Guy Benson - Brutal: Dems' MT Senate Candidate Freezes in TV Interview, Is a Revolutionary Socialist
Posted: 8/27/2014 10:22:00 AM EST

Believe it or not, this clip is probably the least of Montana Democrats' problems with their newly-minted Senate candidate.  But let's watch it anyway.  Her train of thought chugs to a cringe-worthy standstill midway through her rehearsed answer, leading to an awkward silence. After several seconds, the reporter takes pity on his interview subject and gamely bails her out with a lay-up question (via the Free Beacon):

Curtis: "It’s my honor to travel around the state now for the next nine weeks and continue talking and listening to Montanans about the issues that are important to them. And…"

[Five Seconds of silence, Curtis looks at the ceiling, blinks, cracks embarrassed smile]

Interviewer: Where are you from?

There are a lot of things Ms. Curtis doesn't seem to know, such as her positions on major issues.  From a CNN profile:  "When asked her position on the situation in Iraq, Curtis told CNN, 'Give me a little more time.' On the border crisis, 'I'll need more time, you know only 11 days ago I was painting my storm windows.'"  What she does know is that she's against "the one percent" and hates Paul Ryan's budget.  Democrats' chances of holding this seat sustained a major blow when placeholder Senator John Walsh dropped out of the race, following damning plagiarism revelations.  Walsh had been hand-selected to replace longtime incumbent Sen. Max Baucus, who was flagging badly in polls, and who was tossed a lifeline by the White House when he was selected as US Ambassador to China.  Scrambling to field someone in the race, the party settled on Curtis, whose political views (the ones that she doesn't need 'a little more time' to determine) don't inspire confidence. Phil Kerpen does some digging:

Montana Democrats nominated in his stead State Rep. Amanda Curtis, a member of the radical, revolutionary socialist group Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Rep. Curtis was nominated for the United Stated Senate by the Montana Democratic Party on August 16, 2014. Less than two weeks earlier, on August 4, she tagged herself in [a] photograph featuring IWW banners and identifying Curtis as an FW, or “Fellow Worker,” the term used in IWW for group members...On August 7, 2014, Rep. Curtis changed her Facebook profile photograph to a picture of former Communist Party USA chair Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, who received a state funeral from the Soviet Union in 1964...One post of Mr. Curtis’s that Rep. Curtis shared on July 31 suggests that, in the event she and her allies cannot accomplish their objectives through electoral victories, they will resort to “sterner means.”

Also known as "violence."  Curtis' group advocates the abolition of "wage slavery" and "eventually end[ing] the capitalist system."  Montana's unions have eagerly endorsed her, natch.  When asked about these radical Socialist viewpoints, a campaign aide told CNN, "Amanda grew up in a family that struggled to put food on the table so she knows first hand the struggles of Montana working families...we must put working Montana families ahead of corporate special interests."  A sanitizing dodge, not a denial. Elsewhere in 2014 Senate races, Sen. Kay Hagan hugged President Obama upon his visit to North Carolina, while trying to distance herself from him (she's voted with Obama 96 percent of the time), a new ad from Sen. Mark Pryor intimates that his Republican opponent is soft on Ebola, and Alaska's Republican nominee shoots a television set -- literally -- in a new television spot:

Daniel Doherty - Report: First US-born ISIS Terrorist Dies in Combat
Posted: 8/27/2014 9:45:00 AM EST

Douglas McAuthur McCain, from the San Diego area, is reportedly the first and only American citizen to die waging jihad with ISIS. NBC News has the scoop:

The battle in itself seemed tragically normal. Two Syrian opposition groups fought and there were heavy casualties on both sides. Then victorious rebels rifled through the pockets of the dead. One contained about $800 in cash -- and an American passport.

Douglas McAuthur McCain, of San Diego, California, was killed over the weekend fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), according to the Free Syrian Army. Photos of McCain's passport and of his body -- which feature a distinctive neck tattoo -- have been seen by NBC News. According to an activist linked to the Free Syrian Army who also saw the body and travel document, McCain was among three foreign jihadis fighting with ISIS who died during the battle.

