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Bullied for Criticizing Hamas by Own Mosque: Dr. Zuhdi Jasser
Think religious intimidation doesn’t happen in America? Think again. Old-guard ideologues make it crystal clear to their Muslim critics: Take us on and we will make an example of you as a traitor to the Muslim community

BY DR. M. ZUHDI JASSER
August 26th, 2014
What happens in Syria, Egypt, Iraq or Gaza has an impact every day right here in the Valley [Scottsdale, Arizona].

Even in America, leading Muslim organizations and clerics bully with threats of ostracism those Muslims who dare to dissent. Old-guard ideologues, too, used to monopoly control, make it crystal clear to their Muslim critics: Take us on and we will make an example of you as a traitor to the Muslim community (the ummah).

On July 28, Muslims around the world celebrated Eid al-Fitr (Holiday of the Feast) marking the end of our holy month of Ramadan, a spiritual month of daily fasting from all food and drink. In Ramadan, we focus on scripture, self-reflection and atonement. My family and I attended the holiday Eid prayer service at the Islamic Center of the Northeast Valley of which we are longtime members.

Little did we know Imam Yaser Ali, a Valley attorney, would use this otherwise joyous family holiday occasion to target me in the presence of my wife and children.

With more than 500 local Muslims in attendance, he riled up the crowd, demanding a community “effort” against those Muslims “who go on Fox News and speak ill against our Muslim brothers and sisters … who make the mosques look bad.” These individuals, he said, “hate Islam” and “vilify Muslims.”

While Mr. Ali never had the courage to say my name, no doubt remained in the mosque, or later on social media, that he was referring to me. He finished his tirade with “they are not from amongst us … they don’t represent us; we, the Muslim community represent one another, and we care for our brothers and sisters in Palestine.”

Apparently, the Scottsdale mosque’s leadership decided, or at the minimum voiced no disagreement, that for Muslims this Ramadan it is not Hamas, al-Qaida, ISIS, Boko Haram, the Muslim Brotherhood, or the evil regimes from Assad’s Syria to Iran or Saudi Arabia or even radicalized American jihadists in Syria that deserve targeting from the pulpit, but only a local, reform-minded activist — Zuhdi Jasser.

This imam meticulously described what he knows too well would garner me a death sentence as a munafiq (hypocrite), or murtad (apostate), for the crime of riddah (apostasy, treason) according to the interpretation of Shariah law accepted by Saudi Arabia and most Muslim-majority countries.

What was the crime prompting my metaphorical flogging in the presence of my wife, children and friends’ families on this holiday?

A few days earlier I had criticized the radicals of Hamas on national television for their supremacist Islamist doctrine hatched from the Muslim Brotherhood that daily and viciously oppresses the people of Gaza. I urged Hamas to stop the war mongering, refusal of cease fires, and launching of thousands of rockets that victimize Palestinian women, children and families, and I criticized CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations).

To Imam Yaser Ali that was worthy of takfir, a declaration of public apostasy. The mosque board and audience responded to his call to action against me, a Muslim he described as of “those who hate Islam,” with a resounding “inshallah” (God willing).

In the days to follow, local social media filled with subtle and not-so-subtle threats against me and my family from some rather prominent Valley Muslims.

While the venue was new, the mantra was a cheap rehash of the old, scorched-earth smear tactics peddled by the CAIR. Right after declaring me the enemy of all Muslims, Mr. Ali spoke of the so-called religious obligation to donate generously to CAIR. This was all reminiscent of the May 9, 2014, sermon, visiting CAIR-LA director Hussam Ayloush, who regularly takes to Twitter with other CAIR directors tocall me an “Uncle Tom” and a “monkey,” gave across town at the Islamic Community Center of Tempe to slam me as an “Islamophobe.”

While CAIR claims to simply be a Muslim civil-rights organization, in response to a U.S. Senate inquiry, the FBI is on record since 2009 that, “until we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and Hamas, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner.”

In the meantime, the growth of our reform groups like the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and our coalition of anti-Islamist Muslim groups makes Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups like CAIR livid. Their monopoly on American Muslim voices is in jeopardy so their bullies advance absurd claims like Muslim criticism of Hamas is equivalent to criticism of Islam or all Muslims. The vitriol against our work is only increasing because of our success at exposing their un-American and oppressive ideas, as well as our refusal to be deterred.

Their silence on the terror tactics of Hamas speaks volumes to terror apologia. Why is it that so many abuses of Muslims by Muslims go undiscussed – yet when the Jewish state acts, it becomes an Eid sermon?

All politics are local. Islamism (political Islam) is a mind-numbing, theo-political groupthink that fears and smothers critical thinking. Not only over there but here. Muslims squander this rare opportunity to reject both the evils of Arab fascism and Islamism for a new third path, the path of liberty.

It is heartbreaking to reflect that my family and I have been members of the Scottsdale mosque since long before its construction. Their board asked me to gather interfaith support and speak for our congregation at a rather hostile Development Review Board meeting in November 2001.

I recall having to publicly admonish a Scottsdale City Council member on religious liberty who suggested we “delay the project for a more appropriate time”. On Sept. 11, 2002, I authored a paid advertisement in The Arizona Republic on behalf of ICNEV condemning al-Qaida and distancing our faithful from their barbarism. I also taught Islamic history for the mosque youth “Sunday school” until 2008.

What a difference a decade makes.

Intimidation and intolerance, from the bully pulpit by imams like Yaser Ali, are symptoms of a much deeper and broader conflict between political Islam (Islamism) and modernity — and more specifically, liberal democracy. Reform will not come easily. It must come from within, driven by both love for our faith and frank public critique of our leaders.

But it cannot be done without the support of our non-Muslim allies, for universal human rights, freedom of conscience and, indeed, American security hang in the balance.

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser is the president of the Phoenix-based American Islamic Forum for Democracy, founded in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States as an effort to provide an American Muslim voice advocating for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state. He is the author of Battle for the Soul of Islam. Dr. Jasser served 11 years as a medical officer in the U. S. Navy and was Staff Internist for the Office of the Attending Physician to the U.S. Congress. Jasser was the narrator of Clarion Project’s film “The Third Jihad” about the threat of Islamic extremism in the U.S.

