The Political Price of Merkel’s Open Borders Policy

Sep 27, 2016

Germany’s new party “Alternative for Germany,” has made important gains among that country’s voters as it pledges to stop or slow the massive immigration influx that is overwhelming German communities. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party is losing favor after pushing Germans to accept over a million Muslim refugees recently which have overwhelmed public schools and become a significant unassimilated presence in even rural towns in the Bundesrepublik.

“Support for the CDU in Berlin has slumped to its lowest level since 1990,” reports the UK Daily Mail. “Many voters turned to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) which won 13 per cent of vote and will enter capital's parliament.” The wrath of voters was particularly strong in the local Berlin elections, where the CDU Party only garnered 18% of the vote.

This backlash to the cultural clash of Muslims in liberal European society has been criticized as a resurgence of nationalism and a return of the “rightwing” and “Nazis” to Germany. These labels are particularly hard-hitting in a country still burdened by the legacy of the Hitler regime, which is properly described as a variant of left-wing totalitarian socialism. Voters supporting these new parties do not equate them with the excesses of the Nazi Party, but rather just want to maintain some semblance of a national identity that is being fast eroded by the massive influx of non-conforming immigrants.

Although the Nazis are conventionally described as “right-wing,” this is a category error.

On the political spectrum “left” is understood to represent ideologies favoring more power in government while the “right” represents those that favor less government power (greater autonomy to individuals). On this established scale it is surprising that Nazis are labeled on the right considering the powerful control over every aspect of life in their version of National Socialism. In fact, they were only slightly to the “right” of communism which represents the extreme left with complete control vested in a central government. This minor difference, however, has been abused to lump all parties on the “right” as Nazis, even though the true right has almost nothing in common with the Nazi Party and advocates minimal government power. Far from the typical skinheads, true right wing extremists are those who want the anarchy of no government at all.

Who Aided Rahami’s Bombing Plot?

Sep 27, 2016

In the case of accused NY bombing perpetrator, Ahmad Khan Rahami, analysts are pointing to several anomalies in the official story as well as signs of external influence.

“What normal terrorist suddenly becomes homeless and is forced to sleep on the street, where he could be recognized?” asks Joel Skousen in his weekly publication the World Affairs Brief. “His wife had left just the day before on a plane back to Pakistan. He still had an apartment to go home to and he had numerous other Afghan friends he could have stayed with if he feared capture.”

The Daily Mail reports that Rahami was not known to have any skills in building the various types of bombs nor did he have a way of obtaining the explosives used. “The neighbor of accused bomber Ahmad Khan Rahami has claimed there is 'no way' that he was acting alone [saying] 'He made bad connections,’” reports the British publication.

Arizona Yields to Immigration Extortion

Sep 27, 2016

After the federal courts stripped Arizona’s ability to enforce immigration law, the state gave away the rest in a settlement with immigration advocates who had filed numerous lawsuits claiming discrimination and profiling. While both sides claimed victory in the settlement the decision largely favored illegal immigration.

The attorney general of Arizona, Mark Brnovich, agreed to issue guidance directing police and sheriff's deputies not to make immigration arrests. All they can do now is call federal authorities to come and check on the status of someone stopped at a traffic stop. However the agreement states that a suspect cannot be detained any longer than it takes for a normal traffic stop (about 10 minutes) while waiting for federal enforcement, so critics argue this guarantees that any immigration-related violations will not be enforced.

“Erroneous” US Bombing of Syrian Army

Sep 27, 2016

Shortly after a ceasefire had been agreed upon between Russia, Syria and the US-led rebels, US aircraft bombed Syrian army positions for over an hour, and then claimed that it was an error. Over 100 Syrian soldiers were killed. The Syrians had occupied these positions for months and the US surely knew that considering their advanced intelligence abilities. Even worse, the aerial assault softened up the Syrians’ position which was subsequently attacked and overrun by ISIS forces. This added fuel to the accusation that the US is secretly backing ISIS and only pretending to fight it.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that “after today’s attack on the Syrian army, we come to the terrible conclusion that the White House is defending the Islamic State.” This is, in fact, the second time that US forces have attacked Syrian forces.

University of Kansas: Gender Revolution Battleground

Sep 27, 2016

Campus gatherings of conservative and libertarian student groups apparently don’t qualify as officially designated “safe spaces.” This was demonstrated by the intrusion of a group of left-wing activists into a gathering of the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at the University of Kansas. Their chief complaint, ironically, was to berate conservative students “for opposing safe spaces,” reports Reason magazine.

One leftist complained that “I don’t study in the library because I don’t feel comfortable … with people always wondering what my gender identity is” – a complaint suggesting a rather over-developed sense of self-preoccupation, since this person regards him- or her-self as someone who dominates the thoughts of everyone nearby. When one of the people in the room referred to that person using a singular pronoun, the sexually confused student bellowed, “My pronouns are they!” Even under post-modern rules of construction, that exclamation would be grammatically incorrect: The proper formulation would be “Our pronouns are `they.’”

When YAF student leader Gabe Lepinksi, who tried to accommodate the leftists as guests, congenially referred to them as “guys,” one of them snapped, “Do not call us guys! It’s a f***ing microaggression!”

Given that the leftists “continuously screamed insults and hurtful words at the members of YAF,” comments Reason correspondent Robby Soave, the question arises: What if YAF “had responded by saying `You make us feel unsafe’? Would that have shut them up?”

“Bake That Cake!” – Police-as-Protected Category Version

Sep 27, 2016

Employees of the bakery department at the Walmart in McDonough, Georgia refused to decorate a “thin blue line” cake for a police officer’s retirement party, reports Fox News cultural commentator Todd Starnes. According to the reader who tipped Starnes to the story, the daughter of a police officer, “The baker told me the blue line cake was racist.” Starnes was able to confirm the story with the store’s management.

After the bakers likewise rejected an alternate design, the 21-year-old woman said that she would simply find another baker who would accept her business – which is precisely how the free market should work. After being informed of what had happened, the store manager contacted the disgruntled customer to offer a $50 gift card, an apology, and a cake free of charge. The substitute cake, according to the woman, “doesn’t look professional.”

“Walmart needs to make this right and they can start by delivering a professionally decorated cake to the police officer’s family,” Starnes insists. “The three cake decorators need to be told: either decorate the cake or be fired.” It is unacceptable, he concludes, for Walmart to employ “a bunch of low-class, anti-cop bigots.”

If Walmart decides to fire the bakers it should be purely a business decision based on customer service considerations, rather than as punishment for offending the sensibilities of police and their supporters. Being a police officer is an occupation, not an innate characteristic, and criticizing the actions of police, or law enforcement as an institution, is not bigotry, whatever the merits of that criticism. Starnes has been among the most vociferous defenders of Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Oregon couple who declined to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. Apparently, he sees police as a “specially protected class.”

Beware of Cheerful, Blonde Families, Urges German Parenting Magazine

Sep 27, 2016

Families who are “inconspicuous” and “cheerful” and – most suspiciously – blonde might harbor unacceptable right-wing political views and should be seen as dangerous, warns a high-circulation German parenting publication called Baby & Family.

In Germany, where the National Socialist Party is commonly referred to as “right-wing,” the use of that term is a source of great anxiety, the publication points out, which is why people “rarely connect it with women, family, and children. Amid the growing unrest over the Merkel government’s refugee resettlement program, however, people who represent the common German stereotype should be seen as potentially harboring militant views – and the most insidious sub-population are families who are “inconspicuous, blond, cute and engaged.”

“The right has many forms,” the publication advises its readers. “The definition of what is extreme and what is not is difficult,” which is why politically sensitive Germans should be alert to potential warning signs – such as children who are “very obedient” to their parents, or seem disciplined and self-motivated.

This caricature is a direct outgrowth of the Cultural Marxist ideology of the so-called Frankfurt School of the pre-Nazi Weimar Era. Several major proponents of that view migrated to the United States and helped compose a sociological treatise called “The Authoritarian Personality,” which has been used to promote similar dogmas, albeit in somewhat more subtle fashion, for decades.

What Did Donald Trump do for Gary, Indiana?

Sep 27, 2016

In seeking to lure black voters away from a Democratic nominee who has little appeal to that constituency, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump famously declared: “What do you have to lose? It cannot get any worse. And, believe me, I’m going to fix it. I’m going to make it so good.”

Since he has no background in elected office to examine, Mr. Trump’s business deals offer the only way of examining his record, and this includes his prior venture in elevating the economic standing of one majority-black community – the former steel town of Gary, Indiana.

In 1994, Trump lobbied municipal officials for a license for a showboat casino that would be docked “along a Lake Michigan shoreline littered with shuttered factories,” recalls an AP story. He promised that revenues from his casino would replenish empty city coffers, provide well-paid jobs for local residents, and even generate substantial contributions to charity. He also promised to renovate a decaying downtown hotel, and enticed the state gaming board with a vision of a Trump Tower-style construction project.

After getting his license, however, Trump reneged on promised payments to investors and charities, prompting a wave of lawsuits for breach of contract. He abandoned his promise of hiring an employee pool reflecting the local majority-black population. Most of the lawsuits were settled out of court. Ten years after the project began, it went into bankruptcy. His casino boat was purchased by Don Barden, a prominent black businessman from Michigan, with most of the proceeds going to shore up other financially troubled casino and resort properties owned by Trump.

Cop Wrongly Arrested as “Terrorist” Can’t Sue OKC For Abuse

Sep 27, 2016

Joshua Shaw, a police officer from McLoud, Oklahoma, was enjoying a dinner conversation with a female police academy trainee at Henry Hudson’s Pub in Oklahoma City when he was suddenly accosted by four fellow officers. One officer grabbed him from behind, and with the help of a comrade dragged Shaw bodily from the room.

Angered and alarmed, Shaw demanded to know why he was being manhandled and frantically identified himself as a police officer. Shortly after the assault began one of the assailants noted Shaw’s badge under his jacket. After Shaw had been detained for nearly a half-hour he was told that an off-duty officer in the pub had overheard a conversation in which Shaw had discussed shooting an AK-47. Shaw and his dinner companion, he was told, had been suspected of “discussing terroristic acts.”

As it happened, Shaw and the female trainee had actually been discussing “going to the gun range and shooting their weapons,” which is obviously a professional requirement for law enforcement officers. Even if that conversation had involved two ordinary citizens, it didn’t constitute a criminal act, or probable cause that a crime had been committed or was being contemplated.

Shaw filed a lawsuit for false arrest, assault, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. That suit was dismissed by the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals on the familiar grounds of qualified immunity on behalf of the officers in the exercise of their professional discretion.

First and Second Amendments Must Yield to “National Security” in 3-D Printed Guns Case

Sep 27, 2016

Three years ago, the activist group Defense Distributed, Inc. created a shareware file that serves as a template for 3-D printed firearms – a cheap, single-shot handgun called the “Liberator” that is cast in plastic, and would use a cheap nail as a firing pin. At the time, the company explained that by creating and sharing the file, they would circumvent future federal government efforts to confiscate civilian-owned firearms.

The State Department, which doesn’t have domestic jurisdiction, ordered Defense Distributed to take down the website through which the 3-D printing file would be made available. The company challenged the order in court, assisted by an amicus brief from the Electronic Frontier Foundation that argued that the State Department’s directive violates the First Amendment.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals invoked the all-purpose rationale of “national security” to justify the State Department’s unprecedented abridgment of the First and Second Amendments.

“Ordinarily, of course, the protection of constitutional rights would be the highest public interest issue in a case,” wrote the court. “That is not necessarily true here, however, because the State Department has asserted a very strong public interest in national defense and national security.” The court accepted the State Department’s claim that “national security might be permanently harmed” by allowing distribution of the gun template, while the constitutional rights of Defense Distributed would only suffer “temporary” harm.

“Zombie-Like” Suspect Arrested in Washington Shooting

Sep 26, 2016

Arcan Cetin, the 20-year-old suspect in the September 23 shooting at Burlington, Washington’s Cascade Mall, displayed a “Zombie-like” demeanor at the time of his arrest nearly 24 hours later. He has been charged with five counts of first degree murder in the deaths of one man and four females, the youngest of whom was reportedly a 16-year-old girl. At the time of his arrest he was carrying a satchel containing a laptop computer, and put up no resistance.

A legal resident who migrated to the United States from Turkey, Cetin has a criminal record that includes three assault charges related to domestic violence against his stepfather. Although he was not armed at the time of his arrest, Cetin was in possession of three legally purchased guns he had stolen from a relative. A judicial order against Cetin issued last December 29 forbade him to own a firearm.

Cetin’s social media profile reflects his Muslim heritage but thus far has offered no substantive evidence of affiliation or sympathy with militant or terrorist groups. Posts found under his Tumblr screenname “arcanmotherrussiavodkaandak47” include adolescent and sometimes vulgar commentary that is fairly typical of college-age males. One category is entitled “Serial Killers and Their Souvenirs.”

No motive has been established for his murder rampage, but authorities have pointed out that an ex-girlfriend worked at the Cascade Mall until recently. She now lives in a different county.

Lies from Charlotte Police Union Spokesman Go Viral

Sep 26, 2016

The still-disputed police shooting of Charlotte, North Carolina, resident Keith Lamont Scott continues to roil the city, even though rioting has abated. Last week, many media outlets – beginning with CNN – reported that seventy percent of those arrested for suspected acts of violence or property destruction were from out-of-state. According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, however, the majority of suspects taken into custody are local residents with no prior criminal record.

Todd Walther, spokesman for the Charlotte- Mecklenburg Fraternal Order of Police, originated the claim that seventy percent of those arrested were out-of-state agitators during an interview on CNN: “If you go back and look at some of the arrests that were made last night, I can about say probably 70 percent of those had out-of-state IDs,” he asserted on September 22. After the Charlotte Observer followed up on his claim, Walther was forced to admit that it was based purely on speculation.

“I didn’t quote facts,” Walther acknowledged to the Observer. By the time the paper had corrected the story, Walther’s claim had been shared widely on conservative-leaning news sites, and reposted countless times through social media platforms.

Lethal Drug Prohibition

Sep 26, 2016

The officers involved in the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott were in his neighborhood to serve an arrest warrant on a different subject. They turned their attention to Scott, according to Chief Kerr Putney, because they witnessed him allegedly rolling a marijuana cigarette. The officers were not in uniform, but were wearing tactical vests with “POLICE” inscribed on them. Putney claims “It was not lawful for him to possess a firearm. There was a crime committed and the gun exacerbated the situation.”

Some reasonable people might conclude that the opposite may have been the case – namely, that drug prohibition laws created a situation fraught with the potential for lethal violence by officers ordered to enforce them. North Carolina is an open-carry state, which means mere possession of a firearm by a citizen is not considered illegal unless there is evidence that he is engaged in a criminal act or an act of negligence that threatens the lives of others.