Given the group’s well-cultivated reputation as a known terrorist organization more brutal than al Qaeda, it’s certainly jarring to read Western nationals, let alone American citizens, would join their ranks. Perhaps this is why McCain’s own cousin has denied the rumors, claiming instead he was “a loving person” who would never “support a terrorist group like that”:

Maybe not. But either way, he’s dead. And what’s more, his own uncle (and US officials) believe he was a terrorist (via CNN):

The man's uncle, Ken McCain, said that his nephew had gone to fight as a jihadi and that the U.S. State Department told the family Monday about the death. Like U.S. officials, the group characterized McCain as an ISIS fighter and said he was killed battling al-Nusra Front, an al Qaeda-linked organization that the U.S. government has blacklisted as a foreign terror organization.

He was also writing empathetic posts on Facebook about the organization, according to one expert familiar with the case, which is why he was clearly on terrorist watch lists:

U.S. counterterrorism investigators had been looking into McCain's activities for some time before his death, one U.S. official said. He was on a list of Americans who are believed to have joined militant groups and who would be stopped and subjected to additional scrutiny if he traveled, according to the official.

Meanwhile, McCain is almost certainly not the only American defending and fighting for ISIS, although it’s difficult to gauge just how many actually are. As of last June, Richard Engels reported that the number is estimated to be somewhere around 70:

But more recently, the US State Department believes maybe more Americans have openly declared war against the stars and stripes:

"Dozens of Americans, perhaps up to 100," are among those who have tried to join various militant groups there, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told CNN.

Needless to say, these defectors speak English, possess US passports, and have deep ties to the country.

Let us hope they never come back.

Leah Barkoukis - ISIS to Iraqi Christians: You Have One Week to Convert to Islam or Die
Posted: 8/27/2014 9:00:00 AM EST

This situation for Christians in Iraq has grown even direr. ISIS is now giving the religious minority an ultimatum: convert within one week’s time or face the sword.

World Watch Monitor documented the case of Mikha Qasha, an elderly and paralyzed Iraqi Christian. ISIS came to his home, WWM reports, and gave him the options of fleeing, converting or death. They gave him one week to think about it.

Fortunately, Qasha, along with his grandson, were able to go to a safe haven in the capital area of the Kurdistan region.

Many others are still at risk, however.

According to MCN Direct, others who fled from a district in Nineveh, and from Qaraqosh and Bartella, said IS is now imposing a conversion deadline of one week for any non-Muslim. Qasha’s neighbour, a young man who fled the city this week, said he was hiding in his home with his father when IS members found them on August 17. They gave them a week, until August 24, to convert to Islam or be killed.

70,000 Christians have arrived in Ankawa, the Christian neighbourhood in Erbil and some 60,000 displaced people are in Dohuk, said Louis Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq.

Dohuk, mainly inhabited by Kurds and Assyrians, is in the north in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan while Qaraqosh, a town of about 50,000 people in Nineveh Province, sits between Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, and Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region, to the east.

The Islamic State took over Mosul in June. At the time there were 3,500 residing Christians who fled east to Qaraqosh, which is often referred to as the Christian capital of Iraq. Of the 3,500 about 25 people decided to stay home in Mosul. Since then nine have converted to Islam, while the others are paying jizya - the Islamic tax for non-Muslims.

The UN has launched a major aid operation: UNHCR said tents and other goods will be sent to Erbil via air, land and sea beginning Wednesday, August 20.

Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury described the slaughter of Christians and Yazidis as “off the scale of human horror.”

“In a globalized world where even distant nations are our ‘neighbor,’ we cannot allow these atrocities to be unleashed with impunity,” he continued. “The international community must document the human rights abuses in northern Iraq so that the perpetrators can later be prosecuted."

Matt Vespa - Cuomo Loses NYT Primary Endorsement
Posted: 8/27/2014 8:15:00 AM EST

When you’re the liberal governor in the progressive capital of the country and lose the endorsement of the New York Times, you know you screwed up. But Governor Cuomo is lucky; New York is so blue that he’ll probably win the September 9 primary and a second term come November. Nevertheless, his ethics commission to root out corruption in state politics devolved into a fiasco, which even has the U.S. Attorney’s office looking into why the Moreland Commission was shut down so abruptly (via NYT):

Mr. Cuomo became governor on that platform and recorded several impressive achievements, but he failed to perform Job 1. The state government remains as subservient to big money as ever, and Mr. Cuomo resisted and even shut down opportunities to fix it. Because he broke his most important promise, we have decided not to make an endorsement for the Democratic primary on Sept. 9.

