Saturday, August 8, 2015

GOP debate contenders give Democrats reason to worry

 Donald Trump may top the polls in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination, but this week’s debate was a reminder that the party has able rivals who eventually could take him down — and who also could mount a stiff challenge to Hillary Rodham Clinton in the general election.
Trump performed in typical style Thursday in the two-hour debate — the same style that has helped him blow past the other candidates. But as the campaigns broke camp here Friday morning, the smiles on the faces of other candidates’ advisers told the fuller story of what happened on the stage at the Quicken Loans Arena.
Everyone came out a winner — or so the rivals’ advisers proclaimed. Some of that bravado was typical post-debate hype, but some of it was grounded in reality. Trump may have been the center of attention, but others performed more effectively overall.
For months, Republican leaders have talked about the breadth, depth and potential strength of their candidates. As a group, the aspiring nominees are certainly more experienced and seemingly more ready for a national campaign than the collection of politicians who sought to deny Mitt Romney the GOP nomination in 2012.
In a field of 17 candidates, Trump’s poll numbers are impressive. He’s getting a fifth to a quarter of the GOP vote in national polls. In those polls, his nearest rivals are drawing half or less of his support.
To Trump, that already makes him a winner. But the Republican race will not remain a 17-candidate scrum indefinitely. When the field shrinks, Trump will find himself in a different battle, and it will probably not be as favorable to him as this summer’s contest has been.
Trump complained after the debate that the Fox News moderators — Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace — had treated him badly, with unfair questions designed to embarrass him and ultimately bring him down. The judgment from many others was that the three did an exceptional job, with probing questions not only for Trump but also for others on the stage.
Trump set the tone early in a combative exchange with Kelly over some of the derogatory words he has used to describe women. He got a big laugh when, as Kelly quoted his words, he interjected, “Only Rosie O’Donnell.” It seemed like classic Trump — delivering a quick, sharp riposte in the face of a potentially damaging accusation — although he then went too far and attacked Kelly, continuing to do so on Twitter after the debate.

Obama Admin Sending Terror Suspects To Counseling

An image grab taken from an AFPTV video on September 16, 2014 shows a jihadist from the Islamic State (IS) group standing on the rubble of houses after a Syrian warplane was reportedly shot down by IS militants over the Syrian town of Raqa. (AFP/Getty Images)
The FBI is now referring some potential terror suspects to counseling in a new strategy to defeat homegrown Islamic State supporters.
Rather than lock up everyone in the U.S. suspected of potential terrorist activity, the FBI will refer up to 10 percent of the thousands of people under investigation to counseling, reported The Wall Street Journal.
Proponents of the plan told TheWSJ it will ease the FBI’s investigative burden, and provide a possible “off ramp” from radicalization for some of the thousands of people in the U.S. interested in ISIS, especially minors. (RELATED: FBI Busts Alleged Homegrown Jihadi Ring In Minnesota)
“Nobody wants to see a 15-year-old kid go to jail if they don’t have to,” an official working on the new plan told TheWSJ, adding that the FBI will continue monitoring potential suspects referred to counseling and stand ready to arrest them.
Some inside federal law enforcement are pushing back against the plan, because of the potentially deadly consequences of misjudging potential suspects.
“I get the principle,” former FBI counterterrorism agent Peter Ahearn told TheWSJ. “But there are a lot of potential problems with this, and I think it’s a wrong move.”
A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman told TheWSJ it works closely with the FBI and believes “successful interventions will be ones conducted with the appropriate participation of community leaders, educators, mental health professionals, religious leaders, parents, peers and law enforcement, depending on the specific circumstances.”
DHS is marketing citizenship to immigrants as part of its strategy to fight homegrown terror, betting potential access to shared citizenship rights will dissuade people from linking up with ISIS. (RELATED: Boston Partners With The Feds To Market Citizenship To Illegals)

The Future Costs Of Politically Correct Cultism: “I See No Other Alternative But Utter Conflict”

finally did it

I rarely touch on the subject of political correctness as a focus in my writings, partially because the entire issue is so awash in pundits on either side that the scrambling clatter of voices tends to drown out the liberty movement perspective. Also, I don’t really see PC cultism as separate from the problems I am always battling against: collectivism and the erasure of the individual in the name of pleasing society. Political correctness is nothing more than a tool that collectivists and statists exploit in order to better achieve their endgame, which is conning the masses into believing that the group mind is real and that the individual mind is fiction.
Last year, I covered the PC issue in my article “The Twisted Motives Behind Political Correctness.” I believe I analyzed the bulk of the issue extensively. However, the times are changing at a pace that boggles the mind; and this is by design. So, it may be necessary to square off against this monstrosity once again.
In order to better examine the true insanity of what many people now term “social justice warriors,” I must study a few aspects of that strange movement separately. First, let’s take a brief look at the mindset of your average social justice circus clown so that we might better understand what makes him/her/it tick.

