Archive for DC

Ben Carson: Might not be a 2016 election if GOP doesn’t win Senate

Ben Carson

I recently wrote a piece at Practical Politicking asking whether Dr. Ben Carson is a serious candidate for President in 2016. I pointed out several reasons why he might not be including his support of gun control. Now, a story in The Washington Post provides evidence for why he might even be a fringe candidate instead of just a less than serious one.

Ben Terris writes about Carson speaking at a recent town hall in Iowa and quotes Carson (emphasis added):

He speaks softly, almost as though he’s reading a child to sleep. But this is a scary story. If Republicans don’t win back the Senate in November, he says, he can’t be sure “there will even be an election in 2016.” Later, his wife, Candy, tells a supporter that they are holding on to their son’s Australian passport just in case the election doesn’t go their way.

Carson is a really bright guy and a great orator, but he places himself among the lunatic fringe of conspiracy theory buffs with talk like that. I’m not sure the little bit of weight I might have given a potential Carson candidacy can even survive these comments.

Report: Imminent Attack Warning? ISIS operating across US-Mexico border?

isis-flag

Judicial Watch via Andrew McCarthy:

Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle born improvised explosive devices (VBIED). High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources have confirmed to Judicial Watch that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued. Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat.

Specifically, Judicial Watch sources reveal that the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is confirmed to now be operating in Juarez, a famously crime-infested narcotics hotbed situated across from El Paso, Texas. Violent crimes are so rampant in Juarez that the U.S. State Department has issued a number of travel warnings for anyone planning to go there. The last one was issued just a few days ago.

Intelligence officials have picked up radio talk and chatter indicating that the terrorist groups are going to “carry out an attack on the border,” according to one JW source. “It’s coming very soon,” according to this high-level source, who clearly identified the groups planning the plots as “ISIS and Al Qaeda.” An attack is so imminent that the commanding general at Ft. Bliss, the U.S. Army post in El Paso, is being briefed, another source confirms. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not respond to multiple inquiries from Judicial Watch, both telephonic and in writing, about this information.

McCarthy’s take:

For those of us who’ve been raising alarms about both the jihadist threat and the national-security vulnerability created by the Obama administration’s non-enforcement of the immigration laws, this is not a surprise — particularly less than two weeks before September 11. But it is nonetheless jarring to read.

Bryan Preston fills in some more background:

There have been rumors and suggestions in the past that Islamic terrorist group Hizballah is operating in the border region over the past several years. Hizballah is confirmed to have operations in South America, in the tri-border region of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

A former deputy sheriff in the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department told me in 2012 that captured Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan, where he served in the United States Army, had confessed that they were training operatives from drug cartels in Mexico.

Pro-life leader Cookie Harris, wife of Rep. Andy Harris, passes away

harris-family

WBFF reports:

FOX45 has confirmed that Sylvia “Cookie” Harris, wife of MD Congressman Andy Harris, has died. Republican Andy Harris represents the 1st district of Maryland. This is a developing story; Stay with FOX45 for details.

WBAL-TV reported later that she died of a heart attack earlier today.

Cookie Harris was a native of Puerto Rico and attended Notre Dame of Maryland University. Andy and Cookie Harris had been married for over 30 years and have five children and two grandchildren. She has been active in Maryland Right to Life as their director of special events. I first met Mrs. Harris at a Students for Life event that the congressman was the speaker for in the DC area a few years ago. I know I had seen from her emails and online activity that she was again coordinating the volunteers for the MD RTL table at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium this week.

WBAL.com has several statements including some of the ones listed below. They also have the release from the Congressman’s office:

“Sylvia “Cookie” Harris, beloved wife of over 30 years to Congressman Andy Harris, devoted mother of five and grandmother to two, and devout Catholic, unexpectedly passed away on Thursday, August 28. The family is thankful for the thoughts and prayers that so many have offered already and appreciates privacy during this time.”

Archbishop William Lori of the Archdiocese of Baltimore made the following statement (via Catholic Review):

“Mrs. Harris was a tireless supporter of life and fully dedicated herself to the belief that all human life is sacred. Though her death is a tremendous loss, especially to those in the pro-life community, her legacy will continue to live on in the countless lives she not only touched, but possibly saved, through her efforts to build a culture of life in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.”

Jeffrey Meister, legislative director for MD RTL, posted the following on Facebook:

Cookie was a vivacious woman and friend dedicated to the pro-life movement. I often worked with her on numerous projects and events. She will certainly be missed.

Here’s what MD RTL posted on Facebook:

It is with heavy hearts we must say our dear friend and coworker Cookie Harris has passed away today. She served as the Director of Special Events, working intimately to put together a successful annual banquet, biannual convention, and the Maryland State Fair, which continues through Labor Day. She will be missed.

