Ben Carson’s campaign has done what few political insiders thought was possible when the former neurosurgeon launched his candidacy last spring: become a fundraising juggernaut.
The political outsider, now running only one point behind Donald Trump in recent polling, raised over $20 million dollars in the third quarter only. To date, the campaign has raised over $31 million.
“You know, the pundits all said that we would never be able to mount a national campaign for financial reasons, but here we are approaching 600,000 donations,” Carson told the Associated Press while campaigning in New Hampshire. “The people have gotten involved, and that’s something I think they probably never anticipated.”
The fundraising haul is not being fueled by mainly major donors, but by smaller donations and volunteers stepping up to be “bundlers” for the campaign.
CBS News reports that Jacquelyn Monroe, 45, is one example. The Georgian plays piano for a living and had never given a significant amount to politicians in the past, but decided to raise $100,000 for Carson’s campaign.
“‘It’s not something that I would normally set out to do,’ Monroe [told CBS News], who added she was moved by Carson’s authenticity and Christian faith and coaxed into collecting money from friends and business associates by his ambitious campaign staff. ‘$100,000-plus is a big deal for me.’”
Carson’s campaign reported raising $12 million in September alone, and a significant portion of that came in after the candidate indicated he would not support a Muslim who did not renounce Sharia Law for president.
The campaign brought in $700,000 in the 36 hours after he made that comment less than two weeks ago, according to campaign manager Barry Bennett.
“I would guess that we’ve outraised the Republican National Committee and many of our opponents maybe combined,” the campaign manager added.
Now flush with cash, Bennett said the campaign has begun implementing plans to buy television ad space across the South for the Super Tuesday primaries on March 1, 2016.
“Sooner or later, they’ll have to realize there’s a new reality or they’ll pay the price,” Bennett said of the Republican establishment. “The outsiders are not going away.”
Now who’s being the child?
Conservative YouTube sensation CJ Pearson, a 13-year-old black middle schooler from Georgia, revealed on Wednesday that he’s been blocked from following President Obama on Twitter. He’s also unable to view the president’s tweets.
11,040 Likes – 4,948 Comments – 5,410 Shares
“It’s an honor,” Pearson tells The American Mirror, insisting he did nothing to warrant being blocked, except his most recent video released last week.
In the video, he accuses the president of playing politics with the Texas student who was suspended for bringing a clock to school that appeared to be a bomb.
“He’s used this child as a political prop,” Pearson said. “This president has used this child to push his radical, leftward agenda. And I think it’s disgusting, and I think many, many people agree.”
Pearson’s video has been viewed over 1.8 million times on YouTube.
UPDATE – 10:23 p.m.:
CJ says the White House issued a statement saying the president didn’t block him on Twitter. CJ responds here:
By now it’s clear: even fellow Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham have piled on, the mainstream media is in an uproar, the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is demanding he drop out of the race, and the only people who agree with Ben Carson’s statements about a Muslim president, Sharia, and the Constitution are racist, bigoted Islamophobes.
“I do not believe Sharia is consistent with the Constitution of this country,” said Carson, and hatemongers everywhere applauded.
The Islamophobes even piled on with hateful statements of their own:
Let’s face the grim truth… There is no evidence whatever that Islam in its various political forms is compatible with modern democracy. From Afghanistan under the Taliban to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and from Iran to Sudan, there is no Islamist entity that can be said to be democratic, just, or a practitioner of good governance.
Oh, the Islamophobia! Ibrahim Hooper and Nihad Awad of CAIR are no doubt gearing up for another press conference to denounce that one, but they’re coming so thick and fast that those guardians of the Constitution may not be able to keep up.
The first basic difference between the political system endorsed by Islam and democracy is that in democracy, the ultimate authority lies with the people. In Islam, however, the ultimate authority doesn’t belong to people; it belongs to God alone. That means that both the ruler and the ruled in Islam are subject to a higher criterion for decision-making, that is, divine guidance.
That would mean that the Constitution would have to give way to Sharia wherever the two conflict, as another Islamophobe makes clear when he says:
Democracy runs counter to Islam on several issues… In democracy, legislation is the prerogative of the people. It is the people who draw up the constitution, and they have the authority to amend it as well. On this issue we differ.
Supposedly, in Islamic thought only Allah legislates. There is no shortage of Islamophobes who spew this hate.
Another howled that in Islam, “democracy, freedom, and human rights have no place.”
Still another yelped that in Islam, “democracy is evil, the parliament is evil and legislation is evil.”
One Islamophobe went Carson one better, saying not only that a Muslim should not be president, but that Muslims shouldn’t even participate in elections. He had the audacity to claim that “electing a president or another form of leadership or council members is prohibited in Islam.”
These Islamophobes have even tried to convince people that because Islam is a “comprehensive system of governance,” many Muslims reject democracy as “a system whereby man violates the right of Allah and decides what is permissible or impermissible for mankind, based solely on their whims and desires.”
One complained that some Muslims even assert that they can only participate in politics in Western societies “on Islam’s terms.”
