Russia’s aggression prompts other nations to change names

Vladimir Putin’s recent intervention in Ukraine on the pretext of defending the ethnic Russian population has forced other former Soviet republics to look for ingenious ways to protect their own sovereignty from similar moves.

On Monday, the Parliament of Kazakhstan, with a 25% ethnic Russian population and a 4,660 mile-long border shared with Russia, voted to rename the country ‘New Illinois,’ hoping to attract more American support for their territorial integrity. Kazakhstan’s President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, is expected to sign the emergency bill into law by Wednesday, setting in motion a complex process for the Central Asian nation of almost 18 million people.

Kazakstan name changeA spokesman for the government in the capital city of Astana said that ‘New Illinois’ was chosen because US President Barack Obama was a state and then US Senator for the state of Illinois, and such a name change was more likely to get his attention and engender a strong enough reaction to the threat of foreign invasion.

“We noticed a hesitancy on the part of President Obama to act when Russia moved on Ukraine,” said Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov. “And we asked ourselves, what if Obama’s reluctance was due to the fact that ‘Ukraine’ sounded too foreign to the president who is almost exclusively interested in American domestic policy? So we thought we might get more interest from him if we had a familiar sounding American name. This was the easiest way.”

Fearing that the name change alone may not be enough, the Kazakh parliament has begun debate on a second bill to rename the Kazakh ethnicity to ‘African Americans,’ within the hope that Americans will be more sympathetic to their plight if they are identified with a more familiar ethnic minority.

“We are confident President Obama will not tolerate the oppression of any African Americans, even those in Central Asia,” said Akhmetov. “And with any luck we may even get some foreign – or in this case, domestic, aid.”

Even though the process of replacing all the country’s signs, currency, postage, and identification cards is likely to be difficult and expensive, other former Soviet republics, which emerged from the collapse of the old Soviet Union in 1991, are considering similar moves.

Kazakstan name changeToday, the parliament of Latvia is debating a bill to rename their small Baltic nation of two million inhabitants to ‘East Chicago,’ as concern increases that Russian president Vladimir Putin may invade them to “protect” the half a million ethnic Russians who had settled there in the Soviet era.

Meanwhile, Lithuania has staked out the name ‘New Hawaii’ and Estonia is expected to take the name ‘New Delaware’ after the home state of US Vice President Joe Biden.

The future states of East Chicago, New Hawaii, and New Delaware are also considering changing their ethnic identities to ‘African Americans,’ although some local political leaders have proposed a change to ‘Mexican-Americans,’ which they believe may also help them gain support among moderate Republicans in the US.

List of Florida’s anti-gun mayors released

The grassroots Florida TEA Party (FTP) has released a list of Florida mayors who are anti-Second Amendment.

In an email FTP states, “It’s getting pretty crazy out there. With so many states attempting to pass legislation to limit and/or eradicate the gun rights granted by the United States Constitution to its citizens, the Second Amendment Coalition of Florida thinks you should know who some of the offenders in Florida are.”

Here are your Florida Mayors Against Gun Rights:

Susan Gottlieb
Aventura
Jean Rosenfield
Bal Harbour
David Coviello
Biscayne Park
Barbara Sharief
Broward County
Greg Ross
Cooper City
James Cason
Coral Gables
Judy Paul
Davie
Cary Glickstein
Delray Beach
Walter B. Duke
Dania Beach
Bruce Mount
Eatonville
Daisy Black
El Portal
John P. “Jack” Seiler
Ft. Lauderdale
Glenn Singer
Golden Beach
Charles Sanders
Greenwood
Samuel Henderson
Gulfport
Joy Cooper
Hallandale Beach
Peter Bober
Hollywood
Ken Schultz
Hypoluxo
Patricia Gerard
Largo
Barrington Russell
Lauderdale Lakes
Richard J. Kaplan
Lauderhill
Howard Schieferdecker
Maitland
Tomás Regalado
Miami
Carlos Gimenez
Miami Dade County
Oliver G. Gilbert
Miami Gardens
Lori C. Moseley
Miramar
Connie Leon-Kreps
North Bay Village
Jack Brady
North Lauderdale
Lucie M. Tondreau
North Miami
Douglas A. Gibson
Oak Hill
John Adornato
Oakland Park
Myra Taylor
Opa-Locka
Buddy Dyer
Orlando
 
Shelley Stanczyk
Palmetto Bay
Frank C. Ortis
Pembroke Pines
Cindy Lerner
Pinecrest
Diane Veltri Bendekovic
Plantation
Thomas A. Masters
Riviera Beach
Philip K. Stoddard
South Miami
Rick Kriseman
St. Petersberg
Norman Edelcup
Sunny Isles Beach
Michael J. Ryan
Sunrise
Daniel Dietch
Surfside
John Marks
Tallahassee
Jeri Muoio
West Palm Beach
Eric H. Jones
West Park
Daniel J. Stermer
Weston
Gary Resnick
Wilton Manors
To learn more visit FLORIDA TEA PARTY – The Grassroots Florida Tea Party at: http://floridateaparty.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network

Rep. Keith Ellison addresses chapter of Hamas-linked CAIR

This is not the first time: Hamas-linked CAIR raised large amounts of for Ellison’s first campaign, and he has spoken at numerous CAIR events.

CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case — so named by the Justice Department. CAIR operatives have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several former CAIR officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror. CAIR’s co-founder and longtime Board chairman (Omar Ahmad), as well as its chief spokesman (Ibrahim Hooper), have made Islamic supremacist statements. Its California chapter distributed the poster above telling Muslims not to talk to the FBI. CAIR has opposed every anti-terror measure that has ever been proposed or implemented.

But all that is apparently fine with Ellison; in fact, to bring it up would be “Islamophobic.” And no one will care about this. But imagine if Ellison were not a Muslim, but a Christian, and had addressed a conference of, say, the American Freedom Defense Initiative. Do you think there would be a furor in the mainstream media, with calls for Ellison’s resignation? So do I. And yet AFDI has no connection to any terror groups. CAIR has plenty. And the world is upside down indeed.

Dr. Ben Carson Finishes Strong in 2014 CPAC Presidential Straw Poll

MERRIFIELD, Va., March 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, a political action committee formed to draft Dr. Ben Carson into the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, is proud to announce that Dr. Carson made a strong showing in the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) presidential straw poll, coming in third place in a crowded field of 26 contenders.

