Islamist Fighters Led By Ansar Al-Sharia Overrun Libyan Special Forces Base In Benghazi After Fierce Fighting…

Hey, look, another crisis for Obama to ignore.

(Reuters) – Militant fighters overran a Libyan special forces base in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday after a battle involving rockets and warplanes that killed at least 30 people.

A special forces officer said they had to abandon their main camp in the southeast of Benghazi after coming under sustained attack from a coalition of Islamist fighters and former rebel militias in the city.

“We have withdrawn from the army base after heavy shelling,” Saiqa Special Forces officer Fadel Al-Hassi told Reuters.

A separate special forces spokesman confirmed the militants had taken over the camp after the troops pulled out. Part of the area is Camp 36 in the Bu Attni district and the special forces school.

Intense fighting in Benghazi, Libya’s second city, and battles between rival militias in the capital Tripoli have pushed the nation deeper into chaos after two weeks of the fiercest violence since the civil war which ousted Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Benghazi has been at the centre of fighting between special forces and ex-rebel fighters of the Benghazi Shura Council who have joined up with the Ansar al Sharia, a militant Islamist group, residents said.

Last Crew Member Of Enola Gay Dies In Georgia

Vankirk

Via Stars and Stripes

The last surviving member of the crew that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima has died in Georgia.

Theodore VanKirk, also known as “Dutch,” died Monday of natural causes at the retirement home where he lived in Stone Mountain, Georgia, his son Tom VanKirk said. He was 93.

VanKirk was the navigator of the Enola Gay, a B-29 Superfortress aircraft that dropped “Little Boy” – the world’s first atomic bomb – over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. The bomb killed 140,000 in Hiroshima. A second atomic bomb dropped by another plane killed 80,000 in Nagasaki three days later. VanKirk was 24 years old at the time.

Tom VanKirk said he and his siblings are very fortunate to have had such a wonderful father who remained active until the end of his life.

“I know he was recognized as a war hero, but we just knew him as a great father,” he said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday.

In a 2005 interview with the AP, VanKirk said his World War II experience showed that wars and atomic bombs don’t settle anything, and he’d like to see the weapons abolished.

A funeral service was scheduled for VanKirk on Aug. 5 in his hometown of Northumberland, Pennsylvania. He will be buried in Northumberland next to his wife, who died in 1975. The burial will be private.

MSNBC’s Ratings Tank In July, Lowest Numbers In Nearly A Decade…

Feel good story of the day.

Via Daily Caller:

With a growing crisis on the southern border, an airline shoot down, civil war in eastern Ukraine and a fierce fight between the Israeli government and Hamas in Gaza, July was one intense month for news. And that was bad news for MSNBC.

The ultra-liberal cable news network touts itself as “The Place For Politics.” But when actual news breaks, the American public breaks away from MSNBC, with the channel’s daytime and primetime lineup both suffering some of its worst numbers in eight years.

According to Nielsen Media Research, MSNBC’s total day viewership was down 35 percent in the key 25-54 demographic from last year, the lowest it’s been since May 2006. Every single one of the major daytime shows — from “The Daily Rundown” at 9 a.m. through to “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at noon and “Politics Nation” with Al Sharpton at 6 p.m. — is down 40 percent or more in the target demographic.

Most of those time slots haven’t seen numbers that low since 2004, during the first term of the Bush administration. Amazingly, even HLN — a network so obscure that no one really know what its acronym even stands for — beat out MSNBC in total day numbers for the 25-54 age group.

Keep reading…

Mike Pence Learned HHS Was Dumping Illegal Alien Children In Indiana From The Press, Not HHS

No borders

Which non-governmental organization (NGO) housed or placed the children with relatives?

Via NRO

Indiana governor Mike Pence said he first learned the federal government had placed 245 unaccompanied alien children in Indiana through media reports.

In a letter to President Obama, Pence wrote that the Department of Health and Human Services informed him that the federal government had housed hundreds of unaccompanied alien children in Indiana from January 1, 2014, to July 7, 2014, but only after reports surfaced in the media.

