David Jacques, publisher of the Roseburg Beacon, told Bill O’Reilly on Monday that the people of Roseburg would not welcome Barack Obama if he came to town to politicize the funerals of the Umpqua College shooting victims.
Madman Chris Harper-Mercer murdered eight students and a teacher last week in a shooting spree on campus.
David Jacques and community leaders, including Douglas County commissioners, the police chief and local sheriff, do not want Obama to come grandstand in Roseburg for political purposes.
Now, there is a Facebook protest page set up to protest Obama in Roseburg.
They rolled out their “Unwelcome Mat.”
From the Defend Roseburg-Deny Barack Obama Facebook Protest page:
The anointed one his majesty king 0bama and the White House have announced a Friday arrival in Roseburg, Oregon in the wake of Oct 1st’s horrific tragedy at UCC.
Polarizing as usual, Mr 0bama has insisted on politicizing the event as a conduit for increased executive orders on gun control via means of his pen, and his phone.
This blatant disrespect of the victims families, the community and the town of Roseburg, Mr 0bama’s administration is flying not just the 747 that is airforce one to Oregon, but a three helicopter team of Sikorsky’s that make up HMX-1, known as Marine one to travel to Roseburg at the taxpayers expense.
We need a lot of people. Please come show your support for Roseburg, not the little man who has no respect for the constitution.
Local activist Casey Runyan is organizing the protest.
UPDATE: (7:30 PM ) 1,900 people have signed up to attend rally to protest Barack Obama.
A previously deported criminal alien from El Salvador who was convicted of kidnapping and raping a 12-year-old at gunpoint has made his way back to Texas across the porous U.S.-Mexico border. Agents with the U.S. Border Patrol arrested 34-year-old Rene Vladimir Escobar Bautista over the weekend near the border city of Hidalgo, court records obtained by Breitbart Texas revealed.
During an investigation into his background, authorities learned that Escobar had been deported in 2003 following a federal prison sentence on a child rape case. In 2001, federal authorities arrested Escobar who was 20-years-old at the time after he kidnapped a 12-year-old girl at gunpoint form her parents house in Long Island, New York and took her to North Carolina.
Court records from the New York case show that in 2002 rather than fight the case, Escobar took a plea deal and a judge found him guilty of the charge of taking a minor across state lines to engage in sexual activity. For that charge, Escobar was sentenced to spend 16 months in prison and then he was deported.
Escobar is just one of several criminal alien sexual predators who have been previously deported that have been arrested near the Texas border recently, as reported by Breitbart Texas.
In September, authorities arrested 22-year-old Jose Manuel Segovia near Roma Texas. Segovia had been previously convicted of attempted child rape.
Also in September, authorities arrested 47-year-old Pablo Medrano Banda who had been living in South Texas. Medrano had previously been convicted of indecency with a child by sexual contact.
In August, authorities arrested 23-year-old Mauricio Toto Xolo near the Texas border. Toto Xolo spent a year in prison following a 2010 rape conviction.
Also in August authorities arrested Joel Silva Duran, a 22-year-old convicted child rapist who had re-entered the country just months after having been deported.
The Obama administration tried to persuade Argentina to “provide the Islamic State of Iran with nuclear fuel” back in 2010.
President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner made these accusations during her speech this week to the General Assembly.
Nuclear fuel is a key component in nuclear weapons.
The United States mainstream media ignored this story for some odd reason?
UPDATE – Here is President Kirchner’s speech to the UN General Assembly.
(relevant accusation starts around the 19:45 minute mark)
When the Argentinians asked the administration to put it in writing – all communications ceased and the administration went silent.
The White House knew it would be unpopular with the American public.
President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner, a leftist, made the claim Monday at the United Nations.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner claimed Monday afternoon at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City that in 2010, the Obama administration tried to convince the Argentinians “to provide the Islamic Republic of Iran with nuclear fuel,” reported Mediaite.
Kirchner said that two years into Obama’s first term, his administration sent Gary Samore, former White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Argentina to persuade the nation to provide Iran with nuclear fuel, which is a key component of nuclear weapons.
Kirchner’s full remarks are as follows, per the Argentine president’s official website:
“In 2010 we were visited in Argentina by Gary Samore, at that time the White House’s top advisor in nuclear issues. He came to see us in Argentina with a mission, with an objective: under the control of IAEA, the international organization in the field of weapons control and nuclear regulation, Argentina had supplied in the year 1987, during the first democratic government, the nuclear fuel for the reactor known as “Teheran”. Gary Samore had explained to our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Héctor Timerman, that negotiations were underway for the Islamic Republic of Iran to cease with its uranium enrichment activities or to do it to a lesser extent but Iran claimed that it needed to enrich this Teheran nuclear reactor and this was hindering negotiations. They came to ask us, Argentines, to provide the Islamic Republic of Iran with nuclear fuel. Rohani was not in office yet. It was Ahmadinejad’s administration and negotiations had already started.”…
Kirchner went on to say at the U.N. that when Samore was asked to provide the request in writing, all communications immediately ceased and Samore disappeared…
* The Swedes see the welfare systems failing them. Swedes have had to get used to the government prioritizing refugees and migrants above native Swedes.
* “There are no apartments, no jobs, we don’t dare go shopping anymore [without a gun], but we’re supposed to think everything’s great… Women and girls are raped by these non-European men, who come here claiming they are unaccompanied children, even though they are grown men… You Cabinet Ministers live in your fancy residential neighborhoods, with only Swedish neighbors. It should be obligatory for all politicians to live for at least three months in an area consisting mostly of immigrants… [and] have to use public transport.” – Laila, to the Prime Minister.
* “Instead of torchlight processions against racism, we need a Prime Minister who speaks out against the violence… Unite everyone… Do not make it a racism thing.” – Anders, to the Prime Minister.
* “In all honesty, I don’t even feel they [government ministers] see the problems… There is no one in those meetings who can tell them what real life looks like.” – Laila, on the response she received from the government.
The week after the double murder at IKEA in Västerås, where a man from Eritrea who had been denied asylum grabbed some knives and stabbed Carola and Emil Herlin to death, letters and emails poured into the offices of Swedish Prime Minister (PM) Stefan Löfven. Angry, despondent and desperate Swedes have pled with the Social Democratic PM to stop filling the country with criminal migrants from the Third World or, they write, there is a serious risk of hatred running rampant in Sweden. One woman suggested that because the Swedish media will not address these issues, Löfven should start reading foreign newspapers, and wake up to the fact that Sweden is sinking fast.
During the last few decades, Swedes have had to get used to the government (left and right wing parties alike) prioritizing refugees and migrants above native Swedes. The high tax level (the average worker pays 42% income tax) was been accepted in the past, because people knew that if they got sick, or when they retired or otherwise needed government aid, they would get it.
