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I Have a Feeling This Officer Is About to Become Very Famous



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I think the anti-police narrative in Ferguson is over-blown, but unless there’s some exculpatory context that’s missing, this seems pretty appalling (language warning):

Tags: Ferguson

All Fall Down



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Consider our dog days of August: An American journalist savagely beheaded on tape, with more promised to come. The Islamic State rampage. The Gaza war and Hamas’s serial truce violations — and the new neutral U.S. stance with implied disruptions in military support for Israel. The implosion of Iraq, the bloodletting in Syria. Iran full speed ahead on enrichment as the world’s attention turns elsewhere. Putin and Ukraine on the edge of war. Libya bombed again. Egypt in turmoil. Christians being wiped away in the Middle East. Ebola spreading in Africa. China squaring off with Japan. Germany angry at being tapped while tapping others. What exactly happened to Private Bergdahl or the five terrorists who were freed for his freedom?

At least there is calm at home?

Hardly: food, gas, and electricity prices are at near all-time highs; a stagnant economy in “recovery” that for most people outside of Wall Street remains recessionary; government soon to be run by executive orders; the end of any idea of national sovereignty or a southern border; the Ferguson riots and racial explosions revealing an America more divided than at any time since the 1970s; the buffoonish Missouri governor Nixon playing the Katrina role of a now imprisoned Ray Nagin. The alphabet soup of unresolved IRS, VA, NSA, and AP scandals; revolutionary, extra-legal justice meted out to Rick Perry; Benghazi coming back into the news; the little reported on drip-by-drip practical dissolution of Obamacare.

1979–80 seem calm in comparison.

The chaos arises from a variety of causes, but one common denominator is that President Obama has not a clue how to deal with these crises.

So wisely he stays among the 1 percent at Martha’s Vineyard and golfs, given that he has recognized that the more that he is out of the public eye, the less he is emptily sermonizing with “make no mistake about it” and “let me be perfectly clear.” And thus the less the public is bothered by his abstract presidency, given the less it must experience it in the concrete. Polls reveal that the less the public sees or hears their iconic president, the less they are bothered by him. 

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Judge Orders Obama Team to Reveal Operation Fast and Furious Documents



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A federal judge ordered President Obama’s team to hand over some documents pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious and to provide a list of withheld documents.

Once House Republicans see the list of withheld documents, they will have a chance to challenge the withholding of particular documents.

“This Administration has been so intent on hiding the contents of these documents that it allowed Attorney General Holder to be held in contempt instead of just turning them over to Congress,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) said of the ruling. “The privilege log will bring us closer to finding out why the Justice Department hid behind false denials in the wake of reckless conduct that contributed to the violent deaths of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and countless Mexican citizens.”

Holder was held in contempt in 2012 after he refused to produce 1,300 pages of documents subpoenaed by Issa’s committee. Obama said that the documents were shielded from congressional review by executive privilege.

“How can the president assert executive privilege if there was no White House involvement?” Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) said at the time. “How can the president exert executive privilege over documents he’s supposedly never seen? Is something very big being hidden to go to this extreme?”

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson “signaled that under the ruling she would devise, DOJ would have to persuade her on each document as to why she should allow Holder to withhold it from Congress” when she heard the case in May, according to Breitbart’s Ken Klukowski.

Web Briefing: August 26, 2014

Obama: James Foley ‘Courageously Told the Stories of His Fellow Human Beings’



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President Obama remembered journalist James Foley, and offered a stern condemnation of his Islamic State killers, who released a video of one of its members beheading Foley. He chastised its members for their ”cowardly acts of violence,” including murder, rape, and torture of Christians, Muslims, and others.

“No faith teaches people to massacre innocence,” he said from Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday afternoon. “No just god would stand for what they did yesterday, and what they do every single day. ISIL has no ideology of any value to human beings. Their ideology is bankrupt.”

“People like this ultimately fail, they fail because the future is won by those who build and not destroy, and the world is shaped by people like Jim Foley and the overwhelming majority of humanity who are appalled by this who killed him,” the president continued.

He gave assurance that the United States will continue to protect American interests, and do all it can to ensure justice for Foley.

He called the journalist “a man who lived his work, who courageously told the stories of his fellow human beings, who was liked and loved by his friends and family.”