Diana Waterman of the Maryland GOP made the following statement:

“It is with deep sadness and regret that The Maryland Republican Party has been informed of the passing of Mrs. Sylvia “Cookie” Harris, wife of Congressman Andy Harris (Md-01). Mrs. Harris, a mother of five and grandmother of 2, was a devout catholic and strong advocate of the Maryland Right to Life organization. We are shocked and saddened by the news, Cookie was a truly wonderful person and the MDGOP’s thoughts, prayers and support go out to her family.”

Statement from Maryland Senate Republican Caucus:

“‘Cookie’ had a visible presence in Annapolis advocating on the issues she was so passionate about. All of the Senators had a wonderful relationship with her because of her political views and her never-tiring activism. Our thoughts and prayers are with Congressman Harris and the family.”

A statement from GOP candidate for Governor Larry Hogan:

“Words cannot adequately express how heartbroken Yumi and I are to learn of Cookie Harris’s sudden and tragic death. Our deepest condolences and prayers are with Andy and his children Joe, Becky, Irene, Jessica and Danny.”

Governor Martin O’Malley’s statement:

“We extend our deepest condolences to Congressman Andy Harris on the tragic loss of his wife, Sylvia ‘Cookie’ Harris. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Harris family.”

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown:

“I want to offer my deep and heartfelt condolences to Congressman Harris and his entire family on the tragic passing of Sylvia ‘Cookie’ Harris. The thoughts and prayers of my family, and of all Marylanders, are with the Harris family at this difficult time,” Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown said in a statement issued by his office.

A Baltimore Sun story has the below reactions:

“She was vivacious, and so outgoing and giving — she would help anyone with anything,” said Ellen R. Sauerbrey, a former state lawmaker and two-time Republican nominee for governor. “Being the wife of a person running for office is not easy, but Cookie was always very supportive.”

[...]

State Sen. Joseph M. Getty, a Carroll County Republican, called her “a true partner of Andy in his political endeavors.”

“But she was also frequently seen in Annapolis as an advocate for the issues she was passionate about.”

[...]

“She was a very fine woman,” said former Rep. Helen Delich Bentley. She said she would remember Mrs. Harris on the campaign trail with kids in tow and a broad smile.

“She was extremely supportive of all of Andy’s efforts to take on the responsibilities that he did in Congress. She was a great mother, and I know they were a happy couple.”

Delegate Kelly Schulz’s comments:

It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Sylvia “Cookie” Harris, the wife of Congressman Andy Harris. She was a great champion of justice for unborn children, a dear friend to many, and a great Marylander. We offer our prayers to the Harris family in this difficult time.

Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger:

“It is with great sadness that I offer my sincere condolences to the Harris family on the sudden loss of their devoted mother and wife. Cookie was an active leader in the Cockeysville community and her involvement will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers are with Congressman Harris, his children and his family.”

I’m really just floored a bit by this news, and I offer my heartfelt condolences to the Harris family. I will be praying for the repose of the soul of Cookie Harris and I will also be praying for the whole Harris family now during their time of grief. I  would encourage everyone else to pray for them as well.

The Libertarian Case for Being Pro-Life

libertarians-for-life

I first heard several months ago from a friend who is a registered Libertarian about Libertarians for Life.

Here’s the Libertarian Case Against Abortion from their website:

One popular misconception is that libertarianism as a political principle supports choice on abortion. And major elements within the libertarian movement (the Libertarian Party, for example) take abortion-choice stands. Nonetheless, libertarianism’s basic principle is that each of us has the obligation not to aggress against (violate the rights of) anyone else — for any reason (personal, social, or political), however worthy. That is a clearly pro-life principle. Recognizing that, and seeing the abortion-choice drift within the libertarian movement, Libertarians for Life was founded in 1976 to show why abortion is a wrong under justice, not a right.

We see our mission as presenting the pro-life case to libertarians and the libertarian case to pro-lifers. Among supporters of LFL, some of us are members of the Libertarian Party, some are not. Some are religious, some are not. (Doris Gordon, our Founder and Coordinator, is a Jewish atheist.) Our reasoning is expressly scientific and philosophical rather than either pragmatic or religious, or merely political or emotional.

