Walmart surveillance video shows man talking on cell phone before police shoot him.

This is yet another case in which full police transparency would avoid a great amount of heartache and controversy.  

from Daily Caller (emphasis mine):

Surveillance video of the fatal police shooting of John Crawford in an Ohio Wal-Mart earlier this month shows the 22-year-old talking on the phone and leaning on an air rifle sold in the store before he was shot, the attorney for Crawford’s family says.

Crawford, a father of two, was shot by two police officers Aug. 5 after several shoppers called 911 to report that a man was carrying a gun around the store.

The gun turned out to be a Crosman MK-177 pellet gun, which Wal-Mart sells for approximately $100.

The Crawford family, along with their attorney Michael Wright, were shown portions of the surveillance video last week and shared what they saw in a press conference Tuesday.

Wright said that Crawford was on a cell phone before the shooting and was likely not aware that police were approaching. He also said that the video showed Crawford leaning on the butt of the air rifle while on the phone. In the next frame, he is shown on the ground after having been shot.

“From what we’ve seen, John had no opportunity to put the gun down,” Wright said, adding that Crawford was “doing nothing more, nothing less than shopping,” according to WHIO.

Crawford’s girlfriend has said that she was on the phone with him at the time of the shooting. She said she heard the father of two say “It’s not real” before the shots were fired.

read the rest

Why haven’t the police released the surveillance video in its entirety? By releasing only a portion of the video to the family, it only enflames the story of police, once again, using deadly force without just cause.  

It is important to note that the man was not carrying a real gun.  He was carrying a product that you can buy in the store.  Therefore, if he was thinking about buying the pellet gun, he had every justification for carrying it around while he continued shopping.

It’s also important to note that the video currently available to the family’s attorneys does not show him engaging with the police at all.

Perhaps when the full video is made available, the story might change, but right now, this certainly looks like a case of an innocent man being shot by police while shopping inside a Walmart. 

What are the police waiting for?

As always, stay principled.  Stick to the facts.  All parties are innocent until proven guilty. 

Low information voters or wrong information voters?

As frustrating as it is to try to have a political conversation with someone who has no idea what’s going on, it’s even more frustrating to have a political conversation with someone who thinks they have a clue but don’t.

Liz Sheld, examining some Pew survey results and confirming our worst suspicions, that a significant minority of the electorate walk around believing that certain political terms mean the opposite of what they really do:

Looking just at the first question, which Pew has used to determine whether people who say they are libertarians actually know what the term means, 57% correctly identified the definition of “libertarian” with the proper corresponding ideological label. Looking at the other answers, an astonishing 20% say that someone who emphasizes freedom and less government is a progressive, 6% say that is the definition of an authoritarian and 6% say that is the definition of a communist.

As E. Strobel notes, “The term ‘low-info voter’ is inadequate… . More like ‘wrong-info voter.’”

Perhaps when we’re trying to persuade the electorate as a whole, we have to toss out terms like “conservative” or “libertarian.” Not because they’re not accurate, but because they represent obscure hieroglyphics to a chunk of the people we’re trying to persuade.

Louis Farrakhan says it’s okay for blacks to steal from Arabs, Chinese, Koreans, and Indians

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Speaking of racism being alive and well in America

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan (one of Obama’s spiritual mentors) said in his most recent sermon that it’s okay for blacks to steal from Arab, Chinese, Korean, and Indian store owners.  His racist screed was met with thunderous applause from the attendees of the mosque. 

from Breitbart:

Farrakhan said, “With 67 percent of black people you have to live under a white mayor with 67 percent white people you cant make the laws that govern that town. Now if that’s the condition let me set the stage for Michael Brown. See I don’t know about the store they say he strong armed somebody and took some cigars but I know this, coming to Chicago … when you live in the hood you don’t control no economy so you have Arab store owners that don’t give a damn about you and have no respect for you. You got Korean, you got Chinese, you got Indians, you got other people all in our community taking the money out but not giving a damn thing to this community. I imagine that blacks under those conditions suffer everyday.”

Speaking about Ferguson, Farrakhan said, “That town is a microcosm of whats going on all over the country. Black men are being shot down but the courts don’t give us justice.”

read the rest (click through to see video of the sermon clip)

You won’t find a peep about Farrakhan’s naked racism in the media, but you’ll sure as heck find a bunch of people screaming about “white privilege.”  If you listen to Farrakhan, “black privilege” would be the ability to be morally immune from committing strong arm robbery…as long as the store owner is of a different race.  

