Marvel Gives Canadian Leftist PM Justin Trudeau the Obama Treatment, Slapping Him on the Cover of New "Civil War" Series [Ace of Spades HQ]

Definitely give Marvel, ABC, ESPN, and Disney your money. Because this is quality Entertainment. You'd be missing out if you didn't watch this silly bullshit....

Al Qaeda Advisory to Terrorists: Make Sure You Attack Straight White People Or Obama Will Call It a "Hate" Crime and Deny Us the Credit [Ace of Spades HQ]

Obama is so determined to not call terrorism terrorism that terrorists have to change their targeting just to get some blame for their murders. n an article first reported by The Foreign Desk, Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)...

At Least 10 Dead, 40 Wounded in Terrorist Attack at Istanbul Airport [Ace of Spades HQ]

They never stop coming. Update: 10 now reported dead. It is now reported that two suicide bombers were attempting to enter the airport, but were fired upon by security/police. They then detonated their bombs. I suppose that means the carnage...

And Now a Word from British Toonces [Ace of Spades HQ]

From @MWR, this twinkie. He looks as you'd expect. (Old Toonces sketch here.)...

EU Schemers Have Exactly the Right Medicine for Citizens Sick of Technocratic Busybodies Ruling Their Lives: Even More Powerful Technocratic Busybodies Ruling Their Lives [Ace of Spades HQ]

Democracy is for the Big People. The foreign ministers of France and Germany are due to reveal a blueprint to effectively do away with individual member states in what is being described as an "ultimatum". Under the radical proposals EU...

Oh Look! Another Know-Nothing Sports Figure Demonstrates That He Does, Indeed, Know Nothing [CBD] [Ace of Spades HQ]

I am an absolutist when it comes to the 2nd Amendment. I am even uncomfortable with felons who have served their time being denied the ability to defend themselves. And yes, that is a contentious topic that can be discussed...

GOP Releases Major Report on Benghazi, Fingering Hillary Clinton [Ace of Spades HQ]

And you know how distasteful that can be. I'm just catching up with this now. Also see Steve Hayes contrasting the public lies and private truths told by Hillary Clinton....

Mid-Morning Open Thread [CBD] [Ace of Spades HQ]

Chandelier Dale Chihuly [Hat tip: AtC] And something a bit more traditional below the fold.......

Tuesday Morning News Dump (6/28/16) [Mis. Hum.] [Ace of Spades HQ]

Good bye EU say hello to Superstate. We might have been born at night, but not last night. TFG administration pushed video for Benghazi. DoJ employees get to go to Reeducation Camp. ISIS, things aren't so rosey? CIA weapons...

Overnight Open Thread (6-27-2016) [Ace of Spades HQ]

Quote of the Day I  Interviewed by Kyle and Jackie O on the KIIS Radio Network on Wednesday, the Opposition Leader was asked whether he'd ever been inside a strip club. "I have," he began, confidently enough, before going to...

Shocker: Judicial Watch Unveils Even More Clinton Work-Related Emails Which She, Get This, Deleted [Ace of Spades HQ]

The pattern seems to be that she deleted emails about her illegal email system. And she's claiming those are "personal." Indeed. Crime is a personal kind of thing. An additional 165 pages of emails from Hillary Clinton's time at the...

Installers for Debian vs Ubuntu [Barry's news]

Today I installed both Debian Jessie 8.5.0 and Xubuntu Xenial Xerus 16.04 on my laptop hard drive. Incredibly divergent experiences using the GUI installers.

Debian Jessie
I downloaded the "net install" ISO, 247MB, and dd'ed it to a USB stick.
At bootup, chose the Expert GUI installation.

Very nice, except there was a bug. The partition that I chose for "/" failed to mount. It already had a ext4 filesystem, but I went back and ticked the box to reformat the partition, then it mounted. Odd.

In expert mode, this is a very nice installer. Very logical, with all required choices. In particular, I wanted the option not to install a boot-loader, as I already have one and wanted to do it manually -- the installer gave me that choice. Very good!

Xubuntu Xenia Xerus
I downloaded Xubuntu ISO file, about 1.2GB.

The GUI installer came as quite a surprise to me. I haven't used
Ubuntu installer for several years, and I was expecting it to be very polished. However, it is awful.

I wrote some notes, but I need to make a general observation. There is a sloppiness in the thinking of whoever has developed and maintained the installer. My notes don't cover everything that I found wrong, or confusing, or misleading. But here they are...

There is no real "expert mode". There is an option to manually choose partitions, which is what I selected.

First off, I was alarmed that my internal Sata hard drive showed up as /dev/sdb, and my external USB drive as /dev/sda.
My confidence in the installer wavered then. In all the years that I have owned this laptop, this is the very first time that any tool has identified my internal drive as anything other than /dev/sda.

When I selected a partition to be "/", after hitting the OK button, a message came up that had, amongst other things "Please note that the resize operation may take a long time".
I had not chosen to resize the partition, only reformat as ext4, so this message was disconcerting. This is what I mean by "sloppiness", which I encountered at various places in the installer.

Unlike the Debian installer, this one insists on installing a boot-loader. To get around this, I plugged in a USB stick and chose to install the boot-loader to that. The installer came up with a message that installing grub to the USB stick had failed, and the window offered to continue installation without installing the boot-loader. I chose this option, clicked OK, and the system hung.
Had to push the power button to force a shutdown.

Despite hanging, it had fully installed, and I was able to edit my 'menu.lst' file for grub4dos and boot it.

However, when I booted my Quirky Linux, I found that the time was wrong. The Ubuntu installer had changed the hardware clock to UTC, without even asking me!
The Debian installer on the otherhand, had asked me whether I wanted the hardware clock set to UTC or local-time.
Annoyed, yes I was.

Furthermore, Xubuntu has no GUI tool to change it to local time. When a distro lacks such basic out-of-the-box functionality, I get even more annoyed. Of course there is the 'hwclock' CLI utility, but I expect a GUI tool.
I was able to fix the hardware clock in Quirky, which does have such a tool, in the 'Desktop' menu.

Out of curiosity, I reran the Debian installer, this time choosing to install the boot-loader to a USB stick, and it worked.

This is how I manually configured grub4dos:

title Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus amd64 (samsung 2TB ext. drive sdb3)

uuid 6cdaf68e-9214-4c21-9b77-8ba77b841f3e
kernel /vmlinuz root=UUID=6cdaf68e-9214-4c21-9b77-8ba77b841f3e rootwait rw
initrd /initrd.img

title Debian Jessie 8.5.0 amd64 (samsung 2TB ext. drive sdb2)
uuid 152dd9f7-bc90-4215-ac30-92470174d7e9
kernel /vmlinuz root=UUID=152dd9f7-bc90-4215-ac30-92470174d7e9 rootwait rw
initrd /initrd.img

The uuid is obtained by running blkid, for example "blkid /dev/sdb2".

The Debian installer has been developed by people who are clear, logical thinkers.


The Guardian‘s spectacularly-named Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett reports on young Brits who are not coping well with parental Brexit voting decisions: Stephanie is…


Britain’s Labour leader bitterly clings, despite rejection by his own party: Jeremy Corbyn has lost a no-confidence vote among Labour MPs. …


HuffPo’s Josh Butler enjoys a day on the campaign trail with Greens senator Lee Rhiannon: As the Greens candidates pack up their…


Life in an EU country: The French economy is stagnant. GDP growth for the latest quarter was 0.6%. Over the past decade,…


See if you can detect the blatant racism in this Colorado swimming pool safety poster:

The Mill Blackbird [Daring Fireball]

This is absolutely amazing:

Until now, automotive content has often been dictated or hampered by car availability, model revisions, limited access to locations and footage that can quickly become irrelevant. In collaboration with JemFX, Performance Filmworks and Keslow Camera, The Mill has created The Mill Blackbird which sets out to transform the way automotive advertising is made — it’s a car rig that can be shot at any time, in any location, without the need to rely on a physical car.

The Mill Blackbird is able to quickly transform its chassis to match the exact length and width of almost any car. Powered by an electric motor, it can be programmed to imitate acceleration curves and gearing shifts and the adjustable suspension alters ride height, rigidity and dampening to replicate typical driving characteristics.

iOSDevCamp 2016 [Daring Fireball]

Three-day hackathon in San Jose, July 22-24:

Our community is not only the most diverse (featuring over 25% female participants) but also the most successful of all hackathons. Fostering great startups (Getaround), amazing open source projects (OAuth), brilliant apps (TestFlight), and unicorn public companies (Square), iOSDevCamp is a year-round support network with thousands of members worldwide. This ninth annual iOSDevCamp is set to be take a giant leap forward into the realm where hardware overlaps with software in domains like Wearables and Civic Engagement.

Use the registration code “DARINGFIREBALL” and save 25 percent. Women and girls can use the code “DARINGWOMEN” and save 50 percent.

Good health insurance plans won’t spare you from hospital bills [Ars Technica]

(credit: Mark Hillary)

Having health insurance can be a comfort, putting your mind at ease that you’ll be covered if you get sick or injured—until you actually have to use it, that is.

Insured Americans are having to shell out more and more to for healthcare, particularly, hospital visits, researchers report this week in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. From 2009 and 2013—before the biggest provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2014—people with individual or employer-sponsored health insurances saw a 37 percent rise in out-of-pockets costs for a hospital stay. Average bills jumped from $738 to $1,013. That’s about a 6.5 percent increase each year. However, overall healthcare spending rose just 2.9 percent each year during that time-frame and premiums—the cost to buy insurance—rose by around 5.1 percent annually.

“Every year, people freak out about how high premiums have gotten and how they continue to grow exponentially, but [out-of-pocket costs are] actually growing even faster,” Emily Adrion, first author of the study and a researcher at the Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy at the University of Michigan, told Bloomberg.

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For Google, building its own smartphone doesn’t make a lot of sense [Ars Technica]

A Google Phone? Maybe someday?

Over the weekendThe Telegraph reported that Google has plans to release a Google-branded phone that will "see Google take more control over design, manufacturing, and software." Google is apparently sick and tired of the iPhone "dominating" the high end of the smartphone market, and the company appears to believe a Google-built smartphone can solve this problem in a way that a Nexus device cannot.

The report further says that the Google Phone will appear "by the end of the year" and that it will exist in addition to the Nexus program, which the report says is "expected to continue this year with handsets made by Taiwanese company HTC."

I'm skeptical.

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EA punts, gives $600k to former football star in Madden NFL rights flap [Ars Technica]

(credit: VictionaryHD)

Jim Brown, an NFL legend who played for the Cleveland Browns, scored big Monday despite his retirement from the gridiron in 1965. That's because Electronic Arts, the maker of one of the world's most popular video game series—Madden NFL—has given up its lengthy court battle with the former eight-time Pro Bowl player. The publisher is giving Brown $600,000 to settle a lawsuit that accuses EA of misappropriating his likeness.

Brown said he expected his case to set precedent for other players involved in similar litigation against EA concerning the right of publicity. The legal claim was first recognized in 1953 in a federal appeals court case about professional baseball cards. The claim is most often invoked by celebrities and professional athletes. For the most part, the right of publicity gives people an economic right to their names and likenesses so that they can profit from the commercial value of their identities.

“I took a stand for all athletes and laid a framework for future plaintiffs with my great legal team. Hopefully, this is a step forward in getting companies like Electronic Arts to recognize the value that athletes have in selling their products," Brown said in a statement.

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Why ISPs’ fight against net neutrality probably won’t reach Supreme Court [Ars Technica]

The next stop for net neutrality? (credit: Joe Ravi (CC-BY-SA 3.0))

The US appeals court decision upholding the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules wasn't quite the final word on the matter, as ISPs immediately vowed to appeal the ruling, with AT&T saying it "expect[s] this issue to be decided by the Supreme Court."

But while ISPs will give it their best shot, there are reasons to think that the Supreme Court won't take up the case. The appeal probably won't even make it to a rehearing by the full appeals court, a potential intermediate step before a Supreme Court case, legal expert Andrew Jay Schwartzman wrote last week in a Benton Foundation article titled, "Network Neutrality: Now What?" Schwartzman is a Georgetown Law lecturer, an attorney who specializes in media and telecommunications policy, and a longtime consumer advocate who previously led the Media Access Project.

The broadband industry lost a 2-1 decision (full text) by a three-judge panel at the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which rejected challenges to the FCC's reclassification of broadband as a Title II common carrier service and imposition of net neutrality rules. The next step for ISPs and their lobby groups could be a petition for an "en banc" review in front of all of the court's judges instead of just a three-judge panel. They could also appeal to the Supreme Court after losing an en banc review or appeal directly to the Supreme Court without taking that intermediate step.

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Meet Jigsaw, the ransomware that taunts victims and offers live support [Ars Technica]

The crypto ransomware racket is a booming business that generates lots of revenue, so it only makes sense that the scourge is growing. And with new titles entering the market on almost a weekly basis, how do the criminals behind them make their malware stand out?

In the case of Jigsaw, a ransomware package that was first spotted in April by researchers with the Bleeping Computer security site, the answer is to be as brazen and mean-spirited as possible while at the same time making the payment process as easy as possible. A case in point: Jigsaw not only threatens the permanent loss of personal data, it also holds out the fear that victims' dirty laundry will be published for all to see. And it uses a taunting tone when notifying people of their options. Witness the screenshot above from a recent version. It states:

Very bad news! I am a so-called ransomware/locker with following advanced functions: Encrypting all your data.
Collecting all logins, contacts, eMail, Passwords and Skype History .....Done!
Uploading all of it on a server .....................Done!
Sending a copy of those Datas to ALL of your contacts..............Pending

The doxing threat, which was added last week, is pure evil genius because it gives victims a strong incentive to pay the ransom even when the purloined data is available on a backup drive.

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Windows 10 upgrade will soon be easier to reject [Ars Technica]

The updated Get Windows 10 app, with its decline option.

Microsoft is finally ending the malware-like trickery of the "Get Windows 10" upgrade offer that's shown to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users.

Mary Jo Foley reports that a clearer upgrade promotion will roll out this week. It will have three options—"Upgrade now," "Choose time," and "Decline free offer"—with the last of these options dismissing the update altogether. Critically, pressing the X in the corner of the window will have the same effect as the decline option.

This change addresses one of the most unpleasant features of the promotion: some weeks ago, Microsoft changed the behavior of the X button to make it simply defer the upgrade rather than decline it altogether. This behavior was contrary to any reasonable expectations Windows users might have, and contrary to the way the promotion behaved at its introduction.

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Experimental Zika vaccines work in mice, protect with one shot [Ars Technica]

(credit: CDC)

As Zika virus outbreaks continue to rage in South and Central America, lapping at US borders, scientists are making significant strides toward an effective vaccine.

Two types of experimental Zika vaccines, a DNA vaccine and an inactivated virus vaccine, were each able to completely protect mice with one dose, researchers report Tuesday in Nature. The animal data—the first to be published for Zika vaccines—follows news last week that the Food and Drug Administration gave two companies the green light to test another Zika DNA vaccine in humans. The companies, not associated with the researchers behind today’s study, reported that they have done similar animal studies with their vaccine, but they didn’t publish the results.

With today’s animal data, researchers are hopeful about the fate of the vaccines. “The protection was striking,” Dan Barouch, a study coauthor and vaccine researcher at Harvard Medical School, said in a press briefing. “Of course we need to be cautious about extrapolating results from mice into humans,” he noted, but the strength of the findings “certainly raise optimism” that we’re on our way to a safe and effective vaccine.

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Here’s how Volkswagen’s $15 billion proposed settlement would be divided up [Ars Technica]

And lo, that which was rumored last night has come to fruition this morning. On Tuesday morning, Volkswagen Group proposed a number of companion settlements with the Department of Justice representing the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Federal Trade Commission, more than 40 state attorneys general, and a class-action complaint from people who bought 2.0L diesel cars from Volkswagen and Audi.

The amount of the settlements will tally more than $15 billion, with $10.033 billion going toward compensating consumers. In a conference call on Tuesday morning, Elizabeth Cabraser, the court-appointed lead counsel for Volkswagen consumer plaintiffs, detailed exactly how the German automaker would compensate its customers after the company was discovered last September to have included illegal software on many of its recent diesel models. The software helped the diesel vehicles pass federally required emissions tests in a lab but turned off the cars’ emissions control systems while under normal driving conditions, causing significantly increased levels of nitrogen oxide to spew on open roads.

Cabraser noted that owners of certain diesel VW Golfs, Passats, Jettas, Beetles, and Audi A3s would be eligible for a buyback equal to the amount the car was worth in September 2015—a range from a low of around $12,000 to a high of about $44,000. The buybacks would be accepted “regardless of condition,” Cabraser said, “as long as it’s drivable.”

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NASA’s supersized rocket passes a key test in northern Utah [Ars Technica]

Say what you will about the Space Launch System. It's expensive, costing so much that NASA can't really afford to build payloads to fly on it. The Senate specified the rocket to fly with components derived from the Space Shuttle expressly to preserve jobs that otherwise would have been lost following the shuttle's retirement. And the entirely expendable launcher uses 1970s technology while private companies are focusing on smaller, modern, and reusable rockets.

All of that, more or less, is true. But it is also undeniable that the Space Launch System, whenever it does fly, will be one hell of a firecracker. On Tuesday, the space agency offered a taste of that when it demonstrated the firing of one of the solid rocket boosters that will help blast the SLS rocket off of the launch pad.

These boosters will provide about 75 percent of the thrust needed to lift the rocket and its payload into low-Earth orbit. As implied by their name, the boosters burn a solid composite made largely of aluminum. During Tuesday's test, a single booster produced about 3.2 million pounds of thrust. By way of comparison, a Falcon 9 rocket with its nine engines produces about 1.7 million pounds of thrust.

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Dealmaster: Get a 1500VA APC UPS battery backup for only $128 [Ars Technica]

Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our partners at TechBargains, we've got a bunch of great deals to share—and a fantastic one on a battery backup. Now you can get an APC 1500VA 10-outlet UPS battery backup for only $128. The backup comes with automatic voltage regulation, an LCD display, energy-saving features, and PowerChute management software. It would be a great addition to anyone's high-performance PC setup, and the best part is that you won't have to shell out a bunch of cash to get it.

Check out the rest of our deals below.


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Xbox Fitness users will soon lose access to workout videos they bought [Ars Technica]

As of today, you can no longer "Get the complete program." In about a year, you won't be able to use that complete program even if you bought it previously.

Xbox users who purchased training videos through the Xbox Fitness app probably thought they were buying a workout program they'd be able to use regularly for the life of the Xbox One, at the very least. Instead, those videos will soon be completely unavailable to those who paid for them up front, according to a "sunset" plan announced by Microsoft yesterday evening.

Xbox Fitness launched alongside the console in late 2013 as a unique, Kinect-powered health app, using the 3D camera to evaluate users' form as they followed along with on-screen streaming video trainers. The app provided 30 basic routines for free with an Xbox Live Gold account, but that subscriber benefit will end on December 15.

Xbox Fitness also included numerous branded training programs that cost real money up front, from $60/£40 P90X routines to Jillian Michaels videos that could run $12 each. That paid content is no longer available for purchase as of yesterday. Those who purchased it previously will be able to use it for just over one more year before the app becomes completely unavailable for download or use on July 1, 2017.

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Russian ISPs will need to store content and metadata, open backdoors [Ars Technica]

Irina Yarovaya, the driving force behind Russia's tough new anti-terrorism law. (credit: Official photographer of the Federation Council of Russia)

Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, has approved a series of new online surveillance measures as part of a wide-ranging anti-terrorism law. In a tweet, Edward Snowden, currently living in Russia, wrote: "Russia's new Big Brother law is an unworkable, unjustifiable violation of rights that should never be signed."

As well as being able to demand access to encrypted services, the authorities will require Russia's telecom companies to store not just metadata, but the actual content of messages too, for a period of six months. Metadata alone must then be held for a total of three years, according to a summary of the new law on the Meduza site. Authorities will be able to access the stored content and metadata information on demand.

Snowden pointed out the difficulties of implementing the new law: "'Store 6 months of content' is not just dangerous, it's impractical. What is that, ~100PB of storage for even a tiny 50Gbps ISP?" He added: "This bill will take money and liberty from every Russian without improving safety."

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Tour de France to use thermal imaging to fight mechanical doping [Ars Technica]

(credit: YouTube/France TV)

They call it "mechanical doping," but the name simply doesn't do it justice. Cycling is not a sport celebrated for honesty amongst even its top riders, but following several very high-profile doping cases in recent years, it seems as though the cheats have been trying a different route: hiding motors in their seat posts that help push them to superhuman feats of endurance.

The technique has been known since at least 2010; commercial versions of the motors can put out 200 steady watts of power, nearly doubling a typical pro-cyclist's output. An onboard motor can help riders go faster, and can keep their pedalling cadence—the number of revolutions through the crank per minute—up while energy dips in endurance stages.

With the biggest cycling event in the world, the Tour de France, set to begin on July 2, mechanical doping is a serious concern—one that has moved France's sports minister Thierry Braillard to tell the French press: "This problem is worse than doping; this is the future of cycling that's at stake."

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China’s long march to the Moon began with a bang this weekend [Ars Technica]

The Long March 7 rocket lifts off on Saturday from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center. (credit: XInhua)

Until recently it was fairly easy to dismiss China’s space program. Yes, China is one of just three nations to launch humans into space, but its technology has always seemed highly derivative of Russian spaceflight architecture. And when a recent article raised the question of whether China might develop reusable rocket technology, one Ars reader offered an amusing yet perhaps not entirely untruthful response: “That depends on how good SpaceX's IT security is.”

After Saturday’s launch of the Long March 7 rocket from the new Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, however, such skepticism appears to be increasingly unwarranted. Although largely ignored by the Western world, the Chinese launch marks something of a defining moment for the giant of Asia, a moment when China firmly staked its position as one of the world’s great space-faring nations. More than that, it took a step toward equaling, or perhaps even surpassing, NASA one day.

The Long March 7 rocket does not immediately threaten NASA or the US launch industry, of course. With the capability to heft 13.5 metric tons to low-Earth orbit, it is roughly on par with the Falcon 9 and the Atlas V launch vehicles. And the Tiangong-2 space laboratory China intends to launch later this year is but a shadow of the International Space Station.

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There’s a good reason why everybody is freaking out about the Westworld trailer [Ars Technica]

The new teaser for Westworld, which premieres on HBO in October.

Since it popped up online last week, the trailer for HBO's new science fiction series Westworld has been viewed almost 2.5 million times. That's because it offers a raw, original vision of what a robot uprising might really be like in the twenty-first century. Of course, it starts with gaming.

Westworld has an interesting history. Written for the screen by Michael Crichton in 1973, the original movie was about a western theme park populated by robots who glitch out and go rogue. The robots are programmed to get shot in gunfights and to rent themselves out for sex in the downtown whorehouse, but suddenly they start killing their human customers. There are a few hints that the robots might be achieving a kind of sentience, but mostly we're meant to think that they've simply malfunctioned in a dangerous way. The original Westworld is ultimately about how amusement parks are disasters waiting to happen, a concern that showed up again in Crichton's 1990 novel Jurassic Park (which became the basis for the eponymous blockbuster movie franchise). Crichton was preoccupied throughout his life with system failures, whether in science, business, or entertainment, and he viewed the park in Westworld as a flawed system because it had no safety measures.

The new Westworld series is helmed by Lisa Joy (a producer on the cracklingly fun Burn Notice) and Jonathan Nolan, who recently wrapped up his creator/producer duties on the final season of AI thriller Person of Interest. Both Joy and Nolan have experience with breakneck pacing and techno-thrillers, and their vision in Westworld takes the Crichton story to a very different place. As you can see in this trailer, they've preserved the basic premise, which is that people will pay to interact with robots in theme parks. Westworld is very much an adult theme park, with sex and violence serving as the primary lures for people bored with their high-tech lives. It's basically a game world writ large, with perfectly realistic robots called "hosts" replacing consoles and VR rigs. What's new in this version of the story is that it's very clear that the robots are developing human-equivalent consciousness. This isn't just a glitch in the machine; it's a robot uprising that happens to take place in a theme park.

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5,000-year-old pay stub shows that ancient workers were paid in beer [Ars Technica]

In this cuneiform tablet from the city of Uruk in modern-day Iraq, we see records of people being paid in beer. (credit: Trustees of the British Museum)

In the ancient Mesopotamian city of Uruk, residents enjoyed many benefits of modern life. The city, located in modern-day Iraq, was home to massive ziggurats that would rival any of today's modern skyscrapers for sheer monumentality. People in Uruk exchanged goods for money, played board games, and sent each other letters on clay tablets using a writing system called cuneiform. They were also paid for their labor in beer. We know this because pay stubs were incredibly common documents at the time, and one such pay stub (pictured above) is now in the possession of the British Museum.

Writing in New Scientist, Alison George explains what's written on the 5,000-year-old tablet: "We can see a human head eating from a bowl, meaning 'ration,' and a conical vessel, meaning 'beer.' Scattered around are scratches recording the amount of beer for a particular worker." Beer wages were by no means limited to Mesopotamia. In ancient Egypt, there are records of people receiving beer for their work—roughly 4 to 5 liters per day for people building the pyramids. And in the Middle Ages, we have several records of the great fourteenth century poet Geoffrey Chaucer being paid in wine. Richard II generously gave Chaucer an annual salary that included a "tonel" of wine per year, which was roughly 252 gallons.

These salaries weren't just about keeping workers drunk so they would be more compliant. In the ancient world, beer was a hearty, starchy brew that could double as a meal. And during Chaucer's time, people believed that wine brought good health—which may not have been strictly accurate but was certainly a lure at a time when the Black Death was decimating the populations of Europe.

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Inside: A beautiful puzzle-platformer marked by unforgettable terror and fear [Ars Technica]

The era of the "puzzle-platformer" video game—in which players run through a 2D world with a weird gimmick or two to spice up the old Mario formula—has long passed. The late-'00s saw games like the time-bending Braid and the high-speed, tough-as-nails Super Meat Boy offer a breath of fresh, side-scrolling air, but those inventive gems were followed by a mess of games with much less heart.

One of the last greats in that era was Limbo, one of the best indies of 2010. That haunting, wordless game smeared its black-and-white world with a smoky blur and a preoccupation with death, and the results were visually and emotional staggering—but they had less impact in terms of gameplay. Its side-scrolling puzzles were occasionally clever, but they were there not so much to bend the player's mind as to spread out the pacing of the game's somber tale of a brother and a sister.

The Danish team at Playdead took its time crafting a follow-up game, and they could have spent those six years inventing a more innovative gameplay hook. But that's clearly not where their hearts are. Instead, these Danes have returned with Inside, a side-scrolling journey that once again doubles down on atmosphere over puzzles—and is all the better for it.

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Huawei MateBook reviewed: A Surface clone that puts style first, work second [Ars Technica]

Another company is getting into the hybrid space. Chinese manufacturer Huawei, known primarily for its smartphones, released the MateBook for people who want tablet features in a device that can also stand in for your regular laptop. There's a bunch of competition in this space: Microsoft has its Surface line of two-in-ones and the Surface Book; Lenovo has its new ThinkPad X1 hybrid along with its Yoga series; HP and Dell each have their own entrants; and you can even lump Apple into this category with its iPad Pro devices, too.

With its first two-in-one, Huawei tried to make the MateBook stand out. The 12-inch tablet is powered by Core M processors, has a side fingerprint sensor, and has keyboard, pen, and docking accessories to suit every type of user. But really, what it comes down to is the twofold experience of using a hybrid: how well does it work as a tablet, and how well does it work as a laptop? If any hybrid is lacking in either respect, it'll be hard to make a case for spending hundreds of dollars on it. Thanks to steep competition, Huawei's $699 MateBook has an uphill battle to set itself apart from the competition.

Look and feel

Huawei's MateBook takes notes from the playbooks of Microsoft's Surface line and Samsung's TabPro S. The tablet itself is a 12-inch rectangle with a 2160 x 1440, IPS touchscreen display surrounded by a 10mm bezel. It has a metal unibody design, so there's no hardware interrupting the satin-finished back of the device (there isn't even a rear camera, which is important to note if you have a habit of taking photos with your tablet). The tablet alone weighs just 1.5 pounds (or about 690 grams) and measures 6.9mm thick, so it is heavier than the iPad Air 2 (.95 pounds) and just a hair thicker than that device as well (6.6mm).

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Ninefox Gambit is military science fiction for people who love mathematics [Ars Technica]

Detail from the cover of Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee. (credit: Chris Moore)

Plato believed mathematics was the highest form of beauty, being entirely concerned with universal truths and untarnished by base desire. Bertrand Russell described it as “a beauty cold and austere, sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show.” There have even been modern studies that posit that “beautiful” equations engage our brains the way paintings and music do. And Yoon Ha Lee’s stunning debut novel, Ninefox Gambit (US/UK) makes all of this real.

The world of Ninefox Gambit is a perilous, conflict-riddled conglomeration of planets and factions, inhabited by the members of the ruling hexarcate and rebellious heretics. It is a place where war is “a game between competing sets of rules, fueled by the coherence of our beliefs” and “calendrical rot” can destabilize entire tracts of terrain. Though its setting may be complex, the novel's basic premise is relatively simple. A disgraced general, Cheris, seeks redemption by liberating a fortress that has been overtaken by enemy forces. To accomplish this, she does what all protagonists in her situation invariably do: allies herself with an unsavoury character. In this case, it's Jedao, an undead tactician who just so happens to be a mass murderer.

A fine piece of military fiction, Ninefox Gambit glitters with clever maneuvers and cunning ploys, heart-stopping action and hard decisions, all complicated by a repertoire of strange technologies. At the same time, Lee makes no excuses for violence and does not shy away from illuminating the grisly ramifications of war fought between people who often have more in common than they admit. “The Kel formation held as they butchered their way through the Eels," he writes. “Cheris made a point of noticing the Eels’ faces. They weren’t much different from the faces of her own soldiers: younger and older, dark skin and pale, eyes mostly brown or sometimes grey.”

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Terabyte terror: It takes special databases to lasso the Internet of Things [Ars Technica]

When even your fridge is spewing data, someone needs to manage things. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

If you believe figures from the technology research firm Gartner, there will be 25 billion network-connected devices by 2020. The "Internet of Things" is embedding networked sensors in everyday objects all around us, from our refrigerators to our lights to our gas meters. These sensors collect "telemetry" and route out data to… whoever's collecting it. "Precision agriculture," for instance, uses sensors (on kites or drones) that collect data on plant health based on an analysis of near-infrared light reflected by crops. Sensors can do things like measure soil moisture and chemistry and track micro-climate conditions over time to help farmers decide what, where, and when to plant.

Regardless of what they're used for, IoT sensors produce a massive amount of data. This volume and variety of formats can often defy being corralled by standard relational databases. As such, a slew of nontraditional, NoSQL databases have popped up to help companies tackle that mountain of information.

This is by no means the first time relational databases have ever been used to handle sensor data. Quite the contrary—lots of companies start, and many never leave, the comfort of this familiar, structured world. Others, like Temetra, (which offers utility companies a way to collect and manage meter data) have found themselves pushed out of the world of relational database management systems (RDBMSes) because sensor data suddenly comes streaming at them like a school of piranha.

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Book Review - "Jane Doe January" by Emily Winslow [BlackFive]

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right sidebar. Jane Doe January by crime writer Emily Winslow is a personal memoir of a horrific tragedy, a rape she was forced to endure. While turning the pages people will get fresh insight into the world of the victim as Winslow confronts issues. Readers will begin to understand how there is no set stereotype for a victim, since not everyone is going to act and feel the same way. Winslow commented to blackfive.net, “I tried to understand and accept that the jury could only like me if I conformed to some very narrow range of emotion. I could not be angry. When on the stand I would have to show emotions of vulnerability and hurt; yet, hold back on other emotions. I wondered how do you let sadness show but keep anger in, and be vulnerable but keep my dignity.” Through this book Winslow takes readers on a journey with her as she delves into her past, reconnects with the original detective on her case, and works with prosecutors as they prepare for a trial. The story travels back in time to the morning in January 1992 when she was raped. Over the course of the next two decades she marries, has two children, becomes an American expatriate living in Cambridge England, and becomes a crime writer. The story reveals how she had to become her own legal advocate to get possible retribution. She would encounter a revolving door of detectives as she tried to keep her case alive through inquiries. Only through pure luck, when a friend of another victim convinces a cold case detective to test the DNA, do they find the rapist, Arthur Fryar. After matches were found to provide sufficient evidence he was prosecuted in 2013. Although the ending would not be happily ever after Winslow did get the truth and some kind of justice. The most interesting points are when Winslow displays her emotions. She does not comply with the usual portrayals of rape victims as seen on the TV shows. Readers learn how she did not shy away from the rapist, but became obsessed with him, taking to social media to find as many facts as she could by delving into his family and past. Beyond that she talks to the reader through her writings, letting them know that she is not going to forgive him and that she is not going to cower, instead showing feelings of anger and defiance. Finally, people see how the judicial system can let down a victim as Winslow confronts extradition, statutory limits, and sentencing guidelines. She wants people to understand there is no one fits all type of victim noting, “It’s like people want the victims to follow a script. I write in the book, ‘What I feel is that I would like him to be sentenced long enough that he will surely die in prison.’ Yet, it seems so important to people that I forgive him. I think they want it so I would go along with the perfect victim story. Being a devout Christian, I tried to figure out what forgiveness was supposed to look like. It was like they were trying to rationalize reasons for my attitude. They wanted me to say I was testifying to save potential future victims. I thought what happened to me is enough of a reason to testify. People tried to see me as selfless, which I gently corrected.” Jane Doe January is very powerful because it allows people to think how they would have reacted. It is written in almost a diary form as Winslow recounts her quest to seek justice in a very open and honest way. People should read this memoir to get invaluable insight into the mind and heart of a victim.

Book Review - "Wake Up America" by Eric Bolling [BlackFive]

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right sidebar. Wake Up America should be the rallying cry for everyone who wants the United States to be great again. It is also the name of The Five co-host Eric Bolling’s book. He presents in it a clear vision for this nation, which has gone adrift over the last seven years. The book starts off powerfully with a dedication to President Obama and takes off from there as he explains why there is a need to return to the nine virtues of America’s past. Bolling talks about his book with blackfive.net. The qualities he writes about are grit, manliness, individualism, merit, profit and providence, dominion over our environment, thrift, and above all pride in this country. Bolling speaks of his background, raised in a struggling blue-collar family in Chicago, where he learned from his parents that hard work and firm values will allow someone to get ahead in life. Those values drove him as a young baseball player to being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates, then success as a New York Mercantile Exchange trader, and now his daily role on Fox News Channel. The book begins with a dedication to President Obama, “If it weren’t for your announced goal of ‘fundamentally transforming the United States of America,’ I wouldn’t have been to exceedingly motivated to write this book to stop you and your liberal pals from achieving that goal. America will survive your agenda.” He explained, “I did the dedication because this upcoming election is extremely important. It is the last shot we have for at least eight years, maybe longer. We need to push back against President Obama’s stated goal of not making America exceptional on the world stage. The President has done everything in his power to achieve the goal of undermining American exceptionalism. We were built on having the strongest work ethic, the motivation to achieve, and the desire to have free market capitalism.” One group that exemplifies these virtues is the US military. In the “Grit” chapter he wrote, “There are a few major exceptions to today’s ‘softness indoctrination.’ The biggest and by far most important is the US military. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines are among the toughest, grittiest folks to ever walk the planet.” Bolling circles back to the Obama dedication as he blames this administration for “questioning the actions of our forces, which has allowed us to go from a winning strategy to a losing one.” How many people have been frustrated with political correctness? Bolling shows his exasperation calling it “defeatist crap…a huge number of Americans think trying to make everyone equal is the right thing to do. For example, a school board's decision in North Carolina to stop naming valedictorians over the ‘unhealthy competition’ is an example of liberalism run amok. What they are saying, ‘it is not ok to work hard and succeed.’ It is a ‘everyone gets a trophy culture.’ We need to emphasize winning, being in first place or the Asian countries like China will eat us for lunch. The top ten countries in math, science, and reading are the Asian countries. We're becoming a nation of wussies. Let's stop America's slide into the liberal abyss. People are fed up with political correctness and are tired of being told what to say, how to say it, and who to say it to.” The “Manliness” chapter is not intended to offend women. Bolling explains that he did not want it misinterpreted. “I did not mean it as some kind of sexist statement, man versus woman, but based it on the word ‘mankind.’ We need to be strong, forward, and to say what we think. Margaret Thatcher epitomized manliness for standing by her values.” In the “Profit” chapter there is the implication that words such as profit and successful are dirty words to the Liberals. But isn’t it more than that, it is also the hypocrisy? Hillary Clinton speaks of her gender; yet, is relying on her two male bookends, President Obama and Bill Clinton. She also speaks of income inequality, but has made a fortune since being First Lady. Bolling thinks “being a hypocrite is anonymous with being a liberal. Hillary talks of income inequality, but gets hundreds of thousands of dollars to speak at a college. If she cares for college students’ welfare give the speeches for free. And she speaks of being the first female president at the same time she says her husband will run the economy.” Bolling has made great points because Americans are asleep. Just refer to what Jonathan Gruber said about Obamacare and what Ben Rhodes said about the Iran Deal, pulling the wool over people’s eyes. The common theme in the book is the need to wake-up, to push back against this liberal culture, by returning to the values of what America is founded on.

Book Review - "A Certain Age" by Beatriz Williams [BlackFive]

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right sidebar. A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams is part mystery, part historical, and part romance that is based upon Richard Strauss’ opera, Der Rosenkavalier. It has a gripping plot involving family secrets, an unsolved murder, intrigue, and scandal during the l920s. The title is a metaphor for the time period and the age of each character that is very relevant to the storyline. The narrative alternates between the perspective of Sophie Fortescue and Theresa Marshall with each chapter beginning with a quote from the actual journalist and humorist Helen Rowland. As the story unfolds readers understand that socialite Theresa, age 44, is having a love affair with Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome twenty-two year old aviator and hero of World War I. She enlists him to act as her brother’s cavalier to present the family’s engagement ring. After meeting Sophie Octavian becomes enthralled with her. With the love triangle progressing the saga emphasizes divided loyalties, dangerous revelations, and surprising twists. Williams once commented that she wants to make her characters interesting with a likeable and unlikeable side. She has certainly achieved her goal in this book. Octavian is honorable and loyal, yet appears to be somewhat of a “wus” in the relationship with Theresa. He allows her to take complete control and while professing his love for her falls head over heals for Sophie. She wrote him as a hero who “sacrificed for his country and had to deal with the fact that many of his friends died in the war. An aviator in WWI has a life span of about six weeks. He had survivor’s guilt. He understands he has the power to walk away, but would never do that because it would break his code of loyalty, obligation, and honor. He loves Theresa because she needs him and has brought him back to life. Theresa’s hurt heals through the love of Octavian while his war wounds heal through her. The challenge is making readers understand the dynamics of each relationship.” Theresa has had a hard time in her life, forced into a marriage at a young age, having her husband cheat on her from day one, has a still born daughter, and loses her favorite son during WWI. But she is also very manipulative and controlling. It seems that Octavian to her is no more than a plaything as she calls him Boyo, never by his name, and orders him around as if he is her servant. Williams wanted, “readers to sympathize with her. She has iron around her heart because she has been hurt over and over again. The shield she hides behind is to appear uncaring. Her emotional intimacy is expressed through sexual intimacy with Octavian. She needs to be in complete control of their complicated relationship.” Sophie is an innocent, gutsy woman who strives for independence and symbolizes the women of that era who challenged the role society has pigeonholed for them. An added bonus Williams has become known for are the descriptive and detailed happenings of the 1920s, which add depth to the story. Through the characters people see the conflict between old and new money, the demeanor of Ty Cobb, the famous horse Man O’ War, as well as the growing importance of the new technologies, the automobile and airplane. Coming from a middle class life in suburban Seattle, Williams commented to blackfive.net, she went “on vacation with her family to Oregon for the Shakespeare festival. It was a very absorbing experience with my parents always coaching us about the plays so we knew what is going on. Since my parents had intellectual interests and were not into the pop culture it made it hard for me to relate to people growing up. Now as an adult I look on it as my secret weapon. I love Shakespeare and operas and I don’t care if that makes me a geek. I feel very fortunate because it helped influence my writings. Anyone who pays attention to Shakespeare sees the relationship conflict, which is the centerpiece for my books, when characters are placed into emotional jeopardy.” Those who read her books will never be disappointed. She creates a suspenseful plot with characters that are three-dimensional.

No New News [JustOneMinute]

The NY Times adopts the tried-and-true Hillary line about "old news" in describing the final House report on Benghazi: House Benghazi Report Finds No New Evidence of Wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton That's reassuring for libs, who can find reassurance in...

Canadian File Sharing Lawsuit Could Upend Copyright Privacy Protections [Michael Geist]

The centerpiece of Canada’s 2012 digital copyright reforms was the legal implementation of the “notice-and-notice” system that seeks to balance the interests of copyright holders, the privacy rights of Internet users, and the legal obligations of Internet service providers (ISPs). The law makes it easy for copyright owners to send infringement notices to ISPs, who are legally required to forward the notifications to their subscribers. The personal information of subscribers is not disclosed to the copyright owner.

Despite the promise of the notice-and-notice system, it has been misused virtually from the moment it took effect with copyright owners exploiting a loophole in the law by sending settlement demands within the notices.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that the government has tried to warn recipients that they need not settle – the Office of Consumer Affairs advises that there are no obligations on a subscriber that receives a notice and that getting a notice does not necessarily mean you will be sued – yet many subscribers panic when they receive notifications and promptly pay hundreds or thousands of dollars.

While the government has been slow to implement an easy fix for the problem in the form of regulations prohibiting the inclusion of settlement demands within the notices,  another issue looms on the legal horizon that could eviscerate the privacy protections associated with the system.

Earlier this year, Voltage Pictures, which previously engaged in a lengthy court battle to require Canadian ISPs to disclose the names of alleged file sharers, adopted a new legal strategy. While the company obtained an order to disclose names in the earlier case, it came with conditions and costs. Its latest approach involves filing a reverse class action lawsuit against an unknown number of alleged uploaders of five of its movies.

The Voltage filing seeks certification of the class, a declaration that each member of the class has infringed its copyright, an injunction stopping further infringement, damages, and costs of the legal proceedings. Voltage names as its representative respondent an unknown uploader – John Doe – who is linked to a Rogers IP address. It admits that it does not know the names or identifies of any members of its proposed class, but seeks to group anyone in Canada who infringed its copyright.

Class action experts were puzzled by the lawsuit, questioning whether a reverse class action (which features a single plaintiff and multiple defendants) could be used to target copyright infringement. Class actions typically involve multiple plaintiffs (often consumers) and one defendant.

The full implications of the strategy began to emerge in recent weeks as Voltage asked the court to order Rogers to disclose the identity of its John Doe. Rogers is contesting the request with a spokesperson stating that “we protect our customers’ privacy and we will not share their personal information without their permission, or a court order. We require those safeguards to deter improper or over-reaching requests for disclosure.” (Note that I am adviser to the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, which is intervening in the case.)

That is important because Voltage is using the notice-and-notice system to argue that it is entitled to subscriber information. It argues in court documents that the system is designed to allow copyright holders to “inexpensively identify and locate the infringers of copyright.” Yet the reality is that the government did not intend for the rules to make it easy to disclose the identity of alleged infringers with the ISPs prohibited from simply handing over such information.

Canadian courts have established rules that may compel ISPs to hand over subscriber information, but there are strict limitations in how the information can be used and restrictions on public disclosure. Voltage envisions using the personal information of a single random person as the lead name in a high profile class action lawsuit, a much more intrusive use of the information with far reaching implications for the affected individual.

If Voltage succeeds, one of the last remaining benefits of an already imperfect system will be lost and with it, further erosion of Internet privacy in Canada.

The post Canadian File Sharing Lawsuit Could Upend Copyright Privacy Protections appeared first on Michael Geist.

How a File-Sharing Lawsuit Against Rogers Threatens Your Internet Privacy [Michael Geist]

Appeared in the Toronto Star on June 27, 2016 as How a File-Sharing Lawsuit Against Rogers Threatens Your Internet Privacy

The centerpiece of Canada’s 2012 digital copyright reforms was the legal implementation of the “notice-and-notice” system that seeks to balance the interests of copyright holders, the privacy rights of Internet users, and the legal obligations of Internet service providers (ISPs). The law makes it easy for copyright owners to send infringement notices to ISPs, who are legally required to forward the notifications to their subscribers. The personal information of subscribers is not disclosed to the copyright owner.

Despite the promise of the notice-and-notice system, it has been misused virtually from the moment it took effect with copyright owners exploiting a loophole in the law by sending settlement demands within the notices.

The government has tried to warn recipients that they need not settle – the Office of Consumer Affairs advises that there are no obligations on a subscriber that receives a notice and that getting a notice does not necessarily mean you will be sued – yet many subscribers panic when they receive notifications and promptly pay hundreds or thousands of dollars.

While the government has been slow to implement an easy fix for the problem in the form of regulations prohibiting the inclusion of settlement demands within the notices,  another issue looms on the legal horizon that could eviscerate the privacy protections associated with the system.

Earlier this year, Voltage Pictures, which previously engaged in a lengthy court battle to require Canadian ISPs to disclose the names of alleged file sharers, adopted a new legal strategy. While the company obtained an order to disclose names in the earlier case, it came with conditions and costs. Its latest approach involves filing a reverse class action lawsuit against an unknown number of alleged uploaders of five of its movies.

The Voltage filing seeks certification of the class, a declaration that each member of the class has infringed its copyright, an injunction stopping further infringement, damages, and costs of the legal proceedings. Voltage names as its representative respondent an unknown uploader – John Doe – who is linked to a Rogers IP address. It admits that it does not know the names or identifies of any members of its proposed class, but seeks to group anyone in Canada who infringed its copyright.

Class action experts were puzzled by the lawsuit, questioning whether a reverse class action (which features a single plaintiff and multiple defendants) could be used to target copyright infringement. Class actions typically involve multiple plaintiffs (often consumers) and one defendant.

The full implications of the strategy began to emerge in recent weeks as Voltage asked the court to order Rogers to disclose the identity of its John Doe. Rogers is contesting the request with a spokesperson stating that “we protect our customers’ privacy and we will not share their personal information without their permission, or a court order. We require those safeguards to deter improper or over-reaching requests for disclosure.” (Note that I am adviser to the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, which is intervening in the case.)

That is important because Voltage is using the notice-and-notice system to argue that it is entitled to subscriber information. It argues in court documents that the system is designed to allow copyright holders to “inexpensively identify and locate the infringers of copyright.” Yet the reality is that the government did not intend for the rules to make it easy to disclose the identity of alleged infringers with the ISPs prohibited from simply handing over such information.

Canadian courts have established rules that may compel ISPs to hand over subscriber information, but there are strict limitations in how the information can be used and restrictions on public disclosure. Voltage envisions using the personal information of a single random person as the lead name in a high profile class action lawsuit, a much more intrusive use of the information with far reaching implications for the affected individual.

If Voltage succeeds, one of the last remaining benefits of an already imperfect system will be lost and with it, further erosion of Internet privacy in Canada.

Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. He can be reached at mgeist@uottawa.ca or online at www.michaelgeist.ca.

The post How a File-Sharing Lawsuit Against Rogers Threatens Your Internet Privacy appeared first on Michael Geist.

More Scenes from a Wedding [The Other McCain]

We were dining on barbecue beef brisket Sunday beneath the shade trees at Ole Gilliam Mill near Sanford, N.C., when Cassie asked, “When are you going to dance?” Cassie is a friend of my son Bob, and also of his twin brother Jim and Jim’s wife Danielle. Cassie remembered how I danced at Jim’s wedding […]

Rule 5 Monday: Utes Of America [The Other McCain]

— compiled by Wombat-socho One would think that the most prestigious university in the state of Utah, Brigham Young University, would be located in the most notable city of that state, Salt Lake City, but one would be incorrect. The local college in Salt Lake City is the University of Utah, whose teams are named […]

Cites & Insights 16:6 (July 2016) available [Walt at Random]

Cites & Insights 16:6 (July 2016) is now available for downloading at citesandinsights.info/civ16i6.pdf

The 2-column print version is 14 pages. If you’re reading it online or on a tablet, you may prefer the 27-page 6″ x 9″ single-column edition.

This issue includes the following:

The Front  pp. 1-2

The release of Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015: A Subject Approach and revisions to growth/shrinkage tables in both books, and a quick update on the final piece: The Countries of OAWorld, out sometime in July.

Media: Of Magazines and Newspapers  pp. 2-14

It’s been two years since a magazine roundup (and I repeat some of that essay, with updates) and much longer since notes on newspapers. This piece offers some stats and comments on both–neither of which is going away or going all-digital any time soon.

Links and quotes for June 28, 2016: Danish social mobility, Facebook vs. Google+, and more [Publications – AEI]

The Scandinavian Fantasy: The Sources of Intergenerational Mobility in Denmark and the U.S. – IZA  

Greater Danish income mobility is largely a consequence of redistributional tax, transfer, and wage compression policies. While Danish social policies for children produce more favorable cognitive test scores for disadvantaged children, these do not translate into more favorable educational outcomes, partly because of disincentives to acquire education arising from the redistributional policies that increase income mobility. …

The failure to promote greater educational mobility in spite of providing generous social services is most likely rooted in the welfare state. Our findings point to wage compression and the higher levels of welfare benefits as being counterproductive in providing incentives to pursue education. The low returns to education observed in Denmark, in particular at the lower levels of education, help explain the disconnect between the egalitarian childhood policies in Denmark and the roughly equal levels of educational mobility in Denmark and the U.S. The sorting of families into neighborhoods and schools by levels of parental advantage is likely another contributing factor. While the Danish welfare state may mitigate some childhood inequalities, substantial skill gaps still remain.

Scientists uncover route for finding out what makes individuals nice or nasty – University of Exeter

Smartphones Won’t Make Your Kids Dumb. We Think (?) – Scientific American

How Mark Zuckerberg led Facebook’s war to crush Google Plus – Vanity Fair

Google Plus was Google finally taking note of Facebook and confronting the company head-on, rather than via cloak-and-dagger recruitment shenanigans and catty disses at tech conferences. It hit Facebook like a bomb. Zuck took it as an existential threat comparable to the Soviets’ placing nukes in Cuba in 1962. Google Plus was the great enemy’s sally into our own hemisphere, and it gripped Zuck like nothing else. He declared “Lockdown,” the first and only one during my time there. As was duly explained to the more recent employees, Lockdown was a state of war that dated to Facebook’s earliest days, when no one could leave the building while the company confronted some threat, either competitive or technical.

How, might you ask, was Lockdown officially announced? We received an e-mail at 1:45 P.M. the day Google Plus launched, instructing us to gather around the Aquarium, the glass-walled cube that was Zuck’s throne room. Actually, it technically instructed us to gather around the Lockdown sign. This was a neon sign bolted to the upper reaches of the Aquarium, above the cube of glass, almost like the NO VACANCY sign on a highway motel. By the time the company had gathered itself around, that sign was illuminated, tipping us off to what was coming. …

… [Zuckerberg in his speech] changed gears and erupted with a burst of rhetoric referencing one of the ancient classics he had studied at Harvard and before. “You know, one of my favorite Roman orators ended every speech with the phrase Carthago delenda est. ‘Carthage must be destroyed.’ For some reason I think of that now.” He paused as a wave of laughter tore through the crowd.

Households Less Likely to Say Using Credit Is OK – St. Louis Fed

Which MBAs Make More: Consultants or Small-Business Owners? – HBR

Robots won’t replace teachers because they can’t inspire us – Re/code

As Big Data Comes to College, Officials Wrestle to Set New Ethical Norms – Chronicle of Higher Ed

Britain Punches Above Its Weight In EU – Diana Furchtgott-Roth “Take economic growth, for instance, as measured by the World Bank. From 2010 to 2014, the latest data available, the average EU country, excluding the UK, grew at a rate of 1.0 percent per year. The UK grew at nearly double that rate—2.0 percent per year. In cumulative terms, the EU, excluding the UK, has grown 5.6 percent since 2010, while the UK has grown 10.2 percent. For comparison, the United States grew 2.2 percent annually and 11.6 percent cumulatively over this period.”


The post Links and quotes for June 28, 2016: Danish social mobility, Facebook vs. Google+, and more appeared first on AEI.

Those ignorant, paranoid hillbilly Preppers [halls of macadamia]

It's just so much fun to sit around and make fun of those crazy-ass EOTWAWKI™ survivalists... right? •

"The Strategic National Stockpile got its start back in 1999... since then, even though the details aren't public, it's clear that it has amassed an incredible array of countermeasures against possible security threats."

"Greg Burel, director of the SNS program says, 'We currently value the inventory at a little over $7 billion
That's a whole lot of batshit crazy, Barack.

Somebody's been smokin' the good sh!t [halls of macadamia]

Grandiose Eco-Promises from the failed state that can't even guarantee citizens won't be savagely beheaded by one of its ubiquitous drug cartels...

Mexico will announce that 50 per cent of their electricity will come from clean power sources by 2025 at the Three Amigos summit in Ottawa this week.
The sad truth is, lawless, anarchic Mexico can't predict what will be happening 9 minutes from now... never mind 9 years... but that's just white noise anyway.

The real entertainment here, as usual, will be watching the sheeplike mainstream media kiss Justin Trudeau's ass non-stop for the duration of this event.


RELATED: A uniquely Canadian dilemma

An unstoppable green force meets an immovable religious object...
Once completed, the $80-million project would include replicas of the four Chinese sites. They would cover almost 700 hectares, with traditional temples and a 40-kilometre path for walking meditation.

But a project to build 15 wind turbines nearby is now threatening that vision, according to the Buddhist group that's building the complex.
Oh, my... sort of like what's gonna happen when the University of Toronto sets up a Muslim prayer room next to the LGBT safe space.

"No governing body has so tenaciously tried to determine who counts as a woman for the purpose of sports as the I.A.A.F. and the International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.)." [Althouse]

"Those two influential organizations have spent a half-century vigorously policing gender boundaries. Their rationale for decades was to catch male athletes masquerading as women, though they never once discovered an impostor. Instead, the athletes snagged in those efforts have been intersex women — scores of them. The treatment of female athletes, and intersex women in particular, has a long and sordid his­tory. For centuries, sport was the exclusive province of males, the competitive arena where masculinity was cultivated and proven. Sport endowed men with the physical and psychological strength that 'manhood' required. As women in the late 19th century encroached on explicitly male domains — sport, education, paid labor — many in society became increasingly anxious; if a woman’s place wasn’t immutable, maybe a man’s role, and the power it entailed, were not secure either...."

From "The Humiliating Practice of Sex-Testing Female Athletes/For years, international sports organizations have been policing women for “masculine” qualities — and turning their Olympic dreams into nightmares. But when Dutee Chand appealed her ban, she may have changed the rules." in The NYT.

Why is Trump's convention stage set done in silver and not his trademark gold? [Althouse]

Politico says "RNC unveils dramatic Trump convention stage" and shows a model of the set, which is aggressively silver, as if to say not gold, which makes sense. It's the Republican National Convention, not the Trump Convention.

Some things just shouldn't be decided by the people? [Althouse]

Via Instapundit, who says: "They love democracy until it turns out the wrong way" and "If you really believed that, though, you’d favor repealing the 17th Amendment."

But we don't have the referendum on the national level. Can you imagine how awful it would be? I object to the referendum on the state level too. I agree with the WaPo headline in the modified form.

The original form is hilariously embarrassingly revealing and elitist... and yet it's also sound. We have individual rights and we don't submit everything to majoritarian choice.

At the Pink Edge Café... [Althouse]


... discover your own topics.

I chose this image to respond to pm317, who said, in last night's Dark Pink Hotel: "Althouse, stop playing with us. That unfocused fuzzy middle is making me sick in the eyes." I told him to look at this new image and added:

But generally, the focus is telling you where to look. Why try to look at what the camera isn't "looking" at? That's supposed to be accepted as the periphery. Don't fight it. It's not real life so you can't focus on it.

Helping Hope Hicks. [Althouse]

"Trump Hires Senior Adviser for Communications/Jason Miller served as the senior communications adviser for Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign."

... For months, Trump campaign aides have said that they wanted to beef up the communications team to assist press secretary Hope Hicks, who has handled the bulk of the work on her own. But some campaign insiders resisted such a move, preferring to stick with the unconventional political strategy -- of utilizing a small, tight-knit campaign team -- that propelled Trump to win the nomination....
Getting to normal. That's the goal now. If people — the people who didn't fall for the phase 1 wooing — come to believe that Trump is normal, he's in. Right?

ADDED: Writing this post made me want to go see if Scott Adams has finally gotten around to saying something new, and I see he has and also that it seems apt enough to tag onto this post:
[T]he folks on [Clinton's] side have been viciously effective at branding Trump a crazy racist.

Nothing else in this election matters....

The facts don’t matter. Facts never matter. What matters is that the “crazy racist” label picked up enough confirmation bias to stick like tar. The Clinton team won the month of June. And unless something changes, Clinton will saunter to an easy victory in November....
AND: Adams tries to figure out what Trump could say to undo the "crazy racist" branding. He pictures Trump saying he loves everyone and believes in the "melting pot."

I think what Trump is going to try to do — which he started yesterday — is argue that the true meaning of "racist" is what Democrats do, which is to openly talk about everyone — and to frame political appeals — in racial terms. What Trump said yesterday — about Elizabeth Warren — was "She made up her heritage which I think is racist. I think she's a racist actually, because what she did was very racist." The idea is: It's racist to exploit race, and they do that all the time. Democrats can be relied on to cite race continually, and Trump will have a lot of "there you go again" opportunities: They're trying to divide us by race to get political power for themselves. I will never do that.

ALSO: Trump might be able to get people to identify with him. He could say: I've been called a racist so unfairly, and it's what they do to you too if you don't stay in line. They've got people so afraid of being called a racist — completely unfairly — that half of the members of my own party are afraid to support me, they're so afraid they might get called a racist. This fear — this race-based fear, because of their racist name-calling — is terrible for America. 

"When people ponder the nature of a world without work, they often transpose present-day assumptions about labor and leisure onto a future where they might no longer apply..." [Althouse]

"... if automation does end up rendering a good portion of human labor unnecessary, such a society might exist on completely different terms than societies do today," writes Ilana E. Strauss in "Would a Work-Free World Be So Bad?/Fears of civilization-wide idleness are based too much on the downsides of being unemployed in a society premised on the concept of employment" in The Atlantic.