How ISIS Became The Richest Terrorist Group In The World
“They are looking towards a long-term economic model.”
posted on Aug. 28, 2014, at 10:47 a.m.
Sheera Frenkel

IRBIL, Iraq — Muhammed Jamal can understand why many want to join ISIS.
“You get paid the most, you have the most weapons, you are with the most powerful group,” said Jamal, who as a Sunni Iraqi would have little trouble joining up with the group. ISIS has openly welcomed Sunni Muslims into its self-declared “Islamic State,” stretching 12,000 square miles through Syria and Iraq. “I’m not a fighter, but if I was that is who I’d join.”
Jamal fled Mosul, Iraq’s second biggest city, when ISIS militants captured it in early June. “I left Mosul when ISIS came because I thought it would be bombings and war there and I wanted to protect my family,” said Jamal, 31, who is now sheltering with several other Sunni families near the Kurdish city of Irbil. “But now I do think about going back. I don’t agree with their position on religion, but if they have money and can give us jobs … that would be more than anyone else has given us in years.”
At nearly $400 a month, ISIS pays its fighters nearly double what other groups in the region pay — from the moderate Free Syrian Army, to militant group Hezbollah, to even the Iraqi army — according to intelligence groups.
ISIS has grown from being a small offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq into the wealthiest terror group in the world, with revenue streams that have grown and matured as the organization has expanded its reach. Once reliant on handouts from wealthy donors in the Gulf, it is now believed to be wholly self-sufficient, garnering millions by trading in crude oil, selling artifacts on the black market, and running racketeering and kidnapping schemes. It is believed to have built itself a total wealth of over $2 billion — far beyond what any terror group before it has managed to muster. Western intelligence agencies, once focused on donors and looted cash from Iraq banks, now believe that ISIS has created a model that will ensure that the group can remain self-sustaining billionaires. Its wealth, say experts, is almost entirely produced locally, and therefore not as vulnerable to outside influence or sanctions.
“They did not get like this by accident,” said Luay al-Khateeb, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center in Qatar and director of the Iraq Energy Institute. ISIS looked at other groups — al-Qaeda strategy of levying local taxes, Boko Haram in Nigeria’s use of local resources, and FARC in Colombia’s kidnapping of wealthy locals and foreigners — and then tried to perfect it.
“This is a process that began decades ago and has been honed to turn ISIS into a profitable enterprise,” al-Khateeb said.
Oil refineries begin to dot the horizon just a few miles outside Irbil’s city limits. Lines of trucks pummel the roads to these sites, where crude oil is transformed into refined product.
“There’s more money there than in a bank, but nobody guarding it,” said Abd Karouk, a captain in the Kurdish peshmerga, the fighting forces that have slowly begun to push back against ISIS’s northern advance. “Why steal money when you can make it just as easily?”
With its control of seven oil fields and two refineries in northern Iraq, and six out of 10 oil fields in eastern Syria, ISIS is currently making millions daily from oil revenues. Al-Khateeb estimates that the fields ISIS captured in Iraq have a capacity of producing 80,000 barrels of oil per day, but that ISIS is currently extracting half that amount. Still, with the price of crude oil on the black market currently at $25–$60 a barrel, ISIS is likely making $2 million daily from its Iraqi oil fields alone, he said.
“From Syria they could be making double or even triple that,” said al-Khateeb, though he added that exact figures were unknown since much of the oil in Syria was being sold back to the regime of Bashar al-Assad through middlemen, and the Syrian regime did not release details of its trade in oil. “It’s a war of survival for the Syrian regime and they have no choice but to buy the oil — even though they know the money is going into ISIS hands.”
The regional dependence on oil as a trade currency has led many governments to do business with ISIS, despite knowing that they were feeding the insurgency that could one day overwhelm them. Until recently Kurdish buyers in Turkey and Iraq were buying large quantities of oil from ISIS, thus channeling funds into the very group that is now seeking to destroy them. Kurdish municipal workers who deal with the local refineries say that ISIS was offering crude oil at nearly half the price of other oil on the market, so nobody really bothered to distinguish it from the tens of thousands of other barrels of oil that made their way into this region of northern Iraq.
Crude oil, said the Kurdish officials, can often come from dozens of different areas to get processed at one refinery. The dealing in oil is done by a mixed bag of local businessmen and foreign workers, many of whom are looking to simply get as many barrels of oil refined and shipped out per day as possible — with little to no oversight given to the origins of the barrels.
“It wasn’t until ISIS was on our doorstep that we started to make efforts to stop this. We realized we were giving them the money that they would use to attack us,” said Karouk.
Karouk and other local officials who spoke to BuzzFeed said they believed that by this week, very little ISIS oil was making its way to Kurdish refineries, although it was hard to strictly monitor what was being sold on the black market.
“There will always be a middleman looking to make a profit who will try to sneak some through. But we don’t believe it is here in huge quantities anymore,” Karouk said. Middlemen, he explained, were often opportunistic businessmen who bought the crude from ISIS and then mixed it with other products or presented it as having been purchased elsewhere.
Jordan and Turkey have likewise made efforts to stop the free flow of black market oil into their territories, though experts say they’ve had much less success than the Kurdish authorities.
“This is coming in on trucks, through several middlemen,” said al-Khateeb. “It is being sold on the black market and few companies are bothering to verify where the crude oil is coming from.”
Al-Khateeb said the next step was for ISIS to seize control of refineries to take control of the process of turning the crude oil into a refined product to cut out the middlemen. Keeping up production levels, however, would require either local hands with experience, or imported staff with expertise.
“They are looking towards a long-term economic model,” he said.
Archeologists trying to explain the extent to which ISIS has looted archaeological sites often rely on Google Earth to make their point. Zooming over areas of northern Syria and western Iraq currently held by ISIS, one British archaeologist told BuzzFeed, “What’s happened here is historical devastation.”
“We are talking about areas that were part of the cradle of civilization being pillaged, artifacts going back thousands of years that should be studied in museums are instead disappearing to the black market,” said the British archaeologist, who works as part of a team that tries to verify whether antiquities reaching London are legally sourced. He asked not to be named as he did not want to expose his wealthy clients who guard their privacy. “We are also seeing unheard of numbers of stolen goods making their way into auction houses which are considered reputable.”
According to documents recently published by The Guardian, ISIS has managed to net up to $36 million from smuggling plundered artifacts in one region of Syria alone. Experts estimate the total amount of smuggled goods could be worth 10 times that, while UNESCO recently estimated that the global trade in conflict antiquities could be worth more than $2.2 billion.
ISIS makes money not only from smuggling antiquities like vases, mosaics, and other artifacts looted from the areas they control, but also by levying a tax on traffickers who want to move illegally obtained artifacts through the areas they control.

Khalil, a 31-year-old former storekeeper, sits in the courtyard of a funeral home in the Kurdish city of Dohuk that is now being used as a processing center for tens of thousands of Iraqis who have fled the advance of ISIS. His family’s name — which he does not want publicly shared in order to protect them — is one of several dozen listed by local workers here as having missing members in the hands of ISIS.
“Every day we are registering more people who have been kidnapped by ISIS,” said Jalal Lazgeen, a local volunteer with the Dohuk municipality. “We do not yet know what it will take to get them back.”
There are no reliable estimates for how many people ISIS has kidnapped or held hostage as part of local racketeering schemes in the last two years. They often target wealthy businessman or politicians in the areas they conquer, although human rights groups say they have recently turned toward targeting women and children from ethnic minorities in northern Iraq as well. While Kurdish experts say the group could have made upwards of $10 million on kidnapping schemes this summer alone, others say the figure is likely much higher.
“Most of these ransoms are quietly paid off, and the figures are kept secret to protect others who are still being held,” said one western security adviser, who works on the cases of foreign journalists and aid workers currently being held by ISIS. “Of course a foreign national can command a much higher ransom than a local businessman.”
Earlier this week, ISIS revealed that it was holding a 26-year-old American aid worker and demanded a $6.6 million ransom for her release. Negotiators who had worked on the case of U.S. journalist James Foley, who was killed last week, said that ISIS had previously demanded $132.5 million for his release.
“These are the highest-profile cases, in which they demand the most, but there are plenty of local schemes being run daily in which they are earning millions,” said the security adviser. In one case published earlier this year by Human Rights Watch, 24 Yazidi border guards were kidnapped together on June 13. Twenty days later, a ransom payment of $1.2 million was transferred to ISIS in exchange for the men.
Khalil said he did not know what ISIS would ask for his missing sisters and cousins. Whatever it was, he said, they would do whatever it took until they could pay.
“What choice do we have? We will pay, and we will find the money however we can,” he said.