Now, Swedes see the welfare system failing them. More and more senior citizens fall into the “indigent” category; close to 800,000 of Sweden’s 2.1 million retirees, despite having worked their whole lives, are forced to live on between 4,500 and 5,500 kronor ($545 – $665) a month. Meanwhile, seniors who immigrate to Sweden receive the so-called “elderly support subsidy” – usually a higher amount – even though they have never paid any taxes in Sweden.
Worse, in 2013 the government decided that people staying in the country illegally have a right to virtually free health and dental care. So while the destitute Swedish senior citizen must choose between paying 100,000 kronor ($12,000) to get new teeth or living toothless, a person who does not even have the right to stay in Sweden can get his teeth fixed for 50 kronor ($6).
The injustice, the housing shortage, the chaos surrounding refugee housing units and the sharp slide of Swedish students in PISA tests – all these changes have caused the Swedes to become disillusioned. The last straw was that Prime Minister Löfven had nothing to say about the murders at IKEA.
Gatestone Institute contacted to the Swedish government, to obtain emails sent to the Prime Minister concerning the IKEA murders. According to the “principle of public access to official documents,” all Swedes have the right to study public documents kept by authorities – with no questions asked about one’s identity or purpose. The government, however, was clearly less than enthusiastic about sharing the emails: It took a full month of reminders and phone calls before they complied with the request.
What follows are excerpts from emails sent from private citizens to Prime Minister Stefan Löfven:
From Mattias, a social worker and father of four, “a dad who wants my kids to grow up in Sweden the way I had the good fortune of doing, without explosions, hand grenades, car fires, violence, rape and murder at IKEA”:
“Hi Stefan. I am a 43-year-old father of four, who is trying to explain to my children, ages 6-16, what is going on in Sweden. I am sad to say that you and your party close your eyes to what is happening in Sweden. All the things that are happening [are] due to the unchecked influx from abroad. You are creating a hidden hatred in Sweden. We are dissatisfied with the way immigration is handled in Sweden, from asylum housing to school issues. And it takes so long to get a job, many people give up before they even get close. Mattias”
Marcus, 21, wrote:
“Hi Stefan, I am one of the people who voted for you. I live in Helsingborg, still with my parents because there are no apartments available. I can see where I live that as soon as an old person moves out, eight foreigners immediately move in: they just bypass us young, Swedish people in line. With all that is going on in Sweden – rapes, robberies, the IKEA murders and so on – why aren’t non-Swedes sent back to their countries when they commit crimes? Of course we should help refugees, but they should be the right kind of refugees… I’m sorry to say this, Stefan, but the Sweden Democrats should be allowed to rule for four years and remove the people who do not abide by the laws, and who murder or destroy young women’s lives. It is horrible, I have a job that pays poorly because there are no jobs. Sweden has more people than jobs.”
“Esteemed Prime Minister. I am writing to you because I am very worried about the development in Swedish society. I am met daily by news of shootings, exploding hand grenades/bombs, beatings, rapes and murders. This is our Sweden, the country that, when you and I grew up, was considered one of the safest in the world.
“You, in your role as Prime Minister, have a responsibility to protect everyone in the land, regardless of whether they were born here or not. Unfortunately, I can see that you are not taking your responsibility seriously. I follow the news daily, and despite our now having suffered another act of madness, this time against a mother and son at IKEA, I do not see any commitment from you?…
“You should emphatically condemn the violent developments we see in this country, allocate resources to the police, customs and district attorneys to slow and fight back (not just build levees and overlook) criminal activity.”
“Hi Stefan! After reading about the horrible deed at IKEA in Västerås, I am now wondering what you are going to do to make me feel safe going to stores and on the streets of Sweden. What changes will there be to make sure this never happens again? Will immigration really continue the same way?”
“Hi, I’m wondering, why is the government quiet about such an awful incident? The whole summer has been characterized by extreme violence, shootings, knifings and explosions. The government needs to take vigorous action so we can feel safe.”
Laila’s subject line reads: “Is it supposed to be like this?”
“Are we supposed to go outside without arming ourselves? Rape after rape occurs and no one is doing anything about it. I was born and raised in Vårby Gård, but seven years ago, we had to move because we couldn’t take the dogs out in the evenings due to the non-Europeans driving on the sidewalks. If you didn’t move out of the way, they would jump out of the car and hit you. If you called the police, they do nothing – in a suburb of Stockholm. When my brother told some of these men off, a rocket (the kind you use at New Year’s) appeared in his mailbox. You can imagine how loud the blast was. Women and girls are raped by these non-European men, who come here claiming they are unaccompanied children, even though they are grown men…
“It is easy to get weapons today, I wonder if that is what we Swedes need to do, arm ourselves to dare to go shopping. Well, now I am getting to what happened at a major department store: Two people were killed and not just killed, there is talk online of beheading.
“The Prime Minister will not say a word, but resources are allocated to asylum housings, a slap in the face for the relatives who just had two of their kin slain. Swedish newspapers will not say a word, but fortunately, there are foreign newspapers that tell the truth. We Swedes can’t change apartments, we live five people in three bedrooms. Two of us are unemployed, looking, looking and looking for work. The only option is employment agencies. I’m 50 years old, on part-time sick leave because of two chronic illnesses, I cannot run around from one place to another. But more and more asylum seekers keep coming in. There are no apartments, no jobs, we don’t dare go shopping anymore, but we’re supposed to think everything’s great.
“Unfortunately, I believe the Prime Minister needs to start reading foreign newspaper to find out that Sweden is going under. I found out that the mass immigration costs billions every year, and the only thing the immigrants do is smoke waterpipes in places like Vårby Gård. This is happening in other places too, of course. Now it’s starting to spread; you will see that in the opinion polls, next time they are published. Soon, all Swedes will vote for the Sweden Democrats. They are getting more and more supporters every day.
“You Cabinet Ministers do not live in the exposed areas, you live in your fancy residential neighborhoods, with only Swedish neighbors. It should be obligatory for all politicians to live for at least three months in an area consisting mostly of immigrants, the car should be taken from you so you’d have to use public transport… After three months, you would see my point.
“I am scared stiff of what is happening in this country. What will the government do about this?”
“Hi Stefan, why don’t you, as our Prime Minister, react more against all the violence that is escalating in our country? [Such as] the double murder at IKEA in Västerås. Add to that the bombings and other things happening in Malmö. Instead of torchlight processions against racism, we need a Prime Minister who speaks out against the violence, who says that it’s wrong no matter which ethnic group is behind it or at the receiving end of it.
“Because all the people living in Sweden are Swedish, right? A torchlight procession against racism only highlights the fact that it’s immigrants committing these crimes. What we need now is a clear signal from our popularly elected [officials] that violence needs to stop now. Sweden is supposed to be a haven away from violence.
“I’m asking you as our Prime Minister, take a stand against the violence. Unite everyone in Sweden into one group and do not make it a racism thing.”