“Dr. Ben Carson has said he will run for the Republican nomination if the American people are clamoring for him, and the results of this straw poll are unmistakable,” said Vernon Robinson, the Committee’s campaign director. “Dr. Carson is the best hope for America, and his strong showing in the straw poll clearly shows that the grassroots are clamoring for him to bring principled, constitutional leadership back to the White House in 2016.”

This year’s CPAC straw poll included 26 potential candidates for the Republican nomination, more than any in recent years. The poll included well-known contenders such as Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.) and former Gov. Sarah Palin (Alaska). Other names in the poll included Donald Trump, Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and John Thune (S.D.), and former Gov. Bob McDonnell (Va.).

The annual CPAC straw poll is an early predictor of grassroots support, and it gives a clear idea of what conservatives will be looking for in the next election cycle. In the poll’s 41-year history, winners have includedRonald Reagan (1976 and 1980), Mitt Romney (2008) and Ron Paul (2012). Dr. Carson took 4 percent of the vote in the 2013 poll. His jump to 9 percent of the vote this year shows that efforts to bring his qualifications to public attention are working, and the American people are clamoring for his principled leadership.

Dr. Carson’s strong showing in the straw poll clearly shows that the American people are clamoring for him to run. In its first six months in operation, the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee raised $2,837,401– more than double the funds raised in the first six months of the Draft Hillary effort.

Nearly 47,000 individuals contributed to the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee in its first six months in operation between August 21, 2013 and February 22, 2014. The average contribution amount is $45, with many donors contributing more than once. In January, Dr. Carson overwhelmingly won the Linn County, Iowa, midterm caucus straw poll with 87 percent of the votes. And 77 percent of respondents to a poll of Tea Party activists said they support Dr. Carson.

“Dr. Carson’s straw poll showing is highly encouraging, and a clear sign that the American people are clamoring for him to run for the Republican nomination,” said John Philip Sousa IV, national chairman of the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee. “We must redouble our efforts going forward to enlist grassroots America to stand with Dr. Carson and bring principled leadership back to Washington.”

About the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee

The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee is a political action committee formed to draft Dr. Ben Carson into the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. It was founded in August 2013 by John Philip Sousa IV and Vernon Robinson, and works to raise awareness of Dr. Carson’s qualifications and to engage grassroots conservative activists in clamoring for Dr. Carson to run for president. For more information visit www.runbenrun.org. Follow the effort on Twitter @DraftRunBenRun and Facebook.

SOURCE National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee

Some Very Good News About Americans

We are all besieged daily by bad news. It is easy to become depressed about the present state of the nation, but there is some very good news as well.

This is not to say there aren’t legitimate problems and concerns. The last two elections put a President in office that lies all the time. The nation’s economy has been so awful that 100 million Americans are either out of work or have ceased looking for work. Democrat political leaders are actually telling Americans that being unemployed is a good thing because it leaves them free to pursue their hobbies.

The President has been pursuing a campaign to make Americans believe that there is massive income inequality when, in fact, there is relatively little. There has always been a very wealthy class and a very poor one. What there is, however, is a loss of wealth primarily in the Middle Class. As for poverty, America has long provided income mobility to those who wish to study and work hard to improve their status.

What is rarely addressed is the seething power of American entrepreneurship which, at present, is trapped by a largely socialist federal government imposing a mountain of regulations that thwart growth and take money from the private sector that would otherwise be invested in the creation or expansion of business and industry nationwide.

Americans have repeatedly suffered, survived, and overcome financial crises to come back to build the greatest economy in the world. Part of the reason for this are the long established values that Americans of every description embrace.

That is why Wayne Baker’s new book, “United America: The Surprising truth about American values, American identity and the 10 beliefs that a large majority of Americans hold dear” is a welcome review that the author’s extensive research confirms.

The beliefs are:

  • Respect for others
  • Symbolic patriotism
  • Freedom
  • Security
  • Self-Reliance & Individualism
  • Equal Opportunity
  • Getting ahead
  • Pursuit of happiness
  • Justice & Fairness
  • Critical patriotism

Cover - United AmericaA journalist, David Crumm provides an introduction to Baker’s book. “Dr. Baker defines a Core American Value (as one) that is strongly held by a large majority of Americans, stable over time, and shared across diverse demographic, religious and political lines…Here a core value represents an area of deep and broad consensus among American people, not disagreement and division. A core value is not a prescription of what Americans ought to believe, but what Americans actually do believe.”

The research supporting Dr. Baker’s book was conducted over two years by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and was funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Institute. The data was analyzed with a battery of statistical techniques to ensure the validity and reliability of the results.

Touching on a few of the values addressed in the book, Dr. Baker starts with respect for others which he describes as “so important that it actually characterizes what it means to be an American…More than 90 percent of Americans in the national surveys I conducted said that respect for people of different racial and ethnic groups is important to them.”

“Respect is given to people who do what they say, who live according to what they believe, who are persons of integrity. A position or title doesn’t necessarily garner respect, but integrity does” says Dr. Baker and that is bad news for those identified as “leaders” or “experts” who do not display integrity. Telling lies undermines everything they say and do.

“We have what appears to be a contradictory situation,” says Dr. Baker. “Politicians, political elites, and party activists are increasingly polarized, moving further apart from one another. Yet public opinion polls clearly show that Americans loathe the divisiveness. And the values of Americans are not polarized.”

“There is widespread agreement among Americans when it comes to core values. Which means our polarizing politicians are becoming less and less representative or our actual views.”

A review of those core values show that Americans love their symbolic patriotism such as our flag and our national anthem. “Love of country is especially strong in America” says Dr. Baker.

“Americans hold tenaciously to the principles of liberty and freedom,” says Dr. Baker. “A 2013 poll by the Pew Research Center shows that 53 percent of Americans see the federal government as a threat to personal rights and freedoms. This is the first time since Pew started asking about this issue in 1995 that a majority felt this way.”

Little wonder when one recalls the assault on the Second Amendment that was launched by the Obama administration and one that failed significantly. Recent news of the Federal Communications Commission’s plans to “monitor” radio and television news judgments evoked a comparable response.

