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April 29, 2015

California Voter Registration Plan May Increase Voter Fraud

It was a bad idea in Oregon, and is an even worse one in California.

Last month, Oregon Governor Kate Brown received considerable media attention when she put her signature on a new law that automatically registers every licensed driver in the Beaver State to vote. Here in California, newly-minted Secretary of State Alex Padilla is pushing for the state legislature to follow Oregons lead.

Padilla is supporting a bill, AB 1461, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), that would, as in Oregon, require that every person with a drivers license in California be automatically registered to vote.

AB 1461 says that a licensed driver would have to affirmatively opt out of being registered in order not to be enrolled automatically.

The bill passed its first legislative hurdle yesterday when Assembly Transportation Committee Democrats, on a party-line vote, approved the bill.

What's wrong with this idea? Well, it is the issue of ineligible voters. By registering everyone, we will see disenfranchised felons registered. Moreover, there will be millions of aliens -- legal and illegal -- who will be registered. Is the state of California going to weed these voters out? Or will there instead be millions of illegal votes cast -- canceling out the votes of law-abiding citizens?





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April 25, 2015

Watcher's Council Results

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The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week's Watcher's Council match up.

"Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence." - Thomas Jefferson

"The Tea Party represents stakeholders in the American system; people who were never involved in politics or thought they had to be, yet realized that political corruption and incompetence threatened not only their families, but the future of the nation itself." - Tammy Bruce


"Politics, n: [Poly many + tics blood-sucking parasites]-Ambrose Bierce

All Animals Are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others" -New law posted by the pigs in George Orwell's Animal Farm

If you hires you a thief, don't holler if they steals." -old black American saying in the Mississippi Delta


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This week's winning essay,Joshuapundit's -How To Make Millions Off 'Public Service' -The Corrupt Clinton Cash Machine was occasioned by the furor surrounding the release of an important new book about the Clinton Foundation scandal. Here's a slice:

My old editor at Breitbart Peter Schweizer has a new book coming out May 5 entitled Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.

My review copy will be arriving shortly, so I haven't read it yet. But the New York Times has, and it's good enough that even Pravda-on-the Hudson had to pay it grudging attention,admitting, "He writes mainly in the voice of a neutral journalist and meticulously documents his sources, including tax records and government documents, while leaving little doubt about his view of the Clintons."

That's no news to anyone who has read Peter's other books on crony capitalism, which target pigs at the trough in both parties.

The subject of this particular book is a detailed 186 page investigation of how the U.S State Department would grant favors to foreign entities in exchange for high-dollar speaking fees and donations paid directly to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.

As I pointed out previously, foundations are one of the most egregious scams to hide and shelter income and avoid taxation for the super rich:

Now, foundations are interesting creatures. As Jane Fonda shows us , if the foundation has 501(c) status (and the Clinton Foundation certainly does), they can be used as a place to park income so it isn't taxed and can be used for various 'expenses'..or even invested, tax free. Why else do you think that most of the super-wealthy in America like the Clintons have such foundations?

Another thing about foundations that's interesting is that according to the IRS rules, they're allowed to pay salaries and 'administrative costs' (pretty much anything you can think of) with any portion of the donor money, something that has attracted a lot of prominent politicians. Ex-president Jimmy Carter's Peace Foundation, for example provides a very nice income for him courtesy of his anti-Israel Arab friends. Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) is another prime example of how 'foundations' , 'libraries' and 'centers' can be used as cash cows by their 'owners'.

And here's the kicker about Hillary's 'charitable donation'. Anything the wealthy 'donor' to such a foundation donates likewise becomes a deduction against whatever taxes they might owe the IRS. So if Hillary Rodham Clinton actually did 'donate' all that money to the Clinton Foundation, she got paid two ways..first by reducing her taxable income significantly to lower her taxes and second by acquiring a huge deduction to leverage against the taxes on her other income. And since her husband 'owns' the Clinton Foundation, the money stayed in the family.

Both The New York Times, of all people, and The New York Post had some disturbing things to say about where the huge sums of money the Clinton Foundation collects were spent...and the Clinton Foundation's infrequent audits.

The Clinton Foundation's mission statement ought to be a tipoff:

"We convene businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change."

Or as I would translate it, 'We actively pursue fundraising from governments, private enterprise and our well connected friends for various nebulous causes. Yeah, we got a few good things going on, a few programs we can point to, some conferences and some meetings so we have the slideshow as a marketing tool, but essentially, our real object is fundraising and covering our substantial expenses.'

Don't be surprised if some those 'expenses' end up being in kind, cash contributions to Hillary's 2016 campaign that not only evade McCain-Feingold but allow 'donors to get a nice tax deduction to a 501 C in the bargain. It's a dodge, just like the huge $14 million advance Democrat donor-owned Simon & Schuster ponied up for Hillary's failed book. Hillary will pocket the cash and Sumner Redstone and his friends will recoup it courtesy of the U.S. taxpayers after they deduct it as a loss against their other income.


More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was David French in the National Review with a gripping piece, Wisconsins Shame: I Thought It Was a Home Invasion submitted by Nice Deb .

This is the story of Wisconsin's 'John Doe' investigations where a rabidly Democrat prosecutor found a judge to sign off on targeting what the Left in Wisconsin saw as their political enemies and their families using methods more resembling the Gestapo or the NKVD than what we would think of as a free country. This story has to be read to be believed, and the court case that resulted is now headed to the Supreme Court.

Here are this weeks full results. Only Ask Marion was unable to vote this week but was not subject to the normal 2/3 vote penalty:


Council Winners




Non-Council Winners


See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watchers Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks' nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

Its a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you wont want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher's Council content.

And dont forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..cause were cool like that, y'know?





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April 24, 2015

Seabrook Charter Amendment Election

Early voting on these charter amendments begins on Monday, April 27. Id like to offer my take on them and suggest whether or not they are worthy of adoption. I believe the commission that recommended these changes did so in good faith and out of the highest of motives, but I cannot endorse the entire package put before the voters. Let me offer my view of each, complete with my recommendation for voters.

Proposition 1: Section 2.01Term Limits Change the term of a. Councilmember from a 3-year to a 4-year term, beginning with the General Municipal Election in 2017 for the Mayor and Council Positions 2, 4 and 6 and in 2018 for Council Positions 1, 3 and 5.

Commission Explanation: The Commission identified the following disadvantages of the current term lengths: 1) difficulty for the City to place Council representatives in leadership positions in external organizations that have a direct impact on the City; 2) administrative costs involved with the orientation and training of Council members every three years; 3) costs associated with more frequent elections; and 4) availability of candidates. Extending the terms of office from three to four years mitigates these disadvantages, while still adhering to the limitation of two consecutive terms of office.

Budget Impact: This proposition is expected to save money, as elections would be held less often.

On one level I like this proposal, given that it does away with the rather strange three-year terms we currently have on a six-member council. After all, we currently elect three members at a time, so that means one year out of three we do not have a city election at all. For reasons to be detailed later, going to terms that have an even number of years is potentially quite desirable.

Yet at the same time, I would have preferred seeing the charter changed to make all positions two-year terms with all seats elected biennially. You know on the model of the city of Houston, where the mayor and the council members can serve a maximum of six years. Given our citys limit of two consecutive terms, is the possibility of eight consecutive years of service really preferable to four years of consecutive service or perhaps six, with a change that would allow for three consecutive terms.

More to the point, with four year terms being implemented in 2017 and 2018, that would mean that there would be a three-year gap (until 2021) in the holding of the next city council elections. That is too long and would leave us without the power to change council personnel without resorting to recall (assuming there are no deaths or resignations in the interim). Better that we either wait for a proposition creating two-year terms or alternating four-year terms elected two years apart than what we have here. I therefore urge the voters to reject Proposition 1.

Proposition 2: Section 2 .05Vacancies, Forfeiture, Filling of Vacancies (and related Charter requirements for filling a vacancy, such as Section 8.13, Results of Election)

Allow an affirmative vote of four (4) or more Councilmembers to fill a vacancy on Council by appointment if the remaining term of the vacant position is 12 months or less.

Commission Explanation: State Law now allows for this provision that permits a Council to fill an unexpired term without having to call a special election, which can be very costly. If the remaining term of the vacant position is greater than 12 months, a special election would be called by Council.

Budget Impact: It is expected that the City would save money as appointment is less costly than a special election.

The notion of having appointed members of the city council for any period of time is disturbing. It would be preferable to leave any seat with a vacancy of 12 months or less vacant until the voters could speak. Since that option is not offered, my preference is to see the special election option retained by the city so that the people have their say on who will be a member of the council. I therefore recommend that voters reject Proposition 2.

Proposition 3: Section 2.0Administrative Offices and Departments

Delete the list of City Departments.

Commission Explanation: The name and number of City Departments can change or be modified over time, as is dictated by the needs of the City. The Departments are named by ordinance, which should suffice.

Budget Impact: There is no expected budget impact.

A perfectly reasonable change. I recommend that the voters approve Proposition 3.

Proposition 4: Section 2.O9City Secretary

Require an affirmative vote of four or more Councilmembers to appoint or remove the City Secretary.

Commission Explanation: The Commission compared the voting requirements of Council for appointment or termination of critical positions within the City, including the City Secretary, City Manager, City Attorney and Municipal Judge. It found inconsistencies and, in some instances, silence on the subject. As all of these positions are essential for the operation of the City, it is recommended that the voting requirements be the same for all of these positions. The Charter requires an affirmative vote of four or more Councilmembers to appoint or remove the City Manager, so this is the template the Commission used for the other positions, including the City Secretary. In this instance, the Charter has no requirement for removal of a City Secretary, so one is added for consistency.

Budget Impact: There is no expected budget impact.

I dont see where this is a strictly necessary change, but I also see the wisdom of standardizing the manner in which the holders of these critical positions are hired and fired. I therefore recommend that the voters approve Proposition 4.

Proposition 5: Section 2.08Administrative Departments and Section 2.09City Secretary

Move both sections from Article II (The Council) to Article IV (Administrative Departments).

Commission Explanation: It would be easier to reference both of these sections if they were in the Article that focuses on different departments, rather than the Article that focuses on the City Council. There is no other revision associated with this amendment.

Budget Impact: There is no expected budget impact.

This is a housekeeping matter, and I therefore recommend that the voters approve Proposition 5.

Proposition 6: Section 2.12Rules of Procedure Clarify that all required Council actions shall be adopted by an affirmative vote of a majority of Council members present and voting, except as provided elsewhere in the Charter or in state law.

Commission Explaniation: The Charter currently limits any exception to this provision to Section 2.05. There may come a time when other sections of the Charter or state law will also apply, so the Commission recommends changing the exception to as provided elsewhere in the Charter or state law so that potential conflicts can be avoided.

