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Queer Agitator: “”The GOP’s House Faggots Grab Their Ankles On This One.”

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Published on: June 22, 2012

Original Article - Queer Agitator: “”The GOP’s House Faggots Grab Their Ankles On This One.”

June is Gay Pride Month, which immediately begs two questions: 1. Says who? 2. How is it that we have become a nation of such compliant sheep that we accept this rubbish?

The Viacom corporation, on the other hand, thinks it’s the perfect opportunity for its MTV and gay Logo channels to announce they’re creating a second “It Gets Better,” anti-bullying special starring their favorite gay bully, Dan Savage. On the cusp of this news, Savage denounced the gay group GOProud for endorsing Mitt Romney for president: “The GOP’s house faggots grab their ankles on this one.”

This F-bomb has destroyed careers in Hollywood — see Isaiah Washington, the former star of “Grey’s Anatomy.” But Savage just signed with Creative Artists Agency to line up his business offers. One wonders if the reporters who cover television will ever dare to ask the Viacom brass how they square Savage’s routine bullying bursts — whether into a microphone or into a keyboard — with the transparently false anti-bullying persona they’re promoting to make themselves look community-minded.

Hypocrisy doesn’t get more blatant than this. It’s coming not just from Viacom, but also from all those diversity-loving, tolerance-dreaming press critics who ultimately really don’t mean a word of it.

Savage is “more mainstream than ever before,” oozed a recent profile in the Chicago Tribune. In their article, we discover it is now “more mainstream” for Savage to proclaim that the nation’s most devout religious leaders are cheerleaders for teen suicides. “Every dead gay kid is a moral, rhetorical victory for them. They stand on a pile of dead gay kids.”

The Tribune didn’t find this inaccurate or offensive. Referring to Savage’s fear that “It Gets Better” makes him look like a “milquetoast,” the Tribune declared, “If Dan Savage is milquetoast, then he is a particularly piquant version.”

At a student journalism conference in early May, Savage caused a student walkout as he trashed the Bible as a “radical pro-slavery document.” If it was wrong on slavery, “on the easiest moral question that humanity has ever faced…What are the odds that the Bible got something as complicated as human sexuality wrong? 100 percent,” Savage said. He mocked the students who walked out in protest “It’s funny, as someone who is the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible, how pansy-assed some people react when you push back,” Savage said.

In a new interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Savage repeated that “religious people need to learn to ignore what the Bible says about gay people, or seems to say, the same way they ignore what the Bible says about shellfish and slavery. We’re not asking religious people to do anything they haven’t already done, which is to let go of the parts of the Bible that discriminate. They’ve done it before with slavery and they can do it again with homosexuality.”

Savage isn’t hiding his agenda: Hey, hey, ho, ho, the Holy Bible has got to go. Hollywood has made this view “more mainstream than ever,” and he knows it. This secular sex columnist doesn’t have any need to express civility toward his opponents. There is only the flamethrower and the grenades for this commando.

This line was also in his “more mainstream than ever” basket, equating marriage to rape: ” We should start calling male-on-female rape ‘traditional’ rape. Because if all ‘traditional’ means is that it’s between a man and woman, that’s setting the bar pretty low.”

This man not only hates Christians, he despises Christianity itself.

MTV just wrapped up its season of “Savage U,” the show where Savage travels to college campuses doling out profane sex “education.” For twelve episodes on twelve college campuses, MTV posed Savage as the compassionate wise man as he says the most outrageous things. In the season finale at Texas Tech, Savage preached that contraceptives must be used to prevent “the world’s oldest and most disruptive sexually transmitted infection: pregnancy.” He confessed his MTV sidekick Lauren Hutchinson doesn’t like that lingo because “she’s so sentimental that way about babies.”

Savage is so unsentimental that he’s insulted his own adopted son D. J. as thuggish. In an adoring NPR interview last year with Terry Gross, he cracked, “If he didn’t have us for parents — he’s a little thuggy snowboarder-skateboarder dude — and I like to think that he’s blessed to have us as parents because you can see in him the capacity to be a bully.” Thanks, “Dad.”

Earth to Viacom: You are ridiculous when you announce anti-bullying specials hosted by pathetic bullies like Dan Savage. It makes about as much sense as a special promoting vegetarianism hosted by Ronald McDonald.

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E-Mails Expose MSNBC Host’s Involvement in #StopRush Boycott

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Published on: June 22, 2012

Original Article - E-Mails Expose MSNBC Host’s Involvement in #StopRush Boycott

Krystal Ball will co-host MSNBC’s new show ‘The Cycle’ starting Monday.

MSNBC host Krystal Ball was in close communication with leaders of an online boycott aimed at advertisers on Rush Limbaugh’s popular radio show, e-mails between the boycott leaders indicate.

Attempting to discover the identity of an infiltrator in their group, the #StopRush leader @Shoq (aka “Shoq Value,” who is believed to be an activist named Matt Edelstein) indicated that Ball had warned another member about the suspected “right wing disrupter.” The other member had “already inquired with Krystal last week, and Krystal said ‘we don’t like or trust this guy,’” Shoq wrote in an e-mail published Thursday by Brooks Bayne at The Trenches.

Bayne said the e-mail was obtained from a Google group, “Social Action Steering,” which was apparently deleted after The Trenches published the correspondence between the #StopRush leaders. The group was attempting to discover the true identity and political leanings of a Texas man, known as “Randy Hahn,” who had joined their anti-Limbaugh effort and caused dissension among the boycotters.

Ball, a Democrat who ran for Congress in Virginia two years ago, is a paid MSNBC contributor who was recently announced as one of four co-hosts of a new daily program, The Cycle, on the left-leaning cable news network. It is unclear whether MSNBC executives were aware of the extent of Ball’s involvement in #StopRush, which used the social network in a campaign to drive Limbaugh off the airwaves by threatening boycotts against advertisers on his conservative talk show, the nation’s most popular syndicated radio program.

Professor William Jacobson’s Legal Insurrection blog has described how the #StopRush effort was evidently coordinated with the tax-exempt non-profit Media Matters for America, apparently using so-called “sockpuppet” accounts in a fake-grassroots ”astroturf” campaign.

UPDATE: In attempting to discover the identity of “Randy Hahn,” the #StopRush boycott leader Shoq sought the services of Democrat consultant Neal Rauhauser, the e-mails obtained by The Trenches show. Rauhauser provided the group with extensive documentation about a Houston man named Jason, whose surname was redacted in the version posted by Bayne. Rauhauser then mused about exposing the man to harassment by sending his personal information to online groups.

“I have been sorely tempted to point him out to various actors — a guy like this, he could really produce some high quality entertainment for 4chan, Something Awful, Encyclopedia Dramatica, etc.,” Rauhauser wrote in his e-mail reply to Shoq.

Rauhauser, who was banned from the progressive blog Daily Kos last year, became notorious in 2010 when he was accused of organizing “a group of E-Thugs meant to harass, threaten, provoke, disparage, intimidate, verbally assault, berate & employ hate-speech against those not in agreement with his brand of politics,” as conservative blogger Patrick Read said at the time.

The so-called “TwitterGate” scandal was largely ignored by major news organizations, but Rauhauser has in the past month gained increasing notoriety as an associate of convicted felon Brett Kimberlin.

UPDATE II: After blogging obsessively about Anthony Weiner’s cybersex scandal last year, Rauhauser became involved with Kimberlin’s 501(c) non-profit Velvet Revolution and, last October, described how he was approached by a member of the “Anonymous” computer hacking conspiracy and solicited their assistance in targeting his and Kimberlin’s enemies.