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Is the Russian ‘Humanitarian’ Convoy on Ukraine’s Border a Trojan Horse?



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What is the purpose of the Russian “humanitarian” column still resting on the border (though the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers have now agreed to let it proceed)? The simplest guess is that it was originally some kind of Trojan Horse, bringing weapons and Russian personnel into Ukraine to supplement the flagging fortunes of the separatists. But Western journalists have seen inside some of the wagons in the convoy and they seem to be almost empty.  

A follow-up guess might be that it was originally full of weapons but that they were removed when the International Red Cross and Western governments proved unexpectedly tough in insisting on a proper inspection. That would explain the relative emptiness of the lorries. In that case, however, why not postpone sending the convoy to a later time rather than send an empty Trojan Horse on a pointless trip? So maybe the convoy was intended as a diversionary tactic of some kind.

The minimalist version of this theory would have the world and the Ukrainian army concentrating on the humanitarian convoy while a Russian force entered Ukraine at a different point and made a lightning dash towards Donetsk (or some other separatist position). By the time that the world wised up, new facts would have been created on the ground, the separatists would have been given a morale boost, and the destabilization of Ukraine would have proceeded a little further (after a disappointing few months for the separatists and Moscow).

The maximalist version of this theory holds that the humanitarian convoy would actually cross the border but that, once it had done so and was heading for Donetsk, the convoy would be fired on. On this theory the firing would actually come from pro-Russian separatists but it would be blamed on official Ukrainian forces. With luck it might even be fired on by genuine Ukrainian forces. In either case Moscow would then have a pretext for intervention.

Well, as it happens, there was a report from two Western journalists (conveniently enough, one from the Daily Telegraph, another from the Guardian) who witnessed a Russian armored column crossing the border a week ago. Ukrainians claim that an intruding Russian column was largely destroyed by Ukrainian fire around that time; Moscow dismisses this as a “fantasy.” But because of two Western reporters we know that something happened. It looks like a combination of the two theories—namely, that the humanitarian convoy was a diversion to distract attention from a Russian military incursion that was then destroyed by the Ukrainians. If so, it was a major setback for Moscow’s attempts to shore up the faltering separatist war and maybe helps to explain the Kremlin’s apparent willingness to move towards a settlement. Which means that the convoy might have a secondary purpose: It is indeed a Trojan Horse — but one designed to get Greek captives safely out of Troy and back to Hellas.

Consider the situation in eastern Ukraine: Three separatist leaders have recently resigned; separatist morale is collapsing; the Ukrainian army is closing in; yet there are entire separatist units from outside Ukraine (Chechen mercenaries for instance), now trapped in encircled cities. Maybe the plan was that once the Russian humanitarian convoy had arrived and distributed its meager fare, the defeated rebels would quietly board the lorries and be transported safely back to Mother Russia without anyone noticing. That may still happen — but not without anyone noticing.

Mother of Beheaded Journalist: ‘It’s That Hatred That Jim Was Against’



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James Foley’s mother said that her son’s beheading at the hands of Islamic State terrorists demonstrated why Foley had decided to go into war journalism.

“Jim is just innocent and they knew it,” Mrs. Foley told reporters matter-of-factly during a press conference. “It’s that hatred that Jim was against. . . . One of the reasons he was drawn to conflict journalism was because of his brother’s in the military.”

Mrs. Foley emphasized that her son “would not want us to hate or be bitter” and that her family was “praying for the strength to love like he did.”

Ferguson Prosecutor Tells Governor Nixon to ‘Man Up’



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Governor Jay Nixon is undermining the process and further aggravating the situation in Ferguson, Mo., with his comments regarding who should prosecute the Brown case, according to the man at the center of the latest controversy in the death of Michael Brown.

On Tuesday, Nixon released a videotaped statement in which he said he would not remove St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch from the case and that it was up to McCulloch to recuse himself if he thought it necessary. Critics have taken issue with McCulloch’s involvement because his family serves on the police force, and his father was killed on the job as an officer by a black man in the 1960s.

McCulloch said in a radio interview that aired on CNN that the governor’s comments were “typical Nixon doublespeak” and “a distraction,” which hampered the process from moving forward.

“The Brown family deserves that, and the rest of the community deserves it, so just make a decision,” he said. “He said absolutely nothing last night that is any way, shape, or form meaningful, and it only aggravates the situation.”

