According to Iraqi officials, ISIS is responsible for the deaths of 90 residents of a small village in northern Iraq.
From Fox News:
Islamic militants killed 90 members of Iraq’s Yazidi minority in a northern village, sources told Fox News on Friday.
The Kurdish-speaking ethnic and religious group, which numbers in the hundreds of thousands in Iraq, has been persecuted in the north by Islamic State militants, with at least 500 killed prior to Friday’s news, according to Iraq’s human rights minister.
Shortly after receiving reports of civilians being attacked, U.S. forces conducted airstrikes on Islamic State vehicles near Sinjar, according to a statement released by Central Command Friday.
The latest killings came just a day after President Obama said U.S. air strikes and humanitarian aid drops on Sinjar mountain, where thousands of Yazidi have been stranded in an Islamic State siege had been ended.
"[Militants] arrived in vehicles and they started their killing this afternoon,” senior Kurdish official Hoshiyar Zebari told Reuters. "We believe it’s because of their creed: convert or be killed."
The situation in the middle east is dire. We must continue to pray for peace to come to the region.
I’m posting this story because I want to keep making the call for people to remain principled as they respond to the riots and police actions in Ferguson MO. This is valuable information, and it simply cannot be ignored.
Michael Brown, the African-American teen who was shot by Ferguson, Mo., police Saturday, was the primary suspect for an alleged robbery at the time of the shooting, according to reporters on the ground piecing through a police report released Friday.
Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson said officer Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran, was the officer who shot Brown. He gave a timeline of the shooting, which included a response to a 911 call from a convenience store shortly before the shooting around 12 p.m. Saturday.
The police also released an incident report about the robbery, which said that Brown was the “primary suspect,” according to reporters at the scene who had access to the physical copies. Brown had stolen cigars from the convenience store, the report stated, and had pushed an employee who asked him to pay for them.
Jackson said a description of the suspect had been circulated prior to the shooting.
Okay, let’s break this down.
Michael Brown does not appear to be completely innocent. He probably deserved to get arrested.
However, the account of the attempted arrest is sketchy at best:
Brown and Dorian Johnson, 22, were walking in the middle of the street, en route to either Brown’s grandmother’s house (according to Brown’s mother and grandmother) or to Johnson’s house (according to Johnson), when a Ferguson police officer confronted them.
The officer told the young men either “Get the f*** on the sidewalk” or “Get the f*** out of the street,” according to Johnson’s accounts to CNN and other news outlets. Police have not commented on what preceded the shooting.
The young men replied that they were “not but a minute away from our destination, and we would shortly be out of the street,” Johnson told CNN.
The officer drove away but stopped and backed up, almost hitting the pair, Johnson said. He said he wasn’t sure what prompted the officer to return. Johnson told MSNBC the officer said something to the effect of “What’d you say?”
"We were so close, almost inches away, that when he tried to open his door aggressively, the door ricocheted both off me and Big Mike’s body and closed back on the officer," Johnson said.
Was there a struggle?
Yes. Everyone agrees on this point, and it’s one of the few aspects of the shooting that police have attempted to detail, though the official explanation has spurred many questions they have yet to answer.
The preliminary investigation showed that the officer tried to exit his vehicle, but Brown pushed him back into the car, “where he physically assaulted the police officer” and struggled over the officer’s weapon, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said.
A shot was fired inside the police car, Belmar said. After the incident, the officer was taken to an area hospital, where he was treated for a “swollen face,” according to Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson.
The story doesn’t jibe with at least three witness accounts.
Johnson claims the officer grabbed Brown by his neck, and Brown tried to pull away, but the officer kept pulling Brown toward him, he said.
The officer drew his weapon, and “he said, ‘I’ll shoot you’ or ‘I’m going to shoot’ ” and almost instantaneously fired his weapon, hitting Brown, Johnson said.
Witness Tiffany Mitchell was picking up Piaget Crenshaw for work when she saw Brown and the officer “tussling through the window.” Mitchell and Crenshaw concurred with Johnson, saying Brown appeared to be trying to pry himself from the officer’s grasp. Brown had his hand on the police cruiser, trying to push himself away, Mitchell said.