Rauhauser was one of three people — along with Kimberlin and former Raw Story editor Ron Brynaert — whom blogger Patrick “Patterico” Frey named last month as suspected of complicity in a July 2011 “SWATting” incident at his Los Angeles home. Sen. Saxby Chambliss and 85 Republican members of Congress have called on Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the reported harassment of conservative commentators.

UPDATE III: Thursday’s revelation of e-mails between #StopRush leaders was the second consecutive scoop by The Trenches on the anti-Limbaugh group’s infiltration by “Randy Hahn.” Bayne previously posted recorded excerpts of a conference call in which the leader Shoq berated the suspected interloper by boasting of his connections to Organizing for America (OFA), President Obama’s re-election campaign: “Randy, I can pick up the phone and call the director of OFA, can you? I can pick up the phone and call the … battleground state director of OFA. Can you?”

If Shoq’s claims are accurate, the latest reports may suggest multiple connections between the Limbaugh boycott, MSNBC, the Obama campaign, Democrat operatives like Rauhauser, and tax-exempt groups like Media Matters and Kimberlin’s Velvet Revolution.

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Hey Unions? Welcome to Politics. Watch That Bloody Nose

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Published on: June 22, 2012

Original Article - Hey Unions? Welcome to Politics. Watch That Bloody Nose

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a hat tip to common sense, decided yesterday that nonunion members can opt out of union fees that are targeted towards political purposes.
“Labor unions must give nonmember workers ‘fresh notice’ of unplanned increases in fees or assessments — money that might be used for political purposes — the Supreme Court ruled Thursday,” according to CNN.

For labor unions around the country, it serves as a painful reminder that when they decided to go all-in for Obama in 2008, they alienated the rest of us non-government, non-union members- the 99 Percent- who have to go out and earn our keep every day. And that alienation is being felt in political defeats by unions around the country.

“The 7-2 decision is a victory for Dianne Knox,” says CNN, “a California state employee, who sought to opt out of a $12 million assessment imposed by the Service Employees International Union Local 1000. She did not belong to SEIU, unlike most of her fellow government workers.”

The SEIU was imposing fees on nonunion members in order to build a war chest to defeat several ballot measures in California.

“There is no justification for the SEIU’s failure…,” wrote Justice Alito for the majority. “[The law] rests on the principle that nonmembers should not be required to fund a union’s political and ideological projects unless they choose to do so after having ‘a fair opportunity’ to assess the impact of paying for nonchargeable union activities.”

In addition, Alito found that the SEIU’s collection practices violated the First Amendment saying that nonunion members have a right to opt out of political activity. By contrast “no constitutional right of the union is violated because it has no constitutional right to receive any payment [editor’s emphasis] from those employees.”

I’m wondering if the unions are starting to regret their investment in Obama.

Unions dumped $450 million into the Obama effort in 2008, according to the New York Times, hoping that they’d buy political clout with Obama that they don’t actually own on Main Street. But besides the auto bailout, and a few years of government stimulus spending, the strategy has been pretty much a disaster.

“This is not about payback,” the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s director of government affairs told the New York Times. “We’re looking to work with the new administration on a shared set of priorities that focus on lifting workers and improving the economy.”

I think he meant “lifting workers’ wallets.”

Because on the other counts, I think you can call their strategy a failure: No payback for unions and no improving economy.

And just another fine job for liberals, who don’t seems to be able to accomplish even those things that they say they desire.

Instead, the mass of the country has turned on unions, union members, bloated union benefits and even- gasp!- public teachers- who used to be as iconic in America as baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and, um… Chevrolet?

The laundry list of failures for the union agenda is really staggering. They spent the most money ever. The elected the greatest president EVER and finest political mind since Roy “this is not a salad bar” Rogers opened his burger joint in cooperation with the Marriott Corporation under the supervision of the Reverse Vampires, in conjunction with the Rand Corporation.

And what have they bought? The union has faced the longest string of defeats since the losing streak that started at the First Battle of Bull Run.

Well, they wanted to be politics. Congrats, Mr. Union. You are now in politics.

Card check? The union equivalent of forced busing and segregation? Voters completely checked the box denying approval for card check.

Then there was Madison, WI and the recall rebuke when Scott Walker took on teachers unions. What do you call it when voters vote a governor back in by recall with a wider margin than he originally received in the general election? A permission slip to give the unions detention.

How about that union fiasco with the National Labor Relations Board trying to stop Boeing Corporation from opening a $1 billion plant in South Carolina because it wasn’t a union shop? Another union disaster where they had to lower their colors.

Boeing’s CEO, Jim McNerney, is calling the regulatory climate for business the worst in U.S. history.

From MarketWatch:

Asked by a reporter if regulations are any worse now than in decades past, McNerney gave an emphatic yes. “It’s different today. The attitude is different,” he said. “Unless you live it it’s hard to see it.”

McNerney said the Roundtable “hears about it all day long” from member companies. The group represents large U.S. firms that employ more than 14 million people and generate sales in excess of $6 trillion a year.

Many of those regulatory hurdles are put there just to coddle unions.

But not for long Mr. Union man. Not. For. Long.

Welcome to politics. Watch that bloody nose.

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The ‘DREAM’ Order Isn’t Legal (Neither Are The Recipients!)

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Published on: June 22, 2012

Original Article - The ‘DREAM’ Order Isn’t Legal (Neither Are The Recipients!)

A week ago, President Obama stunned the nation when he announced that he would be implementing the chief provisions of the “DREAM Act” through executive fiat: He has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to refuse to deport illegal aliens under the age of 30 who claim to have entered the country before the age of 16 and who’ve graduated from high school or are in school. Some 1.4 million illegal aliens are likely to qualify for this amnesty.

Most criticism has centered on the fact that the president is enacting a policy that he himself had said could only be achieved by changes in the law. But a bigger problem with Obama’s move has been overlooked: He’s actually ordering federal immigration agents to break the law.

<br /> The White House claims that it’s telling Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” in not removing illegal aliens. But there is no such discretion.

In 1996, Congress inserted several interlocking provisions into the law that require deportation when Executive Branch officials become aware of illegal aliens.

Congress enacted these provisions explicitly to force the executive branch to place into removal proceedings virtually every illegal alien encountered by federal immigration agents. The exceptions allowed by the 1996 act are very narrow, to be applied only in extraordinary circumstances (such as aliens seeking political asylum).

In other words, the “prosecutorial discretion” that Obama claims he is ordering ICE agents to exercise no longer exists, because Congress eliminated it in 1996.

Congress acted out of frustration that the Clinton administration was using its discretion to let several thousand illegal aliens walk free. Today, Obama is claiming to use the same now nonexistent discretion to let 1.4 million illegals walk free.

Here’s the technical explanation:

* 8 U.S.C. § 1225(a)(1) provides that “an alien present in the United States who has not been admitted . . . shall be deemed for purposes of this chapter an applicant for admission.”

* This triggers 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(2)(A), which mandates that if the immigration officer determines that the alien is unlawfully present, the alien must be placed in deportation proceedings: “In the case of an alien who is an applicant for admission, if the examining immigration officer determines that an alien seeking admission is not clearly and beyond a doubt entitled to be admitted, the alien shall be detained for a proceeding under section 1229a of this title.”