Some of the people received a reply from Carl-Johan Friman, of the Government Offices Communications Unit; others have not received any reply at all. A typical response goes:
“Thank you for your email to Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. I’ve been asked to reply and confirm that your email has reached the Prime Minister’s Office and is now available for the Prime Minister and his staff. It is of course not acceptable that people should be exposed to violence and criminal activities in their everyday life. Many efforts are made to counteract violence, and quite correctly, this needs to be done without pitting groups against each other. Thank you for taking the time to write and share your views, they are important in shaping government policies.”
Gatestone Institute contacted Laila, one of the people who emailed, and asked her if she was satisfied with the answer she got. Laila replied:
“No, I’m not satisfied with the answer, because they didn’t even respond to what I was talking about. In all honesty, I don’t even feel they see the problems. They’re talking about what it looks like when they have their meetings, but there’s no one in those meetings who can tell them what real life looks like. It feels like the answer I got was just a bunch of nonsense. They understand that people are scared. They talk about demonstrating against racism; they seem to be completely lost. The politicians do not understand how things work in Swedish society, because they live in their safe, snug neighborhoods where things are quiet. But a lot of Swedes are forced to live in immigrant-heavy neighborhoods, because they cannot afford an apartment somewhere else.”
The anger at the government’s non-reaction to the IKEA-murders also led to a demonstration at Sergels Torg, Stockholm’s main public square, on September 15. Hundreds of protesters demanded the government’s resignation, and held a minute of silence for the slain mother and son, Carola and Emil Herlin. The organizers plan to hold similar protests every month throughout Sweden.
The plan by climate alarmists to have other scientists imprisoned for their ‘global warming’ skepticism is backfiring horribly, and the chief alarmist is now facing a House investigation into what has been called “the largest science scandal in US history.”
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology, has written to Professor Jagadish Shukla of George Mason University, in Virginia, requesting that he release all relevant documents pertaining to his activities as head of a non-profit organization called the Institute of Global Environment And Society.
Smith has two main areas of concern.
First, the apparent engagement by the institute in “partisan political activity” – which, as a non-profit, it is forbidden by law from doing.
Second, what precisely has the IGES institute done with the $63 million in taxpayer grants which it has received since 2001 and which appears to have resulted in remarkably little published research?
For example, as Watts Up With That? notes, a $4.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to one of the institute’s offshoots appears to have resulted in just one published paper.
But the amount which has gone into the pockets of Shukla and his cronies runs into the many hundreds of thousands of dollars. In 2013 and 2014, for example, Shukla and his wife enjoyed a combined income in excess of $800,000 a year.
Steve McIntyre, the investigator who shattered Michael Mann’s global-warming ‘Hockey Stick’ claim, has done a detailed breakdown of the sums involved. He calls it Shukla’s Gold.
In 2001, the earliest year thus far publicly available, in 2001, in addition to his university salary (not yet available, but presumably about $125,000), Shukla and his wife received a further $214,496 in compensation from IGES (Shukla – $128,796; Anne Shukla – $85,700). Their combined compensation from IGES doubled over the next two years to approximately $400,000 (additional to Shukla’s university salary of say $130,000), for combined compensation of about $530,000 by 2004.
Shukla’s university salary increased dramatically over the decade reaching $250,866 by 2013 and $314,000 by 2014. (In this latter year, Shukla was paid much more than Ed Wegman, a George Mason professor of similar seniority). Meanwhile, despite the apparent transition of IGES to George Mason, the income of the Shuklas from IGES continued to increase, reaching $547,000 by 2013. Combined with Shukla’s university salary, the total compensation of Shukla and his wife exceeded $800,000 in both 2013 and 2014. In addition, as noted above, Shukla’s daughter continued to be employed by IGES in 2014; IGES also distributed $100,000 from its climate grant revenue to support an educational charity in India which Shukla had founded.
The story began last month when, as we reported at Breitbart, twenty alarmist scientists – led by Shukla – wrote a letter to President Obama urging him to use RICO laws to crush climate skeptics.
Shukla’s second big mistake was to send the letter not from his university address but from his non-profit, the IGES.
But his first, far bigger mistake, was his hubris in organizing the letter in the first place. It drew the attention of Shukla’s critics to something which, presumably, he would have preferred to keep secret: that for nearly 14 years, he, his family and his friends have been gorging themselves on taxpayers’ money at IGES; and that this money comes on top of the very generous salary he receives for doing much the same work at George Mason University (GMU).
It’s the latter detail which has led former Virginia State Climatologist Pat Michaels – one of the skeptics who might have been affected by Shukla’s proposed RICO prosecutions – to describe this as “the largest science scandal in US history.”
Under federal law, state employees may not be remunerated for doing work which falls under their state employee remit. As a Professor at GMU, Shukla is definitely an employee of the state. And the work for which he has most lavishly been rewarding himself at IGES appears to be remarkably similar to the work he does at GMU as professor of climate dynamics.
If GMU was aware of these extra-curricular payments, then it was in breach of its own policy on “financial conflicts of interest in federally funded research.”
If it wasn’t aware of them, then, Shukla legally may be required to send half of that $63 million in federal grants to his employer, GMU.
For many readers, though, perhaps the biggest take-home message of this extraordinary story is: Who do these climate alarmists think they are?
Perhaps $63 million in federal grants is just peanuts if you’re gorging on the climate-change smorgasbord, but for most of the rest of us, that constitutes a serious sum of money. Especially when we know it is being taken from us in the form of taxes.
Do they really feel under no obligation to spend it well?
Do they actually feel so sanctified by the rightness of their cause that they deserve to be immune from scrutiny or criticism?
A federal judge Wednesday blocked the Obama administration from implementing new regulations on hydraulic fracturing, saying that the administration does not appear to have the statutory authority to do so.
The rule, finalized in March by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), is the federal government’s first major attempt to regulate the innovative oil and gas extraction technique commonly known as fracking.
Fracking is generally regulated at the state level. BLM sought to impose additional restrictions on the practice for oil and gas wells on federal land.
Judge Scott W. Skavdahl of the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming said that the agency appears to lack the statutory authority to do so and issued a preliminary injunction blocking BLM from implementing the rule.
“At this point, the Court does not believe Congress has granted or delegated to the BLM authority to regulate fracking,” Skavdahl wrote in his opinion.
In fact, BLM “previously disavowed authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing,” the judge noted.
The Environmental Protection Agency previously had the authority to regulate the fracking-related practices that the rule targets, but the 2005 Energy Policy Act stripped the agency of that authority.
“It is hard to analytically conclude or infer that, having expressly removed the regulatory authority from the EPA, Congress intended to vest it in the BLM, particularly where the BLM had not previously been regulating the practice,” Skavdahl wrote.
The ruling marks a major setback for Obama administration efforts to crack down on fracking, which has spurred unprecedented increases in U.S. oil and gas production since 2009.