“This is the thing about what ISIS is doing — they are tried and tested methods that have been developed over decades by terror groups all over the world,” said al-Khateeb, who has focused on the oil profits being made by the group, but has also watched the development of their kidnapping schemes and black market sales of antiquities. “They’ve basically taken what other terror groups did and honed and sharpened those skills.”
Earlier this year, ISIS released a glossy report called “Terror Incorporated,” outlining for the first time its objectives, accomplishments, and future goals in its own words. The report reads like a company evaluation for investors, boasting of its successes.

“What we see here is not some rag-tag group getting lucky,” said one American defense official currently based in Amman who spoke to BuzzFeed by telephone on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to media. He called the report “terrifying.”
“What we see here is a well-structured group on the rise,” the official said, who, like many U.S. officials in the region, has been criticized for failing to foresee the meteoric rise of ISIS. “Even for those keeping a close eye on the rise of ISIS, the last few months have been shocking us in just how well-organized and self-sufficient they have become.”
What ISIS will do next is anyone’s guess, he said, adding that not everyone agreed with the recent assessments by the Pentagon ISIS would turn its attention to attacking the U.S. and Europe, possibly using the passports of hundreds of foreign fighters who have joined its ranks.
“What we know about them is that they won’t do anything that isn’t a logical step forward for them to grow and expand their influence,” said the defense official. “How they use their influence and wealth is still left to be seen.”

Game-Changer: Lois Lerner’s IRS Emails Exist; But Will Obama Admin Look for Them?

August 26, 2014 By Greg Campbell

ZObamaLerner  Not a “smidgen” of corruption, eh?

The Obama Administration is purposefully burying their heads in the sand with regards to Lois Lerner’s emails. According to Justice Department attorneys, the “missing” emails from the computer of Lois Lerner actually exist and are backed up and retrievable, but Justice Department officials are unwilling to retrieve them because doing so is an arduous task.

Lerner is the disgraced IRS bureaucrat that, for years, was at the forefront of the IRS harassment of Tea Party and conservative groups. Emails from her time as the head of the tax exempt division of the IRS went missing after she reportedly suffered a computer crash. Her hard drive was, reportedly, salvageable, but was “misplaced” and likely destroyed. Thus, the public has been told that we may never know the content of the emails to and from the woman responsible for carrying out a campaign of harassment against political opponents of the Obama Regime.
However, in a shocking admission to the government watchdog group Judicial Watch, Justice Department attorneys have admitted that the IRS backs-up every email in case of a catastrophe, but that they are unwilling to retrieve the information because it would take a lot of effort to track down the emails.
“A Department of Justice attorney told a Judicial Watch attorney on Friday that it turns out the federal government backs up all computer records in case something terrible happens in Washington and there’s a catastrophe, so the government can continue operating,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton told recently revealed.

“But it would be too hard to go get Lois Lerner’s e-mails from that backup system,” Fitton continued, explaining what the DOJ official told Judicial Watch. “So, everything we’ve been hearing about scratched hard drives, about missing e-mails of Lois Lerner, other IRS officials, other officials in the Obama administration, it’s all been a pack of malarkey. They could get these records, but they don’t want to.”
Fitton also claimed that Judicial Watch will be pursuing legal remedies to get the emails. Fitton stated,
“This is a jaw-dropping revelation. The Obama administration had been lying to the American people about Lois Lerner’s missing emails. There are no ‘missing’ Lois Lerner emails – nor missing emails of any of the other top IRS or other government officials whose emails seem to be disappearing at increasingly alarming rate. All the focus on missing hard drives has been a diversion. The Obama administration has known all along where the email records could be – but dishonestly withheld this information. You can bet we are going to ask the court for immediate assistance in cutting through this massive obstruction of justice.”
Forty years prior, President Nixon’s administration was undone when it was revealed that there was a “back-up” of conversations taking place in the White House. Similarly, if Judicial Watch is successful, we may soon have the smoking gun that shows the orchestrated and politically-motivated effort by the IRS to quell political dissent.

However, unlike the Nixon era that was equipped with a diligent media, hungry for the truth, Americans today are saddled with a complacent, leftist mainstream media unwilling to pursue truths that lead to unfavorable narratives for Obama and his lackeys.

Still, the alternative media is alive and well and willing to shine a light on the regular diet of lies spewing from the Obama Administration and what this revelation details to even a cursory observer of politics is that the Obama Administration is pathologically incapable of telling the truth- something one would not expect from an administration that has repeatedly promised to serve as the model for transparent government.

» Blacks Must Confront Reality » Commentary — GOPUSA

walter_williamsThough racial discrimination exists, it is nowhere near the barrier it once was. The relevant question is: How much of what we see today can be explained by racial discrimination? This is an important question because if we conclude that racial discrimination is the major cause of black problems when it isn’t, then effective solutions will be elusive forever. To begin to get a handle on the answer, let’s pull up a few historical facts about black Americans.

In 1950, female-headed households were 18 percent of the black population. Today it’s close to 70 percent. One study of 19th-century slave families found that in up to three-fourths of the families, all the children lived with the biological mother and father. In 1925 New York City, 85 percent of black households were two-parent households. Herbert Gutman, author of “The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925,” reports, “Five in six children under the age of six lived with both parents.” Also, both during slavery and as late as 1920, a teenage girl raising a child without a man present was rare among blacks.

A study of 1880 family structure in Philadelphia found that three-quarters of black families were nuclear families (composed of two parents and children). What is significant, given today’s arguments that slavery and discrimination decimated the black family structure, is the fact that years ago, there were only slight differences in family structure among racial groups.

Coupled with the dramatic breakdown in the black family structure has been an astonishing growth in the rate of illegitimacy. The black illegitimacy rate in 1940 was about 14 percent; black illegitimacy today is over 70 percent, and in some cities, it is over 80 percent.

The point of bringing up these historical facts is to ask this question, with a bit of sarcasm: Is the reason the black family was far healthier in the late 1800s and 1900s that back then there was far less racial discrimination and there were greater opportunities? Or did what experts call the “legacy of slavery” wait several generations to victimize today’s blacks?

The Census Bureau pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 28.1 percent. A statistic that one never hears about is that the poverty rate among intact married black families has been in the single digits for more than two decades, currently at 8.4 percent. Weak family structures not only spell poverty and dependency but also contribute to the social pathology seen in many black communities — for example, violence and predatory sex. Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. Though blacks are 13 percent of the nation’s population, they account for more than 50 percent of homicide victims. Nationally, the black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, it’s 22 times that of whites. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Coupled with being most of the nation’s homicide victims, blacks are also major victims of violent personal crimes, such as assault, rape and robbery.

