Matt Vespa - BREAKING: Shooting At Synagogue in Copenhagen UPDATE: Danish National Police Confirm Second Shooting
Posted: 2/14/2015 7:33:00 PM EST

According to Danish reporter Tinne Hjersing, there’s been another shooting at a synagogue in Copenhagen not far from Krudttønden, the café where Lars Vilks’ free speech event was interrupted by armed attackers earlier today

According to Hjersing, three people were shot; one was hit in the head, with two police officers shot in the arm and leg.

The suspect is still at large, but this attack and the cafe assault appear to be linked.

UPDATE: Rigspolitiet, Denmark's national police force, confirms the second shooting. Police have urged citizens in central Copenhagen to stay indoors.

A manhunt for the suspect has begun.

UPDATE II: One person has died

UPDATE IIIVia BBC, it's being reported that several people have been injured. It's unknown if this attack is linked to the cafe shooting, where cartoonist Lars Vilks had organized a free speech event earlier today.

UPDATE IV: There is an important correction; no one has died,.  Danish reporter Tinne Hjersing has corrected this development on Twitter.  No one has died, no suspects have been arrested, but one person was still shot in the head, with two police officers being wounded.

UPDATE V: Things are getting serious.

UPDATE VI: It seems Danish police are focusing on Nørregade Street in their manhunt for the synagogue shooter.

UPDATE VII: The person who was shot in the head has died, according to Danish police. In both attacks, two people have died, five police officers have been wounded, and the suspects remain at large. It was originally reported that the victim who was shot in the head had passed away hours ago, but it a was untrue at the time. Sadly, this person didn't make it.

Leah Barkoukis - US Continues "Secret War" in Afghanistan
Posted: 2/14/2015 5:24:00 PM EST

The United States may have officially ended the war in Afghanistan in late December, but our remaining troops are carrying out an increasing number of night raids against the Taliban and al Qaeda, according to a New York Times report.

The New York Times reports that the increased raids are partially the result of intelligence seized in October of last year, when US and Afghan commandos came upon a laptop computer with files detailing terror operations in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan. Military officials tell the paper that the information in the files could be as significant as what was found on a computer in Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound after the terror leader was killed by Navy SEALs in 2011.

The officials also said that another factor playing a role in the increased raids was loosened restrictions on nighttime operations put in place by the new Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani. Ghani has previously called for a slower withdrawal of US troops from his country. Current plans call for the US to go from about 10,800 troops there now to 5,500 by the end of this year.

According to the terms of a security agreement with the Afghan government, our remaining troops are there to serve in an advisory role. But that’s not what’s happening on the ground, U.S. and Afghan officials told the Times. In reality, U.S. troops are “taking a lead role” in the counterterror raids.

“It’s all in the shadows now,” a former Afghan security official told the Times. “The official war for the Americans — the part of the war that you could go see — that’s over. It’s only the secret war that’s still going. But it’s going hard.”

News of the U.S. military’s “secret war” comes on the heels of Gen. John Campbell, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, telling the Senate Armed Services Committee that he wants more flexibility in how quickly troops withdraw from the country and where he can position them.

Matt Vespa - Shots Fired At Free Speech Event In Copenhagen
Posted: 2/14/2015 12:30:00 PM EST

Two gunmen fired 30-40 shots during a free speech event at a café in Copenhagen, Denmark earlier this morning; the gunmen remain at large, according to the BBC. One civilian has been killed and three Danish police officers were shot in the attack that is eerily similar to the tragic Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris last January.

Lars Vilks, an artist who caused uproar amongst Muslims in 2007 with his cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, organized the event (via ABC News):

Shots were fired Saturday at a cafe in Copenhagen that was hosting a freedom of speech event organized by Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has faced numerous threats for caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad.

Some 30 bullet holes ripped through the window of the Krudttoenden cafe and at least two people were taken away on stretchers, including a uniformed police officer, the TV2 channel said Saturday.

