HEADLINES & NOTES
Top Dem on Senate Foreign Relations Committee to Vote No on Iran Deal
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says he will oppose the nuclear deal with Iran, a decision that won't derail the agreement but hurts the Obama administration's efforts to keep a resolution against the deal from reaching a vote. Cardin's decision - which came the same day a 38th Senate Democrat, Michael Bennet of Colorado, declared for his support for the deal - has been one of the most anticipated among lawmakers. Not only is Cardin a key foreign relations committee member, but he's also Jewish and helped author a bill that gave Congress review power over the agreement.
Americans Not in Labor Force
Exceed 94 Million for First Time
A record 94,031,000 Americans 16 or older did not participate in the nation's labor force in August, and the labor force participation rate remained at 62.6%, a 38-year low, according to data released Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 94,031,000 Americans not in the labor force are those individuals who did not have a job and did not actively seek one in the past four weeks. This measure increased by 261,000 individuals over the month. The participation rate remained unchanged from June to July at 62.6%. This metric has not been this low since October 1977.
DoJ to Require Warrants for
Cell Phone Tracking Technology
The Justice Dept. said Thursday it will require its law enforcement agents to get a warrant before using technology that tracks the location of cell phone users by posing as cellphone towers. Sometimes called Stingrays after a popular model used by law enforcement, the cell-site simulators operate by mimicking a cellphone tower and establishing connections with nearby devices searching for a cell signal. When devices connect to the simulator, they transmit identifying information. Police can single out a device and use the direction and strength of the signal to acquire its location.
US Under Pressure to Absorb
Syrian Refugees as Europe Faces Crisis
The surge of refugees fleeing Syria and other war-torn regions is putting immense pressure not only on Europe but also the United States, as the Obama administration faces calls to take a more active role in the humanitarian crisis. At the same time, some lawmakers on Capitol Hill are warning that loosening immigration rules to take them in would pose a serious security risk.
Farrakhan Calls for 10,000
Volunteers to 'Stalk', 'Kill' Whites
In a sermon reminiscent of the fiery rhetoric of an Islamic State preacher, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, now 82, said in Miami the time has come for 10,000 black volunteers to kill white Americans. In the sermon at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Farrakhan said he was looking for "10,000 in the midst of the million, 10,000 fearless men who say death is sweeter than continued life under tyranny" to retaliate against white Americans because of their alleged oppression of black people. "If the federal government will not intercede in our affairs, then we must rise up and kill those who kill us. Stalk them and kill them and let them feel the pain of death that we are feeling," Farrakhan said.
State Dept. Tries to Block
Clinton Email Cases in Court
The State Dept. asked to halt most of the judges prying into former Secretary Hillary Clinton's emails, filing papers Thursday proposing that the cases all be combined into one so that a single judge can oversee the government's searches and released. Admitting it's "struggling" under the weight of the problem left by Mrs. Clinton's decision to use her own email account, the State Department warned it might miss the January deadline for turning over all of her emails - and might not be able to process her former aides' emails either - unless a single judge takes over and decides what they have to do.
Clinton Staffer Who Worked on
Private Server Will Plead the Fifth
A former State Department staffer who worked on Hillary Rodham Clinton's private e-mail server tried this week to fend off a subpoena to testify before Congress, saying he would assert his constitutional right not to answer questions to avoid incriminating himself. The move by Bryan Pagliano, who had worked on Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign before setting up the server in her New York home in 2009, came in a Monday letter from his lawyer to the House panel investigating the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Trump Will Sign GOP Loyalty Pledge
A close associate tells POLITICO that Donald Trump plans to sign a loyalty pledge Thursday that would bind him to endorsing the Republican nominee and would preclude a third-party run. Trump made the stunning decision, which he has long resisted, to avoid complications in getting listed on primary ballots, and to take away an attack line in the next debate, the associate said.
Trump has long viewed the threat of a third-party candidacy as priceless leverage and even used that word when he refused to take such a pledge in the first debate on Aug. 6.
Emanuel Calls for Largest Property
Tax Hike in Modern Chicago History
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is set to call for the largest property tax increase in modern Chicago history to raise enough money to make a major pension payment for police and firefighters next year, the mayor's City Council floor leader and a City Hall source said late Wednesday. The mayor also plans to push a new garbage collection tax, a new per-ride fee on taxis and ride-hailing services such as Uber and a new tax on electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products.
Russian Nuclear Buildup
Challenges Obama's Reduction Goal
Pres. Obama's decision two years ago to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in US military and defense policies is being challenged by Russia's large-scale buildup of nuclear forces, along with Moscow's revised nuclear doctrine and recent threats to use the weapons. The US guidance was outlined in a 2013 White House order called Presidential Policy Directive-24, which calls for reducing the role of US nuclear weapons in national security strategy and maintaining deterrence with smaller nuclear forces.
The Email Issue Goes
Beyond Just Hillary Clinton
As scandal surrounding Hillary Clinton's illegal use of unsecured email servers to access classified information during her time as US Secretary of State continues to unravel her presidential aspirations, a more comprehensive overview of the many email issues related to the Obama Administration presents a more sinister possibility. From the State Department to the Internal Revenue Service, the Environmental Protection Agency to the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy to the White House itself, everywhere you turn in the Obama Administration there has been an issue with high-ranking personnel using alternative email accounts and/or servers for government business and then refusing access to those communications to oversight authority. In 2010, President Barack Obama, speaking in Elyria, Ohio, bragged, "We have put in place the toughest ethics laws and toughest transparency rules of any administration in history...in history! And by the way, this is the first administration since the founding of the country where all of you can find out who visits the White House. First time in history! And that's just one example." In fact, Mr. Obama's claim to open visitor's logs was first trumpeted in 2009. It sounded good, like his claim that his was the most transparent administration in history. Alas, as usual, what sounds good during his "speechifying" never quite pans out to be the truth.