Rebel Without A Legitimate Cause

I spent several years (up until 2004, when I woke up from the false paradigm madness) as a Democrat. And before anyone judges that particular decision, I would suggest they keep in mind the outright fascist brothel for the military-industrial complex the Republican Party had become at that point and remains to this day. Almost every stepping stone that Barack Obama is using today to eradicate the Constitution was set in place by the Bush dynasty, including the Authorization Of Military Force, which was the foundation for the National Defence Authorization Act and the legal precedence for indefinite detention without trial of ANY person (including an American citizen) accused of terrorism by the president of the U.S., as well as the use of assassination by executive order and the implementation of mass electronic surveillance without warrant.

But, hell, these are real issues — issues that many of my fellow Democrats at the time claimed they actually cared about. Today, though, liberal concerns about unconstitutional actions by the federal government have all but vanished. Today, the left fights the good fight against flags on the hoods of cars from long-canceled television shows and battles tooth and nail for the “right” of boys wearing wigs and skirts to use the girl’s bathroom. Today, the left even fights to remove the words “boy” and “girl” from our vocabulary. Yes, such noble pursuits as these will surely be remembered as a pinnacle in the annals of societal reform.

Maybe I realize the ideological goals of the social justice machine are meaningless on a surface level; and maybe you realize this, too. But these people live in their own little universe, which doesn’t extend far beyond the borders of their college campuses, the various Web forums they have hijacked and a trendy Marxist wine-and-swinger party here and there in New York or Hollywood. They actually think that they are on some great social crusade on par with the civil rights movements of the mid-1900s. They think they are the next Martin Luther King Jr. or the next Gandhi. The underlying banality and pointlessness of their cause completely escapes them. The PC cult is, in many respects, the antithesis of the liberty movement. We fight legitimate threats against legitimate freedoms; they fight mostly imaginary threats and seek to eradicate freedoms.

Don’t get me wrong; sometimes our concerns do align. For instance, liberty proponents fight back against the militarization of police just as avidly as leftists do, if not more so. But our movements handle the problem in very different ways. Look at Ferguson, Missouri, where anyone with any sense should be able to admit that the government response to protests was absolutely a step toward tyranny, ignoring violent looters while attacking peaceful activists. Leftists and PC cultists decided to follow the Saul Alinsky/communist playbook, busing in provocateurs from Chicago to further loot and burn down businesses even if they belonged to ethnic minorities. In the meantime, the liberty movement and Oath Keepers sent armed and trained men to defend those businesses REGARDLESS of who owned them and defied police and federal agents who tried to stop them.

The left gave the police and government a rationale for being draconian, while we removed the need for police and government entirely by providing security for the neighborhood (killing two birds with one stone). Either their methods are purely ignorant and do not work, or their methods are meant to achieve the opposite of their claims. In the end, the PC movement only serves establishment goals toward a fully collectivist and centralized society.  Their publicly stated intentions are otherwise pointless.
Your average PC drone does not understand the grander plan at work, nor does he want to. All he cares about is that he has found a “purpose” — a fabricated purpose as a useful idiot for power brokers, but a purpose nonetheless.

People Must Be Forced To Bake Gay Cakes

I personally do not care if two people of the same gender want to be in a relationship, but I do find the issue of gay marriage (and marriage in general) a rather odd conflict that misses the whole point. Marriage has been and always will be a religious institution, not federal; and I find government involvement in this institution to be rather despicable. When the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage came down, I felt a little sorry for all the joyfully hopping homosexuals on the marbled steps of the hallowed building, primarily because they essentially were fighting for the state to provide recognition and legitimacy for their relationships. Frankly, who gives a rip what the state has to say in terms of your relationships or mine? The state is an arbitrary edifice, a facade wielding illusory power. If a relationship is based on true and enduring connection, then that is all that matters, whether the Supreme Court dignifies it or not.