Budget Impact: There is no expected budget impact.

Again, this is unobjectionable. I therefore recommend that the voters approve Proposition 6.

Provision 7: Section 2.13-Passages of Ordinances in General

Delete the following: A proposed ordinance may be amended at any reading but any ordinance amended in substance, as determined by Council, shall automatically be placed again on first reading at a subsequent meeting. Amendments involving such items as typographical, grammatical or spelling changes or renumbering of sections shall not be considered substantive.

Commission Explaniation: The phrase in substance has caused great confusion in the past as it is left to City Council to interpret which changes are substantive in nature. Removing this statement allows less confusion in interpreting the Charter.

Budget Impact: There is no expected budget impact.

The devil is in the details here. While I do not doubt that the intent of this change is to avoid the confusion we have seen over the years as to whether changes are substantive or not, the potential effect of doing it this way is to allow an unscrupulous future majority to make substantive changes to an ordinance and adopt it at the time of the final reading. Better we have continued confusion than potential skullduggery. I therefore recommend that the voters reject Proposition 7.

Proposition 8: Section 2.13Passages of Ordinances in General

Clarify that the effective date of ordinances with penal provisions be dictated by state law rather than after it has been posted for two weeks.

Commission Explaitiation: In ordinances with penal provisions, the state requires certain effective dates. This change is to avoid conflict with state law.

Budget Impact: There is no expected budget impact

Purely a matter of housekeeping to comply with state law. I recommend that the voters approve Proposition 8.

Proposition 9: Section 2.141Emergency Ordinances

Require an affirmative vote of four or more Councilmembers to approve an emergency ordinance, except where otherwise provided in the Charter.

Commission Explanation: In an emergency, all Councilmembers may not be available, especially if an evacuation or natural disaster has occurred. For uniformity, the Commission recommends changing this voting requirement from two thirds of those present to four or more for approval. This does not impact emergency appropriations ordinances, which require a vote of five or more Councilmembers for approval.

Budget Impact: There is no expected budget impact.

I prefer the language here to what exists. Better to have a true majority of the council speaking than the majority of a rump council with members missing. I therefore recommend that the voters approve Proposition 9.

Proposition 10: Section 2.15Authentication, Recording, Codification, Printing and Distribution of Ordinances

Change the requirement for availability of approved ordinances and resolutions from posting at City Hall and the library to posting at City Hall and on the City website.

Commission Explanation: There is a cost associated with copying and distributing every ordinance and resolution that is passed by Council. This would eliminate that cost. There is also a computer at City Hall where the public can access this information.

Budget Impact: It is expected that this proposition would save copying and administrative costs.

It is great that the City of Seabrook wants to enter the computer age by requiring the posting of ordinances and resolutions online (which it already does), but are we in such a grave financial situation that we need to eliminate the copying and posting of those ordinances and resolutions at the library? I say lets do both (as I believe we already do anyway). I therefore recommend that the voters reject Proposition 10.

Proposition 11: Section 4.02City Attorney

Change the voting requirements for appointment or removal of a City Attorney from majority of members present to four or more Councilmembers.

Commission Explanation: See explanation for Proposition 4. This proposition is intended to create consistency and uniformity in voting requirements. In this specific instance, a majority of members present could be as little as three votes.

Budget Impact: There is no expected budget impact.

See my explanation for Proposition 4 for details as to why I recommend the voters approve Proposition 11.

Proposition 12: Section 5.21Citizen Approval Required for Certain Expenditures and Use of Reserved Funds

Consolidate this section and update it to address current and future City needs, allow for grant opportunities requiring matching funds and adjust for changing state mandates by allowing the City Council to make non-emergency capital expenditures in an amount not to exceed 20 percent of the combined General and Enterprise Operating and Reserve Fund Budgets, less any required reserve fund balance established by the Citys financial policy, in effect at the time of the expenditure.

Commission Explanation: This section has been discussed and debated for many years. Currently, the Council may not spend funds of one (1) million dollars or more without a vote of the people. This limitation prevented the City from applying for additional grant money following Hurricane Ike, which could have been a major help in the recovery of the City, because grant application deadlines do not generally allow for time to conduct elections. The Commission determined that having a fixed dollar amount in the Charter will cause future problems related to inflation, rising building costs and other economic factors. Therefore, the Commission recommends a percentage of the General and Enterprise Funds (only these two major funds of the City, not including special funds) to keep in line with the Citys current budget needs and limitations. As the budget rises and falls, so will the Councils cap on spending. This proposition does not allow Council to spend any of the required fund balance that is established by the City finance policy, and it does not apply to emergency expenditures.

Budget Impact: Budget impact cannot be quantified due to variables.

This particular proposition bothers me. I understand the reasoning, but I find it difficult to reconcile this with the notion that the voters should have a say on major expenditures. Do we really want to surrender this check on the city council? Im not so sure that we should. At the same time, the matter of inflation and pressing deadlines such as those the city faced after Hurricane Ike make changing the fixed dollar figure appropriate. Even though I find the 20% figure to be somewhat higher than what I would have picked (I would have set it at either 12.5% or 15% of the combined General and Enterprise Operating and Reserve Fund Budgets), I recommend that the voters approve Proposition 12 and keep a template for recall petitions on their computer desktops for use if the city council abuses this spending authority.

Proposition 13: Section 7.01Nominations and Elections

Allow the general City election to be held on a date other than the second Saturday in May, if allowed by state law.

Commission Explanation: The State recently changed the allowable dates for municipal elections and required cities to choose which date they would use. Because of this charter requirement, the City could not change the date of its elections. It resulted in the City having to purchase its own election equipment. This proposition would give the City flexibility to work within state law.

Budget Impact: This could save money if the City is allowed to hold elections with Harris County.

I serve as the election judge during elections held by Harris County. I recall a recent election day when we had a city council election going on the same day in a different location. Lets move our election day to November so that we have a higher turnout for city elections and have our elections during even numbered years as a way of ensuring that. The latter change, as I suggest in my recommendation on Proposition 1, will have to come later, but even without it I enthusiastically recommend that the voters approve Proposition 13.

Proposition 14: Section 9.02Judge of the Municipal Court Change the voting requirements for appointment or removal of the Municipal Judge from majority of members present to four or more Councilmembers.

Commission Explanation: See explanation for Propositions 4 and 11.

Budget Impact: There is no expected budget impact.

See my explanation for Proposition 4 for details as to why I recommend the voters approve Proposition 14.

Proposition 15: Section 10.05Ordinances Granting Franchises

Change the requirement for approval of franchise ordinances to correspond to other ordinances (after two readings unless otherwise required by state law).

Commission Explanation: The Charter currently requires three readings and a waiting period of 42 days after the first reading. It also requires the full text of the ordinance to be published in the newspaper, which can be very costly. The proposition would allow for publishing the title and caption in the newspaper after passage. The current requirements do not allow the City to be competitive with other cities.

Budget Impact: This proposition may save money due to the changes in requirements for publicizing in the newspaper.

Standardizing our practices is a good thing. Besides, if the full text of the proposed franchise ordinance is found on the city website when the title and caption are published, it will be easy to access. I recommend that voters approve Proposition 15.

Proposition 16: Section 11.08Fire Department and Fire Marshal

Modify the allowable service providers to state that the City could utilize the Seabrook Volunteer Fire Department and/or other fire service providers as permitted by law.

Commission Explanation: The City is exploring all options with the Seabrook Volunteer Fire Department for providing services, including an Emergency Services District. This amendment would allow the City to select the best option for service.

Budget Impact: Budget impact cannot be quantified due to variables.

While presented as a cost-saving measure, we have no idea as to how much this will actually save the taxpayers. Until we know exactly what we are being asked to approve here, I cannot support this proposition. After all, I would hate to see this used as the basis for creating a new taxing authority without significantly more public discussion than this has received. I therefore recommend that the voters reject Proposition 16

Proposition 17: Section 11.18Charter Review Commission Allow the appointment of a Charter Review Commission no sooner than two (2) years nor later than five (5) years after the most recent appointment.

Commission Explanation: This would allow City Council the flexibility to appoint a Charter Review Commission to coincide with the election schedule, rather than holding a separate, costly, election. It would also allow Council to handle issues as they arise, rather than waiting for the current prescribed time period.

Budget Impact: Budget impact cannot be quantified due to variables.

I think the idea here is well-founded, and I recommend that voters approve Proposition 17.

Proposition 18: Section 11.16Amending the Charter and Section 11.18-Charter Review Commission

Combine these two sections into one titled The Charter Review Commission and Amending the Charter.

Commission Explanation: These two sections really discuss different aspects of the same topic. The Commission felt that combining them would allow for easier reference in the future. There is no other revision associated with this amendment.

Budget Impact: There is no expected budget impact.

This is a housekeeping matter, and therefore unobjectionable. I recommend that the voters approve Proposition 18.

Proposition 19: Section 11.24Comprehensive Master Plan Commission

Allow the appointment of a Comprehensive Master Plan Commission no sooner than two (2) years nor later than five (5) years after the most recent appointment and allow Council to extend the six-month term of the Commission.

Commission Explanation: The Charter Review Commission and Comprehensive Master Plan Review Commission meet concurrently, making it difficult for staff to support conflicting meeting schedules. The Council also finds it difficult to attract qualified volunteers for concurrent Commissions. This proposition would allow City Council the flexibility to appoint a Comprehensive Master Plan Review Commission at a different time than the Charter Review Commission, which would assist with staff allocation and volunteer recruitment. It would also maintain consistency between the Comprehensive Master Plan Review Commission and the Charter Review Commission (see Proposition 17). Finally, it would allow the terms for the Comprehensive Master Plan Commission to be extended in the event a planning consultant is hired or other needs arise.

Budget Impact: Budget impact cannot be quantified due to variables

A reasonable proposal though indicative of the problem of community involvement we have in Seabrook. All of us need to make a point of trying to get involved with various city government activities to avoid the continued appointment of the same names and families to boards and commissions and committees. But we should alternate the Charter Review and Comprehensive Master Plan Review Commissions preferably separating them by a year or two and I therefore recommend that the voters approve Proposition 19.

Proposition 20: Section 11.28Other Charter Requirements

Require that all City appointees to boards, corporations, organizations, committees and other related entities shall conform to the requirements of the Charter provisions regulating personal interest, conflicts of interest, nepotism and ethics.

Commission Explanation: The current Charter language is vague, which may lead to conflicting interpretations and appears to apply to entities in their entirety. The Commission is clarifying and limiting the specific Charter provisions that shall apply and shifts the emphasis to City appointees. The Charter cannot govern entities outside of the citys jurisdiction; therefore, the proposed amendment places responsibility on the city representatives to comply with these mandates.

