Krauthammer on Michelle Obama’s DNC Speech: ‘I Didn’t Buy a Line of It’
Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:40 am by Erica Ritz
Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer was not convinced by first lady Michelle Obama’s widely-praised speech at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night, saying he “didn’t buy a line of it.”
The speech began with an account of the couple’s early life, progressing to the modern day. Michelle fondly recalled the rusted car her husband first picked her up in, and how they owed more in student loans than they did for their mortgage. She discussed their parents and grandparents, and the hardships they faced so their children could have better lives.
“I know from experience that if I truly want to leave a better world for my daughters, and all of our sons and daughters, and if we want to give all our children a foundation for their dreams and opportunities worthy of their promise…if we want to give them that sense of limitless possibility – that belief that here in America, there is always something better out there if you’re willing to work for it…then we must work like never before,” she told a roaring crowd.
Here is Krauthammer’s analysis, via the Daily Caller:
Krauthammer commented: “She told the story of a Gandhi, and you know…looking at how he’s conducted himself in the present scene, particularly in the campaign, with ruthlessness, and determination and drive, it’s not quite a plausible story. I’m sure in the arena it was a plausible story, I saw the tears, but I’m afraid I didn’t … I’m sure it was a great speech but I didn’t buy a line of it.”
That is not to say it wasn’t an effective speech. Krauthammer added:
“Nonetheless I would say within that, and despite the repetition that have, Michelle Obama’s speech I thought was a brilliant speech, and brilliantly delivered… All of the other speakers would talk about what Obama does — the achievement and legislation and whatever, and the political implications. Her whole task was to say why, her answer was, ‘Why? Because essentially he’s a saint. Because of his upbringing and because of his emotions and because of his humanity he does this because he cares and the brilliance of it is this.’ It drained Obama of any ideological motivation or any having to do with self-interest or ambition, which I think is sort of more plausible explanation.”
But what of the rest of the speeches? Did Democrats, for instance, do a good job of refuting the commonly-held idea that they believe the government is the center of society?
“They spoke endlessly of spending on this, spending on that….government doing x, government doing y, as a way to achieve what they think needs to be achieved…I think if anything it reinforced the notion that they are completely government-centered in their understanding of society.”
- Michelle Obama Talks Up Husband at DNC: ‘Being President Doesn’t Change Who You Are – It Reveals Who You Are’
- ‘He Is Mocking People’: Krauthammer Takes on the ‘You Didn’t Build That’ Philosophy’
- Krauthammer Reacts to Paul Ryan’s RNC Speech: ‘Like Stiletto Attacks, Each One a Short Jab That Left a Mark’
Allen West Calls Out Dem ‘Trackers’: ‘I Serve a Mighty God’ & ‘I Am Not Afraid’
Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:29 am by Billy Hallowell
Rep. Allen West (R-FL) is known for his brutal honesty and pointed public proclamations. While delivering a Labor Day speech to the Palm Beach County Tea Party earlier this week, these attributes were in full force. West called out so-called “trackers,” those individuals employed by Democrats to attend his speeches and to publicize his blunders. Then, he told the audience that he “serves a mighty God” and, as a result, he doesn’t fear liberals’ ploys to smear him.
During the speech, West, who was sporting a baseball cap, called upon a woman in the audience. BIZ Pac Review claims she was one of the trackers who regularly attends his appearances throughout the district. In the past, West has made it a point to call out these trackers, but in this case, he did so with fervency and fanfare.
In front of an audience of about 200 people, West asked the tracker to come to the front of the crowd. She complied and he proceeded to deliver some harsh blows to his Democratic opponents.
“Come sit right here, because I want you to make sure that you get everything I say, so that when you post it on ThinkProgress, they can make sure that I stay the number one target in this country for liberal progressives,” he told the woman after she positioned herself in the front of the venue, camera in hand.
Then, he touted God’s protection and said that, as a result of his faith, he is not afraid.
“What they need to understand is that I serve a mighty God,” he proclaimed. “My God does not walk in the realm of fear. My God walks in the realm of strength and courage. That’s why I am not afraid of them.”
West then went on to praise the tea party. Watch the powerful clip, below:
And here’s the Labor Day speech in its entirety:
(H/T: BIZPAC Review)
Nervous? Obama Camp Distances Itself From Video Played at DNC That Says We ‘Belong’ to Gov’t
Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:13 am by Jonathon M. Seidl
Yesterday, a video played at the Democratic National Convention sent the Internet ablaze after it featured a voice saying glowingly that we “belong” to government. And now, the Obama campaign and the DNC are scrambling to distance themselves.
“We do believe you can use government in a good way. Government is the only thing we all belong to,” the narrator says, with the words “Democratic National Convention” appearing in the bottom left. “We’re different churches, different clubs, but we’re together as a part of our city, or our county, or our state — and our nation,” the narrator adds. But despite the video playing on the convention floor, the two major players at the convention quickly passed blame.
“The video in question was produced and paid for by the host committee of the city of Charlotte. It’s neither an OFA nor a DNC video, despite what the Romney campaign is claiming,” the Obama campaign told Buzzfeed. “It’s time for them to find a new target for their faux outrage.”
Dan Murrey, executive director of the host committee, fell on his sword:
The “Welcome to Charlotte” video was solely produced and paid for by the Host Committee’s New American City Fund, which promotes the city of Charlotte and welcomes our guests. The intent of this video was to tell the story of this region and it is completely unaffiliated with the Obama campaign or the Democratic National Committee.
The reference by the campaign to Romney has to do with a tweet sent out from his official Twitter account mocking the phrase:
But even though the campaign and the DNC want to distance themselves, the idea of the preeminence of government is alive and well at the convention, meaning the video fits right in with the message and the disavowing is curious. For example, Fox’s Chris Wallace observed after Michelle Obama’s Tuesday night speech:
“I’ve got to say, listening closely to the speech one of the things that struck me was it was all about government,” Wallace said Tuesday night during Fox News’ coverage of the DNC. “When she talked at the beginning about the people who exemplify the best of the American spirit, she talked about teachers and first responders and the military, all very admirable professions, but all government.”
He continued: “When she talked about ways to build the middle class, it was all about the auto bailout and student loans and health care reform, once again, all government programs…That was a subtle subtext to the entire speech.”
Now the question is: “faux outrage” or legitimate concern?
This story has been updated.
Who Could Be Fired If Obama Changes His Cabinet in Second Term?
Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:00 am by Mytheos Holt
In 2008, Barack Obama ran on the promise of change.
Proving he has delivered it – and in the right way – will be one of the key challenges he faces at this year’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In this respect, the president may have a tough sell. Many conservative observers view President Obama as a radical trying to shift the dominant philosophy of government in the United States dramatically to the left.
On the other side, hard-line liberals of the type that empathize with the “Occupy” movement see Obama as a boring, technocratic disappointment, who has preserved some of the worst policies of the Bush administration, and sold out to corporate interests on the rest of his agenda.
Voters in the center, meanwhile, may not accept either of these skewed narratives entirely, but polls suggest that they are still disappointed with President Obama’s variety of change, since it has thus far failed to induce a faster economic recovery.
Nevertheless, Obama remains stubbornly ahead in the polls, and the preponderance of current mathematical and statistical models suggest that he remains the favorite. And as in 2008, Obama is still running, perhaps too derivatively for comfort, on change.
Which raises the question: If Obama wins, what would he actually change from his first four years?
One immediate place he might start could be his cabinet. Unusually for a sitting president, many of Obama’s cabinet members have transcended their role as deputies to the president himself and become national symbols of administrative malfeasance all on their own, whether it be Eric Holder’s troubling association with Operation Fast and Furious, or Janet Napolitano’s allegedly abusive, frat house-esque management techniques, or Steven Chu’s questionably ethical advice to private actors, or Lisa Jackson’s seeming inability to keep her EPA deputies from blurting out inconvenient statements. Even with a high degree of competence, this many questionable stories is a problem for a Presidency, and suggests that the people involved should be replaced with more dull, even-handed replacements who are harder to target.