The only advantage to solidifying gay marriage in the eyes of the state is the advantage of being able to then use the state as an attack dog in order to force religious institutions to accept the status of gays in the same way the government does. And unfortunately, this is exactly what the PC cult is doing.  What they do not seem to understand is that recognition by the state does not necessarily translate to recognition by religious organizations, nor should it.

Should an individual, organization or business be allowed to refuse service to anyone for any reason? Should the state be allowed to force people into servitude to one group or another even if it is against their core values?

PC champions desperately try to make these questions a matter of “discrimination” alone. But they are more about personal rights and personal property and less about “hate speech.” Under natural law, as well as under the constitution, an individual has every right to refuse association with any other person for ANY reason. If I do not like you, the government does not have the authority to force me to be around you or to work for you. But this line has been consistently blurred over the years through legal chicanery. As I’m sure most readers are familiar, the issue of gay cakes seems to arise over and over, as in cases in Colorado and Oregon in which religiously oriented business owners were punished for refusing to provide service for gay customers.  Keep in mind, these businesses did not refuse outright service to gays.  What they did refuse, was to make gay wedding cakes.  To do so would have been in outright conflict with their religious principles.

Punishments have included crippling fines designed to put store owners out of business and have even included gag orders restricting the freedom of businesses to continue speaking out against the orientation of customers they have refused to do business with.

In order to validate such actions, leftists will invariably bring up segregation as a backdrop for the gay cake debate. “What if the customers were black,” they ask. “Is it OK for a business to be whites only?”
My response?  Yes, according the dictates of individual liberty, yes it is okay.

First, to be clear, I am talking specifically about private individuals and businesses, not public institutions as in the argument explored during Brown v. Board of Education. Private and public spaces are different issues with different nuances. I personally believe it is ignorant to judge someone solely on the color of his skin, and sexual orientation is not necessarily an issue to me. But it is equally ignorant for someone to think that the state exists to protect his feelings from being hurt. I’m sorry, but discrimination is a fact of life and always will be as long as individualism exists. The PC cultists don’t just want government recognition of their status; they want to homogenize individualism, erase it, and force the rest of us to vehemently approve of that status without question. This is unacceptable.

Your feelings do not matter. They are not superior in importance to the fundamental freedom of each individual to choose his associations.

If a business refuses to serve blacks, or gays, or Tibetans, then, hey, it probably just lost a lot of potential profit. But that should absolutely be the business’s choice and not up to the government to dictate. And in the case of “gay discrimination,” I think it is clear that the PC crowd is using the newfound legal victim group status of gays as a weapon to attack religiously based organizations. Make no mistake, this will not end with gay cakes. It is only a matter of time before pressure is brought to bear against churches as well for “discrimination.” And at the very least, I foresee many churches abandoning their 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.  Again, marriage has been and always will be a religious institution.  The PC crowd will not be happy with government recognition alone.  They want to force recognition from everyone.

If a group wants fair treatment in this world, that is one thing. I believe a gay person has every right to open HIS OWN bakery and bake gay marriage cakes to his little heart’s content. I believe a black person has every right to dislike white people, as some do, and refuse to associate with them or or do business with them if that’s what he/she wants. I also believe that under natural and constitutional law, a religious business owner is an independent and free individual with the right to choose who he will work for or accept money from. If he finds a customer’s behavior to be against his principles, he should not be forced to serve that person, their feelings be damned.

This is fair.

What is not fair is the use of government by some groups to gain an advantage over others based on the legal illusion of victim group status. PC cultists want us to think that choice of association is immoral and damaging to the group. I have to say I find them to be far more intolerant and dangerous than the people they claim to be fighting against, and this attitude is quickly devolving into full bore tyranny under the guise of “humanitarianism.”

Weekly Republican Address :Corker upcoming Senate debate on president's Iran deal Saturday August 8, 2015

Rather than 'end' Iran's nuclear program, this deal allows them to industrialize it over time -- with our approval. Instead of the once promised 'anytime, anywhere' inspections, this agreement gives Iran nearly a month of advanced notice to hide any evidence of developing a nuclear weapon. And this deal won't allow a single U.S. inspector on the ground, relying on an arm of the UN to conduct those inspections. Even worse, there are two secret side deals -- we can't ever see -- that appear to restrict inspectors' access to key sites. And after only nine months, all major sanctions will be relieved. At that point, the leverage shifts from us to Iran.

