Katie Pavlich - Christie to Obama: Cuba Should Send Back Cop Killer Joanne Chesimard Before U.S. Goes Further With Normalization
Posted: 12/22/2014 11:30:00 AM EST

New Jersey Governor and potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie has sent a letter to President Obama urging him to have convicted cop killer Joanne Chesimard, also known as Assata Shakur, extradited from Cuba to the United States to finish her prison sentence. 

In 1973 former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army member Assata Shakur, also known as Joanne Chesimard, killed New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster in cold blood during a traffic stop. Shakur took Foerster's police issued firearm and used it to shoot him twice in the head. In 1977 Shakur was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Foester's family never received full justice as Chesimard escaped in 1979, fled to Cuba and been protected by the Castro regime ever since. She is listed on the FBI's most wanted terrorists list with a $1 million reward for information leading to her arrest.

"I urge you to demand the immediate return of Chesimard before any further consideration of restoration of diplomatic relations with the Cuban government," the letter states. "If, as you assert, Cuba is serious about embracing democratic principles then this action would be an essential first step."

There are dozens of violent U.S. convicts living in Cuba under the protection of the Castro regime.
Conn Carroll - Obama Approval Among U.S. Service Members Plummets To 15%
Posted: 12/22/2014 9:30:00 AM EST

The men and women of the United States Armed Forces have never had a lower opinion of President Obama, acceding to a Military Times poll of its readers published today. 

Just 15 percent of active-duty Military Times readers approve of Obama, down from 35 percent in 2009 and 28 percent just last year. 

Military Times blames Obama's collapse on "the cultural changes he's overseeing" in the military, including gays in the military, women in combat, and anti-sexual assault training. But Military Times own data does not back this thesis up. Support for women in combat and gays in the military have both risen substantially (41 percent for women in some combat roles and 60 percent for gays) over the past year.

What does seem to be upsetting morale is lack of pay and the loss of sense of mission from the commander in chief.

From Military Times:

Morale in the military is swiftly sinking, with the troops losing both their sense of mission and their faith that their superiors, political leaders — and the nation — still have their best interests at heart...

In the near term, two festering issues loom if Pentagon leaders hope to thwart a worsening internal crisis: the legacy of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the future of military compensation.

Military Times' survey indicates top officials will find it a big challenge to address the enormous cynicism and pessimism among troops about the wars in which they were asked to sweat and bleed for more than a decade.

The percentage of troops who feel the war in Afghanistan ultimately will be viewed as a success has taken a nosedive since 2007. Similarly, only 30 percent of respondents feel the eight-year Iraq War was a success. And when we asked whether the U.S. should send a large force of combat troops back to Iraq to fight Islamic State militants, 70 percent of survey respondents said no.

The pessimism about Iraq is especially understandable; troops have spent years listening to senior leaders tell them Iraq was emerging as a stable democracy, its army a reliable ally in the fight against Islamic extremism. Just a few years later, both notions turned out to be spectacularly wrong.

"The junior folks have a right to question their leaders and say, 'Hey, you told me to do this U.S.-led counterinsurgency, and it didn't work. What the heck?' They want to know why they were told to do all the dumb stuff they were told do," said retired Army Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger, who commanded troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan — and who took a stab at addressing those questions in his controversial new book titled "Why We Lost."

Indeed, Congress just approved, at the request of the Pentagon and the White House, a 1 percent basic pay raise the for the troops next year — the second straight year of such a raise, constituting the two smallest annual increases in the 41-year history of the all-volunteer force. And for icing on the cake, they also approved a cut in housing allowance rates for troops who live off base.

The reduction in housing allowances and other benefits were all part of Obama's plan to significantly cut military spending by reducing the number of Army personnel to pre-World War 2 levels. 

Although released today, the poll was actually conducted in July and August of this year, months before an Obama administration official said of departing-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, "This is why you don’t send a sergeant to do a secretary’s job."

Cortney O'Brien - The Yankees Show Incredible Generosity to Slain NYPD Officer's Family
Posted: 12/22/2014 9:30:00 AM EST
As so often happens in tragedy, we are able to witness glimpses of kindness rarely seen in today's often selfish society. New York is still reeling from the deaths of two New York Police officers, who were killed 'execution style' in their squad cars on Saturday. Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos leave behind wives and one child just days before Christmas.