We have already begun the process of looking at who Mitt Romney would put in place as part of his cabinet if he was put in power. This much shorter list will be something of the reversal of that – which cabinet members should Obama fire if he’s given a second term, and why? As with our Romney cabinet list, we will divide these picks into different categories, though the categories will be different. The first set will be designated as “campaign liabilities” – the people whose unpopularity is so pervasive that it could drag the president down at the polls, while the less well-known but no less problematic ones will be listed as “governance liabilities,” in other words they are people with low profiles who have alienated people Obama will need if he wants to govern successfully. Within these categories, we will further categorize individual people as the one who could be fired, the one who won’t be fired, and the one who will leave.
The one who could be fired: Eric Holder, Attorney General
Holder has committed arguably the cardinal sin of a cabinet appointee – namely, dragging the president into a scandal that should have been limited to him. President Obama’s invocation of executive privilege to shield Holder over Operation Fast and Furious has exposed the president to messy vulnerabilities regarding the scandal, but if Holder goes, the bleeding could be slowed. However, Holder maintains a visceral connection with the president’s African-American supporters, and firing him could be seen as caving to racism, especially given all the cover figures like Al Sharpton have given him. He could hang on as a nod to them.
The one who won’t be fired: Lisa Jackson, EPA administrator
Jackson’s EPA is arguably responsible for the erosion of the president’s polls among rust belt voters in energy-rich states. With her deputies calling for the “crucifixion” of businesses that don’t comply, and saying the EPA’s preferred environmental path is “painful every step of the way,” not to mention Jackson’s own stubborn refusal to admit that her department is at all to blame for job losses, she would seem to be a politically smart person to remove. However, given this administration’s track record on environmental issues, as well as President Obama’s own stubbornness on energy production via the Keystone Pipeline, it’s unlikely that Jackson will be dropped. Her brand of intransigence, unlike Holder’s, is not related to a universally reviled scandal, but instead to an environmental ideology which, while pretty widely reviled in some swing states, is held in esteem by the White House.
The one who will leave: Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State
At first blush, Hillary Clinton doesn’t look like a campaign killer for Obama. Indeed, she’s one of the more popular members of his administration. However, because Clinton has such a tendency to overshadow the current administration (to say nothing of her husband), it’s not hard to see why the Obama team will shed few tears after seeing the back of her. With Clinton having already decided to leave, this will give Obama a chance to nominate a replacement that he can define, rather than the reverse. Whether that’s a good thing will depend on your point of view.
The one who could be fired: Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security
Like Holder, Napolitano has critics on both sides of the ideological spectrum. Civil libertarians loathe her “Big Sis” image and defense of the TSA, while conservatives view her as a humorless ideological enforcer with contempt for the country’s immigration laws. Her own staff has attacked her management style as resembling an anti-meritocratic frat house. In short, Napolitano can’t keep anyone happy, and it’s very difficult to see why an Obama administration would preserve her position.
The one who won’t be fired: Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury
If Geithner leaves the White House, it will be on his terms. The Obamas fought to keep him after Geithner indicated in 2011 that he was thinking of going back to New York, indicating that the president has come to rely on the man who many see as the face of the slow economic recovery. That’s a powerful argument for keeping him, even if Geithner is currently mired in a corruption scandal. The Obama administration could also be skittish about replacing their main economic adviser, especially given that, if they win, the election will be seen, at least in part, as a vindication of Obama’s economic approach. As such, the president may decide that, to quote Margaret Thatcher, “this is no time to go wobbly.” Keeping Geithner is many things, but it isn’t wobbly.
The one who will leave: Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy
With many of Chu’s senior staff having left last year, it’s not difficult to imagine the soft-spoken Nobel Prize winner deciding that ending his tour of duty is a good plan. Chu has never appeared to harbor political ambitions, and his departure could clear the Obama administration of some of its reputation for corrupt relationships with the alternative energy world. Moreover, serving more than one term in a post like this is uncommon, unless there are serious political reasons. Chu doesn’t appear to have such reasons. Finally, Chu’s comments about painting roofs a particular color and getting gas prices up to the level of Europe probably wouldn’t be missed around the White House communications office.
‘I’m Not a Pothead’: PA Man Arrested & Charged After Growing Marijuana on Church Property
Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:48 am by Billy Hallowell
A Pennsylvania man has admitted to growing marijuana — an action that landed him in legal hot-water. To add intrigue to the story, Jason Como, 28, of Mercer County, apparently cultivated his two pot plants on church property. He was arrested and charged after officials at Beloved Disciples Church reported their suspicions that the drug was being grown on their land.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more about the events that unfolded.Authorities found a small path that led from the plants to the back yard of a nearby home. Police said they contacted Mr. Como and that he confessed to growing the plants.
Mr. Como was charged with manufacturing and cultivating a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
In an interview with WPXI-TV, Como explained how the situation unfolded, claiming that he thought the land was his own and that he never intended to involve the church.
“I put it right out here because this is my land,” he said. “I had some seeds and I threw them out in the back yard. I didn’t know they were going to grow so big.”
The accused then went on to admit that, while he spokes pot, he contends that he’s “not a pothead.” While Como is aware that growing the plants was illegal, he defended himself by proclaiming, “I wasn’t selling it.”
And, Como has a message for those who might interpret his pot-growing on church property as a slight against the house of worship. He’s a born-again Christian and was recently baptized in January. Thus, he contends, there was no ill will.
Politico Reporter’s Startling Admission: Media Is ‘Quite Smitten With the Obamas’ So Don’t ‘Over Interpret’ Praise for Michelle’s Speech
Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:35 am by Jonathon M. Seidl
Every once in awhile someone in the media levies a charge that the conservative media has been championing for some time. And last night it happened with Politico reporter Jim VandeHei.
Following Michelle Obama’s convention speech, the media gave rousing approval. And VandeHei and the team at Politico noticed, publishing a piece about the media fawning over the remarks. In fact, VandeHei pointed out the media is “quite stricken” with the Obamas and said because of that no one should put too much stock in the reaction to her speech:
“We just posted an item about the media’s reaction. Not a shocker here, Wolf Blitzer saying it was a grand slam; Chuck Todd saying that Michelle Obama owned this convention in a way no speaker owned the convention in Tampa, and David Gergen on CNN said if they have two more nights like this they could probably break this race open. The mainstream media tends to be quite smitten with the Obamas so I don’t know if we should over interpret it but there’s no doubt that’s sort of how all the taste makers in media as we talk what it does have a way shaping certainly the coverage in the morning. So I think you can anticipate that tomorrow is going to be quite glowing.”
That’s quite a startling admission. You can watch it below:
So what piece was VandeHei referring to? This one, which details the reaction of the network personalities (even Fox ones):
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “The First Lady not hitting a home run, but probably a Grand Slam.”
NBC’s Chuck Todd: “Michelle Obama owned this convention in a way that no speaker owned the convention in Tampa.”
CNN analyst David Gergen: “If they have two more nights like this, they can probably break this race open.”
Fox News’s Martha McCallum: “Very positive response here from the floor, and very enthusiastic from people listening to this.”
Fox News’ Brit Hume: “Extremely impressive woman.”
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow: “Oh my god.”
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz: “Tonight we were reintroduced to a star.”
CNN analyst Donna Brazille: “Love is in the air.“
If ever anyone was looking for evidence that mainstream media knows it sets the agenda, look no further than VandeHei’s comments.
(H/T: Hot Air)
Excited? Apple Officially Announces Event Date, Hints at iPhone 5
Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:06 am by Liz Klimas
NEW YORK (TheBlaze/AP) — After months of speculation, Apple Inc. has officially announced it will hold an event Sept. 12. This only served to amp up the already hot rumors that the eagerly awaited iPhone 5 will be released at that time as well.