Target to phase out gender-based signs

Target to phase out gender-based signs | TheHill
Target announced plans Friday to start phasing out gender-based signs in its department stores.
The retailer said it’s responding to questions customers have raised about signs that offer product suggestions based on gender.
“In some cases, like apparel, where there are fit and sizing differences, it makes sense,” the company said in a news release on its website. “In others, it may not.”
Signs in the kids’ bedding area, for example, will no longer feature suggestions for boys or girls, just kids. In the Toy aisles, Target said it plans to remove the pink, blue, yellow and green paper on the back walls of store shelves that's now used to reference gender.
“You’ll see these changes start to happen over the next few months,” the company said.
The news from Target comes as transgender people appear to be gaining ground in the fight for equality.  
In July, the Defense Department said it’s beginning the process to lift the ban on open service for transgender troops and introduced legislation to add gender identity and sexual orientation to federal statutes, which now only prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. 

Obama Weekly Address: Reaffirming Our Commitment to Protecting the Right to Vote Saturday August 8, 2015

In this week's address, the President celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act by underscoring the importance of one of the most fundamental rights of our democracy – that all of us are created equal and that each of us deserves a voice. The enactment of the Voting Rights Act wasn’t easy – it was the product of sacrifice from countless men and women who risked so much to protect every person’s right to vote.
The President reminded us about their struggle and that while our country is a better place because of it, there is still work to be done. He promised to continue to push Congress for new legislation to protect everyone’s right to the polls, and asked that all Americans, regardless of party, use every opportunity possible to exercise the fundamental right to vote.

In plea to reverse detention ruling, Obama lawyers warn of wave of family border crossings Justice Department lawyers ask judge to reconsider her order

Children walk to class at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.

Justice Department lawyers ask judge to reconsider her order
Claim family detention centers are now just processing centers
Argue migrants shouldn’t be released just because they can’t be processed in three days

Federal officials have not given up yet on family detention. They warned a judge Friday that her ruling against detaining migrant mothers and children could lead to another surge of migrant families attempting to enter the country illegally if they believe their children are the key to avoiding detention.
U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Central California ruled last month that that the Obama administration’s family detention policy violates an 18-year-old court settlement regarding the detention of migrant children. She said the hundreds of detained parents and children should be released.
Department of Justice lawyers responded to the ruling Friday asking her to reconsider her decision. Benjamin Mizer, principal deputy assistant attorney general, wrote in a briefing that the judge’s order had significant policy consequences. The ruling could be understood to require Homeland Security officials to release “all families” into the United States even if they have no legitimate claims to remain just because it takes the government longer than the three to five days allotted to process and remove them, he said.
“The Court’s proposed remedy – to the extent that it eliminates the Government’s ability to use expedited removal or reinstated orders of removal for families under any circumstances – could cause another notable increase in the numbers of parents choosing to cross the border with their children.” Mizer wrote.
Judge Gee’s July 24 ruling delivered a significant blow to the Obama administration’s policy of detaining mothers and children who say they’re fleeing violence in their home countries. In a 25-page ruling, Gee said she found it “astonishing” that immigration authorities had adopted a policy requiring such an expensive infrastructure without more evidence that it would be compliant with the decades old agreement.
The administration detains about 1,700 parents and children at three family detention centers in Karnes City and Dilley, Texas and in Berks County, Pa.
The facilities have been the subject of intense public and media scrutiny. There have been allegations of poor conditions and sexual abuse. But Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials say the detainees are well cared for. The facilities have playgrounds, playrooms and televisions.
The administration has responded to the scrutiny by reigning in the program, which Justice lawyers cited in their court documents.
This spring, federal officials promised to improve conditions for the detained mothers and children. In June, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced federal authorities would end long-term detentions of families. Last month, federal officials began releasing hundreds of detained mothers and children who had demonstrated they have reason to fear persecution if returned to their home countries.
Mitzer wrote that families are now staying at the center’s an average of only 20 days where federal officials conduct health screenings and determine whether family members are eligible to remain in the United States.
“Defendants are effectively transitioning the facilities into processing centers,” Mitzer wrote.
The judge noted the “reforms” in her July 24 order, but said voluntary compliance wouldn’t stop the federal government from reverting back to the violating practice later on.
Justice officials have requested that Judge Gee allow them to conduct oral arguments on Aug. 24 during a related hearing on a lawyer facing contempt charges for leaking settlement documents to McClatchy.