Without a husband, Lucy Ramos would likely have to start thinking about how she would raise a child by herself.  That's where the New York Yankees came in. In an incredible act of generosity, the famous baseball team has offered to pay for her child's education:

A foundation founded by late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner reportedly will cover the education costs for the sons of one of the two NYPD officers murdered in a daylight ambush Saturday afternoon.

The New York Daily News reported that the Yankee Silver Shield Foundation will pay for the education of Officer Rafael Ramos' 13-year-old son Jaden and another son who is in college.

Although she is in mourning, surely Mrs. Ramos felt comforted by this unexpected and pleasant surprise. Truly, a class act.

The murderer's decision to fire on these innocent police officers will be remembered as an act of cowardice, which was stirred on by a culture of anti-cop mentality following the unpopular grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Missouri and New York. I pray this fatal incident will encourage protesters to put down their hateful signs, and go home.

I'll leave you with this sweet, yet heartbreaking Facebook post from Jaden:

"Today I had to say bye to my father. He was their [sic] for me everyday of my life," the post read. "He was the best father I could ask for. It's horrible that someone gets shot dead just for being a police officer. Everyone says they hate cops but they are the people that they call for help. I will always love you and I will never forget you. RIP Dad."

Katie Pavlich - Former FBI Assistant Director: Cops Are Under Attack From Those Who Seek to Evade Responsibility
Posted: 12/22/2014 9:00:00 AM EST

Former FBI Assistant Director and Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund President Ron Hosko is slamming criminals, the media and irresponsible, anti-cop, race baiting politicians in response to the revenge assassinations of two NYPD officers over the weekend. 

“The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund extends our heartfelt sympathies to the families of these fallen heroes, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Lieu, as well as the entire New York Police Department. Saturday’s assassinations are a painful and poignant reminder of the danger that police officers face each and every day in their selfless and courageous efforts to protect our communities," Hosko said in a statement. “While the criminal who shot these officers down is ultimately responsible for their murders, a thoughtful society must examine the social circumstances that fostered such outrageous criminal conduct."

"To those who have chosen to incite violence against law enforcement through the reckless vilification of police officers - shame on you. From race provocateurs looking for five minutes of fame, to those in the media who wantonly mischaracterized and sensationalized recent criminal cases, to the government officials who have repeatedly made statements designed to undermine legitimate law enforcement efforts across our nation - it's time to reexamine your own words and actions and take your share of responsibility," he continued. "Men and women in uniform wear a target every day; law enforcement is under daily attack from those who seek to evade responsibility. Morale among those who serve is damaged and divisions are only widened when the facts are buried in an anti-police narrative.  We desperately hope for no repeat of the madness of December 20th and for real leadership to step forward to have a meaningful conversation about the critical role of law enforcement in a civil society."

Far-left organizations, leaders and government officials quickly went into damage control mode Saturday and Sunday after months of stoking anti-police sentiment across the country, issuing statements in an attempt to distance themselves from the murders.

Earlier this year Hosko, who served as FBI assistant director under Attorney General Eric Holder, sent a scathing letter to President Obama about the "hyper-politicization of justice" and called Holder "chief among antagonists" in the Michael Brown case. Staff - VIDEO: Christine Rousselle on Marijuana Legalization
Posted: 12/22/2014 8:00:00 AM EST

Why does the government categorize marijuana as a worse drug than cocaine? Christine Rousselle explains how the War on Drugs is a prime example of Big Government gone wrong.

Leah Barkoukis - Warner Bros. Releases Trailer For Chris Kyle Film, “American Sniper”
Posted: 12/21/2014 5:26:00 PM EST

If the trailer is any indication, Clint Eastwood knocked it out of the park with his upcoming film “American Sniper,” which is about the story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper, who became the most deadly sniper in U.S. history while serving four tours of duty in Iraq. While the film details his mission abroad protecting his “brothers-in-arms,” it also shows him facing a different type of battle with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Cooper told reporters at the film’s premiere that it was “just an honor” to play Kyle, who was killed last year, but acknowledged the pressure of the role. “It was the responsibility I had to his family to preserve his legacy that weighed on me,” he said.

But he didn’t disappoint.

