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August 17, 2014

Obama Regime Funds Border Fence

Has the Dictator-In-Chief finally decided that we have to create a barrier in order to stop the deluge of illegal border crossers created by his failed policies?

No -- it isn't the American border he wants to protect (thought part of the problem here is also due to Obama's failed policies).

As part of the U.S. Crisis Support Package for Ukraine announced by the White House in April, the State Department awarded a $435,000 contract to B.K. Engineering System in Kyiv for razor wire to help “defend the newly imposed borders between Ukraine’s mainland and the Crimean peninsula.” The contract was awarded on June 12, but was just posted online this week.

So apparently a physical barrier will stop Putin's forces from invading Ukraine (in tanks and armored personnel carriers) but one will not stop people on foot from crossing into the United States.

If you aren't outraged, then you just aren't paying attention.

H/T Legal Insurrection


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World Silent As 1000 Civilians Killed

No surprise here -- after all, the dead are Christians and the killers are Muslims, so it is business as usual.

The death toll from Boko Haram’s takeover of the predominantly Christian town of Gwoza is nearly 1,000, not the 100 included in many reports, Nigerian relations expert Adeniyi Ojutiku told Baptist Press.

The Nigerian military abandoned their weapons and fled Gwoza as Boko Haram attacked Wednesday (Aug. 6), burning government buildings, killing residents and taking hostages. Some residents managed to flee to the mountains bordering Cameroon and are without food or water; others made it 85 miles north to Maiduguri, Associated French Press (AFP) and others reported.

News surfaced just today (Aug. 15) of a separate Aug. 10 attack on the remote village of Doron Baga in northeastern Nigeria, where Boko Haram kidnapped dozens of boys and men, leaving women, girls and young children abandoned there.

I'm curious -- where is Barack Obama's humanitarian intervention to stop this genocide in Nigeria? Where is the international outrage?


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Gaza Ceasefire Talks Fail

And I think it is fair to sum matters up in a single tweet from the military arm of Hamas.


Here's a report on the failure. Note the generous terms that were offered Hamas, the losing party in this conflict by every measure.

JERUSALEM - Hamas reportedly rejected a comprehensive, 11-clause long term ceasefire proposal on Saturday. Egypt has warned that this proposal will be its final effort to secure a lasting end to the Israel-Gaza conflict.

According to details leaked by Egyptian newspaper al-Shorouk, the 11-clause proposal contained several key concessions to the Palestinian delegation, including the opening of border crossings between Israel and Gaza, the elimination of the so-called "buffer zones" along the Israel-Gaza border, the extension of the fishing zone to 12 miles off the Gazan coast, and the assistance of Israel and the Palestinian Authority in rebuilding the infrastructure of the Gaza Strip.

The proposal also called for negotiations to resume after a month of quiet, at which time the issues of a seaport and airport in Gaza would be discussed. Egypt has warned that its latest proposal will be its final effort, Israel Radio reported on Friday.

Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan said the Egyptian proposal did not meet the needs of the Palestinian people.

"Israel must agree to the demands of the Palestinian people, or it will face a long war of attrition," Hamdan wrote in a Facebook post.

Fine -- Hamas leaders insist that the "demands of the Palestinian people" be met and that they wish for "death for Allah"> Maybe it is time for Israel to give it to them without taking half measures or showing the sort of restraint that has limited their ability to wipe out the terrorists but still left them open to international criticism.


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August 15, 2014

Rick Perry Indicted For Vetoing Tax Dollars For Office Of Dangerous Drugged And Drunk Driving DA.

Texas is among the reddest of red states in the union. Most counties in the state are controlled by Republicans. One of particular importance is controlled by the Democrats -- Travis County, home of the state capital of Austin. Because of that quirk of geography, this means that a prosecutor elected by a constituency completely out of step with the bulk of Texans gets to investigate anything he/she sees fit to investigate and prosecute anything he/she chooses to -- using state money to do so.

This has become quite important in recent years. The prosecution of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay after then DA Ronnie Earle submitted the same evidence to multiple grand juries in a matter of weeks until he found one willing to indict is one example of how Texas Democrats have used the power of one local prosecutor to attack a political nemesis who was unbeatable at the polls is a classic example. Today's indictment of Governor Tom Delay at the behest of a special prosecutor is another example, given that it relates to Perry's effort to get a prosecutor whose actions were demonstrate her to be unfit for office to resign by using one of the few tools granted him by the state constitution -- the veto power.

Yeah, that's right -- Rick Perry has been indicted for vetoing the appropriation for the Public Accountability Office following Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg's arrest on drunk driving charges and her effort to use her position as DA to avoid that arrest.

A grand jury indicted Gov. Rick Perry on two counts Friday, accusing him of abusing his veto power by threatening to withhold funding from the Travis County's public corruption unit if the district attorney did not resign following her drunken driving arrest.