It bothers me to no end to hear the race hustlers like Farrakhan, Jackson, and Sharpton use the expressions “our community.” Farrakhan uses “our community” to exclude the business owners of a different skin color than him.  That community belongs just as much to those Arabs, Chinese, Koreans, Indians, and “other people” as it does to the blacks.

Healthcare.gov price tag: $1.7 billion (yes, with a ‘b’)

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According to a new report, the web site Healthcare.gov has cost taxpayers a staggering $1.7 billion dollars. To put that into perspective, here is a list of a few other things that cost less than this web site.

Gateway Arch in St. Louis,  Estimated cost: $97.3 million (in 2014 dollars)

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Empire State Building in New York. Estimated Cost: $635 million (in 2014 dollars)

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Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE (tallest building in the world), Estimated Cost: $1.5 billion

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Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, Estimated Cost: $36 million (in 2014 dollars)

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Seattle Space Needle in Seattle Washington, Estimated Cost: $21 million (in 2014 dollars)

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AT&T Stadium (Cowboys Stadium) in Arlington, Texas, Estimated Cost: $1.3 billion

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Yes. There is racism in America.

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With the shooting death of Michael Brown, the subject of race has been a hot topic in America lately. We hear daily about “white privilege” and how racist white Americans are. But a few stories recently paint a slightly different picture of racism. Yes, racism exists, but not always in the way the left describes it.

From the DC:

The family of a white man who was assaulted on Aug. 21 believe that he was a victim of a hate crime, CBS Baltimore reports.

The unnamed 25-year-old victim was walking home from his lifeguarding job in the Otterbein neighborhood of Baltimore when he was allegedly attacked by three black teens.

According to The Baltimore Sun, the teens shouted “Hey white boy” and “What you got?” at the victim. A rock was thrown at the victim’s face, and according to police, one of the teens tried to stab him with a pocket knife. The victim dodged the knife.

The teen suspected of the attempted stabbing, identified as 19-year-old Sidney Joyner, was arrested and currently faces charges of armed robbery, robbery and two counts of assault.

But the victim’s father, who also is unidentified, thinks that Joyner should have been charged with a hate crime, citing the “Hey white boy” line.

“If roles were reversed, it definitely would be no question whether it was a hate crime or not,” the father told CBS Baltimore.

Read the Rest

The father is exactly right. Don’t get me wrong, the entire notion of “hate crimes” is ridiculous. But if this doesn’t fit the definition of one, I don’t know what does. 

We’ve written before about how ludicrous “hate crime” legislation is.

Let me state, for the record, that I believe the entire idea of so-called “hate crimes”, specifically, is ludicrous. A crime is a crime. End of story. A person’s motive for committing that crime is irrelevant and should have no bearing on the punishment given (with the obvious exception of having lesser punishments for things like crimes of passion, etc). By having unequal punishments, it is implied that certain victims’ lives are worth more than others. This is quite the opposite of justice.

Not only this, but it gives prosecutors the broad power to determine what constitutes a “hate crime” and what doesn’t. This leaves the door wide open for abuse by officials who might have a personal bias of their own. This is unacceptable.

But if we’re going to have it, we should at least apply it fairly and consistently. But actually, if progressives were honest, they would admit the entire point of hate crime legislation is so the government has the ability to punish certain groups differently than others.

There’s a similar story out of Mississippi.

Also, from the DC:

A rural Mississippi man suffered life-threatening injuries and required brain surgery after he entered a Waffle House despite receiving a warning not to enter the restaurant because of the color of his skin.

The severe beating occurred early Sunday morning around 2 a.m., reports The Clarion-Ledger. Up to 20 assailants participated.

The injured man is Ralph Weems IV, a veteran of the Iraq War and a Marine. He is white.

The altercation began at about 1 a.m. when Weems and a friend, David Knighten, chose to go inside the Waffle House. They made this decision after a man in the parking lot diplomatically suggested that they should leave because the patrons inside were angry about the Aug. 9 police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Thus, the unidentified man explained, the restaurant would not be a safe place for two white people.

Read the Rest

Can. You. Imagine.