"Initially I was so focused on Chris and making sure that it honored him, but I just lost myself. It was so Chris. It wasn't Bradley on the screen. It was Chris,” Taya Kyle told the Military Times.

She continued: "I left [the private screening] feeling like a weight had been lifted. They really pulled it off. It's an authentic, genuine look at two people who love each other and what our veterans go through and what they carry ... how they take their home life to the battlefield and take the battlefield home."

The film comes out Christmas Day in New York and Los Angeles, and will be released everywhere January 16, 2015.

Matt Vespa - Michelle Nunn Will Probably Run Again Soon
Posted: 12/21/2014 3:30:00 PM EST

Yes, despite her eight-point loss to Senator-elect David Perdue, Michelle Nunn did strong enough to remain at the top of the contender list for future elections in Georgia. She brought in more than $14 million dollars by the time her failed senate campaign came to a close–and her “retail skills” even impressed Republican operatives, according to Roll Call.

Yet, the article also noted that 2016 might be too soon for Nunn to toss her hat back into the ring; the popular Sen. Johnny Isakson announced he would be seeking another term in office:

Nunn’s loss pumped the brakes on the Peach State’s potential transition into a swing state. Still, even Republicans concede a booming population in the Atlanta suburbs, particularly among minorities, portends more competitive statewide contests at some point in the future, even as the rest of the South continues to slip away from Democrats.

Her next campaign, at this point, isn’t likely to come in 2016, with the well-liked Isakson having already announced he intends to seek re-election. A second straight loss could damage her ability to clear the primary field in a more promising opportunity in the future, though Isakson lost twice statewide before his election to the Senate in 2004.

“Do you work to energize the base in the next election or do you work to win over independent and swing white voters? That’s the debate we’re having now,” said Rashad Taylor, a Georgia Democratic consultant at Mack Sumner Communications and a former state representative. “However we come out we’ll be in a better position in 2016 than we were this year.”

The current state party chairman, DuBose Porter, could face a challenge from Tharon Johnson, who was President Barack Obama’s Southern regional director in 2012. Both Porter and Johnson told CQ Roll Call Nunn would be an attractive candidate for any race in the near future.

Taylor said if 2014 were not a national wave year, both Nunn and [Jason] Carter, who lost his challenge to Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, would have performed better — and most are optimistic about the next presidential election year. If Nunn declines to challenge Isakson in 2016, the next Senate race won’t come until 2020, when Perdue is up for re-election and Nunn is six years removed from her last race.

The other notable option for Nunn is an open gubernatorial race in 2018.

While Roll Call mentioned the demographic changes in the Atlanta suburbs, the state really isn’t moving towards the Democrats in any timely fashion; it’s not even gravitating towards the center (via WaPo):

[T]he racial composition of Georgians is clearly changing. Nate Cohn reports that the share of registered voters in Georgia that is white declined from 72 to 59 percent over the past decade. Data from Alan Abramowitz strongly implies that generational replacement is at work. He reports that nearly 3 of 4 active registered voters older than 65 are white while less than half of those under 30 are white. Patterns like these, combined with the noncontroversial observation that whites are more Republican than nonwhites imply that the future may not be as good to the Republican Party in Georgia as the recent past.

However, the demographic change underway in Georgia does not appear to have had much, if any, net effect on Georgia’s “red state” status. At least not yet. To see this, consider a standard measure that political scientists, journalists and other election experts often use: the difference in vote shares received by the major-party presidential candidates. In 2012, President Obama lost Georgia by 7.8 percentage points and won the national popular vote by 3.9 points. Thus, in 2012 the margin in Georgia was 11.7 points more Republican than in the country overall. The figures for the 2008, 2004, 2000 and 1996 elections are 12.4, 14.2, 12.2 and 9.7, respectively.

Thus, in light of the demographic changes, Georgia’s lack of movement toward the Democrats poses a puzzle. Perhaps the most obvious answer is that while the nonwhite population is growing, the white population has continued to become even more Republican. Or, nonwhites in Georgia may be less Democratic than they were in the past. Of course, these are just conjectures. With more data, a persuasive answer should emerge.

It’s hard to see how any significant trend towards the left in Georgia. As FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten wrote over the summer, “No Democrat holds an elected statewide office in Georgia. No Democrat has won a U.S. Senate race in the state in 14 years. No Democrat has won a presidential race in the state in 22 years.”