The ruling does not scuttle the regulations, but rather prevents their implementation while a lawsuit brought by Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, Utah, and the Ute Indian tribe makes its way though the federal courts.
Two industry groups, the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Western Energy Alliance, have also sued to block the rule.
“Today’s decision essentially shows BLM’s efforts are not needed and that states are – and have for 60 years been – in the best position to safely regulate hydraulic fracturing,” said IPAA spokesman Jeff Eshelman on the ruling.
Glaring shortcomings in cyber-security training throughout the State Department on former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s watch reflected a pervasive anti-security “culture” she encouraged there, according to multiple former intelligence and military officials.
Acting State Department Inspector General Harold W. Geisel issued six critical reports that charged top officials did not submit themselves to the department’s mandatory “security awareness training” during Clinton’s tenure. The training covers procedures for properly handling of sensitive and classified government documents and how to secure digital communications.
Senior officials from deputy assistant secretaries to chiefs of missions at U.S. embassies did not submit themselves to regular training sessions as required by the department and government-wide standards, according to Geisel.
Geisel first warned in November 2010 mandatory security training was not being given to senior department officials. A highly redacted November 2012 audit by the IG found in a random check of 46 officials that “all 46 employees had not taken the recommended role-based security-related training course in the time-frame (that is, 6 months) as recommended in the Information Assurance Training Plan.”
Annual IT security training is mandatory throughout the U.S. military and within all intelligence agencies and is required by the National Institute for Standards and Technology, which sets government-wide security standards.
“A strong IT security program cannot be put in place without significant attention given to training agency IT users on security policy, procedures, and techniques, as well as the various management, operational, and technical controls necessary and available to secure IT resources,” according to NIST publication 800, the “bible” for government security.
“Failure to give attention to the area of security training puts an enterprise at great risk because security of agency resources is as much a human issue as it is a technology issue,” NIST warned.
“When you get the training, they give you lots of scenarios and lots of duplicate and redundant situations where you see the impact of security violations,” said Col. James Waurishuk, who retired in August 2014 from the U.S. Special Operations Command.
“If you don’t take the training, you don’t see it, so you don’t understand it.” he said.
Waurishuk, a 30-year military veteran, was also critical of Clinton for hiring Bryan Pagliano, a former IT staffer with her unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign, in the department’s Bureau of Information Resources Management as a “strategic advisor.” Pagliano had no national security experience and no security clearance for handling classified documents.
“Here’s a person brought in for his campaign expertise, but doesn’t have knowledge, training or grasp of the national security environment, the threats and the gravity of failing to ensure secure environments. To put somebody at that level in charge without that degree of experience, that’s reckless,” Waurishuk said.
Other former military and intelligence officials blame Secretary Clinton for setting a poor example when she decided to conduct official government business on a private email account and a private server located at her home in New York.
“There was a corporate culture among the highest echelons of State Department that she perhaps deliberately chose to ignore these security protocols. And consequently, they just were not enforced,” said James Williamson, a former Special Forces and counter-terrorism officer who is now president and CEO of Global Executive Management. His firm offers crisis management, diplomatic and security services to its clients.
“I would hold Mrs. Clinton directly responsible for inculcation of this culture within her organization,” Williamson said.
Brig. Gen. (Ret.) General Kenneth Bergquist said effective government security awareness starts at the top.
“What you have is a culture that emanates from the top,” said Bergquist. He was selected by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as the first president of the new Joint Special Operations University. He was assigned after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to the U.S. Central Command as special operations staff director.
Clinton and her inner circle of aides and advisers “have no experience whatsoever or cultural reference to security of documents and security of information. They had never really been involved in any aspects of what I call the culture of security awareness. So they were starting out from a basis of ignorance,” said Bergquist, who also worked at the Central Intelligence Agency told the DCNF.
Geisel said in a November 2010 audit that the State Department “should improve methods to identify individuals with significant security responsibilities, ensure that they take the required training every 3 years, record the training records in the Office of Personnel Management-approved centralized system, and provide management with tools to monitor compliance with the training requirement.”
In July 2011 the IG found that there was a ‘lack of maintenance of classified information nondisclosure agreements” for security training.
The November 2011 IG audit found that “The Department is not tracking and documenting Significant Security Responsibilities (SSR) training attendance.”
In a redacted November 2012 audit, the IG warned that training for top State Department officials was widespread.
The IG’s office added that top line officials who held “significant security responsibility” personnel did not appear to be getting training.
Among those who were identified by the IG as not getting the security training were the State Department’s chief of mission, deputy assistant secretary, information management specialist, information technology specialist and the office director for the security engineering officer.
Bergquist said that he understood that many in Secretary Clinton’s inner circle did not want to bother with training. “They said, ‘I don’t want to spend four hours going through this type of training. I’ve got more important things to do. That’s low on my priority list,” the general said.
Bergquist called it “hubris. That kind of attitude permeates down.”
On the last day of the fiscal year, Congress approved a short-term spending measure that keeps the federal government operating through Dec. 11.
The bill passed easily in the Senate, 78-20:
The bill faced strong dissension in the House, where 151 Republicans voted against it because the bill does not cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood (vote roll call here).
President Barack Obama signed the spending bill late Wednesday.
The vote was notable in the House in that it provided a chance for candidates for upcoming leadership races to weigh in on a controversial issue in the caucus.
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who is the leading candidate to replace Speaker John Boehner, voted for the measure.
His only opponent for speaker, Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., voted against the bill, as did Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who is one of two lawmakers running for majority leader.
The other majority leader contender, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., voted for the spending bill.
Some House members believed that the vote on the continuing resolution, as the funding measure is known, would be telling in how potential new leadership may handle future issues.
Conservatives argued that leadership candidates would be judged on if they stood up to Planned Parenthood in the face of a potential shutdown.
“It’s unfortunate that this thing passed,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, in an interview with The Daily Signal. “But I think the most unfortunate thing is we should have back on July 14, when the first [Planned Parenthood] video came out, went full commitment to making this a national debate and really elevating it and going all in. We could have been in a position to win, but we didn’t, and this is the part that frustrates me.”
“Our new leadership has to commit, whoever that happens to be, to the same effort on things that we’ve told the voters we were gonna do – like we all told them we were pro-life, right? – we have to have the same intensity in getting those things done that we did on, for example, trade promotion. We have to demonstrate we are actually fighting on the things we said and have that full debate. And that’s what we are not doing.”
Taking a different view, Rep. Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania, told the The Daily Signal that conservatives were wrong to try to hold up the spending measure to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood.
“Leadership will look feckless and ineffective if they try to appease the rejectionist members of this conference,” Dent said.
“Going forward,” Dent remarked, “leadership will have to find a way to move forward on five or six measures that must be resolved, including a budget agreement, tax extenders, the debt ceiling, and a long-term transportation measure. All will require a level of compromise required to move beyond the warfare and get to a better place.”