“While we feel deep compassion for these children, our country must secure its borders and provide for a legal and orderly immigration process,” Pence wrote. “Failure to expedite the return of unaccompanied children thwarts the rule of law and will only continue to send a distorted message that illegally crossing into America is without consequence.”

Pence said HHS would only provide him with updated monthly numbers of unaccompanied alien children living in the Hoosier State during the first week of each month. Pence called this unacceptable and noted that Indiana may be expected to be responsible for the illegal immigrant children’s education, health and welfare.

Keep reading…

Hamas Using Bunker Beneath Gaza’s Largest Hospital As Its Main Command Center…

Apparently the MSM is well aware of Hamas’ bunker beneath Shifa Hospital but have chosen not to report it. Hmmm, I wonder why?

Via Tablet Magazine:

The idea that one of Hamas’ main command bunkers is located beneath Shifa Hospital in Gaza City is one of the worst-kept secrets of the Gaza war. So why aren’t reporters in Gaza ferreting it out? The precise location of a large underground bunker equipped with sophisticated communications equipment and housing some part of the leadership of a major terrorist organization beneath a major hospital would seem to qualify as a world-class scoop—the kind that might merit a Pulitzer, or at least a Polk.

So why isn’t the fact that Hamas uses Shifa Hospital as a command post making headlines? In part, it’s because the location is so un-secret that Hamas regularly meets with reporters there. On July 15, for example, William Booth of the Washington Post wrote that the hospital “has become a de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders, who can be seen in the hallways and offices.” Back in 2006, PBS even aired a documentary showing how gunmen roam the halls of the hospital, intimidate the staff, and deny them access to protected locations within the building—where the camera crew was obviously prohibited from filming. Yet the confirmation that Hamas is using Gaza City’s biggest hospital as its de facto headquarters was made in the last sentence of the eighth paragraph of Booth’s story—which would appear to be the kind of rookie mistake that is known in journalistic parlance as “burying the lede.”

But Booth is no rookie—he’s an experienced foreign reporter, which means that he buried the lede on purpose. Why? Well, one reason might be that the “security sources” quoted whenever the location of the Hamas command bunker is mentioned—which, as evidenced by this 2009 article by the excellent and highly experienced foreign correspondent Steven Erlanger of the New York Times, happens every time there’s a war in Gaza—are obviously Israelis, not members of Hamas. It might be hard to believe the Israelis, the simple logic might run, since they obviously have an investment in arguing that Hamas is using hospitals and schools as human shields.

The Israelis are so sure about the location of the Hamas bunker, however, not because they are trying to score propaganda points, or because it has been repeatedly mentioned in passing by Western reporters—but because they built it. Back in 1983, when Israel still ruled Gaza, they built a secure underground operating room and tunnel network beneath Shifa hospital—which is one among several reasons why Israeli security sources are so sure that there is a main Hamas command bunker in or around the large cement basement beneath the area of Building 2 of the Hospital, which reporters are obviously prohibited from entering.

Keep reading…

UK Police To Start Seizing Drivers’ Cell Phones After All Crashes

cell-phone-driver

Coming to America next.

Via The Independent

Police are to start seizing drivers’ mobile phones after a crash in order to check whether they were texting or calling while at the wheel.

Previously mobiles have only been taken when drivers are seriously injured or killed in a crash, but new guidelines issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers says that officers should check drivers’ mobiles even in the event of a minor shunt.

The intent is to crack down on mobile distractions while driving, with recent reports suggesting that more than 500 people are killed or seriously injured each year in the UK because drivers have been calling, texting or posting to social media.

Road safety charity Brake welcomed the new guidelines, with spokesperson Ed Morrow saying: “We are fully supportive of the efforts by the police to clamp down on mobile phone use at the wheel. Offenders need to know they will be caught, they will be prosecuted, and there will be serious consequences.”

The crackdown might also be accompanied by an increase in the penalty for texting at the wheel to six points on drivers’ licenses instead of three. This would mean that drivers could be banned if they are caught using their phones just twice while driving.