So what might a work-free U.S. look like?... School, for one thing, would be very different. “I think our system of schooling would completely fall by the wayside,” [says Peter Gray, a professor of psychology at Boston College who studies the concept of play]. “The primary purpose of the educational system is to teach people to work. I don’t think anybody would want to put our kids through what we put our kids through now.” Instead, Gray suggests that teachers could build lessons around what students are most curious about. Or, perhaps, formal schooling would disappear altogether.

[Randolph Trumbach, a professor of history at Baruch College] wonders if schooling would become more about teaching children to be leaders, rather than workers, through subjects like philosophy and rhetoric. He also thinks that people might participate in political and public life more, like aristocrats of yore.....

Social life might look a lot different too. Since the Industrial Revolution, mothers, fathers, and children have spent most of their waking hours apart. In a work-free world, people of different ages might come together again.... In general, without work, Gray thinks people would be more likely to pursue their passions, get involved in the arts, and visit friends....

"House Benghazi Panel Finds No New Evidence of Wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton." [Althouse]

That's the headline in The NYT. Key word: new.

The 800-page report, however, included some new details about the night of the attacks, and the context in which it occurred, and it delivered a broad rebuke of government agencies like the Defense Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department — and the officials who led them — for failing to grasp the acute security risks in the Libyan city, and especially for maintaining outposts in Benghazi that they could not protect.

The committee, led by Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, also harshly criticized an internal State Department investigation that it said had allowed officials like Mrs. Clinton, then the secretary of state, to effectively choose who would investigate their actions. In addition, it reiterated Republicans’ complaints that the Obama administration had sought to thwart the investigation by withholding witnesses and evidence.

Linda Greenhouse notes the "dry, almost clinical tone" and lack of "poetry" in the Supreme Court's pro-abortion-rights opinion. [Althouse]

The case was about clinics — Texas imposed a requirement that led to the closure of many abortion-providing clinics — so what was notable about a clinical tone?

As Greenhouse puts it:

The dry, almost clinical tone could scarcely be more different from the meditative mood the Supreme Court struck the last time it stood up for abortion rights, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 24 years ago this week. “Liberty finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of doubt” was Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s mysterious opening line in that opinion.
Greenhouse does not quote the most poetic/mysterious/meditative lines in Casey (which even contain a variant of her word "mysterious"):
These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.
And Greenhouse misstates the authorship of Casey. She wasn't quoting an opinion for a majority of the Court that was written by Justice Kennedy, but an opinion announcing the judgment of the Court that was joined by only 3 Justices and that was written not by Kennedy alone, but by Kennedy along with Sandra Day O'Connor and David Souter. However that "poetry" was created, only 1/3 of the "poets" remain on the Court.

Kennedy has had many years to think about whether that "exalted" tone is a good idea. (I put "exalted" in quotes, because that's what Justice Scalia called it, in his dissenting opinion in Casey.) And the 4 Justices who joined Kennedy yesterday were not around for the poetic exaltation of privacy rights that seemed appropriate to O'Connor, Souter, and him back in 1992. Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan are all post-Casey additions.

Kennedy, as the senior Justice in the majority, had the power to take the writing assignment for himself. He opted to hand it to Stephen Breyer, probably the least likely in the set of 5 to infuse it with inspiration. If the opinion reads as clinical, it's a choice, by Kennedy and Breyer, to make it so.

The others — the women, interestingly enough — could have written poetically in concurring opinions. Only Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg chose to write a concurrence, but it was very short and not particularly exalted, though does contain some French. ("When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners, faute de mieux, at great risk to their health and safety.")

And I have a problem with Greenhouse's phrase "stood up for abortion rights." I support abortion rights — and other rights too — and I don't think talking about judges standing up for abortion rights helps to preserve rights. It makes "abortion rights" sound like another political cause, and the Justices in the majority sound like the ones who simply embraced that cause, those particular rights, because they happen to like them and think they're good rights to have, quite apart from whether they are properly to be found in the legal document that's cited in the opinion.

Ironically, a clinical tone works better. It's boring and uninspiring, but it makes us the People feel that the Justices know their place, interpreting a text according to an orthodox judicial methodology. The Justices need to help us believe that they are not political, and — even more ironic — it's especially important to stoke our beliefs if they are making their choices out of their own policy preferences.

And, of course, the Justices know that our belief in the rights they talk about are fading even more quickly than usual as we look to a presidential election where it seems we are able to choose which faction of the Supreme Court will get new votes. They know they need to allay our suspicions and that any poetry in the pro-abortion-rights opinion would become a weapon for those who want to defeat the presidential candidate — Hillary Clinton — who would give them another ally in their political cause... if that's what it is.

At the Dark Pink Hotel... [Althouse]


... you can stay up all night talking.

Hoge v. Kimberlin, et al. News [hogewash]

These should be interesting.070789 DI 1_2070789 DI 58

It will be even more interesting to check the mail this evening to see if I’ve been served with copies in a timely manner.

Any public comment I plan to have about these filings will be in whatever court papers I file in response.

Are You Pondering What I’m Pondering? [hogewash]

I think so, Brain … but he’s not always insane. In his lucid moments, he’s merely stupid.

That Pesky Bill of Rights [hogewash]

I’m old enough to remember (now, there’s a line that getting a lot of work these days) when folks on the Left were all for the Bill of Rights. The narrative back then was that it was the Right that opposed free speech or due process. Today, many of the generation that marched in the streets in the ’60s have risen to become part of the Establishment. It seems that many a former “revolutionary” no longer want to stick it to the Man now that he has become the Man. So we have recently had a bunch of geezers sitting in the well of the House of Representatives demonstrating in favor of a bill to suppress the Fifth Amendment right to due process and the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Somehow, they seemed braver when they were sitting at lunch counters five decades ago.

The First, Second, and Fifth Amendments are now under overt attack. The Fourth Amendment is a target as well. Those of us who still think that the Bill of Rights is worth keeping need to keep hitting back. I suggest that we do not limit ourselves to only twice as hard.

One more thing … why are they going on about rifles now? Fifty years ago, it was all about “Saturday Night Specials,” inexpensive handguns that the wrong people could afford for self-protection. Now, it’s rifles: “Military-style” “weapons of war.” It’s almost as if someone is afraid of an armed populace that would be able to resist …

RICO 2 Retread LOLsuit News [hogewash]

Hunton & Williams LLP, the law firm that is the lead defendant in the Kimberlin v. Hunton & Williams LLP, et al. (II) RICO 2 Retread LOLsuit, filed a motion to have a single judge assigned to that case. The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin filed an opposition to that motion, but it was granted anyway. Here’s a copy of his failed opposition.

TDPK misrepresents H&W’s arguments and the facts and law surrounding the history of his vexatious litigation. While H&W point out the court’s experience with Kimberlin’s four recent lawsuits in that venue, they don’t argue that number of suits is the reason for assigning a single judge. Rather, they argue that his previous behavior in those suits provides a reason for a special assignment. None of his purple prose about “Nixonian black bag operations” and the like have anything to do with his record of misbehavior either.

But the real issue is Kimberlin’s fear of Judge Mason, a judge who know who TDPK is, who knows how he operates, and who treats him fairly. It’s that third item that must frighten TDPK the most. Fair treatment could result in a just outcome, and that is clearly not in Kimberlin’s best interest.

Closing In on Jupiter [hogewash]

Juno20160621The Juno spacecraft took this picture on 21 June while it was 10.9 million km from Jupiter. Juno will arrive at Jupiter on July 4. The planet’s four largest moons—Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto—are visible, and the alternating light and dark bands of the planet’s clouds are just discernible.

Image Credit: NASA

Logins [hogewash]

2016 JUN 28 01:55:22 UTC Home Page
2016 JUN 28 02:16:50 UTC Home Page
2016 JUN 28 02:16:57 UTC Another Loose End Tied

UPDATE—2016 JUN 28 05:02:38 UTC Home Page
2016 JUN 28 05:02:41 UTC Home Page
2016 JUN 28 05:03:54 UTC Home Page
2016 JUN 28 10:46:51 UTC Home Page

UPDATE 2—2016 JUN 28 15:28:17 UTC Home Page
2016 JUN 28 16:26:27 UTC Home Page
2016 JUN 28 16:29:13 UTC Home Page

Are You Pondering What I’m Pondering? [hogewash]

I think so, Brain … but his arguments may be well used, but they’re not used well.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day [hogewash]

On Monday, the USPS should have delivered the Cabin Boy’s™ copy of this opposition to his motion to dismiss for improper venue that he improperly filed in the Hoge v. Kimberlin, et al. lawsuit.

My opposition speaks for itself, so I don’t intend to make any further public comment on his motion until the court has ruled on it.

Quote of the Day [hogewash]

Seria risu risum, seriis discutere. In arguing one should meet serious pleading with humor, and humor with serious pleading.

—Gorgias Leontinus

RICO 2: Electric Boogaloo LOLsuit Appeal News [hogewash]

This was filed on my behalf this evening.

Any further public comments concerning this matter will come via my lawyer until the Fourth Circuit has ruled on the appeal.

Should Trump have spoken up about the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling? [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Some pro-lifers are disappointed that a guy who’s usually eager to comment about everything couldn’t find time yesterday to so much as tweet about SCOTUS’s torpedoing of Texas’s abortion law. His staff sent around some talking points to reporters reiterating that he’ll appoint pro-life justices and his “Evangelical Advisory Board” issued a statement denouncing the ruling, but not so much as a trademark “Sad!” from the man himself. How come?

Let me answer that with a question. How would it benefit Trump to comment on the ruling?

“It’s a shame,” said Penny Nance, who heads the social conservative group Concerned Women for America…

“This is the biggest abortion decision that has come down in years and Hillary Clinton was quick to comment—was all over Twitter—and yet we heard crickets from Donald Trump,” Nance said. “I’m still waiting. I’m still waiting. He needs to say something.”

And Bob Vander Plaats, who heads the socially conservative Iowa Family Leader and who previously endorsed Ted Cruz, said Trump’s silence gives him pause.

“I think it gives all pro-life leaders pause,” he said. “I think it gives all people that are looking for life as their issue, who are looking to support a presidential candidate—it gives them an unnecessary pause. There shouldn’t have to be a pause here. It could have been something that would have fueled potential support for Mr. Trump.”

He met with evangelical leaders just last week to try to sell them on his candidacy. Now the Court hands him an easy lay-up to show his commitment to the pro-life cause and he blows it. Surely his silence has cost him.

Has it, though? How many evangelical voters, who backed Trump over Ted Cruz in the primaries despite Trump not even making a serious pretense of Christian devotion, are going to cut him loose at this point over a no-comment? Ask the average evangelical how he feels about Trump’s commitment to fighting abortion and I bet as likely as not you’ll hear something about how pro-life Republicans have failed for 40 years to stop Roe’s remorseless march. To some social conservatives, Trump is merely the Republican status quo on abortion without all of the lip service. As for the Nances and Vander Plaatses of the party, most of them will eventually succumb to the argument that failing to support Trump simply makes it easier for Hillary Clinton stack the Court with aggressive pro-choicers. No less than Mike Huckabee, an ordained minister and one of the most ostentatiously Christian candidates in modern American politics, sneered at George Will and Ben Sasse yesterday for invoking something as lame as conscience in justifying their refusal to vote for Trump. If Huckabee’s willing to eat a sh*t sandwich in a red wrapper because the one in the blue wrapper smells worse, plenty of other Christian voters — possibly Nance and Vander Plaats among them — will come around too. And Trump knows it.

Meanwhile, think what he stands to lose by making noise about rolling back Roe. More so than any other recent Republican nominee, Trump is making a play for Democrats this election. There’s enough disaffection with Clinton on the left and enough protectionist overlap between Trump and Bernie Sanders that that’s a rational strategy, assuming the Republican base fully embraces the logic that anyone is better than Hillary. (And, as I say, it probably will.) Why would he confound his appeal to liberals by reminding them that he spent the past year pandering to Republican evangelicals on abortion? On top of that, Trump faces a daunting task this year in trying to win a battle of the gender gap with the first woman major-party nominee. If Hillary wins women more heavily than Trump wins men, the election’s over. Simple as that. Gallup noticed last year that a gender gap has begun to show up in polling on abortion — not an enormous one (eight points) but a gap nonetheless, which wasn’t true as recently as 2011. If Trump pushes hard on pro-life, Hillary will seize it to amplify her First! Woman! President! pitch. He’s trying to deny her some easy ammo here to gender-ize the race, which she’ll spend the next four months attempting to do.

And if those reasons for him keeping his mouth shut aren’t convincing enough, my pal Karl has another:

Big time. No subject has caused Trump to step on his schwanz rhetorically more often, and more painfully, than abortion. This is a guy who’s praised Planned Parenthood repeatedly while also saying he’d sign a bill to defund it. He once described himself long ago as “very pro-choice,” then tried to prove how solidly pro-life he is now by floating criminal punishments for women who’d abort after Roe is ever overturned, even though few pro-life groups endorse that. Then he walked that back by claiming that we should probably leave abortion laws as they are for now — while also claiming that he believes abortion is murder. Ask him about SCOTUS’s abortion ruling and there’s no telling what might come out of his mouth. In fact, if you had to bet, you might wager that whatever he ended up saying would somehow manage to inadvertently piss off pro-choicers and pro-lifers. This is a rare case where even Trump seems to understand that silence is his wisest play.

Exit question: Say, did you hear that Trump is a newly born-again Christian? James Dobson says so. Except, er…

Terror attack at Istanbul airport: 28 killed, 60 wounded; Update: Nearly 50 dead [Hot Air » Top Picks]

The latest report from the Associated Press says 28 people have been killed and 60 wounded in the attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport. Earlier reports had said 10 people were killed and 20 wounded. Reports continue to vary on how many attackers were involved. CNN is now reporting there were 3 suicide bombers:

As this AP story points out earlier reports seemed to say one or two attackers.

[Turkey’s Justice Minister] Bekir Bozdag said that according to preliminary information, “a terrorist at the international terminal entrance first opened fire with a Kalashnikov and then blew himself up.”

Another official said two attackers detonated explosives at the entrance of the international terminal after police fired at them.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government protocol, said he was citing information from the interior ministry. It wasn’t immediately clear why his account of the number of attackers was different to the justice minister’s.

Images from the airport show the damage to the facility and the dozens of ambulances that were sent to care for the wounded:

This Daily Mail graphic shows where the attack took place (though the number of blasts may already be out of date):

There is video circulating that purports to show security camera footage of one of the blasts from inside the airport. Lots of people sharing it but haven’t seen it authenticated yet. There is also some early speculation about who is responsible but that also doesn’t seem to have been confirmed yet. We’ll update the story if this changes later in the day.

Update (AP): Good lord.

Team Trump taking second look at data operations? [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Thus far, the presumptive Republican nominee’s campaign team has publicly dismissed the need for a robust data operation and ground game. Having a charismatic candidate like Donald Trump, they argue in public, offers more upside than his “very dull” opponent has, and eliminates the need to spend money and effort on more traditional GOTV operations. Faced with a June swoon in polling, however, Politico’s Ken Vogel and Darren Samuelsohn report that the Trump campaign has quietly begun an embrace of the ground game — and they’re turning to #NeverTrump operatives for help:

Donald Trump has dismissed political data operations as “overrated,” but his campaign is now bolstering its online fundraising and digital outreach by turning to GOP tech specialists who previously tried to stop him from winning the party’s nomination.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s recent boast of an $11 million online fundraising surge has been aided by the Prosper Group, an Indianapolis-based digital firm that worked during the GOP primary for Trump rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, according to four operatives familiar with Trump’s data operation.

To process all that cash, the Trump campaign this month brought on a company called Revv, which did work for the #NeverTrump movement, according to three Republicans.

And last week, the campaign’s top data officials met in San Antonio with officials from the Republican National Committee and a company called Cambridge Analytica to discuss how the firm could help target voters with narrowly framed micro-messages, according to operatives familiar with the meeting. But some of the operatives say there is internal disagreement about whether to hire the firm, which was paid more than $6.7 million by Cruz and his allies.

If true, there’s no small amount of irony in this. Trump’s allies, supporters, and the campaign itself derided these same players as part of the establishment, the dreaded “consultant class” that supposedly couldn’t shoot straight. They attacked Cruz for engaging them, and NeverTrump for continuing their efforts through them.

The irony cuts both ways, of course. The very people who supposedly threw in with the effort to derail Trump now have signed onto an effort to boost him in a short enough timeframe to cause whiplash. That tends to corroborate the complaints from Team Trump about the hired-gun “consultant class,” even if their new association with them undermines their overall complaints about it.

Politics makes for strange bedfellows — but hardly unpredictable ones in this case. One look at this chart from RCP (noted earlier in this post) shows the need to look for a backup to Trumpian charisma:


One Trump advisor told Politico that the ground game would be needed if the race came down to a 50/50 split, and then the campaign will “want to have every tool available to us.” The question is why that would be true in a modern campaign even if the race wasn’t split 50/5o, which is certainly the case at the moment. In fact, that has been the puzzler for weeks now, as Team Trump kept blowing off data operations and a focus on ground game, insisting that the big-event focus would work in the general campaign. Why not do both? The two aren’t mutually exclusive, as Barack Obama proved in 2008, and to a lesser extent in 2012.

The good news, at least for now, is that the Trump campaign appears to have belatedly recognized that — and has dispensed with its threats of revenge on opposing firms in favor of organizing for a competitive profile. The potential bad news is that they’re getting an awfully late start on it.

Video: Trump goes the full Bernie in speech on jobs and protectionism [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Or is it that Bernie went the full Trump? Poll Americans on free trade over the last few years and you’re apt to find stronger support for protectionism among Republicans than Democrats. Maybe that’s due to simple partisanship, i.e. Dems feeling tribally obliged to defend Obama’s trade deals, or maybe it’s due to left-wing professionals having less to fear from international competition than the right-wing working class, but it is what it is. A typical result from the recent PRRI survey:


Here’s the full transcript of today’s speech. Could this message win Pennsylvania and Ohio if delivered consistently by a disciplined candidate whom voters feel is up to the job? Darn tootin’. Will Trump himself be a disciplined candidate whom voters feel is up to the job come November, and will he deliver this message consistently instead of babbling about, say, whether the judge in his civil suit is a “Mexican”? TBD.

Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very wealthy. But it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache…

The people who rigged the system for their benefit will do anything – and say anything – to keep things exactly as they are.

The people who rigged the system are supporting Hillary Clinton because they know as long as she is in charge nothing will ever change…

I want you to imagine how much better our future can be if we declare independence from the elites who’ve led us to one financial and foreign policy disaster after another.

Our friends in Britain recently voted to take back control of their economy, politics and borders.

I was on the right side of that issue – with the people – while Hillary, as always, stood with the elites, and both she and president Obama predicted that one wrong.

He was on the right side of Brexit? Well, he did say the day before the vote that his gut instinct would be to Leave, but he also said, “I don’t think anybody should listen to me because I haven’t really focused on it very much.” He also claimed the results “won’t have any effect on me,” which is financially untrue given the market downturn and obviously politically untrue given the obvious boost to his populist message that came with a majority of Brits choosing to buck elite consensus and get out.

But never mind that. Untruths and hyperbole are a given in Trump commentary. Here’s the best line of the speech, I think:

Hillary Clinton, and her campaign of fear, will try to spread the lie that these actions will start a trade war. She has it completely backwards.

Hillary Clinton unleashed a trade war against the American worker when she supported one terrible trade deal after another – from NAFTA to China to South Korea.

NAFTA and China’s admission to the WTO were both Clinton projects, he goes on to say, and TPP was Clinton-backed until Bernie Sanders scared her in the primaries into running away from it. (Trump tries to take credit for that, but hey — untruths and hyperbole.) If he spends the rest of the campaign selling American workers on the idea that their woes are due to a war that’s been waged on them for 20 years commanded by Gen. Hillary Clinton, sure, he can win this election. Good luck to him as president, though, once Americans figure out later that tariffs on Chinese goods aimed at protecting American jobs also mean higher prices at the store. When you force voters to choose between those two, the choice doesn’t come out Trump’s way. In fact, here’s an arresting graph via trade attorney Scott Lincicome, who spent Trump’s speech today live-tweeting inconvenient facts about American manufacturing and protectionism:


At least we’ll have millions of new jobs once tariffs on China are imposed, though. Or Bangladesh will. Either way.

Whether the Republican leadership follows Trump’s lead on this or sticks with Paul-Ryan-style free trade probably depends on whether Trump wins this fall or not. That is to say, there’s a nonzero chance that we’ll have two protectionist parties to choose from in 2018, which would raise the likelihood of a third party emerging considerably. Exit question: Have any reporters cornered Trump yet on why he wrote in 2005 that “Outsourcing creates jobs in the long run”? And why he wrote just three years ago that “We will have to leave borders behind and go for global unity when it comes to financial stability”? When exactly did this guy become a protectionist?

Update: Fixed a typo in the first paragraph.

Dem who wants to replace Reid took some interesting donations as AG [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Catherine Cortez Masto is the Democratic former Attorney General of Nevada and a rising star in the Party of the Donkey. She was term limited out of office as the AG in 2015, but had previously been courted to run for Governor the year before. (It’s an honor she declined.) With the announcement of Harry Reid’s retirement, she was hand picked to be his successor to the seat and is currently out on the campaign trail. With that in mind, voters may be interested to find out how she was conducting business (in a very capitalist sense of the word) while serving as their state’s top cop.

Cortez-Masto engaged in a bitter battle against Uber (and Lyft, by default), seeking heavy handed regulations which would make it difficult, if not impossible, for the ride sharing service to operate in Las Vegas. But at the same time, she had some predictable benefactors in the industry. (The Daily Caller)

Democratic Senate candidate Catherine Cortez Masto tried to kill Uber with one hand, while taking money from Taxi Services with the other, and a Koch-funded superPAC’s latest ad is slamming her for it.

In a new scathing video, titled “Driving Away Jobs,” the Freedom Partners Action Fund accuses the former Nevada attorney general of taking up to $72,626 from the taxi industry, while also attempting to ban ride-hailing companies in the state’s biggest city; Las Vegas…

Back in October of 2014, Masto went forward with several legal proceedings because they did not abide by the regulations that taxis are forced to follow.

This is a particularly brutal ad, particularly by Senate race standards. It hits all the key points about ride sharing services and the perception of paid favors to the unions that oppose them. Check it out.

We’ve covered the Uber and Lyft battles here extensively in the past so most of our regular readers are familiar with the turf. The ride sharing services have really revolutionized ground transport, providing new options for consumers, less time spent waiting and generally faster, better service for competitive rates. It’s also provided a new avenue of employment for tens of thousands of people without requiring an advanced degree to get into the field. Obviously the taxi companies and their unions hate the idea because they’re used to having essentially a monopoly on the business which is supported by local and state government under rigged “medallion” systems.

With that as the backdrop, the incestuous relationship between too many politicians and these unions has been cast in a harsh light as politicians work to shut down companies like Uber to keep their union Super PACs happy. But it’s at least a bit more rare to find a politician who is actively accepting checks from the cab companies and their representatives while hammering Uber directly. If the voters in Vegas are wondering why they have to wait so long for a lift to the polling station next November, perhaps they should ask Ms. Cortez-Masto.


Trey Gowdy on claims the Benghazi report is political: ‘Read the report for yourself’ [Hot Air » Top Picks]

One of the first questions Gowdy was asked today during a press conference announcing the Benghazi report was how he could convince anyone it was about more than presidential politics. Gowdy’s answer, which he repeated several times, was to simply read the report.

A reporter at the press conference asked, “There are folks who are going to read this report and say this is just a part to go get Hillary Clinton 130 days before the election and 27 days before the convention. How do you, regardless of what’s in the report—that’s going to be the criticism, how do you deflect that?…How do you not get that perceived as something that’s political.”

Gowdy replied, “Read the report for yourself. If you can read this report and you believe, on the last page of the report, that it is about one person instead of about four people then there’s nothing I can say that’s going to disabuse you of that.” Gowdy added, “The Democrats’ mantra all along has been that there is no new information well there’s indisputably new information so now there position is but it doesn’t fundamentally change the way we view Benghazi.”

Gowdy concluded his answer saying, “I can’t do anything to disabuse what Elijah [Cummings] thinks. He’s not my audience. My audience are reasonable, fair minded Americans who want to know what happened to four of their fellow citizens and I think they can draw their own conclusions.”

Later, Dana Bash asked Gowdy if his refusal to draw conclusions in the report might suggest, “you don’t have the goods on placing any blame on the administration, specifically the woman who wants to be the President of the United States.”

With a smile, Gowdy replied, “Dana, shockingly, that was not what the House asked me to do. Look at the resolution. The resolution doesn’t mention Secretary Clinton. Speaker Boehner nor Speaker Ryan have ever asked me to do anything about 2016 presidential politics. Speaker Boehner asked me to find out what happened to four of our fellow citizens and I believe that that is what I have done.”

Tuesday TEMS: Andrew Malcolm, Doug Badger [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Today on The Ed Morrissey Show (4 pm ET), we have another great lineup for the news of the day! The show will be streamed on Hot Air’s Facebook page as well as on our Ustream channel. Join us as we welcome:

  • Andrew Malcolm joins us for Tuesdays with Andrew! The Prince of Twitter and I will discuss all of the hot political stories of the day.
  • Doug Badger, senior fellow at the Galen Institute, co-authored a new Mercatus Center study on the sustainability of private insurance within the ObamaCare system. Will insurers have to sue their way to break-even at taxpayer expense? Badger joins us to find out.

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The Ed Morrissey Show and its dynamic chatroom can be seen on the permanent TEMS page. Be sure to join us, and don’t forget to keep up with the debate on my Facebook page, too!

How can Republicans and conservatives win the 2016 election, and fix what went wrong in 2012? Find out in GOING REDpublished in April from Crown Forum!

Bad news for the “Dump Trump” delegates in the new NBC poll [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Ed mentioned this in his post on the NBC poll earlier but I want to flag it as confirmation of what I wrote last night. The fact that 52 percent of Republicans “would have preferred” someone else as nominee doesn’t mean that 52 percent prefer someone else now.

In fact, knowing that 45 percent say they’re satisfied with Trump as nominee, we can guesstimate from the numbers below that something like an additional 20 percent of Republicans remain unsatisfied but nonetheless believe that nominating him is the least bad option that the party has at this late date.


If those numbers were pointing the other way, the RNC and reluctant Trump voters among the delegates would have something to think about in Cleveland next month. As it is, what’s left of the argument for dumping him? That he’s an “impetuous, vicious, ignorant and anti-constitutional man”? That’s the way Republican primary voters wanted it, bro.

In fact, in case it wasn’t already obvious that his nomination’s a cinch, the fact that former members of Team Cruz are now buying in should be the icing on the cake:

Jason Miller, who was the senior communications adviser for Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, will take the lead role over the Trump campaign’s message and interactions with the news media.

More hires are expected to be announced soon, including state directors, campaign aides told Bloomberg Politics. The news comes a week after Trump fired his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, creating a wave of upheaval at Trump headquarters.

Trump made that move to show wary Republicans that he’s ready finally to professionalize his team, just as Paul Manafort has been promising Republican leaders he would do — eventually. Another step in that direction is Trump quietly building out his digital operations, from online fundraising to exploring new hires related to data-harvesting and microtargeting, something the campaign barely made a pretense of doing when they were still following Corey Lewandowski’s “let Trump be Trump” playbook. Anti-Trumpers are planning to make two core arguments against Trump at the convention: (1) The polls already prove he can’t win, and (2) he’s not even interested in building a disciplined, professional, competitive campaign. Trump is now in the process of taking the second argument away from them and the fact that he remains close to Clinton in battleground state polls will go a long way towards taking away the first. If you’re a #NeverTrumper, the best you can hope for in Cleveland, I think, is a “minority report” from the Rules Committee that forces a floor vote of all the delegates on whether they should unbind themselves to vote their consciences. That vote will almost certainly fail but you’ll at least have the minor satisfaction of dissenters getting to register their objection formally.

Exit question: This same NBC poll has Clinton within eight points of Trump among white voters, a group Romney won by 20. Meanwhile, an ABC poll has Hillary leading Trump on various questions related to terrorism, including who handled the aftermath of the Orlando attack better. How can Trump possibly win an election, notwithstanding how close the battleground polls are, if he’s weak in his core demographic and on one of his core strongman issues?

NAFTA block vows to hit deceptive “clean energy” target in just eight years [Hot Air » Top Picks]

The Democrats recently revealed that their 2016 convention platform will include a plan to get the United States completely off of fossil fuels by 2050. This is a patently foolish and dishonest claim aimed at pleasing the green warriors of their liberal base in an election year with no mooring in reality. In an almost equally bizarre turn, the White House will announce this week that the United States and it’s NAFTA trading partners, Canada and Mexico, will move even more rapidly and achieve 50% “clean energy” by 2025. (Washington Post)

The leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico will pledge on Wednesday that by 2025 half of their overall electricity generation will come from clean power sources, according to administration officials.

The commitment — which will be a joint one, rather than an individual commitment by each nation — represents an aggressive target given the reliance by the United States and Mexico on fossil fuels for much of their electricity supply…

President Obama will travel to Ottawa on Wednesday to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as part of this year’s North American Leaders Summit. The upcoming pledge highlights how collaboration on climate between the United States and Canada has accelerated since Trudeau, leader of his country’s Liberal Party, was elected last fall.

White House senior adviser Brian Deese described it as “an aggressive goal” but one that “is achievable continent-wide.”

This is a great headline for the Democrats in an election year, but even the amount of smoke and mirrors in the description leaves it unlikely in the extreme. First of all, the phrase “clean energy” as used in this context has been redefined in a way that most of the “Leave it in the Ground” folks won’t be happy with. They generally want to see solar and wind energy providing for all of our needs. This plan includes hydro (which is certainly clean enough, but we’re running most of the damns we can at the moment) and nuclear. The latter will give plenty of the eco-warriors fits. But it doesn’t stop there. Any fossil fuel sources can also qualify as “clean energy” if they utilize carbon capture technology. And beyond that, energy suppliers also qualify if they engage in the vague and gauzy term, “energy efficiency.”

Canada can sign off on such a promise with no problems at all. Their energy grid is minuscule next to ours and they already derive 59 percent of their electricity from hydro-electric plants and more than 15% from nuclear facilities. Canada drills for a ton of fossil fuels, but they get to export almost all of it because they’re already self-sufficient from those sources. Mexico, on the other hand, is promising a pipe dream. They burn coal and they do it by the metric buttload, with nearly 80% of their energy coming from fossil fuels. Their economy isn’t exactly fat with cash and I don’t see them investing in all this new technology on a vast, national scale in just eight years.

Here at home, these new definitions cook the books for the White House and make us seem closer than we already are. The technology doesn’t yet exist to profitably increase our wind and solar energy output by anywhere near the amounts needed to hit 50% (it’s currently barely 10%) and we aren’t going to be bringing a bunch of new nuclear plants or hydro-electric dams online any time soon. But it does provide an excuse to try to force coal plants to spend a ton of money on carbon capture (heavily invested in by people like Al Gore and George Soros) which was probably the idea all along.

This is a dog and pony show to keep the environmentalists happy and nothing more. Look behind the numbers and you’ll this for what it is.


NBC poll: Clinton has largest lead of the race [Hot Air » Top Picks]

It’s not just NBC’s tracking poll showing this, either, but it’s as good place to start as any, as you’ll see. The latest iteration of the NBC/Survey Monkey tracking poll shows Hillary Clinton near a majority with an eight-point lead over Donald Trump, 49/41, her largest lead in this series. Two significant changes in demographics undermine key arguments from Team Trump about their prospects:

Hillary Clinton now leads Donald Trump by 8 points, her highest advantage since the general election match-up question was first asked on May 2, according to the latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll.

This week, Clinton enjoys 49 percent support of registered voters to Trump’s 41 percent. Her 8-point margin over Trump grew from 6 points in last week’s poll.

The lead goes down to six points in a three- or four-way race with Libertarians and Greens, but that’s not exactly good news for Trump or Clinton. He drops to 36% in those matchups, down five while Hillary drops seven to 42%. That split isn’t uneven enough to help Republicans in the presidential race, and suggests that the other two options will pull support from disgusted voters in both parties proportionally.

The good news for Hillary is that young voters appear to be coming home to the Democratic nominee. The NBC survey shows Hillary narrowing the gap among white voters from -12 to -8, a difference outside the ±1.8% margin of error. Another demo shows a much more dramatic change. With Bernie Sanders out of the race and offering support to Clinton, she picked up twelve points among college-age voters:


Bear in mind that this is a difficult demo to turn out in elections. Barack Obama managed to succeed twice in doing so, but he had a superior ground game, and it’s not clear that Team Hillary will come close to matching it — or come close to making the emotional connections required to succeed. However, this does hint that the progressives that gave Bernie their loyalty have begun to rally to the Democratic nominee, as expected, and the head-to-heads will begin to reflect that.

Or perhaps they already do. Take a look at the RCP average for the last three months in the Trump/Clinton H2Hs:


Yikes. This graph does not include this poll, but its 6.8-point spread comes close to mirroring it. That could have some Republicans thinking about a convention revolt, but there isn’t much appetite for it among the rank and file:

Although the Weekly Election Tracking Poll indicates that Clinton is picking up considerable momentum against Trump, Republican and Republican-leaning voters are rallying behind their party’s presumptive nominee and rejecting the “Stop Trump” movement. A large majority of Republican voters would like to see Trump nominated at the Republican convention.

All of these are national polls rather than battleground polls, which show closer races in almost all instances. Yesterday, I argued that national polling doesn’t matter as much as the state-by-state polls do, but with a gap this wide, that might not necessarily be true. Scott Rasmussen, who founded Rasmussen Reports but has personally been out of the polling business since 2013, respectfully disagreed with that take:

The only time that is true is if the national polling is VERY close. If it’s 49-49, then state polls are decisive. But, any change in the national numbers reflect a weighted average of state changes. Bottom line, if Clinton matches Obama and wins by 4, she will have Electoral College margin similar to Obama 2012. If she wins by 7, her Electoral College totals will be similar to Obama 2008.

And, the reverse is true as well. If Trump wins by 4, his margin will be similar to Obama 2012.

I would argue that state polling is an interesting side story at this point. Maybe, for example—maybe—Trump has a shot in Pennsylvania. But if he outperforms there, he will underperform somewhere else relative to the national average. That’s a mathematical certainty.

By the way, I know it’s a whole lot more fun to imagine all the state scenarios, but the simplest tool is probably the best. Take the results from the last election. If Trump does a point or two better nationally, assume he does a point or two better in each state. You can run it all up one side and down the other. And, what you’ll see is that unless the vote is very close, the popular vote winner wins.

Scott has an interesting — if depressing — projection of the Electoral College based on current polling. This in particular bears watching:

Trump is not projected ahead in any states that Barack Obama won in 2012. However, eight Obama states with 109 Electoral College votes are only leaning in Clinton’s direction (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin). If Trump is to pull off an upset, it would most likely come from winning many of these states.

Four of those are covered in my book, Going Red.

More Benghazi report: Reactions to Susan Rice’s appearance on Sunday shows [Hot Air » Top Picks]

The Benghazi report released today contains a compilation of reactions from people inside the State Department to the appearance of Ambassador Susan Rice on five Sunday shows just a few days after the attack. The State employees were surprised by her statements and one even attributed them to White House concern over politics. From the report:

Other subject matter experts within the State Department also recognized problems with what Rice said on the talk shows. State Department em-ployees in Washington D.C. who had spoken with those on the ground in Libya after the attack were universal in their condemnation of Rice’s statements. The Senior Libya Desk Officer, Bureau of Near Eastern Af-fairs, State Department, wrote: “I think Rice was off the reservation on this one.”

The Deputy Director, Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, State Department, responded: “Off the reservation on five networks!”

The Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications, Bureau of Near East Affairs, State Department, wrote: “Yup. Luckily there’s enough in her language to fudge exactly what she said/meant.”

He also wrote: “WH [White House] very worried about the politics. This was all their doing.”

Rice agreed to appear on the Sunday shows to explain the administration’s position in lieu of Hillary Clinton. Rice was prepared for her appearance by deputy national security adviser for strategic communications Ben Rhodes and adviser to the president David Plouffe. No one from the State Department, Defense Department, CIA or FBI was on the prep call.

Ben Rhodes prepared a document designed to help prep Rice for the appearances. As the report notes, it listed four goals:

To convey that the United States is doing everything that we can to protect our people and facilities abroad;

To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy;

To show that we will be resolute in bringing people who harm Americans to justice, and standing steadfast through these pro-tests;

To reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.

When questioned about these bullet points, Rhodes claimed that while bullet point three was clearly about what happened in Benghazi, bullet point two was about events in other parts of the world:

Q: Right. So you are preparing the Ambassador to go on five Sunday talk shows to talk about what you know is going to in-volve Benghazi and you don’t want her to be stuck with the op-tion of a failure of your policy. So you give the option of the In-ternet video. And my question is, who in the intelligence com-munity told you that the attacks in Benghazi were linked to the video?

A: Again, I prepared these points on a Friday in which there were violent protests across the Middle East because of the vid-eo, a violent breach of our facility in Tunis, a violent breach of our facility at Khartoum, violence against an American restau-rant in Lebanon, at the very least. So I very much was focused on the fact that there were ongoing protests, and one of the sub-jects that she was going to be asked about were those protests. So insofar as I’m referring to protests in the video, I’m referring to the many protests that were continuing to take place over the course of that week in response to the video.

Q: So is it your testimony that the second bullet and the third bullet are totally unrelated?

A: They’re referring to different elements of what she’s going to have to talk about on the Sunday shows.

Q: So bullet number two was not about Libya or Benghazi at all.

A: It was not intended to assign responsibility for Benghazi.

But as written, the goals seem to run together and result in the muddled, defensive and inaccurate conflation of events that Rice delivered on the Sunday shows. The same message was coming from the White House spokesman at the time. As you can see in this clip, even when pressed by Jake Tapper, Jay Carney refuses to separate what happened in Benghazi from events taking place elsewhere in the world:

More Benghazi report: ‘No help from Washington ever arrived’ [Hot Air » Top Picks]

The 800-page Benghazi report released by Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) today in Washington is a thorough retelling of the events leading up to, during and after the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2012. I’ve detailed many of the important points of this extensive report here.

But, if you don’t have time or the interest to go through all of the various details of the Benghazi report, if you can only take away one item from this comprehensive release, please listen to this interview between national talk show host Hugh Hewitt and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) this morning.

Pompeo, along with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) delivered a 51-page addendum to the full report focusing on how the American team on the ground was let down and abandoned by the Obama Administration and CLinton State Department.

Here’s a key exchange:

HH: Representative Pompeo, if Secretaries Clinton and Panetta at Defense, State and Defense, and President Obama had moved with dispatch to order Marines in uniform, could they have gotten to Benghazi before Ty Woods and Glenn Dougherty were killed?

MP: Well, we’ll never know the answer to that. I don’t know the answer to that. I do know this. They didn’t try. At no time, Hugh, was there ever a U.S. armed aircraft en route to Benghazi, Libya. At no time. When the final mortars fell, Hugh, one last fact. These aren’t conclusion. We’re being accused of being political. These are just facts. When the final mortars fell, there was not a single wheel turning moving an aircraft with U.S. soldiers toward Libya. Not one when the final mortars fell. There was political spin taking place, but the wheels weren’t spinning.

HH: Well, and how long between the first report in Washington and that final mortar elapsed?

MP: Some seven-plus hours, Hugh.

HH: Wow. That’s, and who rescued our Libyan annex? It is reported by NBC that Qaddafi-ites rescued our annex people. Is that true?

MP: Yes, sir, that is true. No help from Washington ever arrived. The amazing work of a CIA case officer on the ground in Benghazi calling around, seeking help, demanding that he figure this out, solved the problem by reaching out to a group that was then known as the Libyan Military Intelligence. And they showed up with about 50 gun trucks and rescued our personnel that night.

“No help from Washington ever came.”

There was a rescue. It came from Libyan forces only after a 13 hour fire fight resulting in the deaths of four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Hillary Clinton’s friend.

But President Obama and Secretary Clinton spent their time debating what kind of uniforms the Marines should wear if they were ever given the go ahead to do their jobs and rescue our heroes. The Marines changed clothes four times while waiting for orders because Clinton’s State Department prioritized political concerns over the lives of Americans in harm’s way.

“No help from Washington ever came. ”

The conference of deputies that occurred during the fire fight where uniforms were debated and no order to engage was ever authorized did result in an 11-point action item list. Five of those action items related to the trumped up story that a YouTube video on the life of Mohamed was the inspiration for the attacks. They spent time getting that story in line so they could save their political hides, but they didn’t get it together to save the Americans’ lives who were fighting valiantly despite the lack of support from their supposed “leaders” in Washington.

“No help from Washington ever came.”

And today, nearly four years later, they’re still lying about it and letting politics get in the way of the truth.

And they want four more years.


US Attorney: There’s “corruption” in the executive branch in New York [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Even our regular readers who live outside of New York are probably becoming familiar with the name Preet Bharara by now. The US Attorney charged with keeping the government honest in the Empire State (no mean feat on the best of days) has been a very busy man for the past few years. Bharara already sent the state’s top Democrat in the legislature on his way to prison and followed that up by delivering one of New York’s senior Republicans to be his cellmate. But as we’ve discussed here in the past, Mr. Bharara’s work appears to be far from done and one interview he gave this week indicates that he’s baited his hook and is fishing in some even more high profile waters.

While not getting into too many specifics yet, Bharara showed up on the Sunday cable news lineup to declare that, despite his best efforts to date, there’s still a stench of corruption in both Albany and New York City. And as usual, the fish rots from the head down.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said “that there’s corruption, we believe, in the executive branches” in New York as he continues to probe state and New York City governments.

Bharara, speaking Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” indicated his investigations into potential corruption in New York City government and the Cuomo administration are continuing…

“I don’t think I directed any ‘stay tuned’ message to those two individuals in particular,” Bharara told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Cuomo and de Blasio.

“But what I have said is, ‘We have found that corruption is rife in a lot of institutions in New York and throughout New York.’ That’s true in the Legislature. It’s also the case that there’s corruption, we believe, in the executive branches as well, and we’ll ferret it out wherever we find it.”

There’s corruption… and we’ll ferret it out wherever we find it.

That’s got to have some folks in Albany and at City Hall in New York City reaching for their acid reflux medication. Governor Andrew Cuomo already told us that it’s “unrealistic to expect” that there wouldn’t be corruption in state government, which is a pretty stunning statement, but it’s good to see that these guys are on the same page.

It’s difficult to imagine how many taxpayer resources are currently going into the damage control effort in Cuomo’s office. Bharara is already looking into The Buffalo Billion and a number of related projects which were supposedly designed to spur upstate business activity. But when there’s that much taxpayer money suddenly floating around in the public sphere – particularly in New York – you know there were many hands outstretched waiting to grab a piece of it, and not all of them had the public weal in mind.

Meanwhile, in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has his hands full with Bharara’s office asking all sorts of pesky questions about various campaign finance schemes which have shown up in the press and numerous slush funds that were set up to allegedly promote the Mayor’s many social reform issues. (Not to mention his reelection hopes.) When you begin stacking up piles of cash like that within sight of Tammany Hall, the results are generally predictable.

Since they seem to be two peas in a pod on this score, it’s understandable if Cuomo is leaning in with de Blasio for the common defense and sticking up for him right? The host on This Week asked the Governor if he thought Bill was in any trouble on the ethics and corruption front.

Asked if de Blasio should be worried, Cuomo responded: “You’d have to ask Mayor de Blasio.”

Looks like that old saying about honor among thieves may wind up having some truth to it. When the rats are fleeing the sinking ship, they don’t often stop to toss a life preserver to the slow ones.


Three SCOTUS justices warn: Refusal to take up religious-liberty case “an ominous sign” [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Do pharmacists who oppose abortion have to provide morning-after pills? A federal judge invalidated a Washington state law requiring pharmacists to violate their religious principles in Stormans v Wiesman, but the Ninth Circuit overturned the district court. Alliance Defending Freedom represented Kevin Stormans and his family in this case, and produced this video explaining that the family had respectfully referred patients seeking morning-after pills to numerous other pharmacies that routinely stock it:

This case points to a much larger issue: the future of freedom for all Americans to live according to their faith and conscience at the workplace. Facilitated referrals are an existing, recognized, workable, and already implemented alternative that the state regularly permits for a host of non-religious reasons, and nationally respected pharmacy associations and the majority of states fully support the use of that alternative for religious reasons. The state has agreed that the Stormans’ referrals cause no harm. The 9th Circuit decision against the Stormans and the two pharmacists upsets decades of settled pharmacy practice. If that decision stands, it will be the first time that health care professionals have been forced to participate in what they consider to be an abortion. Thus, the U.S. Supreme Court has a strong foundation upon which to stop the state from forcing the Stormans and the pharmacists to choose between their livelihood and their faith and ensure that all Americans retain the freedom to peacefully live consistent with their religious beliefs and conscience.

This common-sense solution won’t even get a hearing at the Supreme Court despite its implications for religious liberty. The pharmacists appealed to the Supreme Court, but could not get four justices to agree to hear the case — although three passionately wanted to take it up:

Just one day after issuing a major ruling striking down a portion of a pro-life law in Texas saving thousands of babies from abortion and closing unscrupulous abortion clinics, the Supreme Court has made a second ant-life decision.

Today, the nation’s highest court refused to hear an appeal from pro-life pharmacists in Washington state who are challenging a state law forcing them to sell the morning after pull and abortion-causing drugs that violate their conscience as Christians instead of allowing them to refer customers to nearby pharmacies.

Justice Samuel Alito, writing on behalf of Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts, issued a dissent calling the case “an ominous sign”:

As I discuss below, Ralph’s has made a strong case that the District Court got it right, and that the regulations here are improperly designed to stamp out religious objectors. The importance of this issue is underscored by the 38 national and state pharmacist associations that urge us to hear the case. The decision below, they tell us, “upheld a radical departure from past regulation of the pharmacy industry” that “threatens to reduce patient access to medication by forcing some pharmacies—particularly small, independent ones that often survive by providing specialty services not provided elsewhere—to close.” Brief for National and State Pharmacists’ Associations as Amici Curiae 4, 5. Given the important First Amendment interests at stake and the potentially sweeping ramifications of the decision below, I would grant certiorari. …

At issue are Washington State regulations that are likely to make a pharmacist unemployable if he or she objects on religious grounds to dispensing certain prescription medications. There are strong reasons to doubt whether the regulations were adopted for—or that they actually serve—any legitimate purpose. And there is much evidence that the impetus for the adoption of the regulations was hostility to pharmacists whose religious beliefs regarding abortion and contraception are out of step with prevailing opinion in the State. Yet the Ninth Circuit held that the regulations do not violate the First Amendment, and this Court does not deem the case worthy of our time. If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern.

It’s curious indeed that the three couldn’t convince Anthony Kennedy to take up the case … and telling. Unlike yesterday’s decision on Texas’ HB2, the absence of Antonin Scalia is keenly felt. And as Alito writes, the denial of cert in this case is an ominous sign for the future of the court on religious liberty.

ADF issued a statement of disgust after the denial:

“All Americans should be free to peacefully live and work consistent with their faith without fear of unjust punishment, and no one should be forced to participate in the taking of human life. We had hoped that the U.S. Supreme Court would take this opportunity to reaffirm these long-held principles. The state of Washington allows pharmacists to refer customers for just about any reason—except reasons of conscience. Singling out people of faith and denying them the same freedom to refer is a violation of federal law. All 49 other states allow conscience-based referrals, which are fully supported by the American Pharmacists Association, the Washington Pharmacy Association, and 36 other pharmacy associations. Not one customer in Washington has been denied timely access to any drug due to a religious objection. As the trial court found, the government designed its law for the ‘primary—if not sole—purpose’ of targeting religious health care providers. We are disappointed that the high court didn’t take this case and uphold the trial court’s finding.”

Now that the Supreme Court has taken a powder on religious liberty, how many of the other 49 states will start passing similar laws to drive faithful Christians out of the pharmacy business?

Nigel Farage’s Brexit victory lap before the European Parliament: You used to laugh at me but you’re not laughing now [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Pure candy for Brexiteers on both sides of the Atlantic. The jeering begins before Farage has said a word but it ramps up around halfway through, when he notes half-jokingly (but only half) that he’s addressing a group of people who’ve never done an honest day’s work in their lives. Watch the faces of the MEPs behind him. They know he’s taking the piss out of them, to borrow a phrase from Farage’s country. And Farage knows that’s what his fans want to hear.

He knows what his American fans on the right want to hear too:

“Ultimately, Vladimir Putin behaved in a more statesmanlike manner than President Obama did in this referendum campaign,” Farage said. “Obama came to Britain and I think behaved disgracefully, telling us we’d be in the back of the queue, … treating us, America’s strongest, oldest ally, in this most extraordinary way.”

By comparison, Putin “maintained his silence throughout the whole campaign,” he told Regan.

Even so, Farage said he is “not a fan” of the Russian leader, adding that the Ukrainian crisis “actually was sparked by the European Union saying they wanted to extend their borders to take in the Ukraine which Putin took as being a direct threat.”

He ends here by urging Britain’s leadership to invoke Article 50 soon and begin its divorce from the EU and urging the EU not to be spiteful and punish the UK by rejecting what would be a new, mutually beneficial trade agreement. That’s easier said than done in both points. If the EU and UK make a sweetheart trade deal, that’s a signal to other wary members that they can quit the Union too and not suffer economically for it. As for Article 50, you know all about that hot potato if you read this last night. WaPo floats three ways the Tories might try to wriggle out of the referendum result plus one way, which sounds a lot like Farage’s suggestion, that they can try to have their cake and eat it too — a “Leave in name only” move in which formal membership is rescinded but trade continues almost as if nothing’s happened. Why the EU would agree to that, given the incentive it creates for a mass exodus, I don’t know.

Real talk: Why should judges bother studying that musty old Constitution anyway? [Hot Air » Top Picks]

One of our high ranking judges deciding the fate of numerous cases and molding the minds of future jurists at a well known law school has a message for those entering the legal profession. If you plan to be a judge you should probably spend a lot less time worrying about the irrelevant views of a bunch of fossils who drew up some documents in Philadelphia back in the 1700s. (Mediaite, emphasis added)

According to 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner in a post published to Slate, U.S. judges should stop studying the Constitution.

“I see absolutely no value to a judge of spending decades, years, months, weeks, day, hours, minutes, or seconds studying the Constitution, the history of its enactment, its amendments, and its implementation,” Posner argued.

Eighteenth-century guys, however smart, could not foresee the culture, technology, etc., of the 21st century,” he continued. “Which means that the original Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the post–Civil War amendments (including the 14th), do not speak to today.”

Lest you be tempted to think that this is just another liberal hack looking for some headlines on his blog, Posner is a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. He’s also a Senior Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. (I seem to recall another famous constitutional scholar who came from that esteemed campus.) This is a very active player in the cases which wind up at the Supreme Court which he is now deriding.

The opinion piece in question, published at Slate, wasn’t dealing with any particular case or cases currently before the court, but rather a general critique of the legal profession as a whole. Posner doesn’t think much of any of the current slate on the bench or even the recently deceased, finding “the posthumous encomia for Scalia as absurd.”

In short, Poser is arguing that the world has changed so much that the theories espoused by the founders in a bygone era are largely irrelevant in the modern world, advising that we “not let the dead bury the living.” On one level this is a tempting idea which is raised periodically. Some cases which the Supremes are called upon to judge in the current era deal with technologies and societal constructs which were, admittedly, beyond the wildest imaginings of the Founders. I doubt they had any inkling of DNA technology coming down the line and the idea that somebody could claim to be of a different gender than that identified by their genitalia at birth probably would have sent them into howls of laughter. Further, much of the language they used at the time has either disappeared from the modern lexicon or evolved so much that it seems absurd in the ears of today’s students. (You can impeach the President over a misdemeanor? You mean like jaywalking?)

But the true duty of our judges is to look past the specifics of the language when faced with such challenges and seek out the underlying intention of the Founders, applying their morals, principles and beliefs to situations arising in the context of the 21st century. It’s the bedrock on which we built the rest of the most powerful nation on the planet. This utter disregard for the past and the founding of the nation speaks volumes about where we stand today when the courts routinely seem to defy all logic and rational thought.

The Constitution? That’s so three centuries ago. Perhaps we should pat the Founders on the head and send them on their way to the dustbin of history… at least in Posner’s world.


More Benghazi report: Hillary aide influenced Accountability Review Board [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Remember the Accountability Review Board, appointed in the wake of the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans in September 2012? The ARB, headed by former ambassador Thomas Pickering, provided the first attempt at oversight over the State Department’s actions in Benghazi and Libya following the sacking of the American consulate. Pickering’s probe didn’t bother to interview State officials of higher rank, such as Hillary Clinton, and tried to lay the responsibility on low-level staffers instead.

According to the new majority report from the House Select Committee on Benghazi, that may not have been a coincidence. The report accuses longtime Hillary aide Cheryl Mills of undue influence over the ARB, from the composition of the committee to access to information and witnesses, Politico reports:

Cheryl Mills, the longtime attorney, friend and former chief of staff for Hillary Clinton, influenced the findings of an internal State Department review of the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack, according to a draft of the final House Benghazi Committee report.

A section of the report obtained by POLITICO says the so-called Accountability Review Board did not act independently, as it was supposed to do, and was consistently influenced by Mills. Mills, the report says, helped select members of the panel, gave at least one other State Department official permission to talk to the reviewers, oversaw the production of some documents reviewed by the board and helped edit the final report.

“The decisions to deviate from longstanding processes raise questions about the board’s independence, thoroughness and therefore the fullness of their findings of accountability,” the report reads.

Recall Pickering’s response to Bob Schieffer three years ago, when asked about the ARB’s decision to skip interviewing higher-ranking officials, and his attempts to let Kennedy off the hook. “We knew where the responsibility rested,” he insisted. I wonder who made that clear to him? Hmmm:

“The decisions were made and reviewed at the level that we fixed responsibility for failures of performance,” Pickering told CBS’ Bob Schieffer, adding, ”I believe that that’s correct.” According to Pickering, he and his colleagues had ample opportunity to interview Secretary Clinton, but concluded that conducting an interview with her was not necessary. “We knew where the responsibility rested,” he said.

Remember too that while Pickering insisted that Kennedy was not a security specialist, he was the person who made the decisions about the Benghazi facility and its security. That’s a point that several whistleblowers made after the ARB’s report, including Eric Nordstrom in May 2013:

Nordstrom suggested the board’s report attempted to protect higher-ranking officials, and specifically faulted it for not looking at the key role played by Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy in failing to deliver the request for more security to Clinton.

He said a similar failure occurred in the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, which killed 19 Americans.

“[The ARB] has decided to fix responsibility on the assistant secretary level and below,” said Nordstrom. “And the message to my colleagues is that if you’re above a certain level, no matter what your decision is no one’s going to question it.

“I look back and I see the last time we had a major attack was East Africa. Who was in that same position, when the unheeded messengers … were raising those concerns? It just so happens it was the same person. The under secretary for management was in that same role before.

“There’s something apparently wrong with the process of how those security recommendations are raised to the secretary.”

The ARB process looked fishy from the start, especially Pickering’s admission that they went into it with their conclusions all but etched in stone. Given this report’s allegations of undue influence from Mills, it’s not difficult to connect the dots and see where those conclusions originated — and how the ARB was directed to them.

If Mills was applying undue influence, it had to be at the behest of Hillary Clinton. Given the history of Hillary and official records, it’s not at all difficult to imagine her tasking Mills with restricting access to vital information and personnel in the ARB probe.

Of course, this isn’t just an academic point to the Select Committee, either. Democrats have tried to shout down the investigation into Benghazi for three years, largely on the basis that the ARB did a credible job in probing it. The majority has an interest in demonstrating the ineffectiveness (at the least) of the ARB. That might be a point of suspicion had it not been for the demonstrably laughable approach of Pickering, and the obviously inept attempt made at protecting Hillary Clinton and other high-ranking State officials at the expense of a few lower-rank career officials in the department. Even before this report, the ARB had long been discredited; this just shows the mechanism for its failures.

Video: What is Ed Rendell’s problem with women in government? [Hot Air » Top Picks]

We recently discussed Ed Rendell’s rather, er… blunt comments about Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and her lack of qualifications to be the Vice President. He seemed to be channeling some of the thoughts coming from her Montana colleague, Jon Tester, who previously pondered whether or not America was “ready” for two women on the ticket. Well, Rendell is a reliable gaffe machine when it comes to the fairer sex and he was back at it again this week. With Hillary Clinton teaming up with Warren on the campaign trail in what Democrats are optimistically referring to as the Dynamic Duo, Rendell was asked to weigh in on the pairing yet again. Speaking with Kristen Welker on MSNBC, Rendell was damning Warren with faint praise as he opined that of course it’s going to bother some folks to have two women on the ticket. (America Rising, emphasis from source)

It certainly drove home the point that Elizabeth Warren can excite crowds. There’s no question about it, and excite progressives. Some of the Sanders camp, I heard during the campaign, were a little annoyed at Senator Warren because she didn’t endorse Bernie Sanders. But still, she didn’t endorse Hillary Clinton either. She stayed neutral, which I think was the proper stance for her to take under those circumstances, so she does have that as a significant plus. The drawbacks, obviously, are two women on the ticket. Does it make a difference? I don’t think so, but some people might. Does Elizabeth Warren have the experience to be commander in chief?

In case you think this one is a bit too good to be true, let’s go to the video.

Let’s keep in mind that Rendell is a fixture in Pennsylvania Democratic politics. He’s also a Clinton superdelegate, not to mention being a strong supporter of keeping the superdelegate system in place so that the party can be advised by “wiser heads” with more experience. His time in office may be done, but he’s still a mover and shaker in the Keystone State for the Democrats.

Now consider the volatile nature of the polling so far this year. Barack Obama managed to play Lucy with the Football yet again in Pennsylvania for both of his runs, keeping the state in the hands of the Democrats, but this summer Trump is definitely keeping the state in play and is leading in the key swing counties. If Hillary Clinton is seriously considering putting Warren on the ticket with her, somebody needs to get a leash on Rendell because he’s doing a better job of torpedoing that dynamic duo than Mr. Freeze, the Joker and the Penguin combined could ever manage.

But underneath all of that, what is it with Rendell and the ladies? Warren is out there talking up Clinton constantly and bashing Trump for his supposed misogyny, and meanwhile Big Ed is going on cable news on a weekly basis and reinforcing the idea that two women on the ticket will put the voters off their feed. Remind me who’s organizing this War on Women again?