"I heard someone firing with an automatic weapons and someone shouting. Police returned the fire and I hid behind the bar. I felt surreal, like in a movie," Niels Ivar Larsen, one of the speakers at the event, told the TV2 channel.

Helle Merete Brix, one of the event's organizers, told The Associated Press that Vilks was at the meeting but not injured.

"I saw a masked man running past," she said. "A couple of police officers were injured."

"I clearly consider this as an attack on Lars Vilks," she added, saying she was ushered away with Vilks by one of the Danish police guards that he gets whenever he is in Denmark.

François Zimeray, the French ambassador to Denmark who was at the conference, tweeted that he was "still alive."

Vilks, a 68-year-old Swedish artist, has faced several attempted attacks and death threats after he depicted the Prophet Muhammad as a dog in 2007.

A Pennsylvania woman last year got a 10-year prison term for a plot to kill Vilks. In 2010, two brothers tried to burn down his house in southern Sweden and were imprisoned for attempted arson.

That woman’s name is Colleen LaRose (aka “Jihad Jane), who was arrested in 2010. Vilks is also on al-Qaeda’s “hit list" due to his cartoons.

UPDATE: AP reports the Danish Security Service is calling this shooting "likely a terror attack."

UPDATE II:  French Ambassador said that this was a Charlie Hebdo-style attack, but the shooters couldn't get inside the cafe. He noted that at least 50 shots were fired, while Danish police say 200 (via the Telegraph):

Unidentified assailants Saturday fired on a building in Copenhagenwhere a debate on Islam and free speech was being held, the French ambassdor to Denmark told AFP from inside the venue.

"They fired on us from the outside. It was the same intention as (the January 7 attack on) Charlie Hebdo except they didn't manage to get in," Francois Zimeray said by telephone.


Zimeray said earlier on Twitter that he was not harmed.

"Intuitively I would say there were at least 50 gunshots, and the police here are saying 200," he told AFP.

"Bullets went through the doors and everyone threw themselves to the floor. We managed to flee the room, and now we're staying inside because it's still dangerous. The attackers haven't been caught and they could very well still be in the neighbourhood."

UPDATE III: Here's a photo of the suspect.

Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey wrote that police had found the getaway car. Suspects probably couldn't have made it far since Danish police shut down the city.  The chilling audio of the shooting can be heard here.

UPDATE IV: Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt calls the cafe shooting a "terror attack."  One person has tragically been killed–and police are looking for one suspects instead of two.  It was originally reported that two suspects were at large.

Cortney O'Brien - Angelina Jolie Documents ISIS Horrors in New Films
Posted: 2/14/2015 12:00:00 PM EST

Millions of Iraqis have been forced to flee their homes in order to escape the barbarism of the Islamic State, traveling to northern Iraq for refuge. Last month, Angelina Jolie was there to meet some of the terrified refugees and hear their harrowing stories.

Jolie, whose second directorial project, “Unbroken,” far exceeded box office expectations this winter, has proven she’s willing to take on challenges that cause others to hesitate. The rights to World War Two legend Louie Zamperini’s odyssey of a life had changed hands for years in Hollywood, with no one willing to commit to the work it would take to bring his story to the big screen. Jolie, however, boldly accepted the challenge and directed a two-hour stunner of a movie that did justice to Zamperini’s heroic tale. Now, she is proving once again that she has the guts to tell a story that needs to be told.

Jolie traveled to a Kurdish refugee camp in Dohuk, where over 2 million Iraqis have fled, to speak with victims of the Islamic State. She listened to their experiences and turned two of those tragic stories into short documentaries, which have been published exclusively with The Guardian.

The first film features a woman named Sabreen and her little sister, Dilvian. Sabreen began by describing how she was treated at the hands of Islamic terrorists. Her recollection is not for the faint of heart:

“For one hour a day they electrocuted me. They put electric cables to my head, my hands and my feet. I was crying and begging him to stop but he wouldn’t listen.”