Nevertheless, Nunn will most likely return for another crack at a statewide office in the coming years.

Kevin Glass - The Interview: These Are The Ends
Posted: 12/21/2014 3:30:00 PM EST
I don't like Seth Rogen. I don't like James Franco. Their brand of comedy is unappealing to me. I would have loved to not see their movie. And I am loathe to participate in any conflict that will place me on their side.

Nonetheless, that's where we find ourselves. I'm in the corner with James Franco and Seth Rogen. In the other corner are North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un with his legion of hackers, and the anti-political correctness police who roam Twitter.

The new Rogen/Franco joint, The Interview, looks terrible. It also was the reason given behind the massive Sony Entertainment hack, with the culprits reportedly North Korean government agents. And Sony agreed not to release the movie to kowtow to the demands and threats of those North Koreans.

Beyond having regular old bad jokes, The Interview also contains tasteless jokes, sexist jokes, and un-politically-correct jokes. For these latter sins, its removal from the theaters, by any means necessary, is a net good for the world. At least by the standards of Twitter's PC police.

Ebony senior editor Jamilah Lemieux lamented the mourning of the death of The Interview in a series of tweets, saying that those who put the movie in the category of "art" are like "petulant trust fund kid[s] who can't be held responsible for anything," and that The Interview's defenders hold up the "art" defense as a shield from criticism:


Freelance journalist Aura Bogado, who has written for The Nation and Colorlines, echoed a similar sentiment. After saying "Good riddance" to the film, she responded to someone asking if pulling a movie in response to North Korean threats sets a bad precedent by saying that defending a movie by "two white men objectifying Nikki Minaj's..." is not productive.

The point that comes across here is that, for Twitter's PC police, it's more important that The Interview doesn't see release than the means by which the movie is shut down. It doesn't matter that a sadistic small-minded dictator has succeeded in getting a crummy movie* dropped; it only matters that the movie is dropped and that Rogen and Franco's casual sexism won't be inflicted on the world. The ends may not justify the means; the ends merely render the justice of the means irrelevant.

Defenders of The Interview aren't saying that art should not be subject to criticism. They're saying that terrorist threats are not a legitimate reason to shut down a display of art, no matter how dumb that particular art form seems to be. Some people think interpretive dance isn't art; some people think the Piss Christ is not art; some people think that video games aren't art. Regardless of the merits of any of these media, terrorism is not a good reason to abandon their pursuit. Bowing to terrorism is notable - and is more important than even the potential misogyny of a film.

An alternate timeline that did not involve North Korea might see The Interview get released, do mediocre numbers at the box office, get roundly denounced as juvenile, crude, and misogynistic** by critics, and maybe even marginally - in some small way - incentivize film studios not to produce things that are juvenile, crude, and misogynistic. Maybe (probably?) that won't happen, but as it stands, the movie studios aren't being punished for making a bad movie, they're being punished for making fun of a totalitarian dictator. There's no way that a North Korean-spurred movie cancelation moves our culture to a more just place. There is a chance - perhaps small, but nonetheless a nonzero one - that the spectacle of a movie that is crude, juvenile, and misogynistic that bombs at the box office and is roundly denounced actually does accomplish what these writers want to accomplish.

Furthermore, and this can't be emphasized enough, we have private American companies bowing to the terrorist threats of a totalitarian dictator. This should shock us, as members of a western liberal democracy - and it certainly matters that we have Americans cheering the decision and ignoring the means by which it was accomplished.

They may not be endorsing the means by which a dislikable movie has been removed from the market, but it should still surprise us that they're ignoring those means. We might have one fewer bad movie to watch out for - but we also have set a precedent for our artistic autonomy to be subjugated by a terrorist foreign power. This was a bad week for American expression.

* Editors' note: I have not seen The Interview. Noah from Hot Air denounced commentators attacking the movie without having seen it. If you want to preface every adjective I use for the movie in this piece with "I think it looks," that would be fine, but was awkward to write. For all I know, it could subvert my expectations (that's happened before, after all).

**Note 2: Again, I have no way to judge if the movie actually is crude, juvenile, and misogynistic, but I'm granting those premeses here to take on those authors' arguments.