* The proceedings described in 8 U.S.C. § 1229a are the deportation (or “removal”) proceedings of the US immigration courts.

Of course, the president long ago showed that he isn’t serious about enforcing our immigration laws. On taking office, he virtually ended work-site enforcement. That and other actions prompted ICE agents to take an unprecedented vote of “no confidence” in the Obama appointee running the agency. Then, in 2010 and 2011, Obama had his Justice Department sue states (like Arizona) that were trying to help the federal government enforce the law.

Now he’s taken it a step further, ordering ICE agents to violate the law.

I wish I could conclude by saying that at least things can’t get any worse. But there are still seven months until January 2013.

Kris W. Kobach is the secretary of state of Kansas. He is also the co-author of the Arizona and Alabama illegal-immigration laws.

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Checking the APA’s Findings on Homosexual Parenting

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Published on: June 22, 2012

Original Article - Checking the APA’s Findings on Homosexual Parenting

Since 2005, when the American Psychological Association (APA) issued an official brief on lesbian and gay parenting, political correctness has demanded that all agree with the spurious assessment that children of homosexual parents do fine. The APA declared, “A growing body of scientific literature demonstrates that children who grow up with one or two gay and/or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual. Children’s optimal development seems to be influenced more by the nature of the relationships and interactions within the family unit than by the particular structural form it takes.” In a fit of concurrence, elite opinion-makers, academics, and those in the mainstream media voiced their wisdom by declaring that any household structure works well as long as there are loving relationships within the family unit.

In the absence of research to the contrary and a barrage of positive media images of homosexuals in family settings, public attitudes were manipulated into widespread acceptance of same-sex parenting. The few lone dissenting voices were harassed and discredited.

But the prestigious Social Science Research journal recently published highly credited research that counters the prevailing public and scientific attitudes. Loren Marks, of Louisiana State University, authored “Same-Sex Parenting and Children’s Outcomes: A Closer Examination of the American Psychological Association’s Brief on Lesbian and Gay Parenting,” which uses objective scientific methods to examine the APA assertion about the outcomes of homosexual parenting. Marks’ research calls into question the validity of the research methods and analysis of the 59 published studies cited by the APA.

Marks concluded that the APA assertions about homosexual parenting were not empirically warranted — i.e., the data presented doesn’t validate their hypothesis. He found that the sampling that these researchers used was not representative: the samples are too small, they do not include data of the comparison groups, and the diversity of homosexual parenting studies was dismissed. In addition, only a limited scope of children’s outcomes was studied. Furthermore, the research lacked the statistical power expected by APA standards.

Research samples are not representative.

  • Samples are too small. Marks argues that “more than three-fourths (77%) of the studies cited by the APA brief are based on small, non-representative, convenient samples of fewer than 100 participants. Many of the non-representative samples contain far fewer than 100 participants.”
  • Samples did not include heterosexual comparison groups. Marks finds that “many same-sex parenting researchers did not use marriage-based, intact families as heterosexual representatives, but instead used single mothers.” That is to say, outcomes for married, intact mom-dad families were not the basis for comparison in the research studies to the same-sex parents; instead, same-sex and single-mother households were compared.
  • Study samples did not consider the diversity of homosexual parents. A great amount of research has paid close attention to the diversity of heterosexual-parent families in terms of their various family structures (married intact families, cohabiting, divorced, step- and single-parent families), economic and educational levels, race, and so forth. However, the homosexual-parents studies are “biased toward well-educated, privileged, white women with high incomes.” Marks noted that these factors have plagued other same-sex parenting studies as well.

Children’s outcomes were not fully researched.

  • The focus of most studies was on parental outcomes, not children’s. The APA claimed, “Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.” (Apparently, few eyebrows were raised at the categorical denial of “any” negative findings whatsoever.) Appallingly, the research supporting this argument did not research children’s outcomes. Marks argues that some studies “focused on fathers’ reports of fathers’ values and behaviors, not on children’s outcomes — illustrating a recurring tendency in the same-sex parenting literature to focus on the parent rather than the child.”
  • The long-term outcomes of children of lesbian and “gay” parents were not fully researched. Studies have shown that in the case of cohabiting families and “two-biological-parent married families,” the differences in children’s outcomes increase in significance as the children grow older. This indicates the importance of the examination of long-term outcomes. Marks supposes that “the likelihood of significant differences arising between children from same-sex and married families may also increase across time — not just into adolescence, but into early and middle adulthood.”

The research lacked the statistical power expected by APA standards.

  • In his most pivotal criticism of the same-sex parenting studies, Marks’ showed that, rather than large random samples that are representative, the data underlying the APA official brief consisted of small, select convenience samples repeated by different researchers of same-sex families. According to Marks, “[t]he 2005 APA Brief seems to draw inferences of sameness based on the observation that gay and lesbian parents and heterosexual parents appear not to be statistically different from one another based on small, non-representative samples — thereby becoming vulnerable to a classic Type II error … the logic behind replication is undermined.” He used Lerner and Nagai (2001)’s book-length examination of same-sex parenting studies as the supportive argument. In their work, Lerner and Nagai indicate that 17 of the 22 same-sex parenting comparison studies they reviewed had been designed in such a way that the odds of failing to find a significant difference (between homo- and heterosexual groups) was 85% or higher.

In conclusion, Loren Marks’ “Same-Sex Parenting and Children’s Outcomes: A Closer Examination of the American Psychological Association’s Brief on Lesbian and Gay Parenting” serves as a careful scientific examination of the flaws of the APA’s untenable assertion that “[n]ot a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.” Any finding as extreme as this one cannot help but violate the common sense of ordinary folks. It simply bears out what many have come to see as the perfidy of the educated elites’ attempts to foist off on the public views that conform to their biased beliefs — however unreasonable — rather than views that conform to the facts. Marks’ study proves yet again the old adage: “If something seems too good to be true, it generally is.”

Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D. is author of Children at Risk (2010) and Marriage Matters (2012). She heads the think-tank for Concerned Women for America.

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Another Sign Dems Are Writing Off Obama

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Published on: June 22, 2012

Original Article - Another Sign Dems Are Writing Off Obama

The grown-ups in the Democratic Party are looking beyond what they anticipate will be Barack Obama’s single term, and positioning themselves to survive the aftermath. How else to explain the words of “Obama surrogate” Ed Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania and Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and Hillary Clinton acolyte? Bill McMorris of the Washington Free Beacon reports:

A top Obama surrogate said the president will not have to worry about a swooning media or crowds overcome by fainting spells in 2012.

“The media and the population saw him as this transformative figure [in 2008]; he was the first serious black candidate, a new, young, promising figure,” said former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. “People have sobered to that; the newness has faded and people now see him as another practical politician.”

Rendell is known for being blunt, a theme he touches on in his new book, A Nation of Wusses, and a trait that has gotten him in hot water on the campaign trail.

Rendell was a passionate supporter of Hillary Clinton in 2008, and is reputed to remain close to both of the Clintons. As I wrote 11 days ago:

Panic is setting in among the people who ran the Democratic Party prior to the miraculous arrival on the scene of Barack Hussein Obama and the perfect storm of events that propelled him into the White House.

These people, starting with Bill Clinton, the master Democratic politician of our era, can read the tea leaves

The Democratic scorpions are sharing a bottle. Couldn’t happen to a nicer party.

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Illegal Alien Jailed for Raping 6-Month-Old Relative

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Published on: June 22, 2012

Original Article - Illegal Alien Jailed for Raping 6-Month-Old Relative

CAMP COUNTY, TX (KLTV) – A man is behind bars accused of sexually assaulting a six-month-old child.