Freedom to participate in politics and elections evoked a response in which 98 percent of Americans agree with this definition of freedom and it stands in stark contrast to the Obama administration’s corruption of the Internal Revenue Service to deny Tea Party and patriot groups non-profit status routinely granted to other groups.

As one reads Dr. Baker’s book, one comes away with a renewed confidence in the judgment of Americans, confirming that their core values are those that have made America a beacon of freedom in the world.

And that’s the very good news!

© Alan Caruba, 2014

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of an American Bald Eagle taken at the Hoogle Zoo in UT taken by Therightclicks.

Saudi-led Gulf Squabble Spells Trouble for Obama?

The Obama White House and the world media are pre-occupied with Russian President Putin’s grab of the Ukrainian autonomous province of Crimea. There are undertones of “Back to the Future”- meaning a possible return to Cold War era geopolitics with Russia.

Despite that overriding ruckus there was a less well publicized series of events in the Persian Gulf region among members of the Gulf Cooperating Council (GCC). Does this spell trouble ahead for President Obama’s Middle East policies?

At the GCC meeting on March 5th in Riyadh, Qatar was effectively isolated by “sisterly” Sunni Arab states. The Emir of Qatar, a member of the GCC, has been prominent in supporting financial aid and assistance to Muslim Brotherhood (MB) affiliates in Egypt under Morsi, Hamas in Gaza and the Syrian Opposition Council, one of whose leaders is a dual American Syrian citizenLouay Safi.

Virtually on the heels of the squabble at the GCC gathering, Saudi King Abdullah announced decrees on Friday, March 7th. They listed the MB as a terrorist organization along with several AQ affiliates in Syria and Iraq, as well as Shia terrorist groups in North Yemen and in the oil rich Eastern Province. The latter are backed by both Iran’s Qod Force and Hezbollah. This should present problems and potential conflicts of interest for President Obama’s senior National Security advisor Robert Malley and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. Both of these men espouse outreach to the MB, Iran and proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas.

This train wreck about to happen has been in development since the July 3, 2013 ouster by Egyptian Gen. al-Sisi of President Morsi in Egypt. Morsi was a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood endeavoring to create a Sharia compliant constitution with him as Emir. Egypt’s interim government in December 2013 outlawed the MB. This week an Egyptian court went after Hamas, the Gaza affiliate of the MB banning activities in Egypt. Following, the ouster of Morsi, Saudi Arabia and several of members of the GCC provided upwards of $12 billion in financial assistance to the interim Egyptian interim government. The stage now appears set for Gen. Abdel Fateh al-Sisi to run as the country’s President, a harkening back to the days of Gamal Abdel Nasser and the possible return of military autocracy in Egypt.

The flashpoint for the GCC isolation of Qatar was the notorious aged Egyptian MB preacher Yousuf al Qaradawi who had been in exile in Qatar before temporarily returning to Egypt in February 2011. He issued Fatwas for the reconquest of Al Quds (Jerusalem) and preached anti-Semitic hatred to crowds in Tahrir Square. In a January 2009 broadcast from Qatar, al Qaradawisaid about Jews: “kill them, down to the very last one.” While in Doha, Qatar he steadfastly refused to participate in annual International Interfaith Conferences.

A news report by Radaw noted the isolation of Qatar by “sisterly” Sunni Arab states because of the mischief of al Qaradawi and sanctuary provided by the Emir:

The Arab states of the lower Gulf are engaged in the latest and potentially most serious of their periodic family squabbles, which this week provoked three of them to withdraw their ambassadors from tiny Qatar.

The Qatar government expressed regret and surprise at Wednesday’s decision by the “sisterly countries” of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, but said it did not plan to retaliate by pulling out its own envoys.

All four states, together with Kuwait and Oman, are members of the GCC.

The official reason for the diplomatic spat is Qatar’s alleged failure to live up to a recent commitment not to interfere in the internal affairs of fellow GCC states.

The three conservative states are particularly distressed that Qatar continued to provide a platform for Yousuf Al Qaradawi, a Qatar-based Egyptian cleric, to use his fiery sermons to attack Saudi Arabia and the UAE despite Riyadh’s threat to freeze relations unless he was silenced.

The scope of King Abdullah’s terrorist designations was reported by Al-Jazeera:

Saudi Arabia has listed the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization along with two al-Qaeda-linked groups fighting in Syria.

The decree against the Brotherhood, whose Egyptian branch supported the deposed Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, was reported on Saudi state television on Friday.

Egypt in December listed the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, prompting the arrest of members and associates and forcing the Islamist group further underground.

Saudi Arabia also listed Jabhat al-Nusra, which is al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Sham) (ISIS), which has been disowned al-Qaeda, as “terrorist organizations”.

It also listed Shia Huthi rebels fighting in northern Yemen and the little-known internal Shia group, Hezbollah in the Hijaz.

Early in February, 2014, Ayman al Zawahiri at Al Qaeda Central announced that the global Islamic terrorist group had no association with ISIS, instead providing support for the Al Nusrah front fighting against the Assad regime in Syria.  ISIS however has rampaged across the Anbar province in neighboring Iraq overtaking the Sunni town of Fallujah.

About the same time as the AQ ISIS declaration, King Abdullah had announced new counterterrorism policies that were directed against so-called reform movements in the Saudi Kingdom. The Washington Post  reported the new law “states that any act that ‘undermines’  the state or society, including calls for regime change in Saudi Arabia, can be tried as an act of terrorism.” This Saudi law appears  to be in violation of human rights taken for granted in the West, but clearly viewed as seditious in the autocratic and Sharia compliant Wahhabist Kingdom.