To put this violence in perspective, black fatalities during the Korean War (3,075), Vietnam War (7,243) and all wars since 1980 (about 8,200) come to about 18,500, a number that pales in comparison with black loss of life at home. Young black males had a greater chance of reaching maturity on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan than on the streets of Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Newark and other cities.

The black academic achievement gap is a disaster. Often, black 12th-graders can read, write and deal with scientific and math problems at only the level of white sixth-graders. This doesn’t bode well for success in college or passing civil service exams.

If it is assumed that problems that have a devastating impact on black well-being are a result of racial discrimination and a “legacy of slavery” when they are not, resources spent pursuing a civil rights strategy will yield disappointing results.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at http://www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM

BEST OF THE WEB TODAY
Formidable Faux?
The pretend climate treaty.
By JAMES TARANTO CONNECT
August 27, 2014
“Pro-Russian rebel forces entered a key town in southeastern Ukraine on Wednesday after three days of heavy shelling, the town’s mayor said, capturing new territory far from most of their battles with government troops,” the Associated Press reports from said town:

Novoazovsk lies in a strategically significant location–on the Azov Sea and on the road linking Russia to the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula. It was the first time in the four-month-long conflict that fighting has reached as far south as the seacoast and suggests that the rebels, who Ukraine says are being supported by Russia, are emboldened and reinforced.
The new southeastern front has raised fears the separatists are seeking to create a land link between Russia and Crimea. If so, that could also give the rebels or Russia control over the entire Azov Sea and any oil or mineral riches it contains.
In related news, the New York Times reports that “the Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.”

How? Even the Times knows that “under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.” It would be more accurate to say “the country” rather than “a president,” but hey, close enough for government work.

Anyway, Senate ratification is no more in the cards now than it was in 1997, when the world’s greatest deliberative body voted 95-0 in favor of a nonbinding resolution “expressing the sense of the Senate” that the now-expired Kyoto Protocol was unacceptable. The Clinton administration signed that treaty the following year anyway but never submitted it to the Senate. Incidentally, the 1997 measure was called the Byrd-Hagel Resolution; its top Republican sponsor is now Obama’s defense secretary.

Today, as the Times reports, “lawmakers in both parties on Capitol Hill say there is no chance that the currently gridlocked Senate will ratify a climate change treaty in the near future, especially in a political environment where many Republican lawmakers remain skeptical of the established science of human-caused global warming.”

We’re skeptical of the Times’s claim that “lawmakers in both parties” said that “Republican lawmakers remain skeptical of the established science.” That sounds to us like editorializing on the Democratic side of the argument–although come to think of it, one also doubts there has been a unanimous change in the Democratic position since 1997. But anyway, neither party has had a two-thirds Senate majority since 1967, and neither is likely to achieve one anytime soon. Thus no treaty can be ratified without bipartisan support.

In order to “sidestep” the constitutional requirement that laws be made by lawmakers, the Times continues, “President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a ‘politically binding’ deal that would ‘name and shame’ countries into cutting their emissions.”

The story notes that Obama has already “bypassed Congress and used his executive authority to order a far-reaching regulation forcing American coal-fired power plants to curb their carbon emissions.” That reg has to go through the standard approval process, which won’t be complete until next year, and it is also being challenged in court. Even if it holds up, a future president could modify it. But if Obama gets his pretend treaty, a successor who undid his policies would risk subjecting America not only to naming but to shaming as well.

Would it work? Let’s consider two examples. First Australia, whose government, then controlled by the Labor Party, in 2012 imposed a “carbon tax.” As The Wall Street Journal reported last month, this year Tony Abbott, the aspiring prime minister from the opposition Liberal Party, “made a pre-election ‘pledge in blood’ to voters and business to prioritize growth above climate shift. The Liberals (who would be considered the conservatives in American parlance) were elected, and Abbott kept his promise.

“Today the tax that you voted to get rid of is finally gone, a useless destructive tax which damaged jobs, which hurt families’ cost of living and which didn’t actually help the environment is finally gone,” a jubilant Mr. Abbott told voters in a news conference after the Senate’s decision.

His opponents tried the name-and-shame technique: “Labor and Green opponents of the government said the repeal would make the country an international ‘pariah’ on efforts to combat climate change.” Not very fearsome a threat, is it?

Enlarge Image

Putin’s carbon footprint in Novoazovsk, Ukraine. Associated Press
The second example is Ukraine. In 1994, the U.S., U.K. and Russia signed a document known as the Budapest Memorandum, offering assurances in exchange for which Kiev gave up the nuclear weapons it had inherited owing to the Soviet Union’s dissolution. The memorandum purports to bind the three signatories “to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.”

But it isn’t a treaty, and thus has no legal force. Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s president at the time it was signed, acted in accord with the agreement, but Vladimir Putin obviously does not feel bound by it.

And how have the other signatories responded? There have been some economic sanctions, but mostly it’s been naming and shaming. “It’s really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century,” Secretary of State John Kerry in March. “You just don’t invade another country on phony pretexts in order to assert your interests.”

Almost six months later, Putin is unbowed. But maybe Kerry is just the wrong man for the job. In the era of naming and shaming, we need a top diplomat whose insults carry a punch. But who? Don Rickles is probably too old.

Howard Dean Blasts Media “Amplification Chamber” on Hillary
Posted By Don Irvine On August 19, 2014 @ 5:30 pm In Blog – Don Irvine | No Comments

Former Democratic National Committee chairman and Hillary Clinton supporter Howard Dean criticized the media for what he called the “amplification chamber” that Clinton will have to deal with if she runs for president in 2016, as expected.

Dean spoke [2] to CNN’s Peter Hamby about Clinton and the 2016 election:

‘I find all that to be worthless,’ Dean said. ‘I don’t pay any attention to that crap. I was at a meeting in Washington the other day with two very high-ranking people who I won’t mention, and one turned to the other and said, ‘Did you see that editorial in The Washington Post?’ And without being cranky, and without saying anything, I said to myself, ‘You’re a free man.’ Because why would anyone read The Washington Post, or certainly the editorial page of The Washington Post?’

‘I just don’t have any patience for this sturm und drang that goes on in what passes for media these days. I really don’t read most of the stuff that’s written about inside the Beltway kerfuffles like that because I think it’s silly.’

The problem with this criticism of the media is that it’s misdirected. Clinton’s bad press isn’t their fault, but hers.

She had a disastrous book tour, selling far fewer copies than the publisher had hoped. And she made it worse with interviews that made it seem like she and Bill were paupers when they left the White House, unable to afford the mortgages on their homes and daughter Chelsea’s expensive education. But in doing so she ignored the fact that before leaving the White House, she had signed a book deal [3] with an $8 million advance, and that since leaving the White House she and Bill have hauled in more that $100 million between them for giving speeches, mostly to wealthy fat cats and business groups.