The Travis County grand jury, led by special prosecutor Mike McCrum, indicted Perry on one count of abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony, and coercion of a public servant, a third-degree felony.

The punishment range for the first count is 5 to 99 years in prison and on the second count, 2 to 10 years in prison, McCrum said.

"I'm ready to go forward," McCrum said. Asked about the effect on Perry carrying out his duties or eyeing higher office, McCrum said, "I took into account we're talking about the governor of a state... When it gets down to it, the law is the law."

McCrum said he will meet with Perry's lawyer and the judge to set up a time for Perry to come before a court to be arraigned and be given notice of the charges against him. The date has not been set.

Calls to Perry's office and his lawyer were not immediately returned Friday evening.

Grand jurors for months have been looking into whether Perry violated the law last year when he said he'd kill funding for the Travis County district attorney's public corruption division unless District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned after a messy drunken-driving arrest.

Perry carried through on the veto threat when Lehmberg stayed on the job.

Now let's talk about Lehmberg's arrest.

Lehmberg800-630x286[1].jpg



On another spring night nearly two years later, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg found herself being pulled over around 10:45 p.m. by a Travis County deputy, who had been alerted that a vehicle was swerving erratically on FM 620. Glancing at the open bottle of vodka on the front seat, the officer asked her to step out of her car. Preserved for posterity on the dashboard video cam, Lehmberg’s slurred and surly response to the deputy’s field sobriety tests went viral immediately: “Oh, that’s cool. You have just ruined my career.”

* * *

As a prominent public figure responsible for prosecuting alleged wrongdoings by state officials, Lehmberg was subjected to a singularly harsh spotlight in the wake of her DWI arrest. Her field sobriety test was beamed from every TV newscast in Texas, and the police surveillance video of her being forcibly restrained in her cell became an overnight YouTube sensation. “The media wants good, meaty, juicy stories,” says Alan Bennett, chairman of the Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. In the instance of Rosemary Lehmberg, they got a banquet.

Bennett, who worked with Lehmberg at the DA’s office for several years, is sympathetic. “The only reason Rosemary’s case got all the attention is because she’s the elected DA. If she were just Jane Q. Citizen, it wouldn’t make the news at all.”

Lehmberg was lucky. She harmed no one but herself, the victim of a self-inflicted bullet of bad judgment. To many, her most serious offense was simply First Degree Irony. Others, though, insisted that she resign her office—including Gov. Rick Perry, who vetoed funding for the Public Integrity Unit, which is based in Lehmberg’s office, because she did not step down. Lehmberg served 20 days of her sentence, voluntarily sought treatment and announced she would not seek re-election. We reached out to Lehmberg in June, and she responded to questions via email in her first statements since undergoing rehabilitation. “I felt then, and do now, that I needed to answer for my mistake,” she says. “From my own personal experience, I can tell you that going to jail and serving the toughest sentence ever for a DWI was a difficult decision to make.”

“Jail is an unpleasant place,” she adds, “and I had 20 days to think about what I did. I learned a lot from going to jail and having gone through the system—I believe it will make me a better prosecutor. My time in treatment was a blessing.”

Now let's think about it -- the person in charge of DUI prosecutions was jailed for her own DUI. She refused to resign, but recognizes that the stench of hypocrisy and corruption here is such that she has no place serving another term. But now we see the governor charged with felonies because he called for her to step down from her position and used his constitutional authority to ensure that $7.5 million dollars of taxpayer money were not put into the hands of a dangerous drunk. The theory here is nuts!

Now please understand -- I am not a big Rick Perry fan. I didn't back him in the 2010 gubernatorial race after he tried to play doctor with the little girls of Texas via an Obamaesque abuse of his executive order power. I refused to back his presidential race in 2012 for that same reason, and because I considered him unprepared for job. While he has done a reasonably good job as governor in his current term, I still find his 2007 executive order to be a disqualifier for the presidency. But on this matter, I am firmly in Rick Perry's corner, and hope that the charges are dismissed with extreme prejudice by the judge in the case.

UPDATE: I was challenged on the drugged part of the title and a reference to Percocet in an earlier draft of this piece. I have been unable to locate my source on that material, so I have corrected the piece and make this acknowledgement of it.

UPDATE 2: Noah from Texpatriate sent me this message -- "Lehmberg is not in charge of prosecuting non-repeat DWIs such as hers. In Travis, all misdemeanors are actually by the COUNTY Attorney. It's an odd little quirk."

Of course, that still means she is in charge of prosecuting some DWI cases. But even if she were in charge of none of them, that still does not deal with the fact that t she attempted to use her position and connections to get out of the charges when arrested.