This story was hard enough to listen to - I can’t imagine actually being on the receiving end of such torture or being forced to watch it as her little sister did. Although they managed to eventually escape from the terror, the brutal memories of their captivity remain.

In Jolie’s second film, a woman named Amusha recounts how she and her daughter were forcibly separated before her daughter was kidnapped by Islamic State militants. Through tears, Amusha said her daughter is “like a shining star.”

Jolie has done much more than make movies to share horrifying stories like these. To bring more awareness to the barbarism of the Islamic State, the Hollywood actress and director has opened an academic center at the London School of Economics (LSE) in order to combat global issues like rape and women’s role in politics. Her motivation could not be any clearer:

“If you were to ask me who I think this centre is for, I picture someone who is not in this room today,” Jolie said. “I think of a girl I met in Iraq three weeks ago. She is 13 years old, but instead of going to school, she sits on the floor in a makeshift tent.”

Islamic terrorism cannot be swept under the rug. Fox News’ Harris Faulkner recently listed ISIS’ cruel guidelines for women, which include such standards as these: Girls can marry at age 9, they must stay behind closed doors, beauty salons are the work of the devil, and women should not be corrupted by a job. When Faulkner finished listing these harsh rules, she had no choice but to describe the terrorist group as an ‘army of pedophiles.’

Jolie has proven she is one of those rare Hollywood celebrities who is not just talking about change - she’s leading it. It’s unfortunate that the first headlines that come up with a Google search of her name still largely includes gossip about her personal life. Her efforts on behalf of the victims of terrorism should be her real claim to fame. Hopefully her new films, and the subjects they follow, get the paparazzi-like attention they deserve.

Christine Rousselle - Model With Down Syndrome Walks at Fashion Week
Posted: 2/14/2015 9:30:00 AM EST

Jamie Brewer already had an impressive resume for a 30-year-old: she's an actress on the show American Horror Story, an accomplished activist who helped influence legislation in her home state of Texas, and she's involved in several non-profit organizations. Now, as of Thursday, she's got another item to add: she's the first model with Down syndrome to walk in a show during New York Fashion Week.

Brewer modeled a black A-line dress designed by Carrie Hammer in the show "Role Models Not Runway Models." The show featured "role" models who are accomplished in their professional lives or who have overcome adversity to lead successful lives.

"We feature incredible influential women on the runaway. CEOs, executives, activist, actresses, anyone who is the top of the field, top of their game," Hammer told USA TODAY Network.

"Jamie is an absolute star," Hammer said, adding that the actress is also an activist for people with intellectual disabilities.

All of the women in the show wore clothing designed especially for them.

I think we can all agree that Jamie looked beautiful on the runway.

Like the Madison, a young singer with Down syndrome that I blogged about two weeks ago, this is another great example of someone with a disability smashing all expectations society has set for them and succeeding. As this story has gone fairly viral, I hope it can provide parents facing a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome with some hope that their child has the potential to lead a fairly typical life--and even act, sing, or model in a fashion show.

Kevin Glass - Democrats Seek To Repeal AUMF
Posted: 2/13/2015 7:11:00 PM EST
The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States, has allowed the President to conduct counterterrorism operations overseas. Long derided as overbroad (yet still used by President Obama to justify questionable foreign decisions) by opponents, two Democrats now want to repeal it.

As the Associated Press reported:

Sens. Ben Cardin of Maryland and Chris Murphy of Connecticut say Congress never intended to authorize a perpetual war when it passed the legislation more than a decade ago.

They introduced a bill Friday and said the president and Congress should work together on any replacement measure needed to fight al-Qaida after 2018.

As Conn reported, President Obama is seeking a new AUMF at the same time that his fellow party-members are seeking to repeal the old one. And these two goals are not in conflict. Indeed, the new AUMF will allow President Obama a blank check while also giving the President cover to repeal the old one.