Trump-ettes, You Can't
Have It Both Ways
A funny thing happened on the way to the "Forum," the "guy who doesn't back down," the "fighter," got his nose bloodied and his sycophants didn't care for it one bit. If that sounds harsh, then let me borrow from the "fighter's" own words. I don't have time for political correctness. I also don't have time for so-called Republicans and Conservatives who want the game disingenuously skewed to their advantage. Nor do I have time for hypocrites. This is not a screed that poses to apologize for FOX News. I have my own reasons – events that happened to me personally when I was asked to appear on The O'Reilly Factor so many years ago – for not kneeling at the FOX altar. But neither will I bow to the knee-jerk canonization of Donald Trump as the end-all-be-all for the Conservative cause in 2016.
Remember, The Law Is Only Sacred When It Furthers a Liberal Value
Working for the government is not an inalienable right. And so I happen to believe that Kentucky clerk Kim Davis is wrong to refuse same-sex couples marriage licenses in her office. Not evil, just wrong. If you're unwilling to enforce the law, you shouldn't be an officer of the state. After all, it's not a clerk's job to ascertain the constitutionality or practicality of law. If it was, we'd have anarchy. There are hundreds of other vocations she is free to pursue if this one doesn't suit her. There are certainly bigots out there intent on coercing Christian businesses to choose between their faith and their livelihood. But Davis' stand isn't about religious freedom, it's a protest against the law. Signing off on state documents is not tantamount to being forced, as bakers and photographers have been, to participate in a wedding ceremony. If she wants to participate in civil obedience, she shouldn't work for the state. Or she can stand on principle and deal with the consequences. Which is what she's doing. But jail? Davis was reportedly taken into federal custody on Thursday in contempt of court for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses in Kentucky. She now faces potential penalties, fines, and more jail time. A lesson will be taught. So there are a few things that are worth contemplating here. Let's start with the prevailing hypocrisy surrounding the liberal attacks on Davis, and what it tells us about the state of American political debate and policymaking. Because, as you may have noticed, the rule of law only seems to be sacred when it happens to comport with liberal values. As far as I can tell, there are only three unassailable Constitutional rights left in United States: The right not to be "discriminated" against. The right to have an abortion. The right to have a gay marriage.
Europe's Progressives to Blame
for Huge Migrant Death Toll
Europe's post-national progressive governing elite is competing to display its supposed horror over the rapidly rising number of migrants' corpses now being washed up on Mediterranean beaches. But those self-regarding progressives deserve much of the blame for the multi-thousand toll of migrants suffering egregious conditions trying to enter Europe, say US immigration experts. This, they argue, is because the progressives want to ignore the lessons of other migration crises - including the now-ended 2013 Pacific rush into Australia - and want to use the picture of dead migrants to break open their continent's backdoor to huge migrations from the developing world. So far, they have opened the door wide enough to attract millions of people eager to make the risky migration around the safe-but-closed legal entrance to Europe's placid and very civil society. "The migrants are mainly responsible for making these decisions, and the smugglers are criminals, but the [European] governments share the responsibility," for casualties along the risky route, said Mark Krikorian, director of the D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies. "By not enforcing [immigration] rules, they are thereby communicating to potential migrants that [the dangerous trip] is worth the risk." Many of the migrants are getting through the back door into Europe, so their trail of dead is a rational price for entry into Europe, Krikorian said. "Unless [European governments] are going to allow hundreds of millions of people to come over legally into Europe, there's no [smaller] number they could chose that would ensure more people won't come" via the risky sea passage, said Roy Beck, the founder of NumbersUSA.
Can Europe Be Saved?
And Can We?
Karl Marx wrote in 1848 that "A spectre is haunting Europe." That spectre was, of course, communism, and its ill effects were felt in Europe for the next 150 years. Today, another spectre is haunting Europe, and it may well have an even better chance than communism to destroy the European order that has existed since long before the time of Christ. This new threat is uncontrolled African and Middle Eastern immigration. Most European countries since World War II have had very generous refugee and immigration policies, partly in response to their own guilty conscience about the failed era of colonialism and partly out of a continued and misplaced sense of superiority. Germany, Britain, France and other nations thought they could import millions of foreign workers along with refugees from the Third World and still maintain their cultural integrity. I assume they believed that immigrants would choose to assimilate to Western culture because of its "obvious" advantages. But that hasn't happened. Now before anyone accuses me of racism, Islamophobia, or any other conveniently dismissive epithet, let's think about this seriously. Is the world better off or worse off having a Europe that is distinct from Africa? Is the world better off having an Asian culture that is apart from Middle Eastern culture? Is the world better off having a separate Hispanic/Latino culture, or would the world be better served by having Latino culture absorbed by Anglo culture? These are not idle questions. We have reached the point as a global society where either borders disappear and we move toward an inevitable homogenous sameness from pole to pole or we consciously and conscientiously protect and defend the unique and precious variations of human experience that are made possible by borders.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Tyranny derives from the oligarchy's mistrust of the people; hence they deprive them of arms, ill-treat the lower class, and keep them from residing in the capital. These are common to oligarchy and tyranny." ~ Aristotle