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Jobs shock: 100% of female employment gains taken by foreigners since 2007

Jobs shock: 100% of female employment gains taken by foreigners since 2007 | Washington Examiner

Under Obama, all job gains among women have gone to foreign-born females. AP Photo

All of the employment gains among women since the recession hit in December 2007 have been taken by foreigners, even at a time when the numbers of U.S.-born women surged more than 600,000, according to new federal statistics.
The jobs data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed gains in the "employment level" among "foreign born women" and losses among "native born women."
The charts show that 9.041 million foreign-born women held jobs in December of 2007 compared to 10.028 million today – or a gain of roughly 1 million jobs.
In contrast, 59.322 million U.S.-born women held jobs in December of 2007 compared to 59.258 million today – or a loss of nearly 64,000 jobs.
Overall, nearly 25 million foreign workers, men and women, hold jobs inside the United States, according to a Senate immigration expert.
The shocking female jobs statistic comes as the U.S. provides some 1 million green cards to new permanent immigrants, along with 700,000 foreign workers visas, and accepts 70,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, and half a million foreign students.
And according to Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., if changes to green card allotments are not changed and lowered, the U.S. will issue more green cards to new permanent immigrants over the next decade than the combined populations of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

[VIDEO] National Right To Work President Mark Mix testifying at the U.S. House hearing “The NLRB’s Assault on Right To Work” (6/3/2015)

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Behind the Fox debate: How the anchors hashed out the questions

GOP 2016 Debate_Cham640360.jpg

It was clear to everyone in a windowless conference room in the basement of Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena that this would be the most incendiary question of the debate.
Megyn Kelly, flanked by Bret Baier on her right and Chris Wallace on her left, read to the assembled group of executives and producers the wording she had crafted.
Kelly said she would ask Donald Trump: "You’ve called women you don't like 'fat pigs', 'dogs', 'slobs'" and "disgusting animals", including on Twitter. Did he have the temperament to be president?
There was some discussion of whether another woman, Hillary Clinton, should be added to the question. Kelly wanted to keep the Twitter reference so people could go online and see for themselves what Trump had written over the years and that it wasn’t just about Rosie O’Donnell. She felt there was a good chance she would be booed by the audience—and that The Donald would hit back hard.
“If Trump comes after me, don’t jump in and save me,” Kelly told her co-moderators.
As it turned out, part of the audience tittered, Trump interrupted to say he was talking about Rosie, then said he was not politically correct and had always been nice to Megyn—but maybe he shouldn’t be anymore. He had parried a hard question with a series of thrusts.
Thursday night’s presidential debate was the product of a seemingly endless series of meetings involving Fox executives and the Baier-Kelly-Wallace team, which also handled the debates in 2011 and 2012. The arduous phrasing and honing of the questions was complicated by the time constraints imposed by having 10 candidates on stage.
For all the media chatter about Fox and the Republican Party, these sessions were driven by one goal: how to ask the candidates tough questions and pin them down. I saw the same meticulous process as a reporter at an Orlando debate in 2011, before I joined Fox News. The anchors barreled ahead, knowing full well that their aggressive approach in Cleveland would draw flak from some on the right.
The team spent considerable time on the wording of what would be the night’s first question: Would everyone on stage agree to endorse the winner of the Republican primaries? The discussion turned to whether that seemed like a Trump question.
“It is a Trump question,” Washington Managing Editor Bill Sammon said.
Baier would ask for a show of hands. What if Trump was the only one not to take the pledge? Then, the group decided, the “Special Report” anchor would ask a followup about how Trump could seek the GOP nod without ruling out a third-party bid. (Trump took the bait, raised his hand, and the debate made news in its opening moments.)
Wallace offered up a question for Jeb Bush, tying it to Hillary Clinton’s recent charge that he is part of the war on women. As the “Fox News Sunday” anchor described it, he would ask the former Florida governor about supporting a defunding of Planned Parenthood and his recent foot-in-mouth comment that $500 million might be too much to spend on women’s health.
Kelly also discussed a question about opposition to abortion for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who did not support making an exception if the mother’s life was at stake. Did that stance render him out of the mainstream?
With a number of hot-button issues slated for the top, there was concern in the room that some viewers, or candidates, might find that jarring. “We should forecast it, here we come with our hot stuff,” Baier suggested.
Baier tried out a question about Marco Rubio’s tax plan and whether it amounted to “trickle-down economics.” Sammon wondered whether the lengthy question could be streamlined.
Kelly's potential question for Ben Carson centered on his past misstatements, such as not knowing that the Baltic states were part of NATO. Was the surgeon too inexperienced to be president?
The thrust of these sessions was about how best to probe the candidates’ weaknesses, get them off their talking points and close off rhetorical escape routes.
But there were also mundane considerations, such as what sound would cut off the candidates after 60 seconds—a basketball buzzer was considered and rejected--and how many questions and answers, divided into what the team called “buckets,” could be squeezed in before each set of commercials. One such break would last nearly four minutes and, a staffer explained, give the 10 candidates a chance to go to the bathroom.
Kelly relished the idea: “Men are finally going to be in the same position as women are with the bathrooms—all going to the same stall.”
Although the session waded deep into the nitty-gritty, everyone in the room was acutely aware of the stakes.
Michael Clemente, Fox’s executive vice president for news, told the gathering it was “breathtaking to see how much attention” the debate was drawing. “I think it’s going to be as big as LeBron going back to Cleveland,” he said.
By yesterday afternoon, there was more banter and kibitzing to break the tension, especially on what were seen as difficult questions. Kelly said she planned to ask Ohio Gov. John Kasich about expanding Medicaid in his state by saying St. Peter at the pearly gates would ask what he did for the poor: “Why should people think you won’t use the St. Peter rationale to expand every government program?” That prompted a chorus of oooh’s.
Kelly, who famously asked Jeb Bush the question that tripped him up on the Iraq war, now planned to ask him about the families of those killed in action: “How do you now look at them and say your brother’s war was a mistake?” Another strong reaction.
Baier was torn between asking Trump one of two questions, either about his past support for single-payer health care and other liberal programs, or about his contributions to Democratic lawmakers. The room was divided as well. (He wound up asking both.)
Some of the back-and-forth turned on math. Trump and Bush were each down for seven questions, and Marco Rubio for six after a “hanging chad” recount, but Ted Cruz would have two rebuttals. Were they being careful enough in splitting up the time?
“I don’t want to be defending how some guy got shortchanged,” Sammon said.
He paused for a moment of reflection, telling the group: “I have one tiny tiny worry, in 1 percent of my brain, that it’ll be anticlimactic," that the anchors would have to "spur it along.”
An hour before airtime, Brit Hume, the Fox debate veteran who stopped by the windowless conference room, wondered if the moderators would ask about a Politico story quoting an unnamed donor as saying Bush had called Trump a "buffoon," "clown" and "asshole."
The consensus was to ask Bush if it was true, perhaps drawing a response from The Donald. But how to deal with the language issue?
"You say A-hole," Hume said.
"You can't say A-hole," Kelly responded. "You can't even say blank-hole."
The compromise was "a word that cannot be repeated on television."
On stage Bush denied the story, but called Trump’s rhetoric “divisive.” Trump, with a nod toward the moderators, said “I don’t think they like me very much.” It was anything but dull.  
"These are really good questions," tweeted Jeff Greenfield, the former ABC and CNN correspondent. "The moderators have done their homework, thought through what they want to zero in on."