Spurred by the release of video recorded by Scott’s wife, the police department reversed its earlier decision not to release dashcam video of the shooting. The police recording shows Scott emerge from his vehicle and walk slowly backwards before being hit by several shots fired by the officers. He cannot be seen brandishing a gun, nor can the police shooter be identified.

Where is the Outcry from NRA, GOA over Police Killing Black Gun Owners?

Sep 26, 2016

It is not yet known whether Charlotte, North Carolina resident Keith Lamont Scott threatened to shoot police officers, or was engaged in criminal activity at the time he was fatally shot. Minnesota resident Philando Castile, who was the victim of another fatal police encounter at a traffic stop earlier this year, had a license to carry a concealed firearm and was cooperating with the officer who shot him without a suitable explanation. Liberal columnist Eugene Robinson, who does not see armed individual self-defense as an innate right, poses a legitimate question: Where is the outcry from organizations like the NRA and Gun Owners of America when a black citizen carrying a gun is killed by the police, without compelling justification?

“North Carolina, after all, is an open-carry state,” Robinson points out. “A citizen has the right to walk around armed if he or she chooses to do so. The mere fact that someone has a firearm is no reason for police to take action.”

In Castile’s case, the victim informed the officer of his concealed carry permit and was reaching for his wallet to obtain his driver’s license. He had previously been stopped 52 times for petty traffic infractions, which Robinson describes as “harassment.”

While Robinson does not support open-carry laws, he concludes that “they must be enforced equally.” He ends his column with the provocative question: “Does the NRA disagree?”

Donald Trump Calls for Targeted Civilian Disarmament

Sep 26, 2016

In what could be considered a rather unusual approach to courting the black vote, Donald Trump first suggested nation-wide implementation of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program, in which police would routinely conduct pat-down searches of young men – most of them black – on the street without probable cause. That initiative, which was widely denounced by civil libertarians, has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.

A few hours after making his suggestion during a Fox News event in Ohio, Mr. Trump modified it by suggesting it should be specifically targeted at Chicago, owing to the ongoing epidemic of violent crime plaguing that city. As is his habit, Mr. Trump made that policy recommendation without explaining how local law enforcement matters fall within the purview of the federal chief executive. There is another constitutional issue implicated in Trump’s proposal – specifically, his endorsement of summary civilian disarmament on the basis of ethnicity, assuming that his stop-and-frisk proposal would follow the New York model.

According to Trump, “Basically, they will, if they see – you know, they are proactive and if they see a person possibly with a gun or they think may have a gun … they will take the gun away,” he explained during a telephone interview on Fox & Friends. “They will stop, they will frisk, and they will take the gun away, and they don’t have anything to shoot with.”

In numerous campaign appearances, Mr. Trump has made the entirely plausible charge that Hillary Clinton poses a threat to the individual right to own firearms. However, he may be the first presidential candidate from either party who has candidly endorsed summary seizure of firearms from citizens who have not been convicted of a crime, or even arrested on suspicion of committing one.

John Boehner Cashes In

Sep 26, 2016

Like many other retired congressional leaders before him, former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner has migrated into the world of paid lobbying. The disgraced ex-Speaker, who was driven out of his position by relatively conservative elements of his party who saw him as too conciliatory toward the Obama administration, has joined Squire Patton Boggs, a firm that exercises political influence on behalf of a number of foreign countries, most notably Communist China.

“Serving Beijing is somewhat appropriate,” observes The Intercept. “Boehner has long been a supporter of unfettered trade, helping to lead the effort to grant Most Favored Nation status to China.”

Squire Patton Boggs describes Boehner as “a strategic advisor to clients in the U.S. and abroad,” and says that his role with the firm will be to “focus on global business development.” The lobbying shop also represents a lengthy roster of corporate clients, including Goldman Sachs, Royal Dutch Shell, AT&T, and Amazon.com.

News of Boehner’s new lobbyist gig came shortly after disclosure that he will join the board of Reynolds America, a tobacco company that manufactures Camel and Newport cigarettes. That corporate sinecure will pay the former speaker nearly a half-million dollars annually in cash and stock options. His lobbyist position may involve a seven-figure compensation package.

Corrupt Crime Lab Chemist Tainted 24,000 Drug Cases

Sep 26, 2016

Four years ago, Annie Dookhan, a chemist at the Massachusetts state crime lab, pleaded guilty to falsifying positive results in thousands of drug samples over the course of nine years. Among her criminal acts were the deliberate tainting of drug evidence, misrepresentations regarding the number of samples she had tested, and forging signatures on official paperwork. Attorney General Martha Coakley said that Dookhan had “corrupted the integrity of the entire criminal justice system” in Massachusetts. The lab was subsequently shut down.

In July, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that defendants in cases involving test results provided by Dookhan could rescind their guilty pleas and seek new tials without facing additional charges or harsher sentences. Now the ACLU has filed legal challenges demanding that more than 24,000 drug convictions based on tainted evidence provided by Dookhan be thrown out.

“While the Dookhan affair is one of the largest drug lab scandals, it is far from the only one,” reports Reason magazine. “Junk science and lack of independent labs plague the criminal justice system. In July, Houston officials announced they had identified 298 wrongful convictions based on faulty roadside drug tests. In March, New Jersey state officials said a lab technician for the state police allegedly falsified drug test results, possibly affecting 7,827 cases.”

Appellate Judge: End “Voodoo Science in the Courtroom”

Sep 26, 2016

Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals predicts that the report produced by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) “will fundamentally change the way many criminal trials are conducted” by calling for new and more demanding standards regarding the collection of forensic evidence and the certification of specialized expert witnesses.

“Americans have long had an abiding faith in science, including forensic science,” wrote Judge Kozinski in the Wall Street Journal. “Popular TV shows like `CSI’ and `Forensic Files’ stoke this confidence. Yet the PCAST report will likely upend many people’s beliefs, as it should. Why trust a justice system that imprisons and even executes people based on junk science?”

The report concludes that only the “most basic form of DNA analysis is scientifically reliable,” with more exotic variations being little better than “rank guesswork.” Latent fingerprinting, the longest-established and most trusted forensic-science approach, is also called into question. Some widely used forensic approaches have “absolutely no scientific basis” – such as the examination of “char patterns” that supposedly betoken arson. At least one defendant, Texas resident Cameron Todd Willingham, was convicted on the basis of char patterns. In his case, he was found guilty of murder and executed. Similar deficiencies are found in the use of shoe print and tire track evidence.

Many of the millions incarcerated in the United States “may have been convicted using unreliable or fabricated forensic science,” concludes Judge Kozinski.

Phoenix Ordinance Compelling Endorsement of Same-Sex “Marriage” Survives Initial Court Test

Sep 26, 2016

The City of Phoenix, Arizona has a municipal ordinance that would compel providers of some goods and services – including bakers, florists, and wedding photographers – to accept business from same-sex couples planning wedding ceremonies. Those who exercise their innate property rights by declining to accept such business would face fines of up to $2500 a day and six months in jail.

Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, who created an art business called Brush & Nib Studio, are committed Christians who see their enterprise not merely as a way to serve a market, but also a means to express their faith by celebrating weddings. This created a potential problem under the Phoenix ordinance, which would compel them either to accept business engagements incompatible with their beliefs, run the risk of being fined into penury and perhaps imprisoned, or focus on other subjects of artistic expression.

Duka and Koski filed a motion with the Maricopa County Court requesting a temporary suspension of the Phoenix ordinance. On September 19, the court declined that request, claiming that the city’s demand that the business owners accept engagements that would violate their beliefs “is not sufficient to create a Free Exercise Clause violation” because this would not impede their right to engage in such activities as “proselyting, preaching, and prayer.”

Courts are increasingly claiming the authority to define, on behalf of Christian business owners, what activities constitute expressions of individual religious convictions, and which are subject to state regulation. By way of contrast, the Justice Department and other federal agencies are increasingly requiring the public to accommodate even the most fanciful claims of self-identified “transgender” people. This includes forcing both public and private institutions to make policy changes on the basis of the subjective beliefs of people who belong to that specially protected class.

British Gender Revolutionaries Campaign against the Use of Proper English

Sep 26, 2016

For British college students who have enlisted among the ranks of gender revolutionaries, the Queen’s English is unacceptably specific regarding gender and inadequate to serve the emotional needs of the sexually incomprehensible. The LGBT+ Students’ Network at the elite University College of London has created the “They for Them Campaign” to berate and correct people who insist on using correct English in the presence of people who identify themselves as “non-binary.”

“The most common gender pronouns are `he’ and `she’ which identifies that the person is male or female,” lectures a heavily made-up student in the video. “But that’s not always the case. Some men and some women might not use he or she, respectively, and some people who use` he’ or `she ‘might be different genders. There are also gender-neutral pronouns such as they and ze which indicates that a person defines as either gender, or somewhere along the gender spectrum.”

Matthew Wagaine, described as the student union’s LGBT+ officer, sternly warns the viewer: “If you misuse pronouns for someone, you are effectively thrusting upon them an identity that they themselves do not have.”

Students and others who might have the misfortune of encountering someone who rejects his or her biologically defined and immutable sex are instructed to make a specific inquiry as to the pronouns such people “prefer” and told that it is impermissible to argue with that individual’s choice.

“Basically, what’s more important – someone’s anatomy, or their happiness?” the video admonishes, ignoring the possibility that individual happiness can’t be achieved through indulgence of an aberrant fantasy.

These Aren’t Your Daddy’s Navy SEALs

Sep 26, 2016

Like others among the increasing number of Americans succumbing to the faddish derangement called “transgenderism,” Chris Beck is an anatomically intact male who insists on pretending that he is a female. In the service of that pretense he has legally changed his name to Kristin and undertaken hormone treatments to develop a simulacrum of a female bosom. Beck has acquired a certain notoriety for the fact that he is a retired member of Navy SEAL Team 6 who served in combat in the Middle East.

Beck recently flew from Washington to Kansas City to make a presentation to federal employees on the issue of “gender sensitivity” – only to encounter difficulty when TSA screeners at Reagan National Airport identified him as a biological male as he passed through the backscatter X-ray machine and flagged him for “secondary screening.” He felt humiliated when two TSA screeners, one male and one female – each of whom, apparently, identified with the appropriate gender – held a furtive discussion.

To Beck, “it was clear what was happening,” comments CNN. “Despite her makeup, long hair and low-cut blouse, the agents thought she was a man.”

This is because he – which is the appropriate pronoun – is a man, notwithstanding his couture, cosmetics, and hormonal manipulations. Beck became very irate when a fellow male TSA agent moved to pat him down.

“This is wrong,” he insisted. “I’m a female; it says female on my Maryland driver’s license.” Because that lie was ratified in an official government document, the TSA was compelled to relent and apologize to Beck.

Should Alzheimer’s patients be starved to death?

Sep 26, 2016

Few if any diseases are as tragic as Alzheimer’s, especially when it descends upon someone who is young enough to expect several more decades of life. Oregon resident Nora Harris, a former librarian who was the valedictorian of her college class, fell prey to that dreaded affliction seven years ago, at the age of 56. Her condition advanced with terrible alacrity, leaving her unable to communicate or care for herself.

While she was still lucid, Mrs. Harris filled out an advanced directive and informed her loved ones that she did not want to see her life prolonged through dramatic medical intervention. She is presently being fed by caretakers. Her husband, Bill Harris, filed a petition with the Jackson County, Oregon Circuit Court asking for an injunction to end this assistance, claiming that Nora would regard being spoon-fed as a violation of her advance directive. Circuit Judge Patricia Crain ruled that issuing the order sought by Harris would violate Oregon state law, which allows for physician-assisted suicide but does not permit homicide through deliberate nutritional neglect.

“It’s not a happy decision for me,” Judge Crain informed Mr. Harris and the couple’s daughter. “From what you describe of your wife and your mom, she would hate this.”

A time-honored legal axiom holds that hard cases make bad law, and the Harris family’s tragedy is precisely the kind of hard case from which a bad law could easily emerge. Where the laws permit doctors to kill sick or desperate people, allowing state officials to order caretakers to withhold nutrition and hydration from people unable to feed themselves would create dangerous and deadly incentives as the cost of long-term care increases.

Planned Parenthood’s True Priorities

Sep 26, 2016

Planned Parenthood is prepared to spend an estimated $30 million to influence November’s elections. While the organization is chiefly concerned about electing long-time ally Hillary Clinton to the presidency, it is also exerting itself on behalf of supporters and sympathizers in Senate and congressional elections. This is because the organization is acutely aware that the public is at best uneasy about using tax funds to subsidize its activities.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has an ambivalent relationship with Planned Parenthood, alternating promises to defund the organization with praise for what he calls its “very good work for millions of women.”

As the Daily Signal points out, “In order to justify its half-billion dollars in annual taxpayer funding, Planned Parenthood downplays its abortion numbers by falsely claiming that abortion only makes up three percent of its business – and instead plays up its cancer screenings and so-called `women’s health care.’ However, Planned Parenthood’s own numbers prove that it’s an abortion corporation, focused on abortion, not women’s health care.” The organization “commits over 30 percent of America’s abortions – 887 abortions a day, one abortion every 97 seconds, and over 320,000 abortions last year alone.”

Homeland Security Department “Mistakenly” Naturalizes 800 with Security Concerns

Sep 26, 2016

An audit conducted by the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general determined that at least 858 immigrants who arrived from “countries of concern to national security” or with high rates of immigration fraud were mistakenly naturalized as citizens, reports Yahoo News.

While the report does not list the names of immigrants who were improperly naturalized, Inspector General John Roth and his auditors described them as from “special interest countries.” The report also said that fingerprints are missing from federal databases for as many as 315,000 immigrants with final deportation orders or who are fugitive criminals. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement service has not reviewed roughly 148,000 of those immigrants’ files to add fingerprints to the digital database.

That gap reflects the fact that “older, paper records were never added to fingerprint databases created by both the now-defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service and the FBI in the 1990s,” the Yahoo account continues. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency within the Department of Homeland Security “responsible for finding and deporting immigrants living in the country illegally, didn’t consistently add digital fingerprint records of immigrants whom agents encounter until 2010.”

Domestic Terror Undermines UN Refugee Push

Sep 26, 2016

As the UN General Assembly held a “Summit on Refugees and Migrants,” two violent attacks by Muslim residents of the US effectively thwarted any positive reception among the American public to this major propaganda event which pushed for all member states, especially the US, to permanently relocate hundreds of thousands of refugees within their countries.

All Western countries are facing a huge backlash against the existing refugees brought in, and are very resistant to allowing more to enter. Increasingly, anti-immigration parties in France, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany and Austria are seeing dramatic growth as voters fight to maintain some cultural integrity amongst the dramatic cultural shift brought in by Muslims.