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August 14, 2014

Quanell X -- A Profile In Hypocrisy

Local civil rights fraud Quanell X has come out against an Open Carry event that is going to occur in a black neighborhood in Houston.

Open Carry Texas is coming to Houston and the neighborhood they are planning on visiting is not sitting well with some people.

The gun rights advocacy group, which has made waves for their practice of carrying loaded assault rifles and other weapons at their demonstrations, has announced a visit to Houston's Fifth Ward this coming Saturday at noon.

"There was a false criticism that we only went to rich white neighborhoods, so we planned a Fifth Ward event," says Open Carry Texas leader C.J. Grisham. "We also want to work with the minority community to get them more involved in their right to legally bear arms."

The event on Saturday afternoon is set to be located at the corner of Lyons Avenue and Lockwood, and scheduled to last about two hours, with two guest speakers included. It will not be a march, as past Open Carry Texas appearance have been, but a static event.

* * *

Meanwhile community activist Quanell X has had some terse words for the Open Carry people. He told KPRC-TV that if the group shows up armed that people from the community will show up with weapons too to counter them.

"Coming like this is totally unacceptable. So if you do come, I guarantee you we will not bring a butter knife to a gun fight," Quanell X told KPRC-TV.

Now just a couple of points here.

First, this is not Quanell X's neighborhood. Last time I checked, he lives in Pearland, some 20 miles away, not in Houston's Fifth Ward. Apparently when he is concerned about "the community", he doesn't mean the community he lives in. He long ago changed his address, just like he changed his name from Quanell Ralph Evans.

But beyond that, there is a little bit of history involving Quanell X and Open Carry. Let's go back 14 years to the year 2000, and the actions of Quanell and his own armed goons at the Republican Party of Texas convention here in Houston.

Tensions in the already intense debate over convicted killer Gary Graham's scheduled execution escalated Friday as a dozen armed black activists shoved a delegate outside the state Republican convention in downtown Houston.

Kaufman County delegate A.J. McClure was pushed to the ground by one of the rifle-wielding guards surrounding Quanell X shortly after the Muslim leader began protesting outside the George R. Brown Convention Center.

McClure, a disabled veteran, quickly rose to his feet and said he was not hurt, but he was later taken by ambulance to an area hospital as a precaution.

McClure reported the incident to the Houston Police Department, but no charges had been filed late Friday and the guard involved in the incident was not immediately identified.

* * *

Quanell X's group comprising members of the New Black Panther Party, the National Black United Front and the New Black Muslim Movement arrived wearing all black, except for Quanell X. Many carried shotguns, AK-47s and other rifles.

It is legal in Texas to carry such firearms openly as long as the carrier is not a felon and does not aim the weapon at anyone.

After marching to a drum beat from a side street to a grassy area in front of the exhibition hall, Quanell X demanded clemency for Graham and support from black leaders within the Republican Party. Graham was sentenced to death for the 1981 murder of Bobby Lambert outside a Houston supermarket. He is scheduled to die Thursday.

"We believe we have a divine right, a divine duty and a divine obligation to stand up for any black man on Death Row about to be executed ... for a crime he didn't commit," Quanell X said.

But when McClure began shouting over Quanell X, the activist, still surrounded by guards, approached McClure. That is when one of the guards shoved McClure.

"I was trying to back up and he pushed me down," McClure said. "I'm a 100 percent disabled veteran and shouldn't be treated that way."

Got that -- Quannell X is all in favor of his people going wherever they want openly carrying firearms as allowed by law, with the explicit intent of intimidating others. What he is not in favor of is OTHERS going where they want openly carrying firearms simply to remind others that they have the right to do so.

But then again, we've long known that Quanell X is a racist busybody who believes he has the right to revoke the "ghetto pass" of white people who dare to do something he opposes. So why should we be surprised by his openly racist Open Carry hypocrisy here?


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August 13, 2014

When The French Criticize You For Being On Vacation

Then you really need to reconsider your holiday travel plans.

'When people are dying,
you must come back from vacation':
French foreign minister seems to slam Obama
for golfing while Iraq burns

And this from the leader of a country that guarantees you five weeks of paid vacation every year.


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Sexual Assault Scandal Flares Up Again In Steubenville

I understand that high school sports are important to communities, especially football. I taught for 11 years at one of the major football schools in the state of Texas -- a couple of years ago four of them played against each other in the same game (two of them were young men I taught) -- and have seen just how influential the sport can be for a school and a district. But there have to be some limits -- and I think that what is going on this fall in Steubenville, Ohio is an example of those lines being crossed.

Now many folks will remember the horrors exposed in the Steubenville high school rape case a couple of years ago. The details are horrible, the defense put on by the two indicted students was horrific, and the cooperation of educators and other community members in the cover-up would have seemed to be the nadir of community involvement. Unfortunately, it is not.