Great news from WaPo/ABC poll: 13% of Americans understand due process [Hot Air » Top Picks]

At least we can dispense with the debate over the sample composition of the Washington Post/ABC News poll on this question. Today, ABC unveiled another section of questions from last week’s poll dealing with the Orlando terror attack and the official response to it. By an 86/13 split, Americans support the use of secret watch lists to block the exercise of the Second Amendment — and another 72% may have no issue with infringing on the Fourth Amendment, either.

On the other hand, support for an assault-weapons ban isn’t gaining a lot of strength:

Support varies for policy proposals to address the issue. Most divisive is the idea of nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons, 51-48 percent, support-oppose, with most on both sides feeling strongly about their position. That said, support for an assault weapons ban is up 6 points from its more-than-20-year low in December – the sole ABC/Post survey to date to find majority opposition to an assault weapons ban.

The biggest increases in support are among Northeasterners (+12 points, to 65 percent), middle- to upper-income adults (+12 points, to 49 percent), Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (+11 points, to 69 percent), moderates (+11 points, to 57 percent) and nonwhites (+10 points, to 59 percent). There also was a 20-point increase among strong conservatives, but only to 35 percent support overall.

In sharp contrast with views on assault weapons, there’s wide agreement on trying to keep guns out of the hands of those who appear on the FBI’s list of people with possible connections to terrorism. The 86 percent support for this proposal is similar to the level of support in past ABC/Post polls for expanded background checks on people buying guns at gun shows or online.

Let’s start with the assault-weapons ban response. A look at the raw data from pollster Langer Associates shows this to be the second-lowest level of support in the past 22 years. Three years ago, WaPo/ABC polled three times in four months after the Newtown shooting, and got roughly similar responses in all three: 58/39, 57/46, and 56/45. Apart from last December’s majority 53% opposition, this poll’s 48% is the highest level of opposition in the same 22-year span. And in this case, the D+12 sample would make at least some difference, given the specific increase in that demo. This isn’t exactly momentum.

That brings us to the constitutional questions. The pollster asked whether respondents supported “blocking people from buying guns if they appear on the FBI’s list of people with possible connections to terrorism,” which doesn’t exactly provide the context of due process. However, that question got asked after the query about supporting “increasing surveillance of people suspected of possible links to terrorism, even if that intrudes on privacy rights,” which clearly does imply the constitutional issues at hand.  And the answer to that question was …

Additionally, 72 percent support increasing surveillance of people suspected of possible links to terrorism even if it intrudes on privacy rights. That follows a historical pattern of willingness to forgo privacy for safety when it comes to countering the threat of terrorism.

Sigh, as Hillary Clinton would say out loud. We’ve covered the centrality of due process to core liberty interests on a number of occasions, but just for the record:

The American system of justice relies on core principles based on a fundamental understanding of natural law. First, the Constitution exists to restrain government from encroaching on the rights of its sovereign citizens. Second, each citizen retains those civil rights unless a jury of their peers convicts them of violating the law. Third, each citizen is entitled to due process and a presumption of innocence from the government until conviction.

In the wake of the Orlando shooting, the familiar rush to use the no-fly and terror watch lists as a bar to owning a firearm violates every single one of these principles. …

In this proposal, Clinton and her allies call for an end to due process before denying citizens their constitutional right to bear arms. This is a far more fundamental issue than debating over which firearms to bar from private ownership; it strikes at the fundamental relationship between citizens and the government that exists to serve their liberty interests. Once those principles have been discarded for political expediency on the mere basis of official suspicion, no rights — whether natural or declared — will ever be safe again.


The wisdom of the founding fathers in enshrining these into the Constitution has never been clearer. The temporary passions and whims of the majority would make liberty untenable any other way. It’s too bad that Americans seem so eager to dispose of their birthright, and for no good purpose — since Omar Mateen wasn’t on a watch list at the time he purchased his weapons anyway, and the FBI had closed their investigation of him two years earlier.

Not all of the news from this poll was bad. Slightly more people support encouraging broader gun ownership and carry than support the assault-weapons ban (54% to 51%, respectively), and a plurality (48/40) are tired of US leadership avoiding the naming of radical Islam as a motivation in these attacks. After seeing only 13% of Americans cognizant of the constitutional issues at play with the watch-list ban proposals, though, those points hardly cheer.

Porexit? When Brexit spreads to the Iberian Peninsula [Hot Air » Top Picks]

While our betters in the media continue to scold us about how awful the Brexit voters in Great Britain are and the doom they are surely bringing upon themselves for wanting to protect their borders and preserve their way of life, the spirit of the upstarts continues to spread. The next place where citizens have gotten crazy ideas of internal rule into their heads is well to the south on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal – a nation which has experienced plenty of unrest of its own in recent years – is now home to some stiff backed rebels who are getting pretty fed up with the European Union themselves and are talking about a similar referendum. (Wall Street Journal)

A key ally to Portugal’s Socialist government said the country should consider holding a referendum on the European Union membership if the EU decides to impose sanctions over last year’s missed budget target.

While Portugal’s Socialist party is deeply pro-EU and calling a referendum would be highly unlikely, Left Bloc’s move puts pressure on the government and Prime Minister António Costa, as well as the European Commission, which is awaiting Spain’s election results to decide whether both countries should be sanctioned after their deficits ended above a 3% of gross domestic product threshold…

“If the European Commission undertakes the grave measure to apply sanctions on Portugal…the European Commission declares war against Portugal,” Left Bloc leader Catarina Martins said on Sunday.

Not for nothing, but it’s interesting to note the reason that observers find the idea of Portugal abandoning the EU to be “unlikely” at best. It’s because the ruling powers there are opposed to the idea. And who might that be? It’s the socialists. Of course those with a socialist bent are in favor of a globalist collective which subjugates the nationalistic tendencies of the natives and a sense of independence. This is a concept which has deep roots in the socialist belief system around the globe.

The European Union isn’t nearly as cohesive as its proponents would have us believe, but when did the cracks begin to show and what would it take to tip it over completely? An analysis at ZeroHedge concludes that this entire “uprising” dates back to when the Dutch rejected a treaty between the EU and Ukraine. This has already spread to France, and if they bow out, the EU is essentially toast.

Therefore, if LePen emerges victorious in next year’s presidential elections, that means the next major player in the EU after Germany is out and there goes the EU.

This entire civil uprising in Europe is underway ever since two months ago when Dutch voters overwhelmingly rejected a Ukraine-European Union treaty. Angela Merkel’s Germany now faces having to pay an extra 3 billion euros a year to the annual EU budget once Britain leaves.

This alone is prompting German government officials to propose that Britain is offered “constructive exit negotiations” to keep their dues coming in. Some are now talking about a quasi-membership for the UK calling it an “associated partner country” to keep the money flowing.

Recall that Portugal is one of the so called “PIG” nations (Portugal, Ireland and Greece) which we discussed frequently when Greece first looked like it might go under. This may call some of their motives into question because they’ve benefited handsomely from the EU’s financial help during their own budget crisis and are now facing sanctions if they fail to stick to their mandated economic recovery plan. But stranger things have spurred an independence movement in the past, and if this is what it takes for them to shake off the EU, perhaps it’s for the best. It would no doubt be a very rough and winding road for Portugal to strike out on their own and the potential for significant unrest exists, but they would no doubt come out of it stronger if they managed the feat.

The EU could probably survive without Portugal, at least for a while, the same way they’ll likely soldier on without Great Britain. But how many countries in total could pull out before the Jenga tower begins to topple? If we see France join the list I’m guessing it won’t be long at all.


Benghazi report details Obama/Clinton failures before, during and after deadly attacks [Hot Air » Top Picks]

The long-awaited report from the House Select Committee on Benghazi will be released Tuesday and we’re learning some important and damning conclusions the congressmen, led by Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC,) have reached.

After 26 months of hearings, public testimony and in-depth investigation, the committee has uncovered significant failures on behalf of the Obama Administration and the Clinton State Department in the months leading up to the September 11, 2012 attack, indecision and lack of focus or direction during the attack, and spin, finger-pointing, obfuscation and political damage control in the days and weeks following the deadly terror attacks.

You will hear from the Obama/Clinton defenders in the mainstream media that there are “no smoking guns” implicating Hillary Clinton directly in the Benghazi affair, but rest assured, this is just sloppy reporting (and sloppy thinking, for that matter.) A smoking gun is not needed by a thinking person to draw reasonable the reasonable conclusion that Hillary Clinton engineered a foreign policy failure in Libya that ended up costing four Americans their lives. And after that deadly failure, the Obama/Clinton spin machine lied for political purposes.

BEFORE: Clinton should have known an attack was imminent

CNN has an advance look at the report’s findings on the lead-up to the Sept 2012 attacks:

The portion of the report obtained by CNN doesn’t offer a scathing indictment of Clinton. But it does argue that intelligence was available suggesting an attack was possible and Clinton and a top aide, Patrick Kennedy, should have realized the risks posed to the Benghazi mission by extremist groups.

“It is not clear what additional intelligence would have satisfied either Kennedy or the Secretary in understanding the Benghazi mission compound was at risk — short of an attack,” the report says.

The report goes on to detail the mountain of evidence that proves the Clinton State Department knew full well that the annex in Benghazi was woefully unsecured and they did nothing to fix the problem. Benghazi was the birth-place of the revolution that over-turned the Libyan government. It was a hot bed of radical activity. It should have been the most secure place for American diplomats in Libya. Instead, it was a security disaster:

— A diplomatic security agent in the city in November 2011 told the committee that security was “woefully inadequate” with no perimeter security, low walls and no lighting.
— The report said the Benghazi mission made repeated requests for new agents in late 2011 and early 2012. After a series of attacks on international targets in the city, more requests were made. But “no additional resources were provided by Washington D.C. to fortify the compound after the first two attacks. No additional personnel were sent to secure the facility, despite repeated requests for security experts on the ground.”
— At one point, then-State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland emailed Stevens to ask how to publicly describe the security incidents in 2012 : “Washington D.C. dismissed Stevens’ multiple requests for additional security personnel while also asking for help in messaging the very violence he was seeking security from,” the report said.
— The report, citing a cable from the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, suggests there simply were not sufficient resources in the unstable nation to send to properly protect Benghazi. In early August 2012, there were only 34 security staff at the embassy. By the end of the month there were only six.
— Such shortages might explain the over reliance on the February 17 local militia in Benghazi to help secure the outpost — but a diplomatic security agent quoted in the report said the group was “undisciplined and unskilled.”
— In 2011 and early 2012, security sometimes became so difficult in Benghazi that staff were unable to do their jobs reaching out Libyans to report back to Washington on the restive political situation in the city. But the report says that in February 2012, the lead diplomatic security agent at the Tripoli Embassy told the post that “substantive reporting” was not its job anyway.
“[U]nfortunately, nobody has advised the (principal diplomatic officer) that Benghazi is there to support [redacted] operations, not conduct substantive reporting,” the agent wrote, in a possible sign that the primary purpose of the mission was in fact to support the CIA.

As the Clinton spin machine begin their distractions and deflections on the damning details of the mess that was Libya pre-Sept 11, 2012, let’s not forget that one of Clinton’s closest advisers, Sidney Blumenthal, encouraged Clinton to “take credit” for the Libya “success”:

“This is an historic moment and you will be credited for realizing it,” he wrote August 22, 2011. “When Qaddafi is finally removed, you should of course make a public statement before the cameras wherever you are, even in the driveway of your vacation house. You must go on camera. You must establish yourself in the historical record at this moment.” Mrs. Clinton didn’t appear to respond to that message, either.

Libya was historic alright. And if Clinton should have been “credited” for it, than she should also shoulder the blame for the disaster it ended up being for the Benghazi four, as well as the continued debacle it is for the Libyan people and the entire region. Even President Obama has called the Libya aftermath the “greatest mistake” of his presidency.

DURING: Americans died because the Obama/Clinton team failed to deploy military assets 

Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner has details on the portion of the report that focuses on the events in Washington DC during the attacks chronicled so vividly in the film 13 Hours. The most compelling aspect of this stage of the events in Benghazi is that the Administration could have interceded through military support, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta gave an order to deploy which mobilized forces to a staging area in Italy where they sat ready for orders that never came.

A two-hour long “deputies meeting” took place during those fateful 13 hours. Secretary of State Clinton participated in the meeting.  At the time of the meeting, the whereabouts and well-being of Ambassador Chris Stevens and Information Management Officer Sean Smith was unknown.  At this critical time, rather than focus on the military assets and strategy involved in saving American lives, the DC team our people in Libya were counting on for leadership and support were spending their time debating what our military assets should be wearing:

“What has also emerged is a picture of the State Department eating up valuable time by insisting that certain elements of the U.S. military respond to Libya in civilian clothes and that it not use vehicles with United States markings. Both restrictions appear to have been concessions to the Libyan government that did not want an identifiable U.S. military presence on the streets of Libya. We will never know exactly how long these conditions delayed the military response but that they were even a part of the discussion is troubling.

Even more troubling is the fact that nearly half of the action items that came out of this critical meeting involved the YouTube video, Innocence of Muslims, which the Obama Administration falsely claimed to be the impetuous for the deadly terror attack:

“And at the same time the State Department appeared to waste time on what our soldiers would wear, it also appeared to waste time and focus on the YouTube video that the administration would later blame, falsely, for the attack. It has emerged that during an emergency call at 7:30 p.m. on the night of the attack involving Secretary Clinton and other high-level officials from the Department of Defense, State Department, and CIA that a full five of the eleven action items from the meeting related to the video.”

But most maddening is the fact that despite Panetta’s order to deploy earlier in the afternoon, the military was never able to get their act together. Why? NBC News details this part of the report:

The report highlights the military’s failure to carry out Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s order to deploy forces to Benghazi and the lengthy delay that prevented the military assets from arriving at the embassy in Tripoli until 2 p.m. the day after the Benghazi attack.

“What was disturbing from the evidence the Committee found was that at the time of the final lethal attack at the Annex, no asset ordered deployed by the Secretary had even left the ground,” the report states.

So what happened? According to the report, the non-military geniuses in the Obama Administration and the Clinton State Department assumed the attack was over, despite the assets on the ground telling them they were still in danger:

Further, several witnesses told the committee that despite Panetta’s orders, the operating plan was not to insert any asset into Benghazi. “Their understanding was that the assets needed to be sent to Tripoli to augment security at the Embassy, and that the State Department was working to move the State Department personnel from Benghazi to Tripoli.”

Republicans on the committee were critical of high-level officials in Washington for mistakenly thinking that the attacks were over and the crisis had passed by the time the emergency video conference convened, which the report alleges contributed to the confusion.

The highest ranking official from the Defense Department attending this video conference meeting was Panetta’s Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash (ex-husband of CNN reporter Dana Bash.) Where was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs during this critical time? The report finds that “he had left to return to his residence to host a dinner party for foreign dignitaries.”

AFTER: White House, Clinton pushed YouTube video lie for political purposes

Any thinking person knows by now that the Administration lied about the cause of the attack. They refused to even call the attack what it was, a terror attack planned and executed by radical Islamic terrorists, and instead claimed that it was a reaction to a video that, they claimed, “insulted the prophet Mohammed.”

The Benghazi report expands on this fact and proves that the YouTube video excuse was a fiction created by political appointees in the Obama Administration.

“None of the information coming directly from the agents on the ground in Benghazi during the attacks mentioned anything about a video or a protest. The firsthand accounts made their way to the office of the Secretary through multiple channels quickly,” the Benghazi report says.

Fox News has the details on this part of the report:

Clinton issued the only statement that night from the administration, following the White House meeting. It read in part: “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”

However, Clinton said something very different privately.

In an email provided to the Select Committee, Clinton told daughter Chelsea, “Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Queda-like [sic] group.”

Clinton also told Egypt’s prime minister the following day: “We know that the attacks in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack — not a protest.”

Fox spoke with Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) a member of the committee and he expanded on the definitive findings that prove the lie of the YouTube video. He said the evidence shows “the administration knew immediately it was a terror attack. And the story of fog of war was known to be false immediately by everyone in the administration.”

So how did the YouTube lie take form? If the direct evidence and eyewitness accounts of the events on the ground proved that the Benghazi attack was Islamic terrorism, how did the famous talking point from UN Ambassador Susan Rice that it was a protest that got out of control come to be? According to the report, all roads lead to Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, brother of CBS News President David Rhodes:

In fact, a Sept. 14, 2012 memo from Rhodes included the subject line: “RE: PREP Call with Susan: Saturday at 4:00 pm ET.”

The email was sent to a dozen members of the administration’s inner circle, including key members of the White House communications team such as then-Press Secretary Jay Carney, who also pushed the video narrative in the days after the attacks.

In the email, Rhodes specifically draws attention to the anti-Islam Internet video, without distinguishing whether the Benghazi attack was different from protests elsewhere, including one day earlier in Cairo.

The Rhodes email, which was a catalyst for the Select Committee, was first obtained by Judicial Watch through a federal court lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act.

The email lists the following two goals, among others: “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video and not a broader failure of policy” and “to reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.”

Rhodes was the same official who signed off on Clinton’s statement the night of the attack linking the video to Benghazi.

The official, full report will be released a little later today, but based on these initial excerpts the summary of the entire Benghazi affair is as follows:

  1. The Obama/Clinton policy in Libya was a disaster but for political purposes warnings were ignored and political ends were prioritized over security needs in the months leading up to the September 11 attacks.
  2. During the attacks American lives could have been saved by the swift deployment of military assets, but political desires created a bureaucratic paralysis preventing key decisions from being made.
  3. In the aftermath of the deadly terrorist attacks, the Obama/Clinton teams chose politics and deception rather than tell the American people the truth.

As Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) told me this morning on WMAL radio in Washington DC, they told one story, which was the truth, and they told another story publicly, about the YouTube video,” because they were 50 days before an election and their legacy was on the line.


Another 34 work-related emails Hillary Clinton deleted just turned up [Hot Air » Top Picks]

This is almost starting to become a running gag. Last week the Associated Press reported on a “key message” which Hillary Clinton failed to turn over to the State Department. Today the AP reports that 34 more work-related emails just turned up:

The latest emails were released under court order by the State Department to the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch. The batch includes 34 new emails Clinton exchanged through her private account with her deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin. The aide, who also had a private email account on Clinton’s home server, later gave her copies to the government.

The emails were not among the 55,000 pages of work-related messages that Clinton turned over to the agency in response to public records lawsuits seeking copies of her official correspondence. They include a March 2009 message where the then-secretary of state discusses how her official records would be kept.

“I have just realized I have no idea how my papers are treated at State,” Clinton wrote to Abedin and a second aide. “Who manages both my personal and official files? … I think we need to get on this asap to be sure we know and design the system we want.”
So Hillary wanted to “design” a system to manage her official files at State. The answer to why this email got deleted seems fairly obvious. It shows that she was thinking about this topic within months of becoming Secretary of State. Presumably someone informed her, way back then, that she was required to turn over all her work-related records before leaving office. And yet, she didn’t do that. She sat on them for nearly 2 years until the State Department requested them. The Inspector General says she broke the rules.
The AP says a total of 50 work-related emails have been uncovered which were not turned over by Clinton. It’s worth pointing out once again that this is completely at odds with what she claimed in her UN press conference last year:
After I left office, the State Department asked former secretaries of state for our assistance in providing copies of work- related emails from our personal accounts. I responded right away and provided all my emails that could possibly be work-related, which totaled roughly 55,000 printed pages, even though I knew that the State Department already had the vast majority of them.
What is her explanation for the fact that dozens of these emails, including ones in which she is talking about her own email set up, were deleted rather than turned over? Her spokesman didn’t respond to the latest cache of emails but he previously said she turned over everything she had at the time the request came in.
I’m suspicious of this claim as I explained in detail here. Clinton’s team had 5 months between the time the initial, informal request came in and when the formal request was finally sent to them by the State Department. That’s a lot of time to sift through email and determine what should be deleted. But it allows them to claim she turned over everything she still had when the (formal) request came in.
The real question is why these work-related emails, supposedly subject to FOIA, were deleted at all. So far, no one at the Clinton campaign seems to have an answer for that.

What if no British leader wants to pull the trigger on leaving the EU? [Hot Air » Top Picks]

One senior EU diplomat, asked when he expects Britain will inform the EU that it’s leaving, said he doesn’t think it’ll ever happen. Is that possible?

Read this, cribbing from a smart comment left at the Guardian over the weekend, for an argument that it is. The nutshell version: In order to formally quit the EU, Britain needs to formally notify Brussels under Article 50. Normally that’d be David Cameron’s job — but why would Cameron do it? Cameron famously wanted Britain to remain. He made himself a lame-duck prime minister the morning after the referendum due to the outcome. He’ll be succeeded in office by a Tory who’s pro-Leave, presumably Boris Johnson. Why should Cameron fall on his sword again by issuing the Article 50 notice when he could stand aside and leave it to Johnson or someone who actually believes in British independence to do it? He already did his good deed for the Leave faction by agreeing to hold a referendum in the first place (with a simple majority requirement, no less). If the Tories want to follow through on the outcome, they’ll have their chance when Cameron departs in October. He has a legacy to think about.

No problem, then: Johnson will issue the Article 50 notice once he’s prime minister. But … maybe Johnson doesn’t want to do it either. If he does, as the Guardian comment notes, then he’ll bear the political brunt of any backlash to come, be it Scotland insisting on a new independence referendum, a further market downturn, and/or a surge in support for Labour. This advice from Jeff Blehar to Labour seems like basic good sense, for instance:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is a far-left radical, but if the party dumped him and installed someone more middle-road they might be able to ride an anti-Brexit backlash to retake control of Parliament and then finagle a way out of the Article 50 notice. Cameron would be out, Johnson would be finished, Labour would be in power, and Brexit would be quashed — a complete rout for Conservatives. It’d be easier, then, for Johnson and the Tories if Cameron issued the notice so that Johnson could sweep into office declaring that “what’s done is done” and now it’s time to wind down the UK’s formal associations with the EU responsibly. That might not be enough to prolong what otherwise could be a very short premiership, but it’d give him a better chance than would Cameron washing his hands of the matter and leaving the Article 50 notice to his successor. Essentially, Cameron and Johnson are now tossing a hot potato between the two of them. Who ends up holding it and getting burned?

I think Johnson’s got no choice but to issue the notice and hope for the best. Maybe the potato’s not as hot as everyone thinks:

Scotland will probably not leave the United Kingdom. Beyond the fact that there is something a little humorous about good-hearted liberals cheering on the nationalism of Scotland, which would create a 96 percent white ethnostate, there are serious obstacles to Scotland leaving.

Unlike in 2014, Scotland can no longer delude itself that it will become a Nordic-style social democracy, riding a wave of soaring oil revenues to higher living standards and greater equality simultaneously. The U.K. would also have to agree to the independence referendum, a task they may see as too important to take on while conducting negotiations on its exit. And, really, does Scotland want to cede control of its most important trade relationship — with the new Scotland-less U.K. — to Brussels? Lastly, for any of this to work, the SNP would somehow have to convince everyone to allow it the novel route of separating from the U.K. and gaining its own independent status in the EU just as Britain leaves it. This is an enormous leap for a country that, frankly, offers very little to the EU, besides the chance to spite England…

Next up: economics. Some worry that a kind of trade war will break out between the U.K. and the EU, and Britain will be decimated. That’s hard to envision. Powerful European nations sell a lot of products into the British market. Nearly 20 percent of German-made cars are sold there. And trying to inflict punitive trade terms would bring the biggest wrath on small EU states like Ireland, for whom Britain is their largest trading partner.

All sound medium- to long-term prognostications, but the question is the state of play in October, when Johnson takes over. If markets are still jittery, if Labour is running a public campaign aimed at pressuring the new PM into postponing the Article 50 notice (and why wouldn’t they run such a campaign?), what does he do? The Tories could, I suppose, take a vote of their own parliamentary caucus to see which way Conservatives are leaning at the time, but I’m not sure if there’s any good outcome to that. If a majority votes to issue the Article 50 notice then the entire party’s on the hook for the consequences of leaving rather than just the leadership. If they vote to postpone the notice then they’re betraying the will of the people in the referendum. No matter what happens, if there’s a backlash then Conservatives are on the hook, Cameron’s opposition notwithstanding.

Their best play is probably to lean on Cameron and beg him to take the fall by issuing the Article 50 notice, leaving it to Johnson et al. to negotiate the actual terms of withdrawal with the EU. They could argue, with some reason, that his legacy would actually benefit from effectuating the referendum. His opposition to Brexit is a matter of public record; there’s no chance that issuing the notice will be confused with him supporting independence on the merits, especially since he resigned in the aftermath. If an independent Britain struggles economically, he’ll be seen in hindsight as a sage who tried to avert disaster. If it flourishes economically, he’ll be seen as a hero who followed the people’s will despite his own misgivings, unlike those unaccountable far-flung bureaucrats in Brussels. And since Johnson has little choice but to issue the notice himself once he’s installed as prime minister, Cameron issuing it won’t be seen as setting the country on a path that his successor might not have chosen. The Tories are stuck with Brexit for better or worse. Cameron, who tried to stop it, could frame any actions to implement it as simple matters of honor and duty.

Watch the Daily Show eviscerate itself with response to SCOTUS’ abortion decision [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Comedy Central’s The Daily Show did not make any new friends today. After the Supreme Court overturned a law requiring strict regulation of Texas abortion clinics the show’s Twitter account celebrated the decision with this message:

The tweet was ostensibly a joke but the response suggests it didn’t land with people left, right or center. People on the right were repulsed by the suggestion that abortion is something to celebrate and by the idea that abortion should be thought of as another means of birth control no different from any other. People on the left were upset because the tweet assumed a male perspective and failed to include the consent of the woman being knocked up, i.e. it sounded “rape-flavored.” Pretty much everyone agreed that whatever the joke was intended to be it just wasn’t funny at all.

About an hour and a half later the Daily Show begged people to give them a break because, hey, they were trying to celebrate the ruling. BTW, this tweet is pretty much a summation of the kind of clapper humor made popular by the Daily Show, i.e. we may not be funny but, friends, remember we’re on the same side:

But the original tweet is still up there and some are not ready to let it go:

And on and on it goes. There are hundreds of responses and few if any seem to be supportive of the Daily Show. They have managed to unite the nation…in disgust.

George Will: I left the GOP for the same reason I joined it, because I’m a conservative [Hot Air » Top Picks]

A leftover from yesterday via Mediaite. Note that it’s not Trump or Trump’s nomination that sent him running for the lifeboats. It’s Paul Ryan’s half-hearted embrace of Trump, which is odd. If Ryan had resigned the Speakership rather than endorse the presumptive nominee, Will would still be stuck in a party whose members handed an easy win in the primaries to an “impetuous, vicious, ignorant and anti-constitutional man.” Speakers come and go but the party’s base is what it is. Ultimately that’s the association you make when you register — not with Paul Ryan but with fellow Republicans. It would have made more sense for Will to pull the trigger on leaving the day after Indiana than this month.

From his column a few weeks ago excoriating Ryan for making nice with Trump:

All supposedly will be redeemed by the House agenda. So, assume, fancifully, that in 2017 this agenda emerges intact from a House not yet proved able to pass 12 appropriations bills. Assume, too, that Republicans still control the Senate and can persuade enough Democrats to push the House agenda over the 60-vote threshold. Now, for some really strenuous assuming: Assume that whatever semblance of the House agenda that reaches President Trump’s desk is more important than keeping this impetuous, vicious, ignorant and anti-constitutional man from being at that desk.

Some say in extenuation of Ryan’s behavior that if he could not embrace Trump, he could not continue as speaker. But is Ryan, who was reluctant to become speaker, now more indispensable to the nation’s civic health than Trump is menacing to that health? Ryan could have enhanced that health by valuing it above his office.

The key word there, I think, is “anti-constitutional.” Anti-Trump arguments tend to be either distinctly ideological (“he’s not a conservative!”) or distinctly moral (“he’s a bad guy!”). Will’s isn’t. He seems to say that the moral objection informs the ideological one. The ultimate conservative value is, or should be, fidelity to the Constitution; Trump won’t be faithful to it because his character flaws will lead him towards executive power grabs. If you tolerate that in return for him signing off on a few right-tilting economic proposals on the House’s agenda, in what meaningful way has conservatism won? Will seems able to tolerate a party base that’s okay with aggressive government so long as it’s their form of aggression but watching Ryan sign on in exchange for a handful of items on his policy wishlist means the leadership’s given up on smaller government too. What’s left?

After you watch Will, listen below as Mike Huckabee (via BuzzFeed) excommunicates him and Ben Sasse from the party for refusing to pledge their devotion to Trump. The idea of an ordained Christian minister getting audibly pissy at someone for exercising a conscientious objection seems deeply weird to me. And to Sasse:

We’re destined to spend the next four months, I think, with Trumpers shouting “good riddance” at anti-Trumpers and insisting that the party doesn’t need them and also that they’d better fall in line because the party desperately needs them and they’ll be blamed if Trump loses. Huckabee’s just getting warmed up.

Canada to lift visa requirements for Mexico [Marginal REVOLUTION]

The Government of Canada has made it a top priority to re-establish and strengthen our relationship with one of our most important partners, Mexico. To this end, Prime Minister Trudeau today announced Canada’s intention to lift the visa requirement for Mexican visitors to Canada beginning December 1, 2016. Lifting the visa requirement will deepen ties between Canada and Mexico and will increase the flow of travellers, ideas, and businesses between both countries.

Here is the link, via (if I recall correctly) Adam Ozimek in my Twitter feed.

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Tuesday assorted links [Marginal REVOLUTION]

1. Tim Taylor on BrexitBernanke on Brexit.  And Angus defends Brexit.

2. Michael Pollan defends psychedelic drugs.

3. Georgiana Houghton at the Courtauld is one of the best and most revelatory exhibits I have seen.  Hardly anyone has heard of her, yet she was one of the very best nineteenth century artists.  Make sure you use the magnifying glass, from both short and long distances.

4. How can the USA get away with spending so little on long-term care?

5. On some cooperative benefits of war.

6. Is Danish mobility actually so high? (pdf)

The post Tuesday assorted links appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

Mahjong as signaling the culture that is Japan who needs higher ed? [Marginal REVOLUTION]

Fifty Japanese graduates opted to gamble with their job prospects at a mahjong tournament set up by recruiters looking for a different way to find the next high flyer.

Held in a crammed mahjong outlet in downtown Tokyo, prospects competed against each other on Friday (June 24) to gain the chance to face recruiters from six companies in the fitness, education, technology and real estate sectors.

“Mahjong is a very strategic game, so I think people who are good at it would be good at marketing. This is a new approach and I find it really interesting,” candidate Tomoko Hasegawa, who is aspiring to become a designer, told Reuters.

Here is more, via Edward Craig.

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What kind of driverless cars do people want? [Marginal REVOLUTION]

…the surveys also revealed a lack of enthusiasm for buying or using a driverless car programmed to avoid pedestrians at the expense of its own passengers. One question asked respondents to rate the morality of an autonomous vehicle programmed to crash and kill its own passenger to save 10 pedestrians; the rating dropped by a third when respondents considered the possibility of riding in such a car.

Similarly, people were strongly opposed to the idea of the government regulating driverless cars to ensure they would be programmed with utilitarian principles. In the survey, respondents said they were only one-third as likely to purchase a vehicle regulated this way, as opposed to an unregulated vehicle, which could presumably be programmed in any fashion.

That is from an MIT press release, here is the background:

The paper, “The social dilemma of autonomous vehicles,” is being published today in the journal Science. The authors are Jean-Francois Bonnefon of the Toulouse School of Economics; Azim Shariff, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Oregon; and Rahwan, the AT&T Career Development Professor and an associate professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab.

The abstract notes that if drivers are required to purchase “utilitarian-programmed” vehicles, they may be less willing to buy at all, thus postponing the adoption of what is likely to be a much safer technology.

For the pointer I thank Charles Klingman.

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The notion of a “skill anomalous position” [Marginal REVOLUTION]

Here is from MIT Technology Review, surveying research on chess blunders and cognition by Ashton Anderson at Microsoft Research in New York City, Jon Kleinberg of Cornell, and Sendhil Mullainathan:

…Anderson and co have found evidence of an entirely counterintuitive phenomenon in which skill levels play the opposite role, so that skillful players are more likely to make an error than their lower-ranked counterparts. The team call these “skill anomalous positions.”

That’s an extraordinary discovery which will need some teasing apart in future work. “The existence of skill-anomalous positions is surprising, since there is a no a priori reason to believe that chess as a domain should contain common situations in which stronger players make more errors than weaker players,” say Anderson and co. Just why this happens isn’t clear.

I don’t, by the way, find the concept of skill anomalous positions to be so surprising.  Better chess players have more “chunking” and more intuitions.  Usually that knowledge adds value, but in a variety of counterintuitive positions it can lead players down the wrong paths.  For instance a beginner probably does not know that on average a Queen and Knight working together are more effective than a Queen and Bishop, yet this is not always true and the less tutored intuition will sometimes prove correct.  Similarly, the better player may think that an endgame of Bishops of opposite color is more likely to be drawn, and often that is true.  Yet in other situations those ill-matched Bishops can yield an attacking advantage to the player with the better command of space, and so on.

I believe there are analogous concepts for economics and also philosophy, probably for other disciplines too.  For instance in economics I wonder if a person with less knowledge of open economy macroeconomics might sometimes end up making better forecasts.  Many anti-elitist theories of politics imply these phenomena can be true in a broad range of situations, Brexit for instance according to some.

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Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 471 [Ubuntu Fridge]

Ubuntu Membership Board call for nominations [Ubuntu Fridge]

As you may know, Ubuntu Membership is a recognition of significant and sustained contribution to Ubuntu and the Ubuntu community. To this end, the Community Council recruits members of our current membership community for the valuable role of reviewing and evaluating the contributions of potential members to bring them on board or assist with having them achieve this goal.

We have seven members of our boards expiring from their 2 year terms within the next couple months, which means we need to do some restaffing of this Membership Board.

We’re looking for Ubuntu Members who can participate either in the 20:00 UTC meetings or 22:00 UTC (if you can make both, even better).

Both the 20:00 UTC and the 22:00 UTC meetings happen once a month, specific day may be discussed by the board upon addition of new members.

We have the following requirements for nominees:

  • be an Ubuntu member (preferably for some time)
  • be confident that you can evaluate contributions to various parts of our community
  • be committed to attending the membership meetings
  • broad insight into the Ubuntu community at large is a plus

Additionally, those sitting on membership boards are current Ubuntu Members with a proven track record of activity in the community. They have shown themselves over time to be able to work well with others and display the positive aspects of the Ubuntu Code of Conduct. They should be people who can discern character and evaluate contribution quality without emotion while engaging in an interview/discussion that communicates interest, a welcoming atmosphere, and which is marked by humanity, gentleness, and kindness. Even when they must deny applications, they should do so in such a way that applicants walk away with a sense of hopefulness and a desire to return with a more complete application rather than feeling discouraged or hurt.

To nominate yourself or somebody else (please confirm they wish to accept the nomination and state you have done so), please send a mail to the membership boards mailing list (ubuntu-membership-boards at lists.ubuntu.com). You will want to include some information about the nominee, a launchpad profile link and which time slot (20:00 or 22:00) the nominee will be able to participate in.

We will be accepting nominations through Friday July 1st at 12:00 UTC. At that time all nominations will be forwarded to the Community Council who will make the final decision and announcement.

Thanks in advance to you and to the dedication everybody has put into their roles as board members.

Originally posted to the ubuntu-news-team mailing list on Mon Jun 20 13:04:03 UTC 2016 by Svetlana Belkin, on the behalf of the Community Council

Installing Windows 10: What to do when there’s not enough storage space [PCWorld]

By now, most people who want Windows 10 on their PCs (and some who don’t) have probably installed the upgrade by now.

But there is at least one notable exception: If you don’t have enough free storage space on your hard drive, the installation won’t complete. This may result in a “Windows needs more space” dialog box, or one of several error codes (including 0x80070070 – 0x50011, 0x80070070 – 0x50012, or 0x80070070 – 0x60000).

Time’s running out to clear some space and complete the installation. Here’s what you can do to make sure the upgrade goes through:

Windows 10: How much space you need

While the install files for Windows 10 take up just a few gigabytes, going through with the installation requires a lot more space. According to Microsoft, the 32-bit (or x86) version of Windows 10 requires a total 16GB of free space, while the 64-bit version requires 20GB. (To see which version you're running, open the Control Panel, click on System, then look under the “System type” label.)

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This malware pretends to be WhatsApp, Uber and Google Play [PCWorld]

Hackers are stealing credit card information in Europe with malware that can spoof the user interfaces of Uber, WhatsApp and Google Play.

The malware, which has struck Android users in Denmark, Italy and Germany, has been spreading through a phishing campaign over SMS (short message service), security vendor FireEye said on Tuesday.

Once downloaded, the malware will create fake user interfaces on the phone as an “overlay” on top of real apps. These interfaces ask for credit card information and then send the entered data to the hacker.

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Traffic tickets got you down? This robo-lawyer has already saved users $4 million [PCWorld]

Robots are already no strangers to the legal profession thanks to tools like LawGeex, but recently one has emerged that appears to be a sort of "Robin Hood" of the modern world.

DoNotPay is the brainchild of 19-year-old Stanford University student Joshua Browder, and it has already successfully contested some 160,000 parking tickets across London and New York. It's free to use and has reportedly saved its users some $4 million in less than two years.

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50% off Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag Compression Sack - Deal Alert [PCWorld]

Whether you are Kayaking, Beaching, Rafting, Boating, Hiking, Camping or Fishing, Earth Pak believes they have created the best dry bag on the market for any adventure. Toss in your gear, roll it down, and don't be afraid to toss this bag around. It's designed to last for years and will keep your phone, gadgets and gear dry and protected. It comes in 10L, 20L and 30L size, and all models feature 24-42 inch adjustable shoulder straps. Included is Earth Pak's IPX8 certified waterproof phone case that can fit even the largest phones, with simple snap and lock access and clear windows that allow for picture taking without removing from the case. This bag is currently discounted 50% from $60 down to just $30, and averages 5 out of 5 stars from over 800 customers (read reviews). 

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Agents of Mayhem hands-on: Saints Row meets SHIELD [PCWorld]

I’m relieved Volition is making something other than Saints Row V. Which is not to say they’ll never make one—or that it’s not secretly in development right now. Who knows?

But if it is, it’s being developed alongside the all-new Agents of Mayhem, which Volition revealed right before E3. It’s set in the Saints Row universe, but trades the town of Steelport for Seoul, South Korea and the Saints themselves for a group of superheroes known as the Multi-national AgencY for Hunting Evil Masterminds or M.A.Y.H.E.M.

Yes, it’s a thinly-veiled parody of Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. And yes, they lifted the “Y” from the end of “Agency.”

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Resold hard drives on eBay, Craigslist are often still ripe with leftover data [PCWorld]

Before you throw away that old hard drive, make sure you purge the memory clean.  A new study has found that most users are accidentally giving up photos, social security numbers and financial data, by failing to properly delete the files on their recycled hard drives.

Blancco Technology Group, which specializes in data erasure, conducted the study by randomly buying 200 secondhand PC storage drives from eBay and Craigslist. Their goal was to see if the company could recover any of the old data saved inside.

In most cases, it could. 78 percent of the drives contained residual data that could be recovered.

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Too many IoT networks? Cisco just bet on this one [PCWorld]

Cisco Systems just cast a vote of confidence in one of the many technologies that might get your next IoT device online.

On Tuesday, the company announced gateways between LoRaWAN low-power wireless networks and fatter pipes like Ethernet cables. The gateways can take in data from sensors and other small Internet of Things devices and send it back to an enterprise or cloud.

This is Cisco’s first commercial foray into LPWANs (low power, wide area networks), a new generation of infrastructure designed for devices that are too small and power-constrained to use cellular.

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Google Fit is getting a visual overhaul with new widget and Android Wear faces [PCWorld]

Google Fit gets a major makeover in its latest app update.

Version 1.57 keeps a lot of the key capabilities of Google’s health tracking app the same, but the new look makes the experience a little more pleasant inside both the smartphone app and Wear watch face.

You’ll notice the goals and daily tracking screens are a lot flashier, with a new header image and other uses of color to amplify your details. You can add multiple goals in the landing page to see your progress, or lack thereof. The timeline is also easier to read with a darker color for the “active” minutes in the graph.

The floating action button is at the ready to let you add a new goal if there’s something else you want to keep close tabs on.

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Windows 10 reinstallation tip: How to reset your PC and keep your files [PCWorld]

Sometimes Windows needs a fresh start—maybe a program’s gone awry or a file’s been corrupted. Luckily, Windows 10 lets you do this with a few clicks.

Windows 10 has an option where you can reinstall Windows and wipe your programs, but it keeps your files intact. Note that this won’t get rid of any “bonus” bloatware programs your PC vendor put on your computer before you bought it—you’ll have to do that manually—but it will get rid of any software you or someone else installed afterward.

Even though Windows says it’ll keep your files intact, it always pays to back up your PC or at least the important files before you do anything like this.

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Senator stalls intelligence funding bill over surveillance concerns [PCWorld]

A U.S. senator has stalled an intelligence budget bill over concerns that it would expand surveillance while limiting oversight of it.

Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, has placed a hold on the 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act, saying the bill would allow the FBI, without a court order, to demand U.S. residents' email and Internet records from ISPs and other communications providers.

The bill would allow the FBI to obtain new records through the controversial National Security Letter program, which allows the FBI to collect phone and financial records through administrative subpoenas.

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Android's new Awareness APIs can give apps amazing context-aware powers [PCWorld]

Android apps are about to get smart behaviors based on the state of your phone. Google announced a fresh set of Awareness APIs (first announced at Google I/O) are now available for developers to use in the latest version of Google Play Services.

The Snapshot API allows an app to get information about you based on the “current context,” such as location and weather conditions. The Fence API looks for a certain set of conditions like the use of headphones or type of movement. Google says it’s similar to the Geofencing API, only a lot more flexible.

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Facebook takes a swing at Pinterest with Chrome extensions [PCWorld]

Facebook is doubling down on a feature it introduced last year that lets users save web content to a private space on the social network for future reference. The company has launched a Chrome extension that adds a “Save to Facebook” button to Google’s browser.

The extension allows people to save content to a private bookmark page on Facebook, which they can access from their profiles. On top of that, the social networking company also launched a Share on Facebook extension that allows users to share web pages with their friends by clicking another button inside Chrome.

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Leaked: Windows 10 Anniversary Update is coming August 2 [PCWorld]

Windows 10's Anniversary Update will happen August 2, if a press headline posted, and then pulled, from Microsoft's site is any indication. Spotted by Neowin Tuesday morning, the August 2 date would be four days after Windows 10's free upgrade deadline ends on July 29. 

The highly anticipated Anniversary Update will bring major improvements to Windows 10, which debuted almost a year ago on July 29, 2015. Windows 10 Insiders have received tastes of what's to come in preview builds released over the past months, and we already know what some of its best features will be.

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Office for Android gets home-screen shortcuts, other key features in update [PCWorld]

Microsoft keeps plugging away at its Office suite for Android. There are several key updates in the latest version that should help round out features you might have been missing.

One major catch-up is in the ability to pin a file to your home screen. It’s been a longstanding capability within Google Docs, and it’s definitely a good one to have if there’s a particular file you need to access regularly. 

word pin to home screen

Pin a file right to your home screen with the latest update to Word for Android.

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Facebook's new iOS-only features help you find events and post better photos [PCWorld]

Facebook’s iOS app leaves a lot to be desired. The News Feed is cluttered with content from people I don’t even know, to start. (Just because my friends like something doesn’t mean I want to see it.) But this week the big blue app has two new features for iPhone users, Slideshows and Featured Events, that will make the social network we can’t stop checking a little more fun to use.

Why this matters: Facebook is taking the work out of creating photo-heavy posts and finding cool events to go to, which are two of the main reasons many people even use Facebook. Making these processes easier will make the Facebook experience more, dare I say, delightful.

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IBM just found a way to turn toxic old smartphones into medical-grade plastic [PCWorld]

The technology industry's e-waste problem isn't expected to go away anytime soon, but IBM just made a discovery that could help. Researchers there have discovered a new recycling process that can turn the polycarbonates used to make smartphones and CDs into a nontoxic plastic that's safe and strong enough for medical use.

Polycarbonates are found not just in smartphones and CDs but also LED screens, Blu-ray players, eyeglass lenses, kitchen utensils, and household storage gear. Unfortunately, they're known to leach BPA as they decompose over time, and there's considerable concern about the effects of that chemical on the brain.

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Microsoft Sway gets its first paid features [PCWorld]

After a year on the market, Microsoft’s Sway presentation software has received features available to paying customers.

Office 365 subscribers will be able to lock their Sway presentations with passwords, load them up with more multimedia content, and conceal the software they used to make them with an update that Microsoft announced Tuesday.

That last feature will be an important change for users who don’t want to have a big banner at the end of their presentations saying they were made with Microsoft Sway. This change means that the presentation software will be more useful for creating shareable, public-facing documents that are either presented live or published to the web.

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Dell's monstrous 70-inch touchscreen monitor takes aim at Microsoft's Surface Hub [PCWorld]

Dell's following Microsoft down the path of mega-displays with a new 70-inch touchscreen called the Dell 70 Interactive Conference Room Monitor (ICRM).

The monitor isn’t nearly the size of Microsoft’s 4K 84-inch monster, the Surface Hub. It’s also a somewhat unfair comparison since the Surface Hub is basically a giant tablet, whereas Dell’s ICRM is just a monitor.

Nevertheless, the parallels between the devices are clear as both are meant to replace standard and interactive whiteboards in the conference or classroom.

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Thousands of hacked CCTV devices used in DDoS attacks [PCWorld]

Attackers have compromised more than 25,000 digital video recorders and CCTV cameras and are using them to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against websites.

One such attack, recently observed by researchers from Web security firm Sucuri, targeted the website of one of the company’s customers: a small bricks-and-mortar jewelry shop.

The attack flooded the website with about 50,000 HTTP requests per second at its peak, targeting what specialists call the application layer, or layer 7. These attacks can easily cripple a small website because the infrastructure typically provisioned for such websites can handle only a few hundred or thousand connections at the same time.

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Cloud consortium says simpler EU electronic signature rules aren't simple enough [PCWorld]

European Union rules for electronic signatures change on Friday to make a clear distinction between the identity of the person signing, and that of the authority guaranteeing the integrity of the data, but the technology needs to be still simpler, vendors say.

The new rules are intended to simplify the process of electronically signing contracts between businesses, or between businesses and persons, and across international borders where different and often incompatible electronic signature rules apply today.

But while the new rules will simplify the legal environment, today's technical environment makes it too difficult to create and securely manage digital identities, according to the Cloud Signature Consortium.

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Microsoft backs off sneaky Windows 10 upgrade tricks with simple new pop-up [PCWorld]

The Technomancer review: This sci-fi epic is skin deep [PCWorld]

The worst kind of open world is an empty one.

It’s a theme in The Technomancer, a game that so desperately wants to be a vast and sprawling RPG but never quite manages in that regard—except when it comes to sheer space, of which there is quite a bit. And so, after spending seventeen hours with The Technomancer ($45 on Steam) and seeing the credits roll, I’d guess probably a third of it was just me mindlessly running across a map while checking my phone.



Technically a sequel to Mars: War Logs, The Technomancer puts you in the role of Zachariah Mancer—one of the titular Technomancers, a.k.a. a guy who can shoot electricity out of his body. If you haven’t played Mars: War Logs (and I hadn’t), the gist is that humanity colonized Mars but then lost touch with Earth, and those who were left on the Red Planet split into a bunch of competing corporate oligarchies.

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Wink Relay’s newest features take the touchscreen control panel beyond the smart home [PCWorld]

Not familiar with the Wink Relay? It’s an in-wall smart-home controller that you can install yourself. It takes the place of an in-wall light switch, connects to your Wi-Fi network, and can control smart lighting, thermostats, door locks, and other devices via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or ZigBee. With today’s firmware update, you’ll also be able to use its 4.3-inch touchscreen to call an Uber, monitor your step count as tracked by your Fitbit fitness tracker, and trigger IFTTT recipes. Wink has also activated the Relay’s onboard mic and speaker, so you can use multiple Relays as an intercom system.

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Microsoft's open sourcing of .NET hits a major milestone [PCWorld]

Microsoft’s open source programming language push reached a new milestone Monday, with the company announcing the general availability of .NET Core and ASP.NET Core 1.0.

Those two projects are an attempt by Microsoft to make the core elements of its programming language available for use on Linux and OS X, operating systems that previously didn’t support it. To reach this milestone, more than 18,000 developers, representing 1,300 companies, contributed to .NET Core.

It’s all part of Microsoft’s push to make .NET into a development platform that developers can use across platforms, whether on the desktop, on servers, or on mobile. To that end, the tech giant earlier this year acquired Xamarin, which makes a set of tools allowing developers to build mobile apps across iOS and Android using .NET, too.

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Tensions rise over LTE butting in on Wi-Fi channels [PCWorld]

The fight over LTE networks sharing channels with Wi-Fi appears to be heating up.

The Wi-Fi Alliance says that by September there will be a way to test whether an LTE device can get along with Wi-Fi. But Qualcomm, one of the biggest backers of LTE-U (LTE-Unlicensed), is demanding those tests immediately.

The latest disagreement arose after a workshop held last Wednesday, the latest in a series aimed at crafting a test plan for coexistence between the two technologies. That test plan, which is designed for new products that use LTE in unlicensed bands, will be finished and verified by late September, WFA said.

That’s at least a month later than some earlier forecasts. Test development has taken a long time because it’s an unprecedented project and the tests still need to be validated, WFA marketing vice president Kevin Robinson said.

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Lightning strikes Outlook in latest Salesforce-Microsoft integration [PCWorld]

Microsoft's Outlook.com is used by some 400 million users around the world, so it's only natural that Salesforce wants its own software to play nicely with it. On Tuesday, the CRM giant announced a big step in that direction.

The latest in a series of integrations resulting from the two-year-old partnership between Salesforce and Microsoft, Lightning for Outlook is an add-in that promises to let salespeople tailor their inboxes with smooth access to customer relationship management (CRM) data whenever they need it.

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Backblaze wants to eliminate tape-based storage [PCWorld]

Online backup company Backblaze made waves last year when it announced a beta test last year of B2, a new public cloud storage service that would be cheaper than competing offerings from Amazon and Microsoft.

B2 has now exited beta with some new features that may make it more appealing to business users. It now has a service level agreement guaranteeing 99.9 percent uptime for all data stored within it, matching the baseline offerings from Amazon Web Services’ S3 and Microsoft Azure’s Blob Storage service.

In addition, users can now purchase expanded support from Backblaze, which will give them guaranteed rapid responses to support questions and – at the highest level – access to a phone number for around-the-clock support.

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Huawei MateBook review: Hip, hip Huawei is just a little too stylish for its own good [PCWorld]

Leather accents, a vibrant display, strong lines: Huawei clearly envisioned its MateBook as not just a luxurious convertible tablet, but as a fashion accessory. But a flimsy folding kickstand is just one of the flaws threatening to bring the whole ensemble crashing down.

While the 12-inch MateBook communicates a premium experience, prices begin at just $699 for a Core m3-based model with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, though the obligatory MateBook Portfolio keyboard is $129 more. At most, you’ll pay $1,199 for a Core m5 version with 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.

Optional accessories include the $59 MatePen as well as the $89 MateDock. Given that the MateBook’s only native expansion capability is a single USB-C port, however, I wouldn’t classify the MateDock as optional. Add together the price of the tablet, keyboard, and dock, and the minimum price you’ll pay increases from $699 to a more realistic $976. Our review unit's MSRP is $849 before accessories.

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Five tips to help you get the most out of Google Play Music [PCWorld]

Google has built a top-notch music service, though you have to know how everything works to get the best experience.

How greed could destroy the ransomware racket [PCWorld]

Ransomware scam artists have a good thing going. They infect some computers and inflict a distasteful—but ultimately logical—choice on the victims: Pay up or lose your data.

Ransoms can be an expensive lesson for most. Many consumers opt not to pay and rely on whatever backups they have. Businesses often pay—an act that may require dealing with Bitcoin markets as well as feeling like a chump. Yet, even the FBI has said it understands when victims pay.

Ransomware rules, broken

The fleecing of Kansas Heart Hospital may change that.

After the hospital paid ransom to get its data back, the criminals who had infected the hospital’s network refused to give the business all the keys to the data. Instead, they asked for more money, and the hospital—after consulting with its security advisors—did not pay, according to an article in local media.

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Trump’s Declaration of Independence [Power LinePower Line]

(John Hinderaker)

Today Donald Trump delivered a major speech on the economy in Pennsylvania, titled “Declaring America’s Economic Independence.” You can read the speech, as prepared for delivery, here. These are my thoughts on it:

1) The fact that it is a prepared speech at all is good. Trump’s speeches during the primary season were generally stream of consciousness riffs, and he often has gotten into trouble while ad libbing. He needs the discipline of a prepared text to keep him on message and avoid foolish distractions.

2) The speech previews themes which I think will be highly effective. Those themes aren’t new, of course, but Trump is now honing them and bringing them to a wider audience. Speeches like the one he delivered today will drive the Democrats crazy. They will denounce Trump as a demagogue and xenophobe, which means they are afraid voters will find him persuasive. Trump’s speech tells a story–a personal, populist story, with Hillary Clinton as one of the villains:

We are thirty miles from Steel City. Pittsburgh played a central role in building our nation.

The legacy of Pennsylvania steelworkers lives in the bridges, railways and skyscrapers that make up our great American landscape.

But our workers’ loyalty was repaid with betrayal.

Our politicians have aggressively pursued a policy of globalization – moving our jobs, our wealth and our factories to Mexico and overseas.

Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very wealthy. But it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache.

3) The speech was mostly about trade. Trump sounds very much like Dick Gephardt, circa 1988. He links the decline in American manufacturing jobs to currency devaluations and cheating by our trade partners, under the benign eye of the globalist financial elite represented by Hillary Clinton. I think Trump’s diagnosis is mostly wrong. The number of manufacturing jobs has declined due to constantly improving productivity, even as the value of goods manufactured in the U.S. is at an all-time high. Trump talks about dealing with “cheating” by trade partners and denounces specific deals (NAFTA and TPP) as bad for the U.S., but to the extent that manufacturing has grown more rapidly in some other countries, like China and Mexico, it is because of cheaper labor and less costly regulation. Trump implies, but doesn’t quite say, that he wants to impose high tariffs on manufactured goods. This would be a highly destructive policy, I think.

4) Still, Trump’s narrative contains a considerable kernel of truth. There is a globalist elite that doesn’t much care about the United States, and Hillary Clinton is its foremost representative in American politics (or will be when Barack Obama steps down). I think it is true that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a bad deal for America, and, in general, that we would be better served by tough negotiators who care about American interests. Most voters sense this, which is why Trump’s approach could be political dynamite:

[I]f we’re going to deliver real change, we’re going to have to reject the campaign of fear and intimidation being pushed by powerful corporations, media elites, and political dynasties.

The people who rigged the system for their benefit will do anything – and say anything – to keep things exactly as they are.

The people who rigged the system are supporting Hillary Clinton because they know as long as she is in charge nothing will ever change.

The inner cities will remain poor.

The factories will remain closed.

The borders will remain open.

The special interests will remain firmly in control.

Hillary Clinton and her friends in global finance want to scare America into thinking small – and they want to scare the American people out of voting for a better future.

My campaign has the opposite message.

I want you to imagine how much better your life can be if we start believing in America again.

At times, Trump is downright Reaganesque.

5) Once he gets away from trade, pretty much everything Trump says is sound, if vague:

We will make America the best place in the world to start a business, hire workers, and open a factory.

This includes massive tax reform to lift the crushing burdens on American workers and businesses.

We will also get rid of wasteful rules and regulations which are destroying our job creation capacity. Many people think that these regulations are an even greater impediment than the fact that we are one of the highest taxed nations in the world.

We are also going to fully capture America’s tremendous energy capacity. This will create vast profits for our workers and begin reducing our deficit. Hillary Clinton wants to shut down energy production and shut down the mines.

Altogether, it is a powerful message. I would like to see less emphasis on trade and more on regulation, but from a political standpoint, Trump’s formula will be effective.

What’s next for amnesty? [Power LinePower Line]

(Paul Mirengoff)

The Supreme Court’s 4-4 decision in the executive amnesty case means that the lower court’s ruling invalidating that amnesty is affirmed. Executive amnesty will not be granted while Obama is president.

What happens after that? If Donald Trump is elected, presumably there will be no mass amnesty. Trump is unpredictable, but probably not unpredictable enough to do amnesty.

In the more likely event that Hillary Clinton is elected, matters will be very different. As Ilya Somin suggests, she would likely be able to bring the executive amnesty issue before a Supreme Court populated by five liberal judges. Such a Court would almost certainly uphold the amnesty Obama tried to effectuate or one very much like it.

But there’s a different way — smarter and faith to the Constitution (if that matters to Clinton) — in which she could proceed. She could try for a much broader amnesty along the lines of the Rubio-Schumer legislation.

If Hillary is elected president, the Senate very likely will have a Democratic majority. It will then be quite possible to pass sweeping amnesty legislation. After all, such legislation passed a Republican controlled Senate a few years ago.

Perhaps there will be more Republican resistance next time. However, I imagine that the Dems could find the eight or so Republican votes necessary to reach 60. It’s also possible that a Democrat controlled Senate would do away with the filibuster.

The House blocked the Rubio-Schumer amnesty, but that was under the leadership of Speaker Boehner. Speaker Ryan strongly favors amnesty. So even if the Republicans hold the House, that body probably won’t be a barrier to a future amnesty.

In order to become Speaker, Ryan agreed not to bring amnesty up for a vote. However, the promise, as I understand it, was for a limited period. I doubt that it would bind Ryan during a Clinton presidency.

In sum, it is highly likely that a President Hillary Clinton would be able to sign immigration reform legislation offering amnesty to the vast majority of illegal immigrants presently in the country — not just the 40 to 50 percent thought to be encompassed by Obama’s amnesty. And remember, Obama’s excuse for his executive amnesty was that Congress wouldn’t act. That excuse probably won’t be available in a Clinton presidency.

Even so, Clinton will be tempted to do both amnesties — an immediate executive amnesty for millions and a general legislatively-enacted amnesty for millions more that kicks in over an extended period of time (as Rubio-Schumer provided for). Clinton, I imagine, will want to proceed this way. The Latino portion of her base will demand it. For all we know, Clinton may already have promised it.

This is where, one hopes, Paul Ryan would put his foot down. One hopes he would make it clear to Clinton that he will not allow a big immigration reform bill to come to a vote in the House if Clinton flouts Article I with an executive amnesty.

Would Ryan take such a stance? I have my doubts.