The cultural conflict is compounded by the fear of terrorism brought on by the increasingly common attacks by young Muslim males who do not assimilate quickly into Western culture and pose a constant source of instability and violence. Although the police and press reports are quick to downplay the connection between Muslim immigration and these terrorist events, they cannot hide the names and backgrounds of the alleged perpetrators.

Riots Convulse Charlotte

Sep 23, 2016

North Carolina Governor Pat McCory declared a state of emergency and deployed National Guard soldiers and State Highway Patrol troopers to Charlotte to assist local police in dealing with riots following a police shooting that left a man dead. Rioters vandalized property, plundered the NASCAR museum and a Charlotte Hornets merchandise shop, and ransacked several other businesses. Other demonstrators shut down a section of Interstate 85 on Tuesday. One person was shot and severely wounded during a demonstration on Wednesday. Riot police used tear gas to disperse one crowd of protesters, one of whom body-checked a CNN reporter to the ground during a live report.

The police shooting claimed the life of Keith Lamont Scott, who was described as carrying a handgun. Both Scott and the officer who shot him, 26-year-old Brentley Vinson, are black. According to police accounts, officers searching an apartment complex for the subject of an arrest warrant, saw Scott carrying a gun, then shot him when he refused to comply with their commands. The police department is not saying whether he actively threatened the officers with his firearm.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney has said that the video of the shooting will not be released to the public.

Several witnesses on the scene strongly dispute the police account, insisting that Scott, who was waiting to pick up his son, was carrying a book when he emerged from his vehicle. His family has also said that he did not usually carry a gun. It should also be remembered that North Carolina is an open carry state. Shortly after the shooting, Scott’s wife issued a statement urging that people who wanted to protest do so “peacefully”: “Please do not hurt people or members of law enforcement, damage property or take things that do not belong to you in the name of protesting.”

From “De-escalation” to “Dominance”

Sep 23, 2016

Behind the opportunism of urban radicals and street criminals who exploit controversial lethal force incidents involving police is a legitimate problem: For at least a generation, police officers have been indoctrinated in the “no hesitation” mindset, in which even fleeting non-compliance is seen as an unacceptable threat to officer safety.

This mindset may have played a role in the killing of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte. It was clearly at play in the killing of unarmed Terence Crutcher by Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals observed in a recent ruling that Tustin, California Officer Osvaldo Villarreal fatally shot 31-year-old Benny Herrera within less than a second of ordering the victim to display his hands. Dashcam video reviewed by the Court documented that “The command and the shots were almost simultaneous.”

Until roughly a generation ago, police training emphasized de-escalation, rather than dominance, as the preferred approach to confrontations. Police were taught to see themselves as peace officers charged to investigate offenses and, where appropriate, detain and arrest suspects. Beginning with Richard Nixon’s declaration of war on narcotics in 1971, police have been encouraged to see their role as that of threat elimination. That concept became more fully developed and deeply entrenched two decades ago as the Clinton administration expanded federal subsidies of local police and opened the floodgates for transfers of military hardware from the Pentagon.

In response to public concerns, some municipal police departments – from Seattle to Salt Lake City to Chicago – have announced new training protocols that emphasize de-escalation.

Counties Tell HUD to Hit the Road

Sep 23, 2016

Like other bureaucratic power-grabs, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s “Affirmatively Further Fair Housing” program, or AFFH, conceals an ambitious program behind a bland and non-descriptive title.

The 377-page framework offers federal grants to municipal and county governments in exchange for surrendering regulatory control to unaccountable federal functionaries. This would include “the power to reverse electoral decisions by local voters and force them to join `regions’ against their wishes,” notes the Tenth Amendment Center. HUD officials would be allowed to “control zoning, planning, land use, location of public transportation, and even the socioeconomic diversity of elementary and secondary classrooms.” Officials in Douglas County, Colorado were puzzled to find that in exchange for federal aid HUD was seeking to micromanage local law enforcement policies, and that their policy guidelines were cluttered with “hazy definitions and conflicting wording that could leave the county liable for lawsuits.”

Not surprisingly, Douglas County has rejected further HUD aid, following the example set by the town of Castle Rock. Sedgwick County, Kansas has also joined suit.

“Do we really want the federal government to control all of our zoning?” asks Sedgwick County Commissioner Richard Ranzau. “It’s just not worth it.”

Trump: We Need Nationwide Stop-and-Frisk, but Only in Chicago

Sep 23, 2016

A few hours after expressing shock over the fatal police shooting of unarmed Tulsa resident Terance Crutcher, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trumptold Fox News personality Sean Hannity that his administration would encourage national adoption of New York City’s “stop and frisk” initiative, in which police conduct pat-down searches without probable cause. The practice was declared unconstitutional by a federal court in 2013.

“I mean, the numbers were unbelievably changed,” Trump said, referring to crime statistics. “I don’t mean just a little bit. It was massively changed, and it became a safe city. It went from an unsafe city to a safe city.”

A few hours thereafter, during a call-in interview on Fox & Friends, Trump issued a clarification, stating that “I was really referring to Chicago with stop-and-frisk. They asked me about Chicago and I was talking about stop-and-frisk for Chicago.”

What Trump actually said, in response to a question, was: “I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to. We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive and, you know, you really help people sort of change their mind automatically.”

In addition to being unconstitutional, stop-and-frisk yielded no documented results in terms of crime abatement, contrary to Trump’s assessment. It was also hugely expensive, contributing to the rising costs from civil rights lawsuits. Last year, the City of New York spent $228.5 million in settlements and judgments arising from police misconduct.

FBI Informant, Disinformation Asset Was Ammon Bundy’s Driver

Sep 23, 2016

Shortly after rancher and land rights activist LaVoy Finicum was killed in a highway ambush by Oregon State Patrol troopers and the FBI’s so-called Hostage Rescue Team last January, accusations emerged that the ambush had been set up with the help of Mark McConnell, who was driving the Jeep carrying Ammon Bundy. McConnell was arrested at the scene, but released quickly thereafter, and emerged in a video in which he recited a version of the Finicum killing that placed the blame on the victim. That account was discredited once video of the incident became available.

Several supporters of Bundy and the others who participated in the protest occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge near Burns identified McConnell as a federal informantand this was confirmed during testimony in the federal conspiracy trial underway in Portland. Oregon State Police Trooper Jeremiah Beckert, who was a participant in the ambush, testified that “McConnell provided information about the occupiers’ vehicles, their location and a basic threat assessment” on January 26, reports the Oregonian.

It has not yet been established if McConnell is the “source” cited in the initial criminal complaint filed by FBI Special Agent Katherine Armstrong claiming that the protesters “had explosives, night vision goggles, and weapons and … if they didn’t get the fight they wanted out [at the Refuge] they would bring the fight to town.” No evidence has been presented that the protesters had either the means or the intent to attack Burns, but this claim was used to justify the paramilitary tactics employed to arrest them en route to a peaceful town hall meeting in John Day.

Navajo Representatives Decry Proposed Utah “Monument” Designation

Sep 23, 2016

The Obama administration has targeted the Bear Ears area in southern Utah’s San Juan County for a potential “national monument” designation, which would be the 28th of Mr. Obama’s presidency. Utah Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee have proposed the “Utah National Monument Parity Act,” a bill that would exempt the region from the 1906 Antiquities Act, the statute that has been used to lock up many western regions by presidential executive order.

While many American Indian organizations have expressed support for the proposed monument, that view is not unanimous, and many Navajo residents of San Juan County see Obama’s gesture as yet another instance of the federal government reneging on promises and seizing Indian land.

“Native Americans have given up enough of their ancestral lands for national monuments,” declared San Juan resident Susie Philemon in a September 21 appeal to Obama. “President Obama, we, the local native residents of San Juan County, Utah, have managed to protect this enchanted place and will continue to do so.”

The Bear Ears region is considered a “sacred homeland,” Philemon explained, saying that “It puts a heavy burden on our hearts to think it will be a decision of one person to forever deprive us from having a physical connection to our spiritual sites.”

“Please do not take this land from us,” she concluded.

FBI Won’t Be Able to Prosecute Users of Porn Site It Operated

Sep 23, 2016

Two years ago, acting on a tip from a foreign intelligence service, the FBI seized a computer server in Lenoir, North Carolina that hosted a child pornography website called Playpen. People seeking access to its degenerate contents could only do so through the so-called dark web – that is, by way of a service concealing their IP address.

After the FBI obtained a search warrant in the Eastern District of Virginia, a Bureau hacker “manipulated the code on the site to install malware on any computer that entered a username and password into Playpen,” recounts The Intercept. In this way, the agency was able to determine the location of the computer being used to obtain the pornography. By continuing to run the porn site, and tagging visitors, the FBI effectively seized thousands of computers, and eventually arrested hundreds of suspects.

Several defendants have filed legal challenges to the validity of the search warrant, arguing that a single warrant cannot be used to authorize multiple searches, let alone multiple searches carried out in several jurisdictions. Three federal judges have now ruled that the FBI’s mass hack, and subsequent searches, are unconstitutional and a violation of Rule 41 of federal criminal procedure.

“The case has attracted little public attention or outcry, largely because possession of child pornography does not make for very sympathetic defendants,” comments The Intercept. “But civil liberties groups are warning that the precedent could lead to a dramatic expansion of government hacking power. If large-scale hacking could be authorized by one judge, it would allow the government to seek out the most sympathetic judge for any nationwide operation.”

UK report Exposes Lies Behind Hillary Clinton’s Libyan Disaster

Sep 23, 2016

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was an impassioned advocate of U.S. intervention in Libya’s civil war. Following the overthrow of Muamar Gaddafi and his ignominious murder by rebels, Mrs. Clinton was captured on video cackling, “We came, we saw, he died!”

The Libyan intervention was carried out without any congressional involvement. President Obama acted while congress was in recess, working through the Arab League and the UN Security Council. Mrs. Clinton applauded herself and the administration for what she called the exercise of “smart power at its best” – an assessment impossible to sustain in light of the unalloyed disaster that has descended on northern Africa and the region, and its radiating effects in Syria and Europe.

Hillary Clinton’s Republican critics often invoke her response to the September 2012 terrorist assault on the CIA annex in the US consulate in Benghazi as an indictment of her foreign policy record. They have paid little attention to an earlier Benghazi-related scandal – the claim that Gadaffi’s government was planning to massacre civilians in the city, which was used to justify the no-fly zone that rapidly became a full-scale coalition assault on his government. A new report issued by a Select Committee of the British Parliament demolishes the claim that a massacre was in the making, describing it as “not informed by accurate intelligence” and a pretext for “an opportunist policy of regime change.”

As First Lady and unofficial adviser to President Bill Clinton, Hillary played a similar role in encouraging the 78-day bombing of Serbia in 1999, which was supposedly justified by reports of mass slaughter of ethnic Albanians in the Serbian province of Kosovo. Those reports were discredited before the bombing campaign ended. The Kosovo campaign, the New York Times has conceded, left the province in the hands of an Islamist clique that is now allied with ISIS.

Hillary: I’m Entitled to a Fifty-Point Landslide

Sep 23, 2016

For politicians of a certain type, electoral failure is an indictment of the electorate itself, not a judgment on their views or suitability for office. Barack Obama suggested as much in a recent address to the Congressional Black Caucus in which he said it would be a personal insult and an offense against what he called his “legacy” if they didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton struck a similar note in a video conference address to the Laborers’ International Union of North America.

After reciting a long list of her pro-union political stances, Mrs. Clinton expressed frustration that she is either in a dead heat with Republican nominee Donald Trump, or even falling behind him.

“Having said all this, `Why aren’t I 50 points ahead?’ you might ask,” declared Clinton, who insisted that “the choice for working families has never been clearer. I need your help to get Donald Trump’s record out to everybody. Nobody should be fooled.”

LIUNA boss Arthur Coia is a long-time ally of the Clinton family who is also tied to organized crime of the conventional variety. A 1994 report issued by the Clinton-Reno Justice Department found that LIUNA’s presidents, including Coia, “have been controlled and influenced by organized crime figures” for decades. The union’s political action committee contributed in excess of $2 million to the Democratic Party in 1993 and 1994, and Coia – much to the outrage of the labor movement in general – supported the NAFTA pact.

Anthony Weiner’s Descent Continues

Sep 23, 2016

He’s lost his congressional seat and his marriage to Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin – and now New York Democrat Anthony Weiner may face criminal charges for sending sexually explicit texts to a 15-year-old girl.

Although Weiner told Fox News that he had “likely been the subject of a hoax,” screenshots provided by the unnamed female High School student “clearly show Weiner’s Twitter handle responding to direct messages.” In one exchange the girl mentioned attending high school, prompting Weiner to inquire, “Where do you go to school?” Messages sent by Weiner by way of the Kik app using the alias “T Dog” show the former congressman’s face, and in some he is shirtless. The girl claims that in some messages the conversation “would lead to more sexual things,” such as comments about her body, requests that she undress, and related matters. Under New York State law, it is an offense to entice an underage person to create sexually explicit images.

These new disclosures came several weeks after the New York Administration for Children’s Services began an investigation of Weiner. He was investigated by police five years ago after it was discovered that he was exchanging messages with a female high school junior. If evidence emerges of sexually explicit conversations with out-of-state minors, it would become a federal issue.

Hillary’s Eyes may Disclose Serious Health Problems

Sep 23, 2016

A video snippet from a recent Hillary Clinton campaign event in Philadelphia captured some abnormal eye movements that may signify serious health issues, writes John Coppedge, a surgeon from Texas.

“Her eyes did not always move in the same direction at the same time,” observes Dr. Coppedge. “It appears she has a problem with her left sixth cranial nerve. That nerve serves only one function and that is to make the lateral rectus muscle contract. That muscle turns the eye in the direction away from the midline… Dysfunction in that muscle causes the striking picture of the eyes not aiming in the same direction and causes the patient to suffer double vision.”

One potential cause of this would be a traumatic brain injury like the severe concussion Mrs. Clinton suffered in late 2012. She was later diagnosed with “a transverse sinus thrombosis – [a] blood clot in the major vein at the base of the brain.” She was given a prescription for a blood thinner called Coumadin, which will deter formation of other clots but would not reduce or eliminate the original one.

“If, as statistically likely, Clinton’s transverse sinus is still blocked, she would still have increased pressure and swelling and decreased blood flow to her brain,” Dr. Coppedge continues. “That swelling would place pressure on the exposed portion of the sixth cranial nerve … explaining the apparent lateral rectus palsy.” For her own health, and in the public interest, Mrs. Clinton should “undergo an independent neurologic exam and have proper studies to determine whether or not she still has a blood clot” and related problems, urges Dr. Coppedge.