Camp County Sheriff’s Office’s chief investigator says Ignacio Saldana-Rivera sexually assaulted a six-month-old family member. Officials wouldn’t say how the infant is related to Saldana.

On June 8, Saldana was arrested for assault family violence and interfering with an emergency phone call. Authorities say this stemmed from the infant’s mother calling 911 to report the assault and Saldana allegedly assaulted the woman to keep her from reporting him.

After an investigation, the Camp County Sheriff’s Office deemed the woman’s claims to be true and charged Saldana with aggravated sexual assault of a child.

The Camp County Sheriff’s Office says an investigation is underway into claims that Saldana may have sexually assaulted a second child. Authorities would not comment further on whether the second child is related to Saldana.

Saldana remains in the Camp County Jail on bonds totaling more than $100,000. Officials say Saldana can not bond out of jail because of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, hold.

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EU Should ‘Undermine National Homogeneity’ Says UN Migration Chief

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Published on: June 22, 2012

Original Article - EU Should ‘Undermine National Homogeneity’ Says UN Migration Chief

Peter Sutherland
Peter Sutherland’s global migration forum brings together 160 nations to discuss policy

The EU should “do its best to undermine” the “homogeneity” of its member states, the UN’s special representative for migration has said.

Peter Sutherland told peers the future prosperity of many EU states depended on them becoming multicultural.

He also suggested the UK government’s immigration policy had no basis in international law.

He was being quizzed by the Lords EU home affairs sub-committee which is investigating global migration.

Mr Sutherland, who is non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International and a former chairman of oil giant BP, heads the Global Forum on Migration and Development, which brings together representatives of 160 nations to share policy ideas.

He told the House of Lords committee migration was a “crucial dynamic for economic growth” in some EU nations “however difficult it may be to explain this to the citizens of those states”.

‘More open’An ageing or declining native population in countries like Germany or southern EU states was the “key argument and, I hesitate to the use word because people have attacked it, for the development of multicultural states”, he added.

“It’s impossible to consider that the degree of homogeneity which is implied by the other argument can survive because states have to become more open states, in terms of the people who inhabit them. Just as the United Kingdom has demonstrated.”

At the most basic level individuals should have a freedom of choice”

Peter Sutherland UN special representative for migration

The UN special representative on migration was also quizzed about what the EU should do about evidence from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that employment rates among migrants were higher in the US and Australia than EU countries.

He told the committee: “The United States, or Australia and New Zealand, are migrant societies and therefore they accommodate more readily those from other backgrounds than we do ourselves, who still nurse a sense of our homogeneity and difference from others.

“And that’s precisely what the European Union, in my view, should be doing its best to undermine.”

Mr Sutherland recently argued, in a lecture to the London School of Economics, of which he is chairman, that there was a “shift from states selecting migrants to migrants selecting states” and the EU’s ability to compete at a “global level” was at risk.

‘No justification’In evidence to the Lords committee, he urged EU member states to work together more closely on migration policy and advocated a global approach to the issue – criticising the UK government’s attempt to cut net migration from its current level to “tens of thousands” a year through visa restrictions.

British higher education chiefs want non-EU overseas students to be exempted from migration statistics and say visa restrictions brought in to help the government meet its target will damage Britain’s economic competitiveness.

But immigration minister Damian Green has said exempting foreign students would amount to “fiddling” the figures and the current method of counting was approved by the UN.

Committee chairman Lord Hannay, a crossbench peer and a former British ambassador to the UN, said Mr Green’s claim of UN backing for including students in migration figures “frankly doesn’t hold water – this is not a piece of international law”.

Mr Sutherland, a former Attorney General of Ireland, agreed, saying: “Absolutely not. it provides absolutely no justification at all for the position they are talking about.”

‘UK support’He said the policy risked Britain’s traditional status as “tolerant, open society” and would be “massively damaging” to its higher education sector both financially and intellectually.

“It’s very important that we should not send a signal from this country, either to potential students of the highest quality, or to academic staff, that this is in some way an unsympathetic environment in which to seek visas or whatever other permissions are required… and I would be fearful that that could be a signal.”

Mr Sutherland, who has attended meetings of The Bilderberg Group, a top level international networking organisation often criticised for its alleged secrecy, called on EU states to stop targeting “highly skilled” migrants, arguing that “at the most basic level individuals should have a freedom of choice” about whether to come and study or work in another country.

Mr Sutherland also briefed the peers on plans for the Global Migration and Development Forum’s next annual conference in Mauritius in November, adding: “The UK has been very constructively engaged in this whole process from the beginning and very supportive of me personally.”

Asked afterwards how much the UK had contributed to the forum’s running costs in the six years it had been in existence, he said it was a relatively small sum in the region of “tens of thousands”.

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Politico Suspends Reporter Joe Williams for ‘Controversial Comments’ About Mitt Romney

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Published on: June 22, 2012

Original Article - Politico Suspends Reporter Joe Williams for ‘Controversial Comments’ About Mitt Romney

Politico announced Friday that it has suspended White House correspondent Joe Williams for “controversial comments” he’s made about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in recent days.

Dylan Byers reported hours ago:

“Regrettably, an unacceptable number of Joe Williams’s public statements on cable and Twitter have called into question his commitment to this responsibility,” POLITICO’s founding editors John Harris and Jim VandeHei wrote in a memo to the staff. “His comment about Governor Romney earlier today on MSNBC fell short of our standards for fairness and judgment in an especially unfortunate way.”

“Joe has acknowledged that his appearance reflected a poor choice of words,” the continued. “This appearance came in the context of other remarks on Twitter that, cumulatively, require us to make clear that our standards are serious, and so are the consequences for disregarding them. This is true for all POLITICO journalists, including an experienced and well-respected voice like Joe Williams.”

“Following discussion of this matter with editors, Joe has been suspended while we review the matter,” they wrote.

The MSNBC incident, reported by Washington Free Beacon, involved Williams saying on the Martin Bashir Show Thursday that Romney appeared most comfortable around “white folks.” This was quickly linked by the Drudge Report receiving a huge amount of attention.

Hours later, Breitbart’s John Nolte caught Williams tweeting, “Either Ann Romney meant Mitt is flaccid or that when we ‘unzip him’ we’ll find he’s a dick.” This included a link to an ABCNews.com blog.

Certainly, Politico is to be commended for its action, but this raises some other issues.

First, will there be any disciplinary action taken by MSNBC against Bashir for tacitly agreeing with Williams’s comments Thursday by not challenging them?

Let’s understand that since Romney has become the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, virtually every hour of MSNBC broadcasting includes someone making deplorable comments about the former Massachusetts governor and his family.

Maybe it’s high time the head honchos at NBC, Comcast, and General Electric recognize as Politico has that its anchors and commentators regularly fall “short” of “standards for fairness and judgment.”

On the other hand, MSNBC has practically become Politico’s news network. You almost can’t turn on this cable station without seeing a Politico reporter or editor either speaking Democrat talking points or trashing Republicans, in particular Romney.

If Politico has any intention of being perceived as an impartial news source and not as Rush Limbaugh would say “an annex of the Democrat National Committee,” it seriously needs to rethink its ties to MSNBC.

To be sure, the exposure the publication gets as a result of its employees constantly being on this so-called “news network” is considerable despite the low ratings.