The continuing resolution funds the government at a rate of $1.017 trillion annually for the next two and a half months. Senate leaders argued the deal gives Congress time to negotiate a budget deal with the president, though Obama has been pushing Congress to break the spending caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act.
The continuing resolution also provides $74.7 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations and reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration, E-verify program, and Internet Tax Freedom Act.
Senate Republican leaders introduced a government spending bill last week that included a one-year moratorium on funding for Planned Parenthood. The legislation also directed the $235 million in savings derived from the government funding allocated for Planned Parenthood to be directed to community health centers.
That bill, however, was blocked in the upper chamber, after it failed to reach the 60 votes needed to advance.
Obama White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett threw Hillary Clinton under the bus Wednesday at the Washington Ideas Forum, where she told interviewer Andrea Mitchell that the White House gave Clinton guidance forbidding her from using private email.
“Yes, there were. Yeah, absolutely,” Jarrett said when asked if the White House sent guidance to Cabinet secretaries about not using private email. “Obviously we want to make sure that we preserve all government records, and so there was guidance given that government business should be done on government emails and that if you did use a private email that it should be turned over.”
“That’s what she’s doing, as you said as recently as a few minutes ago,” Jarrett added. “And I think she has been asked about this multiple times, including by you Andrea. And I think she said, Look to do it again I probably made a mistake and I wouldn’t do it, and she’s working hard to comply with making sure that everything is pursuant to the Federal Records Act.”
Welcome to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Wild, Wild West show in Chicago, where bullets fly thicker than fleas around a stray dog.
Yesterday, the city saw a spasm of violence rare even for Chicago; 14 people were shot in 15 hours, including 6 dead.
As is his wont, Rahmbo blamed the “poor values” of gangbangers and wants tougher penalties for gun crimes.
The first of those shootings occurred Monday evening when a family on its way back from an outing was gunned down in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, leaving a pregnant mother and a grandmother dead and three others – including an 11-month-old boy – wounded, police said.
The second multiple shooting occurred about five hours later when two men and the mother of a 4-year-old were killed and two other people were wounded near a playground in the Fuller Park neighborhood on the South Side, according to police. A sister said the woman was killed coming to the aid of a relative.
The burst of violence follows two straight weekends when more than 50 people were shot in Chicago. That’s the first time that has happened on back-to-back weekends over the four years the Tribune has been tracking shootings. In August, more than 40 were shot on four consecutive weekends.
So far this year, at least 2,300 people have been shot in Chicago, about 400 more than during the same period last year, according to a Tribune analysis. Through Sunday, homicides have risen to 359, up 21 percent from 296 a year earlier, according to preliminary data from Chicago police.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday addressed the shooting in Back of the Yards, saying he was angry and “enough is enough.”
As he often does, Emanuel railed against the poor values of gangbangers. “Wherever you live, you should be able to get out of your car and go to your home,” said Emanuel, who attended the opening of a renovated Red Line CTA station at Clark and Division streets.
The mayor then returned to his oft-repeated themes of making all Chicago neighborhoods equally safe and calling for tougher penalties for crimes involving guns.
“You can say this happened in the neighborhood of the Back of the Yards, but everybody (who) woke up this morning, or heard it last night, felt a pain of anguish, and it’s time that our criminal justice system and the laws as it relates to access to guns and the penalties for using ’em reflect the values of the people of the city of Chicago,” Emanuel said.
More illegal guns have been confiscated in Chicago this year than in New York and Los Angeles combined. This would seem to point to a policing problem, except it’s more complicated than that.
Chicago is a major distribution node for the Sinaloa drug cartel; 80% of the drugs in the city flow from that one gang. The key, then, would seem to be to smash the conduit of illegal drugs and guns and bust up the networks that supply most of the Midwest with drugs – a task easier said than done. The bulk of Chicago’s violence problem lies outside the city limits and actually originates in Mexico.
But the Obama administration has no desire to get caught up in Mexico’s war with the cartels, so no special enforcement methods are currently being considered. Clearly, in order to attack Chicago’s gun violence, it’s going to take a joint U.S.-Mexico-Chicago PD effort to break the back of Sinaloa and reduce the flow of guns and drugs into the city.
Among the 6,300 pages of Hillary Clinton emails released by the State Department on Wednesday are approximately 155 messages containing now-classified information that the former secretary of state sent or received on her unsecured, private email server system.
That raises the overall number of emails that contain information deemed to contain classified information to 343. The 155 figure is based on a preliminary analysis of the release.
The emails, most of which were classified as “confidential,” were sent in 2010 and 2011. Two records included in the release contain information that is now marked as “secret,” the second-highest classification category. One was an email Clinton aide Jake Sullivan sent to her on Jan. 21, 2011 regarding diplomatic talks in Turkey.
The State Department has asserted following previous Clinton email releases that information in the emails was not classified at the time the records were sent. But many observers have pushed back against the claim because many of the messages appear to discuss topics that were time- and event-specific.
Many of the emails contained information provided by foreign government officials. Executive orders have determined that such information should be “presumed” to be classified when originated.
Clinton herself has maintained that she did not send or receive emails containing information that was classified when sent. The Intelligence Community’s inspector general has disputed that claim, however, saying that it reviewed at least two emails that traversed Clinton’s server which contained information that was “top secret” at the time they were sent.
Wednesday’s release marks the fifth mass publication of Clinton emails. The first release, which occurred in May, was of nearly 300 pages of Clinton emails related to Libya and Benghazi. The other four releases were ordered by U.S. District Court judge Rudolph Contreras who is presiding over a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Vice News reporter Jason Leopold.
According to the State Department, 37 percent of Clinton’s emails have now been released, putting the agency ahead of a timeline set by Contreras.
Clinton turned over approximately 55,000 pages of her work-related emails to the State Department in December, nearly two years after leaving the agency.
Clinton herself sent a number of those now-classified emails. Wednesday’s release shows that Clinton sent at least two emails that contain sensitive information.
One was sent on March 6, 2010 and discussed Indonesia. The other was sent on March 4, 2010 and discussed Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister.
The first four releases contained at least eight emails containing information now deemed classified.
The topics of those heavily-redacted emails included discussions about Iran, Egypt, and Futenma Marine Corps base in Japan.
One of the more mysterious now-classified emails Clinton sent was to her longtime friend and ally, Sidney Blumenthal.
On Nov. 10, 2009 Blumenthal forwarded an email from Joe Wilson, who served as an ambassador during the Bill Clinton administration. In the email, Wilson pitched Clinton on an African energy company for which he was consulting. Clinton’s response to Blumenthal is redacted and has been classified as “confidential.”
Blumenthal himself has been a central figure in the email scandal. He sent Clinton dozens of intelligence reports on her personal email address. Clinton initially claimed that Blumenthal’s emails were “unsolicited.” But Clinton’s responses to her friend indicated that that was not the case. Clinton often encouraged Blumenthal to keep her posted on geopolitical developments.