He said he will continue to proceed with the investigation at this point, but fears the “most devastating” situation would be if he is later removed and the process has to start over again.

“Stand up, man up — stand up and say, ‘I have this authority — I am not removing McCulloch,’ [or] ‘I am removing McCulloch,’ and move on with this,” he continued.

Via Mediaite.

Tags: Ferguson

On Hamilton, Madison, Chait, and Klein



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Earlier in the week, New York’s Jonathan Chait took exception to Philip Klein’s suggestion that the Founders intended the Senate to act as a strong local check on the national government. Chait wrote:

A longstanding conceit of conservative thought, which has returned with new force during the Obama years, is that conservatism is the authentic heir to the vision of the Founders. (See, for example, Paul Ryan’s recent op-ed, which offhandedly describes his own polices, in contrast with President Obama’s, as consistent with “the Founders’ vision.”) One can see this in a dispute between liberal writer Jonathan Cohn, who complains that the Senate gives disproportionate power to rural, conservative voters, and conservative Philip Klein, who rebukes Cohn by instructing him that the Founders Wanted It This Way.

In response to this “instruction,” Chait suggested that:

It is true that the Founders agreed to create a Senate that gave every state equal voting rights regardless of population. It is not true that Madison — or Alexander Hamilton, whom Klein also quotes — wanted it this way.

On these two points, Chait is absolutely correct. There were many “Founders,” and between them they had a range of different ideas as to how they might achieve their goals. Some at the 1787 Convention, Madison and Hamilton included, flatly opposed the Senate as it today exists, preferring a more proportionately representative Congress. Others, including Connecticut’s Roger Sherman and many within the “anti-federalist” contingent, preferred to fracture power in order to ensure that the smaller states could more effectively prevent the larger states from riding roughshod over their preferences. The Constitution that we live under today is the product of a compromise between these positions. Yes, Madison and Hamilton eventually took to defending the Constitution as it had been written. But, as Chait notes, that should not lead us to believe that it was what they had wanted all along. It wasn’t.

Chait’s post was evidently intended to serve as a correction to Phillip Klein’s slightly misleading suggestion that the Senate was a Madisonian idea, and, insofar as it does that, it’s all well and good. Nevertheless, Chait goes a little further than simply ensuring that we take each founder at their word, at one point moving away from his central theme that the Constitution was a compromise rather than an “inspired vision” to suggest that “most of the figures we regard as the Founders despised the idea of one state, one vote.” I wonder what exactly this can mean? As I was when Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner went down this road, I am at a loss as to how we could even start to investigate who the most important Founders are? Do we choose the ones who did most of the work? The ones who went on to become presidents? The most famous among them? This is a document, remember, that was written in secret and then submitted to the people for their acquiescence. At neither the drafting nor the ratification stage did the Founders that Chait apparently likes the most have enough votes for their coveted plan. And that, ultimately, is all that matters. “The Founders” wrote a Constitution. The “Founding Electorate” accepted it. It is what it is.

Earlier in the year, in response to Wehner/Gerson, I pushed back against the tendency to elevate the views of some Founders above those of others, noting that

as legislation also bears the mark of those who either voted “No” or extracted concessions in exchange for their acquiescence, the Constitution bears the indelible mark of its critics. And, as the Beatles wouldn’t be the Beatles without Lennon’s acerbic cynicism offsetting McCartney’s silly-love-song lyricism, nor would the Founders be the Founders without Patrick Henry, Sam Adams, George Mason, and all of the proto–tea partiers whom Wehner and Gerson accuse of harboring “fierce anti-government fervor.”

Why is this important? Well, because in constructing their case, Wehner and Gerson do not refer to the text but to the extraneous views of the “most influential of the founders” — the membership of which exclusive group appears primarily to rely upon the degree to which candidates fit the case. Having established which contributors are to be taken seriously and, by extension, which are not, the authors then attempt to graft the views of their chosen few onto a document that bore many other names besides. This is a problem, underplaying the essential importance of the Constitution’s being a hard-won compromise and mistaking intentions for outcomes.