Apple on Tuesday invited reporters to a news conference next week in San Francisco with an email invitation showing a big “12,” for Sept. 12, casting a shadow in the shape of a “5.” Various unconfirmed reports have pointed to Sept. 12 as being the day Apple Inc. shows off the new phone, which is expected to go on sale a week or two later.
The next iPhone is expected to have a taller screen and the ability to access the latest wireless data networks in the U.S. Analysts expect it to set sales records.
Other unconfirmed reports say Apple will reveal a smaller version of the iPad, taking on competitors like Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle Fire, which have nibbled on the edges of the iPad’s dominance in the tablet category.
CNET reports the dock connector could be in the cards for a new device as well. This speculation has been going on for a couple months with many fearing that they would have to change iPhone connecting devices like speakers. Tech Crunch states that with wireless connectivity, the docking feature may not be as much of an issue though.
CNET also notes the iPhone 5 may not even be the devices actual name. Given that the latest iPad was called “The New iPad,” it points out the iPhone may follow suit. Still, the artwork in the invite from Apple did indicate the number “5″.
Check out CNET’s full post here for more on the rumors of “what to expect” — or what could be on the table — for a new iPhone.
On Wednesday, Nokia and Motorola are holding events of their own in New York, apparently to reveal their latest products ahead of the iPhone launch.
Apple shares rose $5.18 to $676.42 in afternoon trading. The shares are close to their all-time high of $680.87, hit a week ago.
AP: This Is How Ex-President & ‘Legend’ Bill Clinton Will (Potentially) Help Obama’s Electoral Chances
Posted September 5, 2012 at 6:51 am by Billy Hallowell
Editor’s Note: This article was written by The Associated Press, not TheBlaze.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Every political party has had leaders it would like to exalt and leaders it would like to forget. Bill Clinton has managed to be both. He is the closest thing American politics has to a rock star, and he has sometimes behaved like one.
Luckily for President Barack Obama, Clinton today is about as popular as a political figure can be. And he is popular with exactly the voters that Obama and the rest of the Democratic Party have a hard time reaching – which is to say, white people. That is why even though they haven’t always been close, Obama invited Clinton to nominate him in prime time Wednesday evening, the first former president to do that.
It is an extraordinary moment in the annals of presidential politics. Ex-presidents are sometimes useful for shows of party unity or reminders of good times. Nixon did convince Eisenhower to endorse him just before the contentious 1968 convention, recalled Michael Beschloss, the presidential historian. But like the old soldier that Ike was, most ex-presidents have generally faded away.
They don’t want me around, Harry S. Truman once said. Al Gore wouldn’t take Bill Clinton’s help in 2000, which in retrospect looks like a big mistake. Jimmy Carter has been described as the nation’s best ex-president, but he won’t be a big factor in the Obama campaign because his 1980 defeat by Ronald Reagan is too reminiscent of the present economic and political dynamic. And George W. Bush was nowhere to be seen at his party convention last week.
“After the White House,” said Franklin Pierce, the 14th president, “what is there to do but drink?”
But it isn’t history Obama is trying to change by bringing in Clinton. It is votes. White votes. White guy votes in particular.
THE NUMBERS TELL a story. President Obama was viewed favorably by 43 percent of white men in an AP-GfK poll last month. It is a key reason this race is so close. Overall, Romney beat Obama 54 to 39 percent among white voters in that poll.
White voters make up a bit more than 70 percent of the electorate in recent presidential years, according to exit polls. Obama doesn’t have to win among white voters to win the election. Most Democrats don’t carry the white vote. But he does have to keep Romney from building up such a lead that he can’t make up the difference by winning among blacks, Hispanics and perhaps even women.
Enter Clinton, who, at a year older than Romney, can’t really be the Comeback Kid anymore. But 12 years out of office, he is viewed favorably by 63 percent of white men, according to a Gallup Poll in July.
He took his party and his country on a roller-coaster ride, from Gennifer Flowers through impeachment. But looking back now, folks don’t see scandal, said Richard Harpootlian, they see what happens to the economy when you give a Democratic president two terms.
Harpootlian is a Democrat from South Carolina, a place where, like Arkansas, being a Democrat takes a special skill. “He resonates with Southern white folks dramatically,” Harpootlian says. “What they want to know is who is going to put groceries and grits on the table.”
Turns out, that is what the whole country wants to know now. Well, maybe not the grits part.
Clinton, the man from Hope, is now Obama’s chief messenger of hope that the economy well get better under Obama in a second term, as it did under Clinton, and that trusting the Republicans again is a mistake.
But Clinton is more than just an economic messenger. Or, more exactly, his economic message is effective because he has a visceral connection to white voters, particularly white guys. “We see ourselves in him,” said Gus Mansour, a 54-year-old delegate from Lynwood, Wash.
Victor Rawls, a South Carolina delegate, explains it this way: “Do I have a connection with Bill Clinton? Bill Clinton has a little bit of a narcissistic string to him. I understand that. Bill Clinton is a very intelligent man and he’s also … able to communicate across a lot of levels. It’s really bizarre that a Democratic president is able to maintain contact with the Fortune 500 companies like he has. No other Democratic president that I’m aware of in history has been able to do that.”
CLINTON AND OBAMA are strikingly opposite characters. “Bill Clinton is effusive,” says Harpootlian, who has worked with both men. “He’s a hugger. He’s got an amazing memory for people names and places. He’s got a Rolodex in his head, more in the mold of a southern politician – `Hail, fellow, well met’ but with a huge intellect. Barack on the other hand is cool, almost like hip cool, he walks into a room he radiates this Frank Sinatra coolness. You can’t not sense him. It’s infectious.”
Obama is disciplined and cerebral; Clinton is, well, not.
That, says Josh Lockman, may be part of his appeal. As a millennial voter, Lockman, 30 and from Los Angeles, sees the Obama campaign, which he has worked with, as cold-eyed and focused on statistical analysis of voting patterns and microtargeting of constituencies.
“His campaign has taken almost a mathematical systematic statistical approach to appealing to key voting groups,” Lockman said, “whether Latino Americans with immigration or young Americans with student loans or Jewish Americans on Israel and Iran.”
That may be a winning strategy, he said, but it isn’t always an inspiring one.
Clinton is often said to have the best political mind in the business. Obama’s invite was in itself a kind of microtargeting at the biggest niche of voters, white guys. But Clinton’s real strength is his ability to soar above the mechanics of politics, Lockman says, “dispensing with the microtargeting statistical approach and emphasizing the humanistic one.”
Clinton is nothing if not human. One risk the Obama campaign is accepting is that Clinton will run over his time Wednesday night. It’s more than possible, of course. This will be Clinton’s seventh convention speech, and he has logged a total of nearly four hours at the rostrum. Nobody is certain precisely how many hours he was actually supposed to log.
Clinton has his own motives for delivering Wednesday evening. They’re part of who he has always been. “Throughout his political career he was focused, some might say obsessed, with reweaving the coalition between minority voters and the white working class,” said his former speechwriter, Michael Waldman. “He thought of it as repairing what was broken after Robert Kennedy’s murder. He argued passionately that if Democrats talked about the shared values of opportunity, responsibility and community, they could win the votes of both inner-city blacks and suburban Reagan Democrats.”
There is only one other recent ex-president who remains such a potent force in his party. He is to Republicans what Clinton is to Democrats. He redefined the party and reached toward the middle. He pulled in voters that his party needed. That’s why, today, they call them Reagan Democrats.
Ronald Reagan, dead eight years, still managed to be a featured speaker at the Republican National Convention last week, appearing relentlessly in video after video. Mitt Romney sought to cloak himself in Reagan, to bask in the rays of an absent legend.