The worst moment of all came when Mr. Cuomo blocked the progress of the independent commission he set up to investigate corruption after the panel began to look into issues that may have reflected badly on him and his political supporters. As The Times reported in July, Mr. Cuomo’s closest aides pushed back every time the commission began looking at the governor’s own questionable practices, including a committee set up to support his agenda, which became Albany’s biggest lobbying spender and did not disclose its donors. Now a United States attorney is pursuing the questions the commission raised, including the ones the governor wanted dropped.

Mr. Cuomo says the purpose of the commission was the leverage it gave him to push an ethics law through the Legislature and that he disbanded the panel when the law, agreed to in March, achieved roughly nine of 10 goals. But the missing goal — a strong public finance system that cut off unlimited donations — was always, by far, the most important method of reducing corruption, a much bigger reform than the strengthened bribery laws he settled for.

While the Times credited Cuomo with legalizing gay marriage, trampling on the Second Amendment, and raising the minimum wage, they suggested that voters who are disappointed with him might want to vote for his opponent in the Democratic primary, Fordham Law School Professor Zephyr Teachout.  She's the only person running who isn’t under investigation. Cuomo’s Republican opponent, Rob Astorino, is also under the microscope regarding ethics violations during his re-election bid as Westchester County Executive.

Daniel Doherty - Team Pryor: Tom Cotton is Pro-Ebola, or Something
Posted: 8/27/2014 7:30:00 AM EST

As they say, desperate times call for desperate measures.

And since Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) is trailing his Republican opponent in every single poll conducted this past summer, time is of the essence. You’ll recall that Pryor was roundly criticized earlier this election season when he suggested Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), his opponent, was suffering from a “sense of entitlement” because of his military laurels. But his most recent ad is arguably worse. In it, he suggests that Tom Cotton’s entire congressional declaration dutifully and effectively declared war on the virulent Ebola virus -- everyone, that is, except him:

Naturally, Team Cotton was quick to respond:

"Senator Pryor's desperation is comical," David Ray said in a statement. "In Senator Pryor's world, he doesn't have to take responsibility for rubber-stamping the Obama agenda over 90% of the time, but wants Arkansans to believe Tom Cotton is responsible for everything from Ebola to crabgrass and male-pattern baldness."

What’s more, this recent dust-up comes mere days after Team Pryor released an ad singing the praises of Obamacare. For obvious reasons, most Senate Democrats have carefully tiptoed around this issue. Pryor, however, is doing the opposite:

Apparently, Team Pryor believes alarmist and pro-Obamacare ads are exactly what Arkansans want to hear for the next two and half months. Hmm.

That, my friends, is news to me.

Matt Vespa - Surprise! D.C. Lawyers Want To Reinstate Carrying Ban
Posted: 8/27/2014 6:50:00 AM EST

For a brief time, concealed carry permit holders could exercise their Second Amendment rights by bringing their firearms into Washington D.C.; a right that was previously denied until the Palmer decision. Granted, if you were a D.C. resident, you had to have the gun registered. For outsiders, you couldn’t open carry your rifles or shotguns, and your handgun couldn’t have a magazine with more than ten-rounds.

Until recently, the District of Columbia was the last place where citizens were banned from carrying their firearms outside of their homes. A stay, which was agreed upon by both parties in the Palmer case, was issued to allow the city council to draft legislation in response to the ruling. But D.C. lawyers are trying to get the carrying ban reinstated (via Washington Free Beacon):

D.C. lawyers cited the District’s “unique character” as justification for the handgun ban.

“The District, in addition to being the seat of the federal government and home to the President, is host to thousands of foreign dignitaries each year and the site of many mass demonstrations,” the city argues. “The potential for armed mischief is thus perhaps greater in the District of Columbia than in any other American city.”

The city also argues the ban does not impede the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

“The Court should find that the District’s prohibition on the public carrying of firearms is constitutional, in that ‘it does not seriously impact a person’s ability to defend himself in the home, the Second Amendment’s core protection,” the city argues. “It does not ban the quintessential weapon—the handgun—used for self-defense in the home. Nor does it prevent an individual from keeping a suitable weapon for protection in the home.”

[U.S. District Judge Frederick] Scullin declared D.C.’s blanket ban on carrying guns in public to be unconstitutional in July and gave city officials until Oct. 22 to craft new regulations in line with his ruling. D.C. has also appealed that deadline and asked for more time.

Bring it on, D.C.  