Budget Impact: Budget impact cannot be quantified due to variables.

Honest government what a concept! I recommend that the voters approve Proposition 20.

In short, I recommend approval for Propositions 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, and 20. I urge the rejection of Propositions 1, 2, 7, 10, and 16. I hope my fellow residents of Seabrook will give these Propositions and my recommendations serious consideration and make the best choice for our city's future.





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How Lawless Is Obama Immigration Executive Order Program?

Not only does it grant a legal status to those not eligible for it under federal law, it puts taxpayers on the hook for bringing their families to the US where they will be eligible for the same illegal legal status granted their relatives!

The Obama administration has created a new immigration path to the U.S. without Congressional approval, Sen. Jeff Sessions says. The Alabama Republican chaired a hearing looking into the Obama administrations new program to fly Central Americans as refugees and asylees to the U.S.

USCIS Associate Director For Refugee, Asylum And International Operations Joseph Langlois confirmed that illegal immigrants granted executive amnesty would be eligible to apply to have their relatives flown to the U.S. from El Salvador, Honduras, or Guatemala under the administrations Central American Minors Refugee/Parole Program.

They would qualify to apply for their child and spouse. However the child and spouse would still need to meet the eligibility criteria for refugees, Langlois testified before the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest.

Sessions, the subcommittees chairman, pointed out that the Obama administration is moving forward with the program without Congresses approval.

I just want to say, Congress rejected this. So the President is executing it on his own, Sessions said.

In other words, Barack Obama is on track to become the biggest human trafficker illegally transporting aliens to the United States and he is doing so on your dime.





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April 22, 2015

Earth Day 2015

Had a tree growing too close to my central air unit out in the yard, and so I figured today was the day to deal with it.

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You know, turning yard work into a political statement makes it all worthwhile.





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April 21, 2015

Political Chicanery In Shoreacres City Council Election?

Early voting for local elections in Texas begins on April 27. As is customary in many communities, Shoreacres city council candidate David Jennings placed some campaign signs for himself and fellow candidate Nancy Schnell on public property (outside of the right of way) near city hall, which is the early voting and election day polling place..

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What happened next is. . . interesting.

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Oh dear. What do we have here? Why is a city employee removing legally placed campaign signs?





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Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be ISIS

Seems to be happening more and more these days.

In Minnesota and California.

The question of terrorism has shadowed the home of Fadumo Hussein since 2007, leaving only answers of heartbreak and confusion.

On Sunday morning, that question once again stormed into her life, when FBI agents crashed through the door of her south Minneapolis house in search of her youngest son, Guled Omar.

Rousting her from sleep, the agents had surrounded the house about 9 a.m. and then stormed in to arrest her 20-year-old son. The young man, who works as a security guard for Target and attends community college part-time, is now charged with leading a secret life centered on plotting with five friends to leave the United States in order to fight with terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

Guled was born by myself under a tree, Hussein said, recounting the period her family spent in a Kenyan refugee camp and protesting his innocence.

Of the six men arrested Sunday by FBI agents four in Minneapolis and two in San Diego Omar was a particularly important target because of his past; federal authorities allege that since 2012 Omar had made at least three prior attempts to leave the country to fight with terrorists, first in Somalia and then with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Still reeling from the weekends trauma, a tearful Hussein sat on her couch Monday morning and tried to come to grips with now losing her second son to the nationwide investigation of terrorist recruitment among Somali-Americans.

Omar is the youngest brother of indicted fugitive Ahmed Ali Omar, who left the U.S. in late 2007 as part of the first wave of Somali-Americans in the Twin Cities to fight for Al-Shabab in Somalia.


And in Alabama, too.

A 20-year-old woman from a Birmingham, Alabama, suburb has left the US to join the Islamic State militant group in Syria, the local broadcaster WIAT reported on Monday.

Hoda Muthana made contact with militants through social media and had been distancing herself from other Muslims in Hoover for more a year before leaving, said family spokesman Hassan Shibly, according to WIAT. Her family reportedly fled Yemen for the US more than 20 years ago.

Hoda's father, Mohammed, told BuzzFeed that his daughter's introduction to social media started with the smartphone he gave her as a high-school graduation gift in 2013.


One has to wonder what it is that makes these people go off and join this violent terrorist organization. You dont suppose it might have something to do with religion, do you?





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April 20, 2015

Verily, We Live In An Age Of Martyrs

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More martyrs at the hands of the Religion of Peace operating under the name of ISIS.

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The Islamic State released a video on Sunday that appears to show fighters from its branches in southern and eastern Libya executing dozens of Ethiopian Christians, some by beheading and others by shooting.

Prefaced by extensive speeches and interviews that appear to take place in the Islamic States strongholds in Syria and Iraq, the video of the killings, if confirmed, would be the first evidence that the groups leaders in those countries are coordinating with fighters under the groups banner in those parts of Libya, compounding fears of its expansion across the Mediterranean.

* * *

During the last five minutes of the half-hour video, the video cuts back and forth between scenes in the southern desert and a beach along the coast, at one point displaying both with a split screen. Both were filmed with the same sophisticated camera angles and editing that have distinguished other Islamic State films from indigenous Libyan videos.

Masked fighters lead a row of bound captives dressed in black into the desert and then shoot each of the prisoners in the back of the head. Another group of masked fighters leads a row of prisoners in orange jumpsuits along a beach and then beheads each of them with a long knife. The video shows fighters placing the severed heads on the bodies lying on the sand as bloody surf washes over them.

You will not have safety, even in your dreams, until you accept Islam, declares a masked figure, speaking English with an American accent and pointing a revolver at the camera. To the nation of the cross: We are back again.

Orange, it seems, has replaced red as the color of martyrdom.





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Congratulations, Lisa Falkenberg

Conservatives and Republicans around Houston don't always find Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenberg to be a friendly journalist. However, when push comes to shove she is respected by most of us. I know that last year she wrote a rather flattering piece about me and my effort to undermine the pay-to-play slates that are so dominant in Harris County politics.

Well, today Falkenberg got some well-deserved recognition.

Houston Chronicle Columnist Lisa Falkenberg has won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, the Pulitzer board announced Monday.

It was the first Pulitzer Prize awarded to the Chronicle in its 114-year history. The Chronicle has had finalists on several occasions, including Falkenberg in the same category last year. Editorial cartoonist Nick Anderson won a Pulitzer for his work at the Louisville Courier-Journal in 2005.

Falkenberg, 36, a sixth-generation Texan, joined the Chronicle in 2005 as a reporter in the Austin bureau. In 2007 she moved to Houston as a Metro columnist.

Falkenberg was awarded the prize for a series of columns she wrote about Alfred Dewayne Brown, who was condemned for the killing of a Houston police officer, a crime he very likely did not commit.

Well done, Lisa! My heartiest congratulations.





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What Is The Purpose Of Free Speech?

A lot of folks have gotten involved in the whole Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies slate controversy involving the Hugo Awards. Ditto Gamergate. For my part, Ive stayed out of both in the case of GamerGate because I dont care about gaming and in the case of the Hugos because Ill read what I like and dont really care about who gets the awards. If that means I finish reading Sad Puppy Sarah Hoyt and then move on to the latest by SFWA oligarch John Scalzi, so be it even though I love Sarahs blog and consider Scalzis to be a cesspool of progressive intolerance.

Today Ive seen a number of my fellow conservative bloggers note Hoyts latest post, Take Your Nose Off My Fist, and in particular quote one particular observation from it, as amplified by Glenn Reynold.

SARAH HOYT: Take Your Nose Off My Fist. If your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose, what if I move my nose and rest it on your fist, so you cant move? Well, thats the whole point of safe spaces, trigger warnings, and the like.


A good point since the entire premise of those demanding safe spaces and trigger warnings is to paralyze anyone they dont agree with by insisting that their opponents injure them by expressing a contrary view, by being present where they might be noticed, or even by just having the temerity to exist.

But frankly, that isnt the part of Sarahs post that struck me. No, Im particularly fond of her explanation of the purpose of protecting freedom of speech, and exactly which speech it is that needs protection.

The right of free speech is meaningless when you only have the right to say that which society approves of.

No one has ever tried to ban speech that lauds mother and apple pie (well, maybe now, but thats a long story.) No one has ever had a fit over your complimenting their lawn.

The right of free speech is by necessity a protection for unpleasant, unpalatable speech. It is the right to call someone in power a right son of a b*tch. It is the right to say things that are hurtful, whether theyre true or not. It is the right to proclaim that the king goes naked, even if it hurts the self esteem of everyone who has been lying to herself and telling herself he wears clothes of the finest silk.

Sometimes the metaphorical nose of the listener needs to be pounded with the metaphorical fist of mean words. Because its the only thing that can stop tyrannical actions or misguided but widely accepted ones.

Absent the right to say what hurts others, a society can careen head first into an abyss. Because its always easy to claim youre offended at something you dont want to hear, and that therefore the speaker shouldnt be allowed to say it.
And that speech-stopping power is never evenly distributed. Its always higher on the part of those who have connections in the press, friends in the bureaucracy, and who can amplify their teary cries and stop what they want stopped.

The right to stop speech you dont like is ALWAYS an act of punching down, an act of speaking power to truth. (Or lies, but its amazing how often it is the truth that those self-selected, connected elites want stopped.)

Which is why the idea that my right to speak is stopped by your right to take offense is an open door to totalitarianism and censorship. If claiming that speech offends someone is enough to stop it, youre giving those who already have the power to defame, destroy and character-assassinate more power and preventing those who would talk against them from speaking.



And there is all too much of that sort of Im offended censorship going on in this country. Consider the recent American Sniper controversy on campuses around the country. Look at the controversy at UNC about David Horowitz being invited to speak by the College Republicans. Remember that the Supreme Court just refused to review a California schools punishment of students for daring to wear American flag shirts on a minor Mexican holiday. Look at the attempts to delegitimize speech favoring traditional marriage. All of it has been justified based upon the offensiveness of the sentiments expressed and that it might make others feel unsafe that such views are allowed to be expressed.

And we see it in our politics today opposition to Barack Obama is presumed to be based upon the color of his skin and not the wrongness of his policies. Hillary Clintons supporters have already begun to compile a list of words that are putatively sexist and therefore not to be used by the media or her opponents on pain of public condemnation.

Indeed, the notion that one can invoke a right to freedom of speech as a defense is under attack. For example, a teacher friend of mine shared that in his school district teachers were informed that if anything they said on social media or a blog provoked a complaint, invoking the right to free speech would be deemed an admission of wrongdoing. Too many, on both the right and the left, have decided that while freedom of speech may be enshrined in the Constitution, the government should be allowed to impose consequences for the exercise of that right

Sorry, folks, but Sarah Hoyt has it right it is the speech that is unpopular, provocative, and offensive that most needs protection. And if such speech isnt protected, we are left with bland discourse that never challenges the assumptions of the orthodoxies of the day or the





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April 18, 2015

Watcher's Council Results

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The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week's Watcher's Council match up.

"Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first." - President Ronald Reagan

"Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule and both commonly succeed, and are right." - H.L. Mencken

""The last man nearly ruined this place, he didn't know what to do with it/If you think this country's bad off now,just wait 'til I get through with it!"-Groucho Marx as Rufus T. Firefly in "Duck Soup" 1933

"We have given you a republic - if you can keep it."
-Benjamin Franklin describing the new American government to his fellow citizen Mrs. Powel after the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, 1787

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This week's winning essay by a nose,Joshuapundit's -A Change In The Weather - Looking At The Current GOP Field is the first of two articles (the next one will examine the Democrats) on the current presidential aspirants, their strengths and weaknesses as I see them and how they stack up. I limited it to those whom gave either announced or whom are obviously gearing up to do so. Here's a slice:

It's early days, and a few people who will likely be running haven't formally announced yet. But I think it's worth looking at Republican contenders for the White House and giving you my initial impressions. I'll be looking at Democrats in a subsequent article.

Senator Ted Cruz was the first to announce, and of course caught an initial blast from the Left's media hacks. We certainly can't dignify them with the term 'journalist since so many of them are simply Leftist activists with access to a microphone or a byline. Expect them to ignore blatant violations of law by the likes of Mrs. Clinton while examining in great detail any occasion where one of the Republican candidates borrowed five bucks from someone ten years ago and forgot to pay it back.

In a sense though, Senator Cruz was either exhibiting great courage, a certain amount of naivete or a mixture of the two by choosing the venue and the speech he did for his announcement. And I say that as someone whom admires him a great deal. By speaking at a Christian college at a time when Christians are under vicious attack by the Left and indeed, by the Obama Administration, he showed exactly what a brave man of principle he is. And make no mistake, Ted Cruz is a man of principle.

He is also a dynamic speaker, scary smart and a superb debater who has argued cases before the Supreme Court.

The one false note he's hit so far didn't particularly jar me, but I think it might have bothered others...his emphasis in his speech on his profession of Christian faith.

Ronald Reagan too was a man of rock solid faith, but when he voiced it, he took great care to phrase it in ways that were deliberately inclusive. Ted Cruz did not. For many people, this was their first opportunity to actually hear and see Ted Cruz speak. He's already been painted by the usual suspects as a fanatic rather than the articulate and accomplished man he is, and I have no doubt that some of them felt somewhat uncomfortable, although Cruz's audience obviously went wild over it. I look on it as an unforced error (and by no means a major one) by someone not quite used to campaigning with an eye towards a nationwide audience. And it pales when you look at how dynamically he came across, with no podium and no teleprompter, moving all over the stage to a crowd of wildly cheering students.

Ted Cruz will only get better as he goes along.

It's interesting to compare Ted Cruz with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. While Ted Cruz says the right things and articulates them with great skill and aplomb, Scott Walker simply does things and talks about them in ordinary, everyman style. It's Governor Scott Walker who took on some of most vicious public employee unions in the country and won, Scott Walker who balanced Wisconsin's budget, lowered taxes, oversaw the creation of thousands of jobs,and passed a badly needed voter ID law. And he did it while facing two election campaigns and one recall that were financed by millions of out of state dollars as well as death threats aimed at him and his family. The Left wanted Scott Walker's head badly,even to the extent of judge shopping to try and embroil him in bogus charges of campaign financing misdeeds. But he defeated them because he inherently understood that these people need to be challenged and fought, not accommodated and appeased. And because his performance, not his rhetoric spoke for itself. That experience is going to help him a great deal in the current campaign, as evidenced by his embarrassing the media over a dollar sweater and his superb push back to President Barack Obama's condescending horse manure about 'boning up' on foreign policy vis a vis Iran.

Yeah, Scott Walker has already faced the full force of the Left and survived quite nicely, thanks.And he puts up with zero static from the Left. That combination could take him a long way.

Profiles of Senator Rand Paul and others at the link


In our non-Council category, the winner was The one and only Mark Steyn's wonderful Treason and Corruption submitted by The Noisy Room. All I'll say is that if you've never read Mark Steyn before, you're in for a treat.

Here are this weeks full results. Only The RightPlanet was unable tovote tis week, but was not subject to the 2/3 vote penalty for not voting :


Council Winners




Non-Council Winners


See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watchers Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks' nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

Its a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you wont want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher's Council content.

And dont forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..cause were cool like that, y'know?





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April 17, 2015

Heres A School District Job That Needs To Be Eliminated

The one occupied by Dr. G. David Moss, head of the African-American Student/Parent Services Department for the South Bend Public Schools in Indiana.

It isnt merely that he organized college field trips for third grade students that excluded all non-black students.

It isnt just that the existence of such an office is offensive to the notion that all students and parents should be included.

No, it is this statement that shows that his job, not to mention the entire department, needs to be eliminated and Dr. Moss needs to be banned from any future employment in any public education setting.

Dr. Moss says the field trips were never meant to offend anyone.

"It was not meant to be exclusionary, it was only meant to support and give these kids what they need to think positively about themselves and about their future," he said.

After all, he says, it's his job to solely think about South Bend's African American youth.

"I was hired to look at the issues facing African American kids in the SBCSC, and my job specifically says that I need to develop programs and develop strategies to help these kids and their families become more successful academically," Moss said.

Im terribly sorry the notion that anyone in any position of public employment (much less in education) believes that their job is to think only about the success and well-being of people of only one race is totally antithetical to the Fourteenth Amendment. And as an educator, I am beyond pissed that this clown is pulling down a salary that would be enough to pay for at least two classroom teachers.





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The Silliness Of Anonymous Sources In Journalism

This may be one of the most unintentionally funny things Ive seen in a news article..

Staff attorneys at the Justice Departments antitrust division are nearing a recommendation to block Comcast Corp.s bid to buy Time Warner Cable Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

Attorneys who are investigating Comcasts $45.2 billion proposal to create a nationwide cable giant are leaning against the merger out of concerns that consumers would be harmed and could submit their review as soon as next week, said the people.

The antitrust lawyers will present their findings to Renata Hesse, a deputy assistant attorney general for antitrust, who will decide, along with the divisions top officials, whether to file a federal lawsuit to block the deal, they said.

The Justice Department lawyers have been contacting outside parties in the last few weeks to shore up evidence to support a potential case against the merger, one of the people said.

Am I alone in finding all of the vague references to the people rather funny? After all, it tells us nothing about the credibility of the people involved, other than that the reporter thinks they are somehow knowledgeable about the situation. Better not let the readers have enough information to judge for themselves -- just tell them that "people" and the always reliable "they" have said it so it must be true.





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Muslim Refugees Drown Christians On Their Boat

No doubt Barack Obama will soon respond to this incident by condemning Christians who refuse to accept that Muhammad is a prophet.

Muslims who were among migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy in a boat this week threw 12 fellow passengers overboard -- killing them -- because the 12 were Christians, Italian police said Thursday.

Italian authorities have arrested 15 people on suspicion of murdering the Christians at sea, police in Palermo, Sicily, said.

The original group of 105 people left Libya on Tuesday in a rubber boat. Sometime during the trip north across the Mediterranean Sea, the alleged assailants -- Muslims from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal -- threw the 12 overboard, police said.

More Christians martyred at the hands of the Religion of Peace.





|| Greg, 05:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Jeb Bush Is Right On Principle Regarding Deference, But Wrong In This Case

Heres what Jeb had to say about confirming Loretta Lynch as Attorney General.

"I think presidents have the right to pick their team," Bush said, according to reports of his stop at the "Politics and Pie" forum in Concord, New Hampshire, on Thursday night.

The former Florida governor made sure to get in a few digs at current Attorney General Eric Holder, saying that Republicans should consider that the longer it takes to confirm Lynch, the longer Holder stays.

A Senate fight over a sex-trafficking bill that includes a controversial abortion provision has held up Lynch's nomination for 160 days since Obama announced his choice last Nov. 8, but Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is threatening to break protocol and force a vote on the Senate floor.

"If someone is supportive of the president's policies, whether you agree with them or not, there should be some deference to the executive," Bush told reporters. "It should not always be partisan."

Now as a rule, I would agree with the not-quite-official presidential candidate on this point. Presidents should get deference in the selection of their Cabinet officials, and absent some manifest unfitness there is rarely good reason to refuse to confirm a nominee.

But notice my use of the word rarely.

In this case, there are three good reasons. First, the Democrats are filibustering a piece of legislation that has bipartisan support over a provision that is a standard part of most funding bills. That particular piece of legislation has priority over a vote on the nomination and all the Democrats have to do is defer to the majority of the Senate in order to get a vote on Lynch. Secondly, this president has time and again refused to defer to Congress and usurped the legislative power when Congress has refused to pass legislation he wants. His failure to defer to Congress constitutional role constitutes good reason to refuse to defer to the customary practice of automatically giving consent to a nominee to a Cabinet position especially since his approach to solving the problem is to sling public insults at the Senate rather than actually try to negotiate with the body given constitutional authority to accept or reject the Lynch nomination to end the logjam created by his own party. Lastly, Lynch herself has indicated her intent to continue the precedent set by Eric Holder of refusing to investigate or prosecute Executive Branch corruption because doing so potentially implicates the President in law-breaking a presidential policy that Congress must refuse to affirm by confirming an Attorney General committed to continuing it.

Do I think this disqualified Jeb Bush to be the GOP nominee in 2016? No, I dont but it does not do anything to endear him to me and does not increase the likelihood of my supporting his candidacy in the GOP primary.

Personally, I think that the GOP leadership is thinking way too small on this one. I believe that they need to make clear to Harry Reid that there will be no vote on the Lynch nomination until he resigns his Senate seat and goes into disgraced retirement in Nevada. Otherwise the vote should be delayed until January 19, 2017.





|| Greg, 05:37 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Democrats The Party Of Old White People

Just look at their geriatric crew of pale candidates.

There are five Democrats who have either declared or are thinking about running for president. Three Joe Biden, Bernard Sanders, and Jim Webb will be over 70 years old on Inauguration Day 2017. Frontrunner Hillary Clinton will be nine months short of 70. Only Martin O'Malley, who will turn 54 a couple of days before the 2017 swearing-in, has not reached retirement age already.

The piece leaves out Lincoln Chafee, who will only be 63 years old on Inauguration Day but who is so white that he would frighten Casper the Friendly Ghost. But hey hell be eligible to draw Social Security by the time the next president is sworn in.

Contrast that with the Republicans.