But when Barack Obama turns to his own party’s political idol, he won’t have to rely on digital smoke and big-screen mirrors. No tech will be required. The legend, Bill Clinton, will be standing right next to him.
American Airlines Strikes Again: 16-Year-Old Disabled Boy Deemed ‘Security Risk’ Not Allowed to Board Plane
Posted September 5, 2012 at 2:34 am by Jason Howerton
FRESNO, Calif. (TheBlaze/AP) — A California family not allowed to board a cross-country flight said Tuesday that they believe they were discriminated against because their son has Down syndrome. Ironically, the news comes on the same day that Glenn Beck detailed his horrible experience with a rude American Airlines flight attendant.
Robert Vanderhorst, his wife Joan and 16-year-old son Bede, who is disabled, were booked to fly on an American Airlines flight from Newark to Los Angeles on Sunday when the boy and his parents were not allowed on the plane.
The family from Porterville had upgraded to first class tickets at an airport kiosk, and asked the airline to seat the boy and one of his parents together, Vanderhorst said – a request the airline granted.
When the family was ready to board, they were stopped by airline personnel, told their son was a “security risk” and would not be allowed on the flight. The parents protested, and later were rebooked to fly coach with another airline.
American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller said the disabled boy was agitated and running around the gate area prior to boarding, which his parents dispute. The airplane’s pilot observed the boy, Miller said, and made the call based on his behavior.
“He was not ready to fly, that was our perspective,” Miller said. “We rebooked the family out of concern for the young man’s safety and that of other passengers as well.”
But Vanderhorst said his son did not run at any time, did not make any loud noises and didn’t display any other offensive behaviors. The boy walked around with him or sat quietly in the gate area, Vanderhorst said.
A cell phone video captured by the boy’s mother shows Bede sitting and quietly playing with a baseball cap.
Vanderhorst said Bede, a freshman at Granite Hills High School in Porterville, about 70 miles from Fresno, is very charming in contact with other people. The family has flown more than two dozen times with him, without any difficulties.
“Usually my son gets his snack and falls asleep, just like most people,” Vanderhorst said. “The problem is this pilot thought my son might not be like most people. He didn’t want a disabled person disturbing other passengers in first class.”
The family says the pilot might have also been affected by the disabled boy’s size – Bede is 5’1 and weighs 160 lbs.
On the second airplane, the family was placed in the last row and no passengers were allowed to sit within two rows of them, Vanderhorst said.
He hoped that airlines would change their mentality when dealing with the disabled.
“It’s ridiculous and groundless to claim that this kid created a security risk,” he said. “It was the pilot’s insecurity. I paid for those seats and there was nothing that should have prevented us from taking that flight.”
American Airlines’ Miller said the company will reimburse the family for the upgrade fees.
Gunman Kills 1 at Rally for New Quebec Premier
Posted September 5, 2012 at 1:02 am by Jason Howerton
MONTREAL (TheBlaze/AP) — A masked gunman opened fire during a midnight victory rally for Quebec’s new premier, killing one person and wounding another. The new premier, Pauline Marois of the separatist Parti Quebecois, was whisked off the stage by guards while giving her speech and uninjured.
It was not clear if the gunman was trying to shoot Marois, whose party favors separation for the French-speaking province from Canada.
Montreal police Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere identified the gunman only as a 50-year-old man and said he opened fire in the back of the hall while Marois was giving her victory speech to hundreds of supporters at the Metropolis auditorium. She had just declared her firm conviction that Quebec needs to be a sovereign country before she was pulled off the stage.
“What’s going on?” Marois told her security detail as they grabbed her arms and took her off the stage during the celebration of her party’s victory in Tuesday’s provincial election.
The gunman then fled outside where he set a small fire before he was captured, police said.
Police said they didn’t know the gunman’s motive. As the suspect was being dragged toward the police cruiser, he was heard shouting in French, “The English are waking up!”
Marois returned to the stage after the shooting and asked the crowd to peacefully disperse and then seemed to finish her speech. She left the hall amid a tight cordon of provincial police bodyguards.
The attack shocked Canadians who are not used to such violence at political events.
The suspect was a heavy-set man wearing a black ski or balaclava mask and a blue bathrobe over black clothes. Police didn’t identify what weapons he had but camera footage showed a pistol and a rifle at the scene. Police said there is no reason to believe there are other suspects.
Police said a 45-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene and a second man in his 30s was wounded. A third man was treated for shock. Police didn’t identify the victims so it was not clear if any of them were party officials. The crowd was apparently unaware of what happened when Marois was whisked off the stage.
The separatist party won Tuesday’s provincial election, but failed to win a majority of legislative seats. Though the Parti Quebecois wants the province to break away from Canada, its victory is unlikely to signal a new push for independence. Opinion polls show little appetite for a separatist referendum after previous ones had been rejected by voters in 1980 and 1995.
Marois herself has left much uncertainty about if and when a referendum would be held. But her party will push for more autonomy from the federal government.
The attack took place just after Marois began speaking in English – a rare occurrence in a speech at a partisan PQ event. She had promised English-speaking Quebecers that their rights would be protected, following an emotionally charged campaign that saw her party focus on language-and-identity issues. Earlier in the evening, people in the crowd booed when they heard outgoing Liberal Premier Jean Charest speak English in his concession speech, ending nearly 10 years in power.
More autonomy for Quebec is high on the agenda for the PQ, which has said it would seek a transfer of powers from the federal government in areas like employment insurance and immigration policy. If those measures are rejected, the party believes it would have a stronger case for independence.
Without a majority in the Quebec Assembly, however, the PQ will need to work with other parties to pass legislation, and the results will undermine efforts to quickly hold a referendum on separation.
The PQ had just under 31 percent of the vote and 54 seats in the provincial legislature, falling short of a majority in the assembly. The Liberals had about 31 percent and 50 seats.
A new party, Coalition Avenir Quebec, followed with 27 percent and 19 seats. The separatist Quebec Solidaire party won 2 seats.
A party needs to obtain 63 of the 125 seats to form a majority.
Before the shooting incident, Charest, who lost his own assembly seat, had congratulated Marois for becoming Quebec’s first woman premier. He noted that she would be leading a minority government and said the results speak “to the fact that the future of Quebec lies within Canada.” He did not indicate whether he intended to step down as Liberal leader after the defeat.
Earlier, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper congratulated Marois on her victory but said he did not believe the results meant most Quebecers favor separation.
“We do not believe that Quebecers wish to revisit the old constitutional battles of the past,” Harper said in a statement.
Harper’s office had no immediate reaction to the shooting at the Parti Quebecois rally.
Although a number of candidates from the smaller parties are separatists, a minority government means “the more radical things in the party platform are going to be dead on arrival,” said Bruce Hicks, a political science professor at Concordia University in Montreal.
Charest called the election more than a year before he had to, citing unrest in the streets due to this spring’s student protests over tuition hikes. The most sustained student protests ever to take place in Canada began in February, resulting in about 2,500 arrests.
Marois, 63, was first elected to Quebec’s National Assembly in 1981. She retired in 2006 but returned to become PQ leader a year later after her predecessor lost to Charest in an election that landed the PQ in third place. She in turn lost to Charest in 2008 but the 54-year-old Liberal leader seems to have lost his bet when he called early elections in August seeking a fourth mandate.
It’s not the first time there has been political violence in Quebec related to tensions between the French and English. In the 1970s Canadian soldiers were deployed to the streets of Quebec because of a spate of terrorism by a group demanding independence from Canada. In 1970, the shadowy militant FLQ demanded “total independence” from Canada. Its members kidnapped and killed Quebec’s labor minister and later abducted, then freed, a British diplomat.
The subsequent “October Crisis” was considered one of the darkest periods in modern Canadian history. Canadian troops patrolled the streets of Quebec and jailed alleged FLQ sympathizers, most of whom were later found innocent of having any FLQ ties.