Washington’s Open-Ended Declaration of War

Sep 23, 2016

A week after the 9/11 attacks, Congress – by a nearly unanimous vote – enacted an Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, targeting al-Qaeda and “those nations, organizations, or persons [the president] determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided” the attacks. This represented a wholesale delegation of the power to declare war from the legislative branch to the executive – a literal blank check for unending foreign conflict.

George W. Bush invoked the AUMF to make war in Afghanistan, and then to extend the war into Iraq. Barack Obama cited that measure to justify committing the US government to war in Libya without any congressional role in that decision. More recently he has claimed that the 2001 AUMF permits him to pursue military action against the Islamic State, which didn’t exist at the time of its enactment.

Democratic Representative Barbara Lee of California, the only member of Congress to vote against the AUMF, used the fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks to rebuke the body for surrendering “its constitutionally mandated responsibility to give the American people a voice in matters of war and peace.”

“The American people deserve better,” insisted Rep. Lee. “It’s past time to restore this constitutional power” by repealing “this blank check for endless war.”

Lee is a member of the far-left Congressional Progressive Caucus, but her proposal finds support from the American Conservative magazine, which urges Congress to reclaim its abdicated constitutional powers, as well.

Accused Chelsea Bomber Charged with Using a WMD

Sep 22, 2016

The phrase “Weapon of Mass Destruction” generally conjures images of mushroom clouds or grim vistas strewn with the victims of chemical or biological agents. A bomb that wounds dozens of people while inflicting relatively minor damage on a Manhattan neighborhood wouldn’t seem to meet the WMD profile. Yet bombing suspect Ahmed Khan Rahami has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, along with bombing and property destruction – but not with terrorism or material support for terrorism.

Under the relevant section of Title 18 of the US Code the term "weapon of mass destruction" applies to the following "destructive devices": "[A]ny incendiary, explosive, or poison gas -- bomb, grenade, rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces, missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce, mine, or ... any type of weapon (other than a shotgun or a shotgun shell which the Attorney General finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes) by whatever name known which will, or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, and which has any barrel with a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter...."

Owing to the breadth of the statute, essentially any explosive or incendiary device -- even fireworks, under some conditions -- and many kinds of firearms can be treated as the equivalent ofa nuclear weapon if this serves the interests of a federal prosecutor. Libertarian Party Vice Presidential candidate William Weld, who was an anti-gun zealot as Massachusetts Governor and a federal prosecutor, displayed an understanding of that statute – if not of the technical details of firearms – when he said that a common semi-automatic rifle under some circumstances could be treated as a “Weapon of Mass Destruction.”

Republican Politicians: Treat Bombing Suspect as an “Enemy Combatant”

Sep 22, 2016

Addressing a campaign audience in Florida, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump lamented the fact that New York bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami will receive medical treatment for his gunshot wounds and “will be represented by an outstanding lawyer. His case will go through the various court systems for years, and in the end people will forget and his punishment will not be what it once would have been.”

Colorado Republican Senator Cory Gardner, who reluctantly endorsed Trump,defended the nominee’s statements in an interview with MSNBC. According to Gardner, “I think he’s expressing frustrations of the American people who continue to face the real live threat of terrorism.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina demanded that Rahami be designated an enemy combatant and questioned without due process rights “to determine whether he has ties to terrorist groups … and whether there are co-conspirators.” Judge Andrew Napolitano, legal analyst for Fox News, observes that Graham’s recommendation “would require an amendment to the Constitution and I’m sure he understands that.”

Graham “is a lawyer and a military judge,” continued Napolitano, “and he understands that stripping a person of his due process is catastrophic and prohibited by the Constitution.”

Wrongfully Convicted Idaho Man Files Another Appeal

Sep 22, 2016

Idaho Falls resident Chris Tapp has spent nearly half of his forty years in prison for a murder he clearly did not commit. The only evidence used against him was a self-contradictory confession in which he misstated critical details about the scene of the June, 1996 sexual assault and murder of 18-year-old Angie Dodge. That confession, according to an investigator hired by the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office, was coerced and unreliable.

Despite all of this, the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office is desperately fighting to prevent Tapp from receiving a second trial. Deputy Prosecutor John Dewey told District Judge Alan Stephens that a motion for a new trial had been filed too late, and presented affidavits from Idaho Falls Police Officers claiming – without providing specifics – that long-suppressed video evidence might have been turned over to the defense during the 1998 trial. Public defender John Thomas pointed out that the DA’s office, which now claims the appeal was filed too late, had urged him to delay it for more than a year while its review of the case went forward.

Tapp was “coerced and manipulated” into a false confession, Thomas told Judge Stephens before a courtroom packed with local citizens, print and television reporters, and several documentary filmmakers.

No decision was handed down on Tuesday. A ruling from Judge Stephens is expected sometime in the next several weeks.

Obama Urges UN to Refine the Pitch for Globalism

Sep 22, 2016

In his final address to the UN General Assembly as president, Barack Obama urged the world body to consider a “course correction” to counteract the rising tide of nationalist populism, describing himself as “convinced that in the long run, giving up some freedom of action … binding ourselves to international rules over the long term — enhances our security.”

“This is the paradox that defines our world today,” lectured Obama. “A quarter-century after the end of the Cold War, the world is by many measures less violent and more prosperous than ever before. And yet our societies are filled with uncertainty and unease and strife.”

Much of the trouble decried by Obama reflects the decisions made by the permanent members of the UN Security Council – such as the wars and occupation of Iraq, and the 2011 assault on Libya that precipitated an eruption of Islamic militancy that has destabilized northern Africa and exacerbated the refugee crisis that, in turn, is propagating a crisis in Europe.

In what might be considered an overture to the foreign policy priorities of a Hillary Clinton administration, Obama singled out Russia for criticism, accusing Putin’s government of “attempting to recover lost glory through force.”

Malheur Refuge Trial Continues

Sep 22, 2016

Ryan Bundy, representing himself in federal court, posed a significant question to FBI agent and pilot Jeffrey Cleveland in the ongoing conspiracy trial in Portland, Oregon. Cleveland testified that he had flown aerial surveillance of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge during last January’s protest occupation.

In direct examination Cleveland, Bundy asked: "So do you spy on the American people a lot?'' Even as the prosecution objected, trial Judge Anna J. Brown instructed the jury to disregard the question, which actually addresses a central concern of the defendants, who see the federal government as exceeding its constitutional mandate and invading the rights of citizens.

In other testimony, Harney County Sheriff’s Deputy Lucas McCain described how Ammon Bundy, the leader of the seven demonstrators on trial, had managed to use a cell phone after being taken into custody despite being handcuffed. FBI Special Agent Ben Jones, who took Bundy and several others into federal custody, confiscated Ammon Bundy’s cell phone and more than $8,000 in cash that he used to handle expenses during the protest occupation.

Under cross examination by the defense, Deputy McLain also described how 18-year-old Victoria Sharp, a singer who had performed in the refuge but has not been charged, was forced to urinate in the transport van after making several requests to use a rest room. Sharp was in the vehicle driven by the late LaVoy Finicum, who was killed by Oregon State Troopers and FBI operators in a highway ambush en route to a town hall meeting on January 26.

FBI Media Disinformation Approved by Justice Department IG

Sep 22, 2016

A report released last week by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General claimed that “FBI Agents may impersonate journalists while conducting undercover investigations, and an agent who posed as an editor with the Associated Press during a 2007 investigation did not violate agency policies,” summarizes US News and World Report.

The 2007 case involved a series of bomb threats emailed to Timberline High School near Seattle. The suspect masked his location through the use of proxy servers. An agent with the Bureau’s cybercrime task force, posing as an AP editor, got in touch with the 15-year-old suspect by email, and sent him phony news articles and photographs containing an embedded trace program. When the recipient clicked on a photo, his location was revealed to FBI agents.

In response to criticism from AP and outrage from civil libertarians and press freedom advocates, FBI Director James Comey described the methods used in that case as “lawful and, in a rare case, appropriate.” Last summer the Bureau created guidelines for future cyber-stings of this kind, which “permit the FBI to impersonate news organizations and other third parties without their consent in certain cases,” observes ACLU legislative counsel Neema Singh Guliani.

Hillary’s Cynical Use of “Birtherism”

Sep 22, 2016

Author Jesse Walker, who has spent decades examining and writing about fringe politics from the perspective of a non-partisan historian, disagrees with Donald Trump’s claim that Hillary Clinton began the birther movement, but documents that her 2008 campaign exploited the issue in search of “a magic bullet that would end Obama’s career without the pain of political persuasion.”

Speculation about Obama being a foreign-born figure ineligible for the presidency was encouraged by Clinton intimate Sid Blumenthal, “who has been spreading smeary stories on the Clintons’ behalf since the 90s,” Walker observes. Mark Penn, another longtime associate who was a key advisor to Hillary’s 2008 campaign, composed a lengthy memo encouraging the candidate to emphasize Obama’s “lack of American roots” and recommended that she “give some life to this contrast without turning negative.”

“Every speech should contain the line you were born in the middle of America to the middle class in the middle of the last century,” recommended Penn. “And talk about … the deeply American values you grew up with…. Let’s explicitly own `American’ in our programs, the speeches and the values,” Penn continued. “Let’s use our logo to make some flags we can give out. Let’s add flag symbols to the backgrounds.”

The approach outlined on Hillary’s behalf in Penn’s memo, concludes Walker, “actively aimed to turn the fear of the Other into a political weapon.”

Having Sufficient Food is a Crime in Socialist Venezuela

Sep 22, 2016

Seizure of the means of production by the state always leads to shortages, which in turn gives rise to rationing and crackdowns against people who are demonized as “hoarders.” Socialist Venezuela, one of the most oil-rich nations in the world, is rapidly descending into unalloyed barbarism as the government of Nicolas Maduro seeks to find and punish those among its subjects who are seeking to feed themselves and their families.

The Washington Post describes the experience of Alexis Camascaro, who along with dozens of others lined up before dawn at a supermarket – only to be arrested by troops who picked people at random and bundled them into waiting trucks. The fifty-year-old was one of about 30 people who were charged with violating laws against interfering “directly or indirectly” with the production, transportation or sale of food. He has been imprisoned for three months awaiting trial.

“I went to see the prosecutors and explained that he was just buying some food for his family,” explains attorney Lucia Mata. He was “snared in a new crackdown on Venezuelan shoppers, part of President Nicolas Maduro’s attempt to assert greater control over food distribution and consumption.” With violent crime surging and the country facing the highest homicide rate in the Western Hemisphere, Maduro’s government has made a priority out of arresting and prosecuting people for the supposed crime of hoarding food.

Trump Apparently Earns Egyptian Dictator’s Endorsement

Sep 22, 2016

After meeting separately with the two major party presidential candidates, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi told CNN that he has “no doubt” that Republican nominee Donald Trump would be a “strong” leader. For her part, Mrs. Clinton has made it clear that she would not alter Washington’s approach to Sisi’s government, which has been widely criticized for authoritarian measures and human rights abuses.

During the candidate’s meeting with the Egyptian ruler, “Mr. Trump expressed to President el-Sisi his strong support for Egypt’s war on terrorism, and how under a Trump Administration, the United States of America will be a loyal friend, not simply an ally, that Egypt can count on in the days and years ahead,” the campaign related in a press release. “Mr. Trump highlighted how Egypt and the U.S. share a common enemy and the importance of working together in defeating radical Islamic terrorism, not only politically and militarily, but also addressing the ideology.”

During her meeting with Sisi, Hillary Clinton mentioned the case of Aya Hijazi, a U.S. citizen who was imprisoned two years ago for operating a non-profit organization in Egypt. Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institution claims that Sisi’s government, which is the second-largest beneficiary of U.S. foreign aid, “is not just repressive, it is one of the most repressive regimes in the Middle East, which is saying something.” Disappearances of political critics and arrests of journalists are common in Sisi’s Egypt, and police have become notorious for using forced “virginity tests” to humiliate women arrested at political demonstrations.

Trying to Avoid the Police is Not “Suspicious,” Rules Massachusetts Supreme Court

Sep 22, 2016

Baltimore resident Freddie Gray died under suspicious circumstances in police custody after he had fled from the police. Although Gray had a lengthy history of petty criminal offenses, he was not suspected of a crime at the time of that arrest. Defenders of the arrest claim that Gray’s decision to flee at the sight of police provided reasonable suspicion sufficient to justify the arrest.

A recent ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court rejects that standard, concluding that citizens – black men in particularly – who try to avoid contact with the police may be acting on entirely reasonable assessments of the personal risks involved in such an encounter.

Stipulating to detailed research documenting that black men are disproportionately stopped by Boston police, the court allowed that fleeing from the police might be “a factor in the reasonable suspicion analysis” but is “not necessarily probative of a suspect’s state of mind or consciousness of guilt. Rather, the finding that black males in Boston are disproportionately and repeatedly targeted for [Field Interrogation and Observation] encounters suggests … the desire to avoid the recurring indignity of being racially profiled as by the desire to hide criminal activity.”

Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans condemned the ruling as “heavily tainted against the police department.”

How Local Police Departments are Becoming “Mini-NSAs”

Sep 22, 2016

“Police forces across the United States are stockpiling massive databases with personal information from millions of Americans who crossed paths with officers but were not charged with a crime,” warns a lengthy investigative report from the Charleston, South Carolina Post and Courier. “A person can end up in one of these databases by doing nothing more than sitting on a public park bench or chatting with an officer on the street. Once there, these records can linger forever and be used by police agencies to track movements, habits, acquaintances and associations – even a person’s marital and job status.”

The Charleston Police Department’s database on field contacts by officers contains information on 35,000 people – the rough equivalent of one-quarter of the city’s population. This includes “everyone from suspected killers to toddlers and 99-year-olds. One man alone has more than 1,000 entries to his name.”

Police and prosecutors can use the data collected in this fashion for the purpose of “pattern-of-life analysis,” the same process used by the CIA’s drone strike program overseas to define suspected terrorists and close associates. Police departments also avail themselves of the data when compiling a "threat matrix” to determine what level of force to employ in future contacts with a subject. The standard threat matrix is used to compile a “threat assessment score”; the range of options begins with “SWAT optional” and ends with “SWAT mandatory.” Confirmed ownership of firearms, significantly, is often sufficient reason to designate a subject as “SWAT mandatory.”

China Headed for Historic Banking Crisis

Sep 21, 2016

In addition to having the world’s second-largest and fastest-growing economy, China remains the world’s leading manufacturer of consumer goods and the top purchaser of U.S. Treasury debt. For this reason, many economic analysts are alarmed by indications that Beijing is headed for a major banking crisis – by some estimates, within the next two or three years.

“China’s credit-to-GDP gap stands at 30.1 in the first quarter of 2016,” notes the Daily Caller, citing figures from a recent Bank of International Settlements report. This figure is a significant measurement of a banking system’s health, and a gap of larger than 10 is a major cause for concern, as it indicates excessive credit growth.