These latest Saudi initiatives could have significant implications for the Obama Administration and Secretary Kerry. Kerry is endeavoring to fashion an Israel- Palestinian final status agreement and resolution of the 37 month civil war in Syria.  We noted earlier the presence of Louay Safi as spokesperson for the Syrian Opposition Council at the recent Geneva II plenum talks. Safi was Research Director at the northern Virginia- based MB supported International Islamic Institute of Thought. Moreover, he was also Leadership Development Director at the MB front, the Islamic Society of North America, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008  Federal Dallas  trial and convictions of leaders of the Holy Land Foundation. The Muslim charity group had been accused of funneling upwards of $35 million to MB affiliate Hamas. Safi was also invited by the US Army Chief of Staff to lecture troops on Islam at Fort Hood in early December 2009 following the massacre perpetrated by Maj. Nidal Hassan a month earlier. Clearly, Safi’s rise to prominence in the Syrian Opposition Council is indicative of the MB controlling presence.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and senior National Security Aides were present at the May 2012 meetings of the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar. They were engaged in outreach to MB officials from Egypt, Tunisia and other Arab states and facilitated assistance to ousted President Morsi. Obama Appointments of MB members, especially Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Policy, Arif Alikhan and Senior Advisory board member Mohamed Elibiary have been problematic. National Security Advisor Malley was a former Middle East foreign policy aide to President Clinton during the failed 2000 Camp David Israel-Palestinian negotiations between former Israeli PM Ehud Barak and the late Yassir Arafat. Malley had accused Israel of nixing the agreement, when it was evident that Arafat had purposely sabotaged it. Malley went on to become head of the Middle East and North African program of the International Crisis group and later advised then Senator Obama and was part of the President’s transition team. He holds views that may further complicate Administration Middle East policies.  Malley propounded speaking with terrorist proxies Hamas and Hezbollah as well as the MB. Malley, was recently appointed to the National Security Council. He has the portfolio for Israel -Palestinian peace talks and the Iran nuclear P5+1 diplomatic initiative.

Now that Egypt and Saudi Arabia have designated the MB as a terrorist group, would the Obama Administration dare follow their lead? How Messrs. McDonough, Malley and Secretary of State Kerry will contend with a plethora of problems arising from efforts by the Egyptian government and now the Saudi led GCC targeting the MB is a ‘puzzlement’.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

FP&L – No “Choice” of Meters for 36,000 Floridians

By now many of you that refused the installation of FP&L’s smart meters have received a “Dear Customer” letter telling you that you have a choice of meters. The letter goes on to say that if you don’t take their smart meter that you will be charged $95 upfront and $13/month to retain your old meter. If you haven’t received such letter, you will shortly.

On January 7, 2014 the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) approved this deal. Although, it is being contested by two separate citizen petitions (one of which I am leading), the rules state that FP&L can continue as planned with the stipulation that fees collected are “subject to refund”. That is, if the FPSC Order is overturned, they must return the fees charged to the customers.

Why the fees? Well you resistors are “cost causers”. It is a long-standing principle that is invoked at will when they want to get you to comply with the game plan. In 1987/1988 they invoked the same principle when they transferred the ownership of meter enclosures and associated cost burdens (maintenance/replacement) to you the customer. The order (PSC Order # 18893) stated that:

“Since self-contained meter enclosures are not a part of the utility function, but simply house the meter itself, their costs should be borne by the customer when the structure is initially wired for electric service or when it must be replaced due to obsolescence or wear. The burden of maintaining and repairing the enclosures’ must likewise rest with the customer.”

As we all know by now, a smart meter is not “simply a meter” but contains lots of additional components that are part of the utility function. It establishes a wireless Neighborhood Network and sends messages back and forth amongst neighbor meters, remotely disconnects services and monitors your usage. In the future they will turn on the second transmitter to establish your Home Area Network to connect with your Home Energy Controller or Smart Thermostat and will give your smart refrigerator the ability to text you. It collects more data than is needed to bill you for your current plan. But why fuss over details!

If you don’t enroll in their plan, they will slap a smart meter on your home. If you think you got that covered (i.e. you already caged/locked your meter or have restricted access to your meter) think again. You will be automatically enrolled and charged the fee.

The process to fight this will be long and painful. If you don’t want a smart meter you need to:

Retain your analog meter. Once they take it, you will never see it again. (Remember you will get an undefined “non-communicating” meter in the future.) You may want to send a certified letter to FP&L stating that you do not consent and that you are enrolling under duress.

File a formal compliant with the FPSC.  Here is the complaint page http://www.floridapsc.com/consumers/complaints/index2.aspx

Write/call your Florida State Senators/Representatives. They are in session right now. Make your voices heard. Senate – http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find, House: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/representatives.aspx

Contact the Energy committees that oversee the FPSC. House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee – http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Committees/committeesdetail.aspx?TermId=85&CommitteeId=2724 and Senate Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities  http://www.flsenate.gov/Committees/Show/CU/

Contact Gov. Scott – http://www.flgov.com/contact-gov-scott/

For those who still believe smart meters save money, ask FP&L how much net operation and maintenance savings are in the current rates you pay.

What they said in the 2009 rate case:

2009 rate case schedule

What they reported in the 2012 rate case:

2012 rate case schedule

The lack of cost savings was confirmed by the Office of Public Counsel who said on October 12, 2012 “However, to OPC’s knowledge, no studies, analyses, or quantification of the benefits or cost savings from the implementation of smart meters exist at this time. OPC is still waiting on the promised cost savings benefits of smart meters to be realized and shared with the customers.” http://www.floridapsc.com/utilities/electricgas/smartmeter/09_20_2012/WorkshopComments/OPC.pdf

Think smart meters prevent outages? Check out Northeast Utilities initial comments in a recent Massachusetts Department of Utilities investigation – “Meters do not reduce the number of outages” (page 4) http://haltmasmartmeters.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/NSTAR_R12-76-Comments-7986-POSTED01172014_HIGHLIGHTED.pdf

And finally, how many of you run home from work or golf and check your FP&L energy dashboard each night? Apparently not many. The last annual report from FP&L showed that as of the end of 2012 with over 4 million meter installed, only about 15% accessed the dashboard about 2 times.

Putin’s Folly

Photos of Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, often show him shirtless, riding a horse, shooting, catching large fish, and close to wild animals. It is the kind of public relations intended to emphasize his manliness and strength.

Putin has made it clear over the years that he wants to restore the size and influence of the former Soviet Union, but the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, in part from the four decades of isolation of the Cold War and in part because Communism doesn’t work no matter how large or small a nation may be.

Just ask the Venezuelans who want to overthrow their government or the Ukrainians who forced out their president, Viktor Yanukovych, after he tried to thwart a greater engagement with the European Union.

Putting Russian troops into the Republic of Crimea while claiming that they are there to protect the human rights of Ukrainians in the eastern sector will prove to be a major blunder. Call it Putin’s folly.

History is often shaped by the errors made by various leaders. The former head of the Soviet Union’s NKVD is long accustomed to using coercion and Communism depends on it to maintain its power. The move into Ukraine reflects the preference to threaten this and other former satellite nations, but we are now in different times. Putin is about to learn that.