Police say a man has been arrested after shooting two people during a victory rally for Quebec’s new premier.
Police said early Wednesday that a 50-year-old man entered the hall and fired at least one shot, wounding two people, one of them critically.
The incident occurred around midnight as Pauline Marois, leader of the separatist Parti Quebecois, was declaring victory in the French-speaking province’s election on Tuesday. Marois was whisked off the stage.
Party organizers informed the crowd there had been an explosive noise and they needed to clear the auditorium. Police say the man started a small fire behind the building before he was arrested.
Marois returned to the stage after the incident and asked the crowd to peacefully disperse.
Watch raw footage of the incident here:
Fox News’ Chris Wallace Reacts to First Lady’s Speech: ‘It Was All About Government’
Posted September 5, 2012 at 12:35 am by Jason Howerton
While Fox News political analyst Chris Wallace called first lady Michelle Obama’s address to the Democratic National Convention “masterful” and heartfelt, he said he was struck by the fact that nearly all of her speech was about about the importance of government in the lives of Americans.
“I’ve got to say, listening closely to the speech one of the things that struck me was it was all about government,” Wallace said Tuesday night during Fox News’ coverage of the DNC. “When she talked at the beginning about the people who exemplify the best of the American spirit, she talked about teachers and first responders and the military, all very admirable professions, but all government.”
He continued: “When she talked about ways to build the middle class, it was all about the auto bailout and student loans and health care reform, once again, all government programs…That was a subtle subtext to the entire speech.”
Wallace also accused the first lady of being somewhat hypocritical when she said that Obama sees the nation as one America, saying “that certainly hasn’t been the way this president has run the campaign, which has been quite sharp, quite partisan, quite negative.”
Finally, after being in Tampa for the Republican National Convention, Wallace explained that the contrast between the two conventions in both tone and message could not be starker.
“The difference in tone and philosophy…the reliance on government, the praise on government, the central role it plays and their vision of America — very different from what we heard from Republicans in Tampa,” Wallace added.
Watch the video via Fox News:
Glenn Beck: President Obama ‘Knows We Are Much Worse Off’ Than Four Years Ago
Posted September 5, 2012 at 12:08 am by Jason Howerton
Glenn Beck on his show Tuesday argued that President Obama is well aware that Americans are worse off today than they were four years ago, but he won’t tell anyone until after the November elections.
“I know that’s quite a charge to make, but as always, let’s back it up with evidence,” Beck said.
Watch him due exactly that in this thought provoking segment via TheBlazeTV:
Michelle Obama Talks Up Husband at DNC: ‘Being President Doesn’t Change Who You Are – It Reveals Who You Are’
Posted September 4, 2012 at 11:33 pm by Jason Howerton
Instead of openly attacking Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney like many of the speakers before her, first lady Michelle Obama instead depicted Barack Obama as a man of the people in her address before the Democratic National Convention Tuesday. In fact, she made no mention of Romney in her entire speech.
“Being president doesn’t change who you are — it reveals who you are,” the first lady said in a key line of her speech.
Michelle Obama was greeted with thunderous applause from the DNC crowd following her introduction and had to wait for the chants of “four more years!” to die down before she could begin.
“He reminds me that we are playing a long game here … and that change is hard, and change is slow and it never happens all at once,” she told a nation impatient with slow economic progress and persistently high unemployment of 8.3 percent. “But eventually, we get there, we always do,” she said in a speech that blended scenes from 23 years of marriages with the Obamas’ time in the White House.
The first lady continually praised her husband in the prime time speech as a devoted husband and caring father at home and a “man we can trust” to revive the nation’s weak economy as president, beckoning the country to return him to the White House despite agonizingly slow recovery from recession.
She told the story of Obama’s single mother, who struggled to pay the bills and his grandparents who stepped into help when little Barack needed it.
“They didn’t begrudge anyone else’s success or care that others had much more than they did. In fact, they admired it,” Michelle Obama said about both their parents.
“They simply believed in that fundamental American promise that, even if you don’t start out with much, if you work hard and do what you’re supposed to do, then you should be able to build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids and grandkids,” she said.
Watch some of Michelle Obama’s remarks at the DNC Tuesday below:
The first lady went on to say that the extraordinary struggles and triumphs that her husband has faced has revealed who he is as a man, giving him credit for saving the auto industry and rebuilding the American economy.
Michelle Obama touted President Obama’s signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which she says helped “women get equal pay for equal work. She also said Obama cut taxes for the middle class and small businesses and saved the auto industry.
“That’s how he brought our economy from the brink of collapse to creating jobs again – jobs you can raise a family on, good jobs right here in the United States of America,” she added. “When it comes to the health of our families, Barack refused to listen to all those folks who told him to leave health reform for another day, another president.”
Michelle’s poll numbers are better than her husband’s, and her speech was aimed at building support for him, much as Ann Romney’s remarks at last week’s Republican National Convention were in service to her husband’s presidential ambitions.
Referring to her own children as well as those of others, she said, “If we want to give them that sense of limitless possibility, that belief that here in America there is always something better out there if you are willing to work for it, then we must … stand together for the man we can trust to keep moving this great country forward, my husband, our president, President Barack Obama.”
The weak economy hung over the convention as it dominates the election
The first lady went on: “Barack knows the American Dream because he’s lived it and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we’re from, or what we look like, or who we love.”
At one point, an unidentified man shouted out “I love you Michelle!” But the first lady was undeterred and continued with her speech.
And despite some of the most divisive political rhetoric coming out of both the Obama and Romney campaigns, Michelle Obama argued the president is willing to work with anyone for the best interest of the country.
“I love that he’s never forgotten how he started. I love that we can trust Barack to do what he says he’s going to do, even when it’s hard – especially when it’s hard. I love that for Barack, there is no such thing as ‘us’ and ‘them’ – he doesn’t care whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or none of the above,” she said. “He knows that we all love our country…and he’s always ready to listen to good ideas…he’s always looking for the very best in everyone he meets.”
Touching upon the Obama campaign’s famous 2008 “change” slogan and the first lady reminded people that “change is hard, and change is slow, and it never happens all at once.” The line subtlety addressed concerns that Obama has not made enough progress in his first four years as president.
“And I say all of this tonight not just as First Lady…and not just as a wife,” Michelle Obama added. “You see, at the end of the day, my most important title is still “mom-in-chief,” the line prompting generous applause.
The first lady concluded her address with a plea for all voters to support Barack Obama, her husband, and vote for him in the upcoming November election in order to move the country “forward.” Moving the country “forward” has emerged as a main theme at the DNC, which should come as little surprise as it is President Obama’s new campaign slogan.
“Because today, I know from experience that if I truly want to leave a better world for my daughters, and all our sons and daughters. If we want to give all our children a foundation for their dreams and opportunities worthy of their promise. If we want to give them that sense of limitless possibility – that belief that here in America, there is always something better out there if you’re willing to work for it. Then we must work like never before and we must once again come together and stand together for the man we can trust to keep moving this great country forward. My husband, our President, President Barack Obama.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
‘Opportunity Today for Prosperity Tomorrow’: First Hispanic-American to Give Keynote at DNC Discusses Community Responsibility
Posted September 4, 2012 at 11:08 pm by Tiffany Gabbay
As Democrats seek to reaffirm a position as the singular platform for diversity, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro became the first Hispanic-American to deliver a keynote speech at a Democratic National Convention. Speculation had abounded that Castro’s speech Tuesday evening would mark a break-out moment for the young mayor, who, like his mother before him, was political activist in her own right. And some spectators would likely agree, given the Texan’s affable, outgoing nature.