One major beneficiary of China’s rapid credit expansion is Jack Ma, owner of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the Chinese analogue of Amazon. Alipay, a financial company started in 2004 to help Alibaba customers purchase goods online, has an estimated value of more than $50 billion. The parent company itself is believed to be worth $75 billion – which makes it bigger than Goldman Sachs.

Ma, it should be remembered, is also a co-creator of the Sesame Credit system, which assesses the creditworthiness of Chinese citizens on the basis of their political views and so-called “social responsibility.”

Brexit Led to a Boom, Not a Bust

Sep 21, 2016

Confounding the self-appointed experts who predicted –with entirely unwarranted confidence – that withdrawal from the European Union would precipitate an economic catastrophe, post-Brexit England is seeing a significant improvement in its economic prospects.

“In the months since the vote to leave the European Union … not only has the UK failed to fall into recession, but many key indicators show a remarkable degree of strength,” post-Brexit, observes economic analyst George Pickering of the Mises Institute. The FTSE 100, the key British stock index, did suffer an immediate post-Brexit dip, which corrected itself within days, and subsequently “recorded a record rise in August.” In addition, “Exports, housing, and construction all remained far stronger than expected” in the aftermath of Brexit, and Lloyd’s of London reports consumer confidence has improved dramatically as well.

Scotland, where a majority supported continued British membership in the EU, is considering another independence referendum so that it could rejoin the collective. Elsewhere on the continent, several EU member states are starting to express discontent over the union’s tax and regulatory bureaucracy.

Justice Department Sides with Local Cops over Secret Surveillance

Sep 21, 2016

Proponents of the Support Your Local Police movement insist that state and local law enforcement agencies serve as a bulwark against the dangerous expansion of federal power. This makes sense, in principle – but in practice, owing to post-9/1l Homeland Security subsidies and Pentagon arms transfers, local police agencies are increasingly siding with the Feds against the civil liberties of the communities they are supposed to serve.

For its part, the Justice Department will occasionally document abuses committed by local police, and impose consent decrees requiring federal supervision of some police departments – but it will also consistently take the side of police agencies engaged in joint ventures with the Feds. This is particularly true of surreptitious surveillance of cell phones using StingRay technology.

The StingRay device emulates a cell phone tower and can be used to collect data from every phone in its vicinity. This results in indiscriminate mass surveillance of people who are not suspected of criminal offenses. The technology is made available to local police agencies by the FBI, which requires cooperating departments to sign a confidentiality agreement. This allows local police to rebuff information requests with which they would otherwise be required to comply.

California’s Anaheim Police Department is one of many that have employed the StingRay technology and refused information requests by media and civil liberties groups and – most importantly -- in discovery motions by defense attorneys. Rather than compelling the Anaheim PD to obey the relevant laws, the Justice Department has supported the Anaheim PD’s position in court, reports the Orange County Register.

Justice Department Goes “Harrison Bergeron”

Sep 21, 2016

Kurt Vonnegut’s dystopian satire “Harrison Bergeron” depicts the dismal world of 2081 in which “everybody [is] finally equal.” Americans are compelled by law to be equal. This includes leveling out physical advantages enjoyed by those who are healthy and athletic: Agents of the “Handicapper General” inflict artificial disabilities on exceptional people, such as forcing beautiful people to wear masks, and graceful people to carry heavy “disability bags.”

Sixty-five years remain until the Harrison Bergeron deadline for full equality, but the US Justice Department is making dramatic strides toward that goal.Reason magazine reports that the Justice Department recently informed the University of California-Berkeley “that online content it makes available to the public free of charge runs afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act – blind and deaf people wouldn’t be able to access it, according to the government.”

Significantly, not a single complaint was filed by any student, faculty member, or employee of Berkley. The Justice Department was contacted by two employees of Gallaudet University in Washington, a school for the deaf.

On countless occasions since the ADA became law more than two decades ago, businesses and other institutions have been compelled by the Feds to make expensive and disruptive “accommodations” to satisfy regulatory demands. In this case, Berkley is going to avoid the expense by removing the supposedly offending online courses, thereby handicapping everybody.

Cops Accidentally Incriminate Themselves in a Conspiracy to Frame Activist

Sep 21, 2016

Police in Hartford, Connecticut do not like activist Michael Picard, who regularly warns drivers about traffic checkpoints and advises them to “remain silent.” On September 11, 2015, Picard was peacefully holding his sign on a triangular traffic island when state police officers approached him and one of them slapped his camera out of his hand – and act of aggravated assault, given that the assailants were armed.

When Picard objected, the officers took his sidearm – which he was legally carrying – and ran a check. After the victim retrieved his camera, an officer lied by saying that “taking my picture is illegal.” The officers then took the camera – not aware it was still recording – and conspired to file a bogus criminal charge against him after his gun permit was shown to be valid. One officer says, “We gotta punch a number on this guy,” to which a colleague replied, “we really gotta cover our asses.”

Eventually the officers filed two purely retaliatory charges –“reckless use of a highway by a pedestrian” and “creating a public disturbance.” A supervisor abetted this criminal conspiracy by suggesting that officers file perjured statements claiming that unnamed motorists had accused Picard of waving a gun.

Picard, who possesses irrefutable evidence of multiple felonies committed by the officers, has filed a lawsuit against the Connecticut State Police.

Navy Imposes Mandatory “Transgender” Indoctrination

Sep 21, 2016

Vice Admiral Robert Burke, Chief of Naval Personnel, has announced that all service members will undergo mandatory indoctrination regarding new “policies and expectations of personal behavior” as the Pentagon allows self-identified transgender people to serve openly in the military.

Beginning November 1, “mobile training teams composed of Navy fleet representatives and subject matter experts will be dispatched to deliver face-to-face briefs to senior leaders, including commanding officers, executive officers, command master chiefs, and chiefs of boat,” reports Military.com.

According to Lt. Jessica Anderson, “Service members are expected to maintain standards of conduct and treat each other with dignity and respect…. We do not tolerate harassment of any kind,” she continued, “and when there are indications that those values are not being followed, we will conduct appropriate investigations and take action as necessary.”

All sailors will be required to complete their indoctrination by July 1, 2017.

Trump Diverted Charitable Funds to Settle Lawsuits

Sep 21, 2016

The Washington Post reports that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump “spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved [his] for-profit businesses.” As previously reported, the Donald J. Trump Foundation – which is dramatically smaller than the scandal-plagued Clinton Foundation – is funded almost entirely by other people’s money, rather than Mr. Trump’s business proceeds or interest on an endowment.

Trump Foundation funds were used to make a $100,000 donation to a veteran’s charity in 2007 as part of a settlement with the City of Palm Beach, Florida in a legal conflict over the size of a flagpole. The donation was required in lieu of a fine. On another occasion, the Trump Foundation made a $158,000 charitable contribution to a recipient specified by the plaintiff in a lawsuit involving a Trump-owned golf course in New York.

The four cases discovered by the Post could be seen as involving petty litigation or regulatory over-reach at the expense of a wealthy, high-profile figure. Nonetheless, state and federal tax regulations forbid the practice of “self-dealing,” in which the owner of a non-profit uses charitable proceeds for his own benefit, or that of a business he owns. Attorney Jeffrey Tenenbaum, a specialist in non-profit matters, told the Post that if Trump is “using other people’s money – run through his foundation – to satisfy his personal obligations, then that’s about as blatant an example of self-dealing [as] I’ve seen in a while.”

FBI, Police Warned Two Years Ago about Chelsea Bombing Suspect

Sep 21, 2016

The father of Ahmad Khan Rahami, the suspect in last week’s bombings in New York and New Jersey, warned police in 2014 that his son was a potential terrorist, law enforcement officials told the New York Times. Mohammad Rahami reports that he expressed concerns about his son to the FBI following a fight in which his son allegedly stabbed his brother.

“Two years ago I [went] to the FBI because my son was doing really bad,” the elder Rahami relates. “But they check almost two months [and] they say, `He’s OK, he’s clean, he’s not a terrorist…. Now they say he is a terrorist.”

The information provided by Rahami’s father was passed along to the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Newark, which opened an assessment – a basic FBI investigation. Ahmad Rahami spent three months in jail in pre-trial detention on assault charges arising from the incident described by his father, but a grand jury declined to indict him after the allegations by his father and brother were recanted.

Rahami reportedly traveled to Pakistan on several occasions between 2010 and 2014. A bloody notebook found in his possession following the shootout in which he was arrested contained what were described as “opinions sympathetic to jidhadist causes.”

Trump’s Counter-Terrorism Program: Be More Like Israel

Sep 21, 2016

The recent bombings in New York and New Jersey have prompted Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to renew his demand for ethnic and religious profiling as a counter-terrorism policy.

“But Israel has done an unbelievable job, and they'll profile,” Trump said in a September 19 telephone interview with Fox & Friends. “They profile. They see somebody that's suspicious, they will profile, they will take that person in, they'll check out - do we have a choice?”

The purpose of profiling, presumably, would be to identify potential terrorism suspects. However, Mr. Trump believes that suspects are already known to police, which would make profiling gratuitous. He insists that the police are hamstrung by considerations of political correctness:

“Our local police, they know who a lot of these people are,” he insists. “They’re afraid to do anything about it because they don’t want to be accused of profiling.”

Referring, presumably, to bombing suspect Ahmad Rahami and his family, who are naturalized U.S. citizens from Afghanistan, Trump continued: “How they came into the country in the first place is beyond me. This is cancer from within. This is something that’s going to be so tough. They stay together. They’re plotting…. [The police are] trying to be so politically correct in our country and this is only going to get worse.”

In fact, as the New York Times reported, Rahami’s father expressed concerns to the police and the FBI about his son’s suspected affinity for terrorism two years before last weekend’s bombing.

Hillary’s Computer Guy Crowd-Sourced Advice for Deleting Emails

Sep 21, 2016

Social media can be a boon for researchers, who can take advantage of crowd-sourcing information-gathering – that is, asking a question in a social media forum that will generate interest on the part of thousands of people, and prompt a comparable number of replies. This can have its downsides, however, as an aide to Hillary Clinton apparently learned.

Users of the reddit social media platform have employed crowd-sourcing to identity former Clinton computer specialist Paul Combetta as the individual who sought help in purging email messages.

“I may be facing a very interesting situation where I need to strip out a VIP’s (VERY VIP) email address from a bunch of archived email,” wrote a reddit user employing the screenname stonetear on July 24, 2014. “Basically, they don’t want the VIP’s email address exposed to anyone, and want to be able to either strip out or replace the email address in the to/from fields in all of the emails we want to send out.”

On the previous day, the House Select Committee on Benghazi had finalized an agreement on the production of email records.

Stonetear posted a similar request on reddit on December 10, 2014, asking for help for a client who “wants to push out a 60 day email retention policy for certain users.” During that same month, Clinton attorney Cheryl Mills asked to shorten the email retention policy to 60 days, according to the recent FBI investigative report.

Combetta, who had an Etsy account under the name “stonetear,” has been given an immunity agreement to testify before Congress.

The Wonders of Waze

Sep 21, 2016

The Waze cellphone app is not popular with police, but the navigational tool is doing much more to improve traffic safety than law enforcement ever has, contends Jeffrey Tucker of the Foundation on Economic Education.

Waze “allows drivers to report where the police are staking out speed traps,” Tucker observes. “It tells you whether the officer in question is visible or hidden. “ This prompted the predictable outcry from revenue-hungry police, who are scandalized that drivers would adjust their behavior to avoid getting traffic tickets – which is supposedly the purpose of traffic enforcement in the first place.

The incentives followed by police, Tucker points out, “are exactly the opposite of promised results. Instead of seeking good driving, they are seeking lawbreaking as a means of achieving a different outcome: maximum revenue collection.”

“The whole ethos of Waze is different,” he continues. “It helps you become aware of your external surroundings and conscious that other drivers are in a similar situation as you are, just trying to get to their destinations quickly and safely. We are there to help each other.”

Rather than seeing each other in adversarial terms, drivers who use Waze are collaborating in an effort to protect each other, Tucker concludes.

Family of Italian Drone Strike Victim Receives $1 million Payout

Sep 21, 2016

Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto and U.S. citizen Warren Weinstein were killed by a CIA drone strike in January 2015 while held hostage by al-Qaeda in Pakistan. This led to an unprecedented admission of responsibility by Barack Obama, who insisted that the presence of the hostages was not detected despite hours of surveillance of the targeted facility.

The Intercept reports that the Obama administration has agreed to pay what it calls a $1.3 million “donation in memory” to Lo Porto’s family. The payment “includes no admission of wrongdoing by the United States.”

Significantly, the administration has not made a similar offer to compensate the family of Weinstein, a 70-year-old humanitarian contractor who was kidnapped in 2011 and held hostage until he was killed by his own government. Weinstein’s widow Elaine has complained that the FBI and CIA “did nothing” to rescue Weinstein. In desperation she paid nearly a quarter-million dollars in intended ransom over the four years.

“Do something – you’re the strongest country in the entire world,” Elaine pleaded in a television interview. The administration’s chosen display of strength resulted in the death of two hostages, followed by bureaucratized indifference toward the family of the American victim.

Film Critic Complains About Absence of Abortion Option in Bridget Jones Movie

Sep 21, 2016

The central plot device in the new romantic comedy Bridget Jones’s Baby is promiscuity. The central character, a flighty London single woman, becomes pregnant after liaisons with two different men, and finds herself in a romantic quandary as she tries to decide which is the father. Borrowing a marketing trope from the commercially successful and best-forgotten “Twilight” films, the movie’s PR campaign invites the would-be audience to choose a side by joining either #TeamDarcy or #TeamJack.

If asked to give advice to Bridget Jones, people who subscribe to traditional moral views might gently explain that promiscuity creates complications of this kind, while offering to help her with the financial and material burdens of pregnancy and single motherhood – if neither of her suitors, assuming that term applies, would fulfill his responsibilities as a father. Huffington Post film critic Laura Goldman offers a different objection: She is scandalized that Jones never considers murdering her baby.

According to Goldman, “abortion” is the “one crucial word” not found in the film.

“It is inconceivable” – Goldman begins, oblivious to the irony contained in the word – “that Bridget, a single 43-year-old pregnant woman, never considers terminating her pregnancy even if she eventually rejected it.”

Pregnancy, of course, is a self-terminating condition that will end with the birth of a child, barring either unforeseen mishap or an act of homicide.

Naturalized Afghan Citizen Arrested as Terror Suspect

Sep 20, 2016

Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 28-year-old naturalized citizen from Afghanistan suspected of involvement in the New York City bombings over the weekend, was arrested after being wounded in a shootout with police that reportedly left two New Jersey officers wounded as well. Five others who were detained following a traffic stop were likewise being questioned by the FBI. At least 29 people were injured after a bomb went off in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood on Saturday, an unexploded pressure cooker bomb was found a few blocks away, and a pipe bomb exploded near a town on the New Jersey shore shortly before a charity race. Five explosive devices were found in a trash can at a train station in New Jersey.

