, liberals once again avoid the obvious—that Islamic terror in the West is an immigration problem.

Heather Mac Donald writes: Liberal ideology conceives of “safe spaces” in the context of alleged white patriarchy, but there was a real need for a “safe space” in Britain’s Manchester Arena on May 22, when 22-year-old terrorist Salman Abedi detonated his nail- and screw-filled suicide bomb after a concert by teen idol Ariana Grande. What was the “progressive” answer to yet another instance of Islamic terrorism in the West? Feckless calls for resisting hate, pledges of renewed diversity, and little else.

A rethinking of immigration policies is off the table. Nothing that an Islamic terrorist can do will ever shake the left-wing commitment to open borders—not mass sexual assaults, not the deliberate slaughter of gays, and not, as in Manchester last week, the killing of young girls. The real threat that radical Islam poses to feminism and gay rights must be disregarded in order to transform the West by Third World immigration. Defenders of the open-borders status quo inevitably claim that if a terrorist is a second-generation immigrant, like Abedi, immigration policy has nothing to do with his attack. (Abedi’s parents emigrated to Britain from Libya; his immediate family in Manchester lived in the world’s largest Libyan enclave outside Africa itself.) Media Matters ridiculed a comment about the Manchester bombing by Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt with the following headline: FOX NEWS HOST SUGGESTS ‘OPEN BORDERS’ ARE TO BLAME FOR MANCHESTER ATTACK CARRIED OUT BY BRITISH NATIVE.

Earhardt had asked how to prevent “what’s happening in Europe, with all these open borders, they’re not vetting, they’re opening their borders to families like this, and this is how they’re paid back in return.” Pace Media Matters, a second-generation Muslim immigrant with a zeal for suicide bombing is as much of an immigration issue as a first-generation immigrant with a terrorist bent. The fact that second-generation immigrants are not assimilating into Western culture makes immigration policy more, not less, of a pressing matter. It is absurd to suggest that Abedi picked up his terrorist leanings from reading William Shakespeare and William Wordsworth, rather than from the ideology of radical Islam that has been imported into Britain by mass immigration.

The Washington Post, too, editorialized that “defenders of vulnerable immigrants and asylum seekers, who in Britain as elsewhere in the West remain the targets of populist demagogues, could take some comfort from the fact that the assault apparently did not originate with those communities.” Well, where did the assault originate from—Buckingham Palace?

Since liberals and progressives will not allow a rethinking of open borders policy, perhaps they would support improved intelligence capacity so as to detect terror attacks in the planning stages? Nope. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] How Deregulation Gave Us FM Radio, HBO, and the iPhone


“We’ve gone to a modern [broadcast] system that has a lot of places where stuff can happen without permission,” says Thomas W. Hazlett, who’s the FCC‘s former chief economist, a professor at Clemson University, and author of the new book The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone. “And we have seen that the smartphone revolution and some other great stuff in the wireless space has really burgeoned…That comes from deregulation.”

So-called net neutrality rules are designed to solve a non-existent problem and threaten to restrict consumer choice, Hazlett tells Reason’s Nick Gillespie. “The travesty is there’s already a regulatory scheme [to address anti-competitive behavior]—it’s called antitrust law.”

Greater autonomy and consumer freedom led to the development of cable television, the smartphone revolution, and the modern internet. While we’ve come a long way from the old days of mother-may-I pleading with the FCC to grant licenses for new technology, Hazlett says, “there’s a lot farther to go and there’s a lot of stuff out there that’s being suppressed.”

He points to the history of radio and television. Herbert Hoover and Lyndon Johnson exercised extraordinary control over spectrum allocation, which they used for their own political and financial gain. With liberalization, we now have hundreds of hours of varied television programming as compared to the big three broadcast networks of the ’60s, an abundance of choices in smartphone providers and networks as compared to the Ma Bell monopoly, and more to come. Read the rest of this entry »


North Korea’s Closest Major US City, Seattle, Wants to Plan for Possible Nuclear Attack 

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SEATTLE – Dan Springer’s latest test launch over the weekend has raised concerns among U.S. officials. The Pentagon says the ballistic missile flew 1,000 miles higher than NASA’s International Space Station. It was then able to re-enter earth’s atmosphere and splash down just 60 miles from Russia. One official told Fox News it was a “big step forward” in North Korea’s nuclear missile program.

Emergency planners in Hawaii, the closest state to North Korea, have taken notice and are evaluating existing nuclear attack response plans. Meanwhile, another possible target on the West Coast is barred from taking any steps to plan for a nuclear attack.

Washington State allows evacuation plans for every disaster scenario except a nuclear bomb. Former state Rep. Dick Nelson remembers the prevailing thinking in the legislature at the time concerning response plans in the event of nuclear war.

“You are really sending a message that you’re getting ready to do something maybe yourself,” Nelson said.

The law passed in 1984, seven years before the end of the Cold War. It was the opposite approach taken by President Ronald Reagan, whose peace through strength doctrine helped lead to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

A current Washington state senator says the current law is irresponsible and naïve.

“I think it’s ridiculous and silly,” says state Sen. Mark Miloscia, “And sort of the head-in-the-sand mentality. If it has a probability of happening, prepare for it.”

Seattle could be in the crosshairs if North Korea’s leader, Kim Jung Un, ever did the unthinkable. Naval Base Kitsap reportedly has roughly 1,300 nuclear warheads — almost one-quarter of the U.S. arsenal — making it the largest stockpile of nukes in the world. The Puget Sound is also home to Joint Base Lewis McChord, home to the important Stryker Brigade. With the headquarters of Boeing, Microsoft and Amazon, the region is a high-tech hub. Read the rest of this entry »


The Russian Intel Story Shows the Price of Trump’s Lost Credibility

Loose Lips Sink Presidencies.

The state of the Trump Presidency has been perpetual turbulence, which seems to be how the principal likes it. The latest vortex is over Mr. Trump’s disclosure of sensitive intel to the Russians—and whatever the particulars of the incident, the danger is that Presidencies can withstand only so much turbulence before they come apart.

The Washington Post reported Monday night that in an Oval Office meeting last week Mr. Trump relayed high-level “code word” classified material obtained from an ally to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Cue another Washington meltdown. The President took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to defend himself, claiming an “absolute right” to disclose “facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety.”

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster put a finer point on it at a Tuesday press conference, though without denying key details. He said Mr. Trump’s disclosure was “wholly appropriate” and didn’t expose intelligence sources and methods.

Presidents sometimes share secrets with overseas leaders—even to adversaries such as the Soviets during the Cold War—if they conclude the benefits of showing what the U.S. knows will aid diplomacy or strategic interests. From media accounts and his tweets, Mr. Trump said something about Islamic State’s laptop bomb threat to airlines. He may well have been trying to convince the envoys of the menace ISIS poses to Russian lives and foreign-policy goals, like the Russian airliner that exploded over Sinai in 2015. 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 »