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The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground
Updated: 2 hours 13 min ago

Miss Black Texas 2016 wants police chief fired over ‘wrongful arrest’

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 5:40pm

The winner of Miss Black Texas 2016 says she was harassed and berated by a North Texas police chief who called her a “black b—-,” and then was unlawfully detained and arrested.

Carmen Ponder recounted her alleged interaction with Commerce Police Chief Kerry Crews in a Twitter post Tuesday. She is calling for police accountability and wants charges filed against Crews.

In her account, Ponder wrote that she was driving to a Wal-Mart in Commerce Saturday when a black truck cut in front of her car and began driving erratically, braking and accelerating. Ponder said she turned on her blinker, pulled around to pass the truck and then drove into the Wal-Mart parking lot.

According to Ponder, the black truck followed her and pulled up next to her car. She said the passenger, later identified as Crews, exited the truck and yelled that he was teaching his 14-year-old daughter how to drive and that she should not have passed his truck.

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Portland burrito shop forced to close after getting hounded for ‘stealing from Mexico’

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 5:20pm

Kali Wilgus and Liz “LC” Connelly, owners of Portland pop-up shop Kooks Burritos, just wanted to make and sell some really great burritos. So when they were on a trip to Puerto Nuevo, Mexico, they “picked the brains” of the local tortilla ladies and brought those recipes back to the States.

“I picked the brains of every tortilla lady there in the worst broken Spanish ever, and they showed me a little of what they did,” Connelly told Willamette Week. “They told us the basic ingredients, and we saw them moving and stretching the dough similar to how pizza makers do before rolling it out with rolling pins. They wouldn’t tell us too much about technique, but we were peeking into the windows of every kitchen, totally fascinated by how easy they made it look. We learned quickly it isn’t quite that easy.”

Whelp, apparently this interview sparked an Internet shitstorm, which ended in Kooks Burritos shutting down and the two white women who owned it scrubbing social media of the business’ existence.

Wilgus and Connelly were accused of cultural appropriation by the Internet mob, and even the theft of PoC’s recipes.

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GOP pol in red state body slams reporter, faces consequences

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 5:06pm

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday called on Republican Greg Gianforte to apologize after he was charged with assaulting a reporter, but said he will leave it up to Montana voters to decide whether they want him to serve in Congress.

“I do not think this is acceptable behavior, but the choice will be made by the people of Montana,” Ryan said during a press conference in Washington.

“There is no time when a physical altercations should occur with the press and just between human beings. So that is wrong and it just should not have happened…I think he should apologize.”

A Montana sheriff charged Gianforte with misdemeanor assault Wednesday night after a newspaper reporter said the politician “body slammed” him.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said Gianforte was charged Wednesday night following an psychical altercation that sent Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs to the hospital. The incident occurred hours before polls opened Thursday in the race between Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist for the state’s open House seat.

Democrats immediately demanded Gianforte withdraw from the race, while three of the state’s largest newspapers rescinded their endorsements of the GOP candidate.

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Anatomy of the New York Times’s latest ‘bombshell’ on Trump collusion with Russia

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 4:44pm

The New York Times dropped another “bombshell” report on Russian influence on the 2016 election Wednesday, and once again what is presented as salacious news in the headline and lead is revealed to be anything but midway through the report.

“Months before the election, U.S. spies learned that top Russians had discussed ways to use Donald Trump’s advisers to influence him,” reads the headline blasted by the Times in a breaking news email. The story is clearly meant to further the “Trump colluded with Russia” narrative the media has pushed for months, although it’s as yet totally unsubstantiated.

The Times lead builds an atmosphere of wrongdoing around Trump and his campaign aides using important sounding buzzwords and phrases. “Spies” and “revealing” information and big-time Russian officials who “exert influence.” It’s quite official sounding and obviously intended to sow suspicion.

But the (few) readers who make it to the fifth paragraph and are paying attention will realize there’s not actually much meat to the report. That paragraph hedges on the information collected by the spies, and notes the reporter has no real clue whether Russian officials actually made any attempt to influence the Trump aides in question. Oh yeah and the Trump campaign as well as both aides have consistently denied the longstanding accusations of collusion with Russia.