Then, to top it off, Hillary recently criticized Obama’s foreign policy, creating enough of a backlash that she suggested to the President that they “hug it out.”

Talk about awkward.

If Dean really wants to help Hillary, then he should find her some media-savvy consultants or volunteers who can help rehabilitate the image she badly damaged over the last few months, and prep her for 2016.

Article printed from Accuracy In Media: http://www.aim.org

URL to article: http://www.aim.org/don-irvine-blog/howard-dean-blasts-media-amplification-chamber-on-hillary/

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[1] Image: http://www.aim.org/don-irvine-blog/howard-dean-blasts-media-amplification-chamber-on-hillary/attachment/howard-dean/
[2] spoke: http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/19/politics/howard-dean-hillary-clinton-2016/index.html?c=&page=2
[3] signed a book deal: http://www.nytimes.com/2000/12/16/nyregion/hillary-clinton-book-advance-8-million-is-near-record.html
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REVIEW & OUTLOOK
Obama’s Tax Law Rewrite
Where’s the law that gives Jack Lew the power to raise taxes?

Updated Aug. 7, 2014 2:25 p.m. ET
It’s going to be a busy autumn of law-writing for the Obama Administration. The President has said he plans to act unilaterally to reinterpret the immigration statutes, and now the Treasury Department says Secretary Jack Lew is looking for heretofore undiscovered legal ways to block corporate overseas tax inversions. The not-so-minor detail missing here is any legal justification.

Let’s focus today on tax inversions, which allow corporations to relocate overseas in a way that reduces their tax liability. Mr. Obama has conceded these are legal, and as recently as July 16 Mr. Lew told CNBC that “we have looked at the tax code. There are a lot of obscure provisions that we do not believe we have the authority to address this inversion question through administrative action. If we did, we would be doing more.”

Jack Lew Bloomberg News
But lo, on Tuesday a spokeswoman announced that Treasury “is reviewing a broad range of authorities for possible administrative actions” to limit inversions “as well as approaches that could meaningfully reduce the tax benefits after inversions take place.”

Hello? That sure sounds like rewriting tax law by executive fiat, which violates the Constitution’s separation of powers. The rewrite is all the more legally suspicious since no one at Treasury or the Justice Department seems to have been aware of this power before Mr. Obama began denouncing the “unpatriotic tax loophole.” From where does Mr. Lew derive this power to act like a one-man Ways and Means Committee?

Then again this Administration doesn’t seem to care if it has a legal explanation for its unilateral actions. That stands in marked contrast to other recent Administrations, which typically consulted the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) for advice on controversial legal issues. The CIA insisted on such advice for its enhanced interrogation program after 9/11, for example. You can disagree with John Yoo’s OLC opinion, but it was a serious legal case.

Heritage Foundation Chief Economist Stephen Moore on how the executive branch is finding legal loopholes to prevent American business from moving abroad. Photo credit: Getty Images.

By contrast we’ve heard little about the legal advice presented to Mr. Obama, with the exception of the justification for drone killing in the war on terror. Was OLC asked for its views on Mr. Obama’s decision to suspend enforcement of ObamaCare’s employer mandate? The Administration won’t say. How about the selective nonenforcement of the marijuana section of the Controlled Substances Act?

As it happens an OLC precedent is directly relevant to tax policy. President George H.W. Bush campaigned in 1988 on cutting the capital-gains tax, but Democratic Majority Leader George Mitchell used a filibuster to block it in the Senate as the economy stumbled.

As Mr. Bush sought re-election in 1992, these columns urged him to use what we believed was his unilateral authority to index the capital gains tax for inflation—a way to boost the economy by other means. Our legal argument was that the term “cost” as written by Congress in the tax code is ambiguous and doesn’t mean the “purchase price” of a stock as interpreted in Treasury regulations.

The White House counsel’s office wrote a lengthy memo explaining Mr. Bush’s legal power to do this. But the Treasury’s legal department disagreed, the Justice Department was asked for its opinion, and the OLC lawyers sided with Treasury. Mr. Bush declined to act, the economy took longer to recover, and Bill Clinton won the 1992 election.

So now we have a President in an election year looking for a way to raise taxes on corporations after he couldn’t get Congress to agree. Has anyone asked Treasury’s career lawyers or the Office of Legal Counsel? Someone should. And when the next President arrives in 2017, one of his first acts should be to release publicly all of the OLC memos making the legal case for Mr. Obama’s many illegal acts, assuming there are any.

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The Patriot Post · http://patriotpost.us/digests/28037
Daily Digest
Aug. 7, 2014

THE FOUNDATION
“Whenever Government means to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.” –Elbridge Gerry, Debate, United States House of Representatives, 1789

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
When Asked About Executive Power, Obama Mentions ‘Constitution’
Barack Obama was asked by ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl, “Has Congress’ inability to do anything significant given you a green light to push the limits of executive power?” Obama even managed to mention the word “Constitution” in his response. Obama replied, “I never have a green light. I’m bound by the Constitution. I’m bound by the separation of powers.” But then he skittered off into imperial-president land as he continued. “What I’m consistently going to do is, whenever I have the legal authorities to make progress on behalf of the middle class and folks working to get to the middle class. … I’m going to seize those opportunities and that’s what I think the American people expect me to do.” Ha! Obama said “legal authorities!” He should reread Article 2 Section 3 of the Constitution and remember that it grants him legal authority to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” and reconsider his actions on, say, immigration. More…1

Russia May Be Preparing to Invade Ukraine
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine reached a new level of concern after NATO warned that Russian troops amassed on the Ukrainian border may be preparing for a military offensive. NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said, “We’re not going to guess what’s on Russia’s mind, but we can see what Russia is doing on the ground – and that is of great concern. Russia has amassed around 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine’s eastern border.” She adds Russia may be preparing to exploit “a humanitarian or peace-keeping mission as an excuse to send troops into Eastern Ukraine.” Recent events explain Russia’s behavior. According to Reuters, “With fighting escalating and rebels losing ground in the weeks since a Malaysian airliner was shot down2 over separatist-held territory, Russia has announced military exercises this week in the border region.” Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t sit idly by while Ukraine makes gains. The question is: What kind of sternly worded warning will the Obama administration send this time? More…3

Kerry: More Farmland Exacerbates Global Warming
State Secretary John Kerry, addressing the U.S.-Africa Summit, claimed that global warming will be worsened by developing more farms and praised Africa for limiting the amount of land allocated for agriculture. “Certain agricultural processes can actually release carbon pollution and help contribute to the problem [of global warming] in the first place,” he explained. “It’s a twisted circle. Always complicated. But we also know there are ways to change that. For example, rather than convert natural areas to new farmland – a process that typically releases significant amounts of carbon pollution – we can instead concentrate our efforts on making existing farmlands more productive. Now this is an area where African leaders have actually been … significantly ahead of the game for some time.” Yes, and that’s evidently worked quite well for poor, hungry Africans and their economies.