The House will select a Speaker next January. If the Republicans hold the House, there is very little chance the Speaker will be anyone other than Paul Ryan. Still, one hopes that a large number of Republican members will demand some assurances from Ryan about amnesty before electing him.

Will they do so? I have my doubts.

Brexit Week in Pictures [Power LinePower Line]

(Steven Hayward)

There’s just so much good material on Brexit piling up that it can’t wait for Saturday. So here’s “Brexit Week in Pictures.” Enjoy!

Brexit EU copy

Brexit rats copy Greece staying copy Brexit Cuck copy Washington Brexit copy Brexit wheat copy Brxit war copy Brexit Tea Party copy UK Spoiling Europe copy Trump Likes Brexit copy EU Going Down copy Brexpocalypse Not copy Henry VIII Brexit copy Brexit Dog copy Brexit Fimger copy Brexit escape copy Brexit Puzzle copy

EU Snctachers

EU Cabbage Regulations copy

And finally (okay, so there’s no gun, but this is close enough for Brexit work, as it explains why Brexit won):

Merkel v Hurley copy

Liberalism’s All-Purpose, Universal Scam [Power LinePower Line]

(Steven Hayward)

Fauntroy copyYou may have missed the story yesterday of the arrest over the weekend of civil rights bit player Walter Fauntroy, who returned over the weekend from what the Washington Post described as a “four-year sojourn in the Persian Gulf,” where he had fled to skip out on a $55,000 tab for an inauguration party he held for Barack Obama back in 2009:

In January 2012, Fauntroy left the United States after a bench warrant was issued for him to appear in Prince George’s County, Md., on a charge that he wrote a bad check for $55,000 to help pay for a 2009 ball he organized for President Obama’s first ­inauguration.

In a typically vague account, Fauntroy thought the entire matter had been “settled,” but a certain little detail jumps out from the copy:

In an interview last week from the United Arab Emirates, Fauntroy, 83, insisted that the issue was resolved. He said he was coming home because he missed his family and that he had finally obtained financing for his ­green-energy humanitarian projects around the world.

Always with the “green energy.” I think every politician caught with bribery cash, or $90,000 in a freezer, should instantly claim that it’s startup money for green energy projects. Humanitarian green energy projects—the best kind! It’s liberalism’s all-purpose, universal scam.

Once upon a time, liberal humanitarianism meant actually helping poor people. Now it means subsidized solar panels and windmills. I propose a new organization: NAAGP: National Association for the Advancement of Green People.

Benghazi report details Clinton’s malfeasance and nonfeasance [Power LinePower Line]

(Paul Mirengoff)

The House Select Committee on Benghazi has issued its report. The 800-page document is the result of an investigation that, according to the committee, encompassed 81 new witnesses and 75,000 pages of new documents.

The report covers every aspect of the Benghazi scandal — the “before,” the “during,” and multiple phases of the “after.” At Hot Air, Larry O’Connor provides a good summary and Ed Morrissey homes in on the report’s finding that Hillary Clinton’s aide, Cheryl Mills, exercised undue influence over the Accountability Review Board (ARB) that investigated (sort of) Benghazi. This was malfeasance.

Hillary Clinton, of course, figures heavily in nearly all aspects the Benghazi scandal, especially the “before” and “after” phases. With respect to “before,” the question has always been why Clinton didn’t beef up security at the Benghazi complex, as she was implored to do by those on the ground.

Clinton told the Committee that she was aware of the dangers in Libya but “there was no actionable intelligence” indicating a planned attack. But why was intelligence of a “planned attack” a prerequisite for ensuring the safety of U.S. personnel? An unplanned attack, which Clinton maintained the Benghazi was, would likely imperil our people as much as a planned one.

The issue shouldn’t have been “planned vs. unplanned,” but rather likelihood of either sort of attack.

The Committee found that intelligence was available suggesting an attack was possible and that Clinton and a top aide, Patrick Kennedy, should have realized the risks posed to the Benghazi mission by extremist groups. “It is not clear what additional intelligence would have satisfied either Kennedy or the Secretary in understanding the Benghazi mission compound was at risk — short of an attack,” the report states.

It should be clear that Clinton was guilty of nonfeasance.

Two members of the Committee, Reps. Jim Jordan and Mike Pompeo, issued a statement of additional views. It’s 48 pages, and well worth reading.

Here is their summary of conclusions:

I. The First Victim of War is Truth: The administration misled the public about the events in Benghazi

Officials at the State Department, including Secretary Clinton, learned almost in real time that the attack in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. With the presidential election just 56 days away, rather than tell the people the truth and increase the risk of losing an election, the administration told one story privately and a different story publicly. They publicly blamed the deaths on a video-inspired protest they knew never occurred.

II. Last Clear Chance: Security in Benghazi was woefully inadequate and Secretary Clinton failed to lead

The State Department has many posts but Libya and Benghazi were different. After Qhaddafi, the U.S. knew that we could not count on host nation security in a country where militias held significant power. The American people expect that when the government sends our representatives into such dangerous places, they receive adequate protection.

Secretary Clinton paid special attention to Libya. She sent Ambassador Stevens there. Yet, in August 2012, she missed the last clear chance to protect her people.

III. Failure of Will: America did not move heaven and earth to rescue our people

The American people expect their government to make every effort to help those we put in harm’s way when they find themselves in trouble. The U.S. military never sent assets to help rescue those fighting in Benghazi and never made into Libya with personnel during the attack. And, contrary to the administration’s claim that it could not have landed in Benghazi in time to help, the administration never directed men or machines into Benghazi.

IV. Justice Denied: The administration broke its promise to bring the terrorists to justice

After the attacks, President Obama promised “justice will be done.” There is no doubt our nation can make good on that commitment. Yet, almost four years later, only one of the terrorists has been captured and brought to the United States to face criminal charges. Even that terrorist will not receive the full measure of justice after the administration chose not to seek the death penalty. The American people are owed an explanation.

V. Unanswered Questions: The administration did not cooperate with the investigation

Despite its claims, we saw no evidence that the administration held a sincere interest in helping the Committee find the truth about Benghazi. There is a time of politics and a time to set politics. A national tragedy is one of those times when as a nation we should join together to find the truth.

That did not happen here. So while the investigation uncovered new information, we nonetheless end the Committee’s investigation without many of the facts, especially those involving the President and White House, we were chartered to obtain.

The House Select Committee on Benghazi has been criticized by many on both sides of the political spectrum. But I think it should be commended for the difficult task it performed. The Committee’s legacy won’t be confined to uncovering the Clinton email scandal — a major accomplishment. It will also be its report.

Warren as Clinton’s Running Mate? [Wizbang]

The current political buzz concerns U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s future with Hillary Clinton. The question being asked is, “Will Warren become Clinton’s running mate.” Well, what if she does? Clearly, Clinton values Warren’s determination to take down Donald Trump, as indicted by a CBS story: “Warren’s willingness to take on Trump, who has made her his target just as often, has also been valuable for Clinton on the campaign trail.” Over at The Hill, Niall Stanage writes, “By tapping Warren, Clinton could go a long way to reassuring progressives, including those who vigorously supported Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during the

SNP Celebrate England Out of Europe [Guido Fawkes]

According to the EyeSpy.MP Twitter account, this video purportedly shows Scots Nats celebrating England being knocked out of the Euros last night. Happy with us leaving Europe…

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Boris and May Neck and Neck [Guido Fawkes]


This is the much awaited Conservative Home poll of party members – Boris and T-May are neck and neck. May’s allies are confident she can win with the members. But Boris has the personality and was the hero of Brexit…

The post Boris and May Neck and Neck appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

Leadsom Waiting For Boris to Offer Her Chancellor [Guido Fawkes]

Boris’ Telegraph column in which he appeared to endorse free movement has left him with work to do to convince Leave MPs he will deliver on Brexit. Today his allies are insisting he would end free movement. But some unconvinced Leave MPs are encouraging Andrea Leadsom to stand as the ‘true Brexit candidate’. As of 5pm this afternoon Leadsom hasn’t decided if she’s running – she is waiting to see whether Boris will offer her Chancellor. There are advantages to this for both sides: it would assuage concerns among Leavers about whether a Boris government would deliver on Brexit. It is also probably more realistic for Andrea than winning the leadership herself. Will an overture be made or will Andrea confirm she is standing?

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#ToryLeadership at the 5pm Closing Bell [Guido Fawkes]


Leadsom said to be haggling before announcing. Check the names here order-order.com/condec

The post #ToryLeadership at the 5pm Closing Bell appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

Corbyn Loses No Confidence Vote 172-40 [Guido Fawkes]


Corbyn has lost the no confidence vote 172 to 40. 40 is enough to fill a shadow cabinet, and with a few MEPs enough to get him on the ballot…

The post Corbyn Loses No Confidence Vote 172-40 appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

Seumas’ Bad Idea [Guido Fawkes]

What is it with Team Jez and letting the cameras in?

The post Seumas’ Bad Idea appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

Obama Cautions Against Brexit Hysteria [Guido Fawkes]

Project Fear was “hysteria” says the man who would put Britain at the back of the queue. Shocker…

The post Obama Cautions Against Brexit Hysteria appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

Tracking #ToryLeadership Campaign 2016 [Guido Fawkes]


We are starting to compile the spreadsheet for who is backing whom in the Tory Leadership Campaign. The rules are that the parliamentary party selects two MPs to be put to the membership. Our spreadsheet will be populated as and when information comes in.

The shock in Downing Street when Guido revealed 100+ MPs were backing Brexit shows that public crowd-sourcing can be more effective than old fashioned whipping. It is therefore in the interests of the respective campaigns to let us know ASAP if they want to demonstrate momentum – they know that Tory MPs constitute the most sophisticated electorate on earth. Gaming their promises to would-be patrons is in their blue blood. The political version of snakes and ladders depends on how they roll the dice, it is a career-defining decision. This is Guido’s way of giving those who don’t have any say in the candidates for next PM a window into the semi-democratic process…

111 nominations automatically puts you into the final 2 (one-third of the parliamentary party plus 1). If a candidate starts pulling ahead towards that figure, they’ll get big early momentum. We begin with Boris with more declared MPs: www.order-order.com/condec

MPs, constituents and campaign managers who want to correct the record should email team@order-order.com.

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Happy Brexit Ma’am [Guido Fawkes]


Is it just Guido or does the Queen’s smile in this latest photograph look broader than usual? Happy Brexit ma’am!

The post Happy Brexit Ma’am appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

Farage Victory Speech to European Parliament [Guido Fawkes]

“You’re quite right Mr Schulz; UKIP used to protest against the establishment, and now the establishment protests against UKIP.” He’s loving it…

The post Farage Victory Speech to European Parliament appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

Labour Coup Day 3: #SaveJez [Guido Fawkes]


Here we go, rolling resignations and other Labour Party news:

  • 18:48 Liz McInnes resigns as Shadow Communities and Local Government Minister.
  • 17:06 Kevin Brennan stands down as Shadow Business Minister.
  • 17:27 Clive Efford quits as Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Minister.
  • 17:13 Christina Rees resigns as Shadow Justice Minister.
  • 16:46 Lynn Brown quits as Shadow Home Office Minister.
  • 11:30 Alan Whitehead resigns as Shadow Energy Minister.
  • 10:12 Barbara Keeley and Andrew Gwynne have resigned from the shadow health team now headed by Diane Abbott.
  • 09:35 Andy Slaughter resigns as Shadow Justice Minister.

The polls are now open. Jeremy Corbyn is facing a motion of no confidence. It is not going to be close…

See yesterday’s resignations here

The post Labour Coup Day 3: #SaveJez appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

MPs Complain to ’22 Over May Whipping Operation [Guido Fawkes]

Tory MPs have angrily complained to 1922 committee chairman Graham Brady after government whips spent yesterday calling up canvassing support for Theresa May. Mel Stride, Julian Smith and Simon Kirby are allegedly leading a whipping operation on behalf of Theresa May from the Whips’ Office. Their phone calls have not been received well…

UPDATE: Official complaint now made by Graham Brady to chief whip Mark Harper.

Stephen Crabb is running on a joint ticket with Sajid Javid. The flaw with ‘Crabbid’ is pretty obvious: Crabb is an honest Remainer and Javid is a careerist switcher who is sadly now despised by his former fans. Their USP of “we’re not posh” is not so appealing in the shires. A double Remainer ticket will not fly with the Leave Tory membership…

George Osborne says unsurprisingly that he’s not running. Jeremy Hunt is touring the breakfast TV studios telling everyone he is seriously considering running. His campaign slogan “Leave another day” brings his hopes to a screeching end before he got going…

The post MPs Complain to ’22 Over May Whipping Operation appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

Midori Ubuntu smartphone tipped in bug chats [Full Circle Magazine]

A new smartphone running the Ubuntu operating system appears to be in the works carrying codename Midori. The first grumblings about the new device have surfaced from a bug report about a trust prompt issues with the device via the Ubuntu Touch IRC and on Launch Pad. According to the chatter, the trust prompt issue causes the mystery Midori device and the MX4 to reboot.
In that bug chat at some point, Pat McGowan, Director of Engineering at Canonical says, “This will block Midori rc.” RC is a release candidate for those unfamiliar with the abbreviation and is talking about the release candidate channel for Ubuntu Touch images.
The Midori name comes from the Dragon Ball magna franchise and keeps with the naming convention for previous Ubuntu devices that have carried character names from the same franchise. Previously there have been devices codenamed Krillin, Arale, Vegeta, Turbo, Frieza, Cooler, and now Midori. The manufacturer of the device is believed to be Meizu right now.

Source: http://www.slashgear.com/midori-ubuntu-smartphone-tipped-in-bug-chats-27445951/
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

Canonical Patches Seven Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities in Ubuntu 16.04, Update Now [Full Circle Magazine]

According to Ubuntu Security Notice USN-3016-1, a total of seven Linux kernel vulnerabilities have been discovered and fixed in the upstream Linux 4.4 LTS kernel by various developers. Therefore, Canonical updated the kernel packages for its Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) release to version linux-image-4.4.0-28 (4.4.0-28.47).
Among the patches, we can notice validation issues with Linux kernel’s netfilter implementation, an information leak in the core USB implementation, an information leak in the timer handling implementation, an information leak in the X.25 Call Request handling, and a bug in the Transparent Inter-process Communication (TIPC) implementation.
Detailed information and the respective CVEs are available in the security notice for your reading pleasure. The issues affect Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and all of its official derivatives, including Kubuntu 16.04 LTS, Xubuntu 16.04 LTS, Lubuntu 16.04 LTS, Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS, Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 LTS, Ubuntu Kylin 16.04 LTS, and Ubuntu Studio 16.04 LTS.

Source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/canonical-patches-seven-linux-kernel-vulnerabilities-in-ubuntu-16-04-update-now-505720.shtml
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

Since it’s on a marquee, it must be happening. [kevin w murphy]

Since it’s on a marquee, it must be happening.

Does “Hamilton” have a meat raffle room?? I think... [Conor Lastowka]

Does “Hamilton” have a meat raffle room?? I think not! The RiffTrax Live MST3K Reunion show is tonight!

Film on Librarian Josh Hanagarne Wins Utah's Best Short Film [LISNews:]


Competition winners are listed at the Utah Arts Festival site. Congrats to the World's Strongest Librarian!!

Background seed: Eglanauth. [Moe Lane]

Blame this.

Eglanauth (High Elven Holiday)
Alternate name: Lanath, Elves’ Laugh, Night of Nonsense (All Human Common names)
Date: The first new moon after the spring equinox.

The Elves have celebrated Eglanauth for as long as non-Elves can remember; whether they themselves remember when they started the holiday is an open question.  Whenever the subject comes up, an Elf will typically adopt a slightly puzzled expression, and then say that he has forgotten.  The suspicious uniformity of this response suggests that Elves find the question itself highly funny.

Eglanauth is traditionally the day when Elves officially ‘forget’ things.  Sometimes it’s for forever – which is a long time for a species immune to old age – and sometimes it’s just for the night. Either way, it’s a fairly vigorous Night of Misrule for Elves: traditionally, you can say anything you want to anybody you want, without permanent consequences. In practice, there are several significant caveats to this rule, but Elves take it generally very seriously.

In fact, it’s about the only thing about this holiday that they do take seriously.  There’s a particular ritual that Elves go through in order to forgive quarrels and disputes: one Elf will mention a particular event or action involving a second Elf (one that was usually to the second Elf’s detriment); the second Elf will say something along the lines of I don’t remember that happening; and then the first Elf will say something along the lines of Then it never did. After that, the first Elf gives the second a gift of some sort, value unofficially but quite tangibly determined by the original transgression. And that ends that particular dispute or quarrel, permanently.

Eglanauth can be a rather surprising event for non-Elves who aren’t familiar with the species; it can get remarkably raucous. It’s made more so by the detail that traditionally Elves will try to make sure that at least some non-Elves are around for the celebration.  As the Elves themselves put it: Perriannath an-madeth, Anfang an-sogad, Adanath an-hendcared.  Freely translated, it means: Hobbits for the eating, Dwarves for the drinking, and Humans for the… and then somebody traditionally interrupts the Elf offering the translation.  Elves apparently find that joke highly funny, too.

Dammit, somebody take away Zack Snyder’s black crayon. [Moe Lane]

This is getting absurd.

In order:

  • Aquaman… is not so horrible, actually. They’re going with a Pacific Islander look there, which is workable. But it really does need more, and I can’t believe that I’m saying this, bright orange.  You could, say, color the leather chest thing, which could then double as water rescue gear.
  • Batman needs more contrast so that the bat symbol THAT HE PUT ON HIS CHEST SO THAT BAD PEOPLE WOULD SHOOT AT IT AND NOT HIS HEAD (thank you, Frank Miller) is instantly visible.
  • Superman traditionally has a curl in front and bright, happy colors for a reason. This version looks like the Nazis won World War II and Clark Kent grew up in a world where they and the USA were locked in an uneasy stalemate for fifty years.
  • Wonder Woman’s costume would be fine in a standalone, but it’s not working for me here. On the other hand, she’s blindingly hot anyway. On the gripping hand, since they’re doing a standalone movie they should set it in the past and she should be dressed more brightly there.
  • The Flash… is not Iron Man.  Please do not dress him like that; and if you cannot see his icon on first glance (I could not) then redraw the entire picture.
  • Cyborg has one absolutely fundamental flaw in this costume design: virtually all of it could be hidden underneath even a mildly tailored suit. Gee, not that that would have any effect on the guy’s ability to reconnect with society after his accident.

…Comics. They’re comics. Originally designed for children.  It’s OK to use tints instead of shades when you’re doing the coloring.

Hey, you want a moment of mixed screaming fear / BLINDING, ALL-CONSUMING RAGE? [Moe Lane]

Here you go: ‘Back to the Future reboot.’ Which is apparently NOT HAPPENING; it was a joke done by this webcomic.  I mention this because I just spent five minutes frantically checking the Internet making sure that this movie would not happen, because I couldn’t figure out why they hadn’t tried this [expletive deleted] already.  It turns out it’s because Bob Gale (co-writer, co-producer) and Robert Zemeckis (co-writer, director) literally said “Over our dead bodies:”

Back in June [2015], the Oscar-winning director told the UK Telegraph that in regards to rebooting the Back To The Future trilogy onscreen, “That can’t happen until both Bob (Gale) and I are dead. And then I’m sure they’ll do it, unless there’s a way our estates can stop it.”

So that’s pretty much that.

Moe Lane

PS: I dunno why I freaked out over this and not about a Ghostbusters reboot, either.

Tweet of the Day, I Don’t Think I Was Supposed To React To This Positively edition. [Moe Lane]

I have an officially private opinion on the entire Brexit thing, but: there are worse ways to write weekly columns.

I am particularly taken by the “come up with the absolutely most HORRIBLE idea possible for your column” idea: it sounds like an excellent way to get a handle on what you actually think and then crank out a column accordingly. I may try that the next time I’m stuck for a new idea for a gaming article. Those things are sometimes harder to write than you think; and it’s remarkably easy to write something that’s essentially a duplicate of the piece that you forgot that you wrote six months ago. One of the hidden quirks of this job.

‘I am the very model of a modern Major-General.’ [Moe Lane]

One of the few nice things about living so close to Dizzy City is that there are a couple of very good G&S production companies.

Sorry, got caught up in the latest Charlie Stross. [Moe Lane]

It’s pretty good so far, but it’s also what I’m doing in lieu of creative and/or… well, actually, ‘creative’ work is all that there really is left these days, huh?  Anyway, I’m enjoying The Nightmare Stacks, but I generally do enjoy Stross’s books anyway. Especially when I get them early.

Need some thoughts on a campaign seed. [Moe Lane]

The basic premise would be: some time in the last hundred to fifty years a fairly epic clandestine war was fought inside the US government (and others too, I suppose).  Once it was over, what evidence still remained of that war was carefully buried – literally, in some places – and the survivors made sure that no information would surface in their lifetimes.  And it worked! – But now everyone involved in the original situation is dead, and nobody remembers why certain bunkers aren’t supposed to be occupied and why certain files should remain off-limits.  And the Macguffins that are inside them are still fairly potent, should they ever get out.

Anyway, I can see a story in that, sure. But would it be fun to game? – Because I’m not so certain that it would be.

Tweet of the Day, An Engineer Did That edition. [Moe Lane]

A bunch of engineers, in fact. Because engineers are cool that way. They keep… doing things.

And Now A Word On The Religion of Peace [The Jawa Report]

Brought to you by, Her Royal Clintoness.

Ministry of Irony: Muammar Gaddafi Saved More Lives in Benghazi Than Crooked Hillary [The Jawa Report]

Spike that football Hillary.

Funny, because Gaddafi's men where the ONLY ones who showed up to help Americans when Islamic State and Asnar al-Sharia attacked our embassy and murdered Ambassador Stevens.

The long-awaited House committee report on the 2012 Benghazi attacks revealed a striking irony: In the end, the forces that came to evacuate State Department and CIA officers that night were not fellow Americans, but a secret unit of former military officers from the Qaddafi regime that Washington – and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – had helped overthrow.

Their intervention, according to the report, likely saved “over two dozen lives.”

“In other words, some of the very individuals the United States had helped remove from power during the Libyan revolution were the only Libyans that came to the assistance of the United States on the night of the Benghazi attacks,” the report said.

Its almost as if they had a meeting in the Obama Administration to find out what would be good for America, then made sure they did the opposite.

Sandcrawler PSA: Use What The Good Lord Gave You [The Jawa Report]

Hey and if what he have you is a really nice set of boobs, you're as good as hired.

But maybe conventional wisdom has been leading us astray. According to new research from Paris-Sorbonne University, showing a bit of skin during the recruitment process can help a woman clinch a job interview.

Jawa File Image of Leading Candidate

Here’s the deal: over a period of three years, researchers responded to hundreds of job ads using two fictional female candidates: both had nearly identical resumes and experience, but one wore a low-cut top in her application photograph (commonly used when applying for jobs in France), while the other wore a conservative high-neck blouse. Can you guess which one attracted more interview offers? Yep. Researchers found that more cleavage = more interest from recruiters.

Man Violently Attacked By So-Called "Anti-Fascists" While Police Stand By And Watch [The Jawa Report]

I don't know which is more disturbing, that these liberal fascists think it is okay to attack someone like that, or that the police did nothing until the last moment, and then allowed the attackers to walk away.



More below the fold.

Sandcrawler PSA: Hillary Was NEVER A Hippie [The Jawa Report]

Crooked Hillary Hippie H8er!

When you really think about it Hillary is against everything a real hippie is for.

Free Speech, Truth, Living free with no Federal interference, M-TV, Drugs:

The Clintons’ War on Drugs: When Black Lives Didn’t Matter

Most shockingly, the total numbers of state and federal inmates grew more rapidly under Bill Clinton than under any other president, including the notorious Republican drug warriors Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush. This fact alone should at least make one pause before granting unquestioning fealty to Hillary

Crooked Hillary Called Benghazi Rescue Over Uniforms Then Lied About it To Save Face [The Jawa Report]

Because Lord forbid the Libyans deduce from the Marine's uniform that the United States was behind the rescue of Americans.

For some reason, the Obama administration was having a debate over apparel while Americans were fighting for their lives in Benghazi, Libya. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), a member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, revealed as much to radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday morning before the committee released its final report.

Combat Marines were ordered in and out of uniform four times before finally launching their rescue effort, Pompeo explained. Apparently the State Department was worried about optics.

“The State Department didn’t want it to look like it was an invasion of Libya,” he said. “They were hypersensitive to looking like there were Americans coming into Libya....

Well Hillary is certainly heartless enough to be Czar.
Certain Corners of The Internet:
After two long years and much political drama surrounding their investigations, the House Select Committee on Benghazi released its final report Tuesday morning, showing, among other bombshells, that the YouTube video narrative was crafted in Washington by Obama administration appointees, and contradicted eyewitness accounts and real time reports from the attack.

One witness, an agent at the American outpost in Benghazi, told committee members that before the attack began he heard “some kind of chanting.” Immediately afterwards came explosions, gunfire, and dozens of people storming the compound. This series of events was backed up by a senior watch officer at State’s diplomatic security command, who, when asked whether a protest was seen or heard prior to the attack, answered: “zip, nothing, nada.” Rather, it was a “full on attack against our compound,” the officer said, according to the report.

Furthermore, the report details how then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seems to have known immediately that the attack was a result of terrorism, not a YouTube video, despite claiming this to be the case publicly.

But what difference at this point does it make that she lied, and lied about lying. I mean she's only running for President?

Hakeem Oluseyi [The Nerdist]

Hakeem Oluseyi (astrophysicist) talks to Chris about how he got his start in science, hosting science shows on TV, and how they are finding ways to travel through space faster. They then talk about how diverse the universe is, how he went from being in gangs to being a scientist, giving kids a chance to learn science who might not learn it elsewhere, and changing the world of science for other black scientists.

Court of Appeals Judge: The Constitution Is Old School, Don’t Waste Your Time [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest by Dana]

At least there’s no question about where Judge Richard Posner stands:

And on another note about academia and practical law, I see absolutely no value to a judge of spending decades, years, months, weeks, day, hours, minutes, or seconds studying the Constitution, the history of its enactment, its amendments, and its implementation (across the centuries—well, just a little more than two centuries, and of course less for many of the amendments). Eighteenth-century guys, however smart, could not foresee the culture, technology, etc., of the 21st century. Which means that the original Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the post–Civil War amendments (including the 14th), do not speak to today. David Strauss is right: The Supreme Court treats the Constitution like it is authorizing the court to create a common law of constitutional law, based on current concerns, not what those 18th-century guys were worrying about.

In short, let’s not let the dead bury the living.

I get the impression that the Constitution is being viewed as little more than a pesky, antiquated and unnecessary hindrance to power that must be shrugged off. How ironic when you consider the vast number of Americans who respect the Constitution and study it themselves because they are concerned about the rule of law as well as potential abuse and overreach of the courts and the state and yet, be reminded that those whose job entails rendering decisions that actually impact the lives of Americans in profound ways, don’t necessarily hold the document and its contents with the same level of regard and respect.

Ironically, even Posner had to have sworn a certain oath when appointed to the bench:

I … do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as … under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.

This clearly explains why Posner’s view is so problematic:

The Constitution isn’t the most magnificent governmental document in history because the founders were clairvoyant about technological development or evolution of culture. It’s magnificent because it is based on eternal principles, understanding of unchanging human nature. The Federalist Papers make virtually no mention of the technology of the eighteenth century, but they are replete with references to historic republics, human nature, and the necessity of local governance versus distant bureaucracy.

The Constitution protects our freedoms because, first, it assumes that our freedoms do not spring from government; second, because it assumes that people are vain and ambitious; and third, because it assumes that a government handed over to people, unchecked, will result in tyranny.

Tyranny. Absolutely. The writers of the Constitution may not have had much foresight into 21st century technology and culture, but what they did know was that human nature never changes, and that the natural man has an inherent thirst for power. That has never changed nor is it likely to. While everything around us might change over time, man doesn’t. For better or worse.

The Constitution was created to stop oligarchs like Posner from ruling over us by deeming himself a higher moral authority than the people based on his personal value system. But that’s precisely why the left hates the Constitution: it’s an obstacle to their rule.

Interestingly, Posner, has been suggested as a possible replacement for the late Justice Scalia:

He is respected by judges, law professors and lawyers alike. He is the modern “Albert Einstein” of American law, and it has always been an embarrassment to the legal system that he is not a member of the Supreme Court. Imagine the NBA Hall of Fame without Michael Jordan: Richard Posner is the Michael Jordan of Law.

Three additional factors are important in supporting Posner’s selection. The judge is not a moderate but an iconoclast, with unique positions that neither political party fully supports: He supports same-sex marriage, is a conservative on economic matters, opposes the war on drugs, minimizes privacy and is famous for undertaking economic analysis of many issues. Everybody agrees with him sometimes and almost no one all the time.

Second, Posner is already 77 and is unlikely to serve for many decades given his age. The next President could conceivably name Posner’s successor.

Finally, and most importantly, the idea that one of the leading lights of law worldwide is a Supreme Court justice ought to make anyone who cares about the high court and the law proud to be an American.

Sure. Whatever. But, I say, let’s get real about this:



Select Committee On Benghazi Report Released [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest post by Dana]

The Benghazi Select Committee released its report this morning. While the New York Times is in full Hillary-defense mode on the front page: “2-Year Panel On Benghazi Ends, Finding No New Fault By Clinton,” Chairman Trey Gowdy gives Americans far more credit for their intelligence:

Now, I simply ask the American people to read this report for themselves, look at the evidence we have collected, and reach their own conclusions. You can read this report in less time than our fellow citizens were taking fire and fighting for their lives on the rooftops and in the streets of Benghazi.

The Weekly Standard provides a look at the supplemental “additional views” report, which lays out the devastating timeline confirming that the “Obama administration knowingly provided the American people a false story about the Benghazi attack, its causes and its consequences”. Who’s surprised? Lies, lies, and more lies:

9/11—Public Statements

Secretary Clinton’s 10:08 p.m. Statement on the Attack in Benghazi:

“I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today. * * * Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”

Secretary Clinton’s E-mail to daughter at 11:23 p.m.:

“Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Quedalike [sic] group[.]”

9/12—Public Statements

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on the Deaths of American Personnel in Benghazi, Libya morning of September 12, 2012:

“We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet.”

9/12—Private Statements

Summary of Discussion between Acting Assistant Secretary Beth Jones and Libyan Ambassador Aujali at 9:45 a.m.:

“I told him that the group that conducted the attacks—Ansar Al Sharia—is affiliated with Islamic extremists.”

Jacob Sullivan in e-mail to embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan:

“There was not really violence in Egypt [and] “we are not saying that the violence in Libya erupted ‘over inflammatory videos.'”

Secretary Clinton’s Statements to Egyptian Prime Minister Kandil at 3:04 p.m.:

“We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack – not a protest. . . . Based on the information we saw today we believe the group that claimed responsibility for this was affiliated with al Qaeda.”

Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy to congressional staff briefing:

When asked whether “this [was] an attack under the cover of a protest” Kennedy said, “No the attack was a direct breaching attack.” More to the point, he was then asked whether “we believe [this was] coordinated with [the] Cairo [protests] to which Kennedy responded, “Attack in Cairo was a demonstration. There were no weapons shown or used. A few cans of spray paint.”

9/13—Public Statements

Secretary Clinton’s Morocco Remarks:

“I also want to take a moment to address the video circulating on the Internet that has led to these protests in a number of countries. * * *

To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage. But as I said yesterday, there is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence. * * *

Violence, we believe, has no place in religion and is no way to honor religion. Islam, like other religions, respects the fundamental dignity of human beings, and it is a violation of that fundamental dignity to wage attacks on innocents. As long as there are those who are willing to shed blood and take innocent life in the name of God, the world will never know a true and lasting peace. It is especially wrong for violence to be directed against diplomatic missions. . . .

Stephen Hayes makes two solid points in light of the report:

What makes #Benghazi report so damaging to WH/Clinton, it’s not Gowdy/GOP opinions, it’s WH/State/CIA own documents/emails/testimony.


Key unanswered question in #Benghazi report: Why were assets not deployed even after Obama/Panetta gave orders to send them?

Could it have been the result of yet another moment of fretful indecision?

The report also found that a State official brought up a question about whether Marines should wear civilian clothing instead of their uniforms. Under secretary of State for management Patrick Kennedy told investigators he wanted to ensure that security was enhanced, not hurt by flags on the uniforms of any U.S. military presence.

But, one commander told the committee that as they were readying themselves to deploy they kept having to change in and out of their uniforms four times.

No rescue. Four dead Americans. No big deal.


Judge Cornelius “Forget Brandenburg” Vaughey Formally Reprimanded [Patterico's Pontifications]

Remember Judge Cornelius Vaughey? He’s the judge who unconstitutionally found Aaron Walker had violated a peace order simply by blogging about convicted bomber and perjurer Brett Kimberlin. (The silly decision was later reversed.) Mark Steyn, in typically colorful language, said at the time: “Judge Vaughey comes across as a near parodic combination of bluster, ignorance and narcissism.” Steyn cited a transcript which revealed that Vaughey had casually brushed aside over 40 years’ worth of Supreme Court precedent, and suggested that personal squabbles should be handled by a fistfight:

THE COURT: –You’ve decided to battle, and he comes back. And see, you’re — you — you’re the kind of guy, you don’t want to get into this to settle this, mano y mano. You want to get all these friends who got nothing else to do with their time, in this judge’s opinion, because — my God, I’m a little bit older than you are, and I haven’t got enough time in the day to do all the things I want to do. And I thought by retirement, I would have less to do. I got more! Because everybody knows I’m free! So they all come to me. But you, you are starting a — a conflagration, for lack of a better word, and you’re just letting the thing go recklessly no matter where it goes. I mean, you get some — and I’m going to use word I (ph) — freak somewhere up Oklahoma, got nothing better to do with his time, so he does the nastiest things in the world he can do to this poor gentleman. What right has that guy got to do it?

WALKER: He has no right to do that, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Well, he’s — you incited him.

WALKER: But, your honor, I did not incite him within the Brandenburg standard though.

THE COURT: Forget Bradenburg [sic]. Let’s go by Vaughey right now, and common sense out in the world. But you know, where I grew up in Brooklyn, when that stuff was pulled, it was settled real quickly.

WALKER: I’m not sure what that means, your honor.

THE COURT: –Very quickly. And I’m not going to talk about those ways, but boy, it ended fast. I even can tell you, when I grew up in my community, you wanted to date an Italian girl, you had to get the Italian boy’s permission. But that was the old neighborhoods back in the city. And it was really fair. When someone did something up there to you, your sister, your girlfriend, you got some friends to take them for a ride in the back of the truck.

He sounds like a Trump voter, doesn’t he?

I always see the ideal judge as a guy who pines for the good old days when insults were avenged by kidnapping the offending party for the purpose of delivering a group beating.

Anyway, this charming old codger has now been formally reprimanded by the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities, and you can read the reprimand here. It appears to center around Vaughey’s “impatient and disrespectful” attitude to Walker. Apparently, dismissing Supreme Court precedent with an airy wave of the hand, or suggesting that the proper way to handle matters was through a group assault, were less worthy of mention than Vaughey’s addressing Aaron Walker as “sport.” Still, the public reprimand is heartening to see.

If you’re looking to do (a lot) more reading on the background of this, Walker has the full backstory here.

Jose M. Calhariz: at daemon 3.1.20, with 3 fixes [Planet Debian]

From the Debian BUG system I incorporated 3 fixes. One of them is experimental. It fixes a broken code but may have side effects. Please test it.

  • New release 3.1.20:
   * Add option b to getopt, (Closes: #812972).
   * Comment a possible broken code, (Closes: #818508).
   * Add a fflush to catch more errors during writes, (Closes: #801186).

Paul Wise: DebCamp16 day 5 [Planet Debian]

Beat head against shiny cats (no animals were harmed). Discuss the spice of sillyness. Forward a wiki bounce to the person. Mention my gobby git mail cron job. Start adopting the adequate package. Discuss cats vs licensecheck with Jonas. Usual spam reporting. Review wiki RecentChanges. Whitelisted one user in the wiki anti-spam system. Finding myself longing for a web technology. Shudder and look at the twinklies.

John Goerzen: A great day for a flight with the boys [Planet Debian]

I tend to save up my vacation time to use in summer for family activities, and today was one of those days.

Yesterday, Jacob and Oliver enjoyed planning what they were going to do with me. They ruled out all sorts of things nearby, but they decided they would like to fly to Ponca City, explore the oil museum there, then eat at Enrique’s before flying home.

Of course, it is not particularly hard to convince me to fly somewhere. So off we went today for some great father-son time.

The weather on the way was just gorgeous. We cruised along at about a mile above ground, which gave us pleasantly cool air through the vents and a smooth ride. Out in the distance, a few clouds were trying to form.


Whether I’m flying or driving, a pilot is always happy to pass a small airport. Here was the Winfield, KS airport (KWLD):


This is a beautiful time of year in Kansas. The freshly-cut wheat fields are still a vibrant yellow. Other crops make a bright green, and colors just pop from the sky. A camera can’t do it justice.

They enjoyed the museum, and then Oliver wanted to find something else to do before we returned to the airport for dinner. A little exploring yielded the beautiful and shady Garfield Park, complete with numerous old stone bridges.


Of course, the hit of any visit to Enrique’s is their “ice cream tacos” (sopapillas with ice cream). Here is Oliver polishing off his.


They had both requested sightseeing from the sky on our way back, but both fell asleep so we opted to pass on that this time. Oliver slept through the landing, and I had to wake him up when it was time to go. I always take it as a compliment when a 6-year-old sleeps through a landing!


Most small airports have a bowl of candy setting out somewhere. Jacob and Oliver have become adept at finding them, and I will usually let them “talk me into” a piece of candy at one of them. Today, after we got back, they were intent at exploring the small gift shop back home, and each bought a little toy helicopter for $1.25. They may have been too tired to enjoy it though.

They’ve been in bed for awhile now, and I’m still smiling about the day. Time goes fast when you’re having fun, and all three of us were. It is fun to see them inheriting my sense of excitement at adventure, and enjoying the world around them as they go.

The lady at the museum asked how we had heard about them, and noticed I drove up in an airport car (most small airports have an old car you can borrow for a couple hours for free if you’re a pilot). I told the story briefly, and she said, “So you flew out to this small town just to spend some time here?” “Yep.” “Wow, that’s really neat. I don’t think we’ve ever had a visitor like you before.” Then she turned to the boys and said, “You boys are some of the luckiest kids in the world.”

And I can’t help but feel like the luckiest dad in the world.

Alessio Treglia: A – not exactly United – Kingdom [Planet Debian]


Island of Ventotene – Roman harbour

There once was a Kingdom strongly United, built on the honours of the people of Wessex, of Mercia, Northumbria and East Anglia who knew how to deal with the invasion of the Vikings from the east and of Normans from the south, to come to unify the territory under an umbrella of common intents. Today, however, 48% of them, while keeping solid traditions, still know how to look forward to the future, joining horizons and commercial developments along with the rest of Europe. The remaining 52%, however, look back and can not see anything in front of them if not a desire of isolation, breaking the European dream born on the shores of Ventotene island in 1944 by Altiero Spinelli, Ernesto Rossi and Ursula Hirschmann through the “Manifesto for a free and united Europe“. An incurable fracture in the country was born in a referendum on 23 June, in which just over half of the population asked to terminate his marriage to the great European family, bringing the UK back by 43 years of history.

<Read More…[by Fabio Marzocca]>

Stefan Seyfried: My KIWI/OBS talk from oSC'16 [Planet openSUSE]

Last Friday, at openSUSE Conference 2016, I was giving a talk together with Christian Schneemann about KIWI and OBS (the events.opensuse.org software is not able to manage "two speakers for one talk", this is why I am not listed in the schedule).

The slides from that talk are now available from the B1-Systems website.

openSUSE News: openSUSE.Asia Summit Call for papers is open [Planet openSUSE]

Semarang, Indonesia by Yohanes Dicky Yuniar

The openSUSE.Asia Committee are announcing the call for papers for 3rd openSUSE.Asia Summit. Starting today, the Committee is looking forward to your proposals. We are looking for free and open source software advocates. All open source contributors, enthusiasts, and business owners can submit.

Presentations are in the following formats

  • Lightning Talk (10 mins)
  • Short Talk (30 mins)
  • Long Talk (60 mins)
  • Workshop Short (2 hours)
  • Workshop (3 hours)

The openSUSE.Asia committee recommends workshops or hands-on sessions.

The conference website is accepting submissions starting now until 3 August 2016.  Proposals should include a title and an abstract of 150 – 500 words. The committee will announce the accepted proposals on 17th August 2016.

Bryan Quigley: When should i386 support for Ubuntu end? [Planet Ubuntu]

Are you running i386 (32-bit) Ubuntu?   We need your help to decide how much longer to build i386 images of Ubuntu Desktop, Server, and all the flavors.

There is a real cost to support i386 and the benefits have fallen as more software goes 64-bit only.

Please fill out the survey here ONLY if you currently run i386 on one of your machines.  64-bit users will NOT be affected by this, even if you run 32-bit applications.

Zygmunt Krynicki: The /etc/os-release zoo [Planet Ubuntu]

If you've ever wanted to do something differently depending on the /etc/os-release but weren't in the mood of installing every common distribution under the sun, look no further. I give you the /etc/os-release zoo project.

A project like this is never complete so please feel free to contribute additional distribution bits there.

Canonical Design Team: Juju GUI 2.0 [Planet Ubuntu]

Juju is a cloud orchestration tool which enables users to build web environments to run applications. You can just as easily use it on a simple WordPress blog or on a complex big data platform. Juju is a command line tool but also has a graphical user interface (GUI) where users can choose services from a store, assemble them visually in the GUI, build relations and configure them with the service inspector.

Juju GUI allows users to

  • Add charms and bundles from the charm store
  • Configure services
  • Deploy applications to a cloud of their choice
  • Manage charm settings
  • Monitor environment health

Over the last year we’ve been working on a redesign of the Juju GUI. This redesign project focused on improving four key areas, which also acted as our guiding design principles.

1. Improve the functionality of the core features of the GUI

  • Organised similar areas of the core navigation to create a better UI model.
  • Reduced the visual noise of the canvas and the inspector to help users navigate complex environments.
  • Introduced a better flow between the store and the canvas to aid adding services without losing context.
Hero before
Hero after

‹ ›

Empty state of the canvas


Hero before
Hero after

‹ ›

Integrated store


Hero before
Hero after

‹ ›

Apache charm details


2. Reduce cognitive load and pace the user

  • Reduced the amount of interaction patterns to minimise the amount of visual translation.
  • Added animation to core features to inform users of the navigation model in an effort to build a stronger concept of home.
  • Created a symbiotic relationship between the canvas and the inspector to help navigation of complex environments.
Hero before
Hero after

‹ ›

Mediawiki deployment


3. Provide an at-a-glance understanding of environment health

  • Prioritised the hierarchy of status so users are always aware of the most pressing issues and can discern which part of the application is effected.
  • Easier navigation to units with a negative status to aid the user in triaging issues.
  • Used the same visual patterns throughout the web app so users can spot problematic issues.
Hero before
Hero after

‹ ›

Mediawiki deployment with errors


4. Surface functions and facilitate task-driven navigation

  • Established a new hierarchy based on key tasks to create a more familiar navigation model.
  • Redesigned the inspector from the ground up to increase discoverability of inspector led functions.
  • Simplified the visual language and interaction patterns to help users navigate at-a-glance and with speed to triage errors, configure or scale out.
  • Surfaced relevant actions at the right time to avoid cluttering the UI.
Hero before
Hero after

‹ ›

Inspector home view


Hero before
Hero after

‹ ›

Inspector errors view


Hero before
Hero after

‹ ›

Inspector config view


The project has been amazing, we’re really happy to see that it’s launched and are already planning the next updates.

Canonical Design Team: Design in the open [Planet Ubuntu]

As the Juju design team grew it was important to review our working process and to see if we could improve it to create a more agile working environment. The majority of employees at Canonical work distributed around the globe, for instance the Juju UI engineering team has employees from Tasmania to San Francisco. We also work on a product which is extremely technical and feedback is crucial to our velocity.

We identified the following aspects of our process which we wanted to improve:

  • We used different digital locations for storing their design outcomes and assets (Google Drive, Google Sites and Dropbox).
  • The entire company used Google Drive so it was ideal for access, but its lacklustre performance, complex sharing options and poor image viewer meant it wasn’t good for designs.
  • We used Dropbox to store iterations and final designs but it was hard to maintain developer access for sharing and reference.
  • Conversations and feedback on designs in the design team and with developers happened in email or over IRC, which often didn’t include all interested parties.
  • We would often get feedback from teams after sign-off, which would cause delays.
  • Decisions weren’t documented so it was difficult to remember why a change had been made.

Finding the right tool

I’ve always been interested in the concept of designing in the open. Benefits of the practice include being more transparent, faster and more efficient. They also give the design team more presence and visibility across the organisation. Kasia (Juju’s project manager) and I went back and forth on which products to use and eventually settled on GitHub (GH).

The Juju design team works in two week iterations and at the beginning of a new iteration we decided to set up a GH repo and trial the new process. We outlined the following rules to help us start:

  • Issues should be created for each project.
  • All designs/ideas/wireframes should be added inline to the issues.
  • All conversations should be held within GH, no more email or IRC conversations, and notes from any meetings should be added to relevant issues to create a paper trail.


As the iteration went on, feedback started rolling in from the engineering team without us requesting it. A few developers mentioned how cool it was to see how the design process unfolded. We also saw a lot of improvement in the Juju design team: it allowed us to collaborate more easily and it was much easier to keep track of what was happening.

At the end of the trial iteration, during our clinic day, we closed completed issues and uploaded the final assets to the “code” section of the repo, creating a single place for our files.

After the first successful iteration we decided to carry this on as a permanent part of our process. The full range of benefits of moving to GH are:

  • Most employees of Canonical have a GH account and can see our work and provide feedback without needing to adopt a new tool.
  • Project management and key stakeholders are able to see what we’re doing, how we collaborate, why a decision has been made and the history of a project.
  • Provides us with a single source for all conversations which can happen around the latest iteration of a project.
  • One place where anyone can view and download the latest designs.
  • A single place for people to request work.


As a result of this change our designs are more accessible which allows developers and stakeholders to comment and collaborate with the design team aiding in our agile process. Below is an example thread where you can see how GH is used in the process. I shows how we designed the new contextual service block actions.


Ubuntu App Developer Blog: New Ubuntu SDK Beta Version [Planet Ubuntu]

A few days ago we have released the first Beta of the Ubuntu SDK IDE using the LXD container solution to build and execute applications. 

A few days ago we have released the first Beta of the Ubuntu SDK IDE using the LXD container solution to build and execute applications.

The first reports were positive, however one big problem was discovered pretty quickly:

Applications would not start on machines using the proprietary Nvidia drivers. Reason for this is that indirect GLX is not allowed by default when using those. The applications need to have access to:

  1. The glx libraries for the currently used driver
  2. The DRI and Nvidia device files

Luckily the snappy team already tackled a similar problem, so thanks to Michael Vogt (a.k.a mvo) we had a first idea how to solve it by reusing the Nvidia binaries and device files from the host by mounting them into the container.

However it is a bit more complicated in our case, because once we have the devices and directories mounted into the containers they will stay there permanently. This is a problem because the Nvidia binary directory has a version numbering, e.g. /usr/lib/nvidia-315, which changes with the currently loaded module and would stop the container from booting after the driver was changed and the old directory on the host is gone, or the container would use the wrong nvidia dir if it was not removed from the host.

The situation gets worse with optimus graphics cards were the user can switch between a integrated and dedicated graphics chip, which means device files in /dev can come and go between reboots.

Our solution to the problem is to check the integrity of the containers on every start of the Ubuntu SDK IDE and if problems are detected, the user is informed and asked for the root password to run automatic fixes. Those checks and fixes are implemented in the “usdk-target” tool and can be used from the CLI as well.

As a bonus this work will enable direct rendering for other graphics chips as well, however since we do not have access to all possible chips there might be still special cases that we could not catch.

So please report all problems to us on one of those channels:

We have released the new tool into the Tools-development PPA where the first beta was released too. However existing container might not be completely fixed automatically. They are better be recreated or manually fixed. To manually fix an existing container use the maintain mode from the options menu and add the current user into the “video” group.

To get the new version of the IDE please update the installed Ubuntu SDK IDE package:

$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install ubuntu-sdk-ide ubuntu-sdk-tools

Dustin Kirkland: HOWTO: Host your own SNAP store! [Planet Ubuntu]

SNAPs are the cross-distro, cross-cloud, cross-device Linux packaging format of the future.  And we're already hosting a fantastic catalog of SNAPs in the SNAP store provided by Canonical.  Developers are welcome to publish their software for distribution across hundreds millions of Ubuntu servers, desktops, and devices.

Several people have asked the inevitable open source software question, "SNAPs are awesome, but how can I stand up my own SNAP store?!?"

The answer is really quite simple...  SNAP stores are really just HTTP web servers!  Of course, you can get fancy with branding, and authentication, and certificates.  But if you just want to host SNAPs and enable downstream users to fetch and install software, well, it's pretty trivial.

In fact, Bret Barker has published an open source (Apache License) SNAP store on GitHub.  We're already looking at how to flesh out his proof-of-concept and bring it into snapcore itself.

Here's a little HOWTO install and use it.

First, I launched an instance in AWS.  Of course I could have launched an Ubuntu 16.04 LTS instance, but actually, I launched a Fedora 24 instance!  In fact, you could run your SNAP store on any OS that currently supports SNAPs, really, or even just fork this GitHub repo and install it stand alone..  See snapcraft.io.

Now, let's find and install a snapstore SNAP.  (Note that in this AWS instance of Fedora 24, I also had to 'sudo yum install squashfs-tools kernel-modules'.

At this point, you're running a SNAP store (webserver) on port 5000.

Now, let's reconfigure snapd to talk to our own SNAP store, and search for a SNAP.

Finally, let's install and inspect that SNAP.

How about that?  Easy enough!


Joyce Bannister, SWL, 25 June 2016 [Radio Society of Great Britain – Main Site]

I am sorry to report that Joyce Bannister passed away on the afternoon of 25th June 2016.  She was in bed and was very calm.  A good neighbour and a friend were with her at the time.  She was 91 and had lung cancer. Joyce was the XYL of Roy Bannister, G4GPX (SK) and both […]

Bill Newman, M0BNN, 31st May 2016 [Radio Society of Great Britain – Main Site]

On the morning of Tuesday 31 May 2016 we lost a great friend and beautiful QSL card maker Bill Newman, M0BNN. Bill passed away peacefully in his sleep. Bill was renowned all over the world for the many distinctive QSL cards that he produced to commemorate contacts to amateur radio enthusiasts who called him at […]

NASA's Juno snaps its 1st picture of Jupiter and its moons [CBC | Technology News]

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has sent its first photograph of Jupiter back to Earth.

Bird wings from Age of Dinosaurs found trapped in amber [CBC | Technology News]


Ninety-nine million years ago, two baby birds met an unfortunate end and their severed wings became encased in amber. This is their story.

Have a 'Facebocrastination' problem? What makes you susceptible [CBC | Technology News]

TEC-Digital Life-Facebook Cleanup-Six Tips

Facebook is an incredibly powerful global communication tool. But it can also be an incredible time-suck when you should be working. And now, there's research to explain why 'Facebocrastination' is such a problem.

Google offers new way for users to manage ads, personal data [CBC | Technology News]

YE Financial Markets Sector By Sector

A new privacy tool will enable Google users to block certain ads from appearing on every device that they log into, instead of having to make a special request on each individual machine.

NASA tests booster for world's most powerful rocket [CBC | Technology News]

NASA fired up a booster for the world's most powerful rocket today for its last ground test before it launches the Orion spacecraft on a 2018 test flight.

As peatlands dry out from climate change, wildfire risk increases [CBC | Technology News]


As the climate warms, peatlands are drying out and becoming tinderboxes, raising the risk of severe, smoky wildfires, says a new study.

Zika may last longer in pregnancy than originally thought: study [CBC | Technology News]

In one experiment involving a pregnant monkey, the Zika virus was shown to last in her bloodstream for 70 days...far beyond the typical one week in humans.

Avatar mobile game to arrive ahead of film sequels [CBC | Technology News]

Before moviegoers return to Pandora, they'll be able visit the exotic alien world from Avatar on their smartphones. Lightstorm Entertainment and 20th Century Fox have enlisted game studio Kabam to develop an Avatar mobile game for release ahead of the next four film sequels.

Saving Dory: Animal rights activists ask movie fans to not buy blue tangs [CBC | Technology News]

Animal rights activists and conservationists are begging parents to not rush out and buy blue tang fish for their kids after seeing Pixar’s latest animated blockbuster Finding Dory.

Inside the 'mosquito factory' aiming to eliminate Zika [CBC | Technology News]

Considered the world's largest mosquito factory, this U.S.-Chinese project raises millions of male mosquitos for research that could prove key to the race to prevent the spread of Zika virus.

Listening across the globe: 2016 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast! [The SWLing Post]


On Tuesday, 21 June 2016, the BBC World Service officially transmitted the 2016 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast–an international radio broadcast intended for a small group of scientists, technicians, and support staff who work for the British Antarctic Survey.

This is one of my favorite annual broadcasts, and I endeavor to listen every year. Once again, the SWLing Post called upon readers to make a short recording of the broadcast from their locale.

Below are the entries, roughly organized by continent and country/region, including reader’s photos if provided. I had planned to post these recordings by Sunday, but my travels interfered and I discovered an additional ten recordings in my inbox! (If I’ve somehow missed including your entry, please contact me; I’ll amend this post.)

So, without further ado….

The 2016 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast Recordings


SWL (Shortwave Listener): Rob Wagner
Location: Mt Evelyn, Victoria, Australia
Notes: [A] 12 minute video record of the broadcast that also demonstrates some tuning techniques and DSP facilities on the Yaesu FTDX3000. You can view the video below or by clicking here:

Paul's Icom IC-7300 tuned to the BBC Midwinter broadcast.

Paul’s Icom IC-7300 tuned to the BBC Midwinter broadcast.

SWL: Paul Philbrook
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Notes:  Here are a couple of recordings from this mornings broadcast. Just had a quick listen before heading off to work and recorded these two with the IC-7300. Radio: Icom IC-7300 Aerial: Multi-band loaded dipole. 5985 Khz strength 5 readable, 6035 Khz strength 8 good readability, 7360 Khz no copy.

Click here to download recording 1 and recording 2, or simply listen via the embedded players below:

New Zealand

SWL: Bryan Clark
Location: Mangawhai,  New Zealand
Notes: Listening in New Zealand, reception was not as good as last year.
Here are short audio files of the 3 frequencies. I used an EWE antenna aimed southeast, that is across South America, for the best signals. Receiver is a WinRadio Excalibur Pro SDR.

7360 kHz recording:

6035 kHz recording:

5985 kHz recording:




Christoph Ratzer

SWL: Christoph Ratzer
Location: Salzburg, Austria
Notes: Here my complete recording for you. Received at my remote station http://remotedx.wordpress.com in Salzburg, WinRadio G33 Excalibur PRO, Delta loop antenna with Bonito ML052 amplifier.

Christoph's Delta external loop antenna

Christoph’s Delta external loop antenna

Click here to download the recording, or simply listen via the embedded player below:


SWL: Willy Andersen
Location: Soeborg, Denmark
Notes: Here is my recording from 7360kHz on June 21. 2016. Very strong and clean signal. Vy 73 de Willy, OZ4ZT

Click here to download the recording or simply listen via the embedded player below:



SWL: Philippe
Location: L’Hôpital-Camfrout, France (few km south of Brest)
Notes: Very good conditions here, good sound. Equipment: Yaesu FT817ND + V inverted antenna and Yaesu Vx7r + original antenna (little stick on the radio). On both radios, reception: 59 / 59+

20160621_234515 20160621_234327

Google map link to the city.

YouTube video of 5985 kHz broadcast.

YouTube video of 7360 kHz broadcast.


SWL: Alan
Location: County Kildare, Ireland
Notes: 5,985 kHz Woofferton. Distance: 280km. Recorded from County Kildare, Ireland
with an Icom-718 and 20m Random wire on an Olympus vn-741pc.

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:


SWL: Joseph
Location: Ponza island, Italy
Notes: I am Joseph in Ponza island, Italy, with pleasure I send you a video of the Antarctic Midwinter 2016 recorded yesterday night with my old smartphone … great about the 5985 and 7360 frequencies, very poor reception on 6035, I used the 3 receivers Yaesu vr5000 connected on a discone antenna “Midland full band”, AOR ar 3030 and Kenwood R1000 on antenna “Mini Whip”.

Click here to watch via Vimeo.


SWL: Davide Borroni
Location: Saronno, Italy
Notes: 21 June 2016 at 2130-2200 UTC on 7360 KHZ AM. I listened to the BBC broadcast with SINPO 54444. I listened to beautiful music and talk. Thanks for show !  I used my R&S ESH3 (see above) with my magnetic loop 2 meter diameter antenna.

Click here to download the recording, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

David also included the following videos featuring his Siemens E401 and Racal RA 1778:


SWL: Alessio Proietti
Location: Rome, Italy
Notes: Receiver: Yaesu FRG 7700 Antenna, 10mt rybakov, Frequency: 5985 kHz AM, Details: nice reception today S9+40 with a light QSB.

Click here to download the recording, or listen via the embedded player below:

SWL: Andrea Borgnino
Location: Rome, Italy
Notes: BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast 2016 – 5985 khz 21/6/2016 recorded in Roma Italy. Click here to listen on SoundCloud.

SWL: Adalberto Maria Tassi
Location: Rome, Italy
Notes: 5985 kHz, SINPO 55544, Icom IC-R71e, Antenna: Wellbrook ALA-1530

Click here to view the video on Vimeo.

Screenshot from Marc's SDR.

Screenshot from Marc’s SDR.

SWL: Marc Vittorini
Location: Favria, Italy
Notes: Frequency of 5985 KHz, SINPO 43333, Receiver RTL Dongle +, SDRSHARP, Antenna: homemade longwire

Click here to download or simply listen via the embedded player below:

BBC Midwinter Antarctic B.

SWL: Gabriele Somma
Location: Roccapiemonte province Salerno, Italy
Notes: Frequency 5.985 Khz AM, S.I.N.P.O SIGNAL S9+30+,

Receiver Icom PCR 1500:


Antenna ALA 1530 LN:


Gabriele includes the following video of his IC-PCR1500 tuned to the broadcast:

SWL: Rotunno Vincenzo
Location: Italy
Notes: I0550/RM, 5.985.00 MHz AM, Sr 59+40, Kenwood ts 870 ant random

Click here to view on Vimeo.