OHIO: College Lays Off Hundreds, Blows $900k On President’s Mansion

The University of Akron, a public college in Ohio, is attracting ridicule over the revelation that it has spent lavishly to renovate its president’s house while also trying to plug a $60 million budget hole.
In an emergency effort to rapidly cut its expenses by $40 million, Akron has announced that it is eliminating 215 positions at the school. Victims of the cuts include the school’s non-profit publishing company, a big chunk of its theater staff, and its baseball team.
Scrutiny over the deep, rapid cuts has led to local press discovering that one reason for the school’s big financial hole is a massive splurge last year on the university president’s house.
According to documents obtained by the Northeast Ohio Media Group, the school spent about $950,000 renovating a house for current president Scott Scarborough, who arrived at the school late last year. The house already belonged to the school, but had received no significant work in 15 years under Scarborough’s predecessor.
While several hundred thousand dollars were spent on renovations to the heating, plumbing, and other essential parts of the house, this price tag also included a host of lavish improvements.
For example, an invoice published by The Akron Beacon-Journal found over $150,000 in spending on furnishings and decorations for the house. Purchases include several thousand-dollar chairs, five thousand-dollar kitchen stools, and an $1,800 bedroom mirror.
Most notoriously, though, the purchases include a $556 decorative olive jar, which has been swiftly singled out for ridicule by those critical of Akron’s excess. The olive jar already has its own Facebook and Twitter pages, with its “comments” including statements along the lines of “Holy shit! I cost that much?”
Akron is a public college, but has tried to defend the house spending by saying it was paid for exclusively from private donations rather than public funds. But the school also assigned a substantial number of school staff to spend hundreds of hours working on the renovation, and those staff were state employees.
Akron has had to suppress a great deal of bad publicity stemming from the layoffs, even creating a special page entitled “Just the Facts” to counter claims such “The University’s academics wallow in mediocrity” and “The University’s graduation rates are awful.”