Matt Vespa - ICYMI: ISIS Tried To Bomb A Base Where U.S. Troops Train Iraqi Forces
Posted: 2/13/2015 6:45:00 PM EST

ISIS forces are extremely close to a U.S. airbase, where 320 Marines are training Iraqi forces. Using Iraqi military uniforms, ISIS fighters tried to infiltrate the base to execute a suicide bomb attack, but were killed by Iraqi Security Forces. Yet, the proximity of the ISIS and American military personnel is fraught with danger, especially as President Obama tries to get an authorization to use force resolution through Congress that rejects the notion of “enduring offensive ground forces.” Nevertheless, that fact that ISIS is able to continue its offensive operations shows that airstrikes might not be effective, according to the Washington Post:

Iraqi security forces supported by “surveillance assets” from the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State killed eight militants outside the Ayn al-Asad airbase in Iraq's Anbar province at 7:20 a.m., the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement. The men were would-be suicide bombers who tried to enter the base disguised as Iraqi army soldiers, said Sulaiman al-Kubbaisi, a spokesman for Anbar’s provincial council.

The attack came a day after militants took control of most of Baghdadi, a town less than five miles from the base, where 320 U.S. service members have been training Iraqi troops and tribal fighters.

U.S. forces were “several kilometers” from the attack and were at no stage under direct threat, the statement said. Still, the targeting of a base hosting U.S. troops underscored the risk that Americans could be drawn into real engagement with the militants on the battlefield.

“We readily admit that al-Anbar is a contested region,” Rear Adm. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said Friday in an interview on CNN. “But . . . this is a huge, sprawling base, roughly the size of Boulder, Colorado,” and it has “mini-bases inside the big base,” he added. “This incident . . . happened nowhere near where U.S. or coalition forces were operating.”

Kirby said of the U.S. trainers and advisers, “there’s no question that they’re close to danger.” Even though they do not have a ground combat mission, “they have the right to defend themselves,” he said. “And should they ever feel under threat, they certainly have the right, the responsibility, the obligation to shoot back.”

The capture of Baghdadi, which remained under militant control on Friday, also demonstrates the continued ability of the Islamic State to stay on the attack despite coalition airstrikes and talk of a looming counteroffensive on major cities held by the group, which is also known as ISIS, ISIL and, in Arabic, Daesh. U.S. officials maintain that the militants are largely on the defensive.

Greg Hengler - Obama Confusion: Extremists Killed "Folks" at Kosher Deli--Global Warming Trumps Terrorism
Posted: 2/13/2015 4:48:00 PM EST

On this week's Townhall Weekend Journal:

Dennis Prager analyzes Obama's interview with Vox and his comments on "folks" being murdered at Paris Kosher deli. Hugh Hewitt on Jonathan Carl's grilling WH on Obama's Kosher deli comments. Bill Bennett and Rep. Cotton on Obama's Gitmo policy. Hewitt and John Bolton on Iran. Hewitt and Charles Krauthammer on Iran. Prager on FCC.

Katie Pavlich - NRA Backs Senate's 2015 Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act
Posted: 2/13/2015 3:15:00 PM EST

The 2015 Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act has been officially introduced in the Senate and if passed would treat concealed carry permits like driver's licenses, allowing citizens to travel from state-to-state with their permits recognized. As a result, it will be easier for citizens traveling across state lines to avoid being unfairly charged or prosecuted for exercising their Second Amendment rights.

Bob Owens at Bearing Arms has more details: 

The bill will allow law-abiding citizens to exercise their rights without running into local reciprocity “traps” that could turn them into felons, while concealed carriers would still be subject to the laws of the states in which they are travels in regards to the laws that they must follow in terms of keeping it concealed, where they can carry, and when they may use force.