Northern Ireland

SWL: Jordan Heyburn
Location: Northern Ireland

BBC World Service Special Broadcast to Antarctica 5985khz received in Northern Ireland using a SDR Play RSP & Wellbrook ALA1530LN Active Loop Antenna. Click here to view on YouTube.


SWL: Chris Ditrich
Location: Poland
Notes: Reception on 5985 kHz and 7360 kHz was very good 59 – 58, however reception on 6035 kHz was not that good, signal was there but not much readable

5985 kHz

Click here to listen via YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

7360 kHz

Click here to view on YouTube.


SWL: Dmitry Elagin
Location: Saratov, Russia
Notes: I accepted BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast in Saratov, Russia. I made video record by means of my SDRPlay.

Click here to view on Vimeo.

I also listened to the test program on June 14.
I published my supervision here – http://freerutube.info/2016/06/22/e-qsl-bbc-antarctic-midwinter-broadcast-14-iyunya-2016-goda/.

[Dmitry also included the following YouTube video:

United Kingdom

SWL: Chris Inwood
Location: Conrwall, England
Notes: [R]ecorded on 5.985 MHz. This frequency was by far the best quality. I was able to copy 7.365 here but there was slight QSB and some interference from an adjacent broadcaster HCJB. 6.035 was not heard at all neither was 9.720 MHz. Very best wishes and thanks, I always look forward to my email.

Click here to download the MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Mark Hirst's listening post.

Mark Hirst’s listening post.

SWL: Mark Hirst
Location: Basingstoke, Hampshire
Notes: Thanks for alerting shortwave listeners to the British Antarctic Survey broadcast. It felt very poignant listening to a broadcast aimed at such a small number of people, with the voices of their loved ones being launched around the world.

I was able to record the broadcast from only 100 miles away from the Woofferton transmitter, so needless to say the quality and strength was very good. I imagine hearing that broadcast buried in the noise from far away with those happy birthday songs and best wishes must have been very emotional for its intended audience.

I enclose a short segment from my 30 minute recording, plus a photo (above) taken the next day of my set up (it was dark at the time of the recording).

My recording location was Basingstoke, Hampshire in the UK – locator IO91LH 20HH

[Note that Mark also recorded the full 30 minute broadcast which you can download by clicking here.]

SWL: Jerry Rhys
Location: Surrey, England
Notes: Attached are two recordings of today’s BBC Antarctic Broadcast made between
2130 and 2150z. The first recording was made using AM mode with 8 kHz bandwidth on 5985 then 7360, followed by 6035. The second recording was made using SAM mode with 10 kHz bandwidth on 7360, 6035, and 5985.

The best signal was on 5985, 7360 was weak but readable, on 6035 I could detect a carrier and occasional modulation – on this frequency there was also interference from a digital transmission on 6037. Nothing heard on 9720.

I was using a RF Space SDR-IQ Receiver, and a Wellbrook ALA1530S Loop
Antenna installed in my loft. Many thanks for the SWLing Post, always an enjoyable read!

Recording 1: 

Recording 2:

SWL: Alan (G4TMV)
Location: northern England
Notes: Reception of this special broadcast was excellent here in northern England on 5985 kHz. It was an enjoyable broadcast again, but Babcock weren’t wasting any electricity on it, it came on and went off again almost spot on 2130 and 2200!

Click here to download, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

SWL: Dom B
Location: Newcastle Under Lyme, England
Notes:  I live streamed the midwinter broadcast on my Tecsun PL-380 from my location in Newcastle Under Lyme in the UK

Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQXgYSDjTkI

SWL: Lawrence Beedle
Location: Manchester, England
Notes: Here is my recording of the mid winter broadcast by the BBC 21st June 2016. Tecsun PL660 telescopic aerial, indoors, sat at kitchen table in a house in Manchester, England, UK. 5985khz good reception. 6035 kHz not as strong, 7360 kHz no reception. Recorded on iPhone next to speaker on radio. 36 seconds.

Click here to download the MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:


David’s (G4EDR) listening post.

SWL: David Mappin
Location: Filey, England
Notes:  Just thought I would let you know how I got on with the BBC WS broadcast to Antarctica. I used my Icom IC-R75 receiver and a Wellbrook ALA1530 inside the house. 5985 kHz was very strong with me here on the east coast of the UK (NVIS propagation?). Nothing heard on 6035 or 9720 but a weak signal on 7360. Attached (above) is a photograph of my listening post. This is a link to a YouTube video of the start of the broadcast. My very best regards and thank you for your excellent website.

A screenshot from Cap's Elad FDM-S2 SDR.

A screenshot from Cap’s Elad FDM-S1 SDR.

SWL: Cap
Location: N.W. Scotland
Notes: Here is my attempt last night with SDR screenshot attached, Elad FDM-S1 with homebrew mini Mag Loop (<250mm dia) sitting on my bookcase. No doubt there will be better signals/recordings than mine as the signal was really strong from WOF and considering my setup is 100% indoors, it came out ok. External antennas don’t last here as I am by the sea and regular 100mph+ storms in the winter is too much hassle.

Click here to download this recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

North America


BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast Test (not) 0 00 16-29

SWL: Richard Langley
Location: New Brunswick
Notes: Tecsun PL-880 receiver with a Tecsun AN-03L 7-metre wire antenna in AM mode with 5.0 kHz RF filtering at the back of my yard. The photo [of Richard’s outdoor portable listening post] was taken during some other recordings last year.

Click here to listen to Richard’s recording, or simply use the embedded player below:

Click here to listen to Richard’s full half-hour recordings on the SRAA.


SWL: Thomas Witherspoon
Location: Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré, Québec
Notes: I traveled to an RFI quite spot in the parking lot of the Basilica in St.-Anne-de-Beaupré, Québec. Click here to read a full post about my set-up and conditions. Note that I used a Sony ICF-SW55 receiver (above), perched on top of my vehicle and tuned to 7360 kHz.

Click here to download the full recording of the broadcast, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Unites States

SWL: Dan Hawkins
Location: Davis, California
Notes: Here is my YouTube video. I’m using both the Sangean and Hammarlund receivers to hunt down the BBC Midwinter Antarctic Broadcast. Probably a somewhat different result than on most of the videos, but probably typical of West Coast propagation at these frequencies and times.

SWL: Nace Magner
Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky
Notes:  Please find attached a video of my reception of the BBC broadcast. Unfortunately, a thunderstorm passed through about 10 minutes prior to the video and the audio is dominated by lightning-related crashes. However, the BBC signal can be heard periodically. My location was on a university campus in Bowling Green, Kentucky, which is about 50 miles north of Nashville, Tennessee. I received the signal using a Tecsun PL-660 and its whip antenna. I enjoy the SWLing site. Best regards, Nace Magner (KW4LY)

Click here to view on Vimeo.

Wow–Thank you!

Once again, many thanks to all of you who submitted your recordings of the BBC Midwinter Broadcast! We’ll be sharing this post with both the British Antarctic Survey and the BBC World Service. And to all of you, from the SWLing Post: Happy Midwinter! Happy Summer/Winter Solstice!

Radio Vanuatu reduces broadcast time due to budget [The SWLing Post]


Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, who noted that Radio Vanuatu has reduced broadcast hours.

Friday night, Paul received a rare opening that allowed him to hear Vanuatu on both 7260 kHz and 3945 kHz. Paul noted that it’s very rare to hear Vanuatu’s 75 meter band broadcast from his listening post in Alaska.  As he was setting up his receiver for a recording, they signed off early.

Paul discovered the following notice on Radio Vanuatu’s Facebook page:

Radio Vanuatu i wantem infomem olgeta gudfala lisna blong hem se Radio Vanuatu i jenisem ol hour blong brodkas blong hem folem high cost blong operation blong hem.
Timing blong brodkas i ko olsem: 05:30am- 9:15pm evridei
Jenis ia hemi blong smol taem nomo.
Endorsed by VBTC Board & Management

Courtney Gordon, via Facebook, provided Paul with a simple translation:

Radio Vanuatu wants to inform its good listeners that the hours of broadcast are being changed due to the high cost of operation. Broadcast times are now 5:30 am to 9:30 pm every day.

So, broadcast times are now 18:30 UTC to 10:15 UTC. Thanks, Paul and Courtney, for sharing the news!

Some scientists believe sun may be crossing into “magnetic middle age” [The SWLing Post]

 (SILSO data/image, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels)

(SILSO data/image, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels)

I just received the following link to a Forbes article from my buddy Charlie (W4MEC).

If this research turns out to be correct–and time will only tell–it could mean very low solar activity from here on out (let’s hope not!):

(Source: Forbes Magazine via Charlie W4MEC)

The Sun has likely already entered into a new unpredicted long-term phase of its evolution as a hydrogen-burning main sequence star — one characterized by magnetic sputtering indicative of a more quiescent middle-age. Or so say the authors of a new paper submitted to The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Using observations of other sunlike stars made by NASA ’s Kepler Space Telescope, the team found that the Sun is currently in a special phase of its magnetic evolution.

At time of posting, the Sun has no Sun spots at all. The sun is blank--no sunspots, which means very low solar activity. Credit: SDO/HMI (Click to enlarge)

At time of posting (June 28, 2016) the Sun has no Sun spots at all, which means very low solar activity. Credit: SDO/HMI (Click to enlarge)

Heretofore, the Sun was thought to have been just a more slowly rotating version of a normal yellow dwarf (G-spectral type) star. These results offer the first real confirmation that the Sun is in the process of crossing into its magnetic middle age, where its 11-year Sunspot cycles are likely to slowly disappear entirely. That is, from here on out, the Sun is likely to have fewer sunspots than during the first half of its estimated 10 billion year life as a hydrogen-burning star.

“The Sun’s 11-year sunspot cycle is likely to disappear entirely, not just get less pronounced; [since] other stars with similar rotation rates show no sunspot cycles,” Travis Metcalfe, the paper’s lead author and an astronomer at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., told me.[…]

Continue reading the full article at Forbes online.

13 Colonies Special Event [The SWLing Post]


13 Colonies operating event runs from 1300Z July 1 – 0400Z July 7

Once again, the 13 Colonies Special Event will take place between 1300z, July 1st and 0400z July 7th. The certificate is printed on heavy card stock. Stations working one state or, as many as all 15, will be eligible for the certificate. A “Clean Sweep” indicator will be affixed, for those lucky enough to “Q” all 15.

A special endorsement will be attached for stations contacting their sister operation, WM3PEN, in Philadelphia, PA, where independence was declared. New since 2015, the 13 Colonies have added a second sister event station GB13COL will operate from Durham, England. The 13 Colonies certificate will have a Liberty Bell added for a contact with WM3PEN. They will also offer a special QSL card printed just for this event.

There should be at least two stations from each on the 13 colonies on the air, as well as Super contest stations, multi-operator Club stations and OM and XYL teams. The thirteen orginal U.S. colonies are CT-DE- GA-MA-MD-NC-NH-NJ-NY-PA-RI-SC-VA. Special events stations mentioned are: K2A (NY), K2B (VA), K2C (RI), K2D (CT), K2E (DE), K2F (MD), K2G (GA), K2H (MA), K2I (NJ), K2J (NC), K2K (NH), K2L (SC), and K2M (PA).

All HF bands will be in play, including the WARC bands, with the exception of 60 meters. 2 meters and 6 meter simplex are encouraged. All modes of operation should be represented – SSB, CW, RTTY, Digital, and the Satellites. The mode of operation is up to the individual colony state station. For more details on the stations, suggested frequencies, QSL info and on how to obtain the special certificate, see: http://www.13colonies.info

Thanks to the Southgate Amateur radio News for this information

This is one of my favorite events each year – and it also represents some of the best of the traditions of amateur operation. I have always found the operators to be kind and helpful and patient, and they really seem to enjoy the event. Why not give it a go  this year?!

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

Is Barry ready to battle Zoom? Catch up on the latest episode of... [The Flash]

Is Barry ready to battle Zoom? Catch up on the latest episode of The Flash now: on.cwtv.com/FLASH217tb

Justice Alito Just Sounded The Alarm On Religious Liberty [The FederalistThe Federalist]

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit against a Washington state law requiring pharmacists to dispense chemical abortifacients against their religious beliefs. Their decision to reject the case leaves in place a lower-court ruling that the law doesn’t violate First Amendment rights.

In response, Justice Samuel Alito issued a scathing dissenting opinion, saying those who care about religious freedom should be greatly concerned by the court’s decision to reject the case.

“This case is an ominous sign,” Alito wrote. “At issue are Washington State regulations that are likely to make a pharmacist unemployable if he or she objects on religious grounds to dispensing certain prescription medications. . .  If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern.”

The law, which has been on the books since 2007, seems to be a pointed attack on the religious beliefs of the owners of Ralph’s Thriftway, who are devout Christians and believe chemical abortifacients like Plan B are morally and biologically similar to an abortion.

Pharmacies frequently do not carry or will run out of a specific medication and refer customers to alternate stores. Thus the Ralph’s Thriftway owners’ decision not to stock Plan B did not create an unusual situation that prevented people’s ability to purchase abortifacient drugs, Alito noted.

“The evidence relied upon by the District Court suggests that the regulations are targeted at religious conduct alone, to stamp out religiously motivated referrals while allowing referrals for secular reasons (whether by rule or by wink),” he wrote. “I would grant certiorari to ensure that Washington’s novel and concededly unnecessary burden on religious objectors does not trample on fundamental rights. I respectfully dissent.”

Aziz Ansari Should Protest Sharia, Not Donald Trump [The FederalistThe Federalist]

Aziz Ansari is an actor and comedian famous for his character on the TV show “Parks and Recreation,” among other productions. His parents are Muslim immigrants from India. He recently wrote an editorial in The New York Times blasting Donald Trump, calling the candidate “hate-filled,” “xenophobic,” and that he makes Ansari scared for his (Muslim) family. Below is my response.

Dear Aziz,

“Parks and Recreation” is one of my favorite TV shows and your character, Tom Haverford, is hilarious. I love going back and watching reruns. As such it is an honor to write to you.

I read your New York Times op-ed on Donald Trump, in which you blasted him for being bigoted. In response, I have a few questions for you.

You are pro-LGBT. However, most majority-Muslim communities around the world have a very poor track record on LGBT treatment. In fact, in 10 majority-Muslim countries, homosexuality is punishable by death. Trump, however, supports LGBT causes. Have you written letters to Muslim scholars, Muslim newspapers in your parents’ home of Tamil Nadu, India, or other places, holding them accountable for being anti-LGBT the same way you wrote your letter to the Times against Trump?

Aziz, you are a supporter of feminism. Yet I’m sure you’re aware that majority-Muslim countries have an abysmal track record on women’s rights, whether the issue is female genital mutilation, forced marriage, legally sanctioned domestic violence, honor killings, denial of education for women and girls, or many, many other expressions of their human dignity. Are you fighting against the oppression of women in the Muslim world with the same focus and urgency that you are against Trump?

You say you are not a religious person, unlike your parents, who are Muslim. Yet I’m sure you know that in many majority-Muslim areas, there is no freedom of religion such as the kind you enjoy in the United States, and most people in those places cannot freely leave Islam, as you are able to do. In fact, in Saudi Arabia, atheism has been branded by the government as terrorism and is subject to prosecution, and conversion from Islam is punishable by death. Have you written letters to popular newspapers and media in Saudi Arabia or other majority-Muslim countries demanding they embrace freedom of religion—including the freedom to leave Islam—the same way you wrote your letter to the Times against Trump?

You’ve suggested in your comedy sketches that you believe religion should stay out of government. Thankfully, the United States enjoys the separation of church and state that you prefer. However, Islam contains the principle of Sharia law, which says Muslims should embrace Islamic government as laid out in the Quran. In fact, most majority-Muslim countries adopt at least some form of Sharia law.

Trump, by contrast—not being an evangelical—is (probably) pro-choice on abortion and pro-LGBT, similar to yourself. So my question is, have you written letters to the newspapers and leaders in Muslim communities arguing for the kind of separation of church and state that we enjoy in the United States, the same way you wrote to the Times rebuking Trump?

Aziz, thinking about all these points and about your progressive worldview, it seems clear to me that Islam conflicts with your values as an American much more than Donald Trump’s values do. Perhaps your attack had the wrong target?

Kanye West Is A Bully [The FederalistThe Federalist]

Kanye West’s new music video, “Famous,” isn’t a stirring piece of performance art, it’s a voyeuristic attention grab.

The song, which was already infamous for a line that took a swipe at his long-time frenemy Taylor Swift (“I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/ Why, I made that bitch famous”) concluded with a bedroom scene including a nude Taylor Swift lookalike lying beside Kanye and a batch of other celebs — Kim Kardashian West, Donald Trump, Bill Cosby, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Ray J, Amber Rose, George W. Bush, and Caitlyn Jenner, among others. Most (or all?) of the individuals captured in the final scene are reportedly wax lookalikes that were created just for the video to recreate a controversial piece of contemporary art.

The artist whose work directly inspired the bedroom scene in Kanye’s video wrote a glowing review lauding the rapper’s recreation of his controversial painting as a form of high art colliding with pop culture. That’s what we’re all supposed to think about “Famous” — that it’s a re-imagining of a higher form of art infused with the likenesses of those who influence pop culture, all to make a statement.

In a Facebook post, Lena Dunham criticized the video as being “emblematic of rape culture.” In her remarks, Dunham seems almost hesitant to call Kanye out for his video’s creepiness, for fear of missing the joke.

“I’m sure that Bill Cosby doll being in the bed alongside Donald Trump is some kind of statement, that I’m probably being trolled on a super high level,” she wrote. “I know that there’s a hipper or cooler reaction to have than the one I’m currently having. But guess what? I don’t have a hip cool reaction, because seeing a woman I love like Taylor Swift (fuck that one hurt to look at, I couldn’t look), a woman I admire like Rihanna or Anna, reduced to a pair of waxy breasts made by some special effects guy in the Valley, it makes me feel sad and unsafe and worried for the teenage girls who watch this and may not understand that grainy roving camera as the stuff of snuff films.”

But what if she isn’t being “trolled at a super high level?” What if the video is exactly what it appears to be — a voyeuristic ripoff of someone else’s artistic statement? What if it really is just a display of vulgarity devoid of artistic value for the sake of spurring attention and the money that will inevitably rake Kanye in? In that sense, it could be considered merely high-production-value porn.

The few surprised reactions from those depicted in the video and the fact that the celebrities are (probably) wax lookalikes implies they didn’t consent to their likenesses being used in a sexually explicit video. While the real Taylor Swift was not forced to participate in a sexual act, her likeness was used in these sexually graphic scenes without her consent. The cameo appearance of alleged serial sexual predator Bill Cosby, as well as Rihanna shown lying next to her abusive ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, adds a layer of squeamishness to the whole thing. No matter how you slice it, the video makes light of and even seems to condone sexual abuse.

It’s not surprising that known attention whore and resident crazy person Kanye West would make a super-creepy and disgusting video. What is truly remarkable is the level of participation from others involved in the project. According to Kanye, his wife Kim was on board, as was a team of people who collaborated in the video’s production. Before debuting the video on Friday, Kanye said he showed the video to some celebrity friends who also seemed to like it and want in on it.

“Guess what the response is when I show it to them?” he asked Vanity Fair. “They want to be in the bed.”

If Kanye’s not just playing us for fools, it’s alarming that a very large number of presumably high-powered individuals were not only aware of the project and voiced no objections nor tried to stop him, but actively encouraged it. It would imply that oh-so-progressive Hollywood is a hotbed of voyeuristic creeps. Shocker.

The video suggests one of two things: either the celebrities are sleeping together after having consensually participated in an orgy, or some of the participants were drugged and forced to participate without their consent and remain passed out in a drug-induced stupor.

This wasn’t enough for Kanye, either. He’s been taunting the celebrities whose likenesses he used (presumably without consent) to come after him in court. I hope they do, as the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of celebrities whose images were used for commercial gain without prior consent. Were Kanye to find himself on the receiving end of a lawsuit, he may be up a creek without a paddle, legally speaking.

Kanye’s latest work isn’t an artistic product of genius-level trolling, it’s the manic work of a browbeater itching for a fight by violating a group of individuals in a very personal and grotesque way, then taunting them about it afterwards. Kanye isn’t a visionary, he’s just a bully, and “Famous” doesn’t deserve admiration or artistic scrutiny, but condemnation and abhorrence.

Women In Media, Fat Shaming, And The Downfall Of Breitbart News [The FederalistThe Federalist]

Lisa De Pasquale, columnist and founder of GetBrightEmail.com, joined the Federalist Radio Hour to talk about women in media, fat-shaming, and what 2016 would look like if Andrew Breitbart were still alive.

The biggest challenge of being a right-of-center woman in journalism and media is addressing both politics and pop culture. “All of us on the right are interested in movies and music and culture and not just politics,” De Pasquale said. “I think that pop culture and entertainment is a good way to bridge the gap and take our ideas, or education people who aren’t political, and do it through a means that’s not just hitting them over the head.”

De Pasquale writes about the left’s fat-shaming movement and how feminists have made body-positivity strictly about their appearance. “So much of their attention is on this one aspect of themselves– they’re still bringing it back to their looks,” she said. “Why not just be a great writer? If I were a feminist, probably and old school feminist, I would be like, ‘Why are you still talking about your bodies?'”

Listen here:

Abortion Is Not A Jewish Value [The FederalistThe Federalist]

Reform Judaism has done a fantastic job transforming an ancient monotheistic faith into one that celebrates the sacraments of contemporary liberalism. There is no rite more sacred, or comfortable, in this faith than abortion.

The Anti-Defamation League is one of the worst offenders, framing itself as an organization that defends the Jewish people and fights for worldwide justice. Its mission is propelled by the notion of “tikkun olam,” which, while technically translated to mean “the repair of the world,” effectively means whatever you want it to mean. We’re all free to believe what we like. But because of the disjointed nature of modern Judaism, the media treats this organization as if it were a spokesperson for an entire people.

So, yesterday, among the many people celebrating the Supreme Court shooting down HB2, a 2013 Texas law that required abortion clinics to meet basic standards of ambulatory surgical care and doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, the ADL offered this:

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today hailed the Supreme Court’s historic 5-3 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which struck down a Texas anti-abortion law. The law, HB2, would have effectively barred many women, particularly women in poverty and women of color, from exercising their constitutional right to an abortion.

If the ADL was interested in rejoicing over the affirmation of constitutional rights, why did it not celebrate the District of Columbia v. Heller ruling, which affirmed the individual right of Jews — as well as women of color and everyone else — to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms and defend themselves from rising anti-Semitic violence? Why doesn’t the ADL celebrate the affirmation of the First Amendment in the Citizens United ruling, one that allows Jews — as well as women of color and everyone else — the unfettered right to use free expression? Rather than defending Hobby Lobby’s effort to preserve religious freedom, the ADL filed an amicus brief in support of the state’s efforts to force companies to surrender their beliefs or go out of business. The 613th mitzvah must be “buy condoms for your employees, or else.”

The ADL also joined the National Women’s Law Center by filing an amicus brief that offered its take on the negative impact that Texas law would have on “women’s economic security and equal participation in social and economic life, particularly for low-income women, women of color and women in low-wage jobs.” One of the arguments in the brief is that childbirth — which, I think it needs to be pointed out these days, is a biological necessity for the continuance of the human race — was just as dangerous for women as an elective surgery that destroys a fetus for the sake of convenience. How’s that for Talmudic logic?

In New York City, African-American abortions surpass African-American live births by thousands every year. Is that what the ADL means by “secure justice and fair treatment to all peoples”? Why does the ADL feel the impulse to celebrate and participate in the destruction of the black community in New York City? Even if we concede the highly debatable assertion that the eugenics ADL supports do help communities find economic security, what does it have to do with Judaism? Although I assert no special understanding of Halacha, I must have missed the Yeshiva class where we learned the purposeful destruction of children for “economic security” was a Jewish value. The first mitzvah in the Torah is “be fruitful and multiply.”

The ADL has long tried to link anti-abortion groups to anti-Semitism by stringing together the rare acts of violence to create the impression that the position is extremist. Within the contemporary American Jewish community, it might be. While abortion is to be rejoiced about within the Reform movement—where everything is okay but the sin of being conservative or a Zionist — it’s complicated. Orthodox Judaism only sanctions abortion when the life of the mother is directly threatened. This is something you may not know, as the spokespeople for the Jewish community continue to destructively conflate their ideology with religion.

Watch Brexit Architect Nigel Farage Curb-Stomp The Entire EU Parliament [The FederalistThe Federalist]

If you want to know why millions of United Kingdom voters decided to leave the European Union (EU), then you need to watch this video. You need to see how EU’s unaccountable politicians respond to the British decision to leave the EU. Watch Nigel Farage, the British politician and former trader widely characterized as the architect of the Brexit referendum, eviscerate the EU bureaucrats on their home court.

Watch and listen to the utter derision they have for British voters, for Farage, and for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), the British political party which Farage leads.

Farage’s speech is no ordinary victory lap. It’s not a simple spiking of the football.

This speech is another thing entirely, as it channels the anger and resentment of the British people towards the so-called European elites who tried to hard to run everyone else’s lives without any accountability whatsoever:

“Funny, isn’t it?” Farage asked his fellow members of the EU parliament in Brussels on Tuesday, to boos and jeers. “Thank you very much for that very warm welcome.”

“When I came here 17 years ago and I said that I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the European Union, you all laughed at me,” he noted. “Well I have to say, you’re not laughing now, are you?”

“And the reason you’re so upset, the reason you’re so angry has been perfectly clear from all the angry exchanges this morning,” Farage continued. “You, as a political project, are in denial.”

“You’re in denial that your currency is failing,” Farage said to even more loud boos.

“Just look at the Mediterranean. As a policy to impose poverty on Greece and the rest of the Mediterranean, you’ve done very well,” Farage deadpanned. “And you’re in denial over Mrs. Merkel’s call last year for as many people as possible to cross the Mediterranean into the European Union [which] has led to massive divisions between countries and within countries.”

“But the biggest problem you’ve got. And the reason, the main reason the United Kingdom voted the way that it did is you have by stealth, by deception, without ever telling the truth to the British or the rest of the peoples of Europe, you have imposed upon them a political union,” he continued. “You imposed upon them a political union. And when the people in 2005 in the Netherlands and France voted against that political union, when they rejected the Constitution, you simply ignored them and brought the Lisbon Treaty in through the back door.”

“What happened last Thursday was a remarkable result. It was indeed a seismic result. Not just for British politics, for European politics, but perhaps even for global politics, too. Because what the little people did, what the ordinary people did, what the people who’ve been oppressed over the last few years and seen their living standards go down, they rejected the multinationals. They rejected the merchant banks. They rejected big politics. And they said, ‘Actually, we want our country back. We want our fishing waters back. We want our borders back. We want to be an independent, self-governing, normal nation.’ And that is what we have done, and that is what must happen,” Farage said.’

“And in doing so, we now offer a beacon of hope to democrats across the rest of the European continent. I’ll make one prediction this morning: the United Kingdom will not be the last member state to leave the European Union.”

Farage then transitioned to what should happen next between the British and the EU and how its relationship should be structured going forward.

“Now what I would like to see is a grown-up, sensible attitude to how we negotiate a different relationship,” he said.

“Now I know that virtually none of you have ever done a proper job in your lives, or worked in business, or worked in trade, or indeed ever created a job,” Farage declared. “But listen. Just listen.”

That elicited even more loud boos from the assembled members of the EU parliament, leading the chair of the proceedings to interject and establish order. And how did he do so? He directly insulted and denigrated UKIP by comparing the parliament’s own antics to those of the British political party. Farage took it all in stride, though.

“You’re quite right,” Farage responded. “UKIP used to protest against the establishment, and now the establishment protests against UKIP.”

You can watch his full remarks here.

5 Big Takeaways From The House Benghazi Report [The FederalistThe Federalist]

A congressional committee responsible for investigating the 2012 terrorist attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, has issued its final report.

Here are the five big takeaways from the U.S. House Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, Libya, gleaned from a summary report by Reps. Jim Jordan, R-OH, and Mike Pompeo, R-KS.

1. Administration Misled Public Immediately and Continually

Even though U.S. officials — including Hillary Clinton — knew immediately that the siege in Benghazi was a highly coordinated terror attack, they chose to mislead the public with statements about spontaneous protests caused by a YouTube video.

The report indicates that political considerations were on the minds of State Department officials learning about the attack. Before the Benghazi attack even ended, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland sent an email to two other, high-level Clinton aides, Jacob Sullivan and Phillipe Reines, that noted top Obama aide Ben Rhodes was worried or upset about Mitt Romney’s comments on the attack. As Jordan and Pompeo put it:

And so on this highly charged political stage — just 56 days before the presidential election — events forced the administration to make a choice about what to tell the American people: Tell the truth that heavily armed terrorists had killed one American and possibly kidnapped a second — and increase the risk of losing the election. Say we do not know what happened. Or blame a video-inspired protest by tying Benghazi to what had occurred earlier in the day in Cairo. The administration chose the third, a statement with the least factual support but that would help the most politically.

Obama’s reelection campaign was a prominent consideration, but Hillary Clinton’s signature policy achievement was her push to invade Libya, so the political ramifications were serious for her as well. As her Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Policy Jacob Sullivan characterized it in 2011, Clinton had “leadership/ownership/stewardship of this country’s Libya policy from start to finish.” Buddy Sidney Blumenthal, who had business interests in Libya, praised Clinton for following his advice on invading Libya and encouraged her to take full credit for the invasion.

The Benghazi committee shows that the administration told a public story designed to connect the attack to the video and protests in Cairo and a private story that acknowledged the reality that it was a terrorist attack. Clinton’s September 11 statement referred to a “response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” while internal documents about the al-Qaeda-like terror attack didn’t mention any video or protest.

Clinton’s public statement on September 12 again referred to “a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” while her private chat with the Egyptian prime minister clearly said, “We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack – not a protest. … Based on the information we saw today, we believe the group that claimed responsibility for this was affiliated with al Qaeda.”

Each day it goes on like this: Clinton tells family members of those killed in Benghazi that the video was to blame, while privately admitting their deaths had nothing to do with a spontaneous protest of a video. Administration members’ public statements all talk about the video, while most private statements don’t.

One exception would be Ben Rhodes’ email that says, “Goals: To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”

But the administration’s misleading talking points were clear, such as Ambassador Susan Rice’s indignant claim on CNN’s “State of the Union” that “[F]irst of all, let’s be clear about what transpired here. What happened this week in Cairo, in Benghazi, in many parts of the region … was a result – a direct result of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated.”

None of these public statements were true. Also, despite claims to the contrary, they did not accurately reflect changing intelligence reports, House members say.

2. Weak Benghazi Security Points to Clinton’s Political Considerations

It had already been reported that the Benghazi security situation was dire. House Republicans note that one State Department diplomatic security agent “viewed the situation as a ‘suicide mission’ where ‘there was a very good chance that everyone was going to die.'”

According to the summary report, “Some blame the deplorable security conditions in Benghazi on the facility’s ‘made up’ State Department designation. To them, the fact the Department labeled the facility ‘temporary’ excused shortcomings in the compound’s physical security. A ‘temporary’ designation enabled the facility to skirt a host of written internal security requirements that applied to more permanent locations. We also learned it was an improvised designation not used at any of the State Department’s other 275 facilities around the world.”

In addition to Ambassador Chris Stevens’ pleas regarding security made before he was killed, Clinton received a memo about the danger of keeping Americans in Benghazi in August 2012. The memo was alarming, for something so bureaucratic. It used words such as “urgency,” “lawlessness,” “unpredictable,” “lack of effective security,” “limited success,” “widespread violence,” and “act with increasing impunity.” Clinton, who was in charge of American policy in Libya, chose not to remove Americans from Benghazi or beef up security.

Other countries and organizations fled, but the United States remained. The most plausible answer for why this was the case is troubling, House members say: “Secretary Clinton pushed for the U.S. to intervene in Libya, which at the time represented one of her signature achievements. To leave Benghazi would have been viewed as her failure and prompted unwelcome scrutiny of her choices.”

3. Military Never Sent Men or Machines to Help

Members of the committee say they are convinced — contrary to the administration’s public claim that the military did not have time to get to Benghazi — that the administration never even tried to get anyone to help in the fight. From the report:

Finally, we learned troubling new details about the government’s military response to the attack. Until now the administration has led us to believe the military did not have assets — men or machines — close enough or ready enough to arrive in Benghazi in time to save lives. As one earlier committee put it, ‘given their location and readiness status it was not possible to dispatch armed aircraft before survivors left Benghazi.’ The first asset to arrive in Libya — a Marine ‘FAST’ platoon — did not arrive until nearly 24 hours after the attack began. What is troubling is that the administration never set in motion a plan to go to Benghazi in the first place. It is one thing to try and fail; it is yet another not to try at all. In the end, the administration did not move heaven and earth to help our people in Benghazi, as Americans would expect. The contrast between the heroic actions taken in Benghazi and the inaction in Washington — highlights the failure.

4. Terrorists Weren’t Brought to Justice

The day after the attack, President Obama promised, “We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.”

White House Counsel W. Neil Eggleston told the committee, “[T]he Administration’s focus since the attacks has been … an unwavering commitment to bring to justice those responsible for harming Americans[.]”

In the four years since the attack, only one terrorist has been captured and brought to the United States to face criminal justice.

5. Administration Obstructed Investigation

Republicans on the committee reveal that the Obama administration did not cooperate with the investigation but “stonewalled at virtually every turn.” The committee did manage to uncover Secretary Clinton’s breathtaking use of a private email account and server, something no previous investigative or oversight committee had known. But “the White House in particular left large holes in the investigation by denying the Committee access to documents and witnesses.” The Obama administration wouldn’t let the committee speak with anyone who was in the White House Situation Room on the night of the attacks or see the email communication between White House staffers.

Democrats Respond

House Democrats released a minority report yesterday to tamp down the anticipated effect of the majority report. The 339-page report aimed to debunk the conclusions of the majority report with a pre-emptive release, but House Republicans said the report was padded with bizarre non-sequiturs, such as 23 mentions of Donald Trump, a man with no role in the Benghazi attack. The report mentioned two of the victims of the attack less than Trump.

The minority report also accidentally confirmed the huge amount of money Clinton’s aide-de-camp Sidney Blumenthal is receiving from Clinton allies. President Obama forbade Clinton from hiring Blumenthal, but he acted as an informal advisor who recommended her Libya strategy, according to the emails Clinton has allowed the oversight committee to view.

Woman Who Aborts Her Baby At 32 Weeks Illustrates Why She Shouldn’t [The FederalistThe Federalist]

“We must philosophically strengthen feminist theory so that it can admit that abortion is an aggressive act, that it is a form of extermination. [I]n successful abortions, the fetus death rate is 100 percent.” — Camille Paglia, “Vamps and Tramps”

One of the biggest arguments pro-choice advocates have against fetal-pain bills and late-term abortion laws is that when a mom decides on an abortion that late it might be dangerous or at least very inconvenient because the child is so large and well developed. They argue any restrictions on abortion whatsoever threaten abortion as a whole.

In that line of reasoning, in a 5-3 decision on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt yesterday the Supreme Court threw out health and safety regulations on abortion clinics in Texas—one requiring clinics to meet the same health standards as hospitals and the other requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. While Texas has a fetal pain bill in place, not all states ban abortions after 20 weeks, and yesterday’s ruling will mean more abortions in clinics that may be unsafe. The majority justices even dismissed the horrors of convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic, which were an impetus for the Texas law.

The cultural effects of this permissive legal structure are not surprising. In yet another horrifying abortion tale masquerading as a nuanced progressive opinion piece, Vox reports, via an article that originally ran at Jezebel, of a woman who had an abortion at 32 weeks because her unborn son was diagnosed with “anomalies [that] were so bad that he was ‘incompatible with life.’” The piece stated “If he survived birth, it would be a brief and painful life. So they decided to terminate the pregnancy.”

Complicating their already difficult decision, according to Vox and Jezebel, were state laws restricting abortions so close to a child’s birth. Eleven states have enacted fetal pain bills, which limit abortions to before a child is 18-20 weeks old in utero. Because of this, Elizabeth (not her real name) flew to Colorado, where Warren Hern—one of the few late-term abortionists with a license—gave her baby a shot to stop his heart. Elizabeth then flew back to New York to deliver the baby. Hern advised Elizabeth to deliver in a hospital rather than in his clinic because doctors had told her labor and delivery could kill her also.

As tragic as this couple’s story reads, Vox and Jezebel portray it as an unnecessary trial due to pro-lifers passing fetal pain bills. That’s classic liberal petitio principii, raising the question: What’s your support for this premise? Elizabeth says “political shit” complicated her abortion; Vox and Jezebel clearly agree. But how?

Maybe Pick Your Proof Stories More Carefully

This story is not a great exemplar for the evils of late-term abortion limits. For one, Hern may not have been the best doctor to advise Elizabeth’s late-term (or any) abortion. He is currently facing a lawsuit from a couple claiming a story that sounds quite similar to Elizabeth’s (to be clear, it’s not the same couple). The plaintiff, Jennifer, “suffered a horrific late-term abortion complication that she says has caused her physical pain, mental suffering, and the loss of her ability to bear children.”

Vox also states abortions like the ones described in the piece are “incredibly rare,” yet there are approximately 11,000 late-term abortions per year—and that’s just the states that report abortion statistics. Many states like California, where abortion is legal until viability, do not report abortion statistics at all. For comparison, Pew reports that from 2009 to 2014 (the most recent years data are available) the number of gun homicides has hovered around 11,000 and 12,000 per year, yet we don’t see Vox and Jezebel telling us these “incredibly rare.”

Further, data shows this particular instance is not typical of most similar decisions. Studies show “most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.”

The parents in this incident are no doubt bereaved over the loss of their baby and upset about this horrific abortion experience. While it’s undoubtedly sad, it’s still unclear why an abortion was necessary. Elizabeth had to give birth either way. Why kill the baby first? Why not deliver a live child and hold him in your arms for the brief time he’s granted on earth?

Essentially, these parents decided to euthanize their child because they feared his probable disabilities, and abortion laws allow for that, but only as long as the child is located inside the mother’s womb. Inside a mother, a child is a euthanize-able human. Once outside their mothers, the law protects children. This is only one of the major logical contradictions of abortion, and an illustration of the obvious connection between abortion and euthanasia. This case essentially admits it constitutes baby euthanasia because the abortionist used a shot to stop the baby’s heart and induce abortion. If the fetus isn’t a baby, why stop the baby’s heart to abort it?

Abortion Doesn’t Offer Relief to Anyone

Further, pro-choice advocates often use conception in rape and concerns for a mother’s life as justifications for legalizing late-term abortions, yet these two conditions were not at play in this instance. Vox still blamed Elizabeth’s harrowing experience on late-term abortion laws, otherwise known as “fetal pain” laws, saying, “They often take extremely individual, complicated medical decisions out of the hands of the doctors who are qualified to make them. Biology is fickle, bodies are unique, and anything can go wrong at any moment.”

Yet Vox fails to show how more late-term abortion laws would have eased Elizabeth’s physical or emotional pain. In fact, it’s just as likely her access to late-term abortion has increased her suffering. She would still have faced this difficult situation and its aftermath, including the very obvious knowledge for a lifetime that she consented to the killing of what, at that date, is very obviously her unborn child. If she had delivered her child alive or after its natural death she could have taken comfort that she was not the one who caused it.

Scientists and doctors have confirmed repeatedly that babies feel pain by at least 20 weeks, if not before. Compound this with the fact that the 22-week mark is the new viability point. Many of these babies, such as this little one born at 21 weeks and six days and who is now thriving, survive with proper medical treatment. In response, Utah’s governor signed a bill in March that requires abortionists to numb the baby if the mother is at least 20 weeks along.

It Has a Heart, It Can Feel Pain: It’s a Baby

This seems like the least abortionists can do. Yet its necessity again demonstrates that abortion proponents lie to women and the public about what’s inside a woman’s womb. If it needs painkiller and has a heart to stop, it’s a baby. At least modern medical science is forcing abortion supporters to admit the grisly reality of what they advocate.

“We aren’t treating two patients if abortion is an option,” Anna Higgins, an attorney who is a public policy expert on life issues, told me. “We should be treating mom and baby like two patients with various medical needs. Just like any other medical situation. Murder is a ridiculous and false ‘option.’”

Instead of facing the fact that abortion at 20 weeks is the willful euthanizing of an “inconvenient” child, late-term abortion proponents continue blaming “bad” laws rather than acknowledging the grim reality of what they support. And these advocates are prominent in our laws and public policy, not treated as distasteful fringe extremists. Clearly, our society’s ethics have stooped to a new low.

Sometimes there is more to being pro-life than seeing a child live to his 18th birthday. Being pro-life means we value life from natural birth to natural death. So if a mom has a baby with complex abnormalities who lives outside the womb for five minutes, it still demonstrates life is valuable in all stages and all forms. I wonder if Elizabeth would have experienced far less emotional distress, perhaps even some bittersweet moments, had she allowed her baby to be born naturally and had held him in her arms, no matter how briefly.

Brexit Signifies The Downfall Of The Experts [The FederalistThe Federalist]

In a historic referendum last Thursday, the British people voted by a margin of 52-48 to leave the European Union, despite pleas by President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and leading economists saying it would be disastrous.

This is part of a process unfolding across the Western world in which the voting public is rejecting the arguments of the so-called experts, and instead embracing “old” concepts such as national pride, economic nationalism, and local control.

Although this has been a long time coming, the straw that broke the camel’s back this time was the chaos and disorder in Syria and the resultant flow of refugees into Europe, which to many Europeans happened too quickly, and over which they felt they had no control.

Indeed, not only Europe but in America similar sentiments are at play, in which people feel globalization, immigration, and “free” trade are being pushed at them in a manner and speed they are not comfortable with, sometimes with adverse consequences different than what the experts promised. Donald Trump has embraced these concerns with laser focus and forceful consistency, much to the chagrin and bafflement of the experts.

Experts Don’t Live With or Respect Us

What’s driving this schism between the people and the experts? I argue two reasons.

First, experts in London, Berlin, and DC, and at Harvard University and The New York Times, are too far separated from the average people in their respective nations to understand their hearts, minds, and concerns for the future. Having recently graduated from Harvard myself, one of the most commonly heard refrains from classmates and faculty was “I don’t know a single person voting for Trump.” Since I am a Midwesterner at heart and not part of the Ivory Tower, I was glad to provide my peers a view into the mind of “regular” Americans, whether for or against Trump, which was a perspective they weren’t likely to get elsewhere.

Second, experts believe their intellectual caliber, academic training, and influential position makes their opinion worth more than that of the average citizen, whom they see as uneducated, unsophisticated, and not aware of what’s best for them. Thus, they do not believe the concerns of regular people need to be humbly listened to, let alone taken into account and acted upon, when creating policy and setting the national direction.

This is why the experts have so consistently misread recent events in world politics, from the rise of Trump to the stunning Brexit vote to the rise of the Alternative for Deutschland Party in Germany. They simply have no understanding of the things regular people are concerned about, due to lack of exposure to the people, and a feeling that experts don’t need input from non-experts.

Indeed, the response of the experts to recent events has not helped. Their admonitions to the people largely consist of labeling them racist, fascist, bigoted, xenophobic, nativist, Islamophobic, far-right, isolationist, or other pejorative terms. But these rebukes have fallen on ears that are tired of the name-calling and no longer afraid of it.

So what’s the way forward? If experts want to continue to have influence, they’ll need to take a dose of humility and learn how to understand the people deeply and then act on the people’s concerns. Otherwise, the democratic process will begin to replace them with emergent leaders like Trump, Nigel Farage, and Marine Le Pen, all of whose rising popularity shows they are more in tune with the concerns of the people than with the establishment experts.

Abortion Humor Isn’t Funny, But It Sure Is Revealing [The FederalistThe Federalist]

One thing that the abortion movement has going for it is a Supreme Court that loves abortion so much it will do anything it takes to keep it legal on demand. Whether it’s Roe, Casey, or Monday’s Whole Women’s Health V. Hellerstedt, the rulings are a collection of incoherent assertions tied together with poorly executed insults. Another thing it has going for it is an abortion-enraptured media that loves all abortion and covers up negative stories about the practice.

The big thing that the abortion movement has against it is that everyone knows killing babies is wrong, no matter how much media-beloved Ruth Bader Ginsburg beats the drum for its eugenical powers.

The creative arts have trouble doing abortion advocacy because of that deeply held universal view that killing innocent, unborn children is not exactly heroic.

Comedians, who are dark people willing to joke about death, can’t even do it well. Here are a few examples.

Yes, an “irreverent and lighthearted” look at killing babies! That sounds delightful. It was just last year that Philip Wegmann wrote up “‘Post Cards from The Vag’: A Tragic Abortion Comedy,” a look at a comedy night about abortion that was utterly heart-rending.

But these are better than the unwatchable “Daily Show’s” post-SCOTUS ruling tweet:

Ah, what’s not to love about this comedic genius? Note that it’s directed at men and not at women, since only men can knock up only women. Note that the “joke” only makes sense if the woman is then aborting the child. And since the ruling was about whether Texas clinics should meet basic health and safety standards (SCOTUS says nope!), the joke is that the woman you abandon after impregnating her will have less-safe clinics to meet all her baby-killing needs.

[Insert big Ed McMahon ho-ho-ho laugh here]

Pro-lifers were aghast at the tweet but so were middle-of-the-roaders, leading pro-choice activists to freak out that the tweet wasn’t exactly helpful to the side that advocates unrestricted rights to end the lives of unborn children. So they pushed out another tweet asking viewers to pretend they didn’t understand the first tweet’s clear wording:

Un-hunh. Sure. One might ask the brilliant comedic minds at “The Daily Show” why they wouldn’t be promoting abortions, exactly. Nevermind, they’re scrambling.

But kudos to “The Daily Show” for showing that abortion is something that is caused by men knocking women up without providing them the support and encouragement to gestate human life in the womb. I mean, read as subversive pro-life commentary on the violence and misogyny of abortion, the tweet actually works.

But, of course, that wasn’t the intent of the joke-stealers over at Comedy Central.

Another good example of abortion comedy going over like a lead balloon came from the enthusiastic, if dull, Zack Ford.

Many people complained about the vile ghoulishness of the tweet. But one and a half cheers for Ford just being honest about how some people really love killing little babies. “Safe, legal, rare”? I think you mean “Gosnell-like, unrestricted, and common,” amiright?

A special honorable mention for abortion-comedy goes to the Washington Post, a paper not exactly having a banner day on the abortion coverage front.

The story, by By Ariana Eunjung Cha, is an absolute hot mess, but apparently by “science” she means “a study authored by abortion activists that says abortion is no biggie.” She does not mean the type of science that tells us human life begins at conception.

Speaking of science and the Washington Post, they once tried to take Marco Rubio to task for the true scientific fact he mentioned about human life beginning at conception. It’s hilarious, but awful, but, again, hilarious, how they responded.

“Marco Rubio demanded people look at the science on abortion. So we did,” they all said. And, um, well, the Washington Post has no idea how babies are made and no idea that human lives begin at conception. Years later, they have still not corrected the piece, authored by Philip Bump, that snottily argues against this scientific fact.

Abortion: Still not funny to tear innocent human life from limb to limb. Never will be. But media idiocy on the topic is good for a morbid chuckle or two.

A Free Society Is The Common Enemy Of Radical Islam And The Left [The FederalistThe Federalist]

It has been a quarter-century since the Crown Heights riots in August 1991. The driver of a car in the Rebbe Menachem Schneerson’s motorcade lost control and accidentally killed a seven-year-old black child. An angry mob, bent on revenge, stabbed to death an innocent Jewish scholar. One incident in those lethal three days is a connecting strand to the Orlando carnage.

At the height of the rioting, New York Newsday columnist Jimmy Breslin took a cab to Crown Heights to cover a talk by then-Mayor David Dinkins. A pack of some 25 black youths swarmed the cab, smashing in its windshield with a bat. They stripped him to his underwear, beat, and robbed him. During the attack, an assailant shouted, “White man! White man!” It did not matter that Breslin was not a Jew. He was white. That was enough. Bloodlust is simpler than we make it.

Crown Heights Jews were hated not for their Judaism but for their skin color. They were the whitest whites of all. With their distinctive dress and separate habits, the Orthodox provided an exaggerated symbol of the hated whitey. Whiteness, as we hear from heirs of Franz Fanon, is more than a matter of pigmentation. It is a moral defect, an indelible stain.

Listening now to pundits on TV puzzling over the origin of the Orlando slaughter—availability of guns? homophobia? Christianity? Omar Mateen’s self-hatred?—I remember that exultant “White man! White man!” Memory balks at a tangled inquest into motives. Search for reasons shortens to the self-evident one: Islamic hatred of the infidel.

No, we are not all potential terrorists. No, we have not been asking for it with our biblical taboos. But we are—still—a free and open society. And that freedom is intolerable to theocratic Islam.

Can Islamists Hate Us More than We Hate Ourselves?

To Allah’s boys, homosexual club-goers in Orlando, with their liberty and up-front assertion of sexuality, embody the alien West. They are as repugnant to a Muslim fanatic as a white man, Jew or not, to resentful blacks on a Brooklyn street 25 years ago. Jews and homosexuals are pretexts for deep-rooted rage against something far larger than themselves.

The Better Sort—academia, the commentariat, cultural mandarins—have a hard time acknowledging malice in the multi-culti wonderland they imagine for us. They talk their way around it, psychologize it into a case study where there are no enemies to be defeated. There are only persons to be understood. A penitential class, our betters are ingenious in their capacity for self-accusation. They compete with each other for conjuring away the obvious or turning it into a spearhead against the open society that offends totalitarian Islam and the Left in equal measure.

They also raise denial to an ethic. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch tells us the killer’s true motives may never be known. This, though Mateen pledged allegiance—in Arabic—to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “on behalf of the Islamic State.” Lynch echoes James Comey who, a year ago, announced the FBI was struggling to discern Mohammed Yousef Adbulazeez’s true motives for murdering five men in an armed-forces recruiting station in Chatanooga.

George Rutler, writing in Crisis four days after the Orlando bloodbath, gave a brief tutorial on previous dissociative defense mechanisms:

Artful denial is a common disposition of those who will not compromise their ideology with reality, lest they be discomfited by the fact of evil. The Turkish government persists in denying the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923. Japan still denies the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Chinese in 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Not until 1994 did Russia accept full responsibility for the slaughter of 21,857 Polish army officers, clergy, and academics in the Katyn forest. In that same year, President Roosevelt brushed aside Jan Karski’s microfilmed evidence of Nazi concentration camps as did Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter: ‘I did not say that (Karski) was lying. I said that I could not believe him. There is a difference.’

History is thick with the stench of decay rising from dead consciences. The fumes are inescapable. They waft around us now. Received wisdom has it that “moderate” Muslims are a silent majority; that their silence is a sign of fear, not indifference. But it is fair to ask to what degree that generous alibi might be little more than a well-meaning projection of mainstream American decency.

Shooting People Is Like Sexism

Stay for a moment with Taneem Husain, a Muslim-American academic. She is visiting assistant professor of gender, women, and sexuality studies at Gustavus Adolphus College, a Minnesota institution affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (Minnesosta is noted for producing dozens of young Muslims who left home to join jihadists in Syria and Africa.) Three months ago, she was invited to nearby Carleton College to give a talk entitled: “Desiring Inclusion, Demonstrating Love: Constructing the Good Muslim American.”

Carleton introduced her with this blurb:

Husain has a particular focus on Muslim American identity. Her teaching interests are in queer theory, pop culture and media studies, literature, and postcolonial and transnational feminisms. Her research focuses on representations of Muslim Americans, and her book project, Empty Diversity in Muslim America: Race, Religion, and the Politics of U.S. Inclusion, looks at how Muslim American popular texts engage and contest binaries between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Muslims.

In short, Husain is in the image business, promoting crafted identity where the Left has established itself since the 1960s: in the fertile ground of academia. Four days after Orlando, she published an essay “Beyond @ NotInMyName” in the online magazine Altmuslimah. It begins: “It seems like every week we in the U.S. have another mass shooting to decipher and process.” Just one more mass shooting in a country that clings to guns. What is to be expected? She moves along:

Orlando isn’t my tragedy – I’m not queer, I’m not Latina, I’m not Floridian. And as Muslims so often reiterate, we should not be expected to feel a collective guilt because a shooter identified with our religion.

Let us not call Mateen a Muslim. Husain disassociates him from Islam by classifying him as someone who merely identified with Islam. As academia has been instructing us lately, anyone can identify with anything.

A credentialed moderate, the professor does chide Islam for the two sins most abhorrent to the academy. And she uses the academy’s own argot:

When we define our Islam as if problematic aspects like sexism and homophobia are irrelevant, we negate the gendered oppression and homophobia that does take place in our Muslim communities. Sexism and homophobia continue to exist in Muslim communities. . . .

Sexism is violence. Homophobia is violence. And we’re kidding ourselves if we think these smaller violences don’t lead to the palpable shootings we are so quick to condemn.

She repeats a lament “for the violence caused by the lack of gun control.” All sounds soothing, benign. Her essay is empty of any reference to the content of her faith. It is scrubbed clean of all theological imperatives to violence. Gone is any hint of canonical obligation to subdue and overmaster the Dar al-harb and subdue the harbis. Scratch the word Muslim, and any Unitarian could have written the piece.

The tenor of Husain’s response to Orlando was repeated in The New York Times. Bilel Qureshi, a former editor and producer with NPR, submitted a plaintive op-ed, “The Muslim Silence on Gay Rights”: “When I was growing up, there were no Muslim role models or blueprints for taking a different path to love. . . . queer Muslims are marginalized if not simply invisible.”

Then comes the boilerplate: “No religion has a monopoly on homophobia.” Perhaps not. But there is only one that we know of which throws homosexuals off roof tops and shoots or stones those who survive the fall.

Again, no mention of the substance of Islam. There was only the personal confession of his struggle to reconcile his homosexuality with his faith. The reader gains no sense of what that faith holds. Forty-nine people are dead. And this man thinks of role models and gay marriage.

Compare these self-referential reactions with the enduring, unconditional denunciation of abortion clinic violence by Catholic leaders and institutions. All categorically rejected any justification for violence against abortionists or their facilities. Attacks peaked in the late 1990s. Cardinal O’Connor, in a homily delivered at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1998, gave this response to the fanatical actions of groups such as Operation Rescue:

We can come to know what it means to be truly human, to be made in his [Christ’s] image and likeness, whoever we are, whatever our religion, our color, our sex, our orientation, our sins. . . . We see every individual in the world as equally sacred, of immeasurable worth and dignity. . . .

On this occasion I repeat publicly what I have said before and mean, with every fiber of my being: ‘If anyone has an urge to kill an abortionist, kill me instead.’ That’s not a grandstand play. I am prepared to die if my death can save the life of another.

In the wake of Orlando, the resounding silence of American Muslims—apart from anodyne deflection of public attention away from Islam and onto gun control and gay rights—should give us pause.

Rape Culture And Hookup Culture Are Two Sides Of The Same Coin [The FederalistThe Federalist]

Rape culture has reared its ugly head in the media once again. The culprit most recently is former Stanford University athlete Brock Turner, caught in a heinous act of sexual assault against an unconscious “Emily Doe” behind a dumpster.

The facts of this case are unambiguous, the victim’s statement heart-rending, Turner’s efforts to dodge justice deplorable, and the judge’s sentence dissatisfying. In no other case has the narrative of a toxic campus rape culture been so compelling.

This incident raises the usual questions. Is this horrendous crime symptomatic of a larger social trend? Or is it an aberration, disturbing but with few implications for decent people? There’s no easy answer to this. But it will help if we zoom out and examine our sexual campus culture as a whole.

College Through Freshman Eyes

Let’s start with the obvious premise that our sexual behavior depends in part on our sexual attitudes. Consider, then, what typical incoming freshmen might think about sex. They’ve probably been on a steady diet of raunchy sitcoms, “How I Met Your Mother” or whatever the 2016 equivalent is, full of apparently successful and attractive characters who hook up with strangers and joke about it over brunch the following morning.

Their Spotify playlists, almost regardless of the genre, will consist of overtly sexual lyrics sometimes bordering on pornographic. Their sex education in school was probably focused on how not to have babies—and that’s about it. Many will already have active porn habits. Suffice to say, their attitude is likely at the permissive end of the spectrum.

Freshmen are still teenagers, with raging hormones and undeveloped brains. This is no less true for being cliché. Some of them may have had moral foundations, in family or faith or community, to promote some sexual restraint. But now, for the first time, they’re largely free from adult supervision and subject to a very different set of influences.

Most of them will be eager for their first taste of the fabled college party scene. College parties, stripped down to their raw components, are about booze and sex. To make it more palatable, these are encased in elaborate ritual festivities. Students get dressed up (or undressed, as the case may be), and maybe pre-game a little with their friends before stepping into frat houses where cheap beer stains the floor and the most responsible person presiding is the 22-year-old who bought the keg.

Games like beer pong turn drinking into a pursuit in and of itself, enticing even the reluctant to imbibe. Jell-O shots and Long Island Iced Teas mask the taste for those unaccustomed to it, allowing the effects to work more insidiously. People laugh at the antics of the puking freshman. Sweaty, black-lit dance floors vibrate to Top 40 songs with lyrics like “Take a dive inside this liquor, got me pulling on your zipper” while adolescents grind on each other in what looks more like simulated sex than dancing.

Everything about the college party environment is designed to wear away at inhibitions, to normalize debauchery. All this is overlaid by a shallow communal spirit, a sense of celebration of freedom and youth and good times, that covers the event’s sinister foundations. People make friends, exchange numbers, fall into inebriated flirtations, pleasures that seem innocent until suddenly they’re not.

Most people will make it home, exhausted and less-than-sober but otherwise safe. A few who went too far might catch drinking tickets or hospital stays. Some—the “lucky ones”—wake up the following morning next to strangers.

Certainly, not all college freshmen will lose themselves in this scene right away, or at all necessarily. For various reasons, they might not be ready to sink into full-fledged hedonism. But most keep going back to the parties, weekend after weekend, because it’s just what you do. Each time, they’ll find themselves slipping a little farther down that slope.

Party Culture Meets Hookup Culture

Thus emerges the hookup culture, in which unattached casual sex becomes a lifestyle. The party scene is the launching pad for hookup culture, but not the crux of it. As students age and mature, they might—might—grow out of these freshman thrills. But the parties work to strip away former mores and foster an appreciation for carnal pleasures. The more we cross a line, the less we like to acknowledge it was ever there.

So students move on to more sophisticated forms of hedonism, less “Animal House” and more “Friends.” They won’t need to go to trashy parties for sex. They can just go through the numbers in their phones. Hookups more often occur within a network of exes, maybes, “it’s complicated’s,” or friends with benefits than drunken strangers.