Here are the points LFL uses to defend their case:

  1. Human offspring are human beings, persons from conception, whether that takes place as natural or artificial fertilization, by cloning, or by any other means.
  2. Abortion is homicide — the killing of one person by another.
  3. One’s right to control one’s own body does not allow violating the obligation not to aggress. There is never a right to kill an innocent person. Prenatally, we are all innocent persons.
  4. A prenatal child has the right to be in the mother’s body. Parents have no right to evict their children from the crib or from the womb and let them die. Instead both parents, the father as well as the mother, owe them support and protection from harm.
  5. No government, nor any individual, has a just power to legally “de-person” any one of us, born or preborn.
  6. The proper purpose of the law is to side with the innocent, not against them.

Kristen Walker Hatten, a libertarian, wrote a piece entitled, “Why Libertarians should be Pro-Life on Abortion.”

She wrote:

The s0-called “social issue” which is the glaring exception to this rule is abortion. It is not a “victimless crime,” as many argue prostitution, sodomy, and gambling are. All libertarians of all stripes – and in this I include Objectivists, though they might, well, object – should oppose abortion. Anyone who advocates any kind of government, no matter how minimal, should support making abortion a criminal act.

How do I justify this? It’s actually pretty simple.

If you advocate a small government, you must assign it limited goals. What are the most basic reasons for a government to exist? To keep people safe, from outside aggressors and from each other. Objectivism, for example, argues for a “night watchman” government: basically, the military, police, and courts. The military defends the people from outside aggressors, the police arrest and incarcerate criminals, and the courts decide guilt or innocence and hand down sentences, as well as settling civil legal disputes.

I mention the Objectivist ideal to illustrate that even the most bare-bones government would have laws against citizens killing other citizens. Libertarianism, unlike Objectivism, is based largely on the Non-Aggression Principle, which says – to put it very simply - it is morally wrong to initiate aggression. Force is justified only when combating force.

Libertarianism is also firmly based on a belief in personal responsibility. If every man is and should be free to make his own decisions, it follows that every man must own the results of those decisions. Which is to say: if a man and woman have sex, they both accept the risk that a pregnancy might be the result, and accept the obligation to care for the resulting child.

Another group espousing a similar philosophy to LFL is Secular Pro Life (SPL.)

Report: Burger King in talks to buy Tim Horton’s to avoid US taxes

tim-hortons
Business Insider:

The Wall Street Journal’s Liz Hoffman and Dana Mattioli report Burger King is in talks to buy Tim Horton’s to pull off a “tax inversion” that would allow it to avoid U.S. taxes.

The new holding company would be based in Canada, the pair report.

“One of the people said a deal between the two companies could be struck soon, though additional details on timing couldn’t be learned,” they write. “Together the restaurant companies have a market value of about $18 billion.”

The deal would create the world’s third-largest fast food enterprise.

While this is mainly for the tax implications, would it mean more Tim Horton’s in the US? (There are a small number in the US including some on military installations.)

DC to conduct streetcar emergency drill Sunday on H St NE

dcstreetcar

From a DC Alerts email:

On Sunday, August 24, 2014, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), along with District first responders, will conduct a DC Streetcar Emergency Drill on H Street NE to prepare for real-world streetcar operations on the H Street/Benning Road corridor.

The purpose of the exercise is to test operational coordination and preparedness of DC Streetcar and first responder personnel in the event of an incident involving a streetcar. The exercise will simulate a streetcar derailment caused by a collision between a DC Streetcar vehicle with passengers and an automobile on H Street NE. DC Streetcar personnel along with Metropolitan Police Department and DC Fire and EMS will coordinate and practice their evacuation and emergency protocols for dealing with such an incident.

The exercise will take place on the 1200 block of H Street NE and requires a temporary closure of H Street NE between 12th Street and 13th Street in both directions, between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m.  In addition, there will be parking restrictions on 12th Street and H Street (see temporary closure map below).

During the drill, there will be significant emergency personnel on-site on the H Street corridor and residents are advised that this is only a drill and to use caution when traveling along the vicinity of the drill.

X2 bus stops in the 1200 block of H Street will be closed as well.

Here are detours:

  • Westbound traffic on H Street NE will be detoured south at 13th Street, then west at G Street.
  • Eastbound traffic on H Street NE will be detoured north at 12th Street, then east at I Street.
  • 12th Street NE traffic will be directed to I Street to travel east.
  • 13th Street NE traffic will be directed to G Street to travel west.

Georgetown prof, son of terrorist, compares Israel to ISIS

tweets-wfb

Adam Kredo of Washington Free Beacon has the details:

A Georgetown University professor whose father pled guilty to terrorism charges is facing criticism for comparing Israel to the terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS) on Twitter.