“The information collected last summer was considered credible enough for intelligence agencies to pass to the F.B.I., which during that period opened a counterintelligence investigation that is ongoing,” the paragraph reads. “It is unclear, however, whether Russian officials actually tried to directly influence Mr. Manafort and Mr. Flynn. Both have denied any collusion with the Russian government on the campaign to disrupt the election.”

What this report really boils down to is the “revelation” that senior Russian officials are interested in influencing important U.S. actors, and that American spies are mostly sure they had a conversation about it. Maybe newsworthy, but hardly a bombshell.

A buried explanatory paragraph that deflates the lead is a constant in report after report on the Russia collusion narrative.

When the Times first reported the FBI was investigating collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, it was not until the tenth paragraph readers were informed of an important fact: “American officials have said that they have so far found no proof of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.”

But the report adds that there is evidence Trump’s associates were in “repeated contact” with people linked to Russian intelligence officials.

Some months later Reuters dropped an important-sounding report on some of those contacts. Six paragraphs into the report on “18 undisclosed contacts” between Trump associates and Russian officials, the reader learns that those who familiar with the conversations see “no evidence of wrongdoing or collusion between the campaign and Russia.”

The Times pumped out another “collusion” story Wednesday with another buried caveat, this time on “mounting concern” among U.S. officials “revealed” by former CIA director John Brennan in a big bad congressional hearing. Six paragraphs in: “Mr. Brennan acknowledged that he did not know whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian operatives and said the contacts might have been benign.”

The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross nailed it in a recent tweet:

Out of all the leaks thus far in the Trump-Russia probe, there have been none showing actual collusion.

— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) May 23, 2017

“Out of all the leaks thus far in the Trump-Russia probe, there have been none showing actual collusion,” he said.

This report, by Rachel Stoltzfoos, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

When is a summer camp not a summer camp? When it is organized by Black Lives Matter

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 1:43pm

Ah, summertime! A chance for kids to commune with nature — to while away the days frolicking in the lake, the nights around the campfire toasting marshmallows and swapping ghost stories.

If that is your impression of summer camp, prepare to be disabused of that notion. The Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter has planned its own week-long summer camp for children as young as 10. But none of the tykes will be wasting time making useless crafts to take home. Instead they’ll be gearing up for the revolution to come.

The brains (if that is the correct term) behind the “Youth Activist Camp and Resistance Space 2017” is Anthony J. Ratcliff, who teaches pan-African studies at California State University-Los Angeles, and CSULA colleague Melina Abdullah.

According to a post on the Facebook page of Black Lives Matter L.A.:

In addition to learning strategies for organizing social justice campaigns and direct action tactics, the camp will focus on community building, skill-sharing, critical literacy, public speaking, as well as techniques for developing healthy collective- and self-care practices. All youth attendees will be served a breakfast snack, lunch, and afternoon snack.

Parents who normally worry that their children will never bathe during their time away at camp can take comfort in the fact that their 10-year-old will be washed daily. Or at least his brain will.

Video: Prager U ask whether it is worth paying more for organic food

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 1:24pm

Is organic food worth the extra cost to shoppers? If it were healthier for humans, animals, and the environment, maybe it would be. But study after study shows that organic food is no better than conventional food, and may even be worse for the environment.

Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, explains in the video that follows.

In Berlin Obama lectures Trump over walls, builds one around D.C. home

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:45pm

[Ed. – Hypocrisy much?]

Former President Barack Obama joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Thursday to lecture the western world, and ostensibly President Donald Trump, on the supposed benefits of opening their borders to the world — not three full days after a child of Libyan migrants blew himself up at a concert filled with teenagers and children in Manchester.

Speaking in front of the Brandenburg Gate as part of an event commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Obama told the crowd that problems abroad must become the problems of western people, and took a not-so-subtle jab at Trump.

“We can’t isolate ourselves — we can’t hide behind a wall.”

“One way we can do a better job is to create more opportunities for people in their home countries,” Obama said. “If there are disruptions in these countries, if there is bad governance, if there is war or if there is poverty, in this new world that we live in we can’t isolate ourselves — we can’t hide behind a wall.”

Earlier this year, however, it was reported that Obama was preparing to do just that.