After an introduction by his brother, congressional candidate, Joaquin Castro, on the first evening of the convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, Julian Castro opened by saying how proud he is to be an American “shaped by 9-11″ and “connected by the digital revolution.” He spoke about his family roots and humble beginnings, with a grandmother who worked “as a maid, cook and babysitter,” in order to give his mother a better life. Castro lauded his grandmother’s resolve to learn English and carve out better opportunities for her daughter than she had had herself.
“Ours is a nation like no other where great journeys can be made in a single generation,” he exclaimed to hearty cheers.
“The path is always ‘forward.’”
In an election season hyper-focused on minority outreach, Castro embodies the quintessential American dream. He and his twin brother, both second generation Mexican-Americans, were raised by a single mother — an orphan herself — who believed that she could ensure her sons went from the public schools of the barrio, straight to the Ivy League and beyond with hard work and dedication. In other words, the crux of Castro’s story is not so different (if at all) from that which the Republican platform celebrates: A drive to succeed and diligence is the surest key to independence and realizing one’s dreams.
The difference lies in the overriding message of Castro’s remarks, which essentially said that the opportunities America grants each of us, are meant to be used to ensure “prosperity” for the collective, tomorrow.
Castro took time to focus on his grandmother and mother’s generations, stating that they each saw “beyond” their own horizons and circumstances. Their opportunity today, according to the San Antonio native, would lead to “prosperity tomorrow.” He added that their respective sacrifices opened the door for their children to create a middle class.
“With hard work everyone should get their and stay there… and go beyond.”
The young mayor did cede that while the dream to r”aise a family in a place where hard work is rewarded” may be “universal” but that America makes those dreams “a reality.”
Joking that Texas is still the one place in the country where people still have bootstraps, Castro used the allegory to explain that there are some times when one cannot pull themselves up by their bootstraps alone. He added that investing in education will ensure that everyone has an equal chance at success, and said that he and his brother merely had different opportunities than their grade-school peers, not greater intelligence or drive.
He focused on “investing in young minds” today “to be competitive in the global economy tomorrow” and poked fun at Romney for encouraging Americans to start their own business on borrowed money.
While Castro ceded that Romney is a “good guy,” he said the GOP nominee just “does not know how good he has had it.”
“What we don’t accept is that some folks won’t even get a chance and Mitt Romney and the GOP are perfectly comfortable with that America.”
The crowd’s energy was palpable as Castro claimed that Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney seek to slash funding for education, transportation and Medicare — all moves he says would “dismantle the middle class.”
“When it comes to respecting women’s rights,” the San Antonio native began, “Mitt Romney says ‘no’.” The crowd chanted in unison to a litany of other issues Romney is supposedly against that was recited by Castro.
Romney and Ryan “don’t understand that freedom is opportunity.”
After praising the president for taking action when “Detroit was in trouble,” Castro also gave Obama credit for expanding Pell Grants and his work with the DREAM Act.
Making the case that we are better off now than we were four years ago, Castro kept up the theme that America is “making progress” under the Obama administration. He told the audience that this election means a choice “between middle class paying more so millionaires pay less, or a place where everyone pays their fair share” so the deficit can be reduced.
He then repeated the tale his grandmother, who sought to give her daughter a better life than the one she had had, just as his mother worked to give her sons a better life than she had. Again, the theme was ironic given that it mirrors the common Republican Party narrative celebrating parental sacrifice so that one’s children can have a better life.
Castro closed his speech by announcing that Americans have a “responsibility” to do their respective part, as “one community” to ensure “opportunity for all of our children.”
With each generation going further than the last, the San Antonio mayor chanted “opportunity now for shared prosperity tomorrow.”
Here’s the DNC Ted Kennedy Tribute Dems Used to Bash Romney
Posted September 4, 2012 at 10:30 pm by Jason Howerton
During the first night of the convention, Democrats played a tribute video to former Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, who passed away in 2009.
Though the video was meant to honor the life of Kennedy, they also used it as a convenient way to slam GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Watch the video played at the DNC below (Mitt Romney jab at 1:47):
U.S. Manufacturing Sector Contracts For Third Month
Posted September 4, 2012 at 10:17 pm by Becket Adams
U.S. factory activity shrank for the third straight month in August as new orders, production, and employment all fell.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM), a trade group of purchasing managers, said Tuesday its index of manufacturing activity ticked down to 49.6. That’s down from 49.8 in July and the lowest reading in three years. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.
The report followed other data showing manufacturing has slowed overseas. A measure of factory activity in China fell to its lowest level in more than three years last month. And manufacturing in Europe has also stagnated in the face of the region’s financial crisis.
The manufacturing index typically needs to fall to about 43 to suggest the broader economy is shrinking, according to the ISM. Still, growth at or below 2 percent is not enough to significantly lower the unemployment rate, which was 8.3 percent in July.
The stock market fell after the ISM data and a separate report on construction spending were released. Construction spending fell sharply in July. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 96 points in morning trading.
Indeed, as Zero Hedge puts it, there was a big “miss in construction spending”:
“Construction spending … plunged from 0.4% to -0.9%, on expectations of an unchanged print, which was the biggest miss in a year, and the biggest drop in also a year [emphasis added],” the Hedge adds:
But what about U.S. factories? After all, since the recession technically ended in 2009, they have more or less been one of the main sources of economic growth and jobs.
The ISM survey showed factories kept hiring in July but at a slower pace. And production dropped sharply to 47.2, the first time it has fallen below 50 since May 2009, when the economy was still technically in recession.
New orders, a sign of future production, also dropped. New export orders increased but remained below 50, contracting for the third straight month. Factories reported less demand in the spring after consumers cut back on spending and businesses invested less in machinery and equipment.
The government will report on August hiring and unemployment on Friday.
The decline in manufacturing activity — compounded with the miss in construction spending – makes it more likely the Federal Reserve will take steps to “help” the economy. Recall that Chairman Ben Bernanke last Friday said the Federal Reserve will do more to help the still-struggling U.S. economy.
He stopped short of committing the Fed to any specific move. But in his speech to an annual Fed conference in Jackson Hole in Wyoming, Bernanke said that even with interest rates already at super-low levels, the Fed can do more.
Some economists predict the Fed will unveil some bold new step as soon as its Sept. 12-13 meeting, possibly a third round of bond purchases meant to lower long-term interest rates and encourage more borrowing and spending.
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Front page photo courtesy the AP.
Obama Supporters Wait in Line to Get Spoof ‘Journalists for Obama’ T-Shirts at DNC
Posted September 4, 2012 at 9:50 pm by Jason Howerton
In a hilarious prank that seemingly went unnoticed by Obama supporters, the folks over at the Media Research Center handed out “Journalists for Obama” spoof t-shirts at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte Tuesday, poking fun at what many consider liberal bias in the mainstream media.
As someone with the MRC team advertised the t-shirts, several dozen DNC attendees showed up to claim the free shirts, seemingly unaware that journalists shouldn’t be “for” anyone — at least publicly. Throughout the video, the guy with MRC can be seen looking up at the camera smiling and then holding up a “Journalists for Obama” t-shirt, obviously pleased with the prank gone right.
Eventually, they sold out of shirts. “That’s it, sorry folks,” one undercover MRC staffer says.
Watch the entertaining video via MRC below:
Reid Speech at DNC Ramps Up Accusations Regarding Romney’s Tax Returns
Posted September 4, 2012 at 9:34 pm by Christopher Santarelli
While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke in Charlotte Tuesday at the start of the Democratic National Convention to drum up support for incumbent President Barack Obama, his speech and subsequent interviews are likely to be remembered for once again stirring up controversy regarding Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s tax returns. Romney has already said he will release two years of tax returns, but Reid wants more, building Tuesday upon claims he made last month that a Bain investor told him that Romney did not pay income taxes for ten years.
Reid said Tuesday that Romney “chose Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island tax shelters over American institutions” and “pays a lower tax rate than middle-class families.”