However, some individuals are concerned that the new powers could be abused. Hugh Bladon of the Alliance of British Divers told Yahoo News: “I am 100 per cent against anyone texting while driving and those caught deserve everything they get. But I’m worried police could overdo it, just because someone is involved in a minor shunt, surely it shouldn’t mean they should lose their phone.”

Discussing the change to penalty points earlier this month, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin described the amount of casualties from drivers using their mobile as “absolutely appalling”. “We’ve got to change this,” he said.

HT The Vulgar Curmudgeon

Jerry Brown: Instead Of Sending Troops To Secure Border, We Should Heed The “Religious Call” And Allow Illegals To Overrun America…

Gov. Jerry Brown

They don’t call him “Moonbeam” for nothing.

MEXICO CITY – Gov. Jerry Brown suggested Monday that Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s ordering of National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to address the surge in border crossings is misguided, urging politicians instead to heed the “religious call … to welcome the stranger” in addressing the crisis.

“This is a human problem, and it has been the religious call of all religions to welcome the stranger, and it’s in that spirit that I believe the clergy can call the United States, Mexico and all the players to perhaps a higher response than might otherwise happen,” Brown said on the first full day of his trade mission to Mexico.

The Democratic governor is in the country to discuss the environment and trade, but tension over the illegal crossing of thousands of young immigrants from Central America has flared in recent weeks, and the subject was the focus of questioning by a throng of Mexican reporters after a private meeting between Brown and José Antonio Meade Kuribreña, Mexico’s foreign affairs secretary.

“These are children, and many of them have relatives that are in California and other parts of the United States who are working, contributing to the well-being of people in the United States,” Brown said. “So given the principle of family values and family reconciliation, I want to give utmost consideration to what is in the best interest of those children, not what is in the best interest of politicians who might want to exploit this particular topic.”

Consumers Asked To Verify Income, Other Information Or Risk Losing Government Subsidies For Health Insurance

Luis

The health care web site wasn’t one stop shopping.

Via Miami Herald

Luis Martinez of Hialeah survived two heart attacks during the more than 10 years that he went without health insurance.

So he was relieved to finally find coverage on the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchange in March, two weeks before the enrollment deadline.

But four months after he and his wife signed up for a subsidized, bronze-level health plan with Coventry, Martinez, 51, said he feels as though he has fallen into a black hole of government bureaucracy while trying to prove his income and his wife’s citizenship in order to keep their coverage, part of a national effort to verify policyholders’ eligibility.

Martinez, who has stents implanted in his coronary arteries, said he has tried repeatedly for more than a month to comply with the government’s requests for additional documentation to resolve inconsistencies in his personal information — or risk losing his $457 monthly subsidy, and health insurance for him and his wife, Rocio Balbin, 46.

So far, officials with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are not satisfied with his response.

“I am against time,” said Martinez, a computer systems administrator who is studying at night to earn a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. “I have a dream, and I want to finish my career before I die. This is stressing me out.”

HHS officials declined to comment on Martinez’s case, but the agency is contacting hundreds of thousands of people with subsidized health plans bought under the ACA to verify their eligibility, particularly income and citizenship status, months after they first applied for and received financial aid to help them pay premiums and out-of-pocket costs for their coverage.

About eight million people signed up for a health plan through the ACA exchanges. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 85 percent of them were eligible for financial aid, and the government is expected to deliver about $10 billion in subsidies during the first year.

Healthcare analysts say some consumers will end up paying higher monthly premiums as a result of the verification process, while others may have to repay some or all of their subsidies if they are found to be ineligible.

But for some, like Martinez, the verification process has become a maze of red tape.

Martinez has receipts showing that he mailed at least five identical packages — containing, he said, copies of his U.S. passport, his wife’s residency card, their 2013 income tax statement and his Florida driver license — by certified mail to the HHS-designated address in London, Kentucky.

Keep reading

HuffPo Article Compares Palestinians In Gaza To The “Besieged Jews In The Warsaw Ghetto”…

Just a tad detached from reality.