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Whistleblower: Obama admin knew gang members were part of illegal immigrant surge

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:15pm

The Obama administration knowingly let in at least 16 admitted MS-13 gang members who arrived at the U.S. as illegal immigrant teenagers in 2014, a top senator said Wednesday, citing internal documents that showed the teens were shipped to juvenile homes throughout the country.

Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said a whistleblower turned over Customs and Border Protection documents from 2014 detailing the 16 people who were caught crossing the border.

“CBP apprehended them, knew they were MS-13 gang members, and they processed and disbursed them into our communities,” Mr. Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, said.

The gang members were part of the surge of UAC, or “unaccompanied alien children,” as the government labels them, who overwhelmed the Obama administration in 2014, leaving Homeland Security struggling to staunch the flow from Central America.

Officials at the time said the children should be treated as refugees fleeing horrific conditions back home — though security analysts said the children were prime recruiting territory for gangs already in the U.S.

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Liberal journalist’s response to Manchester bombing is to joke about children killed in attack

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 11:47am

A self-described contributor to multiple news outlets, including CBS and Yahoo!, posted an unconscionable “joke” about the terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert that killed 22 people.

David Leavitt, after addressing the fact that there had been “multiple confirmed fatalities” in Manchester, saw fit to crack wise, tweeting, “The last time I listened to Ariana Grande I almost died too.”

Via the Daily Caller:

A Boston-based freelance writer disgustingly used the Manchester terrorist attack to make jokes about Ariana Grande’s music and name.

[…]

Leavitt tweeted another tasteless joke shortly after, writing, “Honestly, for over a year I thought an Ariana Grande was something you ordered at Starbucks.”

Leavitt has since deleted the original tweet “since so many people asked,” but not before spending hours issuing snarky statements to those who took offense.

I saw your face #AndThenIStartedToLaugh pic.twitter.com/BIabpJW39X

— David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) May 23, 2017

Imagine if everyone who cursed at me donated a nickel to charity? https://t.co/28rFFSVx7y

— David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) May 23, 2017

Better yet, imagine if every journalist who thought it appropriate to make light of dead children in the wake of a terrorist attack donated his salary to charity.

I’ve delete the tweet since so many people asked

— David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) May 23, 2017

How about deleting the tweet because you recognize it was vile and disgusting and that you’re clearly not a good person?

At no point did Leavitt acknowledge that he made a mistake. He followed up his original tweet with a sarcastic “Too soon?”

Eventually, hours after committing his initial outrage Leavitt came out with something intended as an apology:

Sorry 4 offending. Didn’t realize the magnitude of the tragedy. I always make stupid jokes about whatevers trending. Condolences 2 families

— David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) May 23, 2017

But even that’s hard to swallow in light of his original message which noted “multiple confirmed fatalities.” Something tells me he still finds amusement in the deaths of innocent children.

Cross-posted at the Mental Recession

BOMBSHELL: Obama intel agency secretly conducted illegal searches on Americans for years

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 11:45am

The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.

More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.

The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.

The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.

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Congress should repeal illegal Obama-era harassment regulations

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 11:33am

The Clinton and Obama administrations ignored federal law and court rulings in the harassment rules they imposed on America’s colleges and schools.

The Administrative Procedure Act requires an agency to put a regulation that expands someone’s legal obligations into the Code of Federal Regulations, before it can go into effect. The APA also requires the rule to go through the notice-and-comment process before it can be implemented.

In addition, agencies are expected to notify Congress of their rules. Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), Congress can repeal a rule up to 60 days after being notified, using an expedited process. When Congress adopts a joint resolution of disapproval for a regulation, this not only nullifies the regulation in question, it also prohibits an agency from reissuing the same regulation again or from promulgating a regulation that is substantially similar, unless Congress authorizes it through a subsequent statute.

The Clinton Administration’s harassment rules for colleges and schools were invalid, because they did not meet either of these requirements. They imposed new obligations, by defining harassment more broadly than judicial precedent does under Title IX and Title VI. As I have explained elsewhere, these rules define harassment so broadly as to violate free speech, and they have been used to harm innocent students and colleges.