The average age of the Republican field is far below the Democrats, with every candidate younger than Clinton. The most senior is Jeb Bush, who will be 64 on Inauguration Day. Scott Walker will be 49; Marco Rubio will be 45; Ted Cruz, 46; Rand Paul, 54; Chris Christie, 54; Mike Huckabee, 61; Bobby Jindal, 45. Although Bush is in the older range, they're all in the career sweet spot to win the White House.

Yeah, you could throw in Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee to age the field, but they will be 58 and 61 respectively when they are sworn in. Donald Trump, who no one takes seriously, will be 70, and long-shot Ben Carson will be 65. Carly Fiorina will be 62. But the point remains the same the field is relatively young compared to any plausible Democrat, and is quite diverse in terms of ethnicity. Indeed, a Republican successor to Barack Obama is quite likely to be younger than the man they replace, despite the fact that Obama himself was the fifth youngest man to ever become president. Three of them (Rubio, Cruz, and Jindal) would even be bump him to sixth place on the list.

Of course, it isnt just age that is the issue. The GOP candidates generally represent new ideas as well, while the Democrats tend towards an ossified leftism of the sort that died with the Soviet Union. Do we really want the old and broken?





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April 16, 2015

Remember That Martyrdom Is Not A Thing Of Ancient Days

Less than two months ago the demon-inspired terrorists of ISIS murdered 21 Coptic Christians on the banks of the Mediterranean in Libya for the "crime" of being Christians.

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The waves themselves turned red with their blood.

These faithful souls who stood fast in their faith until the end are now commemorated in this work of beauty that pays tribute to Christ our Savior.

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Remember these 21 brothers in Christ who made the sacrifice that each of us is called upon to be prepared to make.

  • Milad Makeen Zaky
  • Abanub Ayad Atiya
  • Maged Soliman Shehata
  • Youssef Shukry Younan
  • Kirollos Boshra Fawzy
  • Bishoy Astafanous Kamel
  • Samuel Astafanous Kamel
  • Malak Ibrahim Sinyout
  • Tawadros Youssef Tawadros
  • Gerges Milad Sinyout
  • Mina Fayez Aziz
  • Hany Abdel Mesih Salib
  • Samuel Alham Wilson
  • Ezzat Boshra Naseef
  • Luka Nagaty Anis
  • Gaber Mounir Adly
  • Essam Baddar Samir
  • Malak Farag Abrahim
  • Sameh Salah Farouk
  • Gerges Samir Megally
  • Mathew Ayairga

    The icon is the creation of iconographer Tony Rezk and available for purchase from Legacy Icons.





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    Another Obama VA Scandal

    What do you expect of the most transparent corrupt administration in our lifetime?

    Another veterans scandal hit the Obama administration Wednesday with the emergence of an internal Veterans Affairs memo that allowed bureaucrats to cook their books and assert they were answering diligently President Obamas call to reduce the backlog of veterans benefits claims.

    The memo was known inside the VA as Fast Letter 13-10, and a government watchdog said Wednesday this flawed guidance from VA headquarters in Washington deliberately resulted in making the agency appear it was delivering services and benefits to veterans faster than it really was.

    The VA inspector general examined the impact of the memo, issued in May 2013, on the Philadelphia VA office one of the largest in the nation, serving more than 825,000 veterans and their families in three states. Investigators found that VA managers, using Fast Letter 13-10 as their justification, ordered workers to put the current date on benefits claims that were sometimes more than a year old, thereby eliminating part of the highly publicized backlog with the stroke of a pen or time stamp.

    The inspector general said it was just the sort of fiction that VA headquarters sought.

    By design, the guidance contained in Fast Letter 13-10 was flawed, as it required [Philadelphia] staff to adjust the dates of claims for unadjudicated claims found in claims folder to reflect a current date, the report said. As such, the reliability of all performance measures related to [agency] timeliness measures for processing claims becomes unreliable.

    I would suggest that this is a stunning development except for the fact that it is in keeping with so many other Obama Administration scandals and their cover-ups that there isnt anything surprising about it. Indeed, the only shocker here is that the order to lie was put in writing and then actually disclosed to investigators. Does this mean that the administration no longer even feels the need to offer the pretense of honest governance?





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    Another Rich MSNBC Leftist Who Doesnt Pay Taxes

    Remember while they want higher taxes for the 1%, they exempt themselves from paying.

    According to the IRS, although she likely makes a substantial living anchoring a weekend MSNBC show and as a professor at Wake Forest University, the left-wing Melissa Harris-Perry does not pay her taxes. The Internal Revenue Service just placed a $70,000 tax lien against Harris-Perry.

    She is the second left-wing MSNBC anchor caught not paying her fair share. Al Sharpton reportedly owes Uncle Sam upwards of $3 million.

    Maybe the time has come to take a close look at the taxes of all MSNBC personnel especially the on-air talent. I hear none of them have paid their taxes for at least ten years.





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    So I Presume That Ed Schultz Will Defend Any Republican Who Refuses To Talk To MSNBC Reporters

    Heres what the MSNBC hack has to say about The Hillary and her refusal to talk to the press during her Iowa campaign event.

    ED SCHULTZ: I don't think Hillary Clinton wants press. I think she wants people. And I think she doesn't have to answer any questions right now. And I think what she's going to do in Iowa is not focus on press but focus on what people have to say. And I think that Hillary Clinton's been around long enough she knows exactly what she's going to hear when she goes into that room right there and talks to those twenty- and thirty-somethings about America. Because she has one.

    Nah I cant see him saying that Scott Walker doesnt have to talk to the press because he has college age kids and thats who he really wants to talk to. I cant imagine him saying such a thing about Jeb Bush, despite his having added another grandchild this week (BTW -- congratulations to Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and his wife Amanda on the birth of their second child, Jack, on April 13). No, he would insist that it was a sign of arrogance and trying to hide from the American public while doing phony staged events.





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    I Dont Understand Where The School Gets Its Jurisdiction On This

    Please understand I find the shirts worn by these students and the message on them to be highly disturbing. But if they were worn off campus, I dont see how the school has any jurisdiction to punish the students wearing them, even if there were pictures posted on social media sites.

    An investigation is underway on Long Island after two Commack High School students were photographed wearing t-shirts with anti-Semitic messages.

    As 1010 WINS Carol DAuria reported, the photo shows two students in red t-shirts emblazoned with large, black swastikas with the word Auschwitz in large letters. In smaller letters, the words hit the showers can be seen, DAuria reported.

    * * *

    The photo, which also appears to show the two students participating in underage drinking, was posted on Twitter, 1010 WINS reported.
    I dont know why they would ever post that, that never goes away. I dont support what those kids did at all, Commack High School senior Alex said.
    The school district said the students are being disciplined.

    Please note that the incident in question took place at a house party during spring break. It seems to me that this would put the incident fully outside the jurisdiction of the school to investigate and discipline especially as far as the message on the shirt is concerned. After all, as Justice Jackson noted in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, [i]f there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. That also means that no school official can punish the expression of disgusting and hateful statements that are deemed to be outside of the views approved by the school.





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    April 13, 2015

    Quotations From Chairwoman Hillary

    Regarding her kindness towards and concern for working-class Americans.

    F**k off! Its enough that I have to see you shit-kickers every day, Im not going to talk to you too!! Just do your G*damn job and keep your mouth shut.
    (From the book American Evita by Christopher Anderson, p. 90 Hillary to her State Trooper bodyguards after one of them greeted her with Good morning.

    Regarding her willingness to work with Americans of all political persuasions.

    What are you doing inviting these people into my home? These people are our enemies! They are trying to destroy us!
    (From the book The Survivor by John Harris, p. 99 Hillary screaming to an aide, when she found out that some Republicans had been invited to the Clinton White House)

    Regarding her respect for the American people.

    We just cant trust the American people to make those types of choices. Government has to make those choices for people
    (From the book Ive Always Been A Yankee Fan by Thomas D. Kuiper, p 20 Hillary to Rep. Dennis Hastert in 1993 discussing her expensive, disastrous taxpayer-funded health care plan)

    More of Hillarys greatest hits at Gateway Pundit.





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    But I Thought Rich People Spending Money To Influence Elections Corrupted Democracy

    Oh, thats right only when the rich folks are conservatives. When they are liberals, this sort of organizing is just hunky-dory.

    A cadre of wealthy liberal donors aims to pour tens of millions of dollars into rebuilding the lefts political might in the states, racing to catch up with a decades-old conservative effort that has reshaped statehouses across the country.

    The plan embraced by the Democracy Alliance, an organization that advises some of the Democrats top contributors, puts an urgent new focus on financing groups that can help the party regain influence in time for the next congressional redistricting process, after the 2020 elections. The blueprint approved by the alliance board calls on donors to help expand state-level organizing and lobbying for measures addressing climate change, voting rights and economic inequality.

    People have gotten a wake-up call, Gara LaMarche, the alliances president, said in an interview. The right is focused on the state level, and even down-ballot, and has made enormous gains. We cant have the kind of long-term progressive future we want if we dont take power in the states.

    The five-year initiative, called 2020 Vision, will be discussed this week at a private conference being held at a San Francisco hotel for donors who participate in the Democracy Alliance. Leading California Democrats are scheduled to make appearances, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Attorney General Kamala Harris. The alliance, which does not disclose its members, plans to make some of the events available to reporters via a webcast.

    Rich folks donating tons of cash to secretive organizations to influence government if the Left didn't have double standards they wouldn't have any standards at all.





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    April 11, 2015

    Watcher's Council Results

    http://www.trevorloudon.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/wat1.jpg


    The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week's Watcher's Council match up.

    "Yes, death to the Great Satan" - Ayatollah Khomeini leading crowds in anti-American chants just over a week ago.

    "Peace is purchased from strength. It's not purchased from weakness or unilateral retreats." - Benyamin Netanyahu


    "If he being Young And Unskillful seeks to gamble for silver and gold/ Take his money my son praising Allah! The fool was made to be sold! -Renowned Persian poet Hafiz, 14th century CE

    I believe Herr Hitler is a man whose word can be relied on." - Neville Chamberlain, 1938


     http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-_nEAkWOufFU/T366WMxCdrI/AAAAAAAABOg/easpV-8FMnM/s400/Joshua_Dali_Sun.jpg


    This week's winning essay by a nose,Joshuapundit's -Munich II examines President Obama's so-called 'framework' of his nuclear agreement with Iran. As we nowknow, our president was not exactly being honest with the American people in that speech in the Rose Garden! So what's the actual motivation behind his apparent desperation to achieve some kind of deal..something the Iranians are happily taking advantage of. Here's a slice:

    President Barack Hussein Obama announced yesterday that a deal - ooops, a 'framework for a deal' had been achieved with Iran on its illegal nuclear program.