There are limitations to Chait’s critique of Klein, too. What Chait’s post tells us is that Madison and Hamilton had a different vision for the Constitution than did others involved in its commission, and that it is anachronistic to regard the pair’s post-hoc sales pitch as evidence of their early intent. What the post absolutely does not do, however, is to bolster Jonathan Cohn’s initial case, which was that the system we have is limiting the strength of the national government, that this is annoying and, possibly, unintentional. To make the case that Madison and Hamilton did not want a Senate is by no means to make the case that Madison and Hamilton wanted a strong national government. In fact, I would argue the opposite is the case: to wit, that while Madison and Hamilton opposed the Senate per se, they didn’t oppose what the Senate today achieves.

Keep reading this post . . .

A New Republican Party?



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In 1977, when conservatism was at its political nadir, Ronald Reagan gave a bold, optimistic speech at the fourth annual CPAC convention.  “A New Republican Party” was effectively Reagan’s blueprint for victory in 1980, and it rested on Reagan’s political touchstone, respect and admiration for the common American. Last week, two young heirs of the Reagan tradition offered their ideas of what a new conservatism might look like. Turns out it’s an updating of the master’s old conservatism, including recognition that a conservatism that fails to rest on respect for the common man is one doomed to failure. It’s about time.

Paul Ryan’s Wall Street Journal op-ed has received the most attention. In it, the 2012 vice-presidential nominee repudiated his past use of the phrase “makers versus takers” as unintentionally insulting to the majority of Americans who, at some point in their lives, receive government benefits. The “makers versus takers” rhetoric is very far away from Reagan’s idea that the average American, even those on unemployment or receiving food stamps, is worthy of respect. More important than the retraction, though, are Ryan’s ideas on a conservative philosophy of governance. For Ryan, government assistance is needed and a good if it helps people move into lives of self-sufficiency. It’s also a good if it helps people afford market-driven health care “while offering a real safety net for those in need.”

In his landmark 1964 speech endorsing Barry Goldwater, Reagan took on the liberal canard that “we’re always ‘against’ things — we’re never ‘for’ anything.” He then laid out the broad case for a social safety net that helped people truly in need, but not as one-sized-fits-all compulsory government programs for people who did not. Ryan’s ideas, encapsulated in his recent anti-poverty plan, which I dubbed “Ryan 2.0,” are right up the Gipper’s alley.

But not everyone is so dependent upon government that they are eligible for benefits under food stamps, housing vouchers, or cash welfare. Most Americans are well above those thresholds, yet they find life in today’s economy a struggle to get ahead. For those Americans, comprehensive tax reform of the type generally proposed by conservatives offers little to nothing in the short term. That’s because most Americans’ incomes fall in the 10 or 15 percent brackets: cutting their rates by 20 or 30 percent simply won’t give them a lot of money back. And if tax breaks they use, such as the personal exemption, the child tax credit, the EITC, or the health-insurance premium exclusion, are reduced to make way for tax-rate cuts, then they could find their income taxes going up to pay for rate reductions for millionaires.

Senator Mike Lee has offered a tax reform plan that gives everyone a break, cutting top rates and increasing the child tax credit. He spoke about that at the Reagan Ranch last week, but his speech was also much more notable for his philosophy of governance. 

Lee’s Reaganesque philosophy does not rest primarily on Reagan’s opposition to government. Instead, he reminds us that Reagan “had the cadence of compassion.” He noted that the Reagan who created that new Republican party from 1977–80 focused on the “people shouldering the brunt of big government’s failure: the working men and women of and aspiring to America’s middle class.” Lee noted that while the poor “attracted Washington’s sympathy” and the rich “could influence public policy,” the average American was “being ignored, slighted, and left behind by the political class in Washington.”

Sound familiar? Reagan’s challenge is our challenge.

Lee even unearthed a long-forgotten Reagan quote from a 1964 essay he wrote in National Review explaining why Goldwater lost. In that piece, Reagan said “we [conservatives] represent the forgotten American — that simple soul who goes to work, bucks for a raise, takes out insurance, pays for his kids’ schooling, contributes to his church and charity and knows there just ‘ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.’” Lee cites this approvingly and, I believe correctly, goes on to argue that Reagan “believed government should stand on the side of the little guy against unfair concentrations of political and economic power.” Most important, Lee notes that Reagan believed “that freedom doesn’t mean you’re on your own; it means we’re all in this together.”