One of the Steubenville High School students convicted in a high-profile, March 2013 rape is now back on the football field.

Ma'Lik Richmond, 18, who, along with Trent Mays, was convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio, has rejoined the roster of the Steubenville Big Red football team as a wide receiver, according to WTRF TV.

The case fueled an intense national debate about online bullying after hacker group Anonymous exposed photos and videos made the night girl was raped. The images showed two males carrying the inebriated victim by her wrists and ankles and other teens making jokes at the girl's expense.

Got that -- the community, school and district that so abused a rape victim and embraced football first is putting one of the registered sex criminals back on the team. After all, there are games to win!

And worst of all, there are people defending this decision -- take this call by Slate to stop "shaming" this sex criminal and let him get on with the rest of his life.

Does this punk have a right to comlete his education? Yes, he does -- that is the law. Does he have a right to be back on the football team? Absolutely not -- participation in extracurricular activities is a privilege, not a right. Were I the coach, I would not allow him on my team. Were I the principal, I would be doing all in my power to dump any coach who allowed this guy back on the team. And were I the superintendent, I would be looking for a way to fire the principal (and the coach) if he/she were willing to permit this registered sex offender to set foot on the field as a representative of the school. But that isn't happening -- and there is apparently no community outrage.

But what do I know. In a world where Michael Vick can come back to the league after spending time in jail on animal cruelty charges related to a dogfighting ring and Ray Rice gets merely a two game suspension for knocking a woman unconscious, maybe my priorities are out of whack.

Or maybe it is the world of sports that needs to consider whether it should go back to the day when character counted for something.


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Great First Amendment Quote

I'll have to use this one with my students this year when we deal with the First Amendment.

[T]he very essence of constitutional freedom of press and of speech is to allow more liberty than the good citizen will take. The test of its vitality is whether we will suffer and protect much that we think false, mischievous and bad, both in taste and intent.
Justice Robert Jackson, Williamson et al. v. United States (184 F.2d 280)

H/T Professor Eugene Volokh


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Obama Regime Has Special Employees Charged With Denying Americans Access To Information About Their Own Government!

Most transparent administration in history!


Wow -- just wow! Not "Compliance Officers" -- "Denial Officers".

If you aren't outraged yet, you just aren't paying attention.


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Flag-Burning Outrage

This is not First Amendment protected speech.

WEATHERFORD (CBS 11 NEWS) – Suspects have been taking down flags from outside of homes and burning them. The crimes continue to outrage homeowners in Weatherford. Now the hunt is on for the vandals responsible.

Fire and police investigators looked down and saw the charred outline of the American Flag — still attached to the pole. The Stars & Stripes had been flying on the porch of a Weatherford home. The incident is the fourth burned flag call Weatherford police and fire responded to Monday.

“This one we just discovered within the hour,” said Fire Marshal Bob Hopkins.
Homeowners say they didn’t know what was going on. “We just drove up an hour ago and the fire was in the middle of the driveway,” explained Rowlee Johnson, who lives at the targeted home. “We had no idea what had happened.”

American flags are displayed throughout several northwest Weatherford neighborhoods. Since Friday, seven of those flags have been burned, three overnight Thursday or early Friday.

Before anyone tries claiming that flag burning is free speech, you need to remember something. You can burn your own flag -- but you cannot steal someone else's flag to burn. And you are still required to do that burning in a manner that does not constitute a danger -- as this action in a state where there is an ongoing drought most certainly does.

There are a number of crimes that the perps can be charged with once they are caught -- but there is one thing that I guarantee will not happen. Despite their hateful actions, the perps will not face hate crime charges. On the other hand, if these were Mexican flags (or crosses), the Obama/Holder Department of Just-Us would already be conducting an investigation and preparing federal civil rights charges.


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Landrieu Campaign Flight Scandal

Using government funds to pay for campaign trips is a no-no. But the embattled Louisiana senator apparently did just that.

Sen. Mary Landrieu made headlines last November when she hitched a ride home on Air Force One with President Obama, but chose not to attend his event in New Orleans. Another lesser-known flight Landrieu took that same day mistakenly cost taxpayers more than $3,000.

CNN has learned that the vulnerable Louisiana Democrat used government money to charter a private plane to travel to a campaign fundraiser, in violation of federal law.

Landrieu spent more than $3,200 in taxpayer money to fly 400 miles round trip from New Orleans to Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she attended a $40-per person fundraising lunch with hundreds of women, according to Senate records and Landrieu campaign information. It is illegal to spend government money campaigning.

They are calling it a billing error -- but somehow nobody in the Senate office caught the mistake, and nobody on the campaign staff noticed they had not paid for the staff. The result was a nine-month government loan to the campaign.