Still Awaiting Comments From Obama on Maj. Gen. Greene
On Tuesday, the news broke4 that Maj. Gen. Harold Greene died in a “green on blue” attack in Afghanistan. That day, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest stated, “The thoughts and prayers of those of us here at the White House are with the family of the general, are with the soldiers and the family of those who were injured in this attack.” But that was it from the White House. An officer falls in a foreign field, the highest-ranking officer since 9/11, and Barack Obama himself has remained mum. Like his administration’s cover-up of the Benghazi attack in 2012, this green on blue attack doesn’t fit Obama’s foreign policy narrative. More…5

25 Million Uninsured Americans May Escape ObamaCare Penalty
The plethora of unilateral changes to ObamaCare may let millions of uninsured Americans facing fines off the hook. Fox News reports, “A new congressional report has estimated that more than 25 million Americans without health insurance will not be made to pay a penalty in 2016 due to an exploding number of ObamaCare exemptions.” The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation anticipate four million Americans will be subject to penalty fees, which is down by nearly two million from the last study. According to Fox, “The Obama administration has … added exemptions for hardships like domestic violence, property damage suffered in a fire or flood, or having a health plan canceled when ObamaCare came into effect this past October 1.” Additionally, “Residents of 21 states who have opted not to expand their Medicaid program under the health law may also be exempt from the penalty.” Wasn’t the point of the penalty to ensure health care for everyone and to keep people from exploiting the system? This administration sure has an interesting definition of “success” when 25 million are getting away with opting out of ObamaCare. More…6

For more, visit Right Hooks7.

Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column
Read The REAL Pandemic Threat: BioBombers8, on why Ebola is not our worst fear.

If you’d like to receive Alexander’s Column by email, update your subscription here9.

RIGHT ANALYSIS
Debunking the ‘97% Consensus’ & Why Global Cooling May Loom
It’s summertime – that time of year when man-made global warming alarmism hits full throttle; when simmering heat coincides with the loudest clamoring of impending doom and the need to “take action.”

One of the more popular talking points now used by Democrats, including the president himself, asserts that anthropogenic global warming (AGW) skeptics have no credibility because the overwhelming “scientific consensus” believe global warming poses an unequivocal threat. Multiple studies have come to this conclusion, which the Left now view as sanctimonious.

In May, Heartland Institute’s Joe Bast and climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer co-authored an article in The Wall Street Journal, “The Myth of the Climate Change ‘97%’10,” exposing these studies as a sham. They found that “[t]he so-called consensus comes from a handful of surveys and abstract-counting exercises that have been contradicted by more reliable research.” The researchers presented ambiguous questions to form a bias and even excluded prominent scientists at odds with their agenda. Bast and Spencer point out that one study didn’t even “include solar scientists, space scientists, cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists or astronomers, who are the scientists most likely to be aware of natural causes of climate change.”

But perhaps the most telling example of deception is found in a study led by alarmist John Cook. His scholarly review11 used test groups with opinions on both sides of the issue, or none at all, who were instructed to analyze more than 10,000 peer-reviewed articles. According to the study, “Among papers expressing a position on AGW, an overwhelming percentage (97.2% based on self-ratings, 97.1% based on abstract ratings) endorses the scientific consensus on AGW.”

Michael Stroup of the National Center for Policy Analysis explains12 why this study is nothing more than a bunch of hot air:

“Focus on that conditional phrase, ‘among the papers expressing a position on AGW.’ [Emphasis added] On page 3 of this study, a simple time series chart shows that OVER HALF of these articles did NOT express an opinion on AGW at all. Further, the percentage of these no-opinion climate articles GREW to well over 60% over the period of study. Meanwhile, the percentage of articles that expressly support the AGW theory FELL from around 50% to well below 40%. This is a far cry from 97%. If less than 40% of all published climate studies explicitly support AGW, does this actually constitute a ‘consensus view’ by the climate science community?”
Unfortunately, such shameful practice is all too common and sets a dangerous precedent in a field where open-mindedness is essential and constant inquisitions imperative.

This would all be amusing if not for the severe ramifications being imposed by policymakers. A severe energy crisis13 may occur as soon as this winter thanks to the regulatory state stifling the energy sector, and cash-strapped Americans may be forced to chose between putting a meal on the table or heating their homes.

To add insult to injury, if current solar projections14 are any indication, the globe may be entering a new period of global cooling. SI meteorologist Paul Dorian writes:

“It appears that the solar maximum phase for solar cycle 24 may have been reached and it is not very impressive. … In fact, this solar cycle continues to rank among the weakest on record which continues the recent trend for increasingly weaker cycles. … There have been two notable historical periods with decades-long episodes of low solar activity. The first period is known as the ‘Maunder Minimum’ … and it lasted from around 1645 to 1715. The second one is referred to as the ‘Dalton Minimum’ … and it lasted from about 1790 to 1830. Both of these historical periods coincided with below-normal global temperatures in an era now referred to by many as the ‘Little Ice Age.’”
“If this trend continues for the next couple of cycles,” Dorian surmises, “then there would likely be more talk of another ‘grand minimum’ for the sun.”

It goes without saying that a cooler climate has far more debilitating effects on agriculture than a warmer one. Only time will tell, but at this rate, climate alarmists may soon be spewing “global warming” hubris through the chattering of teeth.

Time Will Dictate Impact of U.S.-Africa Summit
With the largest U.S.-Africa summit now in the history books, the question turns from the summit’s purpose to its outcomes, and how the latter may or may not achieve the former.

Nearly 50 leaders from the continent of Africa – or, as Vice President Biden would say, “the nation of Africa”15 – along with business and civil society leaders gathered in Washington, DC, this week at the invitation of Barack Obama for the stated purpose of “investing in the next generation.” Specifically, the White House said16 the summit would “build on the progress made since the President’s trip to Africa last summer, advance the Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa, and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.”

Before the summit even began, the Obama administration set out to lower expectations in light of previous China-Africa summits. Not to worry, though: Given the president’s smashing foreign policy successes to date, our expectations weren’t too high to begin with. And we were not disappointed.

While highlighting the plight of hunger in Africa, for example, Secretary of State John Kerry balanced his concern with the call not to create more farms in Africa17, because doing so would add more “carbon pollution.” While claiming a commitment to democratic development and the African people, the administration failed to involve human rights organizations in important roundtable discussions. And while announcing an investment in “clean energy,” the administration perhaps missed the message that experts agree coal and natural gas18 are key to meeting the pressing power needs faced by more than half of Africa’s population.

Truth be told, the summit was less about building on progress and more about playing catch-up with China in a trade race in which the U.S. has lagged far behind. While China-Africa trade amounts to $200 billion, annual trade relations between the U.S. and Africa stand at around $85 billion – and only about one percent of U.S. exports go to Africa.

The commercial trade deals announced at the summit, while substantial, will barely begin to close the gap. On Tuesday, U.S. and African leaders unveiled $14 billion in agreements targeting areas including energy, aviation, banking and construction. Additionally, the U.S. government pledged $7 billion to promote trade and investment in Africa and another $12 billion to fund Obama’s Power Africa initiative (which includes clean energy funding).

Despite the fanfare, not all attendees were blissfully optimistic. Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, for example, said19 economic development apart from social and political justice will not solve problems, and South African President Jacob Zuma said the economic initiatives don’t go far enough. Meanwhile, others expressed concern that focusing on Africa’s problems would discourage economic investment.