Clinton was caught in another inconsistency regarding Blumenthal. Though she has claimed that she turned over all of her work-related emails, Blumenthal provided the House Select Committee on Benghazi with at least 15 emails that he exchanged with Clinton which were not included in the trove she gave to the State Department. That gap raised questions over whether Clinton or the State Department failed to turn over the emails.
Last week, the State Department said it recently handed over an additional 900 Benghazi-related emails it has had since December.
It was also reported last week that Clinton failed to turn over an email exchange she had shortly after becoming secretary of state in early 2009 with then-CENTCOM Commander Gen. David Petraeus. Clinton has said that at that time, she was using an email address she used while she was in the Senate. Months into her State Department tenure, Clinton began using an email address hosted on her private server.
I was walking through downtown Sacramento recently when raindrops started falling. People on the street stopped dead in their tracks, looked up at the sky, and began acting giddy. “What’s that?” I asked a man. “I think it’s something called rain,” he responded. Such is the gallows humor in a state that hasn’t seen substantial rainfall in years.
The obvious lack of rain is the seemingly obvious reason for the state’s lack of sufficient water. Water levels in state reservoirs are falling, officials are cracking down on “excess” water use (lawn-watering, etc.), and voters passed a water bond on the 2014 ballot to help fund more storage. The Capitol crowd is obsessed with the water issue, while local planners use the crisis to clamp down on building permits.
State officials say California’s drought is “one of the most severe droughts on record,” and they warn that even an El Niño rainy season is unlikely to fix the situation. In fact, nothing seems to fix the situation. Californians have slashed their water use by 31 percent during July – well above the 25-percent reduction targeted by the governor. And there’s still not enough water.
But as this series will show, California’s drought is largely a man-made crisis. It is caused by a series of policies – some from the past, many ongoing – which has prioritized environmental demands above the basic provision of water resources to the public. More than half of the state’s water resources simply flow out the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean.
Even now, in the Sierra foothills, state officials empty reservoirs to protect “unimpeded” river flows to benefit small numbers of non-endangered hatchery fish. The California Coastal Commission, the powerful agency with control of development along the shoreline, is holding up a privately planned desalination plant over concerns about its impact on plankton. The environment-friendly commission want to force the developers to build a pumping system that destroys the economics of the plant.
Meanwhile, slow-growth activists see opportunity in the drought. Their goal is to stop new developments despite California’s growing population, so a lack of water is a useful tool in their arsenal. A state law forces developers to prove sufficient water resources for decades into the future – before being able to get a permit to build developments. This slow-growth lobby sees no reason to come up with water-storage solutions.
Even the federal government is in on the action. In the far northern part of the state, along the Klamath River, federal environment officials want to remove four dams that provide water storage near the Oregon border. Their goal is to help preserve the habitat of non-native salmon. The “destroy the dams” movement had gained so much steam in recent years that San Franciscans were asked in a 2012 advisory vote to destroy the O’Shaughnessy dam in Yosemite National Park and drain the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir – the main source of water for the state’s third-largest city. Even that city’s notoriously lefty voters said “no” to shutting their main water spigot.
If one takes a map of the state of California and turns it on its side, with the Pacific boundary at the bottom, it’s easy to better understand the state’s water geology. Water flows from the Sierra Nevada Mountains through rivers that head toward San Francisco Bay. It all ends up in a place called the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the West Coast’s largest estuary. That’s near the lowest point in your sideways map. Then it heads to the bay and, then, the ocean.
When you hear Californians argue about the Delta, that’s what they are talking about. It’s a 1,100-square-mile area with 1,000 miles of rivers filled with historic towns, orchards, swamps, islands, and marinas. That estuary serves as a giant water filter. Primarily, the mighty Sacramento River meanders through the delta, kept within its banks by a series of aged dirt levees. A pumping station at the south end near Tracy sends water along a system of canals to farmers in the San Joaquin Valley – and also to the Southern metropolises.
During wet years, the estuary is filled with fresh water. During droughts, the salinity levels are high as water from the Pacific migrates eastward. That region remains Ground Zero for the state’s water fights. The fate of a tiny baitfish called the Delta Smelt is central here. Occasionally, a few dead smelt are found at the fish screens in Tracy, which causes administrators to shut down water supplies from the Delta toward the south. Water supplies are also stopped during drought years.
In 1982, our past and current governor, Jerry Brown, wanted to build a peripheral canal that would bypass the crumbling levees and take Sacramento River water around the Delta – before heading to the farm and urban water users. The state’s voters rejected that measure. Southern Californians were mostly indifferent to the idea, but Northern Californians resented having more of “their” water sent away.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest plan is to build twin tunnels under the Delta to provide a more consistent water supply southward. The planned cost: $25 billion for the total project, with a separate portion geared toward environmental restoration. Northern Californians are still mostly against it, as they claim it’s a water grab by Los Angeles-based users. (To understand the emotions, watch “Chinatown,” the 1974 movie about the deceptive way Owens Valley water was diverted to the Southland to spur the growth of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley).
Looking deeply into the plan, this much is clear: The newly renamed “California Water Fix” doesn’t even promise more water to southern cities. It simply promises a more consistent water supply. The twin tunnels are designed to change the flow of the rivers and protect the Delta Smelt. With the smelt protected, there will be fewer reasons to shut the pumps. In other words, this is a costly engineering solution to a political problem.
And therein lies California’s main water problem. No one here denies the importance of the environment or that some portion of the state’s scarce water resources needs to be used to protect wetlands and river habitats. But the balance of power has shifted from those who believe that people come first to those who seem to view the population as a scourge.
In April, I reported on a contentious meeting at the Oakdale Irrigation District east of Modesto. Farmers and local residents were aghast. The state and federal officials insisted on releasing massive amounts of water from the large New Melones Reservoir and Lake Tulloch, a small lake downstream from New Melones surrounded by homes. As the governor was threatening fines for people who take long showers, his State Water Resources Control Board was going to empty reservoirs to save about a dozen fish.
The local farmers and residents were asking for a temporary reprieve. I remember the words of one of the district officials, who was calling for “off ramps” during times of severe drought. That’s jargon for temporarily putting aside some of the more aggressive environmental demands at a time when farms and people are out of water. Bad publicity delayed the “pulse flows,” but by September water officials began insisting on new releases.
Recent reports showed that farmers use 80 percent of California’s water resources. It’s true that farmers are an important interest group. And because of the state’s old and quirky system of water rights, we see infuriating misuses of resources – e.g., farmers growing water-intensive hay in one of the driest regions on Earth, the southern Imperial Valley.
But that 80 percent number was deceptive because it completely omitted environmental uses of water, which constitute more than 50 percent of the state’s flows. Farmers, businesses, and residents fight over what remains. What we’re seeing – water releases to benefit a small number of common fish, removing dams along major rivers, delays of desalination plants, failure to build adequate water storage – is not an anomaly. It is the cumulative effect of water policies dominated by environmental interests.
