Matt Vespa - Uh Oh: Democratic Senate Candidate Attended Fundraiser Hosted By Felon
Posted: 7/14/2014 5:35:00 PM EST

Last week, Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn attended a fundraiser hosted by an ex-convict. No, I’m dead serious. The $2,600 a head Capitol Hill fundraiser for Ms. Nunn was co-hosted by Virtual Murrell; an early leader of the Black Panther Party who served some prison time for extorting businesses when he worked as an aide in city government in the 1990s (via National Review):

Murrell was indicted in 1994 by a federal grand jury on charges that he solicited and received over $37,000 in bribes from businesses in San Francisco while serving as an aide to an Oakland city councilman. The indictment found him guilty of violating the Hobbs Act, a federal statute that prohibits elected and appointed officials from using their public positions for personal gain. Murrell pleaded guilty and, in 1995, was sentenced to a year in prison.

His brush with the law was not his first time in the spotlight. In the late 1960s, as distribution manager for the Blank Panthers, Murrell was a vocal proponent of the party’s ten-point platform. Archival news footage from the local San Francisco station KRON-TV shows him arguing, on the eve of his draft date in 1968, that African Americans should be exempt from military service because blacks are “victimized by the white racist government of America.”

“I’m due to report for induction tomorrow morning for the purposes of being drafted into the United States Army,” Murrell says. “If this racist, ethnocentric, imperialistic dog forces me to go, I have no other choice other than to sabotage your arsenal and to arm black people to use [arms] against this racist power structure to defend themselves.”

Well, that sounds like just the right person to host a fundraiser for a Democrat running in a Republican state. Nunn’s communications director told National Review that they didn’t know Murrell’s past and disagree with his comments.

Leah Barkoukis - Chicago Residents Slam Obama: 'He Will Go Down As Worst President Ever Elected'
Posted: 7/14/2014 5:02:00 PM EST

Residents of Chicago’s South Side are sick and tired of the epidemic of violence in their community—and for good reason. This year alone, 1,080 people have been shot and wounded in the Windy City, while 184 have been killed. To make matters worse, President Obama seems to be ignoring the problems plaguing his hometown, yet is catering to the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants crossing the border.

“[Barack] is gonna go down as being one of the worst presidents ever,” one angry South Side resident said at a protest in front of the Chicago Police Department last week. “President Barack needs to pay attention to Chicago, if he cannot pay attention to Chicago and the African-American community, he needs to resign.”

Check out what other residents had to say in the video below:

H/T: Weasel Zippers

Christine Rousselle - California Students Given Good Grades for Holocaust-Denial Essays
Posted: 7/14/2014 4:50:00 PM EST

Earlier this year, eighth graders enrolled in the Rialto Unified School District in Rialto, California were assigned a rather questionable essay assignment: Did the Holocaust happen, or was it "merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth[?]" The district immediately apologized for the assignment once it came to light, and initially claimed that no students wrote that the Holocaust was a hoax. That allegation was wrong, as the San Bernadino County Sun newspaper discovered that over 50 students expressed doubt that the Holocaust happened in their essays, and were given high marks for their views.

“I believe the event was fake, according to source 2 the event was exhaggerated,” one student wrote. (Students’ and teachers’ original spelling and grammar are retained throughout this story.) “I felt that was strong enogh evidence to persuade me the event was a hoax.”

In some cases, students earned high marks and praise for arguing the Holocaust never occurred, with teachers praising their well-reasoned arguments:

“you did well using the evidence to support your claim,” the above student’s teacher wrote on his assignment.

The student received a grade of 23 points out of 30, with points marked off for not addressing counterclaims, capitalization and punctuation errors.

Students were given documents from and in addition to pieces of information from a Holocaust denial site. In one, the Diary of Anne Frank was presented as a hoax.

Administrators claim that the prompt was an exercise to improve critical thinking skills.

This is disturbing. There are plenty of ways to improve critical thinking and writing skills without having to wade in the territory of Holocaust denial. This assignment never should have been allowed in the first place. Teaching children conspiracy theories does nothing to help them educationally—and from the looks of the essays posted by the Sun, those students need all the help they can get.