The Clinton-era Education Department did so without putting the rules into the Code of Federal Regulations – by labeling the rules as “guidance” rather than formal rules—and without notifying Congress. The failure to notify Congress means the deadline for Congress to repeal them under the CRA never started ticking, and Congress can repeal them at any time, according to the Wall Street Journal and former Justice Department lawyer Todd Gaziano, who helped draft the CRA. As former White House Office of Management and Budget official Susan Dudley notes in Forbes, “the breadth of the CRA’s definition of ‘rule’ covers guidance documents…even those that didn’t go through the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) notice-and-comment rulemaking process or get published in the Federal Register.”

In 1994 and 1997, the Clinton Administration issued racial-harassment and sexual-harassment “guidance” that departed from the judicial definition of harassment by merely requiring that speech or conduct be either “severe” or “persistent” or “pervasive” enough to create a hostile or offensive educational environment, or to limit one’s benefit from an education. See Office for Civil Rights, Sexual Harassment Guidance: Harassment of Students by School Employees, Other Students, or Third Parties, 62 Fed Reg. 12034, 12041 (March 13, 1997); Racial Incidents and Harassment Against Students at Educational Institutions: Investigative Guidance, 59 Fed. Reg. 11448 (Mar. 10, 1994).

By contrast, the Supreme Court’s Davis decision says that harassment must be “severe” and “pervasive” enough to interfere with access to an education. See Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, 526 U.S. 629, 633, 650, 651, 652, and 654 (1999) (emphasizing five times that the conduct must be “severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive” and interfere with educational access to violate Title IX). This language defines what “harassment” is serious enough to constitute “discrimination” in violation of anti-discrimination statutes such as Title IX, Title VI, and the Rehabilitation Act.  (See, e.g., Hawkins v. Sarasota County School Board, 322 F.3d 1279, 1289 (11th Cir. 2003) (holding for conduct to have the necessary “systemic” effect of denying equal access to an education under Davis, the conduct must be more widespread than a single incident and “must touch the whole or the entirety of an educational program or activity”); S.B. v. Harford County Board of Education, 819 F.3d 69, 76 (4th Cir. 2016) (Davis decision required student to show harassment was “sufficiently ‘severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive’ that it effectively deprived him of ‘access to educational benefits and opportunities’ at school”)).

But the Clinton Administration effectively ignored this narrow definition of harassment in the Supreme Court’s 1999 Davis decision. It pretended it left undisturbed its more expansive 1997 definition of harassment, in a 2001 statement that “reaffirms the compliance standards” of its 1997 guidance. Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance, 66 Fed. Reg. 5512 (Jan. 19, 2017). It did so even though the 1997 guidance had expressly rejected the requirement later found in the Davis decision, that conduct must be both severe and pervasive to constitute illegal harassment. The guidance did this by claiming that “a single or isolated incident of sexual harassment” may “create [an illegally] hostile environment.” (See 62 Fed. Reg. at 12041).

Later, the Obama administration went on to expand schools’ liability for “harassment” even further by demanding that colleges regulate off-campus conduct and speech. That is something that the preceding Clinton and Bush administrations had found was not required by either Title IX or Title VI due to language in the Davis decision.

It did so in “Dear Colleague” letters on harassment issued in 2010, 2011, and 2014, which also reiterated the Clinton administration’s erroneous ban on speech or conduct “persistent” or “pervasive” enough to either result in a hostile environment, or limit one’s benefit from school activities or services. For example, the Obama Education Department’s October 26, 2010 Dear Colleague Letter on Harassment and Bullying stated that:

Harassment does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents. Harassment creates a hostile environment when the conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to interfere with or limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school. When such harassment is based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability, it violates the civil rights laws that OCR enforces.

By saying that harassment does not have to “involve repeated incidents,” it rejects the requirement of “pervasiveness” contained in the Supreme Court’s Davis decision. It also ignores the Davis decision’s requirement that conduct be “severe” enough to interfere with educational access, not just “persistent.”

Although these “Dear Colleague” letters contained footnotes saying they did not add requirements to applicable law, they in fact did so, since colleges whose harassment policies did not recite passages from them word-for-word were declared by the Obama administration to be in violation of Title IX solely due to the failure to parrot those letters in detail. (This demand to parrot its guidance was extraordinarily prescriptive, since institutions are not expected by courts to parrot even Supreme Court rulings in their harassment policies, much less parrot obscure “guidance” from administration officials).