It wasn’t always this way. In earlier days, California’s water policies had more in common (and with some admittedly ill environmental effect) with the ideas of capitalist defender Ayn Rand than John Muir, the famed naturalist whose environmental legacy dominates California discussions. California leaders were proud of taming the wilderness and building massive infrastructure projects – especially water projects – that allowed the state’s phenomenal growth.
In 1961, when Jerry Brown’s dad, Pat Brown, was governor, the State Water Project was begun. “The project includes 34 storage facilities, reservoirs and lakes; 20 pumping plants; four pumping-generating plants; five hydroelectric power plants; and about 701 miles of open canals and pipelines,” according to a state description. “The project provides supplemental water to approximately 25 million Californians and about 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland.”
I’ve toured a lot of the facilities and even was on an official tour of the Colorado River project, following the water as it flowed from reservoirs behind New Deal-era dams at the Arizona border down to the treatment facility in the Los Angeles. It was quite a feat to build these projects. As I argued in my Orange County Register column at the time, it could never be replicated today in a world of Environmental Impact Statements, greenmail lawsuits filed under the California Environmental Quality Act, and a political system dominated by officials more interested in quashing human development than providing the means for humans to thrive in this arid climate.
Sure, it would help if it rained – but the lack of rain is the least of California’s drought problems.
After Muslim terrorist attacks, we’re told that the killers just “misunderstood” their religion. They misunderstood the peaceful nature of Koranic verses such as “Kill them wherever you find them”, “They should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides” and “Strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”.
But the misunderstandings of Islam are just getting started.
Not only are Americans and Europeans being murdered by Muslim terrorists due to these unfortunate misunderstandings, but European girls are being raped because of more misunderstandings.
The principal of Wilhelm-Diess-Gymnasium was concerned about his female students. So he sent a letter warning their parents that the Muslim refugees who had been put up next to the school gym “are marked by their own culture”. And now Germans were being “marked” by their culture.
Girls were told to wear “modest clothing” to avoid “misunderstandings”. But rape isn’t a “misunderstanding”. The only misunderstanding is the politically correct leftist idea that the rapist should be excused on account of his culture and religion.
The Koran states, “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks all over their bodies that they may thus be distinguished and not molested.”
The obvious implication is that women who aren’t dressed in a Burka may be “molested”.
Or as the commentary states, “It is more likely that this way they may be recognized (as pious, free women), and may not be hurt (considered by mistake as roving slave girls.)”
The Muslim migrants who have invaded Germany just might “misunderstand” and mistake the teen girls going to the gym as “roving slave girls”. And under Islamic law, that’s what they are. Islamic law permits Muslim men to rape even married infidel women in the Dar al-Harb. Let alone unaccompanied girls.
Unfortunately the misunderstandings are well underway in Germany. A letter about an asylum camp in Germany warns of a “culture of rape and violence” with “numerous rapes, sexual assaults” and “forced prostitution”. Even though the women in the camp are likely to be mostly fellow Muslims, who are well acquainted with the means of avoiding “misunderstandings” with a Muslim man (wear a hijab, wear a burka, never make eye contact, never smile), the misunderstandings still keep taking place.
On a large scale.
Because there was never any misunderstanding. As the letter points out, these men “regard women as their inferiors and treat unaccompanied women as ‘fair game’”.
The misunderstanding here isn’t on the part of the Muslim men who view women as fair game. When a mugger snatches a purse or a burglar breaks into a home, he isn’t the victim of a “misunderstanding”.
He just happens to have a different ethical code than the society he is victimizing. But these rapists are members of a society where rape is a crime for a woman, not for a man. The only misunderstanding here is on the part of the Westerners who allowed them in to commit their cultural crimes.
Muslim sexual offenders have used “misunderstandings” due to “cultural differences” as their defense.
Esmatullah Sharifi, an Afghan refugee, repeatedly raped Australian women and claimed that he was confused about consent due to “cultural differences”. Almahde Ahmad Atagore, a Libyan Muslim, sexually assaulted girls as young as 13. The judge told him, he was “very ill prepared to deal with cultural differences”. But it was really his victims who were ill prepared to deal with his “cultural differences”.
The Pakistani rapists who went after eighteen women and girls claimed that they could rape a girl because “she was not related to us” and “she was not wearing any headscarf”. Their Grand Mufti agreed, saying, “It’s 90 per cent the women’s responsibility.”
“If you take uncovered meat and put it on the street, on the pavement, in a garden, in a park or in the backyard, without a cover and the cats eat it, is it the fault of the cat or the uncovered meat?” the Grand Mufti asked. “The uncovered meat is the problem.”
But if you get rid of the feral cats that show up in civilized countries, scratching at the door to be let in, the problem goes away. If the Grand Mufti and his favorite rapists were picked up by animal control, put in the pound, neutered and then released back into the wild that they came from, that would be it.
Germany has decided to take in huge numbers of Muslim men who come from a religion and culture where a woman who isn’t wearing a Hijab and isn’t escorted by a man can be raped.
And that leads to “misunderstandings” between the invaders and the native population.
In the UK, these “misunderstandings” have already led to over 2,000 children being victimized by the Muslim “misunderstanders” of such finer points of British law as the definition of pedophilia.
As Gatestone’s Soeren Kern documents, the tide of “misunderstandings” has reached Germany. A 16-year-old girl was raped on September 11 by an unidentified “dark-skinned man speaking broken German” near a refugee shelter. Parents were told not to let their children out unaccompanied.
This is just one of a long list of Muslim “misunderstandings” that have already taken place in Germany.
Over the summer, some of the “misunderstandings” included five Turks trying to rape a girl, a 14-year-old boy being raped in a train bathroom and a seven-year-old girl being raped in a park.
That last “misunderstanding” happened in the Park of the Victims of Fascism where the misunderstander lured the little girl away from her mother at the playground and into the bushes. It was a cultural difference. Her age was the same as that of Aisha, Mohammed’s wife.
In the Park of the Victims of Fascism, the little girl became the victim of the latest incarnation of fascism; Islamofascism.
Islamofascism is represented equally by Merkel and the Muslim migrants. While Merkel enforces the Islamic colonization of Europe, the Muslim migrants carry it out. And perhaps one day there will be a park dedicated to the victims of this mass invasion. And perhaps that little girl’s name will be there.
If we don’t do something about all these “misunderstandings” whose nature we keep misunderstanding.
The “refugees” are mostly migrants. They are not coming to be part of any country, but to exploit it and then conquer it and rule it. They are not bound by any moral or ethical code that we understand.
Their advocates talk about “human rights”, but in Muslim culture there is no such thing as human rights. Their cultures are tribal. There are no universal rights, only responsibilities to members of kin groups. When those kin groups remain intact, then members will prey exclusively on outsiders. When they fall apart, as they do during immigration and migration, then mass rapes and murders take place.