These must be the kind of Islamophobic statements Carson was reading when he formulated his hateful, bigoted opinions. Shameful.
So who said the awful statements above? Pamela Geller? Geert Wilders? Some other hatemongering profiteer whom all decent people must shun?
In order, the authors of the Islamophobic statements I quote above are:
* Hisham Melhem, the Washington bureau chief of Al-Arabiya,
* Renowned moderate Muslim and Islamic apologist Jamal Badawi,
* Syrian Islamic scholar Abd Al-Karim Bakkar,
* The leader of Iran’s Shia Taliban, Mesbah Yazdi,
* Australian Muslim cleric Ibrahim Siddiq-Conlon,
* Saudi Islamic scholar, Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Nassir Al Barrak,
* A Muslim group in Wales that plastered Cardiff with posters denouncing democracy and exhorting Muslims not to vote, and
* A Muslim group in Denmark that likewise urged Muslims to boycott elections.
Carson’s detractors would no doubt dismiss all these Muslims as “extremists.” All they have to do to make their case, after all, is point to all the thriving Constitutional republics that have Muslim majorities and guarantee freedom of speech, equal rights for women and non-Muslims, and other aspects of traditional Islamic law that Islamophobes claim contradict the Constitution.
In reality, there is not a single country to which they can point. There is no democratic tradition in the Islamic world. There is no history of secular republics, no concept of the equality of all people before the law.
People often invoke Turkey as an example of how Islam and democracy are fully compatible. In reality, the secular Turkish republic was established in an atmosphere of war with Islam, with explicit restrictions placed upon political Islam that were considered necessary so as to rein in its authoritarian, supremacist, anti-democratic tendencies. Now, the Erdogan regime is reasserting Islam’s political aspects. Turkish secularism has been severely weakened, and may not be long for this world.
The absence of Constitutional republics in the Islamic world is no accident. It comes from: Islam’s sharp dichotomy between believers and unbelievers, retarding the development of the principle of equality of rights for all; its blasphemy laws, which hinder the freedom of speech and intellectual development; and its vision of Allah as a solitary and all-powerful despot whose will is absolute – hardly an ideal model upon which to build the idea of parliamentary give-and-take in order to discover the truth or determine the best path.
In Islam, Allah alone reveals the truth and marks out the straight path: Islam.
“We are a different kind of nation,” Ben Carson said as the controversy raged over his remarks. “Part of why we rose so quickly is because we wouldn’t allow our values or principles to be supplanted because we were going to be politically correct… Part of the problem today is that we’re so busy trying to be politically correct, that we lose all perspective.”
Indeed. Lost in the Carson firestorm is the question of whether or not he was right about Islam and Sharia. He was.
Whatever becomes of his presidential ambitions, Americans owe him a debt of gratitude for, even for a brief period, breaking through the media fog of obfuscation about Islam and allowing for some honest discussion of these all-important matters. Even as he stands on the firing line, that may be the most valuable service this good man performs for his country.
The controversy stirred by Ben Carson’s response to a question whether he would support a Muslim for president has worked to his campaign’s benefit, at least in two important ways.
According to ABC News, both donations and the candidate’s following on Facebook have increased significantly since he announced on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday that he would not support a person adhering to the Muslim faith to be President of the United States. Carson’s campaign relayed that the candidate’s Facebook page has picked up more than 100,000 new “likes” in the 24 hours since the interview.
As reported by Western Journalism, the host of Meet the Press, Chuck Todd, asked Dr. Carson: “Should a President’s faith matter?”
“If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter. But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the Constitution, no problem,” he explained.
H/T Right Scoop
H/T Right Scoop
Attendees: Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, and Bobby Jindal.
Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, hailed as a hero around the world for helping stop a gunman’s planned rampage on a train in France last month, will receive the Purple Heart, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Monday.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter will preside over the award ceremony Thursday at which Stone will receive the Purple Heart, as well as the Airman’s Medal, James said at her keynote address at the Air Force Association’s Air and Space Conference. The Air Force had previously announced Stone would receive the Airman’s Medal, which is the Air Force’s highest noncombat award.
Stone’s friend, Army Spc. Alek Skarlatos of the Oregon National Guard, will also be honored in the Pentagon’s center courtyard Thursday.
Stone, Skarlatos and their friend Anthony Sadler were on vacation Aug. 21 when they subdued, disarmed and hogtied a heavily armed gunman on a train heading from Amsterdam to Paris. The gunman, who was armed with an AK-47, a Luger and a box cutter, stabbed Stone during the melee, sending him to the hospital. France awarded all three Americans the Legion of Merit within days of the attack.
Stone “personified [Air Force] values in an extremely heroic fashion when he stopped evil on a French train three weeks ago,” James said.
James said Stone will appear at the AFA conference, as well as other events around Washington later this week.
Last month, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Stone was not eligible for other valor awards such as the Bronze Star with “V” or the Silver Star because his bravery was not during combat. But Welsh left open the possibility of awarding him the Purple Heart, if the attack was determined to be a terrorist attack. Welsh said that at the time the precedent set by awarding the Purple Heart victims of the 2009 Fort Hood attack could allow Stone to receive the same award.