Ky Sisson - Bye-Bye Burger King: High Taxes to Blame
Posted: 8/26/2014 6:38:00 PM EST

Burger King is yet another major corporation that has bought a one-way ticket to less taxes and more profit. Why? Well, because the United States is expensive to do business in.  

The Fortune 100 company is merging with Canada-based donut shop Tim Hortons, and will move its headquarters up north with their new partner--who has a much lower tax bill.

The United States has the highest corporate income tax rate in the world at a whopping 40 percent. Canada, on the other hand, is around 26.3 percent. When you are running a soon-to-be $23 billion company, that 13.7 percent isn't exactly an item on the dollar menu. 

Large American companies such as Pfizer, Walgreens, and AbbVie are all seeking out lower taxes in foreign countries in what is called "corporate inversions." Even though the companies claim the potential moves are to advance their growth strategy, it is really because taking over a foreign company and moving to their headquarters betters the bottom line.

Stephen Moore, chief economist at The Heritage Foundation, said:

Expect a blizzard more of these tax moves if the U.S. corporate tax isn’t reduced quickly to at most the average in the industrialized world of 25 percent. Better yet would be to abolish the corporate tax altogether and tax the shareholders on these profits. This would cause a flood of companies to come to the U.S. rather than leave.

Since 2003, Burger King is the 48th company to leave the United States. When asked what the government is doing to stop corporate inversions, President Obama said the Treasury Department is working "as quickly as possible" to slow the bleeding. He also said, "We don't want to see this trend grow." Unfortunately, avoiding devastating loss after devastating loss to the American business community isn't on the liberal agenda--as that would mean lowering taxes for the job creating, investing class...and that would be a travesty. 

Sarah Jean Seman - ISIS Earning $2 Million a Day from Oil Fields
Posted: 8/26/2014 5:15:00 PM EST

The terrorist organization ISIS runs a flourishing black market economy and is believed to be raising more than $2 million every day from oil production. The organization, described by president Obama as a “cancer,” currently occupies a region of Iraq and Syria that is larger than the United Kingdom.

Over the past few months, ISIS has seized oil fields, border crossings, military bases, and Iraq’s largest electric-generated dam. As Luay Al-Khatteeb of the Brookings Institution wrote, this form of self-financed terrorism poses a major long-term threat to global security:

ISIL is no longer desperate for donors' funding to continue and expand their operations given they now possess a loosely integrated and thriving black economy consisting of approximately 60 percent of Syria's oil assets and seven oil producing assets in Iraq. It has successfully achieved a thriving black market economy by developing an extensive network of middlemen in neighboring territories and countries to trade crude oil for cash and in kind.

ISIL's estimated total revenues from its oil production are around $2 million a day! Put simply, ISIL is in a position to smuggle over 30,000 barrels of crude oil a day to neighboring territories and countries at a price of between $25 to $60 per barrel depending on the number of middle men involved.

This is hardly the only way the group raises revenue. In addition to oil, ISIS is gathering funds through kidnapping, robbery, smuggling, taxes, and extortion. According to former intelligence official at the U.S. Department of the Treasury Matthew Levitt:

“The Islamic State is probably the wealthiest terrorist group we’ve ever known.”

So what is the solution to the burgeoning threat of ISIS? Take action immediately before the “cancer” grows. Staff - Pavlich: “Hillary Clinton is America’s Most Famous Enabler of Abusive and Powerful Men”
Posted: 8/26/2014 4:30:00 PM EST

Townhall News Editor Katie Pavlich gave the keynote speech at this year’s Network of enlightened Women (NeW) conference in Washington, DC. In her remarks, she lambasted radical feminists for their hypocritical heroism of figures such as former US Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Hillary Clinton, who are anything but “women’s rights” champions.

First, Pavlich recalled her experience at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. In between speakers, she was frustrated that organizers aired a flattering, 5-minute video dedicated to Ted Kennedy, which plastered the words “women’s rights champion” across the screen:

“For some reason, during this beautiful portrayal of his life, they skipped over one of the most iconic moments of his life – the time when he drove drunk off a bridge, wandered away, and left 28-year-old, loyal campaign staffer Mary Jo to die in his car. Nobody dared to utter the word, ‘Chappaquiddick that night.’”

These details, however, didn't interest the DNC. Kennedy wasn’t Pavlich’s only target. For defending a child rapist in the 1970s, Hillary Clinton also made Pavlich’s list of poorly characterized "women’s rights advocates." 