It’s also important to note what Cornyn’s bill does and does not do:

-Does not establish national standards for concealed carry.
-Does not provide for a national concealed carry permit.
-Respects state laws concerning specific types of locations in which firearms may not be carried and types of firearms which may not be carried by the visiting individual.
-Protects states’ rights by not mandating the right to concealed carry in places that do not allow the practice, like Washington, D.C.
-Does not allow a resident to circumvent their home state’s concealed carry permit laws.

If under current law an individual is prohibited by federal law from carrying a firearm, they will continue to be prohibited from doing so under our bill.

The National Rifle Association is publicly offering its support for the legislation.

“The current patchwork of state and local laws is confusing for even the most conscientious and well-informed concealed carry permit holders. This confusion often leads to law-abiding gun owners running afoul of the law when they exercise their right to self-protection while traveling or temporarily living away from home. Senator Cornyn’s legislation provides a much needed solution to a real problem for law-abiding gun owners,” Executive Director of NRA-ILA Chris W. Cox said in a statement. “Our fundamental right to self-defense does not stop at a state's borders. Law abiding citizens should be able to exercise this right while traveling across state lines,” continued Cox. “This is an extremely important issue to our members and we thank Senator Cornyn for leading the fight to protect our right to self-defense."

The NRA also offers more information about the legislation. 

This legislation wouldn’t override state laws governing the time, place or manner of carriage or establish national standards for concealed carry. Individual state gun laws would still be respected. Concealed carry reciprocity would simply ensure that states honor permits issued by other states, just as they do with driver’s licenses. Importantly, if under federal law a person is prohibited from carrying a firearm, they will continue to be prohibited from doing so under this bill.

A similar piece of legislation introduced by Cornyn in 2013 nearly passed in the Democrat controlled Senate. 

Expanding concealed-carry failed 57-43: Sen. John Cornyn's "Constitutional Concealed Carry Act" would give gun owners the right to carry concealed weapons across state lines and into other states that also have concealed-carry laws without obtaining a new license. The Texas Republican argued that Democrats should support this reciprocity because getting a concealed-carry permit is a like a background check "on steroids." It failed 57 to 43. Baucus, Begich, Donnelly, Hagan, Martin Heinrich (N.M.), Heitkamp, Landrieu, Manchin, Pryor, Tester, Mark Udall (Colo.), Tom Udall (N.M.), and Mark Warner (Va.) were the 13 Democrats in favor. Kirk was the only Republican opposed.
Conn Carroll - DHS Confirms Obama's Amnesty Isn't Temporary
Posted: 2/13/2015 3:00:00 PM EST

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed Thursday that thousands of illegal immigrants granted temporary amnesty through President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will also get permanent U.S. citizenship thanks to how DHS is administering the program.

When Obama first announced his DACA program back in June 2012, he told the American people, "Now, let's be clear — this is not amnesty, this is not immunity, this is not a path to citizenship."

However, as the Center for Immigration Studies pointed out just months after Obama's announcement, a loophole in immigration law created the possibility that DHS could use the DACA program to put thousands of DACA recipients on a path to citizenship.

Here is how the loophole works: Once an illegal immigrant has been given deferred action status through Obama's DACA program, he or she can then apply for "advance parole" status, a status normally given to lawful immigrants who have a pending green card application but can also show a pressing need to travel abroad that "serves the public interest."

All a DACA recipient needs to do is invent a reason to travel back home (perhaps an ailing grandmother), apply for advance parole, and then reenter the country legally. Once they have reentered the country legally with their new advance parole status they are no longer an illegal immigrant and can now begin a path to citizenship just like any legal immigrant.

The DHS confirmed in a conference call with House Judiciary Committee staff Thursday that 4,566 DACA recipients have been granted advance parole status out of the 6,400 that have applied. That is an 88 percent success rate.

More troubling, when the Obama administration begins implementing their new DACA expansion program this year, they will allow DACA applicants to apply for advance parole status at the same time.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte sent a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson Friday demanding that DHS stop granting advance parole to all DACA recipients.

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