Five years ago, Rahami and his family filed a lawsuit against the Elizabeth Police Department, claiming that they had been targeted for “selective enforcement” and other official discrimination because of their Muslim religion. The civil complaint accused the city government of regulatory harassment, and the police of displaying a “reckless disregard and deliberate indifference for [the family’s] constitutional rights of liberty, due process, and equal protection.” The family, which has owned and operated a chicken restaurant since 2002, protests that police officers would materialize to shut down their business at 10:00 despite the fact that other businesses in the area were allowed to stay open until later.

The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice in 2012.

The FBI Continues to Hide Investigative Findings from Congress

Sep 20, 2016

In a hearing last week before the House Oversight Committee, FBI legislative affairs chief Jason Herring told Chairman Jason Chaffetz that the FBI would not turn over the unedited transcripts of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s documented violations of the Espionage Act because the FBI didn’t think they were relevant. FBI Director James Comey had enumerated multiple violations committed by Mrs. Clinton by diverting and storing classified emails on a non-secure private server – but then recommended against prosecution. A subsequent release of investigative materials by the FBI Director was severely redacted.

“I think the director made principled decisions about what to say to Congress when he was here and also what to provide to Congress,” insisted Herring during his testimony..

“Do we just let everybody in government decide that, based on their own individual principles?” Chaffetz responded. “We decide what’s relevant – not the Department of Justice, not the FBI,” Chaffetz continued. Allowing the Executive Branch to decide what the Legislative Branch is permitted to see is “the way a banana republic acts, not the way the United States of America acts,” he observed. “We are entitled to a full file…. You don’t decide what I get to see; I get to see it all.”

Chafetz further remonstrated, “I don’t expect to have to issue a subpoena to see unclassified information.” [but] “I’m going to issue a subpoena, and I’m going to do it right now,” he continued. “You are hereby served... We want all the 302s [the basic FBI field reports] and we would like the full file.” This would mean no redactions or blackouts.

Will NCAA Culture Commissars Target BYU?

Sep 20, 2016

Like many other corporate entities, the NCAA has become an enforcement arm of the gender revolution by removing all championship events from the State of North Carolina over what the organization describes as “the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.” The specific violation found intolerable by the NCAA was a state law forbidding people from using restrooms or similar facilities that are set apart for those of the opposite biological sex. That measure, which imposes no burden on anyone, is a vital protection for the privacy rights of those who do not want to disrobe or carry out intimate functions in the presence of strangers of the opposite sex.

Sports commentator Brad Rock predicts that the NCAA’s ruling against North Carolina may foreshadow future difficulties for Brigham Young University, a private religious school with an honor code that forbids premarital sexual activity and does not recognize the novel social arrangement called “same-sex marriage.”

The student government at Iowa State University “has advocated [that] BYU not be allowed in the Big 12, due to what it calls discriminatory language in the honor code,” Rock observes. With “the way things are headed, there could be even bigger implications for BYU than reaching the Big 12,” he continues. “In light of [the September 12] ruling, could the NCAA one day impose other demands, under threat of decertification?”

Obama to Black Congressional Caucus: Voting for Trump would be a “Personal Insult”

Sep 20, 2016

Despite her inherited advantages with key Democratic Party constituencies, Hillary Clinton isn’t popular with blacks or Hispanics. In an address to the Congressional Black Caucus, Barack Obama issued a remarkable plea – or perhaps an outright demand – that black voters overcome their reluctance to support the unpopular Democratic presidential nominee.

“If I hear anybody saying their vote does not matter, that it doesn’t matter who we elect – read up on your history,” Obama declared. “We’ve got to get people to vote. I will consider it a personal insult – an insult to my legacy – if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election. You want to give me a good sendoff? Go vote.”

Black Americans not content to be treated as part of a cattle-penned constituency might respond favorably to the Trump campaign’s claim that Obama’s legacy is largely defined by stratospherically high rates of black unemployment, welfare enrollment, and violent crime in black-majority neighborhoods. They might also recall the role played by Hillary Clinton as an unofficial spokesman for her husband’s administration when it promoted the use of mandatory minimum sentences that helped consign a generation of non-violent black offenders to decades in prison – and helped widen the documented racial disparities in drug sentencing.

CNN Covers Up Hillary Gaffe

Sep 20, 2016

Donald Trump was widely criticized by pundits for immediately describing the September 17 explosion in New York City as a “bombing” – a surmise that proved to be correct, but one that might have been prudently withheld until additional facts were known.

Trump, as it happens, wasn’t the only presidential candidate to leap to what apparently was the correct conclusion about the incident.

During a press availability after the bombing, Hillary Clinton told reporters, according to the ABC transcript: “I’ve been briefed about bombings in New York and New Jersey, and the attacks in Minnesota.”

Immediately forgetting her own characterization of the episode, Mrs. Clinton responded to a question about Trump’s description of the explosion as a “bomb” by declaring: “Well, I think it’s important to know the facts about any incident like this. That’s why it’s critical to support the first responders, the investigators who are looking into it, trying to determine what did happen.”

CNN viewers were spared exposure to this immediate – and potentially embarrassing –self-contradiction, because the network edited Mrs. Clinton’s opening sentence from its coverage of the remarks.

Yes, Hillary’s Surrogates Began the “Birther” Talk in 2008

Sep 20, 2016

Sid Blumenthal, a long-time Clinton ally and proxy, “personally pitched a reporter on the President Obama `birther’ story when she was campaigning for president in 2008,”according to former McClatchy Washington Bureau Chief James Asher.

Replying to a statement by Mrs. Clinton that “President Obama’s successor cannot and will not be the man who led the racist birther movement – period,”Asher wrote: “So why did your man Sid Blumenthal spread the Obama birther rumor to me in 2008, asking us to investigate? Remember?” After CNN ran a supposed fact-check feature disputing Donald Trump’s assertion that Hillary Clinton began the “birther” rumors, Asher pointed out that “Sid Blumenthal, long-time [Hillary Clinton] buddy, told me in person Obama was born in Kenya.”

The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and MSNBC – along with left-leaning journals such as The Nation – continue to describe Trump as the leader of the “birther” movement, and accuse him of lying about the 2008 Clinton campaign’s role in propagating rumors about Obama’s foreign birth. None of those outlets have followed up on Asher’s disclosures.

McClatchy News Service, it should be pointed out, is regarded by many media analysts as somewhat liberal in its editorial leanings, but widely respected for its investigative reporting and on-scene coverage of foreign military conflicts.

Can Changing a Diaper Result in Criminal Charges in Arizona?

Sep 20, 2016

Arizona resident Jerry Charles Holle was convicted of sexually molesting his step-granddaughter after she told a friend and a police officer that Holle had kissed and inappropriately touched her. Holle admitted that he had kissed the 11-year-old, but insisted that there was no “sexual motivation” involved in the contact. He had no previous history of sexual misconduct, and was able to summon more than a dozen witnesses attesting to the fact that he had never exhibited aberrant or deviant behavior.

Incidental or indirect contact between an adult and certain specified anatomy of a child under the age of 15 can be prosecuted as a felony in Arizona.

The trial judge in Holle’s case instructed the jury that under existing case law, the burden of proof was on the defendant to demonstrate that “his conduct was not motivated by a sexual interest” – a facially unconstitutional standard that has now been upheld by the state supreme court.

“Parents and other caregivers who have changed an infant’s soiled diaper or bathed a toddler will be surprised to learn that they have committed a class 2 or 3 felony,” write two dissenting state supreme court judges. “They also will likely find little solace from the majority’s conclusion that although they are child molesters or sex abusers under Arizona law, they are afforded an `affirmative defense’ if they can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that their touching was `not motivated by a sexual interest.’”

Hillary’s “One-time donor” Scam

Sep 20, 2016

In early August, several news outlets – including Money magazine, Slate, and the info-tech site Mic – reported that the official Donald Trump presidential campaign website does not have an option for donors to cancel recurring credit card payments. The Hillary Clinton campaign website, on the other hand, does have a “remove card” button. However, it has subsequently been disclosed that the Clinton campaign is also overcharging small donors.

“Hillary Clinton’s campaign is stealing from her poorest supporters by purposefully and repeatedly overcharging them after they make what’s supposed to be a one-time small donation through her official campaign website,” reports the Observer. “The overcharges are occurring so often that the fraud department at one of the nation’s biggest banks receives up to 100 phone calls a day from Clinton’s small donors asking for refunds for unauthorized charges to their bankcards made by Clinton’s campaign. One elderly Clinton donor, who has been a victim of this fraud scheme, has filed a complaint with her state’s attorney general and a representative from the office told her that they had forwarded her case to the Federal Election Commission.”

The overcharges are made in minuscule amounts that accumulate into sizeable totals – for example, $20 on the card owned by a one-time donor. The campaign “strategically doesn’t overcharge these donors $100 or more because the bank would then be obligated to investigate the fraud.”

Mike Pence: Dick Cheney is my Veep Role Model

Sep 20, 2016

Libertarian and paleo-conservative hopes that a Trump-Pence administration would banish the so-called neo-conservatives from the executive branch absorbed another blow on Sunday when VP nominee Mike Pence extolled former Vice President Dick Cheney as his role model.

“I frankly hold Dick Cheney in very high regard in his role as vice president,” Pence explained during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” program, promising that he would be “a very active vice president” if Trump wins the election.

Cheney, widely considered to be the most powerful vice president in history, “played a prominent role in reshaping America’s national-security apparatus and foreign-policy vision following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, but also fleshed out the details of many of [George W.] Bush’s domestic-policy initiatives, occasionally without his knowledge,” summarizes Business Insider. Cheney was a central architect of the Iraq war that Donald Trump now claims to have opposed from the beginning. He was aided by a retinue of figures from the so-called neo-conservative movement – which promotes an interventionist foreign policy, an expansive welfare state, and a liberal immigration policy.

Pence’s remarks summon memories of a claim made by Ohio Governor and former GOP presidential contender John Kasich that Donald Trump, Jr., acting on behalf of his father, offered him the vice presidential running mate position with the promise of putting him in charge of both foreign and domestic policy – leaving Trump with the vague role of “making America great again.”

Mentally Ill Inmate’s Suicide Leads to $11 Million Federal Verdict

Sep 20, 2016

A federal jury has awarded an $11.9 million civil verdict to the family of a jail inmate who committed suicide after prolonged medical neglect, reports The Legal Intelligencer.

The jury found PrimeCare Medical, Inc., and several individual medical providers negligent in their treatment of an inmate named Mumun Barbaros, who had been incarcerated in the Snydersville, Pennsylvania Jail in March 2009 while awaiting trial on vandalism charges. At the time of his arrest, Barbaros, who owned and operated a pizza restaurant, had been prescribed two potent psychoactive drugs – Paxil, an anti-depressant that acts as a selective Serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, and Trazadone, a drug that boosts the brain’s Serotonin levels. SSRIs come with disclaimers warning users about increased risk of suicide. Being weaned off the drugs may have been beneficial for Barbaros, if this was done under proper supervision. Deprived of both the drugs and medical aid, Barbaros deteriorated quickly. He eventually choked himself by forcing a shredded t-shirt down his throat.

According to the plaintiffs’ court papers, prison staff kept incorrect records of Barbaros’ medical needs when he entered prison, misspelled his name, and in one instance, incorrectly listed Prozac as his antidepressant prescription instead of Paxil. The damages awarded in the case included $1 million for medical negligence, $2.8 million for deliberate indifference, and $8 million in punitive damages assessed specifically against PrimeCare.

China Continues to Dump US Debt

Sep 19, 2016

Bloomberg reports that Beijing’s holdings of US Treasury notes fell to its lowest level in more than three years during July. China is the biggest holder of U.S. government debt, with $1.22 trillion in bonds, notes, and bills in July – down $22 billion from the previous month. Saudi Arabia, another leading financier of Washington’s sovereign debt, reduced its portfolio for the sixth straight month, to $96.5 billion. Japan, which is second to China in purchases of US Treasury debt, increased its holdings to $1.15 trillion.

Over the past year, China has been reducing its foreign-exchange reserves in order to prop up its own currency, the yuan.

Massive European Protests against Trade Deals

Sep 19, 2016

An ad hoc coalition of environmental, labor, and assorted leftist groups staged a massive demonstration spanning several European cities on Saturday to protest several multilateral trade agreements, including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP. An estimated 320,000 people participated in protests organized in seven German citizens, including Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, and Hamburg. Related demonstrations were planned for the Austrian cities of Vienna and Salzburg, and the Swedish cities Stockholm and Gothernburg.

Protest organizers also condemned the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement with Canada, which is presently being negotiated between that North American country and the executive council of the European Union. Critics of those accords assert that they would entrench politically powerful transnational corporations at the expense of consumers and workers. Environmental groups maintain that the agreements would insulate corporations from environmental regulations.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom accuses critics of the proposed pacts of using “horror stories and lies” and insists that “The Idea that TTIP will lower environmental standards is simply not true.”

The fundamental complaint by both the populist Right and the anti-globalist Left –who disagree about most other subjects -- is that regional trade pacts undermine both national independence and political accountability.

Britain Seeks to Block EU Army

Sep 19, 2016

Leaders of the European Union discussed proposals for a “common military force” during a September 16 summit meeting in Bratislava – and the UK, which is finalizing its withdrawal from the union, is using its remaining time to block the proposal.

In a development drenched in historic irony, France and Germany have collaborated on plans for a combined EU military that would rival the capability of the NATO alliance. The European Commission plans to make a formal public proposal in December, with a final agreement envisioned for next June.

Precedent-Setting Euthanasia Case in Belgium

Sep 19, 2016

For the first time, medical officials in Belgium have performed a so-called mercy killing of a minor – a 17-year-old about whom no critical details were made public but who was said to be suffering from a terminal illness. Jacqueline Herremans, a member of the Belgian government’s federal euthanasia commission, told AFP that “there are very few children who are considered [for euthanasia] but that does not mean we should refuse them the right to a dignified death.”

Belgium lifted age restrictions on state-sanctioned euthanasia in 2014, becoming the only country to allow terminally-ill children of any age to request a physician-assisted suicide, as long as they are conscious and are certified to be capable of making rational decisions.

Since the country authorized state-sanctioned medical killing in 2002, adults have been able to end their lives for conditions that fall far short of terminal illnesses. A pair of Belgian twins and a woman with an eating disorder were among those euthanized to ease what was described of as “psychological pain.” A letter signed by 160 pediatricians expressed opposition to the new child euthanasia law, describing it as unnecessary because contemporary medical science can control and relieve the pain suffered by most children. Belgian health minister Laurette Onkelinx prompted criticism by avoiding a public ethics debate on the issue prior to enactment of the new law.