We crave intimacy as much as we fear it, and with sex familiarity breeds pleasure. So students move from the raucous party life to a less extreme, yet more deeply entrenched, dynamic of sexual semi-attachments. Here students develop the habits they’ll likely carry into their young adult lives.

Universities enable these destructive behaviors. For practical reasons, seriously addressing the party problem is a difficult undertaking. It’s deep-rooted in college culture, and administrators don’t want to take serious disciplinary action against large portions of their student bodies. The party scene attracts students and the tuition fees they bring.

More importantly, though, universities simply lack the sense of mission to crack down on the party and hookup culture. They don’t tackle drinking, co-ed dorms, or Greek life, or implement curfews, because they have no philosophical basis for doing so. The principles of diversity, autonomy, and individual expression they prioritize don’t, on their own, lend themselves the development and enforcement of healthy norms.

The Ideology of Hooking Up

Far from facilitating healthy behavior, universities provide top-down intellectual support for students’ bottom-up carnal pursuits. Sex is taught as a morally neutral biological need, “as basic as breakfast,” as a fellow student once informed me. In human sexuality courses students watch porn and then discuss it, under the guidance of tenured professors. Students are encouraged to write about their sexual fantasies and share them with the class.

Far from facilitating healthy behavior, universities provide top-down intellectual support for students’ bottom-up carnal pursuits.

“Sex positivity” tells them sexuality is just a form of expression, to be explored and indulged with few restraints. Empirically invalidated, yet much espoused, feminist theories teach that women’s sex drives, motivations, and reactions are the same as those of men. In the unlikely event students hear anything about chastity, it will only be as an arcane historical artifact, met with some combination of amusement and contempt.

In real-life terms, students learn that hooking up is the healthy and natural thing for them to do. If they want something, there’s no good reason they shouldn’t pursue it. Their sexual practices and proclivities, whatever they may be, are wholly innocent, basically human. If uncommitted sex hasn’t yet brought them satisfaction, well, they should just keep trying. They need to figure out what kinds of sex will truly fulfill them, and find the partners (one may not be enough) with the right kind of compatibility.

The only rule in their pursuits is that they be themselves, true to their own desires, as defined by each individual and nobody else.

Consent to What, Exactly?

The only constraint the libertine culture is willing to place on students’ behaviors is “consent.” As I’ve written before, this is a wholly inadequate standard to judge licit and illicit sex. Among other reasons, this is because “consent” based on a false view of human sexuality is uninformed, and thus really isn’t consent at all.

‘Consent’ based on a false view of human sexuality is uninformed, and thus really isn’t consent at all.

But there’s another problem here. We’re told that sex is an unmitigated good, right up until the second consent is withheld, at which point it becomes an unmitigated evil. This is at best confusing, at worst profoundly incoherent.

If sex has no inherent meaning, no significance other than what we assign it, how ought we to go about policing ourselves—and why should we? Short of a clear “No,” at what point should we ask ourselves if we’re going too far, if maybe we ought to slow down? What justification do we need to pursue any sexual whim, other than the mere presence of desire? We don’t have any reason to question ourselves, because any impulse we might have is made not only valid, but good, simply because we have it.

How our behavior might affect our partners is a moot point. We can’t possibly guess what kind of meaning they might assign a sexual encounter, if it’s all subjective. And it’s really none of our business, anyway. This is about self-expression and satisfaction. So let me do my thing while you do yours. The fact that we happen to be doing it with and to each other is merely incidental.

Hookup Culture Breeds Rape Culture

Subjective sex leads seamlessly from hookup to rape culture. This is for two reasons. One, an offended party can subjectively define herself as having been violated at any time, during or after a sexual act. In this case, a student may find himself the subject of a sexual assault investigation even when the legal criteria for rape are nowhere in sight. This danger is already much discussed.

It makes no sense to tell someone any sex act he might desire is either innocent and laudable or heinous and deplorable, with nothing in between.

Two, less obvious but equally problematic, is it makes no sense to tell someone any sex act he might desire is either innocent and laudable or heinous and deplorable, with nothing in between. Sex can’t be either meaningless or criminal. Sexual morality (yes, it is a real thing) exists on a spectrum. There are plenty of things we legally can do but still shouldn’t. To deny this is to remove a necessary guide to personal conduct. Subjective sexual ethics are hard enough to comprehend even on a theoretical level, and well-nigh impossible to implement in real life.

The ideology of the hookup culture sets everyone up to be a victim by luring students into the vast expanse of sexual gray area, then telling them it’s black and white. The line may be blurry, but trust us: it’s there. Get as close to it as you want, you’re just expressing yourself! But damned if you set foot across it, knowingly or not. Students are invited to frolic near the edge of a cliff.

From the safety of a classroom, employing the full use of our cognitive faculties, we can talk ourselves into this kind of incoherence. But at a behavioral level, subjective meaning is no meaning at all. We can’t buy something for $5, then upon finding it stolen declare it worth $5,000 for insurance purposes. Similarly, we can’t convince ourselves what was an act of innocent sexual expression with one girl has inexplicably morphed into an act of rape with the next, under mostly similar circumstances. Rape is a horrific crime, and instinctively we all know this. But from a perspective of sexual subjectivity, there’s no adequate explanation why this should be.

How to Teach Men Not to Rape

Now let me be clear: Brock Turner’s offense did not operate within any kind of gray area. His was a reprehensible, criminal act, without any excuse or justification, and should be treated as such. Conversely, “Emily Doe” is an innocent victim if ever there was one, deserving of all the support and solidarity we have to offer. The trial she was subjected to was nearly as unconscionable as the assault itself, and her courage in enduring it for the sake of justice is admirable. We should be grateful she was willing to write about it so publicly and powerfully. This is no case of a University of Virginia rape hoax or a mattress-wielding performance artist. This is the real thing.

Our youth need to learn that apart from legal and illegal, there are questions of right and wrong.

So what can we learn from this horrendous crime? It’s possible Turner is simply a sociopath, who would have acted similarly under any cultural or social circumstances, had he had the opportunity. It’s more likely, though, that had he been instilled with a more substantive sense of what sex is and should be, this wouldn’t have happened. Had he not been invited into the gray area, he might not have pressed on into the black.

Feminists say if we want to address rape culture, well then “Teach men not to rape.” Fair enough. But we probably won’t accomplish that by drawing a stick through the sand and saying, “Here’s the line, don’t cross it, end of lecture.” Nor are we likely to have much success by creating complex codes and statutes of sexual conduct, and then expecting men to adhere to them rigidly in their most inebriated and hormonal moments.

If we really care about keeping women safe, we need to reshape (or rather, reclaim) our cultural understanding of sex altogether. Our youth need to learn that apart from legal and illegal, there are questions of right and wrong. At the university level in particular, we need to alter what we teach and what we condone. If we want to curb campus sexual assault, we need to target all the factors surrounding it, from alcohol consumption to dorm regulations to academic curriculum. As my activist friends would say, we need to make systemic changes.

If we want to tear down rape culture, we have to dismantle hookup culture first.

Federal Education Mandates Divert Resources From Minority Kids [The FederalistThe Federalist]

The 62nd anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education just about coincided with the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding affirmative action, and both reveal something startling about the federal approach to educating students in high-poverty schools. It seems there are trends in public education worse than the implied threat of resegregating schools.

In a recent statement to the press, U.S. Education Secretary John King mentioned an uptick in the high-school graduation rates of African American and Latino students but warned that minorities still have “less access to the best teachers and the most challenging courses.” Because of the disparity, King aims to ensure federal education dollars supplement state resources for high-poverty schools. He’s doing this with proposed regulations that would require states to alter their education spending structures, despite loud noises from Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander complaining the new education law replacing No Child Left Behind does not give King authority to do so.

Yet buried in King’s statement is an agenda that’s more about maintaining high-stakes testing than enhancing the education or learning potential of minorities, since what counts as a quality teacher or challenging course must be measured by student test results. Unfortunately, high-stakes testing compromises rather than bolsters education opportunities for children in need. So King’s mandates are actually counterproductive—what he’s doing in the name of helping poor and minority kids will actually hurt them.

Polling on this subject is interesting. According to a 2015 PDK/Gallup Poll, most minority parents think standardized tests are important when comparing the performance of students in other schools. Americans in general support testing, as well. But everyone also agrees there is too much emphasis on testing. In fact, when judging the quality of a public school, most believe that student engagement with classwork, not tests, is the best evidence.

Stop Pretending Tests Are the Solution

Perhaps one reason for this is that testing assaults teacher autonomy. Don’t get me wrong: tests are important. But I object to the practice of using tests to control schools from the outside. Teachers are best situated to meet the needs of their students. Not even the brightest student can be fully evaluated using assessments that are authorized in legislatures instead of schools. When the autonomy teachers require in the classroom gets disrupted by testing, so does the learning process of literally millions of students.

Teachers have long endured the burden of teaching to the test, which is more about managing materials than bringing forth insight and knowledge. Often, teachers find it insulting when bureaucrats micromanage their lessons through testing mandates. This effectively makes teachers beholden to testing. Should teachers just do whatever they want in lieu of testing? Absolutely not. That’s why accountability exists in any decent school between teachers, parents, students, and principals. That’s a much better arrangement than turning trained professionals into paper pushers and time keepers—diverting their attention away from crucial things like student engagement.

Local accountability works when it’s not undermined. But the focus on standardized testing in education debates today does the teaching profession a disservice and shifts our attention away from actual classwork. This should be alarming to African Americans, in particular, who poll the highest in their trust and confidence of teachers.

The danger to students of overemphasizing tests is that with low-wealth minority students, for whom the value of an education can’t be overstated, standardization gets in the way of teaching critical thinking. Assessing critical thinking is more of a qualitative practice, which is why it contrasts with the U.S. Department of Education’s overreliance on quantitative data. Still, for our children’s sake, because critical thinking is foundational to comprehension and problem solving skills, it shouldn’t be neglected.

Despite Data Onrush, Minority Kids Still Behind

We’re awash in data these days. The National Center for Education Statistics routinely looks at issues like persistence and outcomes among minorities. In 2013, the National Assessment of Educational Progress pointed to the enduring black-white and Hispanic-white achievement gap. This is where one important study becomes useful. A U.S. News and World Report article published earlier this year and titled “Achievement Gap Between White and Black Students Still Gaping” described a recent analysis of a historic education report.

The Coleman Report, named for a prominent sociologist at Johns Hopkins University, was commissioned by the Civil Rights Act in 1964. It became highly influential in shaping education policy. When compared to today’s achievement gap statistics, the report makes clear that in 50 years the gap has narrowed only incrementally. Achievement differentials have hardly narrowed because programs like Title I never really focus on students themselves. Education policy often manages to get caught up in abstractions and data points instead of reality. So it’s no surprise that 50-year-old policies, which have done very little for students, are still being championed.

It’s not difficult at all for me to accept that this obstinate gap will likely remain for generations. In fact, I question why federal and state governments think in comparative terms such as “gap” and “disparity” anyway—especially when teachers, including me, are most concerned with maximizing the academic potential of individual students. What is difficult to swallow is the fiction that testing will somehow make education more equitable for students in need, when the facts show otherwise.

Title I Hasn’t Helped Poor Kids

One goal of Title I—the major source of federal funding for low-income students—is to help low-achieving students reach minimum proficiency on state assessments. But efforts toward this goal have been almost juvenile, with oversight of public funds becoming an afterthought. For instance, in his press statement, King described a situation where large sums of grant money have been given to state bureaucrats who, in turn, have not used those dollars to actually help students languishing in impoverished schools. Unfortunately, Title I has succeeded mostly in creating additional layers of bureaucracy in education funding.

Some want to shift the blame to testing companies that design and create the assessments many states use, thanks to federal mandates. An article in The Washington Post last year titled “Big Education Firms Spend Millions Lobbying for Pro-testing Policies” implies that corporations are thirsting after the largesse of programs like Title I.

But this is a distraction. The Pearsons and McGraw-Hills of the world aren’t the problem. The truth is that teachers are trained to wisely purchase testing materials. Politicians are not. And Title I wrongly incentivizes lawmakers to make these kinds of decisions. All the same, scrutinizing transactions with testing companies doesn’t get to the heart of the matter and has little, if anything, to do with access to a good education in America today.

So the real question remains. How does Title I improve education for minorities trapped in high-poverty schools? It doesn’t. In fact, the testing provision of Title I gets in the way of its own main goals.

Testing Degrades the Best Instruction

Regardless of their philosophical leanings, some of the greatest education theorists of the twentieth century (Dewey, Freire, Illich) agree that education should be a liberating experience. But making this a reality begins with teaching, not politics. First and foremost, teachers are charged with shaping the minds of students. They need the freedom to plan lessons and find ways to pique student interest. Classrooms across the nation cannot afford to have teachers wasting time moderating eight or more weeks of annual test prep.

Because massive federal programs often lead to one gap or another, public policy should scale back the middle men and women.

Amid Title I’s numerous lofty goals, what exactly does it mean by a high-quality education? As an educator, when I think about quality, national and state assessments don’t come to mind. I think about in-class accountability and not the zero-sum game of stigmatizing schools that underperform on tests. I think about an uninhibited process where ideas surface and help generate productive discussion, where insight flows from teacher to student and vice versa. Testing is simply a far cry from this kind of meaningful intellectual exchange, which is all too often sidelined in schools.

Education policy analysts like Diane Ravitch have argued that the country has more of a poverty problem than a schools problem. It’s true that poverty influences the way a student pursues education and shapes the support system available to that student. But many assessments of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, including Thomas Sowell’s “Economic Facts and Fallacies,” make the case that government efforts to eradicate poverty have been minimal, at best. And it’s worth noting that Title I of the ESEA was a part of Johnson’s sweeping legislation.

Because massive federal programs often lead to one gap or another, public policy should scale back the middle men and women. The provider industry of test developers and anti-poverty agents should also be trimmed. Those programs could then be supplemented with things like access, school choice, and autonomy for teachers and minority students. This is the truly powerful legacy of Brown v. Board of Education, which gets obscured underneath a slew of hollow programs and promises.

Video: Union Officials Volunteer To Shield Abusive Teacher [The FederalistThe Federalist]

We are, supposedly, in the middle of a campus rape epidemic. A much-bandied (although woefully inaccurate) statistic is that one in five women will experience sexual assault while on a college campus. One would think the proclaimed concern for women on college campuses would also apply to young women and men (not to mention girls and boys) before high school graduation.

A new video project exposing how teacher’s union officials respond to child abuse from guerrilla filmmaker James O’Keefe and the collective yawn from the Left in response proves just how ideologically inconsistent many who discuss the campus rape epidemic are. If grown women need and deserve our protection, so too do children.

In every public school in the country, a huge portion of the workforce that directly engages with students is exempt from concerns about being fired. The vast majority of these individuals—teachers—are a force for good.

There is, however, a not-insignificant minority who were drawn to the profession because of summers off, benefits most Americans could only dream of, and the guarantee of a job for life, all protected by collective bargaining. These bad eggs often end up in “rubber rooms,” especially in my hometown of New York City, where teachers accused of abuse continue to receive sometimes six-figure paychecks and accrue pension benefits while not actually teaching children.

One of O’Keefe’s latest videos shows a health teacher offering undercover journalists cocaine. Another shows multiple union officials being informed of child abuse and instructing those responsible for and aware of the abuse to stay quiet and hope victims don’t come forward. Not only are these teachers protected by their union, but in this case, they have the muscle of the local police department as well. In retaliation for his investigation, O’Keefe, who isn’t exactly beloved in the deep-blue tristate area, met a lengthy public lashing by the police chief on the police department’s Facebook page.

Tenure Means You Can Never Fire Me

The abuse video from O’Keefe’s organization, Project Veritas (disclosure: O’Keefe and I are old friends from our college days at Rutgers University), shows a teacher’s union official advising O’Keefe, whom she believed was a teacher, how to lie about abuse and absenteeism to retain his teaching job.

The video shows O’Keefe, posing as a Yonkers teacher, telling officials with the Yonkers Teacher Federation he has abused an African-American student while using a racial epithet, and ran off on the job on an unplanned and illegal (teachers cannot take more than three consecutive vacation days during the school year) trip to Mexico. On the subject of abuse, one union official told O’Keefe “You don’t have to be honest. I mean, we can talk in theory… You’re a tenured teacher and you have—tenured means you can only be dismissed if the board convinced a stranger that they’re right.”

Not only do teachers have the power of tenure to fall back on, but they also have a well-funded group of individuals working to keep teachers employed (and, thus, paying union dues), no matter what. Students have nothing of the sort. The arrangement is something that would likely be a pet issue for liberals: a David and Goliath situation in which defenseless children are the David and a powerful group of elders in a position to abuse.

A similar scenario involving the Catholic Church has captured our society’s attention for decades, justifiably. While there is likely not the same number of victims, the basic players are the same: abused children, adults, and a powerful and rich group protecting the abusers. A simple Google News search for “teacher abuse” shows the phenomenon isn’t isolated to a handful of cases in the case of teachers.


Most frightening about the O’Keefe video is the possibility of countless other stories not being reported thanks to the power of teacher’s unions (who, in turn, fund Democratic politicians en masse). The cards are stacked against students and their families: in a battle of he-said she-said, families don’t stand a chance facing an opponent incapable of being fired in most instances, a powerful and wealthy union fighting his case, and an entire political party that relies on the support of the aforementioned unions to keep getting elected.

While the City of Yonkers appears to be taking O’Keefe’s sting seriously, the union officials filmed are likely not unique to their profession, which is known for thuggish behavior in many instances. Given how calmly these officials reacted to the possibility of an abusive and negligent teacher in their midst, teachers similar to those O’Keefe pretended to be could also be numerous. If the Left wants to have any semblance of credibility on sexual abuse, subsequent video exposes should be treated with the seriousness they deserve before a national scandal erupts and puts the issue on the front pages.

UK After Brexit: What Is The Charter Of The Land? [The FederalistThe Federalist]

June 23, the day its citizens voted to exit the European Union, is Britain’s Independence Day. As with our own Independence Day, it’s the day they chose to reject rule by a distant and unaccountable bureaucracy and instead asserted that government’s just powers derive from the consent of the governed.

But having rebelled against an overbearing external authority, they have to decide what they were rebelling for. It is a question of immediate practical importance, because if the motive was mere nationalism, well, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island is itself a trans-national union, encompassing England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, which are nominally considered separate “nations” sharing a common monarch and a common government. (Have you ever wondered why England, Scotland, and Wales field their own soccer teams for the World Cup? No, of course you didn’t, because you’re an American and you don’t care about the World Cup. But in case you did, that’s why.)

So if nationalism is the ruling order of the day, Scotland will consider a new referendum for separating from the United Kingdom (UK), as will Northern Ireland. The really nonsensical part is that the Scottish seem to want to withdraw from the UK just so they can turn around and abandon their national identity within the European Union. William Wallace would not approve.

If only there were some wider principle we could refer to as the basis for British identity.

You don’t have to look far to find one. When I saw the result of the Brexit vote, I couldn’t resist indulging in a little vicarious British patriotism by looking for a good version of “Rule, Brittania!”

It’s an inspiring tune, musically speaking, filled with a sense of grandeur and majesty that is characteristic of British patriotic music. The lyrics are even better. Here’s the original 1740 James Thomson poem on which it was based:

When Britain first, at Heaven’s command
Arose from out the azure main;
This was the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sang this strain:
“Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
“Britons never will be slaves.”

The rhythmic requirements of the music, combined with Victorian changes in grammatical usage, transformed that last line to: “Britons never, never, never shall be slaves,” which is even better.

This was tied up with a lot of interesting political science. The British long held a suspicion of large land armies, which they feared a tyrannical leader could use to subjugate the people. A large and powerful navy, by shielding Britain from invasion, made such a standing army unnecessary while posing no real threat to the people back on land. So the Royal Navy was considered the ideal national defense for a free people. It was regarded in much the same way America’s founders regarded a militia drawn from an armed population—which, when you think about it, explains a lot.

What the British and American traditions have in common is the idea of having a special national mission—even a divinely ordained mission—to protect and preserve liberty. The second stanza of “Rule, Britannia!” contrasts this to the rest of the world.

The nations, not so blest as thee,
Must, in their turns, to tyrants fall;
While thou shalt flourish great and free,
The dread and envy of them all.

Before there was American exceptionalism there was British exceptionalism—in both cases, based on the idea that freedom is the unique mission of the English-speaking peoples.

It need not be put in such exclusionary terms. I would be very happy if many more countries regarded themselves as having a proprietary national interest in liberty. (The French think they do, but they don’t.) At the very least, we should do what we can to preserve or re-establish that idea where it has a long history.

This also indicates how Britain should implement its exit from the European Union. The goal should be to free themselves from nonsensical Eurocrat regulations—like being forced to get rid of their toasters for no reason—but not to retreat into protectionism or shut down trade. After all, one of the reasons Britannia ruled the waves was to protect her vast network of overseas trade. That’s why the idea of pitting Brexit against “globalization” is historically ridiculous. A proudly independent Britain pretty much invented the global economy, centuries before the European Union. There is no reason Britain should suddenly have to choose between trade and independence, when it has so long benefited from both.

The Brexit referendum was a vote for British exceptionalism. To go forward from here, the British need to keep in mind what made them exceptional. All they need to “flourish great and free” is to remember that freedom is the charter of the land.

Follow Robert on Twitter.

West Virginia ARES Units on Alert for Possible Activation in Wake of Flooding [American Radio Relay League | Ham Radio Association and Resources]

All Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) districts and counties in West Virginia are on alert for possible activation in the aftermath of severe flooding, which has claimed at least 2 dozen lives, destroyed hundreds of homes, and damaged countless others. More than 30,000 were without electrical power at one point, but that number now is less than 8000. More rain has been forecast for the reg...

ARRL to Sponsor 2016 Atlantic Season Hurricane Webinar [American Radio Relay League | Ham Radio Association and Resources]

The ARRL will sponsor a 2016 Atlantic Season Hurricane Webinar on Thursday, July 21, at 8 PM ET (0000 UTC on Friday, July 22, UTC). The approximately 90-minute session will address the role of Amateur Radio during the 2015 Hurricane Season. Anyone interested in hurricane preparedness and response is invited to attend this online presentation.

Topics will include a meteorological overview of the ...

AMSAT Symposium 2016 Issues First Call for Papers [American Radio Relay League | Ham Radio Association and Resources]

AMSAT has issued its first call for papers for the 2016 Annual Meeting and Space Symposium, November 10-14. Proposals for papers, symposium presentations, and poster presentations are invited on any topic of interest to the Amateur Satellite community.

AMSAT requests a tentative paper or presentation title as soon as possible, but no later than September 15. Final versions are due by October 15 ...

Meryl Streep joins Michelle Obama in a meeting with Moroccan teenagers as White House announces $100million education initiative for girls in the country [Blazing Cat Fur]

The first lady’s meeting heralded an announcement that the ‘Let Girls Learn’ initiative would be extended in Morocco on Tuesday with more than $100million of foreign aid going towards transforming secondary education in the country.

Obama, who is traveling with daughters Sasha and Malia on her six-day trip to promote education with stops in Liberia, Morocco and Spain, was greeted at the airport on Monday by King Mohammed VI’s wife Princess Lalla Selma.

100,000,000? Now I understand why the Arabs invented the zero.


Muslims attack Danish girls with ROCKS, ACID during traditional graduation festivities [Blazing Cat Fur]

In Denmark, there is an annual tradition for college graduation. It is a charming and vulnerable one which requires a society of trust in order to continue.

Freshly graduated students ride around in buses, playing loud music and drinking. The girls are scantily clad and probably so are the boys.

As a Copenhagen resident explained to me,  the bus goes from parent to parent of the graduating students who wait for them with a tray of drinks.



Video of horrible parking job helps police nab suspected hit-and-run driver [Blazing Cat Fur]

Video of one of the worst parking jobs in human history has helped police nab a teenage driver suspected in a Vancouver hit and run accident.


Suicide Bombings in Istanbul Kill Ten [Blazing Cat Fur]

More to come:

A Turkish official says two attackers have blown themselves up at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport after police fire at them.

Turkish media quoted Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag as saying 10 people were killed in the attack on Tuesday.

Turkey’s state-run news agency quoted Bekir Bozdag as saying: “According to the information I was given, a terrorist at the international terminal entrance first opened fire with a Kalashnikov and then blew himself up. We have around 10 martyrs (dead) and around 20 wounded.”

The official said the attackers detonated the explosives at the entrance of the international terminal before entering the x-ray security check.

Turkish airports have security checks at both at the entrance of terminal buildings and then later before entry to departure gates.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government protocol.


Update – Suicide bombers kill at least 10 and wound 40 when they blow themselves up as police shot at them in Brussels-style attack on Istanbul airport

Suicide bombers have killed at least 10 and wounded 40 at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport after blowing themselves up as police opened fire, according to Turkish officials.

It is understood that a ‘terrorist’ first opened fire with a Kalashnikov, before blowing himself up.

It is not yet clear how many attackers were involved as witnesses reported twin blasts that struck at the International Arrivals Terminal at 7.50pm GMT – 9.50pm local time.

The first photographs to emerge from the airport show a scene of devastation, with debris and what appear to be ceiling tiles scattered over the taxi ranks outside the airport.

Istanbul terror attack


Moscow’s spies accused of breaking into American diplomats’ homes, killing a pet and paying for smear stories [Blazing Cat Fur]

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, has complained personally to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin over an officially sanctioned campaign of intimidation against US diplomats in Moscow, the US State Department has said.

The complaints follow two years of low-level harassment directed at US diplomats and their families that is believed to include frequent traffic police checks, following diplomatic staff around the city, and even breaking into their homes.


BREAKING NEWS: ‘Explosion and gunfire’ at Turkish airport [Blazing Cat Fur]

The main airport for the capital, the Turkish Interior Ministry have confirmed that a twin blast was heard at the international hub.

Multiple casualties have been reported.

Gunfire has also reportedly been heard from the scene, with witnesses claiming it came from the carpark area.

Taxis are said to have been ferrying the injured away from the scene to get medical help.

BREAKING NEWS: Two explosions and gunfire at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport cause multiple injuries

  • Two hand grenades reported to have exploded at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport
  • Gunfire also reported to have broken out from the direction of its car park
  • Witnesses say four men were seen running away from terminal building
  • Initial reports claim around 40 people have been injured in the explosions
  • CNN Turk reports that Turkish officials suspect it is a suicide bomb attack

    At least 10 people killed and 40 wounded after suicide bombers attack Turkish airport



  • #airport
  • #blasts
  • #istanbul

    Turkish Justice minister: Attacker used rifle

    The Turkish Justice minister has said that the attacker who blew a bomb up in Istanbul’s biggest airport opened fire with a Kalashnikov rifle.

    The Telegraph: Police engaged suspects, who blew themselves up 

    Attackers tried to pass through X-ray machine

    Josie Ensor and Zia Weise in Istanbul report:

    Turkey’s main international airport was hit by twins suicide bombs on Tuesday night, leaving 10 dead and as many as 40 injured.

    Early reports indicate that two attackers detonated vests in the arrival hall of the busy airport at 10pm.

    The pair had been trying to pass through the X-ray machine when they were stopped by security officials. When they began shooting with Kalashnikov rifles, the officers returned fire.

    Gunfire was also reported by witnesses coming from the airport’s car park after four armed men were reportedly seen running away from the terminal building seconds after the explosions.

    And just to keep you up to date, almost everyone on the Tweeter has decided that terrorism has no religion, and that no religion sanctions the killing of innocents. I, ah, might have, um, accidentally insulted a few of them.

    28 Dead As Explosions Hit Istanbul Airport

    At least 28 people have been killed and 60 wounded in explosions at the main airport in Istanbul, the city’s govenor has said.

    Vasip Sahin also said three suicide bombers carried out the attack at Ataturk Airport’s international terminal.

    The attackers opened fire before blowing themselves up, an official said, citing information from the interior ministry.

    Police fired shots to try to stop the attackers but they detonated their explosives, the official said.


Brexit Signifies The Downfall Of The Experts [Blazing Cat Fur]

Experts Don’t Live With or Respect Us

In a historic referendum last Thursday, the British people voted by a margin of 52-48 to leave the European Union, despite pleas by President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and leading economists saying it would be disastrous.

This is part of a process unfolding across the Western world in which the voting public is rejecting the arguments of the so-called experts, and instead embracing “old” concepts such as national pride, economic nationalism, and local control.


Corbyn LOSES no confidence vote by 172 to 40 as Labour MPs try to oust him – but he is STILL refusing to resign [Blazing Cat Fur]

Jeremy Corbyn tonight refused to quit as Labour leader despite losing an no confidence vote overwhelmingly by 172-40.

The embattled Labour leader said he would not ‘betray’ Labour members who elected him last year.

Mr Corbyn has faced a near universal revolt among MPs determined to dislodge him and more than 50 MPs quit front bench roles over the past three days. The no confidence vote triggered another wave of resignations.

But despite the massive vote against him by Labour MPs tonight, Mr Corbyn is to try and fight on – insisting his mandate from party members’ is more important than MPs’ support.

Reports tonight indicated Angela Eagle was poised to issue a leadership challenge to Mr Corbyn after talks with Deputy Leader Tom Watson.

But in a statement issued within minutes of the result, Mr Corbyn rejected the result out of hand.


On September 11, Huma Abedin Worked For Hillary Clinton and Saudi Charity Suspected of Terror Funding [Blazing Cat Fur]

On September 11, 2001 Huma Abedin — Hillary Clinton’s aide for twenty years and co-chair of her current Presidential run — was working for an organization located in the offices of Saudi Arabia’s Muslim World League.

That’s a Wahhabist Islamic group that Breitbart News recently reported was going to be put on a list of terror funders by U.S. government but was removed, reportedly under pressure from Saudi Arabia.

I’ve posted about the Canadian branch of the Muslim World League before, its Canadian web site is now defunct but the evidence remains:

Canadian Muslim World League States: Jews Are Racist Even In The Afterlife

An affiliate of the Muslim World League, WAMY -World Assembly of Muslim Youth was stripped of it’s charitable status in Canada over terror funding.

York Regional Police Pamela Geller Double Standard: YRP Chaplain Attended Conference Organized By Terrorist Supporting Muslim World League

More on the Muslim World League…


Ooops… Liz Warren’s Anti-Trump Ad Features Man Who Voted for Trump [Blazing Cat Fur]

A Massachusetts man who is featured in Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s anti-Trump ad for MoveOn.org says he is not anti-Trump, and in fact, voted for the bombastic billionaire in his state’s primary.


House GOP Report: Despite eyewitness accounts, Clinton, administration pushed video explanation for Benghazi [Jammie Wearing Fools]

The claim that the fatal 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks were sparked by an anti-Muslim video was crafted in Washington by Obama administration appointees and reflected neither eyewitness nor real-time reports from the Americans under siege, according to the final report of the GOP-led Benghazi Select Committee.

The GOP report, released Tuesday, followed by less than a day a report by the Democrats on the panel saying that security at the Benghazi, Libya facility was “woefully inadequate” but former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton never personally denied any requests from diplomats for additional protection.

According to portions of the Republican report reviewed by Fox News, one U.S. agent at the American outpost in Benghazi, whose name was withheld for security reasons, told the committee he first heard “some kind of chanting.”

Then that sound was immediately followed by “explosions” and “gunfire, then roughly 70 people rushing into the compound with an assortment of “AK-47s, grenades, RPG’s … a couple of different assault rifles,” the agent said.

In addition, a senior watch officer at the State Department’s diplomatic security command described the Sept. 11, 2012, strikes as “a full on attack against our compound.”

When asked whether he saw or heard a protest prior to the attacks, the officer replied, “zip, nothing, nada,” according to the Republican majority report.

“None of the information coming directly from the agents on the ground in Benghazi during the attacks mentioned anything about a video or a protest. The firsthand accounts made their way to the office of the Secretary through multiple channels quickly …,” the report concluded.

Full story.

Gay Man Threatens to Shoot GOP Senators, Claims It Was ‘Inartful Political Discourse’ [Jammie Wearing Fools]

This is now where we are two weeks after a Democrat terrorist murdered 49 people at a gay nightclub. We have gay men so brainwashed by the angry left that they’re taking their ire out on Republicans. Who, by the way, had nothing to do with the terrorist attack.

A Virginia man who works as an Uber driver tweeted threats to shoot at least two U.S. senators, according to testimony at a hearing Monday in a Virginia court.

Kyler Schmitz has been ordered held in jail.

In at least one of the tweets, sent in the days immediately after the Orlando nightclub shooting, Schmitz allegedly threatened to shoot Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). The message was directed at Blunt’s official Twitter handle.

The tweets, which included graphic and violent language, led to an investigation by U.S. Capitol Police.

An automated license plate reader detected Schmitz’s car on Independence Avenue SW within two blocks of the U.S. Capitol in the hours after he posted some of the messages, prosecutors said.

Schmitz acknowledges sending the tweets, his fiancé, Paul Cianciolo, told News4, but the tweets were meant as “parody” and satire. The messages were “inartful political discourse” on the issue of gun control, Schmitz’s defense attorney said.

Ah, the old parody and satire defense, a time-tested lefty fallback when your words catch up with you.

Schmitz intended to make a “direct threat” to a U.S. senator, U.S. Capitol Police said in a court filing.

Schmitz does not own a gun, according to testimony at the court hearing.

In other Twitter posts, Schmitz is accused of threatening groups of members of Congress by writing, “I can’t wait to shoot you in the face one by one.”

Now he’ll be called a political prisoner by the people who blame Republicans for the Democrat terrorist attack:

Benghazi Report: Obama Skipped Intel Briefing the Day After, Went to Vegas Fundraiser [Jammie Wearing Fools]

Why would King Putt need an intelligence briefing when he and Mrs. Clinton had already concocted their YouTube tale and cover-up story?

Among the many revelations that will emerge from the voluminous majority report of the Benghazi Select Committee when it is released Tuesday is this one: Barack Obama skipped his daily intelligence briefing one day after the Benghazi attacks on September 11, 2012. The president’s briefer handed a written copy of the presidential daily briefing to a White House usher and then briefed Jack Lew, who was then serving as White House chief of staff. But Obama, who sometimes avails himself of the oral briefing that is offered along the written intelligence product, did not ask for such a briefing the day after the attacks on U.S. facilities in Libya.

That disclosure came during the Benghazi committee’s transcribed interview with the executive coordinator of Obama’s presidential daily briefing (or PDB, for short), a veteran intelligence officer who rose through the ranks in Army intelligence and then the Defense Intelligence Agency before serving as the president’s top briefer. It is buried deep in the committee’s report, in Appendix H—a 14-page examination of how that briefer came to include an assessment in the PDB that the Benghazi attacks were likely a planned attack and not a protest gone awry. It’s not unusual for Obama to skip his oral briefing, but his decision to pass on the PDB on September 12, 2012, will no doubt generate additional questions.

Whatever the case, all we’re going to hear is that this is a partisan report designed to hurt Grandma during an election year. It’s old news, blah blah blah.

Forget the facts, we have a narrative to uphold here, folks.

After a more than two-year investigation into the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, House Republicans are set to release a lengthy report Tuesday recounting the events that led to the deaths of four American diplomats.

It sheds new light on the breakdown in the U.S. military’s response to the attack and offers new details about why U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was at the compound in the Libyan city with only two State Department bodyguards, months after the British and others had evacuated the area.

NBC News obtained the first 175-page section of the full 800-page House Select Committee on Benghazi report that will be released later Tuesday. The Democratic minority released its own report Monday.

One section of the report seems to allege that U.S. officials fundamentally misunderstood who their allies were at the time. The Republican majority’s report found that 35 Americans were saved not by a “quasi-governmental militia” as previous reports concluded, or even a group the U.S. saw as allies. Instead, the report determines that the Americans were saved by the “Libyan Military Intelligence,” a group composed of military officers under the Moammar Khaddafy regime, the Libyan dictator who the U.S. helped topple just one year earlier.

The February 17 Martyr Brigade, “recommended by the Libyan Government and contractually obligated to provide security to the Mission Compound,” had fled, the report found. “In other words, some of the very individuals the United States helped remove from power during the Libyan revolution were the only Libyans that came to the assistance of the United States on the night of the Benghazi attacks,” the report states.

Last fall, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before the Benghazi committee that Stevens had originally chosen to serve in Benghazi because “he understood America had to be represented there at that pivotal time.”

Obama had allegedly delayed his fundraising trip by an entire hour.

The 30-minute rally, which went from somber reflection to boisterous cheers, ended a day of crisis for the president after the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans were killed Tuesday evening in Benghazi, possibly by extremists angry over a film they felt denigrated the Prophet Muhammad.

The attack prompted Obama to visit the State Department on Wednesday morning and to delay his three-hour campaign stop in Las Vegas for about one hour. He then traveled to Colorado on Wednesday night.

If only we had a Republican candidate who could articulate how problematic this stuff is.

House Republicans’ Report Sheds New Light on Benghazi Attack [Jammie Wearing Fools]

One section of the report seems to allege that U.S. officials fundamentally misunderstood who their allies were at the time. The Republican majority’s report found that 35 Americans were saved not by a “quasi-governmental militia” as previous reports concluded, or even a group the U.S. saw as allies. Instead, the report determines that the Americans were saved by the “Libyan Military Intelligence,” a group composed of military officers under the Moammar Khaddafy regime, the Libyan dictator who the U.S. helped topple just one year earlier.

The February 17 Martyr Brigade, “recommended by the Libyan Government and contractually obligated to provide security to the Mission Compound,” had fled, the report found. “In other words, some of the very individuals the United States helped remove from power during the Libyan revolution were the only Libyans that came to the assistance of the United States on the night of the Benghazi attacks,” the report states.

Last fall, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before the Benghazi committee that Stevens had originally chosen to serve in Benghazi because “he understood America had to be represented there at that pivotal time.”

In previously unreported details, the Republican majority of the committee found that Stevens traveled to the U.S. mission that week to both fill a temporary staffing gap and to spearhead an effort to make Benghazi a permanent diplomatic post.

Witnesses told the committee Stevens was laying the groundwork for a visit by Secretary Clinton just one month later and “the hope was to establish a permanent consulate in Benghazi for the Secretary to present to the Libyan government during her trip.”

Discussions were already underway in Washington for how to fund the upgrades, and one month before the end of the fiscal year there was pressure to assemble a package before available funds were lost.

The report highlights the military’s failure to carry out Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s order to deploy forces to Benghazi and the lengthy delay that prevented the military assets from arriving at the embassy in Tripoli until 2 p.m. the day after the Benghazi attack.

“What was disturbing from the evidence the Committee found was that at the time of the final lethal attack at the Annex, no asset ordered deployed by the Secretary had even left the ground,” the report states.

Full story.

House Democrats mistakenly release transcript confirming big payout to Clinton friend Sidney Blumenthal [Jammie Wearing Fools]

Below is the full transcript excerpt that Democrats intended not to publish. It is unclear who the questioner is in the first section.

Q: Did you ever receive any payment from an organization called Media Matters?

A: Oh, yes. I did — I did receive payment in that period from Media Matters.

Q: Okay. And what was your relationship with Media Matters at that time period?

A: I was a consultant to Media Matters. I’m sorry I—

Q: That’s okay.

A: I overlooked that.

Q: When did you become a consultant for Media Matters?

A: I would say the very end of 2012.

Q: Okay. And how did that come about, that you became a consultant for Media Matters?

A: I have had a very long friendship with the chairman of Media Matters, whose name is David Brock, from before he founded this organization, and I have sustained that friendship. And he asked me to help provide ideas and advice to him and his organizations.

Q: So you began your relationship, your paid relationship, with Media Matters at the end of 2012.

A: Right.

Q: Does that continue to this day?

A: It does.

Q: Okay. And what is your salary or your contract with Media Matters?  How much money are you earning from them?

A: I’d say it’s about $200,000 a year.

Q: And has that been roughly consistent from when you began receiving payment from Media Matters?

*[redacted due to Chairman Gowdy’s refusal to allow release of transcript].

A: I would say it’s — I’d have to check. I think it’s increased a little bit. It’s increased some.

Q: Okay. Are you familiar with the organization American Bridge?

A: Yes.

Q: Have you received any compensation from American Bridge over the last five years?

A: Yes.

Q: Okay. And how much compensation have you received from American Bridge?

A: Well, when I talk about that amount of money, I mean all of those organizations.

Q: So all of David Brock’s entities —

A: Right.

Q: — combined are 200,000?

A: About.

Q: Okay.

A: Something like that.

Q: Okay. So there’s American Bridge.

A: Yes.

Q: There’s Media Matters. 

A: Right.

Q: Are there any other organizations on which you have done work for Mr. Brock?

A: Correct the Record

Q: Okay.

A: — is another organization.

Q: Okay. 

A: And then there’s the American Independent Institute, which is a journalistic foundation.

Full story.

Witnesses Say CNN’s Cuomo Was Drinking Before Drag Race Crash: “They got him away from the scene fast” [Jammie Wearing Fools]

We guess being an ultra-liberal and the brother of New York’s governor has its perks. Translation: He’s above the law.

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo was boozing at his wife’s swanky magazine party in Southampton before he crashed his classic convertible into a parked SUV during a drag race, sources told The Post.

“They got him away from the scene fast,” a source said. “Everybody heard it. It was a full-blown drag race.”

Cuomo, brother of Gov. Cuomo, had just left a party hosted by his wife, Cristina, for Beach magazine at Jue Lan Club on May 28 when he got behind the wheel of his 1969 Pontiac Firebird and pulled up alongside a friend’s 1967 Pontiac ­LeMans, sources said.

Photos show a blond woman standing in front of the hot rods with her arms raised high, as if signaling the start of a race.

“I saw that woman rolling around posing and modeling on the car, and then I realized there were two cars, and they pulled into the street,” a witness said.

“We knew it was him. And then they peeled out and went to where the middle of the train station almost is, and right before that, he lost control, and ran into that Mercedes.”

Cuomo dented the back of the 2014 Mercedes SUV at the corner of Elm Street and Powell Avenue, the sources said.

His wife told him to leave, according to sources. He drove home in his car, with a cracked radiator and leaking fluid, they added.

Cristina stayed and spoke to cops, who later stopped by Cuomo’s home to question him.

“He was drinking, and I believe that’s why he was sent home,” a source said. “Everyone saw the state he was in. When he crashed, it got really quiet.”

Well, he’s earned his Democrat bona fides, so move on, nothing to see here.

Istanbul airport terror attack kills 10, injures at least 40; no Israeli casualties reported [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / This picture obtained from the Ilhas News Agency shows ambulances and police intervening next to injured people lying on the ground, after two explosions followed by gunfire hit the Turkey's biggest airport of Ataturk in Istanbul, on June 28, 2016. At least 10 people were killed in a suicide attack at the international terminal of Istanbul's Ataturk airport, June 28, 2016. (AFP/Getty Images)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Graphic content / This picture obtained from the Ilhas News Agency shows some of the injured in a suicide bombing at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, one of the busiest in Europe, and emergency personnel, June 28, 2016. (AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Israel’s Foreign Ministry is working to determine whether any Israeli citizens were injured in a suicide bombing Tuesday night in Turkey that killed 10 people and injured at least 40.

Two bombers blew themselves up at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, the third busiest in Europe, after opening fire at the entrance to the airport’s international terminal, according to media reports. Police had returned fire.

In March, a bombing in a tourist section of Istanbul killed three Israelis and injured several others. The same month, a suicide bombing at an airport in Brussels killed 32 people and injured more than 300.

The airport attack in Istanbul came on the same day that Israel and Turkey signed a reconciliation deal ending a six-year break in diplomatic relations.

According to the Times of Israel, the Israeli diplomats who were at the airport at the time of the Tuesday night attack were unharmed. Israeli diplomats said that no Israeli tourists were among the victims taken to the hospital.

Even during the diplomatic chill, Israel was one of the busiest routes for Turkish Airways, with 695,000 Israelis flying round trip with the airline in 2014 and eight daily flights on the Tel Aviv-Istanbul route.

Morrissey of Smiths fame returning to Israel in August [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

Morrissey in Austin, Texas in 2006. (Wikimedia Commons)

Morrissey in Austin, Texas in 2006. (Wikimedia Commons)

(JTA) — Morrissey, the British singer-songwriter best known for his involvement in The Smiths, will perform two concerts in Israel this summer.

The 57-year-old solo musician will play Tel Aviv on Aug. 22 and Caesarea two days later, The Times of Israel reported Tuesday.

Morrissey sold out his most recent concerts in Israel, in 2012. His latest album, released in 2014, is “World Peace is None of Your Business.”

He is an outspoken advocate for animal rights and vegetarianism.

UK agency fears for future of kosher slaughter following Brexit vote [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — A group working to safeguard kosher slaughter in Britain warned of uncertainty surrounding its mission following the British vote to exit the European Union.

A spokesman for Shechitah UK said Tuesday that he fears losing the European Union’s protections of “faith communities” or seeing kosher slaughter put to a vote in Parliament that might be influenced by critics of Jewish and Muslim techniques for slaughtering animals.

“While some European countries have implemented domestic legislation against shechitah and there was a danger that a wider precedent would be set,” Shechitah UK spokesman Shimon Cohen told JTA, Britain’s government “has always been guided by the European Union and the European Commission has put great emphasis on protecting faith communities.”

But if Britain leaves, Cohen said, its government “would either have to ask parliament to adopt” EU regulations that exempt faith communities from certain regulations “or come up with its own law. Either way, if it goes to a vote in the House of Parliament, it’s a numbers game and the risks are very high.”

Shechitah, the Hebrew word for kosher slaughter, and the Muslim variant of the practice are facing attack in Europe because they are deemed by many to be cruel to animals since stunning is prohibited prior to slaughter.

Other opponents of ritual slaughter resent its proliferation following the arrival to Europe of millions of Muslims from the 1950s onward.

However, EU membership does not necessarily enshrine shechitah, as member states are free to dispense with the exemptions from  EU regulations.

Opposition to schechitah led to a ban by the Netherlands in 2010, but it was overturned by the Dutch Senate in 2012. Also, the Polish parliament banned the practice in 2013, though the prohibition has since been partially overturned. The practice is currently illegal in two EU member states – Sweden and Denmark – as well as three other non-EU countries in Western Europe: Norway, Switzerland and Iceland. EU members Finland, Austria and Estonia enforce strict supervision of the custom that some Jews there say make it nearly impossible.

In the debate leading up to the Brexit vote, advocates of remaining argued that staying in the EU assured protection for religious liberties. Supporters of an exit took the opposite view, citing legislation limiting religious freedoms on the continent.

Hundreds turn out for Israel funeral of ex-Hasid who apparently killed herself [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

Freinds and family attend the funeral of Esti Weinstein at the Yarkon cemetery in Tel Aviv, June 28, 2016. (Avi Dishi/Flash90)

Freinds and family attend the funeral of Esti Weinstein at the Yarkon cemetery in Tel Aviv, June 28, 2016. (Avi Dishi/Flash90)

(JTA) — Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of a formerly haredi Orthodox Israeli woman who was found dead in what is believed to be a suicide.

Esti Weinstein, 50, was buried in Petach Tikvah on Tuesday, the Times of Israel reported.

Weinstein’s body and a suicide note were discovered in her car at a beach in Ashdod on Sunday, a week after she went missing.

“In this city I gave birth to my daughters, in this city I die because of my daughters,” Weinstein wrote.

Six of her seven daughters had refused contact with their mother after she left the Gur sect of Hasidic Judaism eight years ago.

Tami Montag, the daughter who stayed in touch with Weinstein and who also left the haredi Orthodox community, gave a eulogy at the funeral in which she said, “You were everything to me, a friend and mother.”

According to Haaretz, Weinstein wrote a short memoir titled “Doing His Will” about life in the Gur community, her decision to leave it and the pain she felt after her daughters severed their relationships with her.

Weinstein, who married at 17, also wrote about her unhappy marriage in which she was required to follow numerous strict marital guidelines that are unique to the Gur sect. According to her memoir, the guidelines restrict couples to having sexual relations only twice a month.

In the book, Weinstein wrote of her ongoing pain at being cut off from her daughters.

“I thought it was a temporary matter, but the years are passing and time isn’t healing, and the pain doesn’t stop,” she wrote.

Estranged family members also attended and spoke at the funeral, according to the Times of Israel.

“It’s hard for me to speak about you. For me, you will always be like your first 43 years, when you were pure,” said her father, Rabbi Menachem Orenstein, according to Ynet.

Weinstein’s boyfriend also spoke at the funeral, The Times of Israel reported, but did not identify him.

“At the heart of every religion is a kernel of unity, and that’s the source of life. But unfortunately it’s turned into ideology,” he said. “Don’t let any rabbi lead you to hatred and to alienation. The pain from being cut off by your kids is massive.”


Sister of Faigy Meyer, former Hasid who took own life, hangs herself

Faigy Meyer’s suicide is a Jewish tragedy, not just an Orthodox one

Hasidic rebel Shulem Deen on leaving Orthodoxy and losing his children

Ex-London Mayor Ken Livingstone accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing, but not Nazism [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

Former mayor of London Ken Livingstone at the 2013 Asia Pacific Cities Summit in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. (Flickr Commons)

Ken Livingstone, a former mayor of London, at the 2013 Asia Pacific Cities Summit in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. (Flickr Commons)

(JTA) — Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone told a Parliament committee that he does not believe Zionism or the policies of the Israeli government are at all analogous to Nazism.

Livingstone also reiterated that he regretted saying Adolf Hitler supported Zionism because of the furor his remarks sparked, not because he disavows them.

“I therefore do regret raising the historical points about Nazi policy in the1930s when the specific issue of Hitler was raised by (reporter) Vanessa Feltz,” Livingstone said in a written statement filed with the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee hearing on anti-Semitism. “I regret it because there was an hysterical response from opponents of the Labour Party and of its current leadership, which will not have aided Labour’s campaign for the 5 May elections. I am horrified by the way my remarks have been interpreted and twisted. I cannot think of a worse insult than to be called a racist or an anti-Semite. And I am sorry if what I said has caused Jewish people, or anyone else, offense. That was not my intention.”

In a radio interview in April with the BBC, Livingstone had said, “Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism.”

He made the remarks in defense of Labour Party lawmaker Naz Shah, who was suspended a day earlier over a Facebook post in 2014 suggesting that Israelis should be moved en masse to the United States. Days later, Livingstone was suspended from the party for the remark.

In recent months, Labour has suspended at least 20 members, including at the senior level, for anti-Semitic or vicious anti-Israel invective that critics say party leader Jeremy Corbyn had not done enough to curb.

The inquiry into anti-Semitism was launched in April to determine whether anti-Jewish prejudice has increased in the U.K. and to assess the particular dangers facing Jews.

Livingstone objected to the fact that in its questioning, the committee dwelled on the BBC interview in which he made the Hitler remarks rather than asking him about anti-Semitism and racism because of what he called his “long track record” of fighting both.

“Instead, the overwhelming majority of questions asked of me were about my views on the history of Germany in the 1930s, Hitler, the Nazis, Israel, Zionism and the Labour Party. Committee members seemed to be obsessed with these issues,” he wrote.

Livingstone also wrote: “To avoid any other misunderstanding, I do not believe that Zionism or the policies of Israeli governments are at all analogous to Nazism. Israeli governments have never had the aim of the systematic extermination of the Palestinian people, in the way Nazism sought the annihilation of the Jews.”

He did accuse Israel of ethnic cleansing, continuing: “However Israel’s policies have included ethnic cleansing. Palestinians who had lived in that land for centuries were driven out by systematic violence and terror aimed at clearing them out of what became a large part of the Israeli state.”

Livingstone served as mayor twice, from 1981 to 1986 and from 2000 to 2008.

Jewish groups putting up a fight against growing opioid epidemic [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

Eve Goldberg, whose son died of an opioid overdose in 2013, now runs an organization in his memory that seeks to create a community of young adults recovering from addiction. (Ben Sales)

Eve Goldberg, whose son died of an opioid overdose in 2013, now runs an organization in his memory that seeks to create a community of young adults recovering from addiction. (Ben Sales)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Eve Goldberg’s son, Isaac, was in a panic. He had to get out of college.

Isaac Goldberg Volkmar had been at the University of Rhode Island for less than a semester in 2009 when he called his mother desperate to escape. He had joined a fraternity, where his brothers got him to take the pain medications Percocet and OxyContin. After a few months the New York teen knew he was addicted and needed help.

From there, Isaac was in and out of rehab in Pennsylvania and New York. He overdosed the summer after freshman year. At one point, a family friend burst into Eve’s apartment, where she found Isaac turning blue and had him rushed to the hospital.

Isaac grew up in what his mother calls a normal Jewish home in the downtown Manhattan neighborhood of Tribeca. The family had no history of addiction, so by 2013, when Isaac was recovered and working as a basketball coach at the United Nations International School in Manhattan, Goldberg hoped the worst was behind him. He was even set to move into his own apartment.

But Isaac began acting anxious that Thanksgiving. He woke up his mother in the middle of the night looking for aspirin. In December, Goldberg walked into his room and found him unresponsive, overdosed on opioids. He died after six weeks in a coma; he was 23 years old.

“For Isaac, a lot of it was he didn’t feel good about himself,” Goldberg said. “He was trying to self-medicate and to escape. Things were bad for him. School was hard for him. That was a big part of it — trying to [be] numb and not feel.”

Last year, Goldberg founded BigVision, a community for young adults in recovery from addiction, where participants get together twice a month to do activities like riding go-karts, knitting or playing basketball. It’s one of several Jewish initiatives nationwide to combat addiction, especially as opioid abuse increases across the country.

Isaac Goldberg Volkmar, shown here with his sister, died of an opioid overdose in 2013. (Courtesy of Eve Goldberg)

Isaac Goldberg Volkmar, shown here with his sister, died of an opioid overdose in 2013. (Courtesy of Eve Goldberg)

Death from opioids — from prescription painkillers like OxyContin to controlled substances like heroin — has increased in the United States since 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014, nearly 30,000 people died from opioid overdose in America, a 14 percent jump from the previous year. And while data among American Jews is hard to come by, statistics show a rise there, too.

More than 20 Orthodox Jews have died from opioid overdoses since last Rosh Hashanah in the New York area, according to Zvi Gluck, who runs Amudim, an organization that helps addicts find treatment. At Beit T’Shuva, a Jewish long-term residential recovery center in Los Angeles, applications have risen 50 percent in the past year, from 400-500 to 600-800, which Rabbi Mark Borovitz, the center’s head rabbi, attributes to opioid addiction.

Borovitz and Gluck both say typically middle-class American Jews are more susceptible to opioid addiction because painkillers are accessible in an otherwise safe environment, where hard drugs may not otherwise be present. Borovitz, like Goldberg, also attributes the rise in abuse to the overprescription of medications.

The journal JAMA Psychiatry reports that heroin use is no longer an inner-city, minority-centered problem but one “increasingly affecting white men and women in their late 20s living outside of large urban areas.” Heroin use is also up because because the opiate is less expensive and often easier to obtain than prescription opioids.

“We get opiate addicts all the time,” said Borovitz, whose wife, Harriet Rossetto, founded Beit T’Shuva 30 years ago. “Doctors get them hooked on all the opiates, OxyContin, etc., and then they turn to heroin.”

Operation Survival, which has worked to prevent drug abuse among the Chabad-Lubavitch and non-Jewish community in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn since 1988, launched the Opioid Overdose Prevention Program in May. The program trains people to administer Naloxone, a drug that blocks or reverses the effects of an opioid overdose if given quickly enough.

“You give naloxone, it can only help,” said Operation Survival program director Yaacov Behrman. “If someone is overdosing and you have access to naloxone, in those five minutes you can save the person’s life.”

A range of other groups are offering Jewish responses to addiction in general and opioid abuse in particular. In Brooklyn, The Safe Foundation gives lectures at Jewish schools about the dangers of drug and gambling addiction, and provides outpatient treatment. The Chabad Residential Treatment Center in Los Angeles treats men for substance abuse. In southeastern Pennsylvania, Rabbi Yosef Lipsker serves as an addiction counselor at the Caron Treatment Center, where he has provided religious resources and counseling to 5,000 Jewish patients since 1999.

Orthodox Jews combating addiction say that while the Orthodox community used to deny drug abuse was a problem, more people have sought treatment as stories of overdose deaths have spread. Gluck said that while an insular community can perpetuate the problem by trying to hide it, the community can also offer stronger support once the problem is acknowledged.

“Fifteen years ago it was very much under the rug,” he said. “It was very much not spoken about. [Now] a lot of the rabbis are more familiar with it. Everybody knows someone. You can’t say anymore that it doesn’t exist in our community.”

Some of the Jewish counselors add a Jewish tint to the recovery process. Lipsker has Jewish patients at his home each week for Friday night dinner and provides kosher food to observant patients. Borovitz relates the weekly Torah portion to recovery in his weekly sermon — drawing a connection, for example, between God’s encounter with Adam in the Garden of Eden and an addict acknowledging he has a problem.

“One of the things addicts do is they isolate, disconnect from family and friends, lose whatever they have in terms of their spirituality,” Lipsker said. “In an institution, you can bring it back to them with the warmth of a Jewish home.”

Eve Goldberg hopes to grow BigVision to the point where she can open a permanent community center for recovering addicts in New York City. Her group is open to Jews and non-Jews alike, but she said Jewish parents of addicts need to be more open about acknowledging opioid addiction and seeking help for their children.

“Jewish parents, parents who come from a good socioeconomic background, people like that want everything to look perfect, so they don’t talk about things,” she said. “I used to think heroin was worse. It’s not.”

READ: Drug abuse, shame and the Holocaust figure in film about family of notorious Dutch lawyers

Brexit splits UK from Europe and Labour from its party leader [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, outside the Houses of Parliament in London after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, June 24, 2016. (Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in London after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, June 24, 2016. (Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

(JTA) —  Only a week ago, Jeremy Corbyn seemed to have survived his biggest public relations debacle as the leader of Britain’s Labour Party:  the proliferation of anti-Semitic rhetoric among its members.

Yet this week, the British vote to leave the European Union achieved what Corbyn’s opponents failed to do in their attacks against him over anti-Semitism.

On Tuesday, 172 Labour lawmakers among the total 229 in the Parliament said they had no confidence in Corbyn, opening the door to a challenge that if co-signed by 51 lawmakers will lead to internal elections.

The previous day, the party’s leadership abandoned Corbyn in a mass walkout over his perceived failure to effectively lobby against the Brexit, which a majority of voters supported in Thursday’s referendum.

Relying on strong popular support in the Labour rank-and-file and ignoring calls to resign by former supporters who quit in protest of his leadership, Corbyn is holding on to his seat. Critics say he risks splitting and ruining a party that used to be a natural political home for British minority groups, including many from the Jewish community.