Seriously. Think about what the media would do if a black man had been warned not to enter a restaurant, entered anyway, and was subsequently beaten nearly to death while racial epithets were hurled at him…in Mississippi of all places. Just think about it.

The left needs to stop pretending that racism is only a one way street. It’s not. It’s about time that we put a stop to the tyranny of low expectations and begin holding everyone to the same, objective standard.

VIDEO: Secret Service try to shut down journalist filming Michelle Obama walk on a public sidewalk

Do not the film the queen!  She does not care about your Constitution and your 1st Amendment.  Do not film the queen.  

Here’s the video:

The queen does not care that she’s on a public sidewalk on the busiest street in town.  Do not film the queen.  

Do not film the queen.

VIDEO: 5 glorious minutes of Harry Reids most idiotic moments

This fantastic montage of lunacy from Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid really makes me wonder if there’s something to the whole dementia rumor.  Half the time, I don’t think Harry Reid even knows what Harry Reid is talking about.

Here’s the video:

"I’ve been very satisfied with………me"

I bet you are, Harry Reid.  I bet you are.

We have a dynamic system where tax rates matter. Unfortunately, many companies lack the resources to do anything about the American corporate tax rate of nearly 40%. Burger King, however, does. Who can blame them for moving?

Federal judge strikes down Baton Rouge gun ordinance

Keep and bear. Say it with me: keep and bear. It’s not a difficult concept. Why do so many people have such a hard time understanding it.

A city-parish ordinance that prohibits residents from keeping firearms in their parked cars while they’re inside establishments that sell alcohol is unconstitutional and can no longer be enforced, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson found the ordinance runs afoul of the Second Amendment.

Ernest Taylor, of Baton Rouge, challenged the ordinance — 13:95.3 — in federal district court in September after he was pulled over in October 2012 while leaving Romeo’s Old School Lounge on Plank Road because he didn’t have his headlights on.

Taylor was arrested after three rifles were found in his car. He was booked on, among other things, possession of a firearm where alcohol is sold. The rifles were confiscated by Baton Rouge police.

Taylor, who had no prior felony convictions, alleged the ordinance conflicts with a 2008 Louisiana law that permits firearms in locked vehicles in “any parking lot, parking garage or other designated parking area.”

Jackson said the city ordinance clearly forbids the possession of firearms in any parking lot of an establishment that sells alcohol.

IRS destroyed Lois Lerner’s Blackberry AFTER it learned her hard drive crashed

Lois Lerner’s story keeps on unravelling.

from NYO:

The IRS filing in federal Judge Emmet Sullivan’s court reveals shocking new information. The IRS destroyed Lerner’s Blackberry AFTER it knew her computer had crashed and after a Congressional inquiry was well underway. As an IRS official declared under the penalty of perjury, the destroyed Blackberry would have contained the same emails (both sent and received) as Lois Lerner’s hard drive.

We all know by now that Lois Lerner’s hard drive crashed in June 2011 and was destroyed by IRS. The emails of up to twenty other related IRS officials were missing in remarkably similar “crashes,” leading many to speculate that Lois Lerner’s Blackberry perhaps held the key. Now, the Observer can confirm that a year after the infamous hard drive crash, the IRS destroyed Ms. Lerner’s Blackberry—and without making any effort to retain the emails from it.

Judge Sullivan has had to pry information from the IRS to learn anything about Ms. Lerner’s Blackberry. Now, with these latest revelations, I’m confident he’s not finished.

read the rest

If we had anything but a bunch of corrupt cronies in the Justice Department, Lois Lerner would already be behind bars.

The most honest analysis of Ferguson you will likely find anywhere

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There are so many angles to the mess in Ferguson, MO, it’s difficult to know where to begin.  Over at the Federalist, Robert Tracisnki has done the best job of analyzing the entire picture that I have seen anywhere.  I want to share some of it here, but please go read the whole thing for yourself.

First he starts by analyzing the role police have played in kindling the fire that exploded in Ferguson:

In the face of rising crime, and with a lack of connection to the people they’re policing, the cops see themselves as the “thin blue line” separating decent people from anarchy. The over-militarization of the police, which many people have complained about after seeing photos of suburban cops in full battle rattle, is just a symptom. The underlying problem is that the police feel like occupiers trying to suppress a native insurgency. 