Yes, yes, ten thousand times yes!

The conservatism that lapses unintentionally into the language of “makers versus takers” also unintentionally lapses into the language of human inequality. By seeking to tarnish Americans who receive government assistance as “takers,” this approach tarnished the character of virtually all Americans who, at some point in their lives, are net fiscal recipients from the treasury. That sentiment may be representative of an anarchic libertarianism, but it is definitely not representative of conservatism or of conservatism’s greatest hero.

A new Republican party of the sort outlined by Lee and Ryan can recapture the center of American politics, a center that wants government to offer everyone a hand up and no one a handout. It’s a party that can win and, more important, a party that deserves to win.

— Henry Olsen is a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center 

Today Hosts Totally Giddy as Joe Biden Wishes Al Roker Happy Birthday: ‘You Just Made This Man’s Life’



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Amid ongoing international and domestic crises, Joe Biden made time to make a surprise appearance on Today to wish meteorologist Al Roker a happy 60th birthday.

“This is such an honor,” a gushing Roker said. Roker and the vice president have a chummy history: During President Obama’s second inauguration, Roker screamed at a passing Biden from the crowd in hopes of getting a handshake.

Imparting his wisdom on aging and how to feel young, Biden charmed Roker by saying the host was just 37 years old. In awe of the vice president’s presence, Roker shifted the focus back to Biden, marveling at the vice president’s energy.

Biden suggested that if he becomes president, Roker could expect a gig at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “If I were running the administration in the next one, I’d have you in it — I mean, what the hell?” he said.

“I think that’s a reason for you to run right there,” Roker responded.

“I figured I had to do something to get you to say that,” Biden quipped.

The vice president continued to flatter the Today hosts, saying he could not be a host of the show because he “would have trouble sitting across from [host Natalie Morales] all day.” Morales appeared breath-taken by the compliment. (Biden has a history of being handsy with female TV hosts.)

“Mr. Vice President, you just made this man’s life,” Morales said before Biden signed off. The panel continued to show their elation before heading to break.

Video: George W. Bush Accepts ALS Challenge



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Fun video. Click here to watch.

— You can follow me on Twitter at @MichaelRStrain.

Public Opinion Holds Steady



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A very interesting explanation of what really happens with “swing voters” when approval numbers go up and down over at the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage:

How can election polls swing so much given the increasingly polarized nature of American politics, where switching one’s support between candidates is a significant move? We investigate this question by conducting a novel panel survey of 83,283 people repeatedly polled over the last 45 days of the 2012 U.S. presidential election campaign. We find that reported swings in public opinion polls are generally not due to actual shifts in vote intention, but rather are the result of temporary periods of relatively low response rates by supporters of the reportedly slumping candidate. After correcting for this bias, we show there were nearly constant levels of support for the candidates during what appeared, based on traditional polling, to be the most volatile stretches of the campaign. Our results raise the possibility that decades of large, reported swings in public opinion — including the perennial “convention bounce” — are largely artifacts of sampling bias.

Andrew Gelman, one of the authors of the study, fleshes out the whole thing quite well. 

Mo. Dem Senator: Controversial County Prosecutor Will Be ‘Fair’ in Brown Case



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Senator Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) gave St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch a forceful vote of confidence amid calls from within her own party that he not be involved in the case of the shooting death of Ferguson, Mo., man Michael Brown.

Critics question McCulloch’s objectivity, and suggest that he will be sympathetic to Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Brown, because McCulloch’s family has served on the police force and his father was killed on the job by a black man in the 1960s. On Tuesday, Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, refused to remove McCulloch from the case, saying McCulloch can recuse himself if he feels compelled to do so.

McCaskill, who has known McCulloch for decades, said he has one of the best county prosecutor’s offices in the country and suggestions that he cannot be objective are unfounded. “I know he is fair,” she told MSNBC.

“We have a process in the country where people are elected,” McCaskill said. “You don’t come along and just remove someone from that job unless it is under the powers of an emergency.”

Ultimately, Nixon can remove McCulloch if he chooses to by using state-of-emergency powers, and his refusal to do so shows he too has confidence in McCulloch, McCaskill added.

McCaskill’s support is likely to rankle some of her fellow Democrats in the state, as well as left-leaning commentators following the situation. For example, state senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal has said McCulloch should not be involved in the case. Ferguson Democratic committeewoman Patricia Bynes has also questioned his capacity to fairly prosecute the case.