But as no one on the planet takes seriously what emanates from this farce of a station, having your representatives regularly on television laughing and guffawing with the likes of Martin Bashir, Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz, and Lawrence O’Donnell as they exclusively trash Republicans can’t possibly help your brand.

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Media Obsessed with Watergate, Not Fast and Furious

Original Article - Media Obsessed with Watergate, Not Fast and Furious

If you want to see a liberal media member’s head explode, compare Fast and Furious to Watergate. If you want to see an entire newsroom freak out, say that Fast and Furious is worse than Watergate.

The Activist Old Media has spent this month celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Watergate. Make no doubt about it, they are celebrating. They worship at the alter of Woodward and Bernstein for two reasons. 1) They took down a Republican President. 2) The media broke the story. Nothing can replace this perfect storm in their minds. Those are also the reasons why the media will not give Fast and Furious the attention it deserves.

With a Democrat in the White House and his reelection on the line, this is the absolute worst time for a scandal like this to blow up. The story of Eric Holder and the contempt vote must run after a hot day in June, as it was treated by ABC World News Tonight.

Also, since bloggers broke this story, the Activist Old Media cannot take ownership and create shrines to fellow “journalists.” CBS says that Sharon Atkisson broke the story, but it was on the ‘net before it went to the Network. Certainly, Atkisson has done a great job on this story – so good that she was yelled at by Holder’s lackeys. She was the first network news reporter to do the story, partly because the other networks have been historically absent on it, until now. But, no network “broke” this story, as they claim. It’s a brave new world out there on the internet, and the Activist Old Media is doing everything it can to ignore and diminish that fact. Blind by choice.

There are many elements that make Fast and Furious #WorseThanWatergate. Brian Terry’s death and the deaths of 300+ Mexicans should be first on that list. Nobody died in Watergate. It was a botched burglary of Democrat campaign headquarters by Republican operatives. Then came the Richard Nixon cover-up. We have always been told the cover-up was worse (which it was), and it brought down a President. In Fast and Furious, both the operation and the attempted cover-up are scandalous. Holder has already lied many times to Congress, and now Barack Obama has become the first President to use Executive Privilege to keep secret documents he claims he has never seen. The media can’t see the historic relevance here, because they don’t want to see it. Blind by choice.

Concocting a scheme to put the most dangerous hand-held weapons on the planet in the hands of Mexican drug cartels should be enough to bury anybody and everybody responsible. Congress wants to see how far this scandal goes up the food chain, and they have been blocked at nearly every turn. Oh, Holder has turned over some documents, but it is clear there is more out there that this administration is hiding, or why the Executive Privilege? I guess that part is hard for the Activist Old Media to figure out. They are busy popping the champagne corks on 40-year-old Dom.

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The America Hater (An Expose)

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Published on: June 22, 2012

Original Article – The America Hater (An Expose)

They always get the benefit of the doubt, these America haters — from our enemies, of course. But also from our celebrities, our “mainstream” press and other organs of liberal opinion.

The case of Julian Assange, would-be scourge of America, is depressingly typical — if slightly surprising because the administration he sought to embarrass and discredit was Obama’s. There’s discomfiting news about Assange this week, which we’ll get to, but first, a review.

Remember the respectful treatment the Wikileaks founder received? After publishing 250,000 confidential documents obtained by an Army private — some of which provided names and addresses of Afghan civilians who had cooperated with NATO against the Taliban, others that simply provided embarrassing diplomatic scuttlebutt — Assange got a sympathetic “60 Minutes” interview. It was conducted at the country estate where he was under house arrest (or “mansion arrest” as the Daily Mail put it). A little matter of rape and sexual assault charges leveled in Sweden.

Why, you might ask, does an otherwise undistinguished Australian programmer and “Internet activist” get such cushy digs as the 10-bedroom Ellingham Hall in which to entertain foreign journalists and fight extradition? Why do Bianca Jagger, Jemima Khan, Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali and Michael Moore, among others, provide moral support and/or bail money for the pale crusader? Why does Time magazine feature a black and white photo of Assange on its cover, with his mouth taped over by a colorful American flag?

Why does Assange obtain cult status, whereas Women in White, who brave persecution to protest Cuba’s human rights abuses and Harry Wu, a 19-year veteran of the Chinese gulag who campaigns for religious liberty in China and Manal al-Sharif, the Saudi woman who drove a car to highlight the kingdom’s benighted treatment of women, struggle in relative obscurity? It’s simple: Assange hates America. He has compared Guantanamo to Auschwitz. He claims that Wikileaks has uncovered “thousands” of American war crimes. He disclosed a stolen 2004 Army memo detailing the “Warlock” system that jammed improvised explosive devices. He praised the leader of Hezbollah for “fighting against the hegemony of the United States.” Such paranoid anti-Americanism purchases credibility with the beautiful people.

Did they know or care what he was capable of? Assange was eventually persuaded to redact some of the material he received prior to publication, but as Declan Walsh of the Guardian reported, his initial attitude toward those who might lose their lives at the hands of the Taliban or others for cooperating with the U.S. was brutal. “‘Well, they’re informants,’ he said. ‘So, if they get killed, they’ve got it coming to them. They deserve it.’”

Assange is upheld, by those of limited understanding, as a symbol of openness and press freedom. Yet he has associated himself with some of the most flagrant abusers of press liberty in the world. He cheerfully agreed to serve as the host of a TV program on the Kremlin’s propaganda channel “Russia Today.” According to a report by the International Federation of Journalists, Russia has been responsible for the deaths or disappearances of more than 300 journalists in the past two decades.

His first interview — and it was a soft one — was with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who tends to torture people who displease him. When Nasrallah boasted that his code was unbreakable, the two men “laughed companionably,” reported The New York Times.

Now we learn that Assange, who remains under an arrest warrant, is seeking the protection of the Ecuadoran embassy in London. Yes, Ecuador, whose Chavez-wannabe leader, Rafael Correa, has called journalists in his country “media vultures.”

Ecuador’s criminal code now prohibits journalists from showing a “lack of respect” for the president. And Correa has abused a feature of the broadcasting code to require that private TV and radio stations interrupt their programming to transmit government messages called “cadenas.” Between 2007 and 2011, reports Human Rights Watch, there have been 1,025 such messages, sucking up 151 hours of broadcast time. The number of private outlets is shrinking though, as the government continues to shutter independent radio and TV stations (seven in June alone) on various pretexts.

That’s where our Internet crusader for “openness” is headed or would like to be. The British government isn’t cooperating, warning that Assange will be arrested if he steps out of the embassy.

One might say, “He’s got it coming. He deserves it.”

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Obama’s White Support Is Too Low to Win (Didn’t He Write Whites Off Last Year?!)

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Published on: June 22, 2012

Original Article - Obama’s White Support Is Too Low to Win (Didn’t He Write Whites Off Last Year?!)

President Obama does not currently have enough white support to win re-election even if he retains his minority base from 2008. At the same time, electoral data indicates Mitt Romney has not yet attracted enough of these white voters to capitalize on Obama’s weakness.

Pundits often note that Romney cannot win with his current level of Hispanic support. That’s likely true. But so is the converse: Obama cannot win with his level of white support unless white swing voters withhold their votes from Romney as well.

Today, fewer whites back Obama than any Democratic candidate since Walter Mondale. Romney does not need to emulate Ronald Reagan to win. Should he match Reagan’s share of the white vote in 1984 — presuming all else remains constant since 2008 — Romney would rout Obama.