[…]

Law and order is an enormous value, and if you provide it to people, they will appreciate it. But law and order in a free society has to be based on earning the trust of the public.

He tackles the race hustlers:

That’s why we cringe when we see the usual race-baiters like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton descend on Ferguson. They’re there to inflame the situation and take advantage of the resentment of the locals to boost their own reputations and political power. 

He examines the motivations for rioting:

You don’t keep rioting because you want justice, certainly not when you’ve already brought the case to everyone’s attention and gained the nation’s sympathy. No, you riot because you feel that all authority has been knocked down, that the whole system is rotten and that there is nothing to stop you from smashing everything and taking whatever you want. 

He points out that everything the rioters thought they knew has changed, and none of them paid any attention:

In fact, as I predicted, most of the facts everyone supposedly knew within the first 24 hours of the shooting of Michael Brown have been significantly revised. For example, it turns out that Brown was not an angelic aspiring college student, but a criminal. And not a sympathetic petty criminal but a thug caught on tape earlier that day committing a strong-arm robbery against a convenience store clerk. (Those who call this “shoplifting” are ignorant of legal definitions. This was strong-arm robbery in the most literal sense, as you can see from the surveillance footage of Brown grabbing a guy half his size and shoving him around.) This is relevant because it lends some plausibility to the idea that Brown might have later initiated a conflict with a police officer.

Of course, this doesn’t exonerate the cop:

No, none of this creates a presumption in favor of the officer, but it undermines the presumption in favor of Brown. There’s good reason to be skeptical of everyone, and we’re going to have to wait a good while longer before we can get a systematic and impartial accounting of all the relevant facts in court.

The world is watching, and the worst people in the world are applauding:

Every bad actor in the world—people who routinely jail reporters, beat protesters, shut down newspapers, behead people, and kill their own citizens by the trainload—every damn one of them starts to lecture us about how bad we are. To date, in ascending order of evil, we’ve heard an earful about Ferguson from the Russians and the military junta in Egypt, Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei, and the lovely gentlemen of ISIS.

The rioting doesn’t solve problems. It destroys communities that were already struggling:

How much luck do you think the Ferguson Chamber of Commerce is going to have for the next ten years? Ferguson was already under-banked, with more check-cashing outfits and sketchy payday lenders than regular bank branches. How many people are going to be eager to open up new shops along West Florissant Avenue, the epicenter of the riots?

How soon are they going to rebuild the QuikTrip? The most poignant part of that story is the conscientious young man who decided to come to work that day, despite the air of menace in the town, because he “he loves his job”—and barely escaped with his life when the store was looted and burned. Will he have any job to return to? In the first go-around, in the 60s and 70s, the answer was frequently, “no.”

That’s the real crime of the rioters. In an attempt to force the authorities to meet their demands, they’re engaging in the self-immolation of their own community. Then again, there are always those who would rather rule in hell than be just another law-abiding sucker in heaven.

Look, I wish I could just repost this whole article.  I’ve probably already quoted a little too much.  It really is fantastic analysis.  Please go read the whole thing.  It really will be worth your time. 

There are probably some things in there you won’t agree with.  I don’t agree with every single point.  But that’s the nature of what we’re dealing with in Ferguson: a ten-headed monster.  I have not found any other article that is willing to analyze the situation so transparently and honestly. 

As we have said from day 1: we must stay principled in our response to controversy.  It does no go to pick a side and cheer for your team.  We must hold all sides accountable.  We must challenge the wrongs on both sides.  

Huge kudos to Robert Tracisnki and the Federalist for publishing such terrific analysis of such a messy, messy issue. 

White House sent 3 officials to Michael Brown funeral, none to memorial for beheaded journalist

Just in case you were wondering about the White House’s priorities. 

The White House sent no representation to the memorial mass for journalist James Foley who was beheaded by the ISIS terrorist group but sent three officials to the funeral for Michael Brown, the young man from Ferguson MO who robbed a convenience store and was later killed in a confrontation with a police officer.

from CNS:

President Barack Obama sent no White House representative to the memorial Mass held yesterday in Rochester, New Hampshire, for James Foley, the American journalist beheaded by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) terrorists.