    Here's what the president said the components of this unwritten, unsigned framework were.

    First of all, he claimed that the reactor at Iran's heavy water facility at Arak will be dismantled so the Iranians cannot produce plutonium, a second route to nuclear weapons.He also claimed that nuclear material from Arak would be shipped out of Iran, that Iran would not build a new heavy water reactor and that Iran will not reprocess fuel from its existing reactors ever.

    Second, he claimed that the Iranians agreed that its centrifuges would be reduced by two thirds, and that Iran will not enrich uranium with its advanced centrifuges for at least the next 10 years. He also said that Iran would no longer enrich uranium at its top secret military facility at Fordow. and that there would be severe limits on Iran's stockpiling of the materials needed to build a nuclear weapon.

    He said there would be limits on Iran's nuclear program, research and development for a decade and that Iran would never be allowed to build a nuclear weapon.

    He also claimed that current sanctions would be gradually phased out in accordance with Iranian compliance, that Iran would face intense inspections and scrutiny, and that if if was found cheating, the UN would slap massive sanctions back on Iran.

    There's not a single statement in the above four paragraphs that's true, and that comes from no less than Iran's own Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who supposedly agreed to all this in the last minute negotiations at Lausanne:

    Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Obama administration of misleading the American people and Congress in a fact sheet it released following the culmination of negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

    Zarif bragged in an earlier press conference with reporters that the United States had tentatively agreed to let it continue the enrichment of uranium, the key component in a nuclear bomb, as well as key nuclear research.

    Zarif additionally said Iran would have all nuclear-related sanctions lifted once a final deal is signed and that the country would not be forced to shut down any of its currently operating nuclear installations. [...]

    Zarif, echoing previous comments, said the United States has promised an immediate termination of sanctions.

    Iran/5+1 Statement: US will cease the application of ALL nuclear-related secondary economic and financial sanctions. Is this gradual? he wrote on Twitter.

    He then suggested a correction: Iran/P5+1 Statement: The EU will TERMINATE the implementation of ALL nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions. How about this?


    On Thursday evening, Zarif told reporters the latest agreement allows Iran to keep operating its nuclear program.

    None of those measures that will move to scale back Irans program include closing any of our facilities, Zarif said. We will continue enriching; we will continue research and development.
    Our heavy water reactor will be modernized and we will continue the Fordow facility, Zarif said. We will have centrifuges installed in Fordow, but not enriching.

    The move to allow Iran to keep centrifuges at Fordow, a controversial onetime military site, has elicited concern that Tehran could ramp up its nuclear work with ease.

    The scrutiny and inspections, of course, can be relied on to tell us everything we need to know about Iran's nuclear program, right? Because the Iranians would never try to hide that sort of thing from us, and can be relied on not to cheat

    As for the president's threat of renewed sanctions, just like his promises on ObamaCare he is knowingly lying to the American people. It took two years to put together the sanctions regimen in the UN. Now that Obama has essentially dismantled it, it isn't going to happen again, certainly not in time to be of any use. Russia will see to that.

    And here perhaps is the most chilling statement Zarif made:

    Zarif also revealed that Iran will be allowed to sell enriched uranium in the international market place and will be hopefully making some money from it.

    Can you imagine whom a regime that is the major supporter of Islamist terrorism like Iran is likely to sell nuclear materials and know how to? Iran itself obtained quite a bit from Pakistan's notorious AQ Khan when he was running what amounted to a cash and carry supermarket for this sort of merchandise. What Iran is obviously planning will make what Khan did look minor.

    President Obama claims that this 'framework' agreement is a good deal. In reality, all it does is give Iran another three which gives Iran another three months to work on its nuclear weapons technology in exchange for...absolutely nothing specific. Instead of leading to reduced nuclear proliferation, it will increase it, since countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia are under no illusions as to what this means.

    This goes beyond mere appeasement. President Obama and John Kerry are enabling a nuclear armed Iran.

    All other things aside, this president and his team are allowing a murderous regime that has sworn to destroy Israel on numerous occasions the tools to attempt a second Holocaust. And there's no question in my mind that this is deliberate.

    The moron prog think tank response to this is that the Iranians are rational actors whom would never do this, because of the risk of retaliation by Israel. Let's see what the founder of the regime, the Ayatollah Khomeini had to say about that:

    "We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah. For patriotism is another name for paganism. I say let this land [Iran] burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world."

    The Iranians have continued to promise to destroy Israel since 1978 when Khomeini took over. That goal has never changed.

    Neither has their goal of destroying America.

    Much more at the link.

    In our non-Council category, we had a tie between Mark Steyn Let Them Bake Cake submitted by The Noisy Room and Matt Continetti/ Free Beacon Benghazi, Bergdahl, and the Bomb submitted by The Watcher.

    I loved both, but Steyn gets the nod this week.

    Here are this weeks full results. Only Ask Marion and The Independent Sentinel were unable to vote this week, but were not subject to the 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:


    Council Winners




    Non-Council Winners


    See you next week!

    Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watchers Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks' nominees for Weasel of the Week!

    And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

    Its a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you wont want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher's Council content.

    And dont forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..cause were cool like that, y'know?





    || Greg, 05:57 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

    April 10, 2015

    Ineffective President Abandons Endangered Americans Abroad

    One of the things that Americans expect of their government is some sort of assistance if they are in difficulty abroad. Im an American please contact the embassy/consulate are the first words that ought to come to the lips of any US citizen who has been arrested in a foreign land. And if the situation in a foreign country goes to hell, it is expected that US diplomats or the US military will aid in the evacuation of our nations citizens.

    But in Yemen, that isnt happening.

    Our diplomats bugged out weeks ago. And despite a US military presence just across the 20-mile wide Bab-el-Mandeb in Djibouti, the United States military is not doing anything to assist Americans in leaving Yemen during the current crisis.

    No other countries are taking care of our citizens.

    The State Department is telling U.S. citizens fleeing the fighting in Yemen to contact the government of India or an international NGO dedicated to migrant rights for help, according to the website for the abandoned U.S. embassy in Sanaa and statements by Indian government officials.

    The Chinese Navy last week evacuated hundreds of people from the war-torn country. Russia, Canada, and France are also reported to have recently conducted evacuations of their own.

    The website of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Yemen posted two messages on Monday laying out options for American citizens looking to flee the country. The first noted that, The Indian government has offered to assist U.S. citizens who want to depart Yemen for Djibouti. This potentially includes flights out of Sanaa and ships from Aden. U.S. citizens wishing to take advantage of this opportunity should contact First Secretary Raj Kopal at the Indian Embassy in Sanaa at 00967 734 000 657.

    A second message stated that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) was working to arrange a flight out of the country to Djibouti at some point this week, and directed American citizens needing assistance to contact the IOM.


    Incredible. Just incredible. In my lifetime we have gone from having the capability to safeguard our own citizens abroad to having to rely on India and NGOs to do the job for us. Yea, how the mighty have fallen.

    By the way, a group of stranded US citizens has sued in federal court over this.

    Claiming the Obama administration turned its back on them, 41 Americans stranded in war-torn Yemen filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the State Department and Defense Department for not evacuating them -- as fighting intensifies and U.S. allies launch airstrikes.

    The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., seeks to compel the government to use all resources possible to rescue the stranded Americans. The plaintiffs range in age from just a few weeks old to senior citizens.

    Despite the clear danger to Americans in Yemen and the death of at least one American the Obama administration has not yet taken any substantive steps to help citizens or permanent residents reach safety, the lawsuit claims.

    Interestingly enough, the suit was filed by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. If so, I actually applaud them. After all, these folks should get at least as good treatment as as treasonous deserter Bo Bergdahl.





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    April 09, 2015

    Effort To Censor Pro-Military, Pro-American Film Nearly Succeeds At Michigan

    Remember when it was "important" to show The Last Temptation of Christ and The Handmaid's Tale on campus in order to stand up against Christians protesting against the attack on their faith? Why didn't they immediately invoke the same principle here -- and then waive the admission a charge and move the showing to a larger venue -- to stand up against the censors?

    Oh, that's right -- because the censors were not Christians. They were members of a progressive-approved minority religion that gets special privileges despite the fact that its followers on a daily basis engage in much greater offenses against the progressive ideology than do Christians.

    Fortunately, the censorship effort failed.

    When the drama surrounding the showing of a movie is more intense than the drama in the movie itself, something has gone wrong. Especially when a university of all places is involved.

    Yesterday, Reason reported that the University of Michigan pulled a planned showing of the Oscar-winning movie American Sniper after students protested that the Clint Eastwood flick "not only tolerates but promotes anti-Muslim...rhetoric and sympathizes with a mass killer."

    Michigian administrators responded by spiking the movie and replacing it with, no shit, Paddington. Then they semi-relented and announced

    plans to show "American Sniper" in a separate location from the UMix program, in what it said would be "a forum that provides an appropriate space for dialogue and reflection."

    Now comes news that, no, no, the universitygenerally regarded as one an outstanding academic institutionwill now show American Sniper as planned. Via Foxnews.com:

    University Vice President for Student Life E. Royster Harper called the decision to cancel the Friday night showing a "mistake" in a statement.

    "The initial decision to cancel the movie was not consistent with the high value the University of Michigan places on freedom of expression and our respect for the right of students to make their own choices in such matters," Harper said. "The movie will be shown at the originally scheduled time and location."

    I applaud the authorities at the University for standing up to this crass anti-Americanism. Better late than never.

    But it does lead me to ask some questions.

    I wonder how many students at Michigan feel unsafe due to the presence of Islamists on campus who are more loyal to their terrorist faith than to American constitutional principles? Would the University even for a moment consider banning Islamist groups and literature from the campus -- much less expelling the Islamists whose ideology is inseparably related to terrorism? Those questions are, of course, rhetorical -- because any student who attempted to make a case for such efforts would likely be expelled from the University or driven fromt eh campus by the forces of "tolerance".

    So let me ask my real questions.

    How long until the Islamist swine behind this effort to censor American Sniper demand that the university pull American Sniper from the shelves at the library and ban its sale from campus bookstores -- or even its possession on campus at all? How long until they question their safety on campus if American veterans who fought their fellow Islamists are allowed to attend classes beside them? Efforts like those would not surprise me in the least -- or at least would not have surprised me if someone at the University had not grown a spine and decided to show the movie.

    Note to the University of Michigan Islamists involved in this censorship effort -- I've not seen American Sniper on screen, nor have I read the book. I don't particularly have an interest in spending a portion of my life doing either. But you had better get used to rhetoric condemning your vile beliefs and your efforts to undermine the freedom of every American. If such push-back makes you feel unsafe, so much the better. Feel free to relocate to one of the areas under control of your fellow Islamists, and prepare to see how unsafe life in a society operated by your fellow Islamists -- ISIS, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab -- really is compared to this one where your only real fear is that someone may wound your tender feelings.





    || Greg, 08:15 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

    The Time Has Come For Congress To Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform

    Before you get mad at me, let me be clear.