Guy Benson - What's Behind Bowe Bergdahl's Return to Active Duty?
Posted: 7/14/2014 3:56:00 PM EST

I'll admit to being genuinely shocked when I saw tweets along these lines earlier, the contents of which Katie expanded on this afternoon:

My initial reaction: So soon? The deal to secure Bergdahl's release was executed in late May. Six weeks later, he's ready to be re-integrated into an active duty context? The guy was held captive by the Taliban and Haqqanis for five years, and has returned home to a firestorm over compelling allegations of desertion, if not outright collaboration. The public didn't support the Obama administration's 'one-apparent-deserter-for-five-hardened-jihadists' swap, with veterans and military families overwhelmingly opposed to the deal. Current service members have made their views crystal clear, too. So how is this supposed to work, exactly? A distrusted (and no doubt traumatized) accused deserter is back on the job lickity-split despite (a) the military's initial findings that he'd abandoned his post, (b) the fact that a follow-up investigation isn't yet complete, and (c) recent reports of active duty soldiers receiving pink slips while deployed abroad? At first blush, it appeared as though the US Army had internalized Susan Rice's "honor and distinction" idiocy, an indication that the White House's "suck it up and salute" political brigade has won the day. To that end, Katie embeds an angry tweet from one member of Bergdahl's former unit, who evidently perceived the Army's decision to reinstate Bergdahl as a slap in the face. But it seems there's more to the story. Twitter's 'First Team Tommy,' a veteran, admonished outraged conservatives on Twitter, suggesting that this step was necessary for the military justice process to move forward:

Allahpundit summarizes: "I believe that if Bergdahl’s discharged, he can’t be court-martialed. He has to be on active duty for that. (See, e.g., section 802(c)(4) of the UCMJ.) Leaving him in the care of military doctors would also complicate the legal process...Moving him to a desk job at Fort Sam Houston solves those problems." In other words, it's very likely the case that Bergdahl hasn't been re-embraced and set up with a cushy a desk jockey job for kicks; the Army's simply doing what must be done to tee up critical next steps. Critics of the Bergdahl deal and proponents of due process should think twice before venting fury over these developments. Parting thought: Is a court martial conviction, followed by an Obama pardon, in the offing here? Allahpundit thinks it's inevitable, while Tommy adamantly disagrees. I tend to lean in the latter direction, but the White House's acute tone-deafness on this entire matter has been mystifying, so you never know.

Daniel Doherty - Senate Democrat: I'm a "Total Thorn" in Obama's Rear End, or Something
Posted: 7/14/2014 3:15:00 PM EST

The 2014 midterm elections are nearly upon us, and you know what that means: vulnerable Senate Democrats are doing everything they can to distance themselves from the president.

And I mean everything.

This includes but is not limited to peddling the ridiculous notion that they were actually elected to both "jab" and thwart President Obama's legislative agenda. For example, here’s what Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) recently told the Washington Post:

When Sen. Mark Begich talks about his role in American politics, he describes himself as a sharp object, sent to Washington to jab at President Obama.

“I’ll be a thorn in his [posterior],” Begich (D-Alaska) said in an interview. “There’s times when I’m a total thorn, you know, and he doesn’t appreciate it.”

That metaphor is at the heart of Begich’s political self-image — and, now, his reelection campaign. Begich is running in an age of congressional weakness. Earmarks are dead. The Hill is gridlocked. So Begich has little hope of doing what Alaska always expects its politicians to do: bring home boatloads of money through legislation.

Instead, Begich is running on his power to nag.

In other words, in his own high-minded opinion, Sen. Begich is a genuine profile in courage who is unafraid to push back against the president or his policies. His voting record, however, tells a very different story about his penchant for impartiality, working with Republicans, and bridging partisan divides.

At the same time, his list of “legislative accomplishments” is, shall we say, grossly thin:

Begich, 52, is a first-term senator known for being pro-gun and pro-oil. But he is not actually that well known for anything. In the Senate, Begich is a junior figure, moving through the chamber’s power structure at the speed of a mastodon trapped in a glacier. Over five years, just one of his bills has been passed into law. It renamed a courthouse in Anchorage.

That’s better than nothing, I suppose. Still, using history as our guide, re-electing Sen. Begich can only mean one thing: watching another empty suit vote reliably, and predictably, with his own party for another six years.

Katie Pavlich - Bowe Bergdahl Headed Back to Active Duty, Taking Job at Fort Sam Houston
Posted: 7/14/2014 2:10:00 PM EST

Yes, you read that headline correctly. Bowe Bergdahl, the Army Sgt. accused by his fellow platoon members of desertion and possible collaboration with the Taliban against the United States, is headed back to active duty. More from CNN:

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has finished undergoing medical care and counseling at an Army hospital in San Antonio and could return to an Army unit on a Texas post as early as Monday, a defense official tells CNN.

Bergdahl was held captive by militants for five years before he was released in May in exchange for five senior Taliban members held by the U.S. military. He has always maintained his active duty status. He cannot retire from the service or be discharged until the investigation concerning his disappearance and captivity in Afghanistan is complete.

For about three weeks, Bergdahl has been an outpatient at the San Antonio hospital, and military officials have interviewed him about his time in captivity.

Bergdahl is set to take a job at Fort Sam Houston, the Army post in San Antonio, according to an Army statement Monday. He will return to "regular duty within the command where he can contribute to the mission," the statement said.