Via HuffPo:

Gaza is a tough place; it’s tiny, overcrowded and besieged. But the people are kind. The food is delicious, and the beach, though filthy, allows us to pretend that we’re free. The sunset at sea is a spectacular scene, despite the Israeli warships dotting the landscape. Take a stroll down the street, and you’ll meet vendors, mostly young children hawking their wares. Take a taxi, and by the time you get off, you’ll be exchanging phone numbers with your newest friend, the taxi driver.

Our markets are complete chaos, an experience for all five senses. Rush hour is when school children, dressed in UNRWA uniforms or Barcelona and Real Madrid t-shirts, finish classes and flood the streets on their way back home. It is when I realize how young Gaza’s population is. Night is as lively a time as daytime. Smoke shisha at a beach or downtown café or chill with the family. The people in Gaza, too, are humans.

But this isn’t the scene in Gaza anymore. The streets are deserted, and so is the beach. Schools have become makeshift shelters crammed with displaced people fleeing death to a supposedly safer place. The beautiful noise of life has been replaced by a horrid one of death. Drones are humming overhead, and jet fighters are roaring. [...]

A ceasefire might be negotiated and agreed upon. Hamas might soon stop firing rockets, but then will Israel cease to exercise its violence against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank on a daily basis? The reality is that if Palestinians stop resisting, Israel won’t stop occupying, as its leaders repeatedly affirm. The besieged Jews of the Warsaw ghetto had a motto “to live and die in dignity.” As I sit in my own besieged ghetto, I think how Palestinians have honored this universal value. We live in dignity and we die in dignity, refusing to accept subjugation.

Iran’s Supreme Leader: Israelis Are “Merciless Beasts” Committing “Genocide”…

Khamenei

Stuck on repeat.

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday called Israel a “rabid dog” for its attacks on Gaza, and urged Muslims to arm Palestinians to enable them to counter what he termed genocide.

About 1,087 Gazans, most of them civilians, have been killed in 22 days of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. As well as 53 Israeli soldiers killed, three civilians have died as a result of Palestinian shelling.

In a speech marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, Khamenei criticized the United States and European countries for what he said were their efforts to limit the military capacity of Palestinian fighters in the enclave.

Of Israel, he said: “This rabid dog, this rapacious wolf, has attacked innocent people and humanity must show a reaction. This is genocide, a catastrophe of historical scale.”

“They have been pounding innocent people day and night and these men women and children are defending themselves with minimum means, and now Americans and Europeans want to take even that away … so that those merciless beasts could pound without qualm.”

Pelosi (Again) Compares Illegal Immigrant Minors To Baby Jesus…

Pelosi

Third time by my count.

Via Breitbart:

Pelosi noted that sending the children back to their home countries would be like sending them “back into a burning building.”

She again compared the children to the baby Jesus, who fled his home country as an infant to escape violence.

“So we do appeal to our country and our colleagues to have a heart when it comes to people coming into our country, some seeking amnesty and asylum to escape violence in Central America or wherever they come from,” she said.

Bachmann: ‘We Saw Border Processing, Not Border Security’

Border processing

The new outreach program for the Border Patrol.

Via CNS News

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), recently returned from a trip to the Southwest border, says no one is being turned away:

“We saw border processing, not border security,” Bachmann said in a news release describing her trip to Brownsville, McAllen and Laredo.

“While the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agency performs admirably on a daily basis, their purpose has become people processing — not stopping foreign nationals from unauthorized entry into the U.S.

“Currently, not one person who attempts to come into the country is stopped; instead, they are taken to a processing center before a decision is made if they will be allowed to stay,” she added.

Bachmann blames President Barack Obama for the thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America and other illegal aliens who are pouring across the border:

“Everywhere we went, the response was virtually the same: This is a crisis of President Obama’s own making,” she said. “The real problem is the President’s lack of political will to enforce the laws on the books and do whatever it takes to secure our border.”