For example, the Obama administration found Harvard Law School in violation of Title IX because its written policy did not parrot language in the Obama administration’s April 4, 2011 and April 29, 2014 Dear Colleague letters about regulation of off-campus conduct, and how to handle mediation and third-party complaints. It did so even though the Obama administration’s letter of findings did not cite any actual student who was adversely affected by Harvard’s failure to include such language in its already lengthy and detailed harassment policy. Nor did it point to any court ruling ever that requires institutions to address such minute details in their harassment policies. (See Complaint No. 01-11-2002, Harvard Law School (Dec. 30, 2014)).

In doing so, it directly contradicted Education Department rulings under prior administrations that Title IX does not apply to off-campus conduct, such as one by its Dallas office noting that “a University does not have a duty under Title IX to address an incident of alleged harassment where the incident occurs off-campus.” (See Oklahoma State University ruling, OCR Complaint No. 06-03-2054, at pg. 2 (June 10, 2004)).

It also ignored court rulings rejecting Title IX lawsuits over “off-campus” sexual assaults and harassment, such as Roe v. St. Louis University746 F.3d 874, 884 (8th Cir. 2014) (citing Davis, 526 U.S. at 645).

Congress should also reject these improper Obama-era “Dear Colleague” letters through the expedited repeal process created by the CRA, as the Wall Street Journal has urged.

This Clinton/Obama demand for regulation of “persistent” offensive speech that is not threatening or otherwise “severe” is particularly dangerous, since controversial and opposing views are of course “persistent” on any college campus.  As former ACLU leader Harvey Silverglate once noted, “the essence of being educated is being offended daily.” Speech doesn’t lose its constitutional protection just because it is offensive: as the Supreme Court noted in Texas v. Johnson (1989), “if there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”

The Clinton/Obama demands completely ignored the very purpose of a university, which is to follow wherever the truth may lead, even when that offends people. Debate on campus must persist, even when that offends listeners.  As an appeals court noted: “the efficient provision of services by a State university’s law school actually depends, to a degree, on the dissemination in public fora of controversial speech implicating matters of public concern,” and “excessive regulation of the speech…may actually impair the ability of a law school to function efficiently.” (Blum v. Schlegel, 18 F.3d 1005, 1011-12 (2d Cir. 1994)). As another appeals court noted, society has a “compelling interest in the unrestrained discussion of racial problems.” (Belyeu v. Coosa County Bd. of Educ., 998 F.2d 925, 928 (11th Cir. 1993)). That interest would be defeated if persistent discussion of racial issues such as immigration, affirmative action, and the role of race in the criminal justice system could be punished (viewpoints on these topics have in fact been punished under overly broad campus racial “harassment” codes).

In rulings striking down overly broad campus sexual and racial harassment policies as a violation of free speech, courts have cited their potentially punishing speech that was not objectively “severe.” (See, e.g., Saxe v. State Coll. Area School District, 240 F.3d 200, 205-06, 210 (3d Cir. 2001) (faulting harassment policy because its “’hostile environment’ prong does not, on its face, require any threshold showing of severity or pervasiveness,” despite the Supreme Court’s statement in Davis that to be discriminatory, harassment must be “so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive, and that so undermines and detracts from the victims’ educational experience, that the victim students are effectively denied equal access to an institution’s resources and opportunities”); Dambrot v. Central Michigan University, 55 F.3d 1177 (6th Cir. 1995) (voiding hostile-environment racial harassment policy that had “subjective” element and was applied to unintentionally offensive speech)).

As courts have recognized, persistence is not the same thing as severity or pervasiveness, and persistence alone does not violate even workplace law, which, unlike Title IX, requires only a showing of severe or pervasive conduct, not severe and pervasive conduct.  (See, e.g., Baird v. Gotbaum, 792 F.3d 166, 172 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (persistent trivially offensive remarks did not violate federal workplace law, which requires a showing of “severe or pervasive” harassment; “The sheer volume of Baird’s allegations does not change our conclusion: a long list of trivial incidents is no more a hostile work environment than a pile of feathers is a crushing weight.”); Skouby v. Prudential Ins. Co., 130 F.3d 794, 797 (7th Cir.1997) (trivial although “constant unwelcome sexual references” by male coworkers were not severe or pervasive enough to violate federal law); Mendoza v. Borden, 195 F.3d 1238, 1247 (11th Cir. 1999)).