There ought to be charges filed -- but I'm betting the partisan Obama/Holder Department of Just-Us will not be taking any action here. And the press won't be making a big deal out of this either -- not like they would if this had been Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann or Ted Cruz doing the same thing.


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August 12, 2014

Pelosi Hubby Stiffs Workers, Refuses To Honor Arbitration Awards

But remember -- it is the GOP who are the enemy of the working man.

Mr. Nancy Pelosi is ignoring a California arbitrator’s order to pay former NFL coach Dennis Green nearly $1 million for coaching his defunct football team.

In February, an arbitrator ordered multi-millionaire Paul Pelosi, husband of the House Democratic leader, and his business partner, William Hambrecht, to pay former NFL coach Dennis Green $990,000 for his work in the United Football League (UFL). Neither Pelosi, nor Hambrecht have paid Green, though it has now been six months since the decision.

“Pelosi is in a defiant position now. He has lost the arbitration but now still thinks he cannot be made to pay,” Green said in an email.

Green, former head coach of the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals, inked a $1.5 million deal to lead Pelosi’s Sacramento Mountain Lions in the upstart league in 2009.

And it isn't just Dennis Green who has been stiffed.

San Diego Chargers coaching legend Marty Schottenheimer filed suit against Pelosi and Hambrecht in 2012 for failing to make good on his lucrative contract. Nearly 80 players, who earned as little as $25,000 per season to suit up for the UFL, sued Hambrecht in 2013 for failing to honor their contracts.

Pelosi had made personal guarantees that he and his business partners would make good on their contracts when the financial solvency of the league was called into question.

This needs to be made an issue in every California election -- ask the Democrat if they will call on Nancy Pelosi to pressure her husband to pay his employees. And nationally, ask every Democrat in running for a seat in Congress if they will continue to back Pelosi as the Democrat leader in the House as long as she benefits from being married from a man who acts as if the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution does not apply to him.


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August 10, 2014

Why The "Dead Civilians" Numbers From Gaza Are Hard To Accept

My friend the Bookworm wrote an interesting piece the other day about civilian casualties in Gaza, noting the fundamental conflict between the moral purity of a friend with whom she has debated the issue and the reality on the ground that Israel faces. The friend argues that Israel must avoid any action that has the potential to cause civilian casualties, but the Bookworm notes that the situation on the ground is much different from the abstract debating points laid out by her friend.

In a perfect world, against an equally moral enemy, this moral purity might work. Of course, in that perfect world, the enemy too would have held itself to this high moral standard — never kill a civilian — and wouldn’t have attacked Israel in the first place. Sadly, though, we do not live in a perfect world.

In an imperfect world, which happens to be the world we inhabit, Israel knows that Hamas’s goal is to slaughter every man, woman, and child in Israel. Israel doesn’t have to go down the primrose path of conspiracy theories and paranoia to reach this conclusion about Hamas’s end game. Instead, Hamas has made the death of Israel’s citizens — all of them — the centerpiece of its charter, it preaches this goal from every political and religious pulpit, it acts upon this goal whenever possible, and it has spent millions of dollars in foreign aid, including money from Israel herself, to plan a terrorist attack intended to kill those 10,000 of Jewish civilians.

Despite this stark reality, the man I’m debating insists that Israel still has only one moral choice: she must refrain from fighting back if that fight means that she might kill even one civilian. Only in that way, he says, can he give Israel his support.

Israel, however, has figured out something that this man, either because he’s blinded by the self-righteousness of his own idealism or because he’s as genocidal as Hamas, refuses to grasp: If Israel takes this allegedly moral high ground and surrenders to Hamas, she will effectively have killed all off all of her own civilians. In other words, no matter what choices Israel makes, the nature of her enemy means that Israel will have the blood of innocents on her hands.

As between those two choices — either kill a few hundred Palestinians civilians or watch 6 million of your own people being brutally slaughtered — a non-suicidal nation will always opt to value its own citizens’ lives first. Moreover, a moral nation, such as Israel, even as it recognizes that civilian deaths are inevitable, fundamentally values life and does everything possible to protect both its own and its enemy’s citizens. Still, Israel recognizes that the nature of war, sadly, is death.

Put this way — living in the real world rather than the idealistic fantasy world — it’s clear that the responsibility for civilian deaths lies entirely with Hamas. Israel, by choosing a course of action that minimizes civilian deaths is on the side of the angels.

She concludes her piece with one other observation, one that any rational observer should accept as beyond dispute.

Anyone who subscribes to a moral relativism that says that life is too precious to allow Israel to defend herself when a rabid Islamic force is waging war against her – and to castigate either Israel or me for being callous about death – is unforgivably ignorant about the reality of life in the Muslim world.