Of course, America has changed since Reagan. Non-Hispanic whites were 89 percent of the electorate when Reagan first won the White House in 1980. They were 85 percent in 1988. By 2008, whites were 74 percent. That shift has upended the electoral landscape. But only so much.

Take Michael Dukakis’ fate as an example. In 1988, George H.W. Bush’s margin of victory exceeded Obama’s in 2008. But if Obama’s level of white support in 2012 equals Dukakis’, and all else remains the same from 2008, Obama would likely narrowly win. He would lack a mandate and risk immediate lame-duck status. But he would survive with white support that once sundered Democrats.

Unless . . .

What if Obama doesn’t even match Dukakis with whites? That’s the dynamic of 2012. This electorate has a white floor. And it has broken for this president. Democrats cannot depend on demographics to save them.

Should Romney win the whites Obama lost, Romney will only need to perform as well as John McCain with minorities to win. This is true even under Democrats’ most optimistic, and unlikely, demographic scenario: that the white share of the electorate decreases another two percentage points from 2008, blacks turn out at the same historic levels they did then, and the Hispanic share of the vote rises from 9 to 11 percent of the electorate while Obama retains the same level of support from other minority groups.

The white margin to watch: 61-39. That’s the rough break-even point. Obama likely needs more than 39 percent of whites to assure re-election. Romney likely needs at least 61 percent of whites to assure Obama’s defeat (or 60.5 in some scenerios). These are estimates based on an electorate that matches the diversity of 2008 or is slightly less white. It presumes the Electoral College outcome does not diverge from the winner of the popular vote (loose talk aside, it’s only happened four times in U.S. history).

Thus, Obama can do a little worse than Dukakis, and Romney must perform a little better than Bush circa 1988. Whites favored Reagan in 1984 by a 64-35 margin. They favored Bush in 1988 by a 59-40 margin. Four years ago, whites favored McCain by a 55-43 margin.

Only 37 or 38 percent of whites back Obama today, according to the Gallup Poll’s authoritative weekly averages since early April (which have a larger sample size than most polls combined). The rub for Romney? In those same matchups, Romney only wins 54 percent of whites. Other surveys show the same. CNN’s latest pegged the white margin at 53-39. FOX News’ latest, 51-35. Ipsos-Reuters, 53-38. The Pew Research Center’s polls have, however, shown Obama stronger this year. Its recent survey placed the margin at 54-41.

Writ large, Obama appears below his floor with whites. But so does Romney. Obama has too few whites saying yea to a second term. And Romney has converted too few nays to his side. Notably, the same share of whites say they will vote for Obama as approve of his job performance.

These whites constitute, by far, the largest share of the swing vote. The president depends on Hispanics to partly compensate for his weakness with whites. That’s possible in some states like Florida, Colorado and Nevada. But Latinos are less than a 10th of the electorate in every other swing state.

Obama’s recent immigration decision will probably help secure his Hispanic flank. But he already had the support of nearly two-thirds of Hispanics by Gallup’s measure — roughly the share he earned in 2008. Hispanics’ views of Obama have, however, fluctuated more than whites’.

That steady white opposition should now concern Democrats. Obama’s broken floor with whites appears to be his new foundation. And it’s more than a white working-class problem. In fact, it always is. The white male gap helps explain why. Economic class and education do not impact white men and women the same way.

Currently, among white college graduates, according to Gallup data, 48 percent of women favor Obama and 40 percent of men do as well. Among working-class whites, 37 percent of women favor Obama and 30 percent of men agree.

Obama had a breakthrough with white men a political world ago. He performed better with white men than every Democratic nominee since Jimmy Carter (a point to remember, when Obama’s race is raised). Obama performed better than John Kerry, though slightly worse than Al Gore and Bill Clinton four years earlier, with white women (see my wrap-up of 2008 for more details). Obama’s current support with white men, 34 percent, reflects about where he stood with them before the September stock market crash.

That crash was critical to the making of this president’s mandate. Now the economy threatens to unmake his presidency. Those voters who swung to Obama with the crash have left him, above all else, because they came to believe he did not focus enough on the Great Recession that followed the crash. That’s no small side note, especially on the cusp of the Supreme Court’s health care ruling. Obama chose to invest his political capital in that cause over others, such as a new New Deal.

Whites helped give Obama his capital. He began his presidency with at least six-in-10 whites behind him. His white support first fell, as with independents, below 50 percent in the summer of 2009. Washington was then consumed with health care. Americans then felt consumed by hard times. The health care law passed in early 2010. Only about a third of whites approved of it. Why? Begin with the mommy-daddy politics that molds modern American politics. Soon after the law passed, Obama tried to pivot to the economy. But it was too late. Governing is choosing. And by the midterm elections, as I first reported the morning after, Democrats suffered unprecedented white flight. Obama’s party paid for the economy but also his choices.

Today, the demographic status quo is not good for either candidate. The long-term future favors Democrats. The GOP must reconcile itself with the browning of America. But even in early 2009, amid renewed talk of an emerging Democratic majority, it was clear that demographics are not electoral destiny. That Democratic majority has not emerged over the past decade because Democrats have not made sustained inroads with the actual demographic majority.

How quickly that proved true. In 2010, whites backed GOP House candidates by a 60-38 margin. It gave Republicans a historic landslide. The white margin two years ago roughly matches the break-even point today. That’s because presidential electorates are browner and blacker, though possibly not enough for Democrats. Plainly put, the data shows that Romney will likely win if he matches his party’s minority support in 2008 and its majority support in 2010.

Democrats have come to depend on diversity. But even today, diversity may not prove enough to save Obama.

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Turkish Prime Minister Assaults Women’s Rights

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Published on: June 22, 2012

Original Article - Turkish Prime Minister Assaults Women’s Rights

Photo Gallery: Authoritarian Trend in Turkey

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has never been much of a feminist, but women in Turkey are enraged by his latest comments on abortion. Critics say he is trying to distract attention from a scandal involving a massacre of Kurdish civilians last year.

Six letters, each a few centimeters tall, written onto her naked skin — that was Madonna’s contribution to Turkey’s culture wars. Anyone who saw the words “No fear” written on her back during her June 7 concert in Istanbul understood her message, which was to encourage the Turkish people to have no fear of the enemies of freedom, and of patriarchs, philistines and the morality police. The singer also exposed one of her breasts on stage, apparently as a gesture of solidarity.

For weeks, thousands of women have been protesting against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 58, after he announced his intention to crack down on abortions and Caesarean section births. Since then, a debate on the role of women in Turkey has erupted — but not for the first time.

‘I Don’t Believe in Equality’

It’s hard to say when exactly Erdogan threw away his opportunity to gain the support of the women’s movement.

In 2008, he gave a speech in the provincial city of Usak to commemorate International Women’s Day, in which he advised his “dear sisters” to have at least three, preferably five, children. After the speech, a Turkish daily suggested that perhaps Erdogan would like to see International Women’s Day renamed “International Childbirth Day.”

In 2010, he invited representatives of women’s organizations to the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul and confessed: “I don’t believe in equality between men and women.”

A year later, on International Women’s Day in 2011, Erdogan talked about violence against women and statistics stating that so-called honor killings had increased 14-fold in Turkey from 2002 to 2009. But that, said the premier, was only because more murders were being reported, and that there are basically few acts of violence against women.

A member of the audience says that she was “incredulous.” Erdogan’s speech was “simply misogynistic” and “intolerable window dressing,” she says.