Purple Hearts are typically awarded only for combat actions. But the 2015 Defense Authorization Act extended eligibility for the Purple Heart to service members killed or wounded in attacks by foreign terrorist organizations.
Doug Sterner, curator of the Military Times Hall of Valor, said last month that awarding Stone the Purple Heart – because it is almost always considered a combat medal – could open the door to higher valor awards.
In her speech, James joked about the instant celebrity Stone’s bravery brought him – including an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Live talk show, in which Stone received a new sports car.
“In case you missed it, let me assure you, because I watched Jimmy Kimmel the other night, Spencer Stone will not have any difficulty getting here to Washington, because he was just awarded a brand new Camaro,” James said. “So he’s got a sweet new ride.”
An independent federal agency has just determined that the Department of Veterans Affairs retaliated against whistleblower Bradie Frink because he tried to get the VA to find his lost claims folder.
According to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), retaliation started after Frink, a disabled veteran and employee at the Baltimore Regional Office (BRO) of the Veterans Benefits Administration, contacted Congress when he realized that the VA couldn’t add one of his children as a beneficiary to his disability payments. The reason? Employees couldn’t even locate his claims folder.
As policy, a veteran’s claim folder cannot be stored at the same office where that veteran works, in order to maintain impartiality. When Frink was hired as a clerk in February 2013, the VA attempted to move the folder out to another regional office, but soon discovered that it was lost, even though it appeared in the computer system. Frink initially made several requests, asking the VA to try and locate his folder.
He tried for months. Nothing worked. That’s when Frink decided to contact Sen. Barbara Mikulski on June 5, 2013, with a complaint that the VA was unable to make important service-connected disability payments to him and his family. Mikulski launched an inquriy and forwarded the complaint letter over to BRO, which sparked near immediate retaliation. Incidentally, during the time when Mikulski sent the letter over, BRO was being watched for how it was processing benefits claims.
VA officials started discussing ways to terminate Frink. They succeeded in firing him on July 12, 2013, during his probationary period, despite a clean performance record. Officials alleged that Frink engaged in misconduct, but OSC didn’t buy it.
“OSC’s investigation determined that the VA’s allegations about Mr. Frink lacked evidentiary support; management’s testimony was inconsistent and lacked candor; other witnesses did not corroborate the agency’s version of the events; and termination was an excessive penalty for the alleged misconduct,” the OSC said in a statement. “Further, OSC found one of the VA officials involved in Mr. Frink’s termination showed animus and all three officials involved had a clear motive to retaliate against him.”
With the OSC investigation in hand, VA officials have reinstated Frink with back pay, as well as damages for emotional distress. After a long, hard fight, Frink starts work again Tuesday, over two years after he was fired by supervisors.
“The constitutional right to petition Congress must be guaranteed for all Americans. Federal agencies cannot deny their employees this right even if it leads to scrutiny of their operations,” said Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner in a statement.
The Daily Beast says that 50 spies have signed a document saying that the Obama administration is politicizing their reports on ISIS in order to fit their political narrative:
It’s being called a “revolt” by intelligence pros who are paid to give their honest assessment of the ISIS war – but are instead seeing their reports turned into happy talk.
More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military’s Central Command have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials, The Daily Beast has learned.
The complaints spurred the Pentagon’s inspector general to open an investigation into the alleged manipulation of intelligence. The fact that so many people complained suggests there are deep-rooted, systemic problems in how the U.S. military command charged with the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State assesses intelligence.
“The cancer was within the senior level of the intelligence command,” one defense official said.
Two senior analysts at CENTCOM signed a written complaint sent to the Defense Department inspector general in July alleging that the reports, some of which were briefed to President Obama, portrayed the terror groups as weaker than the analysts believe they are. The reports were changed by CENTCOM higher-ups to adhere to the administration’s public line that the U.S. is winning the battle against ISIS and al Nusra, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, the analysts claim.
This is pretty remarkable – it sounds so much like the spin the government handed down to the public about Vietnam.
The accusations suggest that a large number of people tracking the inner workings of the terror groups think that their reports are being manipulated to fit a public narrative. The allegations echoed charges that political appointees and senior officials cherry-picked intelligence about Iraq’s supposed weapons program in 2002 and 2003.
The two signatories to the complaint were described as the ones formally lodging it, and the additional analysts are willing and able to back up the substance of the allegations with concrete examples.
Some of those CENTCOM analysts described the sizeable cadre of protesting analysts as a “revolt” by intelligence professionals who are paid to give their honest assessment, based on facts, and not to be influenced by national-level policy. The analysts have accused senior-level leaders, including the commander in charge of intelligence and his deputy in CENTCOM, of changing their analyses to be more in line with the Obama administration’s public contention that the fight against ISIS and al Qaeda is making progress. The analysts take a more pessimistic view about how military efforts to destroy the groups are going.
“Cherry-picked” intelligence? Sounds a lot like what they say about the Iraq War, doesn’t it? But what do you wanna bet that they’ll downplay this as much as possible?