President Obama’s lack of a coherent foreign policy and his desire to have better relations with Russia has been widely criticized, but so far as the Ukraine is concerned, he has acted wisely.

At an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Monday, the U.S. ambassador, Samantha Power, spelled out Putin’s errors of judgment for everyone to hear, accusing Russia of an act of aggression.

“Russia has every right to wish events had turned out differently,” she said of the events in Ukraine, but “It doesn’t have the right to express that using military force.” President Obama backed that up, warning of potential diplomatic and economic “isolation.”

In blunt terms, Powers said “So many of the assertions made this afternoon by the Russian Federation are without basis in reality.”

Powers enumerated the events, noting that Russian military forces had taken over Ukrainian border posts, taken over the ferry terminal in Kerch, and that its ships were moving in and around Sevastapol. In addition, Russia was blocking telephone services in some areas. “It is a fact that Russia has surrounded or taken over practically all Ukrainian military facilities in Crimea” in addition to having had its jets enter Ukrainian airspace.”

Powers, speaking for the U.S., said that “There is a way out. And that is through direct and immediate dialogue by Russia with the government of Ukraine, the immediate pull-back of Russia’s military forces, the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and the urgent deployment of observers and human rights monitors, not through more threats and more distortions.”

Putin’s show of strength will backfire because neither the U.S., nor the European Union, or any other nation wants to see a revived Soviet Union in the form of an over-aggressive Russian Federation.

President Obama announced an aid package to bolster the Ukrainian government, including $1 billion in loan guarantees to offset any loss of energy subsidies from Russia. The U.S. is also planning to provide technical support for Ukraine’s financial institutions, training for election observers and assistance in anti-corruption efforts. One of the reasons Ukrainians drove out Yanukovych was the corruption he represented and his preference for Russian influence in the Ukraine.

Coming off the global attention generated by the Winter Olympics, Putin may have calculated that he had to back Yanukovych and, after he fled Kiev and the Ukraine, concluded that only a show of military power would restore respect for the Russian Federation. He was wrong. Nations get respect for not invading their neighbors and for participating in the global economy.

In many ways, in today’s world there are options to pressure Russia with regard to its need to sell its natural gas and oil assets, and conduct trade with other nations. Putin has underestimated these options.

At some point he will withdraw his military—whose uniforms do not show any identification of origin—and will declare that Russia will respect the outcome of the Ukrainian elections in May. He has no choice. The Cold War is over, but it never really ended as far as Putin is concerned.

While President Obama has received a torrent of criticism for his foreign affairs policies, much of it well earned, his restraint is the best way to address the Russian invasion and the U.S.  mobilization of resistance to it is the wisest course of action.

Nobody wants World War III and that includes Vladimir Putin.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Betrayed: The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17

This is a powerful and emotional two hour discussion and Q@A with the parents of Aaron Carson Vaughn, a member of the elite SEAL Team VI special forces who was part of a mission in Afghanistan called Extortion 17.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/kJ5zrwBbRvY[/youtube]

 

In a brand new book, a tragic truth is revealed about the Obama Administration’s unrequited devotion from our most selfless of heroes. Aaron Carson Vaughn is honored by his heartbroken Dad in Betrayed, The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17 as told by a Navy SEAL’s Father. The book chronicles the events that led to the death of Aaron Carson Vaughn and was authored by Billy Vaughn, with co-authors Monica Morrill and Cari Blake.

The book details the events of August 6, 2011 in Afghanistan surrounding the shooting down of an American Chinook helicopter that held the evocative name of “Extortion 17.”A high-value Al-Qaeda leader was pinned down in a village by U.S. Army Rangers. Three hours into the intense ground engagement, Extortion 17 was tasked to carry seventeen SEALs into the battle with the onerous task of capturing the Al-Qaeda leader alive.

The Chinook was operated by a crew of five from the National Guard and carried an additional 22 Navy personnel in support of the elite SEAL team. One Afghan interpreter was also on board and, just before taking off, seven Afghan commandos were curiously assigned to the final flight of Extortion 17.

As the Chinook approached its destination, the enemy could be seen running into a building with a tower that gave them an advantageous shooting position. The two Apache escort helicopters had all the visibility and firepower to resolve the battle before Extortion 17 delivered the SEAL team. But the Apaches were denied permission to attack.

Under the Obama Administration’s new rules of engagement, no strike could be made on that building without assurance that no civilians were inside. The enemy knows these rules, which is why they run into buildings where civilians may be located.

Under the protection of Obama rules, the enemy set up on the tower of the building and shot down Extortion 17 using three rocket-propelled grenades. The Chinook fell to the ground in a tremendous explosion, killing all 30 people on board.

The parents of those SEAL Team members who died were gathered for a briefing and were given hundreds of pages of information from the investigation of the event. Betrayed includes many pages of that original material; material that raised enough unsettling questions that Billy Vaughn wrote a book.

One question asked at the briefing was why, even in the minutes following the shoot-down of Extortion 17, America’s massive firepower was withheld. Three-star Admiral Robert Harward explained to the parents that a drone strike wasn’t used because, “we need to win their hearts and minds.”

196 Pro-Common Core Groups paid for by Gates Foundation

Recent news articles have focused on groups testifying and rallying FOR Common Core, specifically a veteran group, “Mission: Readiness.”  After research, this turns out to be a front group, paid by the Gates Foundation and the same Cabal that supports Common Core for obvious financial gain.

Mission: Readiness is one of “Five missions with One Voice” as the web site states:

http://www.councilfora strongamerica.org/members-in-action

It wouldn’t look good for Microsoft/the Gates Foundation to be defending itself when the benefit of Common Core so clearly inure to them.  This is pay for play if there ever was…Crony capitalism at its worst. Creating front groups to obfuscate who really promotes Common Core is just one tactic used to slip this abomination of Common Core under the radar.