As of June — nine months into fiscal 2014 — 57,525 “unaccompanied minors” and “family units” have been taken into custody, according to the U.S. Border Patrol. Some 57,234 of those are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

“The United States generously welcomes new immigrants, but they must come through the legal channels,” said Bachmann, who traveled to Texas with Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). “It’s time that we start sending a message that the rule of law matters and illegal behavior will not be rewarded.”

Bachmann said the solution to the border crisis is completing a border fence, amending the law that treats children from non-contiguous countries differently than those who enter from Canada or Mexico, and revoking Obama’s 2012 executive order that defers deportation for certain illegal aliens who were brought to this country as children.

The White House, meanwhile, reportedly is considering a pilot program that would give refugee status to young people from Honduras, which could be expanded to Guatemala and El Salvador. It involves screening youths in their home countries to determine whether they qualify for refugee status, the Associated Press reported.

Steny Hoyer: Obama Can “Implement The Laws As He Believes They Should Be Implemented”…

Since when?

Via CNS News:

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said that President Obama “can’t legalize” the illegal aliens in the United States, but then added that the president “can implement the laws as he believes they should be implemented.”

“Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution states that Congress has the power to make laws governing naturalization. Given this, does President Obama have the unilateral power to legalize illegal aliens?” CNSNews.com asked Hoyer.

“I don’t think he does,” Hoyer responded, “and I don’t think that’s what he’s going to do. You’re right. He can’t legalize them.”

“What the president can in fact do, however, is implement the laws as he believes they should be implemented,” Hoyer added. “And there have been a lot of scholars – and I’m not going to go through the quotes now – who have said the President clearly has broad authority to decide how he’s going to implement the law.”

“But that does not mean he can legalize people. He can’t make them citizens,” he maintained. “Not according to the law.”

Dem Rep. James Clyburn: GOP Lawsuit Against Obama A “Subterfuge”…

Clyburn

What are the odds Clyburn even knows what a subterfuge is?

Via The Hill:

House Assistant Minority Leader Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) argued Tuesday that the GOP lawsuit was a means to an end for impeaching President Obama.

“The ultimate goal of this exercise is to try to discover some peg upon which they can hang an impeachment resolution,” Clyburn, the No. 3 in House Democratic leadership, said on the House floor.

Clyburn said the GOP was turning to the lawsuit as a “vendetta” because of the party’s inability to win the White House in 2008 and 2012.

“It’s a subterfuge by House Republicans aimed at achieving their political goals they were not able to achieve at the ballot box,” Clyburn said. “Republicans could not defeat this president in back to back elections, and now they’re looking for other means to their ends.”

Dem: Legalizing Millions Of Illegals Will “Reduce The Deficit”…

But it probably won’t.

Via CNS News:

When asked whether legalizing illegal immigrants would help unemployed Americans, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D.-Md.) responded by pointing to testimony from the director of the Congressional Budget Office that Van Hollen said indicated enactment of the Senate immigration bill (which gave illegal aliens a “path to citizenship’) would “reduce the deficit and increase long-term economic growth.”

CNSNews.com asked: “Do you think that allowing illegal aliens to stay in the United States and putting them on a path to citizenship will help unemployed Americans?”

Van Hollen responded: “I think what we need to do is pass comprehensive immigration reform, and I just came from a hearing with the non-partisan director of the Congressional Budget Office, who testified that if you passed the Senate bipartisan bill, you will reduce the deficit and increase long-term economic growth in the United States,” Van Hollen replied.

Keep reading…

Hamas Military Chief: Our Fighters Are “Eager For Death”…

And Israel is more than willing to oblige.

Via Times of Israel:

The titular head of Hamas’s military wing sent out a fiery missive Tuesday night, claiming his forces are “eager for death” and saying the terror group would not cease fighting until Israel lifted its blockade on Gaza.

“Israeli soldiers are up against soldiers who are eager for death and united forces,” Mohammed Deif said in a recorded message broadcast on Hamas’s al-Aqsa TV. “The steadfastness of the Palestinian people is what will bring victory on the battlefield. The enemy is sending its soldiers to certain disaster.”