Defense says prosecutor steered police away from evidence Freddie Gray had history of 'crash for cash' schemes

Baltimore prosecutors to seek sanctions against police officers' defense teamThe police detectives who investigated the death of Freddie Gray were told that he had a history of participating in "crash-for-cash" schemes — injuring himself in law enforcement settings to collect settlements — but were advised by a state prosecutor not to pursue the information, according to defense attorneys for the six officers charged in Gray's arrest and death.


Uber and the Democrats’ Old Ways | The American Spectator
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton doesn’t get it. Obama administration Labor Secretary Thomas Perez doesn’t get it. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio doesn’t seem to get it, either, as he only reluctantly reversed a bad decision on the matter.

In fact, generally, in a somewhat surprising reversal, many so-called Democratic “progressives” want to protect the old ways. But there are exceptions, like Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who worked with Uber to create a legal framework in his state; Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who says that hailing a cab has provided some of his most humiliating moments; and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), a Brooklynite who during Uber’s recent showdown with de Blasio said, in essence, “What’s wrong with a little competition?”
On the other hand, Republicans, who are accused occasionally of supporting “crony capitalism,” have embraced the new way and have been eager to let in new businesses to compete. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican presidential hopeful, gets it. One of the chapters in his recent book is titled, “Making America Safe for Uber.”

The new way is the “sharing” or “gig” economy of Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and others. Republican politicians seem more open to embracing these new businesses and new jobs, and the freedom of citizens to contract with each other.  

Spurred by unions, powerful bureaucracies, a lack of personal experience, and perhaps a more favorable view of regulation, many Democrats want to ban, restrict, and tax these services.

A politician’s position on Uber is a proxy for how in touch they are with their community. De Blasio obviously had no idea how people move around his city. And Clinton likely hasn’t driven a car in decades. What all politicians should start seeing is why it is both bad policy and bad politics to jump in aggressively and try to ban or heavily burden these services. 

It’s bad policy because the transportation services are not just for upper-class urban dwellers. In fact, as a college president recently discovered while moonlighting as an Uber driver, these services are an important alternative for the working poor with limited public transportation options. They also don’t discriminate against minorities, the way many taxi drivers do.
Meanwhile, the home-sharing phenomenon created by Airbnb brings needed cash (and sometimes a cure for loneliness) for homeowners while allowing locales to attract additional visitors.

All this economic activity adds to reportable income and benefits both the public coffers and the economy.

My personal experiences with these services are almost all positive. My brother makes his mortgage payments on his Hawaii home only thanks to Airbnb. (He pays the same local taxes as a hotel.) My family is visiting Manhattan for a few days in August, and by using Airbnb we can have a reasonably priced separate room for the kids. (Try finding a Manhattan two-bedroom hotel room for less than $1,000 a day.)

I travel a lot for business and rely on Uber. I find ride hailing service drivers better. They have clean, smoke-free cars; they don't talk on the phone while driving; and our rating of each other after the drive ensures we both are courteous and safe. It is simply better than the typical cab experience. Plus, it is great competition.

In July, I took an Uber from Denver to Aspen for $240, less than half the cost of any timely alternative. It was scenic and fun, and I connected with the driver. Compare that to my United Airlines experience for that reverse route months earlier, when I paid double what I paid Uber, plus got hit with $250 in excess-baggage fees and was told a two-day-old policy barred me from checking my bags to another airline. (Thus, I missed my connecting Delta flight.) Yes, Uber was a great substitute for United.

It’s bad politics to oppose these services as they delight millions of average Americans. Moreover, they contribute to the financial well-being of tens of thousands of Americans who rely on them for supplemental income. For 84 percent of Lyft drivers, it’s not a full-time job. Uber likely has similar numbers.  

Some “progressives” are uncomfortable and argue that these drivers and homeowners are somehow worse off without government intervention. They want regulation going beyond safety, background screening, and insurance. They want union-like regulation for home-sharing and employee-related regulations and benefits for Uber and Lyft drivers.
Talk about imposing the nanny state on consenting adults. Having taken scores of Uber or Lyft rides, I have yet to meet a driver who says they want the government determining their employment status.