Directly paying off organization which should have safeguarded the kids and public is another.  Over$300 million in payments were made to the National PTA, Fordham Foundation, Jeb Bush’s Foundations, US Chamber of Commerce, Michigan State University, Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education, ConnectEDU, Inc., NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education (to support Common Core implementation in Kentucky), Center for American Progress (Soros front group), Alliance for Excellent Education, Inc., National Congress of Parents and Teachers, Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Kentucky Department of Education, Committee for Economic Development are all named as recipients of money from the Gates Foundation with the stated purposes listed as supporting Common Core, the gravy train for tech companies and Pearson, PLC.  This is from the Gates Foundation web site:  http://www.gatesfoundation.org/search

Just type in grants Common Core which yielded 196 results. These are all Common Core grants:

American Federation of Teachers Educational Foundation
Benchmark Education Company
Council for a Strong America- (five front groups above mentioned)
New Venture Fund
Americas Promise-The Alliance for Youth
Louisiana Department of Education
DePaul University
George Washington University
Aspen Institute
Scholastic Inc.
Battelle For Kids
The Achievement Network
University of Florida
University of Michigan
Education Commission of the States
The College-Ready Promise
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc.
Arkansas Public School Resource Center, Inc.
Regents University of CA Los Angeles
BetterLesson, Inc.
Center for Applied Linguistics
Forsyth County Schools
School District of Philadelphia
Albuquerque Public Schools
Pennsylvania Dept. of Ed.
Council of the Great City Schools
Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education
Council of Chief State School Officers
Georgia Department of Education
Student Achievement Partners, Inc.
University of the State of New York
James B. Hunt Jr.  Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy Foundation, Inc.
Education Commission of the States
Foundation for Excellence in Education
NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education
The Fund for Transforming  Education in Kentucky, Inc.
Council of State Governments
Summit Public Schools
National Association of State Boards of Education
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Fund for Public Schools, Inc.
National Catholic Education Association
Motion Math, Inc.
NYU
Stanford University
And so many more …

Legislators involved in charter schools who stand to gain from their ties with Jeb Bush through the Foundation for Florida’s Future include Senator John Legg, Senate President Don Gaetz, Speaker Will Weatherford, Rep Erik Fresen, Rep Seth McKeel, and Senator Anitere Flores.  These legislators have a serious conflict of interest and should recuse themselves and allow the will of the people to supersede their personal gain.  They are now standing in the way of SB 1316 and HB25 being heard in the State Legislature.

The Republican Party of Florida issued a united strongly worded resolution opposing Common Core:

image005

For a larger view click on the image.

Yet Governor Scott and leadership legislators have looked the other way with the promise of money and support from the Jeb Bush/ Microsoft team.  March 13, there is an award banquet and fundraiser for Jeb Bush’s Foundation for in Tallahassee to poke a stick in the eye of Floridians.

My personal projection is that Governor Scott will be defeated unless he complies with the wishes of his base.  Rejection of his base will be his demise.  He must be reminded that this is NOT just an ISSUE for us, it is our children and our future.  We will NEVER sell out our kids.  There is NO greater issue than the future of our children.  Rip them from the bosom’s of their mothers at your peril!

RELATED STORIES:

Gates is Funding U.S. Department of Education Directly

Common Core-frustrated teacher’s resignation letter: ‘My profession … no longer exists’

What Freedom of the Press?

In a February 10 op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who occupies one of the Republican seats on the commission, broke the news that the Obama administration was planning to place inquisitors in the newsrooms of television and radio stations across the nation.

Titled the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” or CIN, the FCC program proposed to send researchers into TV and radio newsrooms to interview reporters, editors, and station managers about how they decide which stories to cover… or not cover. As Pai described it, the stated purpose of the CIN was to “ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about ‘the process by which stories are selected,’ and how often stations cover ‘critical information needs,’ along with ‘perceived station bias’ and ‘perceived responsiveness to undeserved populations.’ ”

As a guideline for their research, the FCC planners selected eight major categories for their investigators to delve into:

  • Emergencies and risks – immediate and long term,
  • Health and welfare – local health information and group specific health information,
  • Education – the quality of local schools and choices available to parents,
  • Transportation – available alternatives, costs, and schedules,
  • Economic opportunities – job information, job training, and small business assistance,
  • The environment – air and water quality and access to recreation,
  • Civic information – the availability of civic institutions and opportunities to associate with others,
  • Political – information about candidates at all relevant levels of local governance, and relevant public policy initiatives affecting communities and neighborhoods.

In addition, the FCC identified two broad areas of critical information needs associated with each of these categories: 1) Those fundamental to individuals in everyday life, and 2) Those that affect larger groups and communities.

But this is all pretty boring stuff. If the FCC was interested in conducting a study on which topics and which stories were most likely to put TV viewers and radio listeners to sleep, it’s pretty clear they were really onto something. There have always been much more interesting stories to report.

Although everyone but the fascist thugs of the Obama administration and the brain-dead rank-and-file of the Democratic Party were immediately horrified at what the FCC proposed, for the first time in history conservatives and the lawyers of the American Civil Liberties Union threw their arms around each other. The thought of someone marching into the newsrooms of television and radio stations and demanding to know how they conducted their business was roundly denounced by conservatives and honest liberals alike.

Jay Sekulow, of the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative public interest law firm, cautioned: “The federal government has no place attempting to control the media, using the unconstitutional actions of repressive regimes to squelch free speech.”

Without doubt, Sekulow had the Obama administration in mind when he cautioned us against “repressive regimes?”

Commentary magazine equated the proposed FCC study to the dangers of, say, a federal shield law. The principal danger of a shield law is that, in order to legislate protections for a specific group… i.e. the “press”… it is first necessary to define that group. Therefore, the government would be placed in the position of deciding who is a journalist and who is not. As Commentary suggests, “The government could easily play favorites and have yet another accreditation – not unlike an FCC license – to hold over the heads of the press.” Given the Obama administration’s unprecedented use of the IRS to thwart its political opponents, is there any doubt that a shield law in their hands would be a very dangerous thing?

Commentary concluded that it is such rules that the FCC’s CIN calls to mind. It opens the door to increased government scrutiny of the press, with an implicit threat to a broadcaster’s license. It does so under the guise of “public service,” “quality control,” “fairness,” and other terms that usually hint the government is up to no good. Left unchallenged, the CIN would support the premise that “news judgment is the FCC’s business.”

The FCC quickly issued a statement saying that Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler was in agreement that “survey questions in the study directed toward media outlet managers, news directors, and reporters overstepped the bounds of what is required.” An FCC spokesman added that “any suggestion that the FCC intends to regulate the speech of news media or plans to put monitors in America’s newsrooms is false.” 