* * *

Intelligent empathy demands that, when it comes to the existential war between the Judeo-Christian tradition, on the one hand, and Islamic fundamentalism, on the other hand, one has to look at the big picture, rather than focusing obsessively on the tragedy (and it is tragic) of one dead child. The best way to show ones compassion and empathy for Muslims and Arabs around the world — especially the woman and children trapped in those societies — is to discourage the fanaticism that consigns too many of them to lives of almost unbearable suffering.

Indeed, I've tried to make that point by showing how little value Hamas puts on the lives of Palestinians. After kidnapping Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Hamas demanded the release of over 1000 Palestinian terrorists as a ransom for their hostage. Hamas therefore declared that they considered one Israeli to be worth 1000 of their own people -- and by using their people as human shields in this war, they guarantee disproportionate casualties on their own side (though nowhere near the 1000 to 1 ration that the Shalit trade would seem to make acceptable based upon Hamas own evil calculus).

But then today I encountered a piece by author Frederick Forsythe that drove home that point and another that I made recently regarding the disproportionate number of males aged 16-50 who were being reported as dead civilians. How many of these "civilians" are really civilians in name only?

Since when has Gaza had an army, navy and air force? They are all civilians.

The problem (or one of them) is that according to well-established research, about 10 per cent of them are dedicated Hamas fighters. That may be a minority but this minority rules Gaza with a rod of iron. And Hamas is a UN-designated terrorist organisation.

That puts it alongside the Provisional IRA, Al Qaeda, AQAP, AQIM, Taliban, Isis, Al Nusrah and Nigeria's Boko Haram. In other words, all terrorists are civilians. They have enlisted in no known armed forces, wear no uniforms and carry no badges of rank. They are deliberately indistinguishable from the 90 per cent who just want to get on with peaceful lives, and among whom they mix.

And that is a reality that needs to be considered. Except for some of the special units that Hamas has created, there are no uniforms for those who engage infighting on behalf of that terrorist organization. It truly is akin to other terrorist organizations in this regard -- after all, Muhammad Atta and his fellow hijackers wore no uniform as they committed an act of war against the United States on 9/11, nor did those responsible for the 7/7 bus attack in London or any of the other al Qaeda attacks here in the West. For that matter, was Osama bin Laden wearing a uniform when he was killed, or was he (if we apply the same standards to the US that are being applied to Israel) a civilian killed as a part of an American war crime?

My point? When a civilized nation deals with terrorists who try to blend in among a civilian populace, there will be unavoidable civilian casualties. Whose fault are they? Provided the civilized nation makes an effort to keep those civilian casualties at a minimum (and Israel has), the fault for every casualty falls on the terrorists -- especially when their tactics are designed to increase the casualties of their own civilians for public relations purposes.


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Austin Is A Liberal Island In The Heart Of Texas

The results of a study of America's most conservative cities shows that Austin is, as we Texans always observe, really isn't like the rest of the state. Just look at the maps.

Consider the most conservative cities with a population over 250,000 in America.

conservativecities1.jpg

Yeah, Arlington and Fort Worth are the most conservative cities in Texas. Note that these two border on each other, so the study is clearly only looking at the cities proper, not the entire metropolitan area.

Conservativecities2.jpg

Here's where the surprise comes in -- Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and El Paso all come in as more conservative than Houston. Of course, given the residential patterns in the Houston area, maybe that shouldn't surprise people. As the Houston metropolitan area has expanded, we have seen conservative voters settle in the suburbs -- and conservatives in the city are generally there because of annexation of unincorporated areas, not choice.

conservativecities3.jpg

If it weren't for the fact that they actually play in Arlington, I'd argue that the map above provides one more reason to hate the Cowboys.

conservativecities4.jpg

And then there's Austin. It is as liberal as cities like Philadelphia, St. Louis and St. Paul, Minnesota. So yes, Austin really is a little bit of Red China dropped into Texas.

And San Francisco? Call it a little bit of North Korea transplanted to North America.


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August 07, 2014

HERO Petition Case Sent Back To State Court, Ordinance Put On Hold

Of course, Mayor Parker had already agreed not to enforce the ordinance pending a court ruling on the petitions. Bot the ordinance is on hold pending a hearing next week now that a federal judge has sent the case back to the state courts..

Conservative activists seeking to repeal Houston's equal rights ordinance trumpeted a small victory Thursday when a court hearing resulted in the ordinance being suspended pending an Aug. 15 hearing.

Mayor Annise Parker, anticipating a lawsuit, already had said she would not enforce the ordinance until there was more legal clarity, but plaintiff and conservative activist Jared Woodfill said Thursday's result was important.

"I think it makes a big difference because now you have a court order saying you can't enforce it, even if you change your mind and you wanted to," Woodfill said. "It's not the law right now. "

Woodfill characterized the suspension as having been ordered by visiting State District Judge Jeff Shadwick, a suggestion which prompted a chuckle from City Attorney David Feldman. The order clearly states, Feldman said, that the city agreed - stipulated - that it would not enforce the ordinance.