Oakland Police Hit with $66 Million Sex Abuse Lawsuit

Sep 19, 2016

The sexual exploitation scandal that has tainted several Bay Area law enforcement agencies has prompted a $66 million lawsuit by a woman who claims to have been the victim of a sex trafficking ring organized by local police.

Jasmine Abuslin, also known as Celeste Guap, alleges that she has been a victim of sex trafficking since she was 12 years old. Her lawsuit targets Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent, who supposedly had detailed personal knowledge of the abuse.

“Whent was the police chief … during the time when Oakland Police officers were raping, victimizing, exploiting, and trafficking [the plantiff],” claims the suit. “Whent had personal knowledge that [Abuslin] was being sexually exploited as a minor and took no action to prevent the exploitation or to protect [her].”

Abuslin recounts how as a minor she encountered Police Officer Brendan O’Brien “while she was running from a pimp.” O’Brien, who would later commit suicide, protected the child from the pimp, but exploited her himself. She then became the common plaything of other officers who extended protection to her in exchange for sexual favors, according to the lawsuit, which implicates seven Bay Area police departments in the scandal.

Abuslin is presently in a jail near Stuart, Florida, where she had been sent by the Richmond, California Police Department, allegedly to undergo drug treatment. She has been accused of aggravated assault for an incident in which she reportedly bit another person.

Syrian Army Accuses US of Overt Support for ISIS

Sep 19, 2016

The Syrian government’s military high command reports that Syrian army positions were bombed by a U.S.-led coalition, thereby facilitating a successful assault by ground forces from the Islamic State.

This “dangerous and blatant aggression,” contends the Syrian military, offered “conclusive evidence” that Washington and its allies support ISIS forces in their effort to overthrow the government of Bashar Assad.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the state-run news agency TASS that “after today’s attack on the Syrian army, we come to the terrible conclusion that the White House is defending the Islamic State.

Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute points out that “this is the second time US forces have directly targeted Syrian government troops inside Syria. It would be the first time such an attack produced a battlefield advantage to ISIS.” At least 62 and as many as 100 Syrian troops were killed in the attack. Washington has admitted that the attack occurred, but has described it as a mistake.

Jury Nullifies Pot Charge in Florida

Sep 19, 2016

There is no dispute that Florida resident Bridget Kirouac was growing marijuana at her home. There is likewise no ambiguity in Florida state statutes, which criminalize all cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana. A Martin County jury, exercising its plenary authority to rule on both the facts of a case and the validity of the law, found Kirouac not guilty of all criminal charges.

“The people in the state of Florida do not want to convict people for this,” proclaimed defense attorney Michael Minardi, who had successfully argued that Kirouac’s cultivation and use of cannabis was a medical necessity.

“We’re talking about people’s lives here,” commented Kirouac following her acquittal. “We’re talking about suffering and dying people. And if you don’t have compassion for that … you’re not human.” People who suffer from chronic pain and degenerative diseases “should not be prosecuted, brought to court, brought to jail in handcuffs like I was for hurting no one.”

As the trial judge advised Kirouac, her acquittal does not mean she is free to use medical marijuana. Florida voters will be able to approve a ballot measure decriminalizing medical use of cannabis this November.

Rodney King’s Daughter Seeks to Reconcile Police with the Public

Sep 19, 2016

The videotaped 1991 traffic stop and violent arrest of Rodney King led to a national scandal. The acquittal of four LAPD officers on criminal charges arising from the incident was seized upon by radical groups who helped precipitate a three-day orgy of destruction that left 55 people dead, 2,000 injured, and millions of dollars in property destroyed. As much of the city was convulsed in violence, King went before television cameras and in halting but earnest language asked Los Angeles residents to make peace with each other.

King’s daughter Lora, a 32-year-old secretary at an accounting firm, insists that King never hated the police, despite repeated run-ins both before and after the videotaped beating. She is devoting some of her time volunteering in civic efforts intended to improve relations between police and the public, especially the black community in LA.

“It is hard to trust,” Miss King told the AP. “But it’s not going to get anything resolved by hating.”

King was among the featured speakers at a recent event sponsored by the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, a program intended to provide job training and education for at-risk youth.

Texas AG Fights “Climate Change” Heretic-Hunt

Sep 19, 2016

As part of a strictly partisan campaign organized among Democratic state attorneys general, Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey subpoenaed four decades’ worth of internal company documents from ExxonMobil, claiming that the oil company had engaged in a conspiracy to defraud the public by burying scientific findings linking fossil fuel use to climate change.

Similar demands have been made by two other members of the so-called Green 20 – New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman and Claude Walker, the attorney general for the US Virgin Islands. Subpoenas have been issued to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market advocacy group targeted solely on the basis of its publicly expressed view that the theory of anthropogenic – or man-caused – climate change has not been proven.

A coalition of state attorney generals has now filed an amicus brief in federal court describing the Green 20 subpoenas as unconstitutional impositions on rights protected by the First Amendment.

If the theory behind Healey’s subpoena is sound, observed attorneys for ExxonMobil in a motion of their own, “nothing is to stop a state prosecutor from issuing a subpoena to stop a political opponent seeking decades of records on the theory that a disagreement about policy constitutes fraud.” Using law enforcement power in the context of an “ongoing public policy debate of international importance,” is unconstitutional, observes a brief filed by Texas attorney general Ken Paxton.


Powell Email Link: Israel Targets Iran with 200 Nukes

Sep 19, 2016

The existence of Israel’s nuclear arsenal is treated by that government as both a vital deterrent to foreign enemies, and a closely guarded state secret. Washington likewise treats the subject as classified information. In hacked emails that were leaked last week, former Secretary of State Colin Powell not only pointedly acknowledged the existence of Israel’s nukes, but appeared to confirm that most of them target the country the Israeli government considers its chief regional rival – Iran.

In March 2015, Powell discussed a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a joint session of Congress in which he opposed Washington’s nuclear deal with Tehran.

“Iranians can’t use one if they finally make one,” Powell commented in an email to high-end Democratic Party donor Jeffrey Leeds. “The boys in Tehran know Israel has 200, all targeted on Tehran, and we have thousands.”

A statement made on Powell’s behalf following the email leak claimed that he “has not been fried or had any knowledge from US sources on the existence and or size of an Israeli nuclear capability” and insisted that Powell like many other people believes “that there may be a capability and the number 200 has been speculated upon in open sources.”

What the “Trumpening” Means

Sep 19, 2016

Donald Trump’s political ascent is not the product of the Republican nominee’s political genius, but rather his ability to express discontent with the post-1989 political order – and his arrival at precisely the moment that order is unraveling, argues Georgetown University political science professor Joshua Mitchell. That political order was based upon regional trade and political blocs – such as NAFTA and the European Union – and the promotion of identity politics that derogate from national citizenship in favor of ethnic, gender, or religious identifications.

“Yes, Donald Trump is implicated in that unraveling, cavalierly undermining decades’ worth of social and political certainties with his rapid-fire Twitter account and persona that only the borough of Queens can produce,” Mitchell writes in Politico. “But so is Bernie Sanders. And so is Brexit. And so are the growing rumblings in Europe….”

The six ideas propelling Trump’s campaign, and these related developments, according to Mitchell, are the following: Borders matter; immigration policy matters; national interests, rather than so-called universal interests, matter; entrepreneurship matters; decentralization matters; and political correctness must be repudiated. Those ideas did not begin with Trump, nor is he their most capable exponent – but they will continue to grow in importance irrespective of the outcome of Trump’s presidential bid, Mitchell maintains.

NYPD: We Don’t Know How Much Money We Confiscate

Sep 19, 2016

Like every other police agency in the country, the NYPD annually confiscates a huge amount of money and property through the process of asset forfeiture – in which such seizures can be conducted without filing formal criminal charges against the owner. Like many other departments, furthermore, the NYPD has no idea how much it confiscates each year, let alone what is done with the proceeds.

During a recent New York City Council hearing, the NYPD objected to a proposed city ordinance that would require it to release annual reports on asset forfeiture. The Department, which incessantly boasts of being the world’s most sophisticated municipal law enforcement agency, says that trying to provide an accounting of cash and property seizures is beyond its technical capacity.

“Attempts to perform the types of searches envisioned in the bill will lead to system crashes and significant delays during the intake and release process,” declared Assistant Deputy Commissioner Robert Messner during testimony before the City Council’s Public Safety Committee. “The only way the department could possibly comply with the bill would be a manual count of over a half million invoices each year.”

Messner answered “no” when asked if he could provide any sort of accounting regarding the amount of money the NYPD seized during the past year. A Freedom of Information Law request filed by a private advocacy group called the Bronx Defenders showed that the NYPD “has been taking millions of dollars out of the pockets of low-income New Yorkers under the guise of civil forfeiture proceedings,” reports the Village Voice.

Washington Post: Thanks for the Pulitzer-winning News Tip, Now Here’s a Prison Sentence

Sep 19, 2016

A generation ago, the Washington Post acted as a conduit for the disclosures that led to the Watergate scandal and Nixon’s downfall. The Post, albeit belatedly, also gave coverage to the Pentagon Papers after they were leaked by whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

Like other publications, the Post has occasionally gone to court to protect its sources. However, the Post has now “achieved an ignominious feat in U.S. media history” by becoming “the first-ever paper to explicitly editorialize for the criminal prosecution of its own source – one on whose back the paper won and eagerly accepted a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service,” writes Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept. Specifically, the Post has called for the criminal prosecution of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The paper claims that the only defensible Snowden revelation was exposure of the NSA’s metadata collection program, while contending that exposing the PRISM surveillance initiative did “real harm” for which Snowden should supposedly accept “a measure of criminal responsibility.”

The Post forgot to mention that the publication, along with the Guardian of London, “made the choice to expose the PRISM program by spreading its operational details and top-secret manual all over its front page,” Greenwald recalls. If Snowden’s leaks resulted in prosecutable harm to national security, Greenwald asks, shouldn’t the Post, at the very least, return its Pulitzer Prize?

Will NCAA Culture Commissars Target BYU?

Sep 19, 2016

Like many other corporate entities, the NCAA has become an enforcement arm of the gender revolution by removing all championship events from the State of North Carolina over what it describes as “the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.” The specific violation found intolerable by the NCAA was a state law forbidding people from using restrooms or similar facilities that are set apart for those of the opposite biological sex. That measure, which imposes no burden on anyone, is a vital protection for the privacy rights of those who do not want to disrobe or carry out intimate functions in the presence of strangers of the opposite sex.

Sports commentator Brad Rock predicts that the NCAA’s ruling against North Carolina may foreshadow future difficulties for Brigham Young University, a private religious school with an honor code that forbids premarital sexual activity and does not recognize the novel social arrangement called “same-sex marriage.”

The student government at Iowa State University “has advocated [that] BYU not be allowed in the Big 12, die to what it calls discriminatory language in the honor code,” Rock observes. With “the way things are headed, there could be even bigger implications for BYU than reaching the Big 12,” he continues. “In light of [the September 12] ruling, could the NCAA one day impose other demands, under threat of decertification?”

The FBI Continues to Hide Investigative Findings from Congress

Sep 19, 2016

In a hearing last week before the House Oversight Committee, FBI legislative affairs chief Jason Herring told Chairman Jason Chafetz that the FBI would not turn over the unedited transcripts of its investigation because the FBI didn’t think they were relevant.

“We decide what’s relevant – not the Department of Justice, not the FBI,” Chairman Chafetz replied, That’s the way a banana republic acts, not the way the United States of America acts,” he said. “We are entitled to a full file…. You don’t decide what I get to see; I get to see it all.”

Chafetz further remonstrated, “I don’t expect to have to issue a subpoena to see unclassified information.” [but] “I’m going to issue a subpoena, and I’m going to do it right now,” he continued. “You are hereby served... We want all the 302s [the basic FBI field reports] and we would like the full file.” This would mean no redactions or blackouts.

Secretary Clinton’s Betrayal of Important Chinese Defector

Sep 19, 2016

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign depicts the candidate as a sober, responsible, tested statesman who can be trusted to make the “Hard Choices” – the phrase that provides the title of her memoir, for which she was paid a princely sum and that few have bothered to purchase or read. One incident described in that book offers a critical snapshot of Mrs. Clinton’s vaunted judgment in action.

Four years ago Wang Lijun, a high-ranking aide to a regional Communist Party leader sought political asylum in a U.S. Consulate in southwestern China, reports Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon. This kind of high level defection is rare and offered an opportunity for US Intelligence to gain valuable insights into the secretive leadership of China—America’s growing Asian adversary. But instead of sheltering Wang and granting political asylum, Clinton turned him over to Chinese officials.

“Details of the mishandling of the Wang defection have been kept secret by the Obama administration, and Clinton’s version of events was contradicted by U.S. officials and the official Chinese account,” writes Gertz. “Instead of gaining long-term access to a valuable defector with inside knowledge of Chinese strategy and policies, Clinton contacted the Chinese government in Beijing and allowed security officials to take Wang into custody outside the U.S. consulate some 30 hours after he entered the property in a daring bid to flee China for the United States.”

Mrs. Clinton’s critics say this is just the latest example of the Clintons giving up national security interests to preserve ties with China, a process that included technology transfers during the administration of Bill Clinton —and that this mishandling of China raises questions about her abilities for managing national security affairs if she were to become president. Hard choices aren’t all that difficult if those who make them are never held accountable.

NAFTA’s “Giant Sucking Sound” Can Still be Heard

Sep 19, 2016

During the 1992 presidential contest, independent third-party candidate Ross Perot targeted the then-unfinished North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, as an impending economic disaster for all three parties – the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Perot famously warned that if the pact were approved – as it was during the Bill Clinton administration – Americans would hear a “giant sucking sound” as businesses relocated production facilities to Mexico, where wage and regulatory costs are lower.

An echo of Perot’s warning could be heard last week as Ford announced that it was moving production of all its smaller vehicles to Mexico, taking advantage of NAFTA perks. CEO Mark Fields told investors the move is part of plans to make production simpler and less expensive. Sadly for American industry, more companies are relocating production south of the US border to avoid the high costs of US regulations that take a heavy toll on manufacturers in the US. Freep.com has the story:

“Ford plans to eventually shift all North American small-car production from the U.S. to Mexico, CEO Mark Fields told investors Tuesday, even though the company's production investments in Mexico have become a lightning rod for controversy in the presidential election. `Over the next two to three years, we will have migrated all of our small-car production to Mexico and out of the United States,’ Fields said at a daylong investor conference in Dearborn.”

How North Korea Evades Economic Sanctions

Sep 19, 2016

North Korea detonated a nuclear device last week that rivaled the bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II. North Korea has been actively advancing its nuclear weapons program and developing intercontinental ballistic missiles to deliver weapons at further and further distances.