One likely and positive follow-up to the summit will be the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which was first enacted in 2000 and is set to expire next year. Although U.S.-Africa trade has a long way to go, much of what has been accomplished has been the result of AGOA. Yet, even without the summit, AGOA would have been renewed, returning us to the question of whether outcomes will meet ambitions.

In a press conference last night, Obama announced20 that leaders had agreed to a “new peacekeeping rapid response project” as well as to exploring partnerships to fight financial corruption. All worthy aims, but worthy aims alone are meaningless.

As the Heritage Foundation notes21, during Obama’s first campaign for president, one of his senior advisors outlined Obama’s three-part agenda for Africa: accelerate its integration into the global economy, enhance regional peace and security, strengthen democracy and accountability, and reduce poverty. Since the campaign, however, Obama has done little in pursuit of these aims, choosing instead to continue existing policies.

The U.S.-Africa summit offered an exceptional opportunity for the president to give feet to political rhetoric, and only time will tell if the event the president called “extraordinary” will prove to be so. Words are easy; actions demand more. And although the administration claimed success (as is to be expected), as House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) rightly noted20, true judgment can be made only “when the words on paper and the hours of talking are implemented and acted upon.”

For more, visit Right Analysis7.

TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
Stephen Moore: Don’t Cry for Argentina – Cry for Us22
George Will: The Reason for Watergate?23
Jonah Goldberg: WWI Demons Live24
Arnold Ahlert: America: Unprepared for War25
R. Emmett Tyrrell: Philanthropy Over Politics26
For more, visit Right Opinion27.

OPINION IN BRIEF
Mark Twain (1835-1910): “We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world; and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don’t know anything and can’t read.”

Economist Stephen Moore: “[The] headline in the Los Angeles Times – ‘Argentina Defaults on International Debt’ – spooked me, as it did investors. The stock market tanked on the news. All Americans should feel the same apprehension. … Is the day coming when America looks like Argentina? … Probably not any time in the short term. Hopefully never. But the parallels here are not encouraging. Argentina has printed money. Our Fed has created at least $3 trillion through QE1, QE2, and QE3. Their economy has been growing tepidly and shrank in the first quarter of 2014; we’re stuck in a 2 percent growth paradigm. Yet no one in Washington is doing anything about it. … Our interest rates today, thankfully, are low. But if rates rise by two percentage points more than projected … the debt rises by another $3 trillion or so over ten years. Interest payments on the debt could become the single largest expenditure in the federal budget. … Argentines only have themselves to blame. So will we, if we don’t act soon to balance the budget and grow the economy.”

Columnist George Will: “June 17, 1971, was four days after The New York Times began publishing the leaked ‘Pentagon Papers,’ the classified Defense Department history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. [Richard] Nixon worried that further leaks … would reveal his role in sabotaging negotiations that might have shortened the war. This fear caused Nixon to create the Special Investigations Unit – aka ‘the plumbers’ – and to direct an aide to devise other proposals… This aide suggested using the IRS against political adversaries, but added: ‘The truth is we don’t have any reliable political friends at IRS. … We won’t be … in a position of effective leverage until such time as we have complete and total control of the top three slots at IRS.’ Forty years later, the IRS has punished conservative groups, and evidence that might prove its criminality has been destroyed. Happy anniversary.”

Humorist Frank J. Fleming: “People on Israel’s side expect adult behavior from both. People on the Palestinian side seem to expect adult behavior from only one. Is the pro-Palestinian side racist against the Palestinians and don’t think they can be held to the same standard as Israelis?”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

Links

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/214549-obama-defends-executive-action

http://patriotpost.us/articles/27550

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/russia-border-ukraine-troops/2014/08/06/id/587189/

http://patriotpost.us/posts/27979

http://dailycaller.com/2014/08/06/obama-hasnt-said-anything-about-the-killing-of-american-general/

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/07/millions-uninsured-americans-exempt-from-obamacare-penalties-in-2016-watchdog/

http://patriotpost.us/

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/28007

http://patriotpost.us/manage/

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303480304579578462813553136

http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article

http://environmentblog.ncpa.org/the-big-lie-of-the-consensus-view-on-global-warming/

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/27394

http://thesiweather.com/2014/07/16/1045-am-the-sun-has-gone-quiet-solar-cycle-24-continues-to-rank-as-one-of-the-weakest-cycles-more-than-a-century/

http://patriotpost.us/posts/27978

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/01/21/statement-press-secretary-announcing-us-africa-leaders-summit

http://patriotpost.us/posts/28010

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/africa-needs-fossil-fuels-to-end-energy-apartheid/

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/05/obama-africa-leaders-us-china-investment-summit

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-praises-us-africa-summit-as-an-extraordinary-success/2014/08/06/866d996a-1d8c-11e4-ae54-0cfe1f974f8a_story.html

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/08/setting-a-course-for-obamas-rudderless-africa-policy

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/28022

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/27988

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/28017

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/28030

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/28018

http://patriotpost.us/opinion

N.C.A.A. Votes to Give Richest Conferences More Autonomy
By MARC TRACYAUG. 7, 2014

New N.C.A.A. rules could widen the gap between the haves and have-nots in college sports.
INDIANAPOLIS — The first step toward an aristocracy in college sports was codified Thursday, when the five richest conferences and their 65 universities were awarded the right by the Division I board of directors to make their own rules on several issues affecting athletes and competition.

If the endorsement passes a 60-day comment period, the so-called Big 5 — the Southeastern Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Pacific-12, the Big Ten and the Big 12 — will receive the power to raise the value of scholarships, improve health insurance, allow players to consult agents and more.

“It keeps Division I together in terms of our ideals for amateur sports,” said Nathan Hatch, the president of Wake Forest, who led the steering committee that conceived the proposal. “This is not complete autonomy.”

The power conferences say the new rules will benefit student athletes. Critics of the change are not so sure.How New N.C.A.A. Rules Will WorkAUG. 7, 2014
Fears Rise Over Wealth Gap as Top College Conferences Push OverhaulAUG. 6, 2014
Alabama, with a top football team, is in the Southeastern Conference, which would gain more autonomy.N.C.A.A. May Let Top Conferences Play by Own RulesAUG. 5, 2014
The budgets of the Big 5 conferences, with universities like Ohio State, where Urban Meyer coaches football, far outpace all others.Sports of The Times: N.C.A.A.’s Vote on New Rules Creating Divisions Among ConferencesAUG. 7, 2014
The result of the vote seemed to acknowledge that even within the nearly 350 institutions in the N.C.A.A.’s top division, universities and conferences are in markedly different situations.

Supporters of more autonomy said it would allow more benefits for athletes in the Big 5 conferences, while opponents said it could hurt recruiting for smaller schools. Credit Illustration by Sam Manchester/The New York Times; Photographs by Getty Images
“The reality was that for our sister conferences, they had challenges and needs that were not apparent in what we do,” said David R. Hopkins, the president of Wright State, a member of the Horizon League. He called the model “a wonderful combination of allowing them to do what they need to do, and we still continue the value of an intercollegiate model that means a lot to all of us.”