Deif’s voice was recognizable in the audio statement. He has survived repeated Israeli assassination attempts, leaving him limbless, and has operated from hiding for years.

Deif has headed Hamas’s Izz ad-Dine al-Qassam Brigades since 2012, though many analysts believe the group is actually controlled by his Number 2, Marwan Issa.

Belgium Tells Retailers To Clearly Label Goods Made In Israeli Settlements…

I feel like we’ve seen this before.

Via Guardian:

Belgium has advised retailers to label clearly the origin of products made in Israeli settlements that are in occupied Palestinian territories.

The non-binding recommendation has nothing to do with the escalating conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, the economics ministry said, noting that Britain and Denmark already had similar labelling guidelines in place.

“It’s a non-binding advice to state on labels that products originating from occupied territories come from there,” a spokeswoman said. “We don’t see this as a sanction against Israel, but EU rules stipulate that consumers have to be informed of the origins of products.”

The ministry planned to send a letter to retail federations on Tuesday recommending the use of such labels. Neither Belgium’s national retail federation, Comeos, nor the Israeli embassy in Brussels would comment before the letter was issued.

Israel has been critical of any move to label produce from Jewish settlements clearly or distinguish them from goods produced by Palestinians, arguing that the distinction is part of a larger effort to impose a Palestinian state on Israel.

The labels Belgium has in mind would mainly apply to fruit and vegetables grown in the West Bank’s Jordan valley, but they could also include products such as sparkling water made by SodaStream and cosmetics by Ahava, both of which have production facilities in the West Bank.

Hillary Clinton: We Really Were “Dead Broke” But I Shouldn’t Have Said It…

Hillary

Keep digging.

Via HuffPo:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she regrets saying she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, were “dead broke” upon leaving the White House.

“I regret it. It was inartful,” Clinton said in an interview on Fusion’s “AMERICA with Jorge Ramos.” “It was accurate but we are so successful and we’re so blessed by the success we’ve had and my husband has worked incredibly hard.”

Clinton, who noted she and her husband are “indeed” worth millions, said she doesn’t worry about her financial situation like she worries about families across the United States.

Duke Professor Compares Israeli “Crimes” To The Holocaust…

Hold on to your seats for the shock of a lifetime… the professor is a Muslim!

Via NRO:

… Duke Today reported last week that Omid Safi will head the Duke Islamic Studies Center (DISC), described as “the university’s hub of teaching, learning and research about Islam and Muslim communities.” Safi has a considerable media presence. He writes a column at Huffington Post entitled “What Would Muhammad Do?” and has contributed to the New York Times, CNN, NPR, and other major media outlets.

Safi, a Duke alumnus, claims to defend an anodyne version of Islam and to eschew extremism. However, there is nothing moderate about the moral equivalencies he invokes to criticize Israel. Take, for example, his “Zionist Atrocities at the Village of Deir Yassin . . . 65 Years ago and Today.” The article was published in Religion News Service (RNS) on April 9, 2013, and retracted shortly thereafter.

Safi asserts that the massacre of the Arab village during the midst of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence continues to exemplify Israel’s modus operandi. The article featured a black-and-white photograph of a prison yard littered with hundreds of human corpses. The people in that photograph are not Arab victims of Deir Yassin but Jewish victims of the Holocaust. A Jewishpress.com article noted: “It’s clear that the photo is there to magnify the impact of [Safi’s] words, and to serve as a historical record of what he describes.”

Keep reading…

Nancy Pelosi On Illegal Immigrants: “We Cannot Have Deportation Without Representation”…

Nancy Pelosi

Says who?

Via Breitbart:

During a hearing with House Democrats on Tuesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi argued that the bill proposed by Republicans did not have the adequate resources to help unattended minors crossing the border with the immigration court process.

The bill, announced by Republicans on Tuesday, would spend $659 million in new spending in response to the crisis on the border.

Citing a friend, Pelosi said that “we cannot have deportation without representation,” and she praised the groups that were working to help the detained children.