So, everyone agrees that Michael Brown was unarmed at the time of his attempted arrest. The police say that he reached for the officer’s gun. Multiple witnesses say otherwise.
At least one shot was fired in the car, but that’s wasn’t the shot that killed Michael Brown. Brown was shot, again unarmed, twenty feet away from the police officer:
This matches Crenshaw’s and Mitchell’s story. Crenshaw told CNN that Brown got about 20 feet away from the police cruiser before the officer shot him again.
"The cop gets out of his vehicle shooting," Mitchell said. "(Brown’s) body jerked as if he was hit from behind, and he turned around, and he put his hands up. … The cop continued to fire until he just dropped down to the ground, and his face just smacked the concrete."
How many shots were fired?
This is murky, but all parties agree Brown was shot multiple times.
Mitchell said it was “more than about five or six” times, while Johnson said it was more than three.
Brown’s mother said she was told he was shot eight times. Some witnesses said they heard as many as 10 shots.
So, he was shot 6-10 times, unarmed, away from the police officer according to multiple witnesses.
The burden of proof here is on the police officer to justify his shooting of an unarmed man. However, for some reason, the police in Ferguson don’t have dashboard cameras in their cars. So, there’s no accountability and no way to prove the police’s story.
From the beginning, there has been obvious wrongdoing on both sides of the situation in Ferguson. Were police right to arrest Michael Brown? Yes (even if Brown was innocent, he matched the description of the robbery suspect and the police had the right to arrest him and bring him in for questioning). Were they right to shoot him if there was a scuffle over an officer’s gun? Yes. Were they right to shoot him 6-10 times as he ran away from the officer? Absolutely not.
Again, nobody (including the Ferguson police) has disputed that Michael brown was unarmed at the time he was shot and killed. The burden of proof is on the police to justify the killing, and the details certainly don’t stack up in their favor.
Yesterday, a Federal Judge took a pretty incredible step in the investigation into the IRS’s numerous violations of the Federal Records Act.
from Judicial Watch:
In an extraordinary step, U. S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan has launched an independent inquiry into the issue of the missing emails associated with former IRS official Lois Lerner.
Previously, Judge Sullivan ordered the IRS to produce sworn declarations about the IRS email issue by August 11. Today’s order confirms Judicial Watch’s read of this week’s IRS’ filings that treated as a joke Judge Sullivan’s order.
Judge Sullivan, in his earlier ruling, appointed Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola to manage and assist in discussions between Judicial Watch and the IRS about how to obtain any missing records from other sources. Magistrate Facciola is an expert in e-discovery, and authorized Judicial Watch to submit a request for limited discovery into the missing IRS records after September 10.
This is from the actual Judge’s order, which you can read here (PDF):
In light of the Declarations filed by the IRS, the IRS is
hereby ORDERED to file a sworn Declaration, by an official with the authority to speak under oath for the Agency, by no later than August 22, 2014. In this Declaration, the IRS must: provide information about its efforts, if any, to recover missing Lois Lerner emails from alternate sources (i.e., Blackberry, iPhone, iPad); provide additional information explaining the IRS’s policy of tracking inventory through use of bar code property tags, including whether component parts, such as hard drives, receive a bar code tag when serviced.
One way or the other, if IRS officials refuse to comply with this order or their answers are insufficient to satisfy the Judge’s request, they run the risk of finding themselves in contempt of court, which could easily result in jail time.
Obama took time out of his golf marathon in Martha’s Vineyard to briefly address the riots in Ferguson, Mo.
What did we learn? That Obama is in a hurry to get back to the golf course:
And 7 minutes later…
Well, since we’re already on the topic, here’s one more outrageous case of police in Ferguson, MO, violating the 1st Amendment and turning their force against reporters.