If 75 universities express disapproval during the 60-day period, the board will reconsider its decision. If 125 universities object, the implementation will be suspended pending that reconsideration. If the board subsequently reaffirms its decision, all Division I universities will vote, with a five-eighths majority required to overturn.

“It allows the institutions to have access to all the championships and to continue to share resources in the same way that they always have,” Mark Emmert, the N.C.A.A. president, said. “It provides the high-resource conferences with some greater latitude.”

But not everyone saw eye-to-eye. The board passed the measure by a vote of 16-2, with the Dartmouth president, Philip J. Hanlon (Ivy League), and the Delaware president, Patrick T. Harker (Colonial Athletic Association), voting against it.

“I worry these changes will further escalate the arms race in college sports, which, in my opinion, is not in the best interest of intercollegiate athletics, or higher education more generally,” Hanlon said in a statement.

The strongest supporters of autonomy say it allows the Big 5 to provide more benefits to athletes. “What it means is the ability to provide student-athletes with things that meet the 21st-century model of how we think about intercollegiate athletics,” Mike Slive, the commissioner of the SEC, said last month.

The N.C.A.A. has been hit recently with high-profile lawsuits, including the Ed O’Bannon case, in which athletes have argued that the use of their images violated antitrust law. A unionization drive among football players has gained traction at Northwestern.

“College athletes have been putting tremendous pressure on N.C.A.A. sports to eliminate unjust policies, and this vote demonstrates how much power players have when they stand up against this system,” said Ramogi Huma, the executive director of the National College Players Association.

Mark Emmert, the N.C.A.A. president, speaking at the N.C.A.A.’s headquarters. Credit Michael Conroy/Associated Press
But observers, including Huma, appear to be divided over whether the new model represents incremental reform designed to thwart more drastic change that could be brought on by the courts or Congress.

“Historically, when you look at how the system has operated and responded, it tends to resist genuinely substantive change,” said Ellen Staurowsky, a business professor at Drexel who supports more rights for athletes. “It’s not an enterprise that willingly acknowledges that something may be wrong and that there needs to be a dramatic change.”

The N.C.A.A. has appeared to be broadly supportive of autonomy. Although only five of the board’s 18 members are presidents of Big 5 universities, the steering committee that refined previous proposals last month into the current model included eight presidents, half of whom run Big 5 universities.

But Emmert cast his and the N.C.A.A.’s role as a facilitator. He praised the presidents’ ability “to look at the good of the division.”

Many rules, including most regarding academic requirements and amateur status, will continue to apply uniformly throughout Division I’s 32 conferences. All of Division I will have access to revenue-sharing and championships.

As a result of Thursday’s decision, the board will grow from 18 to 24 members. It previously included only university presidents and chancellors but now will have an athletic director, an athlete and a senior athletics administrator who is a woman. Any other Division I conference or university (pending its conference’s approval) could opt into the Big 5’s rules.

“The whole governance discussion was already somewhat tilted in the direction of giving more autonomy to the group of five conferences,” said Richard Ensor, commissioner of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. “For us the major thing was to continue to have guaranteed access to championships and revenue-sharing, and secondly, to have some voice in the process.”

Areas of Autonomy, What Do They Mean
In voting to approve autonomy, the N.C.A.A. Division I board of directors will also vote to authorize the new Big 5 governance body to make rules within 11 explicitly articulated “areas of autonomy.”

“There was friction, but it was positive,” said Harris Pastides, the president of South Carolina. “Most college presidents were professors, therefore we’re not shy.”

Approval by the board was widely seen as a foregone conclusion, in part because some among the Big 5 had threatened an even more severe alternative: breaking significantly from the N.C.A.A. and taking their massive revenue streams with them.

But Gene Block, the president of U.C.L.A. of the Pac-12, intimated that there was not uniform agreement among the Big 5 and their institutions over the wisdom of separating from Division I.

After the vote, there was a prevailing sense that for the Big 5, a trying road lies ahead. Pastides acknowledged that there is “great financial diversity within the Southeastern Conference” that could lead different universities to favor different policies.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
Harker, who voted against autonomy, said in a telephone interview: “You’re going to have 65 schools with very different views. Even they are not homogeneous.”

Most immediately, the Big 5 are expected to submit new rules, by Oct. 1, for consideration at the 2015 N.C.A.A. convention, which will be held in January. Though they have yet to determine exactly what they will propose, Pastides confirmed that their top priority is raising the current scholarship amount from the cost of “tuition and fees, room, board and required course-related books” to the “full cost of attendance,” which accounts for several other factors specific to each university and is generally a few thousand dollars higher than the current scholarship.

“I think it would be modest,” Pastides said. “It will be more money. It’s not a paycheck. It would be to increase the amount of the award that’s given to student-athletes to account for the changes in how they live.”

Some officials at universities outside the Big 5 have voiced concerns that offering lower scholarships and withholding various perks would cause them to fall further behind in the arms race for recruits, victories and championships.

“We’ll make every effort, as a university that has contended with these larger schools and has beat some of these larger schools with a significantly smaller budget, to do everything we can to produce a first-class, high-quality program,” said Bob Kustra, the president of Boise State, which despite being outside the Big 5 has boasted one of the country’s best football teams. “Do we need to go as far as some of them are going? Apparently not.”

VIDEO: John Kerry Tells Starving Africans Not to Farm Because it Contributes to Global Warming

August 7, 2014 By Greg Campbell

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ZKerryThis week, leaders from Africa and the U.S. convened in Washington, D.C., to discuss a wide range of issues affecting the nations of Africa. The U.S.-Africa Summit produced a dialogue amongst leaders and with the help of Secretary of State John Kerry, the world got a glimpse into the out-of-touch nature of the leftwing zealots that comprise the Obama Administration.

During the “Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate” panel, Kerry noted that Africa faces a starvation problem. With thousands going to bed hungry each night, it’s undeniable that one of Africa’s largest problems is starvation.

Kerry claimed that “8,000 children die every day” and that one in four children face chronic hunger. However, just minutes later, Kerry rang the alarm bell over the left’s favorite fictitious problem: climate change- the term liberals use to describe any weather variance no matter how minute.

Kerry reminded the crowd that despite the starving children in Africa, they ought to refrain from creating new farms because it contributes to “climate change.”
“Certain agricultural processes can actually release carbon pollution and actually contribute to the problem in the first place. It’s a twisted circle. Always complicated. But we also know that there are ways to change that.

For example, rather than convert natural areas to new farmland, a process that typically releases significant amounts of carbon pollution, we can, instead, concentrate our efforts on making existing farmlands more productive.”
Sorry, African children, you’re going hungry tonight because first-world yacht-enthusiasts like John Kerry need to feel warm and fuzzy about advancing global warming hysteria.

This kind of idiocy is precisely what is wrong with liberals. It is a kind of emotional zealotry that conquers all semblance of rational thought and produces a relentless dogma within the minds of leftists. The left feels that climate change exists and to them, this feeling is more important than addressing serious, real-world problems like starvation.

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