"I knew this would happen," Feldman said. "This is not the judge ordering us, this is the city stipulating that it would not enforce, consistent with the mayor's public representation."

Opponents had sought an injunction to force the city to suspend the ordinance and to trigger the process of placing a repeal vote on the November ballot. Those items have been put off for the hearing.

Personally, I'm surprised that the federal court did not keep this one. After all, opponents of the ordinance did allege federal constitutional issues, and those should be resolved in the federal courts. Besides, the opponent's best hope of prevailing is for there to be a ruling that the city's requirement that petition circulators be registered voters who live in the city is unconstitutional, as I've noted in my earlier posts.


|| Greg, 09:46 PM || Permalink || Add your comment || TrackBacks (0) ||

HERO Opponents Challenge Petition Rejection In State Court, City Moves To Make It A Federal Case

On Tuesday, opponents of the so-called "Houston Equal Rights Ordinance" filed suit in state court to overturn the city's decision that they lacked sufficient petition signatures to put a repeal measure on the ballot. Yesterday the city responded with an attempt to take the matter into federal court.

The city seems to think that they have a "smoking gun" in the form of a training video used by ordinance opponents.

During her weekly press conference after Wednesday's City Council meeting, Parker referred to a training video that shows Dave Welch, of the Houston Area Pastor Council and a leading opponent of the ordinance, explaining the rules signature gatherers needed to follow. With a power point presentation behind him, Welch tells the audience the unique repeal referendum process "makes it more challenging for us."

Signature gatherers must be registered city voters, Welch said. If they are not, the entire page gets thrown out.

"Let me repeat that so everybody really understands that," Welch said.

Parker said she had not seen the video, but that her staff had been "enjoying" it.

"So, it's kind of amusing if, in fact, his own language is used against him in court," Parker said.

On the other hand, the opponents believe that the injection of the city attorney into the verification process after the city secretary had determined their were sufficient valid signatures to put the repeal measure on the ballot. Some 2200 signatures were then thrown out based on technical issues such as circulators and notaries failing to complete all blanks on the petitions.

Personally, I believe those seeking to repeal the ordinance are barking up the wrong tree if they are going to use that argument as the main one for overturning the city's decision. While the courts have traditionally looked askance at using hyper-technical reasons to throw out otherwise valid signatures on petitions, I'd argue that there is a better basis for challenging the city's decision, one which will potentially rehabilitate many more signatures. I wrote about this in my earlier post on the failure of the petition effort.

A court challenge to the residency requirement is likely to succeed. Let's be honest -- the city charter here in Houston has some rather stringent requirements for petition circulators. Not only must they be registered voters, but they also must be city residents -- a requirement that invalidated a lot of otherwise valid signatures. But there have been a number of federal court decisions in recent years that have invalidated such requirements on the state level -- including a 1999 decision by the Supreme Court that did so. It therefore seems unlikely that the requirement in the city charter would stand up to constitutional scrutiny.

I would therefore suggest that rather than the technical issue of who was involved in the decision on petition validity, that the opponents of the ordinance instead focus on the constitutional question of the validity of the requirement that circulators be registered voters and city residents.


|| Greg, 09:33 AM || Permalink || Add your comment || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 06, 2014

If We Are Going To Talk About "Economic Patriotism"

How about if we start with Obama's friends and allies who can't even be bothered to pay taxes that they owe?

The Rev. Al Sharpton, along with his nonprofit National Action Network and two for-profit firms, have $4.7 million in outstanding debt and liens, according to federal and state tax records, the New York Post reported on Sunday. Among the debts include $806,875 that Sharpton owes the state, along with $2.6 million in federal liens against him for unpaid personal income taxes, the Post stated. Recent filings showed the National Action Network owed $813,576 to the federal government at the end of 2012, and his company Rev-Al Communications owes $447,826 to the state, while the Bo-Spanky Consulting firm has $18.21 in outstanding debt, according to the Post.

Now Al Sharpton has a daily show on America's most liberal cable network. He has enough pull to get Barack Obama to speak at his tax evading organization's annual conference.

Oh, yeah -- and Sharpton even had the gall to hold forth on the importance of Obama's call for "economic patriotism".

You folks on the Left want "economic patriotism" and "loyalty oaths"? Why don't you start by policing your own number and get Al Sharpton top show some "economic patriotism" by swearing to not keep a single penny of salary until every penny of those back taxes are paid.


|| Greg, 03:07 PM || Permalink || Add your comment || TrackBacks (0) ||

London Times Refuses Ad Condemning Hamas

Apparently calling for peace and the end to the use of human shields by Hamas "will cause concern amongst a significant number of Times readers."