At this point, not a single soldier from Bergdahl's platoon has come forward to defend him or to justify his disappearance. Army Spc. Cody Full, who testified in front of Congress last month about Berghdahl's disappearance, is not impressed.

Full will be on with Sean Hannity tonight at 10 pm et on Fox News to discuss this latest development.

Kara Jones - Poll: GOP Approval of Supreme Court Up 21 Percent
Posted: 7/14/2014 1:00:00 PM EST

According to a Gallup poll released today, Republican support for the Supreme Court has increased 21 percentage points since September of last year.

Partisan views have flipped since the beginning of the High Court’s term last October. GOP approval has increased from a mere 30 percent to a majority of 51 percent. On the other hand, Democrats approval is down 14 points, falling from 58 percent to 44 percent.

This is notable considering the majority of Democrats have viewed the Supreme Court favorably since 2012’s ruling on the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act. During this time, approval spiked to 68 percent.

When party affiliation is taken out of the equation, Americans approval/disapproval of the High Court remain consistent with polls from September. Overall, 47 percent currently approve and 46 percent disapprove of the Supreme Court's performance. In September, the polls showed a similar 46 percent approval rating and 45 percent disapproval rating.

Although nearly two-thirds of this term’s decisions were unanimous, the two most recent cases of Harris v. Quinn and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby were slim 5-4 wins for the GOP. It is no surprise that Republicans faith in the Supreme Court has recently increased following several other victorious rulings for the conservative movement.

Cortney O'Brien - Congressman Downloads ‘Red Alert’ App to Hear How Many Times Israel is Bombed by Terrorists
Posted: 7/14/2014 11:30:00 AM EST

“Red Alert: Israel” is an app no one should have to use. It is a phone application that warns Israeli residents every time Hamas launches an attack. The device has allowed vulnerable civilians to try and seek shelter before becoming victim to terrorism.

On Friday, Representative Jeff Duncan (R-SC) met with an Israeli ambassador to discuss the violent clashes between Israel and Palestinian terror groups. During that meeting, Duncan downloaded the “Red Alert” app for just a glimpse into what Israelis are experiencing as they face the constant threat of rocket attacks. The congressman posted photos from that meeting on his Facebook page. The day he downloaded the app, Duncan’s phone sounded a frightening 36 times. While he says the warnings can be pretty unnerving for him and his family, he insists the app is necessary to remember the dangers Israelis are facing.

Why do I want the App? So that I can pray for Israel as well as understand, as a policy maker, the magnanimity of the threats and the conflict.

Can you imagine living under this constant threat?

I certainly couldn’t.

As Guy reported earlier, Israel is defending its use of force to answer Hamas’ barrage of attacks. While the media is all too quick to report on Israeli strikes on Palestine, they forget who provoked those attacks in the first place. Another important distinction that the mainstream media has seemed to forget: Hamas has been declared a terrorist organization.

Hamas attacks Israel, and Israel is criticized for defending itself. It makes no sense.

Perhaps if the biased anti-Israel media downloaded the “Red Alert” app and heard the incessant alarms that are terrifying Israelis daily, they’d change their tune.

Katie Pavlich - Holder Accuses Obama Opponents of Being Racist Again
Posted: 7/14/2014 11:00:00 AM EST

Over the weekend in an interview with ABC's This Week, Attorney General Eric Holder suggested (again) some people are opponents of President Obama and himself because they are black.

"There’s a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that’s directed at me, directed at the president,” Holder said. "You know, people talking about taking their country back. I can’t look into people’s hearts, look into people’s minds. But it seems to me that this president has been treated differently than others."

"There’s a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there’s a racial animus,” he added.

If Holder really believes it's just a "few" people who oppose him based on his skin color, then why does he continually make those "few" the focus? The Obama administration repeatedly uses the race argument to shut down debate about serious topics and controversies.

As a reminder, Holder said America was a nation full of cowards unwilling to talk about race during a speech back in 2009.

"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards," Holder said.

On another note, isn't it interesting how similar Holder's language about people "taking their country" back is to the criteria the IRS used to target conservative tea party groups? Not a smidgen I'm sure.

Guy Benson - Video: Netanyahu, Israeli Officials Defend Airstrikes, Blast Hamas Terrorists
Posted: 7/14/2014 10:25:00 AM EST

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on two US Sunday morning shows to staunchly defend his nation's aggressive response to rocket fire from Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Tensions have been running extremely high in the region since the June kidnapping and cold-blooded murder of three Israeli teenagers -- one of whom was a US citizen -- by Hamas-linked killers. A revenge killing of a Palestinian youth by Jewish perpetrators in early July was quickly and unequivocally condemned by Israel's leaders, who promised to prosecute the offenders. Since the initial abduction, Hamas has rained hundreds of rockets on Israel, setting off air raid sirens and sending civilians scrambling for shelter. No Israelis have been killed by the current round of shelling, thanks to the country's sophisticated 'Iron Dome' missile defense shield and its efficient bomb shelter protocols.