    Im not talking about the sort of reform that Obama wants.

    Im not talking about the sort of reform that the illegals are demanding

    Im talking the sort of reform that the American people want.

    A new poll shows voters want illegal immigrants aggressively deported, their gaming of the anchor-baby system put to an end and their welfare cut off. Yet the political class still isn't listening. They may regret it.

    The message from the Rasmussen telephone survey of 1,000 likely voters taken on April 1-2 couldn't have been clearer: It's time to enforce immigration laws or just forget about having any.

    "More voters than ever feel the United States is not aggressive enough in deporting those who are here illegally, even as President Obama continues to push his plan to make up to 5 million illegal immigrants safe from deportation," Rasmussen announced.

    The polling group found that 62% of likely voters think the government is not aggressive enough in deporting illegals, up from 52% a year ago. Fifty-one percent think illegals who have "anchor babies" born in the U.S. to discourage deportation shouldn't be exempt from the law, and 54% believe a child born to an illegal immigrant shouldn't get birthright citizenship. These two findings show sharp upturns from the year earlier.

    In addition, an overwhelming 83% of voters think welfare applicants should have to prove they're here legally before receiving federal, state or local services and cash a position that has stayed rock hard for four years.

    Last time I checked, We the People were supposed to be in charge of our government not Them the Border Jumping Foreigners and the politicians who think there is some sort of advantage to selling out the citizenry in order to appease the law-breakers. Pass the laws necessary to implement the views of Americans and send forth the constitutional amendment needed to fix the anchor baby loophole in the Fourteenth Amendment. You know represent us for a change.





    || Greg, 05:14 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

    April 05, 2015

    The Future Of Religious Freedom in America -- The Coming Persecution

    This week's Watcher's Council Forum question asks if religious freedom is seriously threatened in America. Sadly, I believe it is, despite the clear promise of the Bill of Rights that free exercise of religion is a right guaranteed to every American. The reality is that this particular liberty has been under assault for some time, and that it will only get worse.

    Who is leading the assault? Secular leftists and those ostensibly a part of religious communities (often in leadership positions) who have been co-opted by the siren call of progressive ideology. The Secular Left has long been contemptuous of people of faith. Want an example? Just look at the "bitter clinger" rhetoric of the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Listen to entertainers like Bill Maher, John Stewart, and Stephen Colbert. Consider the manner in which our elite institutions treat religious believers, especially Christians.

    Sadly, though, the weapon they wield is one placed in their hands by a conservative man of faith -- Justice Antonin Scalia. His opinion in Employment Division v. Smith overturned several decades of Free Exercise jurisprudence that had shown deference to freedom of conscience and required that government show a compelling interest before it burdens the free exercise of religion. The long history of both legislative and judicial accommodation of religious belief and conduct was therefore jettisoned in the name of what was deemed to be an originalist interpretation not particularly supported by either the text of the Constitution nor the writings of the Framers. Indeed, it is not unreasonable to speculate that Scalia's decision was based more on an antipathy to drug use than fidelity to the text of the First Amendment or longstanding precedents.

    Initially, religious believers of all stripes united to see that the customary religious protections were written into statutory law. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and later the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), were efforts designed to see that the law respected religious freedom. But when the principles of religious freedom the two sides agreed upon ran into the liberal desire to see gay marriage and government mandated health insurance become a part of America's social landscape, the demand that traditional religious believers be free to opt out of participation in elements of both that offended their faith led the Left to reject Free Exercise outside of the confines of church buildings and the privacy of one's home.

    This past week we saw this matter come to fruition, as activists in two states forced changes into state RFRAs that will guarantee that Christian (and Muslim and even some Jewish) businesspeople choose between honoring their faith and honoring the law. Nobody is talking about banning members of any protected class from their businesses -- they are simply seeking to opt out of participation in specific events that offend their religion. But in the name of non-discrimination, those who believe as a matter of faith that homosexual marriage is an abomination before God will be forced to participate despite the fact that they view doing so as endangering their immortal soul -- and failure to do so could cost them their businesses and their life savings, and perhaps even result in their incarceration.

    Unfortunately, the same "civil rights" laws that require these people of faith to accommodate sin are not reciprocal. Just last week, in the midst of the dispute over RFRAs in Indiana and Arkansas, the state of Colorado ruled that it was not an act of unlawful discrimination for a baker to refuse to provide a cake expressing traditional Christian beliefs on marriage.

    DENVER - Colorado's legal battles between religious freedom and gay rights continue to play out in the not-so-sweet arena of bakery cake requests.

    Last week, the Colorado Civil Rights Division ruled that Denver's Azucar Bakery did not discriminate against William Jack, a Christian from Castle Rock, by refusing to make two cakes with anti-gay messages and imagery that he requested last year.

    * * *

    The agency's decision found that the baker did not discriminate against Jack based on his creed. Instead, officials state the evidence shows Silva refused to make the cakes because the customer's requests included "derogatory language and imagery."

    The baker said "in the same manner [she] would not accept [an order from] anyone wanting to make a discriminatory cake against Christians, [she] will not make one that discriminates against gays," according to the decision.
    "The evidence demonstrates that [Silva] would deny such requests to any customer, regardless of creed," the civil rights agency's decision stated.

    Now we all know that the state would not have accepted the argument that a baker would not serve anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, who sought a cake for a same sex wedding. The reality is that the agency is allowing someone a way out of complying with non-discrimination law that they would allow in no other situation. Thus there is no longer equal protection of the law when it comes to matter of non-discrimination law, and the deck is stacked against believers.

    We know what is coming next. Ross Douhat asked a series of questions about how far conformity should be enforced on matters of gay marriage. Should people be denied employment or lose employment for holding the wrong view? Should religious institutions that reject gay marriage be legally disadvantaged for that belief? Should attempting to pass on traditional views on sexual morality be deemed child abuse and result in the loss of parental rights? In other words, should the holding of religious beliefs that were mainstream and consistent with the law a mere two decades ago become an offense under the law? Sadly, many of the commenters on his piece were supportive of undercutting religious freedom.

    The more I've looked at this matter over the last week, the more I have come to realize that for Christians the future may come to look very much like the situation that faced the first followers of Christ in the decades following the crucifixion until the time of Constantine.

    IncenseCatacomesMartyrdom.jpg

    And sadly, the same will be true of our Torah-believing Jewish brethren -- the days of Antiochus Epiphanes will be revisited upon them by the Progressives, cheered on by the their secular Jewish cousins. But this will not, I would suspect, be the case for the followers of Islam, which has come under the special protection progressives due their shared value of anti-Americanism.





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    April 04, 2015

    Watcher's Council Results

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/62/C.sf.,_castelli,_carmine_gentile,_ovale_con_allegoria_dell%27accademia_degli_illuminati,_1730-1750.JPG


    The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and we have our winners for this week's Watcher's Council match up.

    "In justice, too, to our excellent Constitution, it ought to be observed, that it has not placed our religious rights under the power of any public functionary." - Thomas Jefferson

    "The life of West, Nietzsche said, is based on Christianity. The values of the West are based on Christianity. Some of these values seem to have taken a life of their own, and this gives us the illusion that we can get rid of Christianity and keep the values. This, Nietzsche says, is an illusion...Remove the Christian foundation, and the values must go too" - Dinesh D'Souza


    ""Those who want the government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide."
    - Harry S. Truman

    "There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire. If therefore we yield up our temporal property, we at the same time deliver the conscience into bondage." - James Witherspoon, 1775

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-1ndmEdQX3AM/Tv04FWJ3kTI/AAAAAAAAAzg/P-WNaJRST6Q/s400/Bookworm%2B3.jpg


    This week's winning essay,Bookworm Room's Jesus would have supported RFRA is a superb look at the current assault on religious freedom in America by goverenment diktat. Here's a slice:
    The useful thing about the Lefts willingness to expose its ignorance is that analyzing its errors often leads one to greater truths. For me, the greater truth flowing from a poster highlighting Leftist stupidity is that Jesus almost certainly would have approved of Indianas new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as well as similar acts in other states and under federal law.

    Being Jewish, I have to admit that I dont usually run things through a What Would Jesus Do filter. However, I started thinking along those lines when a large number of my Leftist Facebook friends got very excited about this Easter poster:

    Flog a banker

    My first thought was that, in general principle, the man who preached the Sermon on the Mount would not have approved of that poster. Jesus was not generally a fan of flogging:

    Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

    But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

    ***

    Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

    But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

    Still, theres a grain of truth in that anti-Christian poster. Upon his entry into Jerusalem, Jesus did yell at the money changers and tip over their tables. What enraged him, though, wasnt their profession, even though he did castigate their enclave as a den of thieves. Instead, he was upset because they were profaning the holy area of the Temple. Matthew describes an angry man:

    And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,

    And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

    John describes a man willing to use the lash to clean Gods house:

    And the Jews passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

    And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:

    And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers money, and overthrew the tables;

    And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Fathers house an house of merchandise.

    What Lefties, who are instruction learners, rather than principle learners, take away from John is very specific: Flog people who handle money. In fact, thats completely wrong. Ive already noted that, as a general. matter, Jesus did not believe in using violence against his fellow man, even if said fellow man was doing something mean or sinful. There was a bigger principle at stake here. What drove Jesus to a violent frenzy was the desecration of the Temple. Jesus had a clear hierarchy: Treat your fellow man with love and kindness; but treat God, his house, and his words, with absolute reverence, untainted by government or commerce.

    Jesuss clear delineation between religious and secular matters appears again when he was called upon to talk about taxes. When hostile questioners tried to get Jesus to reject as a matter of faith the taxes that Rome imposed on Jews, he instead drew a bright line in the sand: Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesars; and unto God the things that are Gods.

    The Founders, all of whom were steeped in the Bible even if they were not practicing Christians, knew about Jesuss efforts to keep commerce and government away from the purity of faith. They were also aware of their own history: For more than 100 years, Christians and Jews had come to America to escape the stifling, and often deadly, restrictions imposed upon them by European governments because of their faith. It was in this context that the First Amendment came into being:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    More at the link.

    In our non-Council category, the winner was Ace of Spades HQ The New Intolerance: We Are Now Required To Embrace Just About Everything, Except the Gutter Religion Christianitysubmitted by Rhymes with Right. A must read.

    Here are this weeks full results. Only Ask Marion was unable to vite this week, but was not subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:


    Council Winners




    Non-Council Winners


    See you next week!

    Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watchers Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks' nominees for Weasel of the Week!