Cartoon of the Day: What’s the scoop?

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 11:24am

No joke: Global warmist equates climate ‘crisis’ with Holocaust

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 11:21am

Or at least it wasn’t intended as a joke — and certainly not at the expense of the speaker. His name is Michael Mann, and he is a professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State University. The unfortunate reference came in an address to students graduating Vermont’s Green Mountain College.

“Never before have we witnessed science under the kind of assault it is being subject to right now in this country,” Mann said at the commencement ceremony Sunday, according to remarks he published online.

Mann made his name in climate science for creating the “hockey stick” graph, which he said proved that current global warming “is unprecedented as far back as we can go.”

Researchers hotly criticized Mann’s work, including a scathing 2009 report by Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick showing that the hockey stick study “does not provide reliable evidence about climate change over the past millennium, because their data are inconsistent and their confidence intervals are wrong.”

Mann said he embraced his role as a political activist after years of being attacked by “fossil fuel interests.” He said humanity faced a “stark choice, between a future with a little more climate change that we will still have to adapt to and cope with, and one with catastrophic climate change that will threaten the future of life as we know it.”

“And so here we are, at a crossroads,” he said.

It was at this point that Mann went on to add:

I will borrow and adapt — for our current time and place — the words of Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps:

First they came for the immigrants and I did not speak out —

Because I was not an immigrant.

Then they came for the scientists, and I did not speak out —

Because I was not a scientist.

Then they came for the environmentalists, and I did not speak out —

Because I was not an environmentalist.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

Niemöller was a Lutheran pastor who initially supported Hitler, but came to oppose the Nazi’s influence over German churches. He cofounded the Confessing Church — a coalition of churches that opposed the Nazi effort to create a single, unified Protestant Reich Church.

For his activism, German authorities sent Niemöller to two concentration camps between 1937 to 1945. He escaped execution and eventually became a prominent anti-war activist in the 1950s.

Niemöller is best known for his “First they came” poem, which criticizes the reluctance of German intellectuals to stand up against Nazi oppression until it was too late.

Mann used it as a call to action in his speech to college graduates.

“Those of us who care about science and the role that science plays in our larger public discourse and those who care about environmental stewardship and a sustainable path forward must now make our voices heard,” Mann said.

This report, by Michael Bastasch, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Poll: Majority says mainstream media publishes fake news

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 11:15am

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the mainstream press is full of fake news, a sentiment that is held by a majority of voters across the ideological spectrum.

According to data from the latest Harvard-Harris poll, which was provided exclusively to The Hill, 65 percent of voters believe there is a lot of fake news in the mainstream media.

That number includes 80 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents and 53 percent of Democrats. Eighty-four percent of voters said it is hard to know what news to believe online.

“Much of the media is now just another part of the partisan divide in the country with Republicans not trusting the ‘mainstream’ media and Democrats seeing them as reflecting their beliefs,” said Harvard-Harris co-director Mark Penn. “Every major institution from the presidency to the courts is now seen as operating in a partisan fashion in one direction or the other.”

President Trump has railed against the “fake news” media, casting the press as the “opposition party” and opening the White House to once-fringe outlets, to the frustration of the mainstream press.

The president’s critics have accused him of using the “fake news” moniker for any story that casts him in a negative light.

Continue reading →

John Kerry makes most absurd claim yet about Trump and Russia

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 11:15am

After literal months of examination, dirt digging, and speculation, the left still has absolutely zero evidence of their grand conspiracy involving Donald Trump and the Kremlin….

Now, former Secretary of State John Kerry has jumped into the conspiracy theory mix, purporting an even more astounding claim that Russia will be allowed to “take over” the United States by Donald Trump.

“As Secretary of State, John Kerry managed to bungle everything he touched. He allowed the rise of ISIS, enabled Syria to use chemical weapons, and straight up paid Iran billions of dollars to secretly continue to develop nuclear weapons and sponsor terrorism. But hey, this isn’t about him; it’s about the Resistance….

“Kerry is scheduled to give the commencement speech at Harvard Kennedy School on Wednesday. He shared his speech with Politico and it’s as balls-out crazy as you’d expect from history’s worst diplomat.