Georgetown University History Professor Abdullah Al-Arian, the son of Sami Al-Arian, a controversial Israel critic who pled guilty to conspiring with a terror group, tweeted out his take on a common nursery rhyme by comparing Israel to the terror group ISIL, which recently beheaded an American journalist on film

Al-Arian quickly deleted the tweet, but not before a screenshot was taken and retweeted by the Washington Free BeaconCritics immediately deemed the tweet offensive, inaccurate, and over the line for a professor at Georgetown, which itself has come under fire for hosting a 9/11 Truther and a member of Egypt’s Nazi Party.

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Kredo got no response to request for comment from Al-Arian or from Georgetown. Al-Arian is a professor at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service on the Qatar campus. As Kredo notes, Qatar has been the principle source of funding for Hamas.

Exclusive: Read the DHS bulletin on Thursday’s “Nationwide Day of Rage” #ferguson

fawkes

I have obtained an Information Bulletin that originated in the Threat Management Division (TMD) of the Federal Protective Service (FPS) at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS.) I have posted the whole bulletin online here and also embedded it at the bottom of this post. The bulletin is unclassified but For Official Use Only (FOUO.)

The information bulletin number is FPS HQ IB-006-2014.

Here’s the overview section:

Anonymous is calling for a “Nationwide Day of Rage” on Thursday, August 21. The demonstrations are
purported to protest the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO, and subsequent police actions. Currently, there
is no information to indicate there will be civil disobedience at these protests.

From the details section:

Information has been received from various law enforcement sources, other federal agencies as well as open
source outlets indicating Anonymous has issued a call to action, calling for a “Nationwide Day of Rage” on
Thursday, August 21.

Anonymous is an asymmetric associated international network of hacktivist and activists entities known for a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on government, religious and corporate websites as well
as with individuals associated with the group wearing Guy Fawkes masks. Anonymous members have
garnered law enforcement attention for activities targeted against US government agencies, media, military
contractors, military personnel and police officers.

The demonstrations are purported to protest the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO, the subsequent police
actions against protesters in the city as well as in support of the demonstrators demanding the prosecution of the
identified police officer.

Currently there is no indication that protests are expected to become violent. However, recent protests in
Ferguson have resulted in violence, property damage and subsequent arrests.

The details then list event locations and times for events in Ann Arbor, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Carson City, Chicago, Columbus (OH), Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, Durham, Lansing, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Memphis, Milwaukee, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City (Manhattan),  Newark, Oakland, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland (OR), Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, Tucson, and Washington, DC.

More on the bulletin can be found below.

Read More…

Navy orders Navy Lodges to put Bibles back into rooms

navy-lodge

Stars & Stripes has the breaking news:

Gideons Bibles are going back into Navy lodges.

The Navy on Thursday ordered the Bibles returned to rooms and said it is reviewing a decision by the Navy Exchange to remove them from its worldwide network of military hotels.

Atheists had cheered a victory after a complaint prompted the exchange to begin moving the Bibles to its lost-and-found bins this summer, but the Navy said the decision was made without consulting senior leadership.

“That decision and our religious accommodation policies with regard to the placement of religious materials are under review,” Navy spokesman Cmdr. Ryan Perry wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes.  “While that review is under way, religious materials removed from Navy Lodge rooms will be returned.”

This is a loss for the Freedom From Religion Foundation and for Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

Restaurant owner receives death threat over Israeli flag

bennys-flag
(Photo: Benny Fischer)

Bethesda Beat reports on what happened after Benny Fischer put up an Israeli flag last Wednesday outside Benny’s Bar and Grill to show his support for Israel fighting against Hamas:

The flag was hung opposite an American flag near the front door at Benny’s Bar & Grill on Tuckerman Lane. The next morning, at 2:41 a.m., Fischer received a call on his cellphone from a blocked number. He said the caller told him he or she was planning to steal the flag and then went into an anti-Semitic rant.

Fischer said he couldn’t tell if the caller was a man or woman. “They were trying to disguise their voice, I could tell that,” Fischer said.

Fischer said he hung up on the initial call, but received another from a blocked number at 2:45 a.m. When he answered that one, the caller continued the rant, saying things like, “You f—king Jew, I’m going to kill you and all the other Jews,” according to Fischer.

“I said to them, ‘You’re just a coward like all the other Jew-haters in the world,’ ” Fischer said.

Montgomery County Police are investigating the calls as a hate crime. Earlier this year, teenage boys were arrested over anti-Semitic graffiti on vehicles and a synagogue in Potomac.

Fischer isn’t backing down according to the article:

Fischer said he’s undaunted by the threats and plans to host a fundraiser next month at his restaurant for Magen David Adom, an Israeli organization similar to the American Red Cross.

“It’s always been in my nature to be proud of who I am,” Fischer said. “Putting up a flag is not a big deal, but a lot of people are afraid of doing just that. They’re afraid of being singled out and targeted.”