The Washington Free Beacon exposed the shocking story in June that Clinton once defended a man who raped a 12-year-old girl. The audio tapes reveal her laughing while discussing the case. Egregiously, Clinton went on to accuse the young girl of being “unstable” and desiring relationships with older men. Pavlich attacked Clinton for such callous comments:

“She went out of her way to attack a 12-year-old child in the case. Sure seems like a champion for young women, right?”

But, as Pavlich points out, that wasn’t the end of Clinton choosing to brush sexual assault under the rug for personal or political gain:

“For decades, Hillary willingly helped destroy the women who her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was accused of sexually assaulting or raping. Time and time again, instead of holding her husband accountable, she defamed his female accusers as mentally unstable loons looking for money. Clinton repeatedly allowed women to be lied about, smeared and manipulated so that her philandering husband could hold on to power, which eventually led to her own power as a senator from New York, a presidential candidate and President Obama’s Secretary of State.”

Leaving out facts that don’t fit their agenda is par for the course for radical feminists.

Pavlich concluded her speech by outlining feminism’s true goals and explaining that Marxism is the centerpiece of the modern feminist agenda:

“Progressive women’s rights movements have hardly been about women’s rights, but instead a transformation of America and its society and the transfer of wealth through government force.”

Pavlich encouraged students to bring this material and knowledge to their college campuses and help to defeat the liberal ideology that often depends on ignorance.

Watch her entire passionate speech here:

Guy Benson - Video: DOJ Says Retrieving Lerner Emails From Back-Up System 'Too Hard'
Posted: 8/26/2014 3:46:00 PM EST

Quick history lesson: As various investigators dug into the IRS targeting scandal, they discovered that a large cache of emails sent and received by key agency figure Lois Lerner were missing.  The emails in question were sent between 2009 and 2011, the time period in which the abusive scheme was concocted and implemented.  We were told that the lost emails were a result of a "hard drive crash" that happened to occur just ten days after a Republican Congressman made the first inquiry into alleged targeting practices. Those who've expressed doubts about the "crash" claims -- namely, a super majority of the American people -- were mocked and dismissed by the White House as adherents to a "conspiracy theory."  Lerner's suspicious efforts shortly after the scandal broke in 2013 to determine whether the IRS' internal instant messaging system was archived anywhere  are also indicative of nothing, the administration insists. Also shunted aside are the facts that email storage guidelines (based on federal law) were ignored, as was the requirement that the agency immediately report the loss of emails to the National Archives.  

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified repeatedly that his agency made every attempt to recover Lerner's emails after the supposed 2011 crash -- an assertion that has been contradicted by Koskinen himself, and by subsequent reports. One such report was the late July bombshell that Lerner's hard drive had only been "scratched," and that in-house IT professionals at the IRS had recommended enlisting "outside experts to recover the data," which they believed to be possible at the time.  For some odd reason, the IRS declined to do so, and instead destroyed Lerner's hard drive permanently.  Which brings us to the latest twist, reported by Dan last night: A Justice Department attorney told the Watchdog group Judicial Watch that the federal government does, in fact, back up all electronic records.  So the emails exist somewhere, according to this lawyer, but it'd be really hard to track them down.  Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton described the bewildering interaction on Fox News yesterday:

"They say it would be too hard to go and get Lois Lerner's emails from that back-up system. Everything we’ve been hearing about scratched hard drives, missing e-mails of Lois Lerner, other IRS officials, other officials in the Obama administration–it’s all been a pack of malarkey."

To recap, we've gone from "they ceased existing altogether after the hard drive crash," to "they may have existed after the scratch, but they're gone now," to "well, they're still floating around somewhere, but it's too difficult to retrieve them."  Lie upon lie.  That final excuse is redolent of Koskinen's deer-in-the-headlights moment in June when Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) asked why the IRS hadn't at least accessed the six-month "back up tape" to recover a portion of those emails immediately after the alleged hard drive incident.  If the agency really did take "extraordinary" measures to restore those emails, why wasn't that obvious step taken?  Koskinen ended up muttering about how it would have been "costly and difficult" to do so.  In other words, it was just "too hard."  The federal government had the capacity to take concrete steps to recover many of Lerner's emails, and they chose not to.  This new development suggests that they still have that ability, but are making a decision not to act.  This information may strike you as profoundly suspicious -- it might even rise to "smidgen of corruption" levels -- but that would make you a conspiratorial paranoiac, according to the administration.