On Monday and Tuesday, 24 Labour shadow ministers – senior lawmakers who hold key portfolios within the opposition party – resigned their roles, citing Corbyn’s handling of the Brexit vote. A former euro skeptic, Corbyn led a “stay” campaign that was so lackluster and low-key that he faced accusations within his party of deliberately sabotaging the party position.

Prime Minister David Cameron, a Conservative who campaigned vigorously for a stay vote, announced his resignation following the referendum’s result, citing a need for leadership that reflects the will of the majority of British voters.

Corbyn, however, dug in his heels. After the walkout and no-confidence vote, he issued a defiant statement saying he would not betray those who voted for him by resigning.

“I was democratically elected leader of our party for a new kind of politics by 60% of Labour members and supporters, and I will not betray them by resigning. Today’s vote by MPs has no constitutional legitimacy,” he said.

Among the Labourites bolting over the Brexit issue was Luciana Berger, a Jewish lawmaker who had resisted repeated calls by Jews and non-Jews to distance herself from Corbyn over the anti-Semitism issue in the party.

“I have always served the Labour leader and our party with loyalty,” Berger wrote in her resignation letter, in which she also noted Corbyn “always served with great principle” and has shown her “nothing but kindness.” Berger, the shadow minister on mental health, said she was resigning “with deep sadness” because “loyalty to the party must come first” and because “we need a Labour leader who can unite our party.”

Like other senior Labour lawmakers, Berger stuck with Corbyn throughout the anti-Semitism controversy “because she wanted to make a difference in her field of political engagement,” David Hirsh, a British Jewish columnist and prominent sociologist at the University of London, told JTA.

She was able to do so, added Hirsh, who is a Labour member and critic of Corbyn, because “while the anti-Semitism issue certainly hurt Corbyn, he had temporarily defused it” by setting up an internal inquiry. But the Brexit vote “has led to such a political and economic crisis in Britain that Corbyn’s Labour opponents did not feel they could remain silent any longer.”

With the Conservative Party in turmoil over Cameron’s resignation, elections may be around the corner, possibly this year. Corbyn is widely seen as too radical to be voted into a position of power.

“Corbyn cannot win a general election, so Labour politicians no longer feel they have the luxury of waiting to see what happens. They feel they need to act now,” Hirsh said.

The attempted coup against Corbyn comes amid a widening split within Labour between its moderate center and the left-of-center camp supporting Corbyn. A hard-core socialist that has major traction with anti-establishment voters, Corbyn used to vote left of Labour before he came to lead the party. His rise within Labour coincided with an influx into the party of tens of thousands of his supporters – a process that many observers said also led to the proliferation of anti-Semitic speech and conspiracy theories.

Under fire by senior party members who accused him of either doing too little to curb the phenomenon or of contributing to it with his open endorsement of anti-Israel terrorists, Corbyn took a serious beating in the mainstream media. The pressure mounted after Ken Livingstone, a former mayor of London, said Adolf Hitler was a Zionist. Livingstone was suspended from the party.

Hirsh said the influx of left-of-center supporters may mean that Corbyn is correct in asserting that he represents the majority of Labour members. But the growing gap between his supporters and a substantial part of Labour’s leadership and establishment risks tearing apart Labour, splitting it into centrist and radical factions, he added.

The concern over a split in the Labour Party into a radical and moderate wing also exists for the Conservative Party, which is also divided on the Brexit issue.

If radical Conservatives prevail, it will be at the expense of Cameron’s camp, which many British Jews credit with leading an essentially liberal democratic line and resolute opposition to racism. A right-of-center victory could encourage xenophobia – a prospect the Board of Deputies of British Jews already warned about in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Corbyn himself has stressed that he rejects all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism. But like many British Jews and the community’s leadership, Hirsh insists that “the Corbynite wing of the Labour Party carries anti-Semitic ways of thinking.” To the extent that it is successful in mainstream politics, he added, “it will carry that with it into British political life.”


Anti-Semitism charges suggest a rout for Labour among London’s Jews

UK Labour head Jeremy Corbyn slams Israel in newly released letters

David Cameron calls on Labour’s Corbyn to renounce Hamas, Hezbollah as ‘friends’

The ‘religionization’ of Israel is troubling, but the fears about it are hysterical [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

Headlines could convince a stranger that Israel is like a Hebrew-speaking version of Iran, Shuki Friedman writes. (Lior Zaltzman)

Headlines could convince a stranger that Israel is like a Hebrew-speaking version of Iran, Shuki Friedman writes. (Lior Zaltzman)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Religionization! Religionization! To read the newspaper headlines in Israel, to view its documentary films and attend its expert panels with academics, a stranger might think that upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport, he or she will have arrived at nothing less than a Hebrew-speaking version of Iran.

According to those who fear for Israel’s Jewish and democratic future, religionization (“ha’datah” in Hebrew) is everywhere. Within Israel’s educational system, right-wing and religious ministers are infusing class curricula with religious content. The justice system in the country increasingly includes judges and other senior level officials who are religious, and are threatening, so it appears, to implement “Hebrew” law. Israel’s communications sector is suddenly being overrun by men wearing skull caps, who are bringing their worldviews and values from home to the workplace. The chief of police is religious as well. And at what point will the people’s army transform into God’s army?

In such an atmosphere, the use of any Jewish content in official government statements; any attempt by a religious person to stand up for her rights; the celebration of any Jewish holiday at any secular school anywhere, and every mention of God within the context of the Israel Defense Forces is more proof that religion is taking over our lives — that we are in the throes of a terrible process of religionization.

The reality, however, is clearly different from this perception. Tel Aviv is not Tehran. Neither is it Jerusalem. The IDF is fighting for the country and its people, not God. Israel’s educational system is not rediscovering religion en masse. And while the Israeli public is most certainly changing, it’s actually doing so in the direction of secularization. The status quo in the country between religion and state is long since dead. Commercial and leisure activities during the Sabbath are more widespread today than in the past and homosexual couples are receiving official recognition. All this in spite of the fact that for 30 years there has existed an ultra-religious veto, overtly or covertly, within the government.

Shuki Friedman (Israel Democracy Institute)

Shuki Friedman (Israel Democracy Institute)

Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. I, as well as many citizens, religious and secular, believe that these two characteristics are critical to the country’s existence. Just as Israel’s Jewish image and identity must be cultivated, so must its democratic character and liberal and humanistic values. And no, there is no contradiction between Jewish and democratic.

The exact balance between these values is not gospel. Neither is it the exclusive knowledge of the religious or secular. Even the Supreme Court, which has occasionally had to rule on these issues, has often done so mechanically. How then can we determine the location of the golden mean? Only through public discussion that is serious and open to all. Only by listening to one another and being willing to understand the value of creating a synthesis between these two values, and acknowledging the need to sometimes compromise. Only then will it be possible for the unique and valuable combination – a Jewish and democratic state – to thrive.

Nevertheless, critics of religionization talk about it as if it is a demon uniquely threatening Israel’s culture and society. This is the easy way out for politicians, activists, members of the media and the academy. When there is a common enemy that is as threatening as the religious demon it is much easier to close ranks, hiding together behind the issue.

Yet demonizing religion comes with a price. And the price is high. The price is the suppression of all public debate on this and related issues. The price is the stifling of every serious attempt to address in an open and comprehensive manner the topic of religion and state, and the relationship between Judaism and democracy. Fear-mongering over the religious demon leads to exaggerated, hysterical descriptions that occur whenever an attempt is made to add a Jewish dimension to the Israeli public sphere, or to promote the expression of Jewish spiritual treasures not only inside of synagogues but within Israeli life itself.

The hysteria over this issue is dragging us straight to the bottom. Instead of dialogue, we are being subjected to a cacophony of screaming from all sides. This demon must be put back in the closet, which should then be buried deep in the ground. In place of this demon, the public sphere will be filled with serious and meaningful dialogue on the Jewish and democratic values of Israel.

(Shuki Friedman is the director of the Israel Democracy Institute’s Center for Religion, Nation and State and a law professor at Peres Academic Center.)

Israel, Turkey sign reconciliation deal [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

Gazans mark the fifth anniversary of the Mavi Marmara Gaza flotilla at the Gaza City seaport on May 31, 2015. (Aaed Tayeh/Flash90)

Gazans mark the fifth anniversary of the Mavi Marmara Gaza flotilla at the Gaza City seaport, May 31, 2015. (Aaed Tayeh/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The foreign ministries of Israel and Turkey simultaneously signed a reconciliation agreement on Tuesday, six years after relations were cut off.

The director of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Dore Gold, signed the agreement in Jerusalem. The identical agreement was signed in Ankara by Turkey’s undersecretary for foreign affairs, Feridun Hadi Sinirlioğlu, who had led his country’s negotiating team.

The agreement had been formally announced a day earlier.

“Israel has made an important strategic agreement in terms of security, regional stability and the Israeli economy,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday afternoon in Rome, where he had briefed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on the agreement.

Relations between Israel and Turkey broke down in the aftermath of the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010, when Israeli commandos boarded and killed nine Turkish citizens in clashes on a boat attempting to break Israel’s Gaza blockade.

Israel’s Security Cabinet is expected to approve the agreement when it votes on Wednesday even though Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked have said they would vote against it.

Under the deal, Israel will create a $20 million humanitarian fund as compensation to the families of the Mavi Marmara victims, which would not be released until Turkey passes legislation closing claims against the Israeli military for the deaths. Netanyahu has apologized for the deaths, another Turkish condition for the resumption of diplomatic ties.

Turkey withdrew its demand that Israel halt its Gaza blockade, but Israel will allow Turkey to establish building projects in Gaza with the building materials entering Gaza through Israel’s Ashdod Port. The building projects reportedly include a hospital, power station and desalinization plant.

Turkey also has agreed to assist in repatriating two Israeli citizens and the bodies of two Israeli soldiers being held by Hamas in Gaza.

Jewish woman, 73, praying at Western Wall struck by rock thrown by Palestinian rioters [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A 73-year-old Jewish woman praying at the Western Wall was struck in the head by a rock thrown from the Temple Mount above by Palestinian rioters.

The woman suffered a light head injury in the attack on Tuesday, the first such attack on worshippers at the Western Wall in several years.

Tuesday was the third straight day of clashes between Palestinian rioters, many of them wearing masks, and Israeli police on the Temple Mount. Police said they arrested 17 Palestinians by midday Tuesday for involvement in the clashes and rock throwing. The rioters reportedly had been stockpiling weapons including rocks and fireworks at the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Earlier Tuesday, police closed the Temple Mount to non-Muslim visitors until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at the end of the week. This was the first time in many years that non-Muslim visitors had been allowed to visit the site during Ramadan, and is believed to have sparked the violence.

NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN - English News at 20:01 (JST), June 28 [English News - NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN]

British Labour Party Leader Loses No Confidence Vote [Outside the Beltway]

In the latest example of the political backlash growing out of last week’s Brexit vote, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, lost a no-confidence vote among Labour’s Members of Parliament, but he says he will not leave office even as his position seems to become more and more precarious:

LONDON — Britain’s political turmoil deepened Tuesday, with members of the opposition Labour Party rebelling against their leader in a no-confidence vote while the governing Conservatives started to joust over the selection of a new prime minister to replace David Cameron.

The turbulence — spawned by the country’s stunning vote to exit the European Union last Thursday — has already claimed Cameron’s political career. The prime minister is stepping aside just a year after he won a sweeping general election victory.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, could be the next to go following Tuesday’s mutinous vote among Labour’s members in Parliament. In a secret ballot, 172 members said they had no confidence in their leader. Just 40 backed him.

Tuesday’s vote is nonbinding, but it is likely to lead to a new leadership contest that could deepen divisions within a party already riven with fractures between its moderate and hard-left factions.

Corbyn has suggested he will run again — and he could well win, given his popularity with the rank and file.

But Tuesday’s vote shows that his own colleagues in Parliament want him gone. Corbyn’s detractors in Labour blame him for a lackluster campaign to keep Britain in the E.U. Although Labour officially supported the “remain” camp, Corbyn was a fleeting presence on the campaign trail, and polls showed that many Labour members were not aware of their party’s official position.

Corbyn — a north London politician whose views have been compared to those of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont — was defiant after the vote, pledging not to step down.

“I was democratically elected leader of our party for a new kind of politics by 60 percent of Labour members and supporters, and I will not betray them by resigning,” he wrote in a statement released within minutes of the result being revealed. “Today’s vote by [members of Parliament] has no constitutional legitimacy.”

In a show of strength late Monday, the eve of the vote, up to 1,000 Corbyn backers rallied in the central square opposite the soaring towers of Westminster, Parliament’s home.

“Don’t let the media divide us. Don’t let those people who wish us ill divide us,” Corbyn told his cheering backers. “Stay together, strong and united, for the kind of world we want to live in.”

Corbyn’s predicament comes only nine months after he emerged from the far-left fringe to take ownership of a party that last governed under the more centrist Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Corbyn, who was never popular with the party’s lawmakers despite enjoying widespread grass-roots support, has faced dozens of defections among his top lieutenants since the referendum results.

But Corbyn critics say he was an ambivalent campaigner — at best — for Britain’s continued place in the E.U. Corbyn had long been a fierce critic of the E.U., believing it had become a tool of corporations and other vested interests.

A former member of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, Chris Bryant, told the BBC on Monday that he believed the Labour leader may have actually voted to leave in the privacy of the voting booth. Corbyn’s backers have disputed that.

In a speech Tuesday, senior Labour politician Yvette Cooper — who lost to Corbyn in last year’s leadership contest — said she hoped he would step aside.

“I am very concerned that Jeremy Corbyn has no plan to reunite the Labour movement, no plan to respond to the deep and serious issues the referendum has thrown up, and no plan for a looming general election,” she said.

Although no new vote is planned until 2020, the unexpected referendum result has turned British politics upside down, and some are now advocating for a fresh vote once the Tories have chosen their new prime minister.

At this point, it’s not at all clear that there actually will be early elections, but that seems to be the conclusion that many political analysts are reaching at this early stage. If that happens, it appears that many in Labour don’t really have much confidence that a candidate like Corbyn will stand well with the general public against whomever the Conservative Party chooses as its new leader, a process that is likely to work itself out over the course of the summer with a final vote by Conservative Party member taking place some time in September or October. In that case, a snap election would most likely be scheduled for late 2016 or early 2017, but even that is unclear at this point.



Benghazi Committee Report Uncovers Mistakes, But No Wrongdoing [Outside the Beltway]


The House Select Committee investigating the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others released its final report today after more than two years of investigation and witness interviews that came to a head last October with the day-long questioning of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. For the most part, the report found the same things that all of the previous investigation of this matter have found, namely that while there were several mistakes made in connection with the attack, including apparent and puzzling failures by the Defense Department to carry out orders given by the President and the Secretary of Defense, there was no evidence of intentional wrongdoing or a cover-up, and nothing that appears to implicate Clinton herself in any such wrong doing. Indeed, the summaries of the more than 800 page report seem to substantiate what Clinton and the State Department have been saying about the events of that night in 2012:

WASHINGTON — Ending one of the longest, costliest and most bitterly partisan congressional investigations in history, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report on Tuesday, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead.

The 800-page report, however, included some new details about the night of the attacks, and the context in which it occurred, and it delivered a broad rebuke of government agencies like the Defense Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department — and the officials who led them — for failing to grasp the acute security risks in Benghazi, and especially for maintaining outposts in there that they could not protect.

The committee, led by Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, also harshly criticized an internal State Department investigation that it said had allowed officials like Mrs. Clinton, then the secretary of state, to effectively choose who would investigate their actions. In addition, it reiterated Republicans’ complaints that the Obama administration had sought to thwart the investigation by withholding witnesses and evidence.

The report, which includes perhaps the most exhaustive chronology to date of the attacks and their aftermath, did not dispute that United States military forces stationed in Europe could not have reached Benghazi in time to rescue the personnel who died — a central finding of previous inquiries.

Still, it issued stinging criticism of the overall delay in response and the lack of preparedness on the part of the government.

“The assets ultimately deployed by the Defense Department in response to the Benghazi attacks were not positioned to arrive before the final lethal attack,” the committee wrote. “The fact that this is true does not mitigate the question of why the world’s most powerful military was not positioned to respond.”

But the lack of any clear-cut finding of professional misconduct or dereliction of duty was certain to fuel further criticism of the length the investigation — more than two years — and the expense, estimated at more than $7 million, in addition to Democrats’ allegations that the inquiry was specifically intended to damage Mrs. Clinton’s presidential prospects.


The previous investigations had concluded that State Department officials had erred in not better securing the diplomatic compound amid reports of a deteriorating security situation. But the inquiries also determined that the attacks had come with little warning and that it would have been difficult to intervene once they had begun.

The investigations generally concluded that after the attack, the Obama administration’s talking points — a matter of much dispute — were flawed but not deliberately misleading.

On Sept. 11, 2012, Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and Sean Smith, a State Department information officer, were killed in an attack on the main American diplomatic compound in Benghazi by a mob of militia fighters who had been incited by an American-made video deriding the Prophet Muhammad. The fighters were apparently further inflamed by news of an assault on the American Embassy in Cairo.

Two other Americans, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty, who were contractors for the C.I.A., died later when a separate annex run by the agency came under mortar attack.

Previous investigations, including the internal inquiry by the State Department, found serious security gaps but also concluded that American forces could not have reached Benghazi in time to save the Americans, despite claims by some Republicans that Mrs. Clinton had ordered troops to “stand down.”

At the time the select committee was created, in addition to the State Department’s review, there had been at least seven other congressional inquiries into the Benghazi attacks. A House Intelligence Committee investigation, perhaps the most comprehensive until now, found that Obama administration officials had not intentionally misled the public with their talking points in the days after the attacks.

The release of the final report that will likely be approved by the Republican majority within a week or two came a day after the Democratic minority on the committee released its own report, which emphasized the fact that the committee had not found anything of substance about the attacks that had not been found by any of the previous reports and investigations and that it had not found any evidence of wrongdoing by Secretary Clinton specifically. Most prominently, though, the Democratic report repeats the allegations that Chairman Trey Gowdy had long been cutting Democratic Committee members out of the investigation process and accusing Committee Republicans of being more concerned with finding evidence of wrongdoing that would harm Hillary Clinton and the Democrats in the fall than uncovering the factors that led to the tragic loss of life in Benghazi and how such an event might be prevented in the future.

WASHINGTON — House Democrats on Monday moved to pre-empt the findings of a two-year Republican-led investigation into the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans were killed, by issuing their own 339-page report that cast the inquiry as a politically motivated crusade that wasted time and money.

The release of the Democrats’ report came amid signs that the House Select Committee on Benghazi, led by its chairman, Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, was nearing the release of its official findings.

In the face of intense criticism, Mr. Gowdy has repeatedly defended the committee’s work as the most comprehensive examination of the attacks in Benghazi, which occurred on Sept. 11, 2012, and resulted in the deaths of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens; a State Department official, Sean Smith; and two Central Intelligence Agency contractors, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty.

In recent days, the committee has reiterated longstanding complaints about lack of cooperation with the investigation by the Obama administration, including a statement by Mr. Gowdy on Monday citing obstruction by the State Department. The committee has also cited the refusal by the White House to have President Obama respond to written questions.

“For nearly a year and a half, the State Department has withheld documents and information about Benghazi and Libya from the American people’s elected representatives in Congress,” Mr. Gowdy said in the statement. “Whatever the administration is hiding, its justifications for doing so are imaginary and appear to be invented for the sake of convenience. That’s not how complying with a congressional subpoena works, and it’s well past time the department stops stonewalling.”

In their counternarrative, the Democrats serving on the House Select Committee said they had been virtually shut out of the process of developing the report, and they accused their Republican counterparts of trying to besmirch Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, who was secretary of state during the Benghazi attack.

“Section II of our report documents the grave abuses that Select Committee Republicans engaged in during this investigation,” the Democrats wrote. “Republicans excluded Democrats from interviews, concealed exculpatory evidence, withheld interview transcripts, leaked inaccurate information, issued unilateral subpoenas, sent armed marshals to the home of a cooperative witness and even conducted political fund-raising by exploiting the deaths of four Americans.”

The Democrats also singled out Mr. Gowdy for criticism. “In our opinion, Chairman Gowdy has been conducting this investigation like an overzealous prosecutor desperately trying to land a front-page conviction rather than a neutral judge of facts seeking to improve the security of our diplomatic corps,” they wrote.

The Democrats’ report included praise for American personnel in Benghazi and Tripoli, the Libyan capital, saying they “conducted themselves with extraordinary courage and heroism,” and determined that the American personnel could not have saved the four who died.

The report includes some criticism: “The State Department’s security measures in Benghazi were woefully inadequate as a result of decisions made by officials in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.” But it absolves Ms. Clinton of responsibility, adding, “Secretary Clinton never personally denied any requests for additional security in Benghazi.”

The Democrats accused the Republicans of spending more than $7 million on an investigation that they argued would not reveal any substantially new information that would alter the understanding of events as described in multiple previous inquiries.

The Republicans sharply dismissed the report, turning the main Democratic criticism around — saying that they were overly focused on Mrs. Clinton.

“Benghazi Committee Democrats’ obsession with the former secretary of state is on full display,” the committee’s press secretary, Matt Wolking, said in a statement, which also accused the Democrats of issuing “rehashed, partisan talking points defending their endorsed candidate for president.”

The majority report and its various addenda can be read online as can the Democrats’ report and while both reports are long, the summaries reviewed to date clearly indicate that we’ve learned nothing new from this investigation regarding the attack itself or Washington’s response to the attack notwithstanding another two years of investigation and tens of millions of dollars. In the nearly four years since the attacks, there have been numerous investigations about what happened that night in Benghazi, as well as the response before and after the attacks, as well as concerns involving the response of the Defense Department, the question of why there was no military response to the attack, and issues involving security at embassies and other diplomatic outposts. Prior to the time that the Select Committee was even formed, at least five separate Congressional committees have investigated the matter, including the House Intelligence Committee, and none of them have found any evidence of wrongdoing or impropriety. The questions regarding the Administration’s initial reliance on the claim that the attack was motivated by an obscure YouTube video now seems in retrospect to have been motivated largely by the CIA’s initial assessments in the days after the attacks, but the fact that the story was being spread in the midst of a highly partisan election led many to the conclusion that it was part of some kind of cover-up even though there is no evidence of the same. Despite all of that, though, Republicans on Capitol Hill were not satisfied with the investigations that had been conducted so far, and were certainly not satisfied with the answers Clinton had given in previous testimony. As a result, a Select Committee was formed in the House, and a new investigation was launched. Now, after two years we know that the Select Committee uncovered nothing new regarding any of the issues surrounding the attack, and the committee’s investigation is looking even more political than it seemed to be at the beginning.

From the start, the Select Committee was subject to the charges that the Committee’s investigation was more a politically motivated witch hunt aimed at damaging Hillary Clinton in advance of the 2016 elections than an objective search for the truth about what happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 and how the State Department responded both to the attack and the reports about threats to Americans in the city and elsewhere in Libya. Those charges, of course, were seemingly confirmed by the way that the investigation unfolded. From the start, the Committee seemed uninterested in conducting its investigation in an expeditious manner. This was seemingly confirmed when the committee made clear early on that a final report should not be expected before 2016, conveniently in the middle of the Presidential campaign. Additionally, the seeming partisan motivation behind the committee was acknowledged in comments by Majority Leaders Kevin McCarthy and New York Congressman Richard Hanna, both of whom had said that the committee’s purpose was primarily political rather than investigatory, comments which earned a rebuke from Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy. Indeed, in a poll taken just before the committee sat to question Hillary Clinton herself, CNN and ORC found that nearly three-quarters of Americans believed that the committee was largely a partisan political exercise rather than an objective search for the truth. The fact that this report doesn’t seem to tell us anything we didn’t already know adds weight to the allegations of partisanship, and seems likely to minimize whatever impact it may have on the race for President itself.

None of this is to say that the report didn’t find things that went wrong leading up to the attack and while it was unfolding. The fact that there apparently were no deploy-able military assets available that could have gotten to Benghazi in time to have an impact on the attack, for example, raises the question of why this was the case, especially given the fact that it has generally been common practice to increase security at U.S. outposts in the Middle East generally during the period around the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. It’s also still not entirely clear why the Benghazi outpost was kept open even as American allies such as Great Britain were closing their facilities in Benghazi due to the deteriorating security conditions there. Finally, there are a whole host of questions that go to the entire logic behind American policy in Libya dating back to the beginning of the civil war that led to the downfall of the Gaddafi regime and, especially, the decision to join France and Great Britain in aiding rebels of questionable motivation. The Select Committee’s report doesn’t touch on those issues, though, and doesn’t really make any recommendations for changes in policy that either could have prevented the attack or made it more likely that Ambassador Stevens and the three bodyguards would have survived the attack that night.

The big question, of course, is the impact that this report may have on the race for President. Honestly, given the fact that the majority of Americans seem to have written the committee off as a partisan political exercise, though, it seems as though it is unlikely to have much of an impact at all. Republicans will continue to believe that there is some unspecified cover-up of what happened on that September night in Benghazi and Democrats will emphasize the fact that, once again, an investigation has failed to reveal any nefarious actions by Secretary Clinton or anyone close to her. For most Americans, though, this will likely be filed away as just another partisan dispute that has no real impact on their lives. What perhaps does matter the most, though, is that a committee that was established with the obvious although unstated mission of uncovering something that would harm Hillary Clinton has once again come up short. To that extent, then, you can score this as a loss for House Republicans and another good day for Secretary Clinton.

Army to Allow Rolled Sleeves on Cammies Again [Outside the Beltway]


After more than a decade, the Army is back to allowing soldiers to roll the sleeves of their camouflage uniform in garrison:

The practice was banned for years. Then there was a pilot program. The results were studied closely. And on Tuesday, the Army is expected to announce its big decision: Rolled sleeves on camouflage uniforms are now completely acceptable.

The move would give a stiff-arm to recent history, in which the Army was the only Pentagon service that did not allow rolled sleeves, even in the hot summer months associated with serving at places such as Fort Hood, Tex., and Fort Benning, Ga.

Army Sgt. Major Daniel A. Dailey said in an interview Tuesday that he expected Gen. Mark A. Milley, the Army’s top officer, to sign off on the specifics within hours. There’s little doubt which way the service is going: A majority of soldiers have greeted the change with cheers, and service leaders appear to be receptive to that.

“When you can change thing that doesn’t break good order and discipline and that soldiers like, let’s do it,” Dailey said. “We’re the only service that doesn’t do it, and we used to. So it’s not one of those things that if we do, we can’t survive. Because we’ve done it before and we know it’s not going to hurt anybody.”

That perspective is new. Dailey said in an Army Times article published in February that there was no need to allow rolled sleeves, saying doing so was “not consistent with a neat appearance.” His predecessor, then-Sgt. Maj. Raymond F. Chandler, also said several times that he was against it.

Milley announced on June 16 a 10-day pilot program at Fort Hood and seemed open then to making the change permanent. Soldiers wore rolled sleeves with a previous camouflage uniform, the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) until it was phased out in 2005, and there are numerous photographs from World War II and Vietnam that show soldiers with their sleeves rolled.

While a seemingly silly debate from a civilian perspective, it’s the sort of thing that matters to the troops.  In the Marine Corps, Jim Amos was reviled as Commandant for requiring sleeves down; he reversed course toward the end of his tenure.

The sub-debate on this is even more sillier for those outside the culture:

One question that remained Tuesday morning is whether sleeves will be rolled so that the camouflage shows on the roll. That, too, has generated a spirited debate, both because the Marines already roll their sleeves in and the Army has previously rolled their sleeves out.

Dailey said he kept his own opinions to himself during polling because he did not want to influence the results. But like the majority of the Army, he said, he favored rolling with camouflage out.

“I’m rooting for my camo out folks,” he said.

There’s no practical reason to care either way but Army tradition from the BDU era was camo out. It’s perhaps slightly harder to roll them that way but it’s pretty simple.


N.F.L. Coaching Legend Buddy Ryan Dies At 82 [Outside the Beltway]

Buddy Ryan

National Football League coaching legend Buddy Ryan, whose defensive innovations helped two teams win Super Bowls some nearly twenty years apart from each other, has died at the age of 82:

Buddy Ryan, pro football’s famously combative defensive innovator who helped propel the Jets and the Chicago Bears to Super Bowl championships, died on Tuesday in Kentucky. He was 82.

His death was confirmed by the Buffalo Bills; his son Rex is head coach for the team and son Rob is an assistant. James Solano, Ryan’s agent, said Ryan died in Kentucky, where he owned a ranch in Shelbyville, The Associated Press reported. Solano did not give a cause. Ryan had previously been treated for skin cancer.

In his seven years as a head coach, with the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals, Ryan never won a playoff game. But he had already solidified his legacy as an assistant coach with his shifting and blitzing defensive alignments, which confused and clobbered opposing quarterbacks. His bruising “46” defense, in particular, took the Bears to their 1986 Super Bowl victory.

For all his football intellect, Ryan embraced pure aggression.

“It got mean, cruel,” defensive end Gerry Philbin, who played under Ryan at the University at Buffalo and on the Jets, once told Sports Illustrated. “I’ve never seen anyone better at bringing the animal out of you. If you didn’t hit as hard as he wanted, he’d humiliate you in front of everyone. Guys like me loved him, though. He was just so brutally honest.”

When Ryan became the Eagles’ head coach in 1986 and subjected his players to punishing drills in training camp, he spoke of his mind-set.

“They probably think I’m a no-good so-and-so,” he told The New York Times. “But that’s all right. That breeds closeness as a team. That way they can all dislike the same guy.”

His son Rex, having earned a reputation for brashness in his own right while coaching the Jets from 2009 to 2014, wrote in a memoir, “Play Like You Mean It” (2011), that he grew up “wanting to be Buddy Ryan,” though he acknowledged that his father “was a little over the top from time to time.”

In 1989, the Cowboys accused Ryan of offering bounties of a few hundred dollars to any of his Eagles players who knocked the Dallas kicker, Luis Zendejas, and quarterback Troy Aikman out of the Thanksgiving Day game, which Philadelphia won 27-0. Both players were roughed up in the game.

Zendejas, who had previously been cut by the Eagles, called Ryan “the fat little guy” and denounced him as essentially a coward. Ryan, a bit paunchy and bespectacled, denied offering bounties, and a league investigation could not substantiate the accusations.

When Ryan was the Houston Oilers’ defensive coordinator in 1993, he punched the team’s offensive coordinator, Kevin Gilbride, in the face during a playoff game against the Jets, incensed that Gilbride’s disdain for ball control kept Ryan’s defenders on the field too long.

Ryan broke into professional football as the defensive line coach for the 1968 Jets, who shocked the football world and provided credibility for their American Football League by upsetting the N.F.L.’s Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

Working with Walt Michaels, the Jets’ defensive coordinator, Ryan developed the seeds of his “46” defense. That scheme flourished with the 1985 Bears, who went 15-1 in the regular season, won two playoff games by shutouts and routed the New England Patriots, 46-10, in the Super Bowl.

Named for the hard-nosed and frequently blitzing safety Doug Plank, who wore No. 46 playing for the Bears in Ryan’s first few seasons as defensive coordinator, the plan put as many as eight men on the defensive line to foil the opponents’ blocking plays, and it sprang blitzes by just about anyone. The aim was to pressure the opposing quarterback or knock him out of the game.

Ryan hoped to find out “who the second-string quarterback was,” he said.


James David Ryan was born on Feb. 17, 1931, in Frederick, Okla., where his father was a house painter. (His birth year was often listed as 1934; as Rex Ryan told it, his father had subtracted a few years from his true age to come off as more youthful when first looking for an N.F.L. job.)

Buddy Ryan served in combat as a master sergeant during the Korean War, then played guard at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) and coached high school football in Texas.

He was an assistant coach at the University at Buffalo, Vanderbilt and the University of the Pacific before joining the Jets’ staff under Coach Weeb Ewbank.

Following eight years with the Jets, Ryan was an assistant to Coach Bud Grant for two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, overseeing the Purple People Eaters defense that helped take the Vikings to the 1977 Super Bowl, where they lost to the Oakland Raiders.

Ryan became the Bears’ defensive coordinator in 1978. When Ditka became head coach in 1982, Ryan stayed on with the backing of the owner, George Halas. It seemed that the Bears had two teams. When they won the 1986 Super Bowl, the offensive players lifted Ditka onto their shoulders while the defensive players hoisted Ryan.

Ryan finally got a head-coaching job when he was hired by the Eagles soon after. He was fired after the 1990 season, when the Eagles lost their playoff opener for a third consecutive year. He posted a 43-35-1 record with Philadelphia.

Ryan was named as the Arizona Cardinals’ head coach in 1994, and he chose sons Rex and Rob as assistants. He was 12-20 for two seasons, was fired once more, then retired.

From NFL.com:

Buddy Ryan, the architect of perhaps the greatest defense in NFL history, a doting father to a pair of current-day coaches who carry on his blustery style and legendary curmudgeon beloved by multiple fan bases passed away on Tuesday morning after a lengthy battle with cancer, his agent confirmed to NFL Media.

He was 82 years old.

Ryan, who created the 46 defense which propelled the Chicago Bears to a dominating victory in Super Bowl XX, was more than just a one hit wonder. His innovation as a blitz-crazed defensive line coach for the New York Jets lifted the team to its only Super Bowl victory in franchise history back in 1969 on the heels of such gems as the “Cheeseburger Blitz” and “Taco Bell Blitz.” He was also one of the creative forces behind Minnesota’s “Purple People Eaters” defenses back in the mid-1970s.

Oklahoma born and bred, Ryan entered the coaching profession in 1961 with the University of Buffalo following his service in the Military. From there, a career as a defensive troubadour began, winding its way through New York, Minnesota, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston and Arizona.

“Without Buddy Ryan … I’m just a guy,” legendary Bears linebacker Mike Singletary said on an ESPN documentary about the 1985 Bears. “He’s someone that you meet, and you think he’s the toughest, meanest guy that you’ll ever meet. But he loves you. He just doesn’t know how to express it. But you know it when he looks at you.”

Added Mike Ditka, the head coach of the 1985 Bears, on Tuesday morning: “Buddy was such an integral part of the Chicago Bears and the ’85 Bears, it was unbelievable.

“There’s no way we win anything without that defense, without his coaching and I think everybody understands that. We won because of our defense, we can never forget that. That’s just the way it was.”

Ryan turned conventional football wisdom on its head early on in his career. He never understood the coddling of NFL quarterbacks, and famously surmised that “a quarterback has never completed a pass when he was flat on his back.” He believed that quarterbacks made too much money, attracted too much attention and acted with an unfair sense of entitlement — and he spent nearly his entire career torturing them.

Bears chairman George H. McCaskey issued the following sentiment:

“Buddy Ryan was the architect of the greatest defense our league has seen. He was brilliant when it came to the X’s and O’s of the game, but what made him special was his ability to create an unwavering confidence in the players he coached. From the day he was hired in 1978, his defenses bought into more than the scheme, they bought into him and took on his personality. Buddy was brash, intelligent and tough. He was a perfect match for our city and team, which is why George Halas took the extraordinary step of keeping him at the behest of his defensive players while transitioning to a new coaching staff in 1982. We will always be grateful for Buddy’s contribution to the Bears. He is one of the team’s all-time greats. Our prayers are with his family.”

During the Bears’ Super Bowl run in 1985, the team allowed just 12.4 points per game and logged 64 quarterback sacks during the regular season. Defensive end Richard Dent and linebacker Otis Wilson combined for 27.5 alone. In a 46-10 Super Bowlwin over New England, Patriotsquarterback Steve Grogan was sacked four times and picked off twice. ThePatriots rushed the ball 11 times in thatSuper Bowl for seven total yards.

As former Bears defensive back Doug Plank put it: “We’re going to get to know your backup quarterback today.”

Ryan is widely believed to be the only coordinator carried off the field during a Super Bowl win.

Opposing coaches struggled to describe the beauty of Ryan’s defenses because they could never completely pin it down. Through the late 1970s and early ’80s, the varied fronts and organic pressures laid the groundwork for many of the schemes we see today. Dom Capers’ psycho front, as well as defenses used by Rex Ryan, Todd Bowles, Romeo Crennel, Bob Sutton and others owe part of their success to the dizzying playbook put together by Buddy Ryan over the years.


Ryan’s passion for the game often made him a divisive figure. As a coordinator, he warred with his head coach and fellow assistants. During the golden years in Chicago, that meant a famously dysfunctional relationship with Ditka, who by orders from ownership, had to keep Ryan and leave the defense alone. Buddy would hurl erasers at the door when Ditka entered team meetings. When Ditka would suggest Ryan switching to zone late in punishing wins, Ryan would just shrug and walk away. The two had to be separated several times by players during halftime grapples.

“It didn’t matter if it was a practice or a game, they were b —— at each other,” quarterback Jim McMahon said in an NFL Films special on the most famous feuds in NFL history. “It’s amazing we won.”

In Houston, Ryan had a famous disdain for then-offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride’s run and shoot offense. Ryan called it the “chuck and duck,” amid a public game of cat and mouse that resulted in Ryan throwing a punch at Gilbride on the sideline of a nationally televised game.

That was Ryan — authentic and ornery until the end. As a head coach in Philadelphia, he presided over some of the most beloved teams in franchise history. He took jabs at ownership, he battled with fans over talk radio and molded a miserable roster into a 43-38-1 team over five seasons. He reached the playoffs three times.

Ryan’s time as a head coach in his own right was a not very impressive 55-55-0 and he went 0-3-0 in the playoffs. Not exactly anything to write home about, of course, but it was always as a defensive guru that Ryan was going to leave his mark on the game, and he did that with the Jets, the Vikings, and, of course, the Bears, where he managed to craft defensive innovations that have shaped the game into what it is today and what it will become in the future. The fact that he was able to help craft defenses that adjusted to the game as it was played from the late 1960s until well into the 1980s attests to his own ability and his ability to motivate players from a wide variety of backgrounds. It’s difficult to imagine what the game would be like today without him.

Marines Remove ‘Man’ From Most Job Titles [Outside the Beltway]

Following an order from the Secretary of the Navy, the Marine Corps has removed the word “man” from nineteen of its military occupation specialty titles, leaving only a handful of iconic instances intact. Marine Corps Times:

In all, the Marine Corps plans to rename 19 of its military occupational specialties, or MOSs, as the result of a months-long review mandated by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. A service-wide message announcing the changes is expected to be published within the next few days.

The terms “rifleman” and “mortarman,” are among those that remain untouched, according to a list — obtained by Marine Corps Times on Monday — of 33 MOSs that were reviewed. And that was by careful design, said a Marine official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.


In most cases, the word “man” will be replaced by Marine. Those changes are as follows:

  • Basic infantry Marine.
  • Riverine assault craft Marine.
  • Light-armor vehicle Marine.
  • Reconnaissance Marine (to include three other recon-related jobs that include the word “man”).
  • Infantry assault Marine.
  • Basic field artillery Marine.
  • Field artillery fire control Marine.
  • Field artillery sensor support Marine.
  • Fire support Marine.
  • Basic engineer, construction and equipment Marine.
  • Basic tank and assault amphibious vehicle Marine.
  • Armor Marine.
  • Amphibious assault vehicle Marine.
  • Amphibious combat vehicle Marine.

The field artillery operations man MOS is expected to be changed to field artillery operations chief, since that position is typically held by a Marine in the rank of staff sergeant or above.

The anti-tank missileman MOS is the only position that will pick up the word “gunner” in place of “man.”

Others on the list — like manpower officer or vertical takeoff unmanned aerial vehicle specialist — will still include the word “man” because it’s part of a word that doesn’t describe the Marine doing the job.

The new titles are clunkier than the old ones, as well as redundant. After all, all those holding a Marine MOS are, by definition, Marines, so mentioning that they’re Marines is rather unnecessary. That said, none of the new titles are egregiously silly and the intent here is reasonable. Indeed, the Corps is about two decades behind the rest of society in making these sort of concessions to a gender-integrated workforce.

Not surprisingly, however, there are objections:

The move has proved unpopular with many Marines and sailors, with several branding it political correctness run amok.

“We have reached peak crazy,” one reader commented on an earlier story by Marine Corps Times about this topic.

“If a woman isn’t going to consider making the Navy her career because she is called a fireman or a corpsman, then I don’t think she was going to make the Navy a career period,” another reader commented on a Navy Times story. “We don’t need [people who are easily offended] like that clogging up the institutions that protect our country.”

Of course, the same could be the same of those whining about rather innocuous changes to job titles.

Sidney Blumenthal Got Paid, Which is Apparently a Scandal [Outside the Beltway]


Via memeorandum I came across an LAT piece titled “House Democrats mistakenly release transcript confirming big payout to Clinton friend Sidney Blumenthal.”

The Democrats on the House Benghazi committee released their final conclusions from the inquiry into attacks on Americans in that Libyan city in 2012, and in the report they say, once again, that the investigation is a politically motivated sham aimed at damaging the reputation of Hillary Clinton.

But the report, which the Democrats published as a preemptive strike before the Republican majority releases findings likely to charge ineptitude and deception by the former secretary of State, also revealed, apparently unintentionally, details about the eye-popping amount of money a close Clinton friend and advisor made in a contract with a pro-Clinton nonprofit.


And for Democrats, the exchange exposes once again the absurd amounts of money people in the orbit of the Clintons sometimes seem to rake in just for, well, being in the orbit of the Clintons. “I’d say it’s about $200,000 a year,” Blumenthal said when asked by a committee member how much the part-time work offering up advice and ideas was worth.

“Redacted due to Chairman Gowdy’s refusal to allow release of transcript,” says a footnote to the pages of thick black redaction marks. “If released, the transcript would show that Republicans asked Mr. Blumenthal questions about his relationship with Media Matters, David Brock and Correct the Record.” Brock is a longtime Clinton loyalist, and Correct the Record and Media Matters are among the nonprofits he uses to attack Clinton opponents.

And how did Blumenthal get such a contract? ”I have had a very long friendship with the chairman of Media Matters, whose name is David Brock, from before he founded this organization, and I have sustained that friendship. And he asked me to help provide ideas and advice to him and his organizations,” Blumenthal said.

I’m no fan of the Clintons and am very sympathetic to the notion that they have lived their entire political careers pushing the envelope on corruption, using the power and influence of their current or anticipated offices to enrich the spouse currently out of office as well as those who are in their good graces. But, for the life of me, I can’t see even the hint of a scandal in this particular story.

It’s true that Media Matters is pro-Clinton, but calling it a “pro-Clinton nonprofit” makes it seem like its founding purpose. It isn’t.  Correct the Record, by contrast, makes no bones about what it is: “Correct The Record is a strategic research and rapid response team designed to defend Hillary Clinton from baseless attacks” is the entirety of the organization’s About page.

But . . . so what? Groups are allowed to be pro-Clinton, whether as their default position in a two-party race or as an overarching goal. Groups, whether pro-Clinton or otherwise, are allowed to hire consultants.  Groups which hire consultants tend to pay them; indeed, that’s the nature of hiring. And, while $200,000 seems like a lot of money for part-time consulting work, Blumental is kind of a big deal and presumably commands a pretty penny for his time.

What am I missing here? LAT isn’t exactly a Republican shill organization; if anything, they’re apt sympathetic to Clinton given the current alternatives.

Turkey Apologizes To Russia For Downing Jet [Outside the Beltway]

Turkey Russia Flags

Turkey has issued a formal apology to Russia for downing a Russian jet back in November, a marked turn from the position the Turks took in the initial period after the incident that the jet was part of Russian provocation of Turkish military units after a series of incursions of Turkish air space:

ISTANBUL — Turkey continued its diplomatic fence mending on Monday, apologizing for downing a Russian jet near its border with Syria last year.

In a letter to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Monday, the same day Turkey announced a rapprochement with Israel, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed regret about the November episode, in which Turkish forces shot down a Russian warplane that Turkey said had violated its airspace.

The downing infuriated Russia and paralyzed relations between the two countries: The Kremlin ordered sanctions on Turkish food imports, stopped visa-free travel for Turks and barred Turkish tour operators from offering Russian tourists vacation packages.

Mr. Erdogan has become isolated diplomatically after adopting an increasingly authoritarian stand, a combative position with Europe regarding the international migrant crisis, and a newly muscular foreign policy, including a failed strategy in Syria. The outreach on Monday can be viewed as an effort to repair some of that damage.

“Turkey had been going through a deep sense of isolation for the past few years, having switched from its famous ‘zero problems with neighbors’ policy to a place where they had no neighbors without problems,” said Asli Aydintasbas, an expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “This was the loneliest point in the history of the republic — Qatar and Saudi Arabia looking like the government’s only real friends.”

Under Mr. Erdogan, Turkey has tried to establish friendships with its Muslim neighbors, a shift from the past. But some experts argue that Turkey miscalculated, especially in Syria, where, until recently, it pushed for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad. It has also opposed the United States there over Kurdish rebels fighting the Islamic State, and has been criticized for letting fighters pass freely across its border with Syria.

In the case of Russia, economics trumped political posturing, Ms. Aydintasbas said. Trade between the two countries had been substantially in Russia’s favor, largely because it sells considerable amounts of oil and gas to Turkey. But Turkey also benefited: More than three million Russians visit each year, the second-largest group of foreign travelers after Germans, and their absence has taken a painful toll on Turkey’s tourism industry.

In his letter to Mr. Putin, Mr. Erdogan said he “would like to inform the family of the deceased Russian pilot that I share their pain and to offer my condolences to them,” according to a statement from Turkey’s presidential spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin.

The effort to repair relations with Russia began the same day that Turkey and Israel announced an agreement to resume full diplomatic relations, ending a bitter six-year rift between the once-close regional allies. The two countries had fallen out over a 2010 Israeli military raid on a Turkish boat, the Mavi Marmara, which was bringing aid to Gaza. Ten Turkish activists were killed.

The deal provided an opening for lucrative natural gas projects: for Israel to sell natural gas reserves to Turkey, and via Turkey to Europe.


It is unclear why the reconciliation with Russia is happening now. Mr. Erdogan, a charismatic leader who has tapped into rising populism in Turkey, has grown increasingly autocratic, prompting criticism from liberals at home and from some allies abroad. Experts said he was trying to change his positions abroad in order to burnish his image and authority.

“At the core of the decision to mend ties with Israel and Russia is an existential need for survival,” Ms. Aydintasbas said. Mr. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party is “the top vote-getter and has just won elections,” she said, “but with a serious homegrown insurgency, a frail economy and a long list of foes, it is hard to rule a country.”

Cengiz Candar, a visiting scholar at the Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies, said: “We’re seeing the contours of Erdogan’s pragmatism. Now they can say: ‘See, we are improving our relations in our neighborhood. We’re on the right track.’ “

While Erdogan’s actions may be driven by pragmatism and the realization that continuing to be recalcitrant with Russia was not getting Turkey anywhere, the apology appears to be a recognition of the fact that fault in the incident was by no means as clear as the Turks initially claimed them to be. When the incident first occurred, it certainly seemed from the way the Turks described the incident as if the Russians were deliberately trying to provoke the Turks into action by crossing into their territory, an incident which the Turks claimed was happening on a regular basis even though they failed to provide any real evidence to support the claim. For their part, the Russians reacted about as you would expect that they would have, with an angry diplomatic statement and sanctions but little sign of even thinking about responding militarily against a member of NATO, especially since most NATO members responded to the incident by condemning Russia for violating Turkish airspace. As time went on, though, it became apparent that the actual facts of the incident did not match the initial Turkish claims and that the Russian jets had only spent a brief amount of time in Turkish airspace prior to being shot down, a suggestion that the Turks had at the very least overreacted to the incident by shooting the plane down. One map shows that the Russian jet was in Turkish airspace for only 17 seconds and that it had done nothing to provoke the Turks, for example.

In any case, it was fortunate that the incident in November didn’t go any further than it did. As noted, the Russians responded to the downing by imposing sanctions and the Turks responded to that with sanctions of their own, and it was unclear in the beginning just how much escalation we might see from the two sides. For the Turks, further action risked the prospect of Russian retaliation and the possibility of putting pro-Turk forces in Syria in jeopardy. For the Russians, there was the obvious risk that setting off a conflict with a NATO member could cause problems elsewhere in Europe. In the end, though, it seemed clear that it was Turkey that blinked first. At least to some extent, this probably needs to be seen as an admission on the part of the Turks that they had acted hastily with regard to this incident and that the initial claims of long-term Russian provocation were largely incorrect.

A Lesson In Polling [Outside the Beltway]


A new poll from NBC News is being reported with the headline “Poll: Majority of Republicans Prefer Someone Else to Trump,” but what it really provides is a lesson in how drafting a poll question can impact the outcome of that poll:

Just 45 percent of Republican voters say they are satisfied with Donald Trump as their party’s presumptive presidential nominee, while 52 percent say they would have preferred someone else, according to results from the latest national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

By comparison, the numbers are reversed for Hillary Clinton among Democrats – 52 percent of Democratic voters are satisfied with Clinton, and 45 percent prefer someone else.

GOP attitudes about Trump break along ideological and educational lines. By a 53 percent-to-45 percent margin, conservative Republicans say they prefer a different nominee to Trump, while moderates are split 49 percent to 49 percent.

Maybe more tellingly, 58 percent of Republicans with a high-school education or less are satisfied with Trump as the party’s presumptive nominee, versus 60 percent of Republicans with a college degree who want someone else.

The NBC/WSJ poll – conducted June 19-23 – comes after Clinton became her party’s presumptive nominee; after the tragic terrorist attack in Orlando, Fla.; and after a rough three-week stretch for Trump’s campaign, which included a renewed effort by some Republicans to deny him the nomination next month.

Indeed, 55 percent of all registered voters in the poll said that what they had seen, read and heard about Trump over the last couple of weeks had given them a less favorable view of the real-estate mogul, while 20 percent had a more favorable view.

That’s compared with 38 percent of voters who had a less favorable view of Clinton over the last couple of weeks, and 27 percent who had a more favorable view of her.

Despite those perceptions, the 2016 horserace remains competitive with Clinton ahead of Trump by five points – up just slightly from Clinton’s three-point lead in May.

Several media outlets are pointing to these numbers as yet another sign of Trump’s underlying weakness within his own party, where the “Never Trump” movement remains strong, Republican elected officials continue to distance themselves from Trump to the point where more and more top officials are declining to speak at July’s Republican National Convention, and the gap between Clinton and Trump in the polls continues to grow. This comes at the same time that Trump shows signs of real trouble in the money race against Clinton, and major Republican donors continue to sit on the sidelines, or concentrate on down ballot races, rather than associate themselves with Trump. These are all signs of trends that should be worrisome for any Trump supporter notwithstanding the fact that it is still early in the race and, if they continue it is likely that the Clinton campaign could become something of an unstoppable steamroller that will overtake Trump easily and hand Republicans a worse loss than what they saw in either 2008 or 2012.

At the same time, though, I’m going to suggest that this poll in particular doesn’t tell us very much about the current state of the GOP.  The specific poll question is phrased this way, “Are you satisfied that Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, or would you have preferred that the Republican Party nominated someone else?” As Allahpundit points out, NBC didn’t ask respondents if they were rejecting Trump now, if they had decided to vote for Hillary Clinton or Gary Johnson because they couldn’t support Trump, or if they are supporting the rumored last-ditch effort to dump Trump at the convention (which will fail, by the way). It asks what they would have preferred in the past, and the phrasing of the question is crucial. Moreover, a quick glance at some of the numbers associated with the 2016 Republican primaries will show why this poll isn’t surprising at all. 

There were just over 31 million ballots cast in the caucuses and primaries that made up the race for the GOP nomination this year. Of that number, Donald Trump received 13.9 million votes, with the remainder of the ballots being cast for other candidates. That 13.9 million translates into 44,88% of the total ballots cast, or 45% for rounding purposes. The remainder of the votes numbered 17,132,832 and constitute 55.12% of the votes cast. (Source) These numbers roughly correspond to the split we see in the poll and arguably therefore are an artifact of the outcome of the race for the nomination, precisely because they ask respondents who they would have preferred as the nominee. Obviously, someone who was a long time Ted Cruz supporter, to pick just one example, would say that they would have preferred someone else as the nominee, but that doesn’t tell us much of anything about the situation today. To get an answer to that question, NBC should have asked respondents if they are comfortable now with Trump as the nominee. Generally speaking, that number can be found in poll cross-tabs that show demographic breakdown for polling questions, and in that respect most of the recent head-to-head polling has shown Trump with somewhere between 85% to 88% of Republicans behind him. That’s a far more accurate reading of where Republican voter are than a poll that asking them what they would have preferred.

Incidentally, the numbers work largely the same way for the Democrats. This poll has 52% of Democratic respondents saying they supported Clinton, with 45% saying they “would have preferred” someone else. Not surprisingly, this percentage is roughly the same as the breakdown of the popular vote for Clinton (16,783,506 votes or 55.4% of the total votes cast) and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (13,023,193 votes or 43.0% of the votes cast). Once again, because it asked a question based in the past, the poll almost perfectly matches the outcome of the primary race. (Source)

What this reminds us of, of course, is the importance of paying attention to what the poll is asking respondents as opposed to how the media is hyping the results. In this case, there is much less to this poll than meets the eye precisely because of how the poll is phrased.

Pat Summitt Dead at 64 [Outside the Beltway]


Pat Summitt, the legendary former coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team, has died after a long illness.


Pat Summitt, who built the University of Tennessee’s Lady Volunteers into a perennial power on the way to becoming the winningest coach in the history of major college basketball, has died. She was 64.

In her 38 years at Tennessee, Summitt won eight national titles and 1,098 games — the most by any Division 1 basketball coach, male or female. Her teams made an unprecedented 31 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
Counting up wins in separate sports and then comparing the totals is a silly exercise. It’s also an irrelevant one; Summitt was among the greatest coaches of all time in any sport as well as a tremendous ambassador for hers.  Her legacy is secure:
But beyond the wins and the statistics, Summitt also was a paradigm shifter who had a profound impact on women’s college athletics.
When she became head coach of the Lady Vols in 1974 at the age of 22 — barely older than some of her players — the NCAA did not even formally recognize women’s basketball. Summitt had to drive the team van to road games herself.
As the wins and the championships piled up, Summitt’s astonishing achievements commanded national attention and helped usher women’s basketball into the modern spotlight.
Summitt’s impressive coaching record earned her a spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.

She faced her too-soon mortality with characteristic grace:

But in 2011 her illustrious career was plunged into uncertainty when she announced she was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.
Faced with the devastating news, Summitt remained characteristically herself. She vowed to keep coaching.
“This is not a pity party,” she said. “We’re not going to sit here and feel sorry for Pat Summit.”
She coached for one more year, securing the Lady Vols their 16th SEC Championship under her leadership. Then she retired. But she didn’t step away from the sport she loved.
“If anyone asks, you can find me observing practice or in my office,” Summitt said at the time. “Coaching is the great passion of my life, and the job to me has always been an opportunity to work with our student athletes and help them discover what they want. I will continue to make them my passion.”

News started circulating yesterday that she was in rapid decline and there was an outpouring of praise and sympathy from the coaching fraternity, including her longtime rival Geno Aueriemma:

“She was the one that everyone tried to emulate. That was the program everyone tried to be,” he said.

He remembered when they first faced off in 1995 when Summitt agreed to come to Storrs and play the Huskies on national television.

“I don’t think anyone was surprised she wanted to play in that game,” Auriemma said. “That’s what she did. We try to do that. Play everybody anytime, anywhere. That’s how she built her program to where it is.”


“She’s meant so much to the game and the sport. I’ve always had wonderful interactions with her when I was a broadcaster,” Rebecca Lobo said. “I was completely unaware until I saw the stuff this morning. It made me really sad.”

For all the talk of the rivalry between UConn and Tennessee, which ran from that first game in 1995 to the last in 2007, the Huskies respected Summitt.

“You can’t say enough about her,” Diana Taurasi said after the Mercury’s OT win. “If it wasn’t for her, we probably wouldn’t be playing in Madison Square Garden. Connecticut never would have been Connecticut. She made people take notice of the sport at a time when it probably wasn’t easy. She forced the hand. She was the one.

“It’s really sad for her family and her friends, her ex-teammates. Her basketball family is hurting right now. Everyone is.”

Swin Cash was emotional after Sunday’s game, talking about the legendary coach who recruited her in high school. Cash said her college choice came down to Connecticut and Tennessee. She picked the Huskies.

“Out of my class, I was the only one that had that decision,” Cash said choking up at times. “It was probably one of the hardest things I ever had to do was call her up and tell her I wasn’t coming. I respected what she stood for so much.”

Cash recalled that every time she saw Summitt after turning down Tennessee, the coach would ask how her mother and grandmother were doing.

“I continue to pray for her. It doesn’t matter how many times we beat Tennessee or they beat us, my level of respect for Coach Summitt was right up there,” Cash said. “She was one of the best ever to do it, being the trailblazer that she was.”

Cash smiled remembering how Summitt came and spoke at Cash’s athletic awards banquet when she was in 10th grade.

“She walked in, and everyone was like, ‘That’s Pat Summitt,'” Cash said. “I was like, ‘I know, she’s been recruiting me.’ It was just the presence she had when she walked into a room.”

Taurasi echoed that sentiment when she recalled the first time she saw Summitt in person.

“I was playing in an AAU tournament in Cocoa Beach and she walked in the gym,” she said. “I grew up watching SEC basketball as it was the only thing on CBS. To see her walk in a gym, you truly understand it was serious.”

She’s been a major figure as far back as I can remember and was dominating women’s college basketball since well before I paid any attention to it. It’s amazing that she was only 64.

One Major Step Closer to Peace in Colombia [Outside the Beltway]

col-flagWhile the world (and this blog, not surprisingly) was focused on the Brexit vote last Thursday, another historical political event was taking place that day (via the NYT):  Colombian President, Head of FARC Rebels Agree on Cease-Fire.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the head of the country’s leftist FARC rebels agreed Thursday on a cease-fire and rebel disarmament deal that moves the country to the brink of ending a 52-year war that has left more than 220,000 people dead.

At a ceremony in Havana, Santos and FARC commander Rodrigo Londono, better known as Timochenko, watched as their lead negotiators signed a deal laying out how 7,000 rebel fighters will demobilize and hand over their weapons after the signing of a final peace accord as early as next month. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a special U.S. envoy and the presidents of Cuba, Chile and Venezuela and other Latin American countries applauded the signing.

In the Colombian capital, Bogota, hundreds of people watched the ceremony live on a giant screen, hugging each other, signing the national anthem and waving the Colombian flag. Some cried.