Cortney O'Brien - Have You Met...Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC)
Posted: 12/21/2014 2:00:00 PM EST

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the December issue of Townhall Magazine. 

One day when he was a child, Rep. Richard Hudson’s (R-NC) dad dropped him off at a garbage site where he helped pick up trash until his father returned. It was a wakeup call, the congressman said. That day, he learned the importance of working for a living.

“My dad taught me the value of hard work,” Hudson told Townhall.

He would later accept jobs roofing buildings as a teenager and continued to harbor an impressive work ethic well into his adult years. He opened his own small business called Cabarrus Marketing Group, which offered business development services. Hudson said it was a “one-man ship,” but the trying role taught him more than just leadership skills. Running a business also proved to him just how much of a burden the government can be to entrepreneurship. He said a good chunk of his time was spent combing through government regulations. It's no different today. The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, more commonly known as Dodd-Frank, Hudson explained, is one specific piece of legislation that has hampered small businesses.

“There's uncertainty in access to capital, and Dodd-Frank went way too far. Today, you can’t start a business unless you can self-finance.”

Dodd-Frank wasn't the only bill to come out of the Obama White House that has hurt small businesses. Obamacare has unleashed its own barrage of setbacks. The president's signature health care legislation forces businesses to offer health insurance to workers once their number of employees exceeds 50. What's more, the law also defines a full-time employee as someone who works more than 30 hours. Because of these regulations, many employers have fired employees or reduced their hours to avoid the added costs. Hudson shared a personal example to demonstrate Obamacare's real life negative effects on today's job market.

“I know one developer who said he’s never sat on more cash because his accountants can’t tell him what his health care costs are going to be next year.”

Instead of investing money in his company, buying new materials, or hiring new employees, this developer was forced to hold on to his money because of the Affordable Care Act’s not so cost-effective consequences.

In addition to small businesses, Hudson is also a champion for free speech. In 1954, Congress passed the Johnson Amendment, which states that people who are exempt from federal income tax cannot take part in any political campaign. President Lyndon Johnson had a specific demographic in mind when he originated this legislation, Hudson explained. After several pastors criticized the president for his leadership, he introduced the Johnson Amendment, prohibiting them from speaking their minds about political candidates in front of their congregations. More than 1,800 pastors have participated in Pulpit Freedom Sundays this year to protest the Johnson Amendment. Now, in his own effort to counteract this direct threat to the First Amendment, Hudson is an original cosponsor of the Pastor Free Speech Act, legislation that ensures pastors don't lose their free speech as soon as they step behind the pulpit.

Hudson has other legislative efforts for which he can be proud. He chairs the Transportation Security Subcommittee and in that role he managed to get an acquisition reform bill for the TSA passed out of the House. This piece of legislation increases transparency and requires the TSA to be forthcoming about its expenditures. He worked with Democrats on the bill and it passed unanimously. He describes it as a conservative reform bill that passed in a bipartisan effort.

The congressman isn't satisfied yet. This year, Hudson’s goal is to enact the Sunset Law, a bill that would do the seemingly impossible: Put a handle on bureaucracy.

“The law would put an expiration date on government departments," he explained. "It would offer some serious oversight. I am convinced this would have the biggest impact on the way things work in D.C.”

In a way, you could say Hudson is still cleaning up garbage.

Katie Pavlich - FLASHBACK: Al Sharpton's Marchers in New York City Chant "What Do We Want? Dead Cops!"
Posted: 12/21/2014 12:30:00 PM EST

As Obama civil rights advisor Al Sharpton frantically tries to distance himself from the revenge execution style slayings of two NYPD officers Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn, keep in mind that just one week ago protestors at his march in New York City were chanting, "What do we want? Dead cops! When do what them? Now!" 

The protesters were part of Al Sharpton’s “Million Marchers” protest against police violence. The protesters chanted “What do we want?… Dead cops!” as they marched in New York City.

Meanwhile, former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik is accusing Sharpton and NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio of having blood on their hands. 

"In this circumstance I believe, I personally feel, that Mayor de Blasio, Sharpton and others like them, they actually have blood on their hands,” Kerik said. “They encouraged this behavior. They encouraged protests. These so-called peaceful protests that, where people are standing out there saying ‘kill the cops.’”

“Well, I hope they’re happy, because they got what they wanted,” Kerik added.

H/T Gateway Pundit