However, what is most noticeable about all of the moral indignation directed at the FCC’s CIN program, whether from the left or from the right, is that it is all premised on the notion that we actually have a free press in the United States when, in fact, we do not. Few conservatives, the most “under-served population” of all, would deny that because of many decades of leftish propagandizing by the mainstream media, any opportunity to get inside the newsrooms at the major networks to expose them for the charlatans they are would be far too tempting to ignore.

For example, in 2004, CBS newsman Dan Rather created a national stir when he charged that George W. Bush had been AWOL during a part of his service in the Texas Air National Guard. Unfortunately for Rather, the documents used to support his charge turned out to be forgeries. The documents, which Rather claimed were memos from one of Bush’s senior officers, contained superscript characters which

were not available on typewriters at the time. In truth, the documents that Rather hoped would ruin Bush’s reelection chances were created on a modern computer using Microsoft Word software, and artificially aged to make them appear authentic.

Nevertheless, the networks and major print media devoted hundreds of hours of airtime and countless lines of newsprint to the bogus story. It would have been interesting to learn how the networks decided to spend that much time and effort on the phony Bush AWOL story.

Conversely, just three years later, when it became evident that Sen. Barack Obama would be a viable Democratic candidate for the presidency, legal scholars complained that, because Obama failed to meet the basic requirements to be a “natural born Citizen,” as required by Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, he would be ineligible to serve. And although there was ample evidence to support the charge, the mainstream media all but ignored the story.

And when the Maricopa County, Arizona, Cold Case Posse, under the direction of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, provided irrefutable proof that the long form birth certificate uploaded to the White House website on April 27, 2011, was a poorly crafted forgery, that his draft registration card was a forged document, and that his Social Security number was stolen and would not pass a simple Social Security Administration E-verify test, the left-leaning newsmen of ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and NBC looked the other way. They simply ignored the story.

It would be interesting to have editors, producers, and reporters at our major networks explain why a few days absence by George W. Bush from his Air National Guard duty station should be a major national news story, while the constitutional ineligibility and the forged documentation of the country’s first black president deserved nothing more than to be swept under the rug.

These are not isolated incidents; they happen every day of the week, on every conceivable kind of issue, foreign and domestic. The only constant is the fact that the reporting is almost always slanted in favor of liberal/socialist orthodoxy and against traditional conservative views.

Given that so much of the Obama administration invites favorable comparison to Hitler’s Third Reich, it was only to be expected that the FCC’s CIN study would quickly attract comparisons. Marilyn Assenheim, writing for the Patriot Update, suggests that, “What (Obama) is establishing is a redo of historical absolutism. The German National Socialist government could not have aspired to better.”

Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, reminds us that “Arbitrary power is ugly and vicious, regardless of what pious rhetoric goes with it. Freedom is not free. You have to fight for it or lose it.” “But,” he asks, “is our generation up to fighting for it?”

Humorist Frank J. Fleming has said: “I think Obama is learning. By the end of his presidency he’ll have gone from less than useless to achieving parity with uselessness… In America, we love rooting for the underdogs, so maybe a gigantic decline in our nation is just what we need to believe in ourselves again.”

Perhaps a close brush with fascist dictatorship will be enough to wake us all up to the realities of the terrible dangers that Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi represent.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is of Press Freedom Monument, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines by Mark Gio Amoguis. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. The use of this image does not imply in anyway endorsement of the author or contents of this column.

RELATED COLUMN: Liberal Blogger & Journalist Shows How Most News Is Controlled For Political Purposes

The Age of the American Withdrawal from Europe

There has been much speculation over recent years about what ‘American withdrawal’ from the world would mean.  From North Africa to the Far East there have been warning signs.  But perhaps only now is it becoming clear what a withdrawal of US power in the world will really result in.  And how unsurprising it is that this would be noticed in Europe first.

Because in the last couple of days, as the US has begun to send extra aircraft in to NATO allied states to reassure them of continued American help, the question of US withdrawal from Europe is once again in people’s sight.

In March last year the last US tanks left Europe.  In the period since the start of Obama’s Presidency 10,000 personnel, comprising two entire tank divisions, came out of Europe.  This year was the first for 69 years in which there were no American tanks in Europe.

‘Good’ say some of those who are opposed to the projection of American power in the world.  But there are consequences to such actions and a hubris that comes with believing a protector is an enemy or confusing a force of liberation with one of domination.  Yet Europe’s reaction to American troops had always been mixed.  And now that that force has been scaled down significantly we are being reminded that there are few actions that do not have a reaction.

Vladimir Putin did not violate Ukrainian sovereignty because of the removal of American tanks but he did do so because he could – rightly – foresee few if any challengers to his ambition.  Perhaps there will remain no challenge to it.  But if there is to be a challenge, indeed if there is to be any restraint on Putin’s ambition the only country able to issue such restraint would be the US.

We have heard many watchwords over the Obama Presidency.  We have had the ‘reset’ with Russia.  And of course we have had the ‘pivot’ to Asia.  All noble policies, no doubt, but also policies which have been revealed to be misguided even where well meant.  A pivot to Eastern Europe is what is now needed.  And if anybody there is left wondering what the effects would be of greater American presence, they should be persuaded to think again first of what wholesale US withdrawal from their corner of the world would most likely precipitate.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command from Grafenwoehr, Germany. his file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Use of this image done not in any way infer endorsement of this column.

The Case for ALAC in Florida: Heidi McClain – American Child Lost to Shariah

Heidi Machael al-Omary 1997

Heidi McClain al-Olmary at 5-years old.

One of horrors that have confronted American women who naively marry Saudi men is the possible risk of having children of those marriages kidnapped following divorce in accordance with Sharia and removed to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There are estimated to be in excess of 1,000 such cases. A few have been featured in investigative reports on CBS 60 Minutes and Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor. Frequently American wives of Saudis and other fundamentalist Muslims are physically abused and maltreated under Sharia.  We saw that in our interview with American feminist Phyllis Chesler about her experience following a marriage to an Afghan Muslim husband educated in the West upon her arrival at the family compound in Kabul. See The New English Review Flight from an Afghan Seraglio and An American Feminist Fighting Sharia: an Interview with Dr. Phyllis Chesler (January 2014).