Despite the administration’s claim of tightening sanctions against North Korea for its ongoing nuclear program, the US continues to give a free hand to the Chinese who collude with the North to evade these restrictions. Contrast this with the sanctions imposed against Iran and US threats to cut off all trade with any nation that traded with Iran. That effectively stopped Europe from trading with Iran, but the US did nothing about Red China trading with Iran.

NPR reports that China is exploiting a broad loophole to trade with North Korea to break the sanctions---including allowing it to purchase weapons and weapon systems:

“China did sign on to U.N. Resolution 2270, the package of new sanctions in March. The resolution called for cutting off trade in commodities, such as coal. Many analysts thought that was a big deal at the time, since coal is North Korea's No. 1 export and makes up an estimated 35 percent of the economy there. But before signing on to the sanctions, China insisted on a key loophole called the "livelihood exemption." It allows the export of a product if cutting it off might affect the livelihood of the exporter, so long as the revenue doesn't go to North Korea's nuclear program. The problem is, companies self-certify that's the case.”

Asian analysts like Jim Walsh of MIT try to explain away China’s double-dealing because “China doesn't want a failed nuclear weapons state on its doorstep.” But geopolitical analyst Joel Skousen disagrees with this thinking.

“This kind of rationale is endless in US diplomatic circles,” Skousen observes. “They allow China, Russia or North Korea to build up weapons of mass destruction through permissive trade and then they lobby against strong action for fear they will create a `failed nuclear state.’ Well, I’d rather have a failed nuclear state than a strong, live, and dangerous one,” he concludes.

Obama Administration Misuses Antiquities Act

Sep 19, 2016

The Antiquities Act of 1906 was originally crafted and passed to protect archeological sites and Native American structures from looting and vandalism. Now the act is being used to create massive federal land holdings in the name of protection—with no limits on the size of land set apart by government decree. The latest such action wasn’t land but ocean. With the stroke of a pen President Obama created the world’s largest marine preserve and restricted legal use of an area off the coast of Hawaii that is three times the size of California. The goal is not to preserve any antiquities or artifacts in the ocean, but to restrict human use of the area. Critics argue that it was unnecessary to put the area in the hands of the federal government just to manage the fishing in that area better.

Sen. Mike Lee of Utah has presented legislation to give states the same protections against federal land grabbing that Wyoming has. Wyoming was the first victim of the arbitrary taking of land under the act and in the big Congressional battle that followed, a compromise was struck where the land taken for Yellowstone National Park was allowed but Wyoming was exempted from any takings in the future.

Unprotected by Police, North California Residents Organize Armed Citizen Patrols

Sep 16, 2016

Confronting a wave of robberies that appear to have targeted largely Asian neighborhoods in south Sacramento, residents and business owners have organized armed patrols to deter criminals and assist people who are afraid to go out after dark.

Restaurant owner Joe Liao told the Sacramento Bee that “I don’t blame people for not coming out. If they go out to eat, they have two things to worry about – robbery in the parking lot or burglary at home.”

“The people who live in south Sacramento aren’t coming out anymore,” added Paula Young, manager of King Palace Seafood. “They are afraid. All everyone talks about now is the crime.”

Over the past year, amid a localized crime surge, average declines in revenue for local businesses have reached up to 30 percent, and many have had to lay off employees. With no help on the way from the municipal government, local Chinese-American leaders “have launched armed patrols in south Sacramento.” Volunteer security guards will respond to calls for assistance issued through WeChat, a social media app that originated in China.

“We need to take security into our own hands,” explains Wei Xin Yang, an organizer of the WeChat group. “If not, who will protect us?”

Sacramento Police Department spokesman Officer Matthew McPhail told the Bee that the department “strongly discourages” citizens from organizing private patrols to provide the security they aren’t getting from tax-funded government law enforcement.

Obama Administration: States Cannot De-Fund Planned Parenthood

Sep 16, 2016

The latest in a lengthening list of executive mandates from the Obama administration would “effectively prevent states from defunding groups on the grounds that they provide abortions,” reports National Review.

The Department of Health and Human Services has proposed new guidelines for the implementation of Title X funding – which is used for family-planning services. Until now, states have acted within their reserved powers under the Tenth Amendment to devise and follow their own criteria in disbursing federal funds to groups that offer such services. The new federal mandates would forbid state governments from “using criteria in their selection of subrecipients that are unrelated to the ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.”

In practice, this would make it “nearly impossible for states to discriminate at all between entities receiving funding,” observes National Review. The rule specifically cites Florida, which earlier this year enacted a law prohibiting groups that promote or perform abortion, such as Planned Parenthood, from receiving Title X funding.

Both the Hyde Amendment and the text of Title X claim that “federal funds are never to be used for abortion.” However, earlier this year a federal judge struck down Florida’s law, which was specifically designed to enforce that prohibition. That ruling claimed, in effect, that because abortion is legal, taxpayers are compelled to subsidize the child-killing industry. The Obama administration’s new guidelines are intended to make that ruling a new national standard.

Colin Powell’s Assessment of his Bush Administration Colleagues

Sep 16, 2016

Because of his reputation as a sober, principled statesman, Colin Powell played an indispensable role in winning public and international approval for the George W. Bush administration’s war in Iraq. As Secretary of State, Powell offered a disinformation-laden presentation to the UN Security Council in which he recited false intelligence regarding Iraq’s supposed intent and capacity to manufacture weapons of mass destruction.

While he dutifully recited the administration’s line at the time, Powell had a very low opinion of his Bush administration colleagues, particularly former Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Deputy Secretary of State Paul Wolfowitz. This is made clear in a collection of recently hacked emails published by the group DCLeaks.

In one email to former National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice, Powell offered a very negative assessment of Rumsfeld’s competence.

“One day when we both have had too many drinks we can discuss why [Bush] tolerated him and why Dick [Cheney], a successful [Secretary of Defense], was so committed to Don,” Powell wrote. “I must say I gagged as [George Bush the elder] praised him as the `best’ at the statuary hall unveiling.”

In another exchange, Rice expressed frustration over Dick Cheney’s tireless defense of the disastrous Iraq war, saying that he should “go away already” and “concentrate on quality time with his grandkids and let it go.” Powell predicted that “he won’t.”

When the discussion turned to Wolfowitz, one of the most impassioned proponents and committed defenders of the war, Powell used an expletive in describing him as a “liar.”

In several messages Powell – who has never disguised his liberal internationalist views -- is expansively critical of Donald Trump, while expressing qualified respect for Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s Unprecedented Potential Conflicts of Interest

Sep 16, 2016

Donald Trump’s dramatic political ascent demonstrates the potent appeal of an “America First” political message.

Tens of millions of Americans concerned over their country’s submergence in a corporatist international order have rallied to Trump, seeing in him a champion who will restore national independence and revise or abandon sovereignty-sapping multilateral trade accords. Owing to his financial resources and his status as a novice politician, Trump is not beholden to Establishment donors and can resist both the blandishments and threats of party king-makers.

That is the image that made Trump irresistible to the GOP’s long-suffering grassroots membership. Newsweek, a publication that is not particularly hospitable to the candidate, has published a detailed examination of the Trump Organization’s business activities that challenges the preferred narrative of his supporters.

There “is no evidence the Trump Organization has engaged in any illegal activities,” Newsweek observes. However, it is “an enterprise with deep ties to global financiers, foreign politicians and even criminals” and is bound in “a web of contractual entanglements that could not [simply] be canceled.”

This includes projects in Korea, China, India, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia.

“If Trump moves into the White House and his family continues to receive any benefit from the company, during or even after his presidency, almost every foreign policy decision he makes will raise serious conflicts of interest and ethical quagmires,” asserts Newsweek.

Taxpayers Compelled to Fund Self-Inflicted Sexual Mutilation Surgery

Sep 16, 2016

Former Army Private Bradley Manning, an imprisoned whistleblower who now “identifies” as a female and insists on being called Chelsea, ended a recent prison hunger strike after being assured that he would be allowed to undergo a process of clinical mutilation called “sex-reassignment surgery.” Since Manning is serving a 35-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth, that procedure will be carried out at taxpayer expense. Significantly, Manning will not be transferred out of the all-male prison, despite his self-identification as a female.

Although the Obama administration insisted on punishing Manning for disclosing evidence of war crimes to WikiLeaks, it is eager to capitalize on his gender derangement as a way of advancing the LGBT revolution. A new policy published on September 6 by Tricare, which provides health care for 4.7 million active-duty and retired military personnel and their family members, requires taxpayers to fund psychological counseling and hormonal treatments for so-called “transgender” people covered in the program. This includes subsidized prescriptions of hormone treatments intended to suppress the onset of puberty for grade-school-age children who have been encouraged to “identify” as people of the opposite biological sex, followed by administration of cross-sex hormones – testosterone for sexually confused female children, estrogen for their male counterparts.

The American College of Pediatricians warns that pubertal suppression of children in that age range, followed by the use of cross-sex hormones, will result in sterility.

The Clintons and their Preferred Company

Sep 16, 2016

In August, as Louisiana was trying to recover from devastating floods, Donald Trump made a brief but significant visit to the region to express sympathy and hand out relief supplies.

For her part, notes Louisiana resident and American Conservative contributor Rod Dreher, “Hillary Clinton was at Lady Rothschild’s mansion on Martha’s Vineyard at a $50,000 a plate fundraiser.” For the rest of the month, Mrs. Clinton all but disappeared from public view while she conducted fundraising events. She emerged the first week of September at a Manhattan LGBT fundraiser organized by Barbra Streisand, during which she gave a speech dismissing half of Trump’s supporters as “deplorables,” some of whom are “irredeemable.”

This Friday night, while she’s at home in Chappaqua recovering from what is said to be pneumonia, and perhaps contemplating her weakening position in the polls, husband Bill will be at another elite Manhattan venue, the Rainbow Room, high atop the Rockefeller Center hosting – wait for it – a fundraiser,” continues Dreher.

Politico describes the gathering as a belated celebration of Bill Clinton’s 70th birthday. Among those scheduled to perform at the event are Streisand, Wynton Marsalis, and Jon Bon Jovi. Seats at the event begin at $50,000, with the top ticket going for $250,000.

Is Duterte a Hands-On Murderer?

Sep 16, 2016

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has openly abetted extra-judicial police killings and lethal vigilante violence against suspected drug dealers and users, is a hands-on killer, according to sworn testimony from self-described hitman Edgar Matobato.

Speaking to the Philippine Senate, Matobato claimed that Duterte, as mayor of Davao City, was present during a 1993 death squad mission when their vehicle encountered a roadblock manned by an agent of the National Bureau of Investigation. Following a brief exchange of gunfire, the agent was left wounded and out of ammunition. According to Matobato, “Mayor Duterte was the one who finished him off…. He emptied two Uzi magazines on him.”

Matobato described the death squad as a group of policemen and ex-Communist rebels who killed roughly 1,000 people. Some of those targeted by the squad were garroted, burned, quartered, and then buried at a quarry or fed to the fish.

“The officers told us ordinary killings wouldn’t do,” Matobato related, claiming that he had personally killed as many as fifty people. “Our job was to kill criminals, rapists, pushers, and snatchers – that’s what we did,” he testified. “We killed people on an almost daily basis.”

How Cops Behave When They Think the Cameras Are Off

Sep 16, 2016

Earlier this year, five people were arrested during a police raid on a medical marijuana dispensary in Costa Mesa, California, which has a city ordinance banning such facilities. With guns drawn, the police – who did not have a search or arrest warrant – invaded the dispensary and confiscated a digital video camera. However, they did not notice four hidden cameras that captured their rampage, in which they seized merchandise and detained employees and customers for questioning. The video shows the officers making a forcible entry while claiming that they had a search warrant, but none was on record in the Orange County Court System. Five people were arrested on felony charges.

Police Chief Rob Sharpnack refuses to release details of the incident, invoking an ongoing criminal investigation.

A lawsuit has been filed in state court on behalf of the victims of the illegal search and seizure operation. Lawyers representing the police department have filed a motion to move the lawsuit to federal court. Attorney Matthew Pappas describes this as a “strategic move” intended to protect the local police department from being accountable under state and local laws.

“Costa Mesa’s effort to move the case to federal court is meant to prevent any recovery for their illegal actions because marijuana is prohibited under federal law,” Pappas told the Orange County Register. “However the lawsuit filed is based on state law in an area that should be decided by state courts.”

Half-Million Dollars in Cash and Drugs, Dozens of Guns Go Missing from Police Evidence Room

Sep 16, 2016

An audit of the Braintree Police Department in Massachusetts has revealed that thousands of items – including cash, guns, and narcotics – have gone missing from the evidence room, reports the Patriot-Ledger newspaper.

Nearly 5,000 pieces of narcotics evidence could not be accounted for, 38 of which had been “compromised” – meaning that they had been opened, left unpackaged, or found to have items missing, the paper explains. Many of those compromised items are described as “bags of cocaine.”

Videos stored as evidence were unlabeled, test kits for sexual assault cases were stored in a trailer outside the police station, and nearly 2,500 pieces of property evidence are missing. The department also cannot account for $408,000 in cash confiscated in “asset forfeiture” operations. Sixty firearms had been reported as missing, but the department now claims that all but twelve have been found. Two of them were recovered last June from the home of former evidence officer Susan Zopatti, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The results of the audit were not released until after the department was given an opportunity to institute what it called “administrative reforms.”

New York AG Opens Investigation of Donald J. Trump Foundation

Sep 16, 2016

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced a criminal investigation of the Donald J. Trump foundation. Schneiderman is a partisan Democrat, an unabashed Hillary Clinton supporter, a long-time critic of Trump, and has often found creative and dubious ways to extend his supposed jurisdiction. That being said, there are grounds to justify an inquiry into the Trump Foundation.

A detailed investigative article by the Washington Post – once again, a media source consistently critical of Trump – asserts that “The Donald J. Trump Foundation is not like other charities…. For one thing, nearly all of its money comes from people other than Trump. In tax records, the last gift from Trump was in 2008. Since then, all of the donations have been other people’s money – an arrangement that experts say is almost unheard of for a family foundation. Trump then takes that money and does with it as he pleases. In many cases, he passes it on to other charities, which often are under the impression that it is Trump’s own money.”

On at least two occasions, Trump used funds from his alleged charity to buy gifts for himself – one of which was a $20,000 purchase of a six-foot-tall painting of himself. Trump has also paid a $2,500 penalty to the IRS for a 2013 campaign donation made by the foundation to the re-election campaign of Republican Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who shortly thereafter announced that she would not investigate civil claims against Trump University.

The model followed by the Donald J. Trump Foundation, the Post summarizes, is not that of a standard philanthropy, but rather one “that allowed a rich man to be philanthropic for free.”

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