Europeans believe in human rights. Muslims do not. Europeans believe women are equal. Muslims do not.
This is the underlying “misunderstanding” and this is what must be understood. Either Europe will end Muslim migration or surrender to the cultural difference of an Islamic society in which women are not allowed to walk the streets because they are property.
It’s time to clear up these misunderstandings.
Europe can either have free women, bars, churches, synagogues, cartoons, free speech, pork sausage and beer. Or it can have millions of Muslim migrants and their wide-eyed toddlers.
It can’t have both. Not for long. Because there will be “misunderstandings”.
Bombs will go off, women will be raped and cartoonists murdered. And we will be told to change our behavior to avoid more of these “misunderstandings”. After each “misunderstanding”, we will lose more of our civil rights and the invaders will have more power to dictate our behavior and our way of life.
Until finally the only way to end all these “misunderstandings” will be a submission to the Islamic State. We may finally understand then, but it will be too late.
Muslim migrants don’t misunderstand our laws or values. They don’t care about them. We misunderstand theirs. And so we do our best to accommodate their contempt for our values.
It’s time that we understood this cycle of submission and showed the invaders that they misunderstood our generosity as appeasement, our friendliness as weakness and our tolerance as surrender.
And then we can finally bring all these “misunderstandings” to an end.
In October, High Bridge Arms – the last gun store in San Francisco – will be closing its doors for good due to gun controls with which the store refuses to comply.
San Francisco has emerged as the gun control capital of California, with laws regulating everything from magazine capacity to allowable types of ammunition to limits on advertising to the manner in which guns must be stored–and beyond. For decades, High Bridge Arms has adapted to the passage of each new gun control, but it views the latest push as a step too far.
According to SFist, the newest control push “comes from Supervisor Mark Farrell (District 2), and proposes to require that all gun sales in San Francisco be videotaped.” It would also “further require that all gun and ammunition buyers’ names, birthdates, addresses and driver’s license numbers be supplied to the San Francisco Police Department. Sup. Farrell proposed the idea in July, and it may be voted on this month.”
Fox News reports that High Bridge Arms’ general manager, Steven Alcairo, said the store’s owners are tired of keeping up with the new regulations and equally tired of trying to guess what might come next. Alcairo said, “This time, it’s the idea of filming our customers taking delivery of items after they already completed waiting periods. We feel this is a tactic designed to discourage customers from coming to us.” He added, “This year, it’s this and next year will probably be something else. We don’t want to wait for it.”
Comments from Supervisor Farrell bolster Alcairo’s concern that further gun control is on the way. When Farrell began pushing for the videotaping of all gun sales, he said:
Easy access to guns and ammunition continue to contribute to senseless violent crime here in San Francisco and across the country. Even though San Francisco has some of the toughest gun control laws on the books in the country – there is more we can do to protect the public.
High Bridge Arms opened in the mid-1950s. It will soon be closed after dying the death of a thousand cuts.
On Sunday, the administration was taken by surprise for the umpteenth time when Russia, Iraq, Iran, and Syria announced an agreement, ostensibly to share intelligence about ISIS. This is part of a widening role for Russia in the region, Moscow having already established a new airbase to go along with its existing naval base in Syria. It is also a sign that Iraq is getting pulled further into the Russia-Syria-Iran axis – a new Axis of Evil – that is far more determined to keep Bashar Assad’s murderous regime in power than it is to fight ISIS. It is telling that Russia has started drone surveillance flights in Syria over areas controlled not by ISIS but by other rebel groups. In fact the more this Axis keeps Assad in place, the stronger that ISIS gets because ISIS feeds off the understandable resentment that ordinary Sunnis feel towards a regime that has been responsible for the vast majority of the killing in a conflict that has claimed over 225,000 lives.
The fact that Iraq has now formally joined this unholy alliance is a sign of how little influence the U.S. exercises anymore in Baghdad. This has been obvious for some time: Ever since the pullout of U.S. forces in 2011, Iran has become the dominant player in Iraq. Thus when the U.S. has protested to Iraq not to allow its airspace to be used for Iranian flights to resupply Assad – or more recently for Russian flights to create a new Russian military base in Syria – the government of Iraq has ignored American protestations. The Iraqis are happy to accept U.S. F-16s and other weapons and money, but they willfully snub Washington on its most basic demands and they know they will pay no price for doing so. After all, if President Obama could not even act against Assad for violating a “red line” on chemical weapons or against Iran for building a nuclear weapons program, what is he going to do against the Iraqi government for being in bed with these rogue states?
Instead of forcing Syria’s patrons to accept Assad’s removal from power, Obama now being forced to bow to the demands of Russia and Iran that Assad remain in Damascus. As the Daily Telegraph noted, “President Bashar al-Assad’s key backers declared victory on Sunday night after Western leaders who had previously backed Syrian rebels, including David Cameron, said they accepted he would stay in power, at least for the time being.”
Putin is winning, and he isn’t subtle about rubbing Obama’s nose in it. He is openly and understandably mocking the failed U.S. program to train Syrian rebels: “The initial aim was to train between 5,000 and 6,000 fighters, and then 12,000 more,” he said in an interview. “It turns out that only 60 of these fighters have been properly trained, and as few as 4 or 5 people actually carry weapons, while the rest of them have deserted with the American weapons to join ISIS.”
At least Putin is accurately reciting the facts about the U.S. failure to arm Syrian rebels. Harder to swallow is his brazen claim that the American program is not only a failure but illegal under international law. “In my view, providing military aid to illegitimate organizations contravenes the principles of international law and the U.N. Charter,” Putin said. “We back only legal government entities.”
What can you say? You can only chortle at Putin’s chutzpah. Here’s the dictator who illegally annexed Crimea and is now illegally sponsoring a breakaway movement in eastern Ukraine claiming that Russia only backs “legal government entities.” It’s hard to believe that even Putin believes what he’s saying. He just says whatever serves Russian interests in a particular moment, and – give credit where it’s due – he is succeeding in advancing his interests in the Middle East, at least as he conceives of them. As a final prize, he gets a sit-down with Obama on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, after the U.S. military already re-launched military-to-military talks with the Russian armed forces, thus effectively rewarding him for his bad behavior and breaking any Western attempts to isolate him.
While Russia appears to be purposeful in pursuing an amoral, anti-Western policy, the U.S. looks simply lost, bewildered, defeated. It’s not clear what policy the U.S. is pursuing anymore: Are we for or against Assad? For or against Iran? All we know for sure is that we are against ISIS but that we are not doing much to “degrade” and “destroy” it, as the president claimed a year ago. In fact the latest intelligence estimates suggest that it is drawing in more than 1,000 foreign fighters a month, more than replenishing its losses from U.S. air strikes.
I cannot remember a more confused or dispiriting moment in American foreign policy since the 1970s.