AntiHamasAd.jpg

I guess it wouldn't do to upset the anti-Semites.


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Oh, No! Not Bacon!

The ultimate in culinary goodness is getting more expensive.

Bacon lovers are getting socked in the piggy bank.

City butchers and restaurateurs are beginning to squeal for mercy after the price of bacon rose to the highest it’s been in nearly 30 years — thanks to high demand and a shortage of healthy pigs.

“We’ve had to raise the prices in small increments in the last month,” said Vincent Santiago, an employee at Staubitz meat market in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.
The pork surge began last year when a virus swept through US farms in about 30 states and killed millions of pigs.

Bacon prices have shot up around 10 percent this year alone and reached an all-time high of $6.11 per pound, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Oh, the humanity!


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Fallout From HERO Repeal Failure

I'm not going to get into the merits of the so-called "Houston Equal Rights Ordinance" in this post. Whether or not said ordinance is needed,whether or not its goals are proper, and whether or not it creates an inequality of rights or violates the property and/or religious rights of business owners is not the focus of this post -- and not a matter I choose to get into in this post, given that the ordinance was adopted some months ago and I am not a resident of the City of Houston.

No, I instead want to focus on the decision announced on Monday by the city that petition effort to get a repeal referendum on the city ballot in November has failed due to a lack of valid signatures.

Houston officials say the city's non-discrimination ordinance will not be put on an election ballot after they deemed the ordinance's repeal petition invalid.

Houston City Attorney Dave Feldman says the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance repeal petition failed to garner the signatures to put the ordinance to vote.

"The charter requirements are in place to ensure a fair and credible process absent of fraud," Houston City Attorney Dave Feldman said. "In this instance ... this petition filed to repeal the HERO ordinance, there are simply too many documents with irregularities and problems to overlook. The petition is simply invalid, there is no other conclusion."

Apparently the problem with the 30K or so signatures turned in by the group seeking to repeal the ordinance centered around signatures by non-residents, signatures by those not registered to vote, and circulation of some petitions by individuals who are not registered voters in the city. This does not mean the end of the effort to do away with the ordinance -- there is already litigation in the works to challenge the decision of city officials. But what it does mean is that there will almost certainly be no repeal measure on the November ballot.

However, I see three things that are likely to come out of the setback dealt to repeal opponents.

  1. This is good news for Republicans in Harris County. Yes, I know that many advocates for repealing the ordinance are active Republicans. However, the repeal effort was a potential disaster for Republican electoral efforts this fall. After all, the repeal vote would have brought out a great many supporters of the ordinance -- folks who are likely to be more liberal and less likely to vote Republican than the average voter in a non-presidential election year. In addition, repeal supporters were counting on a high turnout from the African-American community, meaning a high turnout of voters who might cast the "right vote" on the social issue but would then cast votes for Democrats on the rest of the ballot. This would have been unlikely to harm statewide candidates, but it could have endangered some candidates in close races for the state legislature. More critically, it would have made it likely that the down-ballot judicial races would have had outcomes more like 2008 and 2012 than like 2010, meaning we would have seen more Democrats on the bench here in Harris County. I'd therefore argue that Republicans dodged a bullet on this one, and are likely to sweep the judicial races.
  2. This harms Jared Woodfill's chances to become chairman of the Republican Party of Texas. Steve Munisteri, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, has indicated he is unlikely to serve out his entire term and may resign shortly after the 2015 session of the Texas Legislature. Among those being mentioned as a potential candidate to replace him -- either at the time of Munisteri's resignation or in 2016 -- is recently defeated Harris County GOP chairman Jared Woodfill, who has been one of the key leaders of the repeal effort. Had this measure made it on to the ballot (and especially if it had been successful), Woodfill would have been well-positioned for such an effort. Instead, Woodfill is among those who looks rather inept after conducting a high-profile effort to get this matter on to the ballot -- especially since it should not have been difficult to get a sufficient number of valid signatures.
  3. A court challenge to the residency requirement is likely to succeed. Let's be honest -- the city charter here in Houston has some rather stringent requirements for petition circulators. Not only must they be registered voters, but they also must be city residents -- a requirement that invalidated a lot of otherwise valid signatures. But there have been a number of federal court decisions in recent years that have invalidated such requirements on the state level -- including a 1999 decision by the Supreme Court that did so. It therefore seems unlikely that the requirement in the city charter would stand up to constitutional scrutiny. This means that the repeal measure may make it on to the ballot -- just not this November. Whether or not it will succeed at the ballot box is another question.

So as you can see, the failure of the repeal initiative has some important implications for politics in the city, the county, and the state. Keep watching to see how this all plays out.


|| Greg, 10:21 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Add your comment || TrackBacks (0) ||
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