Here’s the video:
One of the photojournalists walked to the intersection of Highmont and West Florissant where he documented what appeared to be an altercation between police and an individual they were detaining along West Florissant. About 15 seconds into his video recording, bright lights can be seen shining at his position. Approximately 30 seconds later, as he continues to record video the sound of an air rifle firing can be heard followed by a “thud.”
According to the 23-year veteran of television news, a “bean bag round” hit his camera equipment, and he retreated back to his original position on Highmont.
Both photojournalists and Matthews say police never told them to leave the area prior to this incident.
Approximately five to 10 minutes later, video recorded by the other photojournalist shows police at the intersection of Highmont and West Florissant fire what appears to be tear gas at the Al Jazeera America crew station nearby. The crew of three people is set up with television lights and a camera in front of their mini-van. The video shows the apparent tear gas billowing smoke directly in front of them. The KSDK crew says the canister hit the Al Jazeera America van.
The KSDK crew says the Al Jazeera America crew was yelling, “We’re the press.” The Al Jazeera America crew can be seen running away from the van on video. Then two police officers can be seen taking down the crew’s television lights and tilting the TV camera toward the ground.
From there, the KSDK crew says police approached them with “guns drawn.” Matthews says she and one photojournalist were in the SUV with their hands up and the third member of their crew got down on his knees in front of the SUV and raised his hand – telling police he was with the press.
Matthews says police told them they received a call that members of the media were in danger and in need of assistance. All three members of the KSDK crew say they were never in danger and never asked for assistance.
Simply stunning and completely outrageous.
Speaking of cops who hate accountability and the 1st Amendment, the situation in Ferguson, MO is growing more and more frustrating to watch. Last night, police actually arrested two reporters because they weren’t “packing their bags quickly enough” as the McDonalds where they were working from was being evacuated.
Here’s the video:
An officer with a large weapon came up to me and said, “Stop recording.”
I said, “Officer, do I not have the right to record you?”
He backed off but told me to hurry up. So I gathered my notebook and pens with one hand while recording him with the other hand.
As I exited, I saw Ryan to my left, having a similar argument with two officers. I recorded him, too, and that angered the officer. As I made my way toward the door, the officers gave me conflicting information.
One instructed me to exit to my left. As I turned left, another officer emerged, blocking my path.
“Go another way,” he said.
As I turned, my backpack, which was slung over one shoulder, began to slip. I said, “Officers, let me just gather my bag.” As I did, one of them said, “Okay, let’s take him.”
Multiple officers grabbed me. I tried to turn my back to them to assist them in arresting me. I dropped the things from my hands.
“My hands are behind my back,” I said. “I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.” At which point one officer said: “You’re resisting. Stop resisting.”
That was when I was most afraid — more afraid than of the tear gas and rubber bullets.
As they took me into custody, the officers slammed me into a soda machine, at one point setting off the Coke dispenser. They put plastic cuffs on me, then they led me out the door.
I could see Ryan still talking to an officer. I said: “Ryan, tweet that they’re arresting me, tweet that they’re arresting me.”
He didn’t have an opportunity, because he was arrested as well.
The officers led us outside to a police van. Inside, there was a large man sitting on the floor between the two benches. He began screaming: “I can’t breathe! Call a paramedic! Call a paramedic!”
Ryan and I asked the officers if they intended to help the man. They said he was fine. The screaming went on for the 10 to 15 minutes we stood outside the van.
“I’m going to die!” he screamed. “I’m going to die! I can’t breathe! I’m going to die!”
Eventually a police car arrived. A woman — with a collar identifying her as a member of the clergy — sat in the back. Ryan and I crammed in next to her, and we took the three-minute ride to the Ferguson Police Department. The woman sang hymns throughout the ride.
During this time, we asked the officers for badge numbers. We asked to speak to a supervising officer. We asked why we were being detained. We were told: trespassing in a McDonald’s.
“I hope you’re happy with yourself,” one officer told me. And I responded: “This story’s going to get out there. It’s going to be on the front page of The Washington Post tomorrow.”