This is a monumental event although not yet the end of the process.  The signing of this accord marks the final substantive area under negotiation (the previous areas being land reform, political participation, illegal drugs, and victim’s rights/transitional justice (I discussed some of this last September in an earlier post).  This is summarized below (from an in-press article forthcoming from me in The Latin Americanist, hence the watermark):


The next steps are summarized by the NYT as follows:

both sides agreed on a demobilization plan that will see guerrillas concentrate in rural areas and hand over weapons that had long been the vaunted symbols of their movement’s origins as a self-defense force of peasant farmers attacked by the oligarchy-controlled state.


The deal does not mark the start of a cease-fire, which would only begin with the signing of a final peace deal. It requires the rebels to completely put down their arms at most six months after the signing of the final accord, which Santos said would take place in Colombia.

A day after the signing of the final deal, the Colombian army will reposition troops to protect FARC fighters as they move to their transition zones within five days. FARC fighters will move to 23 zones and eight camps where they will leave their arms and begin the process of moving back into civilian life. The arms will be delivered to United Nations monitors, who will use them to build three monuments to peace, according to the deal.

The accord includes security guarantees for the FARC during its planned transition to a peaceful political party.

A more complete summary can be found from Adam Isaacson at the Washington Office on Latin America.  Isaacson has been analyzing and reporting on the Colombian conflict for years.

Now, granted, this does not mean the end of all violence in Colombia, as drug trafficking and associated paramilitary violence will remain an issues.  However, the level of violence is already down, and the cessation of operation of the FARC will be a monumental shift in Colombia politics.  The other remaining significance guerrilla group, the ELN (National Liberation Army) also recently started negotiations with the government, and without a doubt this agreement will increase the odds of that accord coming to fruition.  A major challenge will be managing the large numbers of internally displaced persons in Colombia, as well as bringing adequate state presence to the entire national territory.

It should be kept in mind that Santos has promised a referendum on the final deal, and we all now know how problematic that can be.  It is worth noting that while I think it is fair to say that a vast majority of the Colombian population wants peace, views on this process are not unanimously positive.  There remains a large political contingent led by Senator (and former two-term President) Alvaro Uribe, who opposes this peace deal which he sees as “a capitulation.”  As a side note, Juan Manual Santos was Uribe’s Defense Ministers during some of the more successful operations against the FARC during Uribe’s time in office, so should not be seen as softliner.  However, there has been a major, and very public, division between Santos and Uribe (who backed his own candidate against Santos because of this issues in the 2014 elections).

Anyone who studies Colombia knows that it is dangerous to get overly optimistic, but I think that this agreement will, in fact, lead to the demobilization of the FARC and its transformation into a political party, which will be a huge change for Colombia. I think, too, that the political atmosphere created by this peace accord will lead to a more rapid process with the ELN.  All this means that maybe soon when I teach the Comparative Politics of Latin America, I will no longer need to discuss Colombian guerrillas as a contemporary issue.

Radio Station Field Trip #104 – Radio Arlington Station WERA-LP [Radio Survivor]

My next stop on my grand radio tour in the Washington, D.C. area was to low power FM (LPFM) community radio station Radio Arlington (WERA-LP) in Arlington, Virginia. A project of Arlington Independent Media (AIM), the station launched over 96.7 FM in December, 2015, just a few months prior to my visit on February 28, […]

The post Radio Station Field Trip #104 – Radio Arlington Station WERA-LP appeared first on Radio Survivor.

Real Life Cuckolds Don’t Like Trump Supporters Using Their Word [RedState]

What a time to be alive.

Donald Trump supporters of a white nationalist bent have long taken to calling anti-Trump voters “cucks,” which is short for “cuckolds.” Those would be people who allow other men to come into their homes and meddle with their women (the other men are many times black).

Now, VICE – in an act of true journalism – sought out actual cuckolds to get their opinions on this.

Cuck basically means liberal now. But not just liberal: Weak, feminine, politically correct, and generally un-Trump-like. And if you venture a little further to the right on the political spectrum “cuckoldry” shows up in racist conspiracy theories. White men are supposedly being “cuckolded”—literally and figuratively—by black men, and it’s making America into a bunch of “cucks.” So-called “cuckservatives,” are mostly establishment Republicans, those who are afraid of or opposed to the Islamophobia and border walls favored by the likes of Trump.

Liberals tend not to get bent out of shape about having the word cuck directed at them. And why would they? It’s a critique of non-conservatives for not being conservative. But if anyone stands to be offended at the word cuck being thrown around with such reckless abandon, it would be self-identified cucks.

The outlet interviewed Dave, a self-described “alpha cuck” (I am not looking that up and neither should you). Here is one of the questions he was asked and answered.

A lot of people on the right are using the term “cuck” lately. Are they using it right?
They don’t know what it means within the scene. They believe it means inferior. They don’t realize that there certainly are a lot of alpha cucks out there.

Guess what, everyone? 2016 is officially terrible.

The post Real Life Cuckolds Don’t Like Trump Supporters Using Their Word appeared first on RedState.

Donald Trump To Face Millions In “Totally Unfair” Attack Ads [RedState]

Hillary Clinton’s campaign and supporting organizations are apparently planning to drop about $13 million dollars in ad spending against the presumptive Republican nominee in an effort to, somehow, make his approval rating drop even lower. Donald Trump, I am assuming, will call these attacks “totally unfair,” and perhaps “bogus.”

Next week is shaping up to inflict the most dramatic damage on television yet to Donald Trump’s campaign, with forces behind Hillary Clinton planning to outspend him by $13 million, a wider gap than any week so far.

Clinton’s campaign has reserved about $7.5 million in advertising time the week of July 4, according to advertising records reviewed Tuesday by CMAG/Kantar Media, a company that tracks political advertising. Clinton’s super PAC, Priorities USA, plans to spend $5.5 million, with both groups devoting most of their cash to Florida and Ohio.

The CNN story goes on to point out that Donald Trump has yet to spend any money on general election advertising.  At the end of the last month, he had roughly $1 million in the bank. He still has no real infrastructure. He may, or may not, be a figment of our fevered imaginations and, any day now, we could wake up to see a Cruz/Rubio (or vice versa) ticket trouncing Clinton/Warren in all the polls.

Until the, our long national nightmare continues.

The post Donald Trump To Face Millions In “Totally Unfair” Attack Ads appeared first on RedState.

What Made the Washington Post Finally Doubt Hillary Clinton’s Email Lies? [RedState]

I have to admit I never thought I’d live to see the Washington Post simply call bullsh** on Hillary Clinton but that day has arrived.

This is the starting point: an AP story from yesterday.

An additional 165 pages of emails from Hillary Clinton’s time at the State Department surfaced Monday, including nearly three dozen that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee failed to hand over last year that were sent through her private server.

The latest emails were released under court order by the State Department to the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch. The batch includes 34 new emails Clinton exchanged through her private account with her deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin. The aide, who also had a private email account on Clinton’s home server, later gave her copies to the government.

The emails were not among the 55,000 pages of work-related messages that Clinton turned over to the agency in response to public records lawsuits seeking copies of her official correspondence. They include a March 2009 message where the then-secretary of state discusses how her official records would be kept.

These emails are work-related emails. Keep in mind, Clinton has claimed on myriad occasions that she has given all of her work related emails to State as required by law.

This leads to the Washington Post concluding Hillary Clinton’s email story gets harder and harder to believe. Really. What was your first clue?

And yet again, the emails poke holes in Clinton’s initial explanation for why she decided to exclusively use a private email server for her electronic correspondence while serving as the nation’s top diplomat.

The latest batch of emails suggest that Clinton’s filter to decide between the personal and the professional was far from foolproof. That these emails never saw the light of day before Monday — or before a conservative legal advocacy group petitioned for their release — opens up the possibility that there are plenty more like them that Clinton chose to delete but shouldn’t have. And it provides more fodder for the Republican argument that Clinton appointing herself as judge, jury and executioner for her emails was, at best, a very, very bad decision and, at worst, something more nefarious than just bad judgment.

Then there’s this quote from a newly released March 2009 email between Clinton and her top aide Huma Abedin about the email setup: “I have just realized I have no idea how my papers are treated at State. Who manages both my personal and official files? … I think we need to get on this asap to be sure we know and design the system we want.”

Remember that Clinton said that her main/only reason for using a private email server while at State was “convenience.” She didn’t want to carry around multiple devices for email, she explained.

But this email to Abedin — which came at the start of her four-year term in office — suggests a bit more active agency than Clinton has previously let on. “I think we need to get on this asap to be sure we know and design the system we want,” doesn’t strike me as Clinton simply wanting convenience and following the instructions of her IT people on how to make that happen. It reads to me as though Clinton is both far more aware of the email setup and far more engaged in how it should look than she generally lets on publicly.

For a candidate already struggling to convince voters she is honest and trustworthy enough to be president, stories like this one are deeply problematic.

The only fault I’d have with the story is this:

There’s nothing in these emails that changes the basic political dynamic of the email controversy as Clinton seeks to win the White House this fall. Everything still depends on whether the Justice Department decides to indict Clinton or those close to her for purposely keeping information that the public had a right to know away from them.

Violating the federal law concerning retention of records is not going to result in an indictment. The FBI is involved because of a criminal referral from the Intelligence Community IG concerning the improper handling, transmission and storage of highly classified US government documents by Hillary Clinton and because of the high likelihood that her personal server was compromised by foreign intelligence services. One doesn’t know whether this is a harmless error or simply a way to make Hillary’s crimes look a lot smaller than they are.

The post What Made the Washington Post Finally Doubt Hillary Clinton’s Email Lies? appeared first on RedState.

Hillary’s Gold Standard Trade Deal Prevarications [RedState]


During the 2016 presidential campaign, the Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, told voters she doesn’t support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But during a speech she gave in Australia back in November 2012 Hillary praised the TPP calling it the “gold standard in trade agreements.” You can watch Hillary refer to the TPP as “the gold standard in trade agreements” in the following video:

Transcript of the video:

So it’s fair to say that our economies are entwined, and we need to keep upping our game both bilaterally and with partners across the region through agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. Australia is a critical partner. This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field. And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40 percent of the world’s total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment.

It’s worse than that. As Secretary of State, Hillary “expressed support” for the TPP “in at least 45 public speeches.”

Hillary has had difficulty maintaining a consistent position on international trade. After saying she would oppose the Korea deal, Hillary, in convincing Congress to ratify the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement in 2011 said it was one of her “top priorities.” Similarly, after saying she would oppose the Columbia deal Hillary said in 2011, “We are absolutely committed to passing the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement.” And as Donald Trump reminds us, foreign backers of the deal paid Bill Clinton $800,000 for speeches.

So it’s not at all surprising that the good folks at the Republican National Committee launched an ad today taking Hilary to task for her prevarications about trade deals. You can watch the new ad below:

Like the ad says:

  • Give me a break.
  • Isn’t this exactly what people hate about politicians?
  • You can’t remember what side she is on because she keeps switching.
  • Liar, Dishonest and Untrustworthy.

As the Washington Post’s Editorial put it, “Ms. Clinton’s dash for the tall grass is transparently inconsistent with the position she embraced as Mr. Obama’s secretary of state. . . . Indeed, given this well-known record, her avoidance now rather insults the electorate’s intelligence.”

The post Hillary’s Gold Standard Trade Deal Prevarications appeared first on RedState.

SHOCKER: Sean Hannity Endorses Political Opponent of Donald Trump [RedState]

Sean Hannity has announced his endorsement in the New York Senate race, and to the surprise of many, he has endorsed a candidate who is running against one of Donald Trump’s best and oldest political allies. A man Trump has said that he has a “close” and “good” relationship with. A man to whom Trump has repeatedly donated large sums of money and repeatedly endorsed.

I dunno, maybe Hannity has soured on Trump somewhat to unleash such a vicious attack against one of Trump’s allies and endorse his opponent this way:


Well, look, it’s pretty sad when you have to include the fact that a candidate is endorsing the Republican nominee for President in your list of reasons to endorse them, but Trump’s endorsers are still pretty sparse so Hannity will take what he can get. And hey, maybe Wendy Long really is pro-Trump; I haven’t been paying attention to her doomed campaign so I will take Hannity’s word for it.

Just based on his actions, though, Trump is pro-Schumer. I mean, just based on his personal donation history which includes thousands of dollars out of his own pocket – more than he had ever personally donated to veterans groups prior to about a month ago – to Chuck Schumer’s various election campaigns. Meanwhile, how much has Trump donated to Wendy Long? Zero. A big, fat goose egg.

Trump has made it clear with his money whose side he is on in this race. Why won’t Sean Hannity respect the will of Republican voters and fall in line with what Trump wants to do? The only reasonable thing for every Republican to do in this Senate race is to support Donald Trump’s candidate, Chuck Schumer.

The post SHOCKER: Sean Hannity Endorses Political Opponent of Donald Trump appeared first on RedState.

Hillary Clinton’s Callous Response to Official Benghazi Report [RedState]

Call it another “What difference does it make?” moment.

Hillary Clinton has emerged to comment on the release of the official Benghazi report today, and in typical Clintonese, she is spinning the issue hard.

After going into a spiel about the sleep she lost, the importance of keeping American citizens and diplomats safe abroad, and of course, the expected partisan snipe at Republicans leading the investigation, the former Secretary of State offered this:

“We cannot withdraw or retreat from the world. America needs a presence for a lot of reasons,” she continued. “And the best way to honor the commitment and sacrifice of those we lost is to redouble our efforts to provide the resources and support that our diplomats and our development experts deserve. So I’ll leave it to others to characterize this report but I think it is pretty clear it is time to move on.”

Tell that to the families of four dead Americans who are probably still wondering why Clinton and the Obama administration persisted with the lie, for weeks, that this attack was spurred by a video, when evidence shows that they knew otherwise from the beginning.

Also, explain to them why we should “move on,” rather than discuss why the attire of available Marines and keeping up a politically correct image in the area was more important than immediate action to save those lives?

The bottom line is: President Obama had built a narrative of a “safe” Middle East, as part of his reelection campaign, and Clinton had presidential aspirations of her own. Both scenarios took preeminence over the safety of Americans in a volatile region. Obama and Clinton had their leadership under pressure tested and they failed. Desperately.

No, Mrs. Clinton, it will be “time to move on” when either authorities or karma repay all the anguish you were willing to see the loved ones of Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith, and Ambassador Chris Stevens endure for 4 years, while you stonewalled, avoided, and outright lied about the tragic circumstances of September 11, 2012, for your own, crooked benefit.

The post Hillary Clinton’s Callous Response to Official Benghazi Report appeared first on RedState.

AWESOME VIDEO: The Most Unexpected End to a Car Chase Ever (I Don’t Want to Ruin It) [RedState]

Oh shut up about “click bait” you cynical jerks. This is a seriously awesome video and I didn’t want to spoil the ending..

Tell me that doesn’t rule. When that pilot comes running in off screen with his helmet still on .. I laughed my butt off.The comments at Fox26’s Facebook page are pretty epic, too.

Jumping out of a helicopter to tackle the bad guy. So awesome. #bluelivesmatter

The post AWESOME VIDEO: The Most Unexpected End to a Car Chase Ever (I Don’t Want to Ruin It) appeared first on RedState.

Just When the People In Benghazi Thought They Were Dead, This Amazing Thing Happened [RedState]

Just to briefly review the bidding, the tragedy in Benghazi was the makings of exactly one person. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was Clinton and her claque of post-menopausal biddies that came up with the idea of overthrowing Qaddafi because they could. I’ve long held that the entire Libyan venture had exactly one purpose: to prove that dictators could be overthown cheaply and without the involvement of the US military. By the time the Benghazi consulate was sacked and four Americans, including our ambassador, were dead, Libya had been embroiled in a low level civil war for over a year and a half. During that time, the State Department and the CIA had reached out to various and sundry militias and tried to co-opt them by providing training and arms. One of those militia groups was charged with providing security of the US consulate and annex in Benghazi.

When the attack began about 40 Americans were in the buildings.

The Libyan security people vanished.

Then this happened. A 50-vehicle motorcade arrived at the consulate. It consisted not only of trucks and cars but of technicals, the omnipresent Toyoto pickups with machineguns mounted on a pedestal in the truck bed. The Americans loaded themselves into the vehicles, bringing with them the body of slain consulate staffer Sean Smith, and they lit out for the airport. Who were these people?

The forces that arrived at the Annex shortly after the mortar attacks were able to transport all State Department and CIA personnel safely to the airport. The forces, known as Libyan Military Intelligence, arrived with 50 heavily-armed security vehicles. Libyan Military Intelligence was not part of the Libyan government, nor affiliated with any of the militias the CIA or State Department had developed a relationship with during the prior 18 months since the Libyan revolution took place. Instead, Libya Military Intelligence—whom the CIA did not even know existed until the night of the attacks—were comprised of former military officers under the Qadhafi regime who had gone into hiding in fear of being assassinated, and wanted to keep their presence in Benghazi as quiet as possible so as to not attract attention from the militias in control of Benghazi. In other words, some of the very individuals the United States had helped remove from power during the Libyan revolution were the only Libyans that came to the assistance of the United States on the night of the Benghazi attacks.

Not only were they regime loyalists, men who had been thrown out of power by the actions of Hillary Clinton, men whose very lives were in jeopardy because of her actions, they were men our CIA didn’t even know existed despite being on the ground in Libya for 18 months and men who stood up and took a great risk to rescue Americans.

The post Just When the People In Benghazi Thought They Were Dead, This Amazing Thing Happened appeared first on RedState.

Democrats Block Zika Funding for These Two Sickening Reasons [RedState]


Image credit: Shutterstock

Image credit: Shutterstock

Senate Democrats today blocked $1.1 billion Zika virus prevention funding. The bill which included the Zika funding failed to get the 60 votes it needed to end debate and allow it to advance in the Senate. The final vote was 52-48, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell changed his vote to “no” so he could bring up the bill again. The Senate Democrats have killed the bill for the remainder of the summer.

According to the Washington Examiner article, the measure passed the GOP-led House along party lines last week. It was written by House and Senate Republicans and the cost was partially offset with unused federal funding. The blocked bill calls for more than $100 million to be redirected from funds originally meant to fight the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak, which has receded. The World Health Organization terminated its Public Health Emergency of International Concern on March 29, 2016. Another $543 million would be shifted from an unused fund that had been intended to start Obamacare insurance exchanges.

Democrats now oppose the bill because it prevents the butchered baby parts selling abortion factory know as Planned Parenthood from using any of the Zika funding. Democrats also wanted the Zika bill to include emergency deficit spending instead of the set offs.

Sen. John Thune called the Democrats out for basing their opposition on the Planned Parenthood provision saying that the measure expands funding at other health clinics and would only block funding at a few Planned Parenthood clinics in Puerto Rico. “The exact same amount that Democrats unanimously supported six weeks ago and now Democrats don’t want to support it,” Thune said.

There are now 2,900 Zika infected people in the United States, including 481 pregnant women. And the Sarasota Patch reports that the first baby with Zika-related microcephaly has been born in Florida.  The mother of the deformed baby is a citizen of Haiti who came to Florida to deliver the child.

The post Democrats Block Zika Funding for These Two Sickening Reasons appeared first on RedState.

TERROR: 28 Dead, 60 Injured in Airport SUICIDE BOMB ATTACK in Istanbul (VIDEO) **updated** [RedState]


The third largest airport in Europe appears to be under attack in Istanbul, Turkey. It is already generally considered to be an act of terror, though the specific group behind it is not known at this time, according to an on-air report from CNN. **Updated below: suicide attacks, death toll released**

NTV in Turkey reports at least two explosions and multiple injuries. The situation is still active and we will update as more information becomes available.


The fact that taxis are driving wounded would seem to indicate a high number of wounded, too many for what is already described by the Turkish government as a very large emergency response.


UPDATE 3: According to an unnamed Turkish official speaking to CNN, two attackers attempted to get through security at the international terminal, there was a confrontation, and gunfire was exchanged, after which the two individuals detonated suicide bombs.

UPDATE 4: Turkish interior minister says the death toll now stands at 10.

UPDATE 5: Turkish official confirms to CNN Turkey that at least one of the suicide bombers opened fire before detonating.

UPDATE 6: Death is now at 28, with over 60 injured.

The post TERROR: 28 Dead, 60 Injured in Airport SUICIDE BOMB ATTACK in Istanbul (VIDEO) **updated** appeared first on RedState.

Why Wouldn’t Trey Gowdy Call Hillary Clinton Out For Lying About Benghazi (VIDEO) [RedState]

Earlier today, Benghazi Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy gave a press conference on the report the committee has just released. In it this exchange happened:

REPORTER: …and they’re probably going to continue after today despite your pleas that they read eight hundred pages of a report. There are bumper stickers and t-shirts all over this country that say “Hillary Clinton lied. People died.” Maybe Mister (unintelligible) will answer that. Is that true?

GOWDY: You don’t see that t-shirt on me and you’ve never seen the bumper sticker on any of my vehicles and you’ve never heard me comment on that.

REPORTER: Does your report shed any light on that?

GOWDY: Have you read it?

REPORTER: I’m asking you. I haven’t had time.

GOWDY: Well, I’m asking you to read it. I’m asking you to read it. I’m not going to tell you what to be on the lookout for. I’m going to tell you there’s new information and it fundamentally changes the way I view what happened before, during and after. But I… who was it, Ben Rhodes that said reporters literally know nothing? Was that right? Is that what Ben Rhodes said? I don’t believe that. I actually trust you to read the report for yourself and draw your own conclusions. You’re going to write your report…

REPORTER: So what do you think do you think? Do you think she lied?

GOWDY: I’m not gonna side. That’s a word you couldn’t use in a courtroom. I know this. I want you to contrast the information in the evidence that was available on the the evening of September the 11th. Look at the full body of evidence that was available and then look at what was said and then you draw your own conclusion of whether or not you made the best use of the evidence and the information that was available. It is one thing to say the evidence didn’t exist. It existed. We found them we found the DS [Diplomatic Security] agent, we found the GRS [CIA Global Response Staff] agents. There are conversations ongoing throughout the night. She actually talked to Greg Hicks [Gregory N. Hicks, Deputy Chief of Mission, second in command, of the US embassy in Tripoli]. So that argument actually works both ways. If there’s a failure of information, she was fairly definitive in certain statements she made other people privately. There was no ambiguity. It wasn’t like, you know, I can’t answer that question Mr. Egyptian political leader, we don’t know. She’s pretty definitive. I it was just in the public statements to us that there was are less definitiveness. So you are gonna to have to decide that for yourself.

I understand Gowdy’s reluctance, as a matter of good manners, to call Clinton a liar. I really understand it considering the disgraceful personal attacks the Democrats on that committee have heaped upon him. But it was a missed communications opportunity. He didn’t have to call her a liar to point out where her public and private statements diverged. In particular, he should have gone after her much ballyhooed testimony and pointed out that she spent half a day engaged in fantasizing about things that simply did not happen. And if he is not willing to point reporters and the public to the discrepancies, the story becomes “Trey Gowdy Would Not Call Clinton A Liar” which reinforces the leftist narrative that Benghazi unavoidable and that Clinton acted responsibly.

Stephen Hayes, at the Weekly Standard, doesn’t have the same misgivings. He calls Hillary what she is and gives examples, particularly concerning the fiction that an internet video caused the attack. You need to read it all.

9/11—Public Statements

Secretary Clinton’s 10:08 p.m. Statement on the Attack in Benghazi:

“I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today. * * * Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”

9/11—Private Statements

Secretary Clinton’s Call Sheet for call with President of Libya Mohammed al Magariaf at 6:49 p.m.:

Under heading “Purpose of Call” notes that “Secretary should urge Mr. Magariaf to respond urgently to the attack against the U.S. Mission Benghazi, and security threats against U.S. Embassy Tripoli.” No mention of a protest or video.

Summary of Call between Secretary Clinton and President Magariaf:

“[O]ur diplomatic mission was attacked[.] . . . [T]here is a gun battle ongoing, which I understand Ansar as-Sharia [sic] is claiming responsibility for.” No mention of protest or video.

Secretary Clinton’s E-mail to daughter at 11:23 p.m.:

“Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Quedalike [sic] group[.]”

And there is a lot more in the report as it is obvious that Hillary Clinton personally interfered in the rescue operation. Gowdy didn’t have to call her a liar but he certainly didn’t have to let her skate.

The post Why Wouldn’t Trey Gowdy Call Hillary Clinton Out For Lying About Benghazi (VIDEO) appeared first on RedState.

Ted Cruz To Donald Trump: I Don’t Care If You Don’t Invite Me To Speak At The Convention [RedState]

Donald Trump is a bully. Like most bullies when pushed back, he folds like a cheap tent. He tried to bully Paul Ryan into supporting him, saying he might remove him as convention chair. Ryan said, “Go for it” and the next thing you know, Trump wanted a meeting.

Now Trump is engaging in the same kind of nonsense with Ted Cruz as well as John Kasich. Trump told The New York Times he wouldn’t invite Senator Cruz or Governor Kasich to speak at the convention unless they endorsed him.

The response from Cruz and Kasich? Go for it:

Ted Cruz and John Kasich have a message for Donald J. Trump: They don’t care if they are not invited to speak at his convention.

That is fine, both said on Monday. A spokeswoman for Mr. Cruz, Catherine Frazier, said the Texas senator did not have any expectation about receiving a speaking slot. A spokesman for Mr. Kasich, the governor of Ohio, was similarly indifferent.

“We have not sought nor are we expecting a speaking slot at the convention,” said the spokesman, Chris Schrimpf.

Kasich said he has more important things to worry about:

Mr. Kasich’s spokesman said the governor plans to be “in and around” Cleveland that week. But he has no plans to be involved in anything that has to do with Mr. Trump.

Instead, he will attend “events focusing on keeping the Republican majorities in Congress and winning races down ballot,” Mr. Schrimpf said.

Trump did this to himself. Instead of running a campaign during the primary that elevated the debate, he decided tearing down other Republicans was the better way to go. Like a Democrat, he lied about records and engaged in the worst kind of conspiracy theories about President Bush.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost:

If Mr. Cruz and Mr. Kasich never set foot in the convention hall, they would hardly be the only Republicans staying away. Other governors, senators, members of Congress and senior party officials are skipping, too. Even some delegates are renouncing their roles.

Add to the prominent potential absences a difficulty in meeting fund-raising goals and snubs by several major corporate sponsors like Apple and Coca-Cola. Mr. Trump is running out of time to achieve his goal of a show that goes off without a hitch. It begins in three weeks.

That’s all on Donald. As I said, he did it to himself.


The post Ted Cruz To Donald Trump: I Don’t Care If You Don’t Invite Me To Speak At The Convention appeared first on RedState.

Democrats Allow Partisan Spite to Cloud Release of Official Benghazi Report [RedState]

If you ever needed any more proof of just how royally screwed up the priorities of Democrats are, look no further than their actions surrounding the night of September 11, 2012 and on to this very day.

On this day, Republicans, led by Chairman Trey Gowdy, released their report regarding the attack on an American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

In a childish attempt to defuse what was coming, Democrats released their own version of a “report” on Monday, that consisted of very little more than calling Republicans names.

Because we’re supposed to take them seriously.

Take for example, the ever-obstinate Rep. Elijah Cummings, a ranking member on the Benghazi commission.

Ranking Member Elijah Cummings early Tuesday called the Republican report “partisan” but could offer no additional comment because “we haven’t read it because Republicans didn’t want us to check it against the evidence we obtained.”‎

Did Democrats give their Republican colleagues a copy of their twisted version of a report before releasing it preemptively on Monday?

No, but this is the backwards reality of Democrats.

For his part, Gowdy scoffed at Cummings’ rant.

Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina took direct aim at Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the committee’s highest-ranking Democrat, for painting him as a “overzealous prosecutor desperately trying to land a front-page conviction rather than a neutral judge of facts seeking to improve the security of our diplomatic corps.”

“If anyone would recognize an overzealous prosecutor it would be someone from Baltimore,” Mr. Gowdy said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” in an apparent reference to Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s failed push to prosecute officers in the death of Freddie Gray.

“I will tell you that up front. Secondarily, he hasn’t read the report,” Mr. Gowdy said.

Sweet burn. Sweet facts.

Gowdy further commented:

“It is a series of heroic acts by our fellow Americans and what we can do to prevent the next [attack],” Mr. Gowdy said. “Yes, Hillary Clinton was the secretary of state at the time. I can’t get around that fact. But the focus of this report is on exactly what the families asked us to focus on, and shame on the Democrats for figuring that out two years too late.”

Among those facts uncovered were that there was a fundamental misunderstanding of who the allies were on the ground. Those allies were a group called “Libyan Military Intelligence,” a remnant of military officers who had served under Moammar Khaddafy, the same dictator that America had helped topple a year earlier.

Meanwhile, those forces that were contracted to provide protection on the ground, the February 17 Martyr Brigade, recommended by the new Libyan government, fled the scene and left the consulate unprotected.

Also at play in holding back needed help on that night was the overwhelming sense of political correctness over commonsense that Democrats so often fall to.

While Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was calling for forces to be deployed to the area, Democrats in the State Department were clutching their pearls over whether the help they sent should be dressed in civilian attire or military garb. The gist being, if they went in dressed as American soldiers, it might seem as if there was conflict.

From Conservative Review:

In fact, the State Department under Hillary Clinton was so concerned with “diplomatic sensitivities of the attire” worn by U.S. Marines, that over the course of their deployment the Marines “changed in and out of their uniforms four times.” Yes, Americans were dying while the Marines who could have saved them were changing their clothes under orders from the State Department.

Because terrorists attacking an American consulate and killing Americans isn’t conflict.

At least it isn’t when Democrats are riding the narrative that President Obama had ended terrorism and promoted peace throughout the world, during an election cycle.

The post Democrats Allow Partisan Spite to Cloud Release of Official Benghazi Report appeared first on RedState.

WaterCooler Tuesday, 6/28/2016 – OPEN THREAD – Boris, Water, Perceptions [RedState]

watercooler featured

Donald Trump is Boris Johnson…Or is he?

First, this mashup of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson from a BBC Taster tweet is epic. Trump Face + Johnson Hair = Owen Wilson.

Pay close attention to the placekicker for the british Conservative Party’s exit from the EU. The former mayor of London’s personality quirks and recent path to fame may portend the future of America in a world according to Trump. The pair of New York natives may cackle the same obnoxious tune to become the two most powerful leaders in the world. In the World! Think on that for a moment.

“During the [BrExit] campaign, Boris adopted a rhetorical style already familiar to Londoners: statements full of shocking figures and grandly aspirational oratory that, on closer inspection, turned out to be full of inaccuracies and ultimately meaningless assertions. He came across a bit like Donald Trump would if he were British and could read Ovid in the original version. The British public largely loved this, and it went down well. It didn’t seem to matter that many of his claims, such as that the U.K. sends £350 million to the E.U. weekly, were actually false.”

Similar comments starring Trump, have floated around America’s watercoolers for a while now.

“One rumor, being spoken ever more loudly over the weekend, could help to explain Boris’s disquiet: He never really wanted to win. What we are now witnessing may in fact be the unexpected end of a ploy to gain the Conservative Party’s leadership, one that ended up working too well.”

David Cameron, Britain’s PM pouted when not getting his way and instead of leading his country on it’s voter chosen course, he turned tail leaving an open door for Johnson, the champion of BrExit, to lead. But Johnson is hiding under his bed while Cameron says any BrExit business needs to be handled by his successor. The EU, meanwhile, is waiting for Johnson to man-up and determine an effective exit strategy.

“It’s not a serious plan to manage Brexit, and more closely resembles a letter to Santa Claus.”

“Soon Johnson will have to come up with an actual plan, but it’s hard to see how the approach he’s signaling will satisfy either Leave voters or prevent recession and isolation for Britain.”

The Day after Inauguration 2017. Donald Trump is President. Now what?

“Meanwhile, Boris’s popularity is not holding up well. The most notable, but far from the only, sign of his fall are the baying crowds of protestors outside his house…After fighting full-on with old friend Cameron and coming to the fore, the erudite clown act appears to no longer wash…It was a pose that served him fairly well as London’s mayor, but now, as one of the last men standing in a bitterly divided country whose economy appears to be in free-fall, the joke isn’t funny anymore. Because this time, it’s on us.”

Walking on Water

The Floating Pier in Italy is an artist-created, polystyrene fabric covered walkway made to encircle two islands and bridge the distance between them and the mainland for 16 days which began June 18th.

“It’s always been Christo and his late wife’s policy to fund all their public projects themselves and take no money from grants or the state.”

“‘There are no tickets, no openings, no reservations and no owners. The Floating Piers are an extension of the street and belong to everyone,’ says Christo.”


Have vs. Are

The title of a study published yesterday by the Obesity Society struck me as odd.

“One is Five From 2001 – 2008 U.S. Military Sample Have Obesity; Veterans as likely to Have Obesity as Civilians, Study Shows.”

How does one “have” obesity? Is it like the flu where one person coughs on another person and they come down with a case of obesity? What are the symptoms of obesity?

I googled around and could not find any incidences of an obesity outbreak or an attempt by doctors to identify patient zero or how someone contracts obesity. I thought maybe the researchers found a special brand of mosquito or tick that transmits obesity.

Nothing. I couldn’t find any mention of obesity as something one has.

Then I realized that obesity or depression or diabetes, etc… doesn’t define a person. It is a personal part of a one’s daily living, but it isn’t what they live for daily.

Ahhh. Whew! New perspective. I see now what they’re doing there.

Welcome to ‘Cooler Tuesday! We ARE cooler today, now that you’re here. It’s RedStaters place to see and be seen! Open Thread Tuesday! Yay, for Tuesdays!

The post WaterCooler Tuesday, 6/28/2016 – OPEN THREAD – Boris, Water, Perceptions appeared first on RedState.

WATCH: Gary Johnson Talks Hillary, Trump, and Ruling the World With Free Trade [RedState]

Monday, Gary Johnson did an interview with MSNBC where he talked about the current insanity that is the 2016 Presidential elections.

During the interview, the host pointed out that when Johnson is included into the polls, the matchup between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton almost evens out to a tie. Johnson, who currently sits at 10% of the poles, responded by pointing out that he’s taking votes from both sides due to the unlikable nature of both his opposing candidates.

“I think her answer for everything is more government,” he said of Clinton. “I think she’s been the architect of our foreign policy, that if it continues the world is going to continue to be less safe as opposed to more safe.”

“When it comes to Donald Trump – starting with immigration – deporting 11 million undocumented workers, building a fence across the border, killing the families of muslim terrorists, bringing back waterboarding or worse,” said Johnson. “Free trade – that doesn’t mean forcing Apple to make their iPads and iPhones in the United States, that doesn’t mean a 35% tariff on imported goods.”

“There’s a big highway right down the middle that most people in this country occupy. I’m making the case that that’s libertarian, it’s that people don’t know it.” he said.

Johnson’s chances of getting to the debate stage are closer than they’ve ever been, and told the host that elections are so crazy that he may very well be talking to the next President of the United States.

“I think it’s what most people are all about – being fiscally conservative and socially don’t give a damn. As long as you don’t force me into believing what it is you believe. Let people have choices in life,” said Johnson.

“Let’s rule the world with free trade. Let’s bring peace to the world. Let’s involve ourselves diplomatically,” said Johnson.

The post WATCH: Gary Johnson Talks Hillary, Trump, and Ruling the World With Free Trade appeared first on RedState.

POLL: Hillary Gains Ground, While Trump Loses Independents [RedState]

A recent poll by Morning Consult shows that this past weekend was not a good one for Trump, who ended up losing ground to Hillary.

According to the site, Clinton jumped 5 points in front of Trump, and even lost ground with the independent vote in the process. This is after a temporary 3 point loss for Clinton right after the Orlando shooting.

Well over two-fifths of registered voters (44 percent) said they would choose the presumptive Democratic nominee if the presidential election were held now, while 39 percent said they would choose Trump. Almost one-fifth of respondents (18 percent) don’t know or have no opinion.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 9.21.04 AM

When third party choice, Gary Johnson, was introduced, voters made their way to Johnson’s camp in good number, even giving the former Governor a slight increase since this poll was last conducted.

When voters were also given a third choice, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, Clinton was the first choice for 39 percent of respondents, compared with 36 percent for Trump. Johnson pulled in 11 percent of support, a slight uptick from previous weeks, and 13 percent of voters were undecided.

The aforementioned independent vote also left Trump, while Clinton saw something of a gain, bringing her within a couple of points of closing the gap.

Trump lost ground with independent voters over the last week and a half. He was up 9 percentage points over Clinton in a mid-June Morning Consult poll — 39 percent to 30 percent — that occurred before Brexit and his Scotland trip. Over the weekend, however, his support among independents dropped to 35 percent. Clinton’s support rose to 33 percent. About one-third of independents in both polls were undecided. In the most recent poll, the “don’t know/no opinion” figure for independents is 32 percent.

Where Trump did score big, however, is with the people’s confidence that he’d grow the economy. According to the polls, Trump leads Clinton on this 45% to Clinton’s 38%. The same can be said with job creation, where Clinton loses to Trump 38% to 43%.

Trump’s largest lead in the poll comes out through the subject of the interests of the wealthy, which those polled believe he has well in mind. A whopping 51% over Clinton’s 33%. The opposite is true when it comes to the interests of the poor, where Trump sits at 29%, compared to Clinton’s 47%.


The post POLL: Hillary Gains Ground, While Trump Loses Independents appeared first on RedState.

When the Benghazi Phone Rang At 3AM, Hillary Clinton Was Obsessed Over What Clothing the Marines Should Wear [RedState]

The Benghazi Select Committee released its report this morning and despite what the left is saying and will say, it is an damning indictment of the seething mass of indecision and panty wetting that was the State Department under Hillary Clinton’s grifting.

The attack on the Benghazi embassy started at 9:42 pm, local, 3:42 pm Washington time.

Just minutes after word of the attack reached the Secretary [note: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta], he and General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, departed the Pentagon to attend a previously scheduled 5:00 p.m. meeting at the White House with President Obama and National Security Advisor Thomas E. Donilon. The Secretary recalled two details about the attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi: a building was on fire and Stevens was missing.  As the Secretary and Dempsey briefed the President on the evolving situation in Benghazi, Libya, the Secretary recalls the following guidance:

The President made clear that we ought to use all of the resources at our disposal to try to make sure we did everything possible to try to save lives there.

This is new information. To his credit, Obama gave timely instructions to the Defense Department to do whatever they could to save lives.

Immediately following the meeting with the President, at roughly 6:00 p.m., the Secretary and Dempsey returned to the Pentagon and convened a meeting that included Ham who was in Washington D.C. at the time, and relevant members of the Secretary’s staff and the Joint Staff.

During the meeting, three distinct capabilities were identified to deploy in response to the attacks in Benghazi: two FAST platoons, the CIF, and the U.S. SOF, capable of response to crises worldwide. Again, the Secretary
was not aware, and was not told, of any assets in Tripoli.

As it turned out there were some DoD personnel deployed in Libya unbeknownst to Panetta, but that isn’t relevant to our tale. By the time this meeting takes place it is pretty late in the day, Ambassador Chris Stevens was pronounced dead at 2am local, 8pm Washington time. Still, this is a pretty credible performance and indicates that Panetta and his staff were doing whatever they could to relieve the consulate.

By 7:00 p.m. in Washington [1:00 a.m. in Benghazi], nearly three hours after the attacks began, the Secretary issued what he believed, then and now, to be the only order needed to move the FAST platoons, the CIF, and the U.S. SOF.

Then the mid-level political appointees got involved.

While Team Tripoli was urgently seeking transportation from the Benghazi airport to either the hospital or the Annex, Denis McDonough, the Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs convened
a secure video teleconference meeting at 7:30 p.m. in Washington with the State Department and the Department of Defense. The State Department attendees included Cheryl D. Mills, Chief of Staff, Jacob J. Sullivan,
Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Planning, Stephen D. Mull, Executive Secretary, Wendy R. Sherman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, and Kennedy and the Secretary [amd who would “the Secretary” be?]. The Defense Department was represented by Jeremy B. Bash, Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense and Tidd.

The two representatives who normally would have participated in the meeting—the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy—did not do so that night.

This cast of assclowns should be familiar if you’ve followed Hillary’s email scandal. Cheryl Mills is a Hillary crony who was actively involved in shopping the bogus video narrative after the attack. Sullivan is another crony. Wendy Sherman is an imbecile. Patrick Kennedy is an Undersecretary at State and is responsible for protecting Hillary Clinton from scrutiny as she slung US intelligence information about using her personal server. This is not the crew to have on hand if your life is in danger.

According to Panetta:

Even though the Secretary [Panetta] had already issued the order to deploy the identified forces and testified he fully expected his order was being carried out at the time, the plan was to “work through this issue” during the White House meeting. As the Secretary reinforced: “I had the authority to deploy those forces. And I didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission to get those forces into place.” The Secretary further said his approach was “we need to move them and move them as fast as we can in order to respond. So I wanted no interference with those orders to get them deployed.” In fact, the Secretary added that during the meeting at the Pentagon, his orders were simultaneously being conveyed to those forces. He noted: “these are elite units, and the purpose of these units is to move when I give the order to move, and that’s what I expected.”

You don’t always get what you want, as the song goes. And never was this more obvious than when Hillary Clinton got involved.

Despite the Secretary of Defense’s clear directive and his intention that forces would move and move quickly, no forces had yet moved. Over 13 hours after the attack began, the first force—the farthest away—
deployed. It would take nearly 18 hours for the FAST team to move, and over 20 hours from the beginning of the attack before the CIF moved.

One of the issues that Clinton brain trust dealt with was incredible, given the urgency of the situation:

A request for the FAST Platoon to wear civilian attire appears to have generated from Kennedy during the White House meeting.

Yep. As we have a consulate under attack and Americans dying, Hillary Clinton’s little claque was debating the merits of having the USMC FAST platoon arrive in civilian clothes or uniform. A cursory look at the Hague and Geneva Conventions should have cleared that up. If the Marines arrived in civilian clothes and any of them were captured they would lose any pretense at being covered under international law which sets wearing an identifiable uniform as one of the critical elements in defining a legally protected combatant. But no. That’s not how Clinton rolls. And while the meeting attendees pass off this as an en passant discussion, they are lying through their teeth.

In fact, the FAST Platoon commander testified that during the course of three hours, he and his Marines changed in and out of their uniforms four times.

In a nutshell, Benghazi is a metaphor for anything else Hillary Clinton has touched.

She interjected herself into a situation where she had no legal right to intervene. Under statute, military command authority is exercised by the commander in chief through the secretary of defense. Panetta is right. Once he gave the order to deploy, there was no one else alive on the planet that had the authority to change that order. Yet Hillary Clinton did. When she did get involved she created chaos and she focused on trivialities. So while Americans were dying she was concerned about the clothing that the USMC FAST platoons should wear.

The post When the Benghazi Phone Rang At 3AM, Hillary Clinton Was Obsessed Over What Clothing the Marines Should Wear appeared first on RedState.

The People Who Oppose Brexit are Making a Huge Mistake by Trying to Undo It [RedState]

I don’t have particularly strong opinions on Brexit either way. This is a business for the Brits to sort out, and they don’t really need the opinion of an American who’s never even been to Britain on whether they should stay in Europe or not. I do think, however, that the people who are freaking out about Brexit are making a huge mistake in the way they are currently going about it.

Anyone who has been a parent knows that one of the greatest challenges of parenthood is deciding when to let your kids learn from the pain of a decision they are about to make, and when to protect them from said pain by flat out preventing them from making the decision. Generally, it’s a balancing act between the severity and permanency of the pain on one hand and the value of the lesson learned on the other. Parents who never let their kids see the negative fruits of disregarding good advice are doing their kids a disservice; parents who let their kids stick paperclips into light sockets are likewise failures as parents.

Kids are one thing, adults are something else entirely. Kind of the whole premise behind a democratic society is that adults have to be given free reign to shoot themselves in the foot, if they see fit. Sure, there are always some anti-majoritarian safeguards put into place to stop momentary flares of public opinion from causing ruinous effects, but the Brexit referendum was the product of a great deal of planning and deliberation – the vote reflected what the people of Britain really think, after lengthy consideration of the issue.

For months, the “Stay” proponents, including a great many economic experts, have been warning Brexit proponents that Brexit would lead to a cavalcade of horribles.Adults in Britain rejected that advice and voted for it anyway. Now, in the short term, it appears that Britain is suffering severe financial crises and additional political ones (including the possible secession of Scotland) of exactly the sort that the “Stay” proponents warned about.

In response to this, some “Stay” proponents are proposing various mechanisms of undoing the vote, either by having it over again, or by just encouraging British political officials to ignore the results of the referendum. I suppose if you’re a “Stay” proponent – just like if you’re a #FreeTheDelegates proponent – it’s an attractive idea, saving the dumb voters from themselves. 

But in the end, both ideas will only exacerbate the underlying problems in the long term. If the referendum is ignored or undone, Brexit will continue to be a burr in the saddle of British politicians forever. Likewise, if the GOP delegates dump Trump, then Trumpism as a doctrine (and probably Trump as a person) will continue to vex the GOP in perpetuity.

If Brexit and Trump are bad ideas, the only way to kill them, now that they have been voted for, is to let them come to fruition. Let Trump have his run at Hillary, and lose 40+ states. Let the British economy crash and watch Scotland leave. Adults in a democracy do not respond to paternalism, nor will paternalism result in long-term change. The only thing that will do that is repentance, and the only thing that will bring that about is perdition.

So if you think Brexit was a horrible mistake, and you wish to never have it happen again, then you need to be prepared to allow it to run its course, at least for a while. Otherwise it will continue to return again and again to bite you in the hindquarters.

The post The People Who Oppose Brexit are Making a Huge Mistake by Trying to Undo It appeared first on RedState.

Former Ted Cruz Communications Adviser Hired By Donald Trump Despite What He Said [RedState]

Over the weekend several political consultant, particularly those associated with the Ted Cruz campaign, told AP why they were turning down opportunities to work for Donald Trump. Now there has been at least one major defector:

Donald Trump has landed a Republican operative to be his new senior adviser for communications, a move meant to further professionalize his unconventional campaign.

Jason Miller, who was the senior communications adviser for Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, will take the lead role over the Trump campaign’s message and interactions with the news media.

More hires are expected to be announced soon, including state directors, campaign aides told Bloomberg Politics. The news comes a week after Trump fired his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, creating a wave of upheaval at Trump headquarters.

 Miller’s hire might be seen as forecasting an increase in support from loyalists to Cruz, who has so far resisted endorsing the presumptive nominee. But Cruz insiders said Miller’s decision to join Trump is independent of anything Cruz might do.

This is a good news/bad news story. The good news, if we can call it such, is that the Trump campaign is at long last recognizing the collection of lackwits and halfwits it currently employs would be out of their depth in a mud puddle. It is hard to decide which Trump communications person is more egregiously stupid, Hope Hicks or Katrina Pierson. The bad news, of course, is that someone put their integrity up for auction and sold it to the lowest bidder.

What is amusing about this, though, is that during the campaign, Miller regularly hammered Trump via Twitter. He has since deleted the best tweets, but, courtesy of ThinkProgress, here they are for your enjoyment:









I understand the  urge to put food on the table as much as the next guys. But it is unfortunate that Miller has put himself it this position. Assuming that he actually believes that he can make the situation better by signing on with Trump, rather than being one of the regiment of say-anything-do-anything political consultants that stalk the landscape, he will be soon disabused of that notion and he will have the stench of Trump attached to him for the rest of his career.

The post Former Ted Cruz Communications Adviser Hired By Donald Trump Despite What He Said appeared first on RedState.

Nigel Farage gives the European Parliament some Brexit gloating [RedState]

Nigel Farage is the head of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), whose pledge to have a referendum on the European Union was copied by the Conservative Party’s David Cameron.

Being the head of the largest UK party in the EU Parliament, Farage has taken a lot of abuse. Let’s watch him give some back.

Nigel Farage at the EU Parliament

Nigel Farage at the EU Parliament

Here’s the video, direct from Farage’s own Twitter account:

Some choice quotes:

You as a political project are in denial. You’re in denial that your currency is failing. Just look at the Mediterranean! As a policy to impose poverty on Greece and the Mediterranean you’ve done very well.

…We want to be an independent, self-governing, normal nation. That is what we have done and that is what must happen. In doing so we now offer a beacon of hope to democrats across the rest of the European continent. I’ll make one prediction this morning: the United Kingdom will not be the last member state to leave the European Union.

…What I’d like to see is a grownup and sensible attitude to how we negotiate a different relationship. I know that virtually none of you have never done a proper job in your lives, or worked in business, or worked in trade, or indeed ever created a job. But listen, just listen.

Why don’t we be grown up, pragmatic, sensible, realistic and let’s cut between us a sensible tariff-free deal and thereafter recognise that the United Kingdom will be your friend, that we will trade with you, cooperate with you, we will be your best friends in the world. Do that, do it sensibly, and allow us to go off and pursue our global ambitions and future.

Here’s the whole speech transcript.

The post Nigel Farage gives the European Parliament some Brexit gloating appeared first on RedState.

Labour [Small Dead Animals]

Corbyn's out, but he refuses to go.

The Benghazi Report [Small Dead Animals]

Has been released.

"Now, I simply ask the American people to read this report for themselves, look at the evidence we have collected, and reach their own conclusions. You can read this report in less time than our fellow citizens were taking fire and fighting for their lives on the rooftops and in the streets of Benghazi."

Free Speech is [Not So] Alive & Well in America [Small Dead Animals]

Even George Orwell could have never dreamed things would get this bad on U.S. campuses:

A member of the Bias Response Team met with the professor, the report says, and "advised him not to revisit transgender issues in his classroom if possible to avoid the students expressed concerns." The Bias Response Team also "told him to avoid stating opinions (his or theirs) on the topic as he had previously when working from the Atlantic article."

In a separate incident, a professor, whose name was also redacted, asked his students to choose from a list of debate topics, some of them regarding homosexuality and religion.

The Bias Response Team's notes summarized: "Specifically there were two topics of debate that triggered them and personally felt like an attack on their identity (GodHatesFags.com: is this harmful? Is this acceptable? Is this Christianity? And Gay Marriage: should it be legal? Is homosexuality immoral as Christians suggest?)"

The student, whose name is redacted and who is referred to as "they" in the report, complained that "other students are required to watch the in-class debate and hear both arguments presented."

Fredericton's Schools [Small Dead Animals]

Remember, Dad, your daughter is lower on the SJW pyramid of victims than refugees.

You can fix this problem. You just have to have the balls to be heard. Call your school board, call your representatives.

Raise a little hell.

Do not tell me that Generation X, the generation that finally beat the Commies, the generation that took down the Wall, the generation that stopped the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the generation that stopped South African Apartheid, the generation that has been the thorn in the side of Boomers since the day we were born is too weak, too scared, to stand for their daughters. The generation that has lived through and prospered through decline after decline after decline. Do not tell me this.

Screw little. Raise a lot of hell. Somebody please post the business numbers of these numb-nuts bureaucrats in the comments. Lets see if they like being singled out, set on by a mob that doesn't speak their new-speech, offend no-one, stand for nothing, language.

You do not want the SJW's saying; she stood too close, she was wearing provocative clothing, she should have been with a male....

The Fraudsters that are Western "Feminists" [Small Dead Animals]

The next time you hear someone, female or male, tell you they are a "feminist", insist that they watch this video by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Assuming their head doesn't explode from cognitive dissonance, encourage them to post it on Facebook or Twitter with a comment of how much they like it. You will witness more squirming than even the Guinness Book of World Records thought possible!

Reader Tips [Small Dead Animals]

For a little mellow listening, here's a gem from 'War' called Low Rider. Your best tips are welcome, as always.

Hillary Clinton: My promises to America's tech industry [The Register]

And you know what? Her policies are surprisingly sane

Hillary Clinton today outlined her policies when it comes to tech – and they are surprisingly good.…

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US government asks for quotes on massive Alliant 2 program

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You can be my wingman any time! RaspBerry Pi AI waxes Air Force top gun's tail in dogfights [The Register]

Maverick, it's not your flying, it's your AI-ttitude

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We've heard of service with a smile but this is ridiculous

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VMs replicate to a single, converged secondary storage bin

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Chatbot lawyer shreds $2.5m in parking tickets [The Register]

The power of automated persistence

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SWIFT hackers nick $10m from Ukraine bank [The Register]

Millions siphoned off into cyber-robbers' network of offshore accounts

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Fusion-IO PCIe gear rides again with VAIO compatibility

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You know how that data breach happened? Three words: eBay, hard drives [The Register]

Social Security Numbers, financial data, CVs and more

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More, more, more - how do you like it?

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Cisco to splash $293m on CloudLock [The Register]

Security firm sniffs out cloudy user behaviour and more

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Pure Storage’s FlashBlade is great on paper. But it's still only on paper [The Register]

Development project gets more bells and whistles

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Post Brexit tech spending to rise like a lead balloon [The Register]

Vendors deliver sobering message to staff

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ICO slapped data blabbers with £2m in fines last year [The Register]

Doubled 2014 thanks to noose-tightening for nuisance callers

The Information Commissioner's Office doubled the amount of fines it dished out to organisations in breach of data protection rules last year, issuing £2m in penalties, according to its annual report.…

MongoDB launches Atlas to manage deployments: Taking the Ops out of DevOps [The Register]

'The most interesting thing we've done as a company since day one,' says exec

MongoDB is launching Atlas, the company's first DBaaS, offering easy management of instances - initially on AWS, but soon to come to Azure and Google Cloud Platform.…

WTF is WRF and Clover? Cluster kids use HPC grunt to solve the mystery [The Register]

Gruelling apps put ISC students through grinder

HPC blog  One of the most interesting parts of the ISC Student Cluster competitions is their inclusion of “mystery” applications and tasks. These are something that the students can’t prepare for. They can only rely on their training and wits to bring them through.…

Hyperscale cloud operators are saving the planet [The Register]

Power cuts ahoy

Once upon a decade ago, green computing was a big thing. Nowadays it is an actual thing, thanks to the usual suspects: virtualization and cloud computing.…

The best way to find oxygen on Mars? Friggin LASERS, of course [The Register]

Curiosity's beams reveal signs of manganese oxide

A chemical camera sitting atop Curiosity, the Mars rover, has spotted signs that the Red Planet may have once had oxygen in its atmosphere, fuelling further speculation that it was once Earth-like.…

Microsoft releases cross-platform .NET Core 1.0 at Linux event [The Register]

Red Hat announces full support for .NET applications - but is it really ready?

Microsoft has announced the release of .NET Core 1.0 and ASP.NET Core 1.0, the open source, cross-platform fork of the .NET Framework, letting people know at the Red Hat DevNation summit in San Francisco.…

Never-never chip tech Memristor shuffles closer to death row [The Register]

Execution warrant close to being signed for Fink's folly

Comment  Martin Fink’s HPE Labs has been dangling the Memristor in front of us for years. With Fink retiring and HPE Labs losing its independence, becoming part of Antonio Neri’s Enterprise Group, inventing far out blue sky stuff will likely shift to devising technologies that can be realistically productised. The Memristor cannot.…

Europe's UK-backed Unified Patent Court 'could be derailed' [The Register]

Blighty's splurged millions may be a write-off

Europe's multi-million-pound Unified Patent Court could be derailed entirely following the UK's decision to leave the EU.…

Tesco Mobile does what? Hahahahahahaha. Sorry customers [The Register]

Yep, it has outsourced call centre support to Capita

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Alienware and Oculus Rift kit up for grabs

Compo  If you’ve been itching for a chance to go head to head with your fellow Reg readers to demonstrate your coding chops, and grab yourself a spanking set of gaming hardware into the bargain, we may have just the thing……

Another container-sized nugget: Scality S3 server joins nice and small party [The Register]

S3 gets direct appeal

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My plan to heal this BROKEN, BREXITED BRITAIN [The Register]

The people have spoken. So we'll ask them again

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All right, pet? Getting owlish about Hedvig [The Register]

What do we look like? What do you want us to look like?

Comment  Trying to position Hedvig's software-defined storage in a market function way is next to impossible as the software is so flexible. And that could be a brilliant position for Hedvig to be in.…

MPs of Europe unite: Listen up big biz, air your tax deals in public [The Register]

Tax doesn't have to be taxing, unless you're trying to avoid it

European MPs have signed an open letter that presses governments across the Continent to publish their complex tax agreements with multinational companies on a country-by-country basis.…

Nuclear goes boom [The Register]

Silver medallist exploit kit dies alongside Angler as new top dog doubles rental price

Shake-ups at the top of the exploit kit world continue, with news the world's two top pop boxes have disappeared.…

Sharing your work cubicle with robots may not be such a bad thing [The Register]

New report by Forrester shows AI will create jobs in the future

Keep calm and carry on; artificial intelligence will not take all our jobs and achieve world domination, according to a report released by Forrester.…

US hospitals hacked with ancient exploits [The Register]

Deliberately doused vulns the right medicine for XP backdoor bliss

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Eat my reports! Bart ransomware slips into PCs via .zip'd JavaScript [The Register]

¡Ay caramba!

The cybercrooks behind ransomware Dridex and Locky have started distributing a new file-scrambling software nasty dubbed Bart.…

Powerful ARMs, heaving racks ... yes, of course it's this year's student cluster-building contest [The Register]

Meet the ISC'16 Student Cluster warriors

HPC Blog  It's time for our traditional video look at each of the teams in the ISC (International Supercomputing Conference) 2016 Student Cluster Competition. Let's take it alphabetically this time...…

Undergrads build 12.6-TFLOPS cluster out of four nodes, 112 cores [The Register]

New student LINPACK record step

HPC Blog  The ISC (International Supercomputing Conference) Student Cluster Competition once again cements its reputation as the place where LINPACK records go to fall. Last week we saw not one, but two teams top the current 12.03 TFLOPS record that was established at the ASC'16 spring competition.…

Ransomware scum target corporate Office 365 users in 0-day campaign [The Register]

Spam flood tried to drop malicious macros in inboxes

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Can gigabit fibre services revive Adelaide? [The Register]

South Oz government to open up academic network to commercial customers

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Riverbed's NetProfiler, NetExpress virty appliances patched [The Register]

An entomology of bugs

Riverbed has pushed out an update to virtual security appliances, after Security-Assesment warned it they had multiple vulnerabilities.…

Google's Widevine DRM doesn't quite manage [The Register]

Israeli researchers find local cache of decrypted content

Google's much-trumpeted Widevine digital rights management (DRM) system has the kind of hole that gives content owners nightmares: users can access local, decrypted versions of protected content.…

25,000 malware-riddled CCTV cameras form network-crashing botnet [The Register]

Watching us and borking you

A massive network of hacked CCTV cameras is being used to bring down computers around the world, we're told.…