So, if Democratic politicians want to dig in their heels in fealty to unions and unnecessarily burden these services, Republicans can make inroads on many traditional Democratic constituencies. I can't wait to see the platforms of both parties leading up to their conventions. I predict that Republicans will embrace the sharing economy and that Democrats will try to, but add a lot of ifs, ands, or buts.

Via: American Spectator

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Democrats: They're All Socialists Now by LARRY ELDER

democrats, socialists, - Google Search

Socialism, according to, is defined as: "A theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole."
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, recently appeared on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews." Matthews asked, "What is the difference between a Democrat and a socialist?"
Wasserman Schultz laughed, looked stunned, and began hemming and hawing. Matthews helpfully interjected, "I used to think there was a big difference. What do you think it is?" Still, Wasserman Schultz refused to give him a straight answer. "The difference between -- the real question," she said, "is what's the difference between being a Democrat and being a Republican."
Matthews tried again: "Yeah, but what's the big difference between being a Democrat and being a socialist? You're the chairwoman of the Democratic Party. Tell me the difference between you and a socialist."
Still, Wasserman Schultz wouldn't answer the question .
A few days ago Chuck Todd of NBC's "Meet the Press" offered her a chance for a do-over. He replayed the exchange with Matthews, then asked: "Given that (Democratic presidential candidate) Bernie Sanders is an unabashed socialist and believes in social democratic governments -- (he) likes the ones in Europe -- what is the difference? Can you explain the difference?"
And again she either could not or would not answer, and wanted to discuss the difference between Republicans and Democrats.
On the one hand, Wasserman Schultz might have refused to answer because she did not want to put her thumb on the scale of the self-described socialist candidate Bernie Sanders or the likely nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton. No matter what Wasserman Schultz would've said, it would injure one while helping the other.
That's one explanation. But the more likely explanation is simple. There is no real distinction between today's Democrats and socialists. A few years ago Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., conducted hearings in which she grilled oil executives for alleged price fixing. She threatened to nationalize their business. Did (SET ITAL) any (END ITAL) Democrat speak out against her threat? No.
Newsweek, in 2009, ran a cover story with the headline: "We Are All Socialists Now." Jon Meacham wrote:
"The U.S. government has already -- under a conservative Republican administration -- effectively nationalized the banking and mortgage industries. That seems a stronger sign of socialism than $50 million for art. Whether we want to admit it or not -- and many, especially Congressman (Mike) Pence and (Sean) Hannity, do not -- the America of 2009 is moving toward a modern European state. ...
"... If we fail to acknowledge the reality of the growing role of government in the economy, insisting instead on fighting 21st-century wars with 20th-century terms and tactics, then we are doomed to a fractious and unedifying debate. The sooner we understand where we truly stand, the sooner we can think more clearly about how to use government in today's world. ...
"... This is not to say that berets will be all the rage this spring, or that Obama has promised a croissant in every toaster oven. But the simple fact of the matter is that the political conversation, which shifts from time to time, has shifted anew, and for the foreseeable future Americans will be more engaged with questions about how to manage a mixed economy than about whether we should have one."
Polls, too, show that most Democrats are quite comfortable with socialism. A recent poll found 52 percent of Democrats had a favorable opinion about socialism.
Bernie Sanders has always caucused with Democrats, and they are perfectly comfortable with him. He's still a long shot for the Democratic nomination, but he is rising in the polls. If there is a distinction between him and President Barack Obama on anything major, what is it? Both pushed "universal health care." Both oppose the Keystone pipeline. Both believe taxes should be raised on "rich" people. Both believe in the redistribution of income. Obama wants two years of "free" community college. Sanders wants to make college "free" altogether. Both attack "corporate greed" and both belong to the school of economics that says, "you didn't build that."
Andy Stern, then the head of the Democratic Party-supporting Service Employees International Union, said, "I think Western Europe, as much as we used to make fun of it, has made different trade-offs which may have ended up with a little more unemployment but a lot more equality."
That's an acceptable trade-off in today's Democratic Party.
Jack Kennedy, a tax cutter, defended his plan by arguing it would invigorate the economy. He wanted growth and said, "A rising tide lifts all boats." Today's Democrat, like Wasserman Schultz, would deride Kennedy as a greedy Republican advocate of "trickle down."
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at
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