“‘I’m often asked what the secret is to have a real impact on government. Well, it’s recently changed. I used to say, either run for office or get a degree from Harvard Kennedy School. With this White House I’d say, buy Rosetta Stone and learn Russian.’

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PBS ‘Frontline’ director wrongly claims 7-year Navy vet Steve Bannon had zero military experience

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:45am

On Tuesday night, the leftish PBS documentary series Frontline aired a documentary titled “Bannon’s War” which seemed awfully reminscent of their anti-Cheney documentary suggestively titled “The Dark Side.” If you’re not a liberal PBS fanatic, it was another boring and predictable slog, attacking Bannon and Trump with lots of black and white photos and scary-sounding orchestral music.

It was more eye-opening to see the Frontline director and writer Michael Kirk appearing on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal to promote his anti-Bannon film on Tuesday morning, where made a flat-out false statement about Bannon’s resume, saying “He’d never been in the military.” What? Even Kirk’s attack film discussed Bannon’s seven years in the Navy. But this is what Kirk said on C-SPAN:

PEDRO ECHEVARRIA: He’s listed as a chief strategist, but you saw what happened the first time around, when the Republicans introduced health care, you saw the travel ban, legal challenges, did that bruise Steve Bannon in a sense?

MICHAEL KIRK: I can’t imagine that it did not. You also didn’t mention that Trump, after the CPAC and all the headlines and the Saturday Night Live, also removed Bannon from the National Security Council, where he really didn’t belong based on his credentials….

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Report: Russians snookered James Comey into speech that let Hillary off the hook

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:32am

One of the reasons James Comey made his infamous public pronouncement that Hillary Clinton was probably guilty but that no prosecutor would charge her was a secret Russian document describing an email indicating that the Justice Department would not try too hard to win the case against Clinton. According to a report in the Washington Post, the document is not only unreliable but possibly a Russian ruse “according to people familiar with its contents.” If the report is true, it means that Comey was snookered by the Russians into helping Hillary.

According the Post, the FBI received a Russian document that mentioned an email between Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Leonard Benardo, an official at George Soros’s Open Society Foundation.

In the email described in the document, Wasserman Schultz told Benardo that “then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch had privately assured a senior Clinton campaign staffer named Amanda Renteria that the email investigation would not push too deeply into the matter. If true, the revelation of such an understanding would have undermined the integrity of the FBI’s investigation.”

Current and former officials have said that Comey relied on the document in making his July decision to announce on his own, without Justice Department involvement, that the investigation was over. That public announcement — in which he criticized Clinton and made extensive comments about the evidence — set in motion a chain of other FBI moves that Democrats now say helped Trump win the presidential election.

In other words, Comey saw the fake document and thought to himself, “No one else will ruin the integrity of the FBI; that’s my job.

But according to the FBI’s own assessment, the document was bad intelligence — and according to people familiar with its contents, possibly even a fake sent to confuse the bureau. The Americans mentioned in the Russian document insist they do not know each other, do not speak to each other and never had any conversations remotely like the ones described in the document. Investigators have long doubted its veracity, and by August the FBI had concluded it was unreliable.

Current and former officials have argued that the secret document gave Comey good reason to take the extraordinary step over the summer of announcing the findings of the Clinton investigation himself without Justice Department involvement.

Comey had little choice, these people have said, because he feared that if Lynch announced no charges against Clinton, and then the secret document leaked, the legitimacy of the entire case would be questioned.

But here’s the rub: The FBI got the document in March 2016, and there was a subsequent internal agency debate over whether the report in the Russian document was true. By the month after Comey’s July speech clearing Clinton, “officials became more certain that there was nothing to substantiate the claims in the Russian document. FBI officials knew the bureau never had the underlying email with the explosive allegation, if it ever existed.” But that didn’t matter because all the way past the election, the FBI used that Russian fraud whenever they had to justify their actions in the case.

Yet senior officials at the bureau continued to rely on the document before and after the election as part of their justification for how they handled the case.

Wasserman Schultz and Benardo said in separate interviews with The Washington Post that they do not know each other and have never communicated. Renteria, in an interview, and people familiar with Lynch’s account said the two also do not know each other and have never communicated. Lynch declined to comment for this article.

Moreover, Wasserman Schultz, Benardo, and Renteria said they have never been interviewed by the FBI about the matter.