In the current debates in state legislatures over consideration of American Laws for American Courts, legislators often ask, “is this legislation really needed to address foreign laws and doctrines” that intrude on the fundamental Constitution Rights of American citizens? Often cited are cases that have recognized Sharia doctrine in state appellate and lower courts. Illustrative of the compelling need for such protections are the numerous incidents involving spousal abuse of American wives and kidnapping of children in divorce cases, where under Shariah, the Muslim ex-husbands can exercise rights to remove their children even though doing so may violate US criminal laws.

Heidi McClain age progression Pictures 1997 to 2010

Heidi age progression picture at 18 years old

Last September during a presentation I gave before an ACT! For America chapter in Jonesboro, Arkansas, I encountered Professor Margaret McClain, then on the faculty of Arkansas State University (ASU). She has since retired after 30 years at ASU. In the late 1980’s Professor McClain was a faculty member teaching English as a Second Language in a special program for Saudi Students entering ASU. She had been recently widowed and met a Saudi graduate student, a Computer Science major at a university event. Thus began what eventuated in an exploitative marriage that produced a child, Heidi. McClain suffered frequent physical and psychological abuse during the marriage at the hands of her Saudi husband for her refusal to  be compliant. That led to a divorce and custody of Heidi granted to Professor McClain under Arkansas law. Upon Professor McClain’s subsequent marriage to an American following the divorce, her Saudi ex-husband conspired with a more compliant American convert to Islam to kidnap and remove Heidi, then five years old, to Saudi Arabia.

Professor McClain was one of several American wives with Saudi ex-husbands who abducted and removed children to Saudi Arabia in violation of state, federal and international parental kidnapping laws. These women testified about these cases before Congress during the 107th Session. The US State Department  had set up the Office of Child Issues  to deal with complaints and conduct investigations of such abuses. Media stories sparked by 9/11 led  the US. House of Representatives Government Reform Committee, then chaired by former Indiana Republican Dan Burton, to hold five days of hearings from June to December 2002. The Committee published a final report, Investigation into Abductions of American Children to Saudi Arabia. In one instance, the Committee heard from a 16 year old daughter of a Florida woman, Dria Hernandez-Davis, about her experience of living under difficult circumstances and her remarkable escape and rescue. A rescue privately financed with $200,000 in bribes provided by her grandmother who refinanced her home to obtain the necessary funds. The US State Department Office of Child Issues and the US Embassy legation in Riyadh appeared to have offered little assistance to rescue these children.

Professor McClain consented to tell her story about the kidnapping of her American daughter, Heidi, by her Saudi ex-husband to alert other Americans as to the dangers of Shariah law sanctioning spousal abuse and criminal violations of US laws against kidnapping. Heidi is now 21 years old. Professor McClain last visited her six years ago under intense restrictions in Saudi Arabia. Only her older daughter Roxanne by a prior marriage has had periodic contact with Heidi in Saudi Arabia.

Professor McClain will be a featured speaker at the Leadership Prayer Breakfast of the Christian Family Coalition of Florida (CFC) in Tallahassee on March 13, 2014.

Watch this Vimeo video of  our interview with Professor McClain.

Heidi McClain -American Child Lost to Shariah from Jerry Gordon on Vimeo.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

Boston jihad murderer Tamerlan Tsarnaev had black flag of jihad on wall of his home

And meanwhile, his widow Katherine Tsarnaev went to Kazakhstan to cozy up to his Allahu-akbaring mother, who so disgusted the world in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon jihad bombing by whining about how authorities had killed one of her murderous sons and were planning to kill the other. That this was and is a thoroughly jihadist family, contrary to continuing mainstream media reports, is increasingly clear.

“PICTURE EXCLUSIVE: Boston bomber’s widow cozies up to his mother on trip to see her in former Soviet state months before atrocity – as disturbing video emerges of jihad flag on wall of her home,” by M R Freda for the Daily Mail, March 6 (thanks to Twostellas):

The widow of Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev cozies up to the terrorist’s mother on a trip to see her in her homeland months before the marathon massacre, in an exclusive photograph obtained by MailOnline.

In the family photo captioned Kyrgyzstan 2013, Katherine Russell, 24, is holding the daughter she had with Tsarnaev, who was killed during a shootout with police days after he and his brother Dhzokhar allegedly detonated two pressure cooker bombs along the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15.

The picture shows just how close Russell was with mother-in-law Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, who lives in Kyrgyzstan and has an open arrest warrant hanging over here in the US. Also in the picture is the brothers’ sister Bella.

Meanwhile, MailOnline has also found footage showing the flag of jihad hanging in the Cambridge, Massachusetts home shared with the Tsarnaev family.

The startling video was discovered while investigating images and video posted by the ‘Free Jahar’ community – who are fighting to clear the name of Tamerlan’s brother Dhozkhar, who is currently in custody awaiting trial for his part in the mass killings.

He has pleaded not guilty.

The flag used by Al Qaeda is visible at the end of a short video clip showing Dhzokhar Tsarnaev with his niece, daughter of Tamerlan and Katherine.

In it, he is teasing the baby, and as he says ‘give me a kiss.’The flag, which was identified by a federal expert who examined the video, is visible behind her.

It is often called the Black Standard and has the shahada – a creed that declares in the oneness of God written on it.

The flag started appearing on Islamist websites since 2001.

While Russell may not have known its violent symbolism it adds to the disturbing questions over how much she knew of her husband’s radicalism.

Russell, a wealthy American Muslim convert, has had the threat of charges hanging over her for nearly a year related to the bombings….

Ted Cruz: Ten Policy Changes To Fundamentally Transform America Back

We agree with all of what Senator Cruz is proposing, with two exceptions – Congress needs to enforce the Constitution, not defend it and the Flat Tax proposal. Congress needs to get out of the tax business altogether and should repeal the Sixteen Amendment and replace it with the Fair Tax (HB 25).

Senator Cruz did not directly address pro-family policies and national security in his remarks. These are two key areas that must be restored if America is to be fundamentally transformed back to its former greatness.

 reports, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)  today advocated “a straightforward and bold, positive agenda to inspire the young, to inspire women, to inspire Hispanics, to inspire everybody” during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Here are the ten items he called on Americans to do going forward:

1. “Defend the constitution. All of it.”

2. “We need to abolish the IRS. We need to adopt a simple flat tax that