“We can only imagine what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the American people a dozen years of tax returns,” Reid said.
Reid told the crowd that Romney is the biggest proponent of a rigged game for the wealthy.
“Never in modern American history has a presidential candidate tried so hard to hide himself from the people he hopes to serve,” Reid said.
Reid’s unfounded claims from earlier this summer that Romney did not pay taxes for ten years, which he repeated from the floor of the Senate, were criticized by many Republicans, and even several liberal commentators.
When asked by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews following his speech, if he still believes Romney went ten years without paying taxes, the Senate Majority Leader could not give a straight answer.
“The issue is not me, the issue is Mitt Romney,” Reid said, then attempted to deflect to bank accounts in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
“I agree with you, but do we have a probably cause that he did something wrong,” Matthews asked again.
“The issue is not me, it’s him,” repeated Reid.
Following Reid’s remarks, the Romney campaign pounced on the continued accusations.
“Harry Reid has once again shown that he is completely detached from reality,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams told the Wall Street Journal. “Sen. Reid’s comments tonight are absolutely false and are another attempt to distract from President Obama’s abysmal economic record.”
Watch Reid’s full interview with Matthews where the MSNBC host attempts to get direct answers from the Nevada Senator regarding whether or not he believes Romney has paid his taxes, or is an honest man:
Pentagon: Former SEAL’s Bin Laden Book Contains ‘Sensitive and Classified’ Info.
Posted September 4, 2012 at 9:15 pm by Jonathon M. Seidl
WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — A former Navy SEAL’s insider account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden contains classified information, the Pentagon said Tuesday, and the admiral who heads the Naval Special Warfare Command said details in the book may provide enemies with dangerous insight into secretive U.S. operations.
Rear Adm. Sean Pybus told his force Tuesday that “hawking details about a mission” and selling other information about SEAL training and operations puts the force and their families at risk.
“For an elite force that should be humble and disciplined for life, we are certainly not appearing to be so,” Pybus wrote in a letter to the roughly 8,000 troops under his command. “We owe our chain of command much better than this.”
The letter was obtained by The Associated Press.
At the Pentagon, press secretary George Little said that an official review of the book, “No Easy Day,” determined that it reveals what he called “sensitive and classified” information. He was not more specific but said the author was required to submit the book to the Pentagon before publication for a formal review of potential disclosures of such information.
“When you have special operations units that perform these missions, there are tactics, techniques, and procedures, not to mention human life, that are in play,” Little said. “And it is the height of irresponsibility not to have this kind of material checked for the possible disclosure of classified information.”
He told reporters during a briefing that the Pentagon is still reviewing what legal options should be taken against the author*.
If the Pentagon determines the bin Laden book does disclose classified secrets, the government could consider bringing federal criminal charges against the author. The potential charges and penalties would depend largely on what type of secrets were disclosed.
Pybus, in his letter, was more direct, saying that, “We must immediately reconsider how we properly influence our people in and out of uniform NOT to seek inappropriate monetary, political, or celebrity profit from their service” with the SEALS.
“We all have much to gain or lose,” he said. “In the weeks ahead, we will be taking actions to meet this challenge, and I appreciate your leadership and support of our community in this effort.”
Last week, Adm. William McRaven, head of U.S. Special Operations Command, warned his troops that he would take legal action against anyone found to have exposed sensitive information that could cause fellow forces harm. The Naval Special Warfare Command is a unit within U.S. Special Operations Command.
A lawyer for author, who wrote under the pseudonym Mark Owen, has disputed that he was legally obliged to have the book screened before publication.
The book’s co-author Kevin Maurer said in a statement Tuesday that the ex-Navy SEAL “was meticulous about adhering to his desire to never do anything to undermine the SEALs’ mission or put his former colleagues in harm’s way.”
Little would not say what damage may result from the book’s revelations and he declined to point to any specific portions of the book that contain material that would be considered a violation and a release of classified information.
He said the Pentagon did not try to stop the public release of the book this week in part because there wasn’t much time.
“Pre-release copies of the book were already being circulated around,” Little said. “So the practical effect of requesting that the publisher withhold release of the book just wasn’t an available option.”
He added that the Pentagon also has not taken steps to stop the book from being sold on military installations. It’s not the Pentagon’s practice, Little said, “to get into the business of deciding what and what does not go on bookshelves in military exchanges. But that doesn’t mean in any way, shape or form that we don’t have serious concerns about the fact that this process of pre-publication review was not followed.”
The book, which was published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), was No. 1 on Amazon’s best seller list Tuesday, which was its official release day. The initial print run was 575,000 copies and publication of the book was moved up from Sept. 11 to Sept. 4 amid a flurry of reports about the book last week.
Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon’s top lawyer, notified the author last Thursday that the Pentagon believes he is in “material breach and violation” of two nondisclosure agreements and of a related document he signed upon leaving active duty in April 2012.
In response, Robert D. Luskin of the law firm Patton Boggs wrote to Johnson on Friday that his firm is representing the author and asserting that he is not in breach of his nondisclosure agreements.
The Justice Department could go after the profits of the book in a civil proceeding if it is determined that he violated the nondisclosure agreement by not getting the book pre-cleared.
Associated Press National Security Writer Robert Burns contributed to this report.
*TheBlaze originally published this story as straight AP copy. The story contained the full name of the book’s author, and has since been updated. TheBlaze has decided not to publish the name of the author.
‘Godless’: Sen. Durbin Lashes Out at Fox Host Who Calls Him Out Over Dems Removing ‘God’ From Platform
Posted September 4, 2012 at 8:50 pm by Jason Howerton
During Fox News’ special coverage of the Democratic National Convention Tuesday, host Bret Baier confronted Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) in Charlotte about the Democratic Party’s decision to remove all mentions of the word “God” from their official 2012 platform. Instead of providing a simple answer, Durbin instead unfairly accused Baier and Fox News of insinuating that all Democrats are “Godless” creatures.
“If the narrative that is being presented on your station and through your channel and your network, is that the Democrats are Godless people, they ought to know better. God is not a franchise of the Republican party,” Durbin said. “Those of us that believe in God and those of us who have dedicated our lives to helping others in the name of God don’t want to take a second seat to anyone who is suggesting that one word out of the platform means that the Democrats across America are Godless, come on Bret.”
“No, no, no,” Baier replied, “I don’t think that’s what’s being said. We are reporting what’s in the platform.”
The host then tried to rephrase the question. Baier informed Durbin that in 2008, God was mentioned once. In 2004, God was mentioned seven times and four times in 2008. “The question is why take it out in this time?”
Again, Durbin went back to his initial conclusion. “If you trying to draw some kind of conclusion that the Democrats are Godless, present your evidence. Present your evidence.”
“I’m not drawing a conclusion,” Baier suggested. “I’m just asking the question, why was the word taken out?”
Durbin shot back: “I’m just telling you that you are harping on a trifle. We know both parties are devoted to this country, both parties are God-fearing parties. Let’s get on with the agenda about creating jobs in America.”
Baier, maintaining his professionalism, moved on and asked Durbin why Democrats also removed mention Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And again, the Democratic senator deflected.
“To suggest that this document and the the insertion of two words here and one word there now defines politics in America suggests to me you are not focusing on the real issues that Americans care about,” Durbin said.
Baier pointed out that Democrats in Tampa talked about the Republican platform and what was in it and argued that it was fair for him to do the same of the Democratic platform.
“I am asking about the changes and words, I’m asking why. I’m not drawing conclusions,” Baier replied.
Watch the entire exchange via Fox News:
Front page image from Alex Brandon/AP.
‘Real News From The Blaze’ Breaks Down Democratic Party Platform
Posted September 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm by Christopher Santarelli
The Democratic Party released their platform this week, placing strong emphasis on themes focused on by the Obama campaign, including “rebuilding middle class security” and “asking all to pay their fair share.” The document notably endorses same-sex marriage for the first time, as well as calls for the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban and ”strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay.”