And he said, “Yeah, well, you’re going to be in my jail cell tonight.”
If the police in Furguson are looking for any sympathy in what is obviously an out-of-control situation, they’re not doing themselves any favors. They’ve gone from excessive use of force to violating the 1st Amendment in a span of a few short days.
You see, liberty goes both ways. Cops do not have special Constitutional rights that allow them to take the life or liberty away from others. By the same token, when cops use excessive force or even act criminally, those actions give no one the right to go out and destroy innocent people’s private property in a riot.
There is extreme examples of wrongdoing on both sides in Ferguson. One simply cannot pick a side and cheerlead from that sideline. We must remain principled and call out the violence and wrongdoing on both sides.
We will discuss this a lot more in the coming days, but for now, stay principled fellow libertarians and conservatives.
It’s almost as if many police officers really wish the 1st Amendment didn’t exist.
from AP (emphasis mine):
Police in Washington state are asking the public to stop tweeting during shootings and manhunts to avoid accidentally telling the bad guys what officers are doing.
The “TweetSmart” campaign began in late July by a coalition of nine agencies, including the Washington state patrol and the Seattle police, and aims to raise awareness about social media’s potential impact on law enforcement.
Some have called the effort a step that could lead to censorship; others dismissed it as silly. Police, however, say it’s just a reminder at a time when cell phones and social networks can hasten the lightning-quick spread of information.
A social media expert at the International Association of Chiefs of Police said she’s unaware of similar awareness campaigns elsewhere but the problem that prompted the outreach is growing.
"All members of the public may not understand the implications of tweeting out a picture of SWAT team activity," said Nancy Korb, who oversees the Alexandria, Virginia, organization’s Center for Social Media.
"It’s a real safety issue, not only for officers but anyone in the vicinity," Korb said.
Korb said she is not aware of any social media post that has led to the injury of a police officer, but she said there have been a few close calls. Other times, tweets have interfered with investigations.
So, tweeting has never actually been linked to an officer injury, but surrender your 1st Amendment rights, you know, just in case…
Mark my words, there will be an attempt to pass a censorship law sometime in the near future all in the name of “officer safety.” What this really boils down to is that the more military-like police get in their tactics, the less oversight they want to put up with. However, as cops increase their use of force and become more and more militarized, accountability is more and more necessary.
Tweet away, liberty lovers. Tweet away.
In case you haven’t heard, the United States is in debt. A lot of debt. Nearly $18 trillion in debt (that’s an eighteen followed by twelve zeros). But that doesn’t seem to matter to Washington, who continues to spend our money at an unprecedented rate.
From CNS News:
Combined federal, state and local government spending per household exceeded the median household income in 2009, 2010 and 2011, the three most-recent years for which full data is available, according to calculations made using numbers from the White House Office of Management and Budget and an historical online database of state and local finances recently established by the Census Bureau
In 2011, in current year dollars, total government spending in the United States was $6,115,429,668,000. That included $2,516,666,590,000 in net state and local government spending and $3,598,763,078,000 in net federal government spending.
That year there were 121,084,000 households in the United States, according to the Census Bureau, which means that the $6,115,429,668,000 that government spent equaled 50,505.68 per household.
Median household income in 2011 was $50,054 in current-year dollars, according to the Census Bureau. So, government spending per household exceeded median household income by more than $450.
Let that sink in. The Federal government spends about $50,000 per household per year. This is more than the half of US families make in a year. This is unsustainable. Obviously.
Sometimes I look at the incomprehensible debt that we have as a nation, and it becomes clear that all of our bickering about politics might soon be obsolete. That’s why, on some level, I have become numb to these stories. This is underscored when I think about the options we have of getting out of it.
- We could “soak the rich”, but apart from the moral problems of this approach, it would wreak havoc on our economy as the wealthy would stop spending, investing and hiring. And it still wouldn’t solve the problem.
- We could monetize our debt (i.e. print money), which would lead to hyper-inflation. But not only is inflation nothing more than a tax in a different form, it would probably be the death knell of our economy.