Deeply Conservative

There is no doubt that the Turkish premier is a deeply conservative man. His view of women is traditional and his notions about family policy are patriarchal. The employment rate among women in Turkey is currently at 29 percent, the lowest among all 34 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The Turks, who voted Erdogan into office for a third term last year, knew what they were letting themselves in for. Hadn’t Erdogan, when he was mayor of Istanbul in 1994, told a female employee that women should never be allowed to enter the innermost circles of political leadership, because this was “against human nature?”

A politician who dismisses female self-determination as “feminist propaganda” is nothing special in Turkey, and enjoys support among broad segments of the voting public, not just among conservative Muslims. Nevertheless, Turkey is still the most modern country among majority Muslim nations. It’s a country where GDP has increased by more than half, and per-capita income by more than a third, since Erdogan came into office. And it’s a country that has become a motor for growth and a regional power — and all of that since a supposedly reformed Islamist took power in March 2003.

At the time, many liberal Turks entered into a pact with Erdogan, because they had a common enemy: the fossilized establishment consisting of the military, the judiciary and the government bureaucracy. In return for their support, Erdogan promised to respect the liberals’ lifestyle.

Changing Social Structures

But now there are growing signs that the prime minister hasn’t kept up his end of the bargain. “It isn’t a matter of Erdogan wanting to transform Turkey into a theocracy,” says Istanbul-based sociologist Binnaz Toprak. “It’s about what the Americans call social engineering, the modification of social structures.”

Take, for example, education. “We will raise a religious generation,” the prime minister said in the spring, just as his government was approving a new education reform. It increases compulsory school attendance from eight to 12 years, but this only seems progressive at first glance. Under the reform, parents can move their children to vocational schools, a category which also includes the religious Imam Hatip schools, after only four years. In fact, the last four years of compulsory education can even be completed in the form of correspondence courses.

Erdogan’s “religious generation” can already be pleased about a well-established infrastructure of faith today. His party, the AKP, has transformed the Presidency of Religious Affairs, the Diyanet, into a massive agency. Its €1.3 billion ($1.6 billion) budget is larger than the combined budgets of Turkey’s European Union, foreign, energy and environment ministries combined. There is now one mosque for every 350 people in Turkey — and one hospital for every 60,000.

‘Despotic Arrogance’

Art is another example. At the end of April, Erdogan had another of his notorious outbursts, this time raging against the “despotic arrogance” of the intellectuals. “What gives you the right to express an opinion on everyone and everything? Do you have a monopoly on theater in this country? Is art your monopoly? Those days are gone.”

Actors had demonstrated against an order to remove a play from a theater’s season schedule that the authorities felt was “too vulgar.” Erdogan then announced that all government-owned theaters were to be privatized.

The prime minister already had a score to settle with the actors. His daughter Sümeyye had tangled with an actor in April 2011, after the man had winked to her from the stage and imitated the way she chews gum. The young Erdogan stormed out of the theater and promptly complained to her father. The actor was later subpoenaed.

Erdogan’s authoritarian treatment of artists has almost sultanesque overtones, so much so that one false word can spell an artist’s demise.

Settling Scores

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to think and live the way one wishes in Turkey,” says the world-famous pianist Fazil Say. “Turkey is getting more and more religious,” says author Nedim Gürsel. “This policy is leading the country toward totalitarianism,” says sculptor Mehmet Aksoy, whose sculpture “The Statue of Humanity,” dedicated to peace among Turks and Armenians, was torn down because the premier didn’t like it.

The government is also settling a score with pianist Say. An avowed atheist, he had quoted a verse from a poem by the medieval Persian poet Omar Khayyam in a tweet: “You say wine will flow from its rivers. Is heaven a pub? You say two women per believer. Is heaven a brothel?”

The pianist was eventually prosecuted for “insulting religious values.” It didn’t surprise him, says Say. In fact, he adds, nothing surprises him any more in a country whose prime minister, Erdogan, once wanted to abolish the ballet.

Deflecting Attention

And now the premier has discovered the abortion debate. This was unexpected, given that abortion has not been a subject of significant public discussion until now. A relatively liberal rule that permits abortions until the 10th week of pregnancy didn’t offend anyone, not even Islamic scholars. The prime minister shouldn’t behave as if he were the “guardian of the vagina,” angry female protesters shouted.

What prompted Erdogan to take on abortion? Was it to deflect attention away from perhaps the biggest scandal of his term in office? In December, the Turkish Air Force killed 34 innocent civilians during an attack on presumed fighters with the PKK Kurdish separatist organization. Many media outlets pretended that the massacre, which took place near the town of Uludere, never happened.

When Erdogan’s critics rebuked him for the air strike, the prime minister defended himself in his own way, saying: “You always talk about Uludere. Every abortion is like an Uludere.” But many would argue that one aborted fetus can not be compared to 34 dead Kurds.

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Cannibalism, ‘Mommy Porn’ and Sexting, Oh My!

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Published on: June 22, 2012

Original Article - Cannibalism, ‘Mommy Porn’ and Sexting, Oh My!

This combo made of book cover images provided by Vintage Books shows the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’; trilogy by best-selling author E L James. (AP/Vintage Books)

Forget the stagnant American economy, our severe debt crisis and the rapidly mounting financial troubles in Greece and Spain, at least for a moment. Consider what’s driving American headlines these days”

Pornography – The #1, #2 and #3 books on the New York Times fiction best-seller list, and on the USA Today best-seller list, and on Amazon for the last few weeks have been the “Fifty Shades of Grey,” erotic novels by E.L. James that are being widely described as “Mommy Porn.” The sexually explicit trilogy has become an overnight, viral phenomenon among American girls in their young teens all the way up through grandmothers in their seventies and eighties and is making headlines across the nation.

Cannibalism — Have stories about human beings eating other human beings ever been a major story in the United States, much less a series of headlines that lasted day after day? The Drudge Report and media outlets across the U.S. have been dominated in recent weeks by stories of six different instances of cannibalistic acts, some here in America and some around the world. Such stories are almost too horrifying to read, yet where is the outrage? People are almost treating these stories as bizarre but even a bit humorous, it as if it were no big deal, just another news story.

“Sexting” – A teacher in Texas was arrested for “sexting” with a student only days after he was named Teacher of the Year. “Sexting,” sending nude photos or videos of oneself via cell phone, is on the rise in high schools across the country as students seek approval in the wrong places from their classmates and teachers. A recent survey shows that even among adults the practice is on the rise, with 1 out of 5 smartphone users admitting to “sexting.”

What in the world is going on? With a stagnant U.S. economy, more than $15 trillion in national debt, and some $65 trillion in unfunded federal liabilities fast coming due, America faces the very real possibility of an economic collapse in the not-too-distant future. But is it possible we’re already imploding culturally? Is there any hope of turning this around?

These are not normal times. Americans have been gripped by a widespread and deeply rooted pessimism in recent years. They are openly asking whether our nation can survive. A growing number of Americans fear that this period of our history is different and the crises we face today – and those coming up over the horizon – may be far worse than anything we have experienced in the past. Many Americans genuinely fear that God is preparing to remove his hand of protection and blessing from our country, or perhaps already has.