But maybe they should have talked to the individuals in the email, because it most assuredly influenced Comey:

“It was a very powerful factor in the decision to go forward in July with the statement that there shouldn’t be a prosecution,” said a person familiar with the matter. “The point is that the bureau picked up hacked material that hadn’t been dumped by the bad guys [the Russians] involving Lynch. And that would have pulled the rug out of any authoritative announcement.”

FBI officials asked to meet privately with the attorney general. At the meeting, they told Lynch about a foreign source suggesting she had told Renteria that Clinton did not have to worry about the email probe, because she would keep the FBI in check, according to people familiar with the matter.

“Just so you know, I don’t know this person and have never communicated with her,’’ Lynch told the FBI officials, according to a person familiar with the discussion. The FBI officials assured her the conversation was not a formal interview and said the document “didn’t have investigative value,’’ the person said.

The part that is hard to understand is why the Russians would try to help Clinton “get off.” After all according to intelligence, they hated Hillary (even though she made Putin and his buddies millions of dollars in the Uranium One and Skolkovo deals).

“The idea that Russians would tell a story in which the Clinton campaign, Soros and even an Obama administration official are connected — that Russians might tell such a story, that is not at all surprising,” said Matt Rojansky, a Russia expert and director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center. “Because that is part of the Kremlin worldview.”

Or perhaps they just wanted to have a laugh at the FBI director’s expense.

Cross-posted at The Lid

McDonald’s stockholder meeting beset by protests organized by ‘Fight for 15’

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:30am

Hundreds of fast-food workers demanded wage increases as they marched outside McDonald’s Corp headquarters during the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.

The demonstrators were part of a nationwide protest organized by “Fight for 15,” a labor group that has regularly targeted McDonald’s in calls for higher pay and union rights for workers.

More than two dozen protesters were arrested outside the United Continental Holdings Inc shareholder meeting in downtown Chicago.

“I saw my mother, who worked 30 years for Hardee’s, struggle on food stamps to raise her family and now I’m doing the same thing,” said Terrance Wise, a 42-year-old from Kansas City, protesting outside the McDonald’s meeting in a Chicago suburb.

Wise, who has worked at McDonald’s for three years, said he earns $7.65 an hour working full time. He said he also relies on food stamps to support his three daughters.

“Instead of paying their CEO $15 million, they should give him $10 million and pay their workers what’s right,” he said. The main demand of “The Fight for 15” is a minimum wage of $15 an hour.

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Graphic video: ISIS beheads 19 Kurdish dissidents in gruesome mass execution

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 9:58am

ISIS published a lengthy video on Sunday showing a series of executions on alleged Kurdish and government spies in the Iraqi province of Kirkuk.

Forced to write pro-ISIS slogans with their own blood, the Kurdish prisoners of war were either beheaded or shot in the head, in some cases with high-caliber rifles. In characteristic ISIS fashion, the executions were carried out by Kurdish members of the Islamic State.

The footage is highly graphic and should not be watched by children or the faint-hearted….

ISIS still controls a pocket in the Hawija region of western Kirkuk although this region was cutoff from the Islamic State mainland last year.

Al-Masdar News strongly condemns terrorism but insists on allowing readers unfiltered news, contrary to other media outlets….

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Claim that Ariana Grande offered to pay for funerals of Manchester concert victims is unfounded

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 9:53am

[Ed. – It would look pretty shabby if the performer, whose net worth is $35 million, backed off at this point, but she’s under no obligation.]

On Wednesday, an unverified fan account purported without any evidence that Arianna Grande had offered to pay for the funerals of victims of the Manchester bombing.

That account’s tweet has since been deleted. We regret the error….

The world is reeling after the bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, that left 22 people dead on Monday night. So far, the identities of 12 victims, including many children, have been confirmed.

Now, an unconfirmed report says Grande has reached out to the families of the victims and offered to pay the funeral costs.

The report came from a fan account on Twitter called Ariana Updates.

“Ariana has reached out to the families who’s [sic] loves ones died last night … she is gonna pay for the funerals!” a tweet posted on Tuesday said.

[…]

Grande’s representatives have not confirmed whether the claim is true, both the Daily Mail and Elite Daily report, but fans are still reacting to the information on Twitter.

“This is why we love her,” one person wrote. “She has the heart of an angel.”

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