- We could continue to borrow, saddling our children with even more debt. But not only is that taxation without representation, eventually we will not be able to make the minimum payments on our credit card, preventing us from borrowing anymore. And the federal provisions to which people have become accustomed will be taken away all at once. This would lead to civil unrest we haven’t seen since the 1860s.
The only potential way out is if we, as a nation, act like grown-ups and demand that Washington slow spending drastically. We could stop pretending that it’s the job of the Federal government to provide and regulate virtually everything.
But honestly, I’m not convinced that even that would work. As I’ve mentioned before, if we stopped spending right now, and we began paying off our debt at $10 million per day, it would take us 5,000 years to pay it back. But if there is a chance to save ourselves from our debt, this is the most reasonable course of action. Simply spend no more than you receive.
Remember how hard unions were pushing for Obamacare?
They went so far as to pass out white coats at a White House pro-Obamacare union rally.
Seriously, they were all in:
Well, as irony would have it, Obamacare is doing what we all knew it would do: Kill jobs (that’s what all massive tax increases do). And among the victims are now union members:
From the Mental Recession:
The Affordable Care Act is being cited as Eastern Niagara Hospital cut jobs and services in their New York facility.
Early last month, ENH announced that they would have to cut over 10% of their full time staff, as well as being forced to consolidate their inpatient care and surgical services. Full-time staff will be cut from 560 to 500.
Chairman George V.C. Muscato, released a statement laying the blame on Obamacare:
“The Hospital reached this decision due to the statewide trend of declining inpatient hospitalizations, declines in reimbursement, and most recently, the impacts of the Affordable Care Act.”
Obamacare is a complete disaster and needs to be repealed. Unfortunately, there are very few in Washington who are committed to doing that on either side of the aisle.
In case you didn’t know, the Hyde Amendment is a rider that is routinely attached to bills to prevent federal tax dollars from funding abortion.
From CNS News:
At least five House Democrats are participating in a nationwide “Be Bold Road Trip” this month in an effort to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prevents the federal government from directly subsidizing abortions.
Starting August 9 in Los Angeles, the bus tour will run until mid-September and end in Washington, D.C. The 10,000-mile itinerary covers eight states and 12 cities.
As part of the bus tour, Representatives Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), and Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) will speak against the Hyde Amendment in their home states…
The bus tour is being sponsored by All* Above All, a reproductive rights collective, which claims that the Hyde Amendment discriminates against low-income and minority women because it prevents Medicare and state health insurance exchanges from openly funding abortions.
Granted, liberty (the lack of government coercion of any kind against a peaceful person) should always be the goal, but until we get there, it is completely reasonable not to force people to fund things they find utterly reprehensible. Any principled, unbiased, rational person would agree with this, so it should come as no surprise that there are politicians who don’t.
The left is comically predictable, and Jimmy Carter is chief among them. Carter, who calls global warming skeptics “nutcases,” says there’s only one solution for the supposedly inevitable calamity we face: raising your taxes!
President Jimmy Carter called a tax on carbon emissions “the only reasonable approach” to combating climate change during an appearance here Tuesday, but lamented that even piecemeal actions are unlikely to get through a divided Congress.
Carter, 89, who received a lifetime achievement award on the final day of the American Renewable Energy Day summit, spoke during a luncheon attended by a number of conservationists as well as Ted Turner, T. Boone Pickens and Tom Steyer, the California billionaire pledging to devote his personal finances to political candidates willing to take action on climate change.
The 39th president, who created the Dept. of Energy and advocated for conservation before scientists began to understand the impact of human activity on climate, told AREI’s Sally Ranney that he didn’t have to deal with the same level of partisan gridlock in Congress as President Obama currently does.
Taxes: it’s a dead giveaway that liberal “science” isn’t really about science at all. There’s nothing, and I mean nothing, scientific about raising taxes on people. But “global climate change” has never really be about science…it’s about control.
VIDEO: Obama can’t decide if he’s the one who pulled troops out of Iraq or not.