Israeli troops have responded with surgical attacks against Hamas targets -- including private homes and mosques, which the terrorists cynically use as staging grounds for launching attacks. A small force of IDF soldiers made a brief incursion into Gaza over the weekend; four troops were wounded on the mission, the purpose of which was to take out a rocket launching site. With many critics within the anti-Israel international community dishonestly and predictably casting Israel as the disproportionate aggressor, top Israeli officials are pushing back with a public relations offensive. The country's ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, appeared on CBS' Face the Nation yesterday, and acquitted himself impressively. If you don't have time to watch the entire clip, try to catch three short segments. First, the Israeli aerial footage of a military mission being called off for fear of civilian casualties (1:28), second, Derner's cell phone sounding a real-time air raid siren as a Hamas rocket sped toward an Israeli city -- live during the interview (3:00), and his utter destruction of a Palestinian spokesman's revisionist history earlier in the program:

"The Palestinian Ambassador sat in this chair right before I got on, and he said, 'the root cause of the problem is the [Israeli] occupation.' But those talking points are nine years old. Israel left Gaza. We withdrew all of our settlements from Gaza. We withdrew all of our military forces from Gaza. And since that time, we've had 9,000 rockets fired at Israel. It's unacceptable. We have to defend ourselves."

Filling in for Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume asked Mr. Netanyahu how long his country's offensive would continue, and what it might entail. Netanyahu declined to specify battle plans, opting instead to repeatedly invoke Israel's absolute right to protect its citizens. He drew a parallel to the United States, asking rhetorically if Americans would accept a scenario in which 80 percent of the US population faced the threat of rocket fire from a neighboring terrorist quasi-state. Stay tuned for his clear moral distinction between Israel's respect for innocent life and Hamas' deliberate targeting of civilians -- and exploitation of their own civilians for propaganda purposes:

"I just want your viewers to imagine the United States being bombarded -- not in one city, or two cities -- but in every city between New York and Colorado. Maybe 20 percent of the United States would be exempt from this. Eighty percent of your citizens would have to be in bomb shelters, or ready to go into bomb shelters within a minute to a minute-and-a-half max. No country can accept that. We can't accept that, and we'll take the necessary action to stop it…Here's the difference between us: We're using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they're using their civilians to protect their missiles."

An excellent, and accurate, turn of phrase. Israel bends over backwards, often to the detriment of their own military missions' efficacy, to avoid civilian deaths. They drop leaflets warning people to leave homes and facilities targeted for destruction. They employ warning phone calls to the neighbors of IDF targets. They drop light, "door knock" shells on roofs, a precursor to more destructive strikes. Hamas deliberately uses schools, Mosques, hospitals and private homes to launch rockets, then screams bloody murder about Israel's "excesses" when they eliminate those locations. And far too much of the world plays along with the macabre theater. On the subject of human shields and Hamas' egregious tactics, Jake Tapper grilled a former PLO spokeswoman on CNN late last week. She assailed Israel throughout the interview, calling references to Palestinian terrorists' martyrdom culture "offensive," and dismissing accusations of Hamas' confirmed human shield tactics as "racist." Tapper would have none of it, throwing empirical evidence right back at her:

Note how this "moderate" Palestinian pundit toes the radical Hamas line every step of the way, claiming to be unaware of a recent televised appearance in which a Hamas spokesman urged Palestinians to embrace the practice of ignoring Israeli evacuation warnings in order to form a protective barrier around Hamas leaders. Watch for yourself the evidence that is so clear that even the UN can't deny it:

[Acting as human shields] "has proven effective against the occupation. Also, this policy reflects the character of our brave, courageous people. We in Hamas call upon our people to adopt this policy in order to protect the Palestinian homes."

It's a ghoulish win/win for the terrorists: When Israel backs off, Hamas' munitions and leaders are protected. When civilians die, it's a priceless PR coup. The remains of the dead are paraded around by wailing Palestinians for the cameras, whipping up anti-Israel sentiment, and feeding the bankrupt moral equivalency narrative. I'll leave you with three thoughts: (1) It is the stated objective of Hamas to destroy the state of Israel, which the terror group's charter states has no right to exist. (2) Hamas is a designated terrorist organization by the US State Department. (3) Despite that fact, when Hamas and the PLO recently joined forces to form a unity government, the Obama administration chose to not only recognize that alliance, but continue to fund it with US tax dollars.