Tags: Ferguson

Not That He Favors Racial Quotas or Anything



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From Eric Holder’s “open letter” to the people of Ferguson: “And police forces should reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.”

Hiring with an eye on race and ethnicity violates the civil-rights laws that Mr. Holder is supposedly enforcing. And such discrimination is not only unfair and divisive; it also means that the less qualified will be hired over the more qualified, which is in no one’s interest, including of course the general public’s interest in being protected.  

Should an all-white jurisdiction avoid hiring nonwhites? Do most nonwhites insist on having a sub-optimum police force because of their racial preferences? If they do, should those preferences be catered to? Can and should a police force be trusted only if it has a melanin content that approximates the melanin content of the jurisdiction’s general population? The answers are no, no, no, and no. And it is certainly not a good thing for the attorney general of the United States to encourage, apparently, the answers of yes, yes, yes, and yes.

Tags: Ferguson

Tempers Flared between Police and Protesters in Ferguson Tuesday Night, 47 Arrested



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After a night of non-violent protests along West Florissant Street yesterday, police officers attempted to clear the parking lots people had been standing and sitting in. The police had been pushing people away from the street and towards the sidewalk before making the decision to push people in the opposite direction — away from the parking lots. Protesters grew angry quickly.

A protester talked to police as they attempted to clear a parking lot:

 

Some protesters shouted at police, as the police moved through the lot:

Police stopped moving in the McDonald’s parking lot, where protesters had grown frustrated. Some protesters attempted to calm down others who had grown angry with police:

Protesters did not engage police at this time and appeared to regain their composure. After a vehicle that resembled Thomas the Tank Engine rolled through the street and protesters gathered in prayer, an officer could be heard shouting that some unruly protesters had begun throwing bottles. Cops and protesters alike started sprinting in the direction of the QuikTrip convenience store. Police apprehended several men and handcuffed them on the ground.

Police then prepared a response to the protesters’ actions. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told media, “I cannot ensure your safety,” and instructed media to move to the command post.

Police officers advanced on the protesters in armored vehicles and on foot in riot gear. Using a loud speaker, the cops asked everyone to disperse immediately. In an early-morning press conference, Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson said 47 people were arrested, mainly for failure to disperse. 

Tags: Ferguson

Thomas the Tank Engine Showed Up in Ferguson Last Night



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When police left the street to remove protesters from the parking lots last night in Ferguson, something rather bizarre happened: A miniature Thomas the Tank Engine rolled down West Florissant Street.

Blasting what sounded like Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me,” the train made a full lap around the street that protesters had marched along. The train headed towards McDonald’s, and pulled over to the sidewalk when instructed to do so by police.

The train arrived just before protesters gathered in prayer. Soon after the prayer, some protesters allegedly threw bottles at police.

Tags: Ferguson

Al Sharpton to Deliver Eulogy at Michael Brown’s Funeral



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The Reverend Al Sharpton will give the eulogy at the funeral of Michael Brown on Monday, according to the family’s attorney.

Tags: Ferguson

Megyn Kelly Blasts Mo. Gov’s Premature Call for Prosecution in Brown Case



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Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly ripped Missouri governor Jay Nixon for getting ahead of the prosecutor in calling for a “vigorous prosecution” in response to the killing of Ferguson, Mo. man Michael Brown. Nixon, who also served as the state’s attorney general for 16 years, should know better, she said.

​”That is not the way our justice system works, and he knows damn well that’s the case,” Kelly said on Tuesday night shortly after Nixon released a video message in which he made the remarks. “Is he that worried about his own political hide that he’s going to endanger this officer’s life further, and other people’s life for that matter?”

Nixon has come under pressure to remove St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch, who critics say would be too sympathetic to Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Brown; McCulloch’s father, a police officer, was killed on the job by a black man in the 1960s. In his video, Nixon refused to remove the prosecutor, but said McCulloch could also recuse himself if he wanted.

But for Kelly, Nixon was interfering with the judicial process and essentially siding with protesters who have vowed to continue demonstrating if Wilson was not indicted.

“I will say, as somebody who practiced law for nearly a decade, that was an irresponsible and outrageous statement to make on the eve of the grand jury convening and he needs to walk it back and apologize for getting out ahead of his skis,” she said.