President Obama, however, did send three White House aides to Monday’s funeral for Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American fatally shot in an encounter with a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

The memorial mass for James Foley took place Sunday at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Foley’s hometown. Connie Hammond, an administrative assistant at Holy Rosary, told CNSNews.com that no White House officials were in attendance.

read the rest

What a disgrace.  

You may remember that President Obama also sent no White House representation to the funeral for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. 

Grouchy old man tries to get local government to shut down kid's lemonade stand

We should be applauding kids like this, not trying to get the government to shut them down.  What’s wrong with this old man?

The 12-year-old had tested various locations and hours of operation before settling on 3 to 7 p.m. at Patricia Avenue and San Salvador Drive. He got a neighbor’s permission to pitch a homemade yellow sign in the grass and sell his fare from Tupperware on a white card table.

"It’s all about profit," said T.J., who has paired his lemonade earnings with lawn-mowing cash for an iPod, snacks, his cellphone bill, trips with his grandfather and dinners with his mother.

But the boy’s entrepreneurial spirit has rankled at least one neighbor, who has emailed City Hall at least four times in two years and asked law enforcement to shut T.J. down.

Doug Wilkey contends that the Palm Harbor Middle School student’s year-round operation is an “illegal business” that causes excessive traffic, noise, trash, illegal parking and other problems that reduce his property values.

"Please help me regain my quiet home and neighborhood," Wilkey, 61, wrote.

"We’re not in the business of trying to regulate kids like that; nor do we want to do any code enforcement like that," said Dunedin planning and development director Greg Rice. "We are not out there trying to put lemonade stands out of business."

"It’s all about profit"!  I love it!

What a good cop looks like: Officer pushes stranded wheelchair-bound man home in the rain

We spend a lot of time talking about police brutality and abuse of power around here because that’s an important topic.  Police officers have in large part lost the respect of the public because they have resorted to using force and fear instead of earning the respect.  

We wanted to highlight examples of police officers earning their respect. Over the coming months, we’ll be featuring stories like this one with a common theme: what a good cop looks like

from WBBH:

A Fort Myers, Florida police officer went above and beyond the call of duty to help a wheelchair bound man stranded in a pounding rain storm, and it was all caught on a dashboard camera.

Officer Gil Benitez works the night beat. On Thursday night around 8:30 p.m. he received an unusual call of a man in a wheelchair stuck in the rain.

"It was raining so hard, I couldn’t even see the stop sign" said Benitez.

He found Michael Arnold sitting in his electric wheel chair on the side of the road.

"The wind picked up like crazy" said Arnold. "I got to the end of the street and everything just stopped on me."

Arnold was just a block away from his home.

Within seconds of Benitez arriving to help Arnold, lightning struck near the two.

Even after that close call, Benitez pushed Arnold all the way home. He dried him off and stayed with him until Arnold’s family arrived.

read the rest

Police officers are supposed to be ordinary citizens who the public hire to serve and protect their community.  They are not above the law.  They are not beneath it.  They are co-equals with their fellow citizens under the law. 

This officer is to be commended for going above and beyond what is expected of him in order to serve and protect a member of his community.  Actions like these earn the respect of his community. 

DOJ official admits what we all know: Lois Lerner’s emails exist–they just refuse to retrieve them

Emails don’t just disappear in a puff of smoke when a hard drive crashes.  That’s not how the internet works.  It’s how the Obama administration wants you to the think the internet works, but that’s not how the internet actually works. 

Now, the Justice Department is admitting just that.

from National Review:

A Justice Department official admitted that former IRS official Lois Lerner’s apparently missing e-mails actually exist on a backup server, but the government doesn’t plan to retrieve them.

“A Department of Justice attorney told a Judicial Watch attorney on Friday that it turns out the federal government backs up all computer records in case something terrible happens in Washington and there’s a catastrophe, so the government can continue operating,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton told Fox News’s Shannon Bream.

“But it would be too hard to go get Lois Lerner’s e-mails from that backup system,” Fitton continued, paraphrasing the DOJ official. “So, everything we’ve been hearing about scratched hard drives, about missing e-mails of Lois Lerner, other IRS officials, other officials in the Obama administration, it’s all been a pack of malarkey. They could get these records, but they don’t want to.”

read the rest

Americans can be thankful to Judicial Watch for the tireless efforts they have made towards holding the government accountable.  At some point, we will get to the bottom of the IRS targeting of Conservative groups, and we will hold those responsible accountable.