On “Real News From The Blaze” Tuesday, the panel compared the platform and it’s reception to the considerable amount of focus that was placed the “extreme” positions in the Republican Party platform released last week. What respect does the Democratic platform give to religious Americans? Are there any Democratic platform positions that could be considered “moderate?” Does the platform take into account the beliefs of all Democrats, or is it solely a campaign plank written to support the positions of President Obama? Watch a clip from Tuesday’s show below:
‘Real News From The Blaze:’ Grading President Obama
Posted September 4, 2012 at 8:30 pm by Christopher Santarelli
Democrats will gather in North Carolina this week to make the case that Barack Obama deserves a second term as president. Why should he be reelected? When asked during an interview with South Colorado CBS affiliate KKTV earlier this week how he would grade his first term taking into account that he inherited a bad situation, President Obama said we are still working our way out of the financial crisis and would still give himself a grade of “incomplete.”
“What I would say is the steps that we have taken in saving the auto industry, in making sure that college is more affordable and investing in clean energy and science and technology and research, those are all the things that we are going to need to grow over the long term,” President Obama said.
When the same interviewer asked the Romney campaign how they would grade President Obama’s first term, Senior Campaign Advisor Matt McDonald said that the question won’t be answered on the A to F scale, but a simple pass/fail measurement.
“The question that is on the lips of the people here in Charlotte who are gathering, both the media and the delegates, the people in Colorado and the people across the country is are you better off than you were four years ago and it’s a pretty simple answer for a lot of people is that they aren’t,” McDonald said.
After hearing about the “incomplete” grade response, Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan questioned what reason the American people could have to give this president more time.
“Four years into a presidency and it’s incomplete? The president is asking people just to be patient with him,” Ryan said on CBS Tuesday morning. “The kind of recession we had, we should be bouncing out of it, creating jobs. We’re not creating jobs at near the pace we could.
“I think the ‘incomplete’ speaks for itself and that is why I think we are going to win this [election],” said Ryan. Ryan spent Monday on the campaign trail bashing President Obama’s economic performance, telling a crowd at a North Carolina event that the Obama administration makes the Jimmy Carter years “look like the good old days.”
While partisans will cater their opinions on President Obama’s handling of the economy to suit their own agenda, what is the fair and most accurate way to judge the president’s performance? In a recent analysis on the Washington Post Robert J. Samuelson grades President Obama’s economic report card a C+, mediocre at best:
It’s too big and subject to too many complex forces, from new technologies to global conditions. Moreover, policy levers are shared with Congress (taxes, spending), the Federal Reserve (financial markets) and regulatory agencies. Presidents often get blamed or credited for the economy when they don’t deserve either. But during crises, presidents acquire power. That’s why Obama will be — and should be — judged on the economy’s performance.
More interesting than my overall grade are its components. For the first six months, I’d award him an A-; for the rest, a C- or D. I’d weigh the two grades equally, because he deserves a lot of credit for stopping the economic free-fall when he took office.
Led by Will Cain, the “Real News” table Tuesday discussed what grades they would give President Obama for his handling of the economy in term one, and what are the most objective means to judge his performance? Watch a clip from Tuesday’s show below:
Chris Matthews Fawns Over Parents Barack and Michelle: ‘Close Enough to Perfect’
Posted September 4, 2012 at 8:27 pm by Jonathon M. Seidl
The question is no longer if MSNBC host Chris Matthews is in love with Barack Obama, it’s how much.
The host infamous for his “tingle” when he heard Obama speak four years ago was back singing the praises of Barack Obama on Tuesday. But this time he added a twist: he not only praised Barack, he added that the whole first family is simply “close enough to perfect.”
“There are people who root for this first lady, about two out of three of us.* They want her to make it. They want it all to work out for her. Why? Because for most of us the former Michelle Robinson has done everything right,” Matthews said.
He then used the children to explain: “Look at the kids she raised, those two girls: Sasha, Malia. They seem like perfections. They are what we want in any first family, getting good educations, being role models and seeming to deeply appreciate the honor they enjoyed living in the white house.”
He went on to say that the family has been exactly what the “founding fathers” intended them to be: examples.
“It is in this role I would argue that this family has been close enough to perfect,” he continued. “They have conducted themselves in a superlative manner. They have built in time for a parent’s first role: child rearing.”
He ended by praising the Obamas’ “exceptional presence.”
To be fair, the idea of praising Barack and Michelle as parents should be a non-controversial issue. And generally the first children are left out of the political discussion.** But this is more about a media personality fawning over a political figure and his family and dubbing them nearly “perfect.” Doesn’t that seem a little odd? Doesn’t it seem a little over-the-top?
See for yourself:
*It’s unclear what Matthews was referring to here.
**Although it has come under scrutiny.
NJ Mayor Cory Booker Riles Base in DNC Speech: ‘Being Asked to Pay Your Fair Share Isn’t Class Warfare, It’s Patriotism’
Posted September 4, 2012 at 7:56 pm by Jason Howerton
In an energetic and impassioned address to the Democratic National Convention Tuesday, Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker argued that calling for higher taxes on the rich in times of crisis is not class warfare, it’s “patriotism.”
“When your country is in a costly war with our soldiers sacrificing abroad, and our nation is facing a debt crisis at home, being asked to pay your fair share isn’t class warfare, it’s patriotism,” he said, the crowd erupting with applause and chanting “USA! USA!” before he could go on.
Watch him deliver the well received line via Business Insider below:
Booker was defending a section found in the official 2012 Democratic platform in which the party supports raising taxes on individuals making more than $250,000. Booker, who served as the chair of the Platform Committee, said the platform is “not about left or right — but about moving America forward.”
“We can’t make the mistake that they (the Republicans) make of thinking this country is hungry for bash and slash and trash,” Booker added. “This country is hungry for hope.”
Booker also attacked Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — without naming him — for waging a so-called “war on women” and proposing a 2010 budget that cut funding for Planned Parenthood, resulting in fewer clinic hours.
“They may tell us they love women, but when they do things like that, they are setting all of us back,” he said. “When a woman goes to a Planned Parenthood clinic…This is an opportunity for them to get contraception that could prevent the abortion that you are so much against.”
As Booker wrapped up his speech, the crowd chanted “Cory! Cory!” Watch his entire address here:
(H/T: Business Insider)
‘Pushy’ Telemarketer Threatens Unreceptive Homeowner With a Bomb
Posted September 4, 2012 at 7:41 pm by Erica Ritz
A number of families in Mead, Colorado were evacuated from their homes after a telemarketer threatened to bomb someone who wasn’t interested in his spiel, authorities say.
Apparently the homeowner in question, who declined to be named, simply hung up after being told he had won a certain sum of money. The telemarketer called back and, according to Sgt. Tim Schwartz, “got pretty rude” and said “I’ve placed a bomb under your house.”
The homeowner then called the police, who evacuated the area and began searching for explosives.
According to 7News, deputies from the Weld County Sheriff’s Office, officers from the Colorado State Patrol, Dacono Police, Firestone Police and Mountain View Fire Department scoured the home, but did not find anything.
Here is more, via Newsy:
“I personally think that telemarketers are a big pain because they constantly call you even when you ask them not to. But to go to those lengths to actually threaten someone is just ridiculous,” Elaine Stanchfield, one of the evacuees, commented.
The homeowner thinks the call may have come from overseas, saying the man had a thick accent. Police are still investigating the origin of the call, but if it was international, apparently the FBI will get involved. If it was domestic, an arrest warrant will be issued.
“It’s completely out of the ordinary,” Sgt. Schwartz remarked, warning that it is difficult to track down telemarketers. “I don’t know how to explain it. They’re just pretty pushy I guess.”
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