Tags: Ferguson

Democrats Fail in Effort to Tilt Alaska’s GOP Senate Primary



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The last major Republican primary in a state with a competitive Senate race this fall is over. Last night in Alaska, the choice of both establishment Republican Karl Rove and the free-market Club for Growth won over a tea-party-backed candidate — but not by much. With that result comes some lessons for the future about Democratic interference in GOP primaries. The race against Democratic senator Mark Begich this fall will be close and very hard fought — and could determine overall control of the Senate.

Former state attorney general Dan Sullivan won 40 percent of the vote to defeat Fairbanks lawyer Joe Miller (32 percent) and Lieutenant. Governor Mead Treadwell (25 percent). The result was much closer than polls had showed, with Miller winning almost twice as high a percentage of the vote as expected. Miller had a similar surge in 2010 when he won a narrow victory over U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski but went on to lose to her as a write-in that fall. Since then he has remained politically active, and won the endorsement of Sarah Palin in this year’s race after he joined her in calling for President Obama’s impeachment.

Miller’s grassroots support gave him a late surge against Sullivan. But one of the biggest drags on the frontrunner was a series of brutal TV ad attacks against him by Put Alaska First, a Democratic super PAC allied with Senator Begich. It spent $4 million in a small state on ads accusing Sullivan of undermining hunting and fishing rights while serving as the state’s natural-resources commissioner. Then late in the campaign, Put Alaska First ran ads highlighting Miller’s pro-life stands along with his support for impeaching Obama.

“Why else would you be telling Republican primary voters that he wants to impeach President Obama?” GOP strategist Taylor Bickford told the Anchorage Daily News, describing Put Alaska First’s strategy as “very clearly trying to move Sullivan and Treadwell votes over to Joe Miller.”

“They’ve essentially couched positive messages in ads that look and feel like attacks,” he said. The tactic is very similar to what allies of Senator Claire McCaskill did in 2012 in Missouri, when they ran ads attacking Representative Todd Akin as an extreme conservative. He wound up winning the GOP primary thanks to conservative votes but his loose tongue and comments on “legitimate rape” quickly cost him the election. Senator Harry Reid’s allies did much the same thing in Nevada in 2012, resulting in the primary victory of Sharron Angle, who then went on to lose to Reid in the general election.

Republicans are going to have to anticipate further attempts by liberals to intervene in their primaries and influence the result. Sullivan himself is unfazed by the effort and promises to beat Begich in November. “The fact that they attacked me so early just showed they feared me the most,” he told reporters.

Poll: Democrats Oppose Obama’s Unilateral Amnesty



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A majority of self-identified Democrats oppose President Obama’s expected executive orders to provide administrative relief for illegal immigrants, according to a poll released Wednesday.

“Nearly three quarters of likely voters want Congress and the President to work together to address immigration policy,” Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway found. “This includes majorities of self-identified Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Conservatives, and Moderates, while Liberals are alone in supporting Obama as the executive action Lone Ranger.”

Fifty-six percent of Democrats in the poll said they would prefer Obama to work with Congress rather than act unilaterally; 81 percent of independents and 93 percent of Republicans gave the same answer.

Of the political groups surveyed, only liberals prefer unilateral action, 56 percent to 44.

Conway surveyed 1,001 likely voters between July 16 and 20 and another 1,008 from August 7 to 10.

Overall, just 32 percent of likely voters approve of Obama’s handling of the immigration issue. 

Most pointedly, likely voters were unequivocal in their support of immigration policies that protect the American worker,” Conway wrote (emphasis in the original). “Their sentiment is the inverse of the oft-repeated phrase, ‘illegal immigrants do the jobs that Americans don’t want to do,’ saying instead that these workers should have a fair opportunity to do the jobs that illegal immigrants currently do.”

If Democratic strategists are looking for comfort in the survey, the results suggest that the populism motivating such antipathy to Obama’s immigration policies creates a political opening on the minimum-wage issue.

“‘Raise the pay’” is a rallying call for these voters, who believe there are plenty of Americans to do the work and that better pay and more training is an elixir for labor shortages,” Conway wrote. “Working class voters, married women, and political Independents agree with this in dramatic numbers.” 

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