    And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

    Its a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you wont want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher's Council content.

    And dont forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..cause were cool like that, y'know?





    || Greg, 05:55 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

    April 03, 2015

    What A Difference Ten Days Makes When It Comes To The New York Times' Position On Corporate Speech

    It was that recently that the New York Times, a corporation itself, was running a piece about how horrible it was that the courts were allowing corporations (well, corporations other than the New York Times Company,) to exercise First Amendment rights.

    But as Damon Root notes over at Reason, this corporation that has been complaining that corporate speech rights are a threat to America because it allows corporations to use their vast economic resources to sway public opinion and government officials even since the Citizens United decision five years ago, is positively celebrating the corporate speech of corporations that caused the weakening of Religious Freedom Restoration Acts in at least two states.

    Five years ago, in the aftermath of the Supreme Courts Citizens United decision, the editorial board of The New York Times denounced the very idea of allowing for-profit corporations to engage in robust political speech. If we the people allow corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected officials into doing their bidding, the Times declared, democracy itself will be imperiled.

    I was reminded of that anti-corporate editorial today when I read the latest editorial from The New York Times editorial board:

    Big corporations like Walmart, Apple, Salesforce.com and General Electric and their executives have done the right thing by calling on officials in Indiana and Arkansas to reject religious freedom laws designed to give businesses and religious groups legal cover should they deny service to gay couples.

    The Times then urged those big corporations to use their vast treasuries to help elect candidates who support gay rights, gay marriage, and the expansion of anti-discrimination laws.

    I don't understand. The New York Times has been against corporate speech and politicking for years, and most vehemently since the Supreme Court forbade restrictions of corporate political speech five years ago. How can they take this position now?

    Oh, yeah -- they have corporations taking positions that the editorial board supports, so they are suddenly reconciled to such speech -- until the next time someone expresses what the "paper of record" views as a heterodox opinion.





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    April 02, 2015

    Only Richest Americans Benefit Under Obama

    Remember, my friends, who the real President of the Rich is. Remember which party he is a part of.

    Most Americans' incomes continued to fall last year, but the richest 20 percent saw theirs rise, a new Labor Department report showed Thursday.

    In fresh data that adds fire to a growing debate over income inequality, the department said that Americans on average saw income decline for the second straight year in the 12 months to June 2014.

    The average pre-tax income fell 0.9 percent from the same period a year earlier, to $64,432.

    But broken down into quintiles, those in the top 20 percent of incomes saw their money stream grow by 0.9 percent to $166,048 on average.

    If you are part of the bottom 80% of Americans, your income most likely went down in what Obama and his minions call a recovery. Now how many of you folks voted for him -- twice?





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    How The World Will Likely Know That Iran Cheated On Nuke Deal

    I suspect it will look something like this.

    newspaper.jpg

    UPDATE: Feel free to share this graphic.

    IranNukesIsraelPoster.png





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    Iran Nuke Framework Is No Deal

    Notice that there is not an actual deal -- merely a "framework".

    Iran and the world powers said here Thursday that they had reached a surprisingly specific and comprehensive general understanding about the next steps in limiting Tehrans nuclear program, though Western officials said many details needed to be resolved before a final agreement in June.

    There was no mistaking the upbeat mood surrounding the announcement, following eight days of intense debate between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif. We have stopped a cycle that is not in the interest of anybody, an exuberant Mr. Zarif said at a news conference after the announcement.

    Speaking from the White House, President Obama made a strong case for the deal, saying that it cuts off every pathway for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon and that it establishes the most intrusive inspections system in history. If Iran cheats, he said, the world will know it.

    What has to be remembered here is that nothing is binding until an actual deal is reached -- and Iran can still walk away from all of this.

    And as for Obama's declaration about Iran cheating? Well, we know Obama's history with Middle East deals that involve red lines that cannot be crossed.

    redline.jpg

    But not to worry, this time will be different. I'm sure that Barry will deploy the latest in technology to make sure this effort at a legacy actually works -- just like all the others.

    IranNukeWebsite.jpg
    Image H/T: Colossus of Rhodey

    UPDATE: Told you so.

    However, Zarif said many of these issues are closer to being resolved.

    None of those measures that will move to scale back Irans program include closing any of our facilities, Zarif said. We will continue enriching; we will continue research and development.

    Our heavy water reactor will be modernized and we will continue the Fordow facility, Zarif said. We will have centrifuges installed in Fordow, but not enriching.

    The move to allow Iran to keep centrifuges at Fordow, a controversial onetime military site, has elicited concern that Tehran could ramp up its nuclear work with ease.

    Zarif said that once a final agreement is made, all U.S. nuclear related secondary sanctions will be terminated, he said. This, I think, would be a major step forward.





    || Greg, 03:22 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (291) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

    Bad Journalism, Terroristic Threats, Destroy Family Business

    Now tell me again whose rights are in danger in Indiana.

    The Indiana family under attack for telling local news that their pizzeria would not cater a hypothetical gay wedding is considering moving out of town even as Memories Pizza supporters raised more than $120,000 in less than 24 hours.

    Pizzeria co-owner Crystal O'Connor confirmed in an interview with conservative talk-show host Dana Loesch that the family may leave the area after being bombarded with social-media criticism, national media attention and an arson threat for saying that restaurant would not serve a same-sex wedding if asked.

    The Walkerton pizzeria, which has never been asked to cater a same-sex ceremony, closed shortly after the uproar began Wednesday, and may never reopen, Ms. O'Connor said.

    Now let's clarify a couple of things here.

    TeacherArsonThreatPizza.jpg

    So let's be clear here -- this is not the market at work. The market at work would be actual the business owner and consumers making actual economic decisions that cause the business to succeed or fail. If consumers quit patronizing the restaurant because they objected to the statements by the owners, that would be the market at work. Political opponents and opponents of religious freedom threatening violence and murder is not the market at work, unless one would like to argue that the Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux Klan was an example of Adam Smith's "invisible hand" and 9/11 was just economic decision-making by al Qaeda.

    kkk-rainbow-300x199[1].jpg

    As noted over at GayPatriot, "[t]he gay left has become the KKK, in 600 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets."

    original1[1].jpg
    H/T GayPatriot



    || Greg, 02:53 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

    It Is Time To Hurt Angies List

    Angies List, the consumer review and business referral website based in Indiana has made it really clear in the last several days that they are hostile to religious freedom. It is time to make them pay quite literally for having done so. And Erick Erickson of RedState has just the way to do so.

    Since Angies List does not want your business, you should cancel your membership like I did. After I cancelled, I found out that Angies List has a membership Bill of Rights. You can get back 110% of what you paid if you are dissatisfied with your membership.

    Considering Angies Lists CEO does not want Christians business and has contempt for people of faith, Id suggest you might be dissatisfied with your membership.

    Not an Angies List member? You can still participate. Join Id suggest their top-tier plan at $59.99 a year and then cancel in a week or so saying you just arent satisfied. Just imagine if 1,000,000 lovers of liberty did so. Angies List, which has never had a profitable year insofar as I can determine, would take a hit of $6,000,000.

    So sign up, cancel, and tell Angie you still believe in religious freedom.





    || Greg, 02:13 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

    A Rethinking Of The Cakes/Flower/Photos For Gay Weddings Issue

    Many folks on the Left are treating the question of whether or not a business should be permitted to refuse services for a gay wedding as a matter of unjust discrimination based upon protected class. Many on the Right are treating it as a matter of freedom of religion. I see both sides, and while I lean strongly towards the free exercise argument I understand the other sides concern (which I believe to be overblown) about places with No ______ Allowed signs in the window.

    But as Ive written and ruminated over the last several days, Ive found myself drawn to a possible alternate way of accommodating everybody without doing violence to either matters of conscience or allowing wholesale discrimination. It involves other aspects of the First Amendment freedom of speech and freedom of association. I believe that non-discrimination principles and religious scruples could be respected and accommodated if we applied those additional two aspects of the First Amendment in the matter of gay weddings.

    To do this, I want to lay out a couple of principles that are or ought to be pretty non-controversial.

    The first is that businesses do have the right to engage in speech and expressive conduct, or to refuse to do so including refusing to do so for hire. For example, if I walked into the local t-shirt printing business and asked them to print three dozen shirts that read F*ck the Police, they would be free to tell me to take my business elsewhere because they reject the sentiment or the language used. If I walked into a bakery and asked for a cake decorated with a big marijuana leaf and the slogan Legalize Marijuana, no one would dispute that the owner would be well within his or her rights to reject the order on the grounds that they are uncomfortable putting that message on the cake.

    The second is that businesses are free to accept or reject business and events which they view as incompatible with their views for example, a baker who is an active Democrat would certainly be free to refuse to provide a cake for the opening of the new Republican Party headquarters in the county. Similarly, a florist or a photographer is certainly free to refuse to contract to provide their goods and services for a conference being put on by the Boy Scouts because they disagree with their policy of not allowing gay and atheist Scouts (a policy which has been ruled constitutionally protected as a matter of free exercise of religion). In both cases the basis for rejecting the event is the exercise of constitutionally protected civil rights and civil liberties by those holding the events because the business owners does not choose to associate themselves and their businesses with the events because they reject the message being expressed.

    Now if you look at both principles above, the issue is a matter of refusing to engage in speech or association because the business owners hold a different view and choose not to communicate messages they reject or have their business associated with those promoting a particular point of view as they promote that point of view. Nobody is denying those individuals service in all contexts, merely in the discrete situation related to the particular message or event. The t-shirt shop will gladly provide member of the anti-police group with shirts that communicate another message. The baker will gladly serve members of the pro-pot group if they want a different cake or a dozen cookies. The restaurateur will gladly provide a table for members of the political group if they come to dine with their families and friends. If a Scout leader wants a dozen roses for his wife or a Scout orders a corsage for his prom date, the order will be gladly accepted. Assuming, of course, that the members of those groups, their families, their friends, and their other associates are willing to have anything to do with the business that turned away the group.

    Which leads us back to the gay wedding issue. If one looks at the well-publicized cases of what some call anti-gay discrimination in cases involving weddings in the last few years, it has not been an issue of businesses refusing to serve homosexuals at all. In most of the cases the aggrieved customer had long been a patron of the establishment and had a good relationship with the business owner, who knew the customers sexual orientation and was quite content to have them as a customer. The problem arose in relation to one and only one event, that being providing services for the wedding ceremony and/or reception. In other words, they refused to be a part of the celebration of that which they found offensive to their firmly held beliefs and communication of opposite beliefs, just as each of we found in each of my earlier examples. They are doing that which we allow business owners to do all the time to pick and choose which public and private events they do not want to be a part of and which speech they will not engage in for hire.





    || Greg, 02:12 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||
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