We must not kid ourselves. The evidence suggests we may very well be aboard the Titanic, heading for icebergs and inexplicably increasing our speed toward disaster. So many on board are unaware of the dangers fast approaching and not concerned in the slightest. We haven’t hit the icebergs yet, but if we don’t make a sharp turn fast, we soon will, and we will sink. Who will serve as our captain and crew going forward? Will they understand the gravity of the threat and have the wisdom, courage and speed to take appropriate action before it is too late? What is our role as passengers? Are we to succumb to decadence, indulging ourselves in amusements and entertainment and alcohol with no regard for our own safety or the safety of others aboard? Or will we rise up, sound the alarm, and take action while we can?

The good news is that God has shown mercy to our country in the past. In the early 1700s we experience what became known as the first Great Awakening. In the early 1800s, we experienced the Second Great Awakening. These were massive, widespread, game-changing eras of spiritual revival. In 1770, for example, there were fewer than two dozen Methodist churches in America. By 1860, there were nearly 20,000. In roughly the same time frame, the number of Baptists went from under 200,000 to more than one million.

These revivals were not a panacea. They did not save every soul or solve every social ill. No revival ever has or will. But the good news is this: the historical evidence is clear and compelling that many Americans found salvation during these periods, and American society as a whole was dramatically impacted and improved by both of these revivals.

One piece of observable evidence in this regard is the explosive growth in the number of church congregations that were established in the wake of both Great Awakenings. At the same time, Christians during this period sought to put their faith into action to improve their neighborhoods and communities and the nation as a whole. They persuaded millions of children to enroll in Sunday school programs to learn about the Bible and pray for their nation. They opened orphanages and soup kitchens to care for the poor and needy. They started clinics and hospitals to care for the sick, elderly and infirm. They founded elementary and secondary schools for girls as well as boys. They established colleges and universities dedicated to teaching both the Scriptures and the sciences. They led social campaigns to persuade Americans to stop drinking so much alcohol and to abolish the evil of slavery. These Christians didn’t expect the government to take care of them. They believed it was the Church’s job to show the love of Christ to their neighbors in real and practical ways. They were right, and they made America a better place as a result – not perfect, but better.

Today, the central question of our time for Americans is this: Will the American people experience a Third Great Awakening? The Tea Party movement and to some extent the Occupy Wall Street Movement have launched a constitutional revival, returning to the principles of 200 years ago.

Maybe it’s time to go back 2,000 years for a spiritual renaissance. If not, our days may be numbered and a terrible implosion is coming. There is no more middle ground. It is one or the other.

Joel C. Rosenberg is a New York Times best-selling author with more than 2.5 million copies in print. His new book, “Implosion: Can America Recover from Its Economic and Spiritual Challenges in Time?” is published by Tyndale House Publisher.

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Criminal Case to Go Forward Against a Teenager Accused of Brandishing a Rifle

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Published on: June 22, 2012

Original Article - Criminal Case to Go Forward Against a Teenager Accused of Brandishing a Rifle

Judge allows brandishing case to proceed sean comb

An Oakland County District court judge has decided to allow a criminal case to go forward against a Troy teenager accused of brandishing a rifle in downtown Birmingham.

“This is not a gun-rights case,” Judge Marc Barron said during an evidentiary hearing held Wednesday in the case against Sean Michael Combs.

Rather, the case hinged on the city of Birmingham’s brandishing ordinance and whether the city has a legal right to regulate firearms.

Defense attorney Jim Makowski had filed a motion to dismiss all the charges, saying his client never should have been stopped in the first place. Michigan is an open-carry state when it comes to firearms. Nor does the state require a person to carry ID or produce it when requested by police.

In his ruling, the judge said the Michigan Constitution gives local governments the right to regulate firearms in the interest of public safety. He noted Birmingham’s brandishing ordinance mirrors the state law and does not exceed it in terms of penalties. He then set a trial date of July 11 to begin jury selection.

After the hearing, Makowski said the ruling was “disappointing but not unexpected,” as the burden of proof falls on the defense in a motion to dismiss.

“When we go to trial, the burden of proof is on the city,” said Makowski. “And I don’t think they can meet it.”

Combs, 18, is charged with three misdemeanor counts of brandishing a rifle, disturbing the peace and resisting a police officer. He was arrested April 13 after he was stopped in downtown Birmingham with a 1942 M-1 Garand military rifle strapped to his back. The gun was loaded with a round in the chamber.

Police said they stopped Combs and requested to see his ID because the young man did not appear to be 18, the legal age to openly carry a firearm.

Makowski claimed only the state has the right to regulate firearms, not the local units of government. He argued his client’s actions did not meet the definition of brandishing.

Makowski in his brief tried to claim the city’s ordinance on disturbing the peace is “overbroad on its face” and infringed on his client’s personal right to carry a firearm. The judge, however, said there were other factors that went into the charge, such as Combs refusing to produce ID and attracting a crowd.

“It is the city’s position that violation of the ordinance was based on several factors, not just carrying a firearm,” the judge said in his ruling.

Combs, who just graduated from high school, attended the hearing with his mother. Afterward, he said he’s still in good spirits and prepared to stand trial.

A lawyer for Birmingham believes a jury would find Combs guilty of brandishing. In a 16-page brief filed with the court, attorney Mary Kucharek, with the law firm of Beier Howlett, argued Combs met the definition of “brandishing” when he decided to strap the rifle to his back and take a walk in the city.

“A young man, walking the streets of Birmingham where large numbers of young people congregate well after dark with no legitimate stated reason for transporting a loaded weapon means the defendant could only have been walking with the gun in that position so that people would see it,” Kucharek stated. “It could only have been his intent that other pedestrians and motorists should see the gun, which is tantamount to brandishing the weapon within the common usage of that term.”

On the evening of April 13, Birmingham police officers stopped Combs, carrying the rifle, as the young man and his girlfriend were strolling along South Old Woodward Avenue. The time was around 10 p.m., and the downtown sidewalks were crowded.

Here’s where the first dispute of facts occurs: Kucharek claims in her brief that Combs refused to provide ID, and instead argued loudly with the officers, creating a stir and attracting a crowd — to the point one of the officers had to take steps to control the crowd and move them away from Combs.

She said the owner of a weapon being carried in public can be asked for ID if it appears the person is not of sufficient age to possess it. In Michigan, a person must be 18 or older to openly carry a firearm.

In his response, Makowski agreed Combs initially refused to provide his ID, but then produced it in an attempt to ease the situation. At that point, Makowski said, the police decided to arrest his client.

Neither side questions the constitutional right to bear firearms. Where they disagree is on the definition of brandishing versus the act of openly carrying a firearm.

Birmingham’s ordinance on brandishing mirrors Michigan law, which makes it illegal for a person to brandish a firearm in public, except for the following reasons:

 

  • The person is a police officer. 
  • The person is lawfully engaged in hunting. 
  • The person is lawfully engaged in target practice. 
  • The person is lawfully engaged in the sale, purchase, repair or transfer of the firearm.Combs was doing none of the above. He was simply walking around with a rifle strapped to his back. Makowski said the law allows his client to do so, as long as he’s not carrying the rifle in a threatening manner.

    “(The statute) does not say openly carrying of a firearm is unlawful,” Makowski stated in his brief.

    “It says ‘brandishing’ a firearm is unlawful. Carrying and brandishing are not the same thing,” Makowski continued.

    Thus, the issue boils down to a definition of brandishing. Kucharek said there’s a reason the statute doesn’t provide one.

    “That the Legislature did not specifically define the term ‘brandishing’ within the statute suggests an intent to permit circumstances surrounding the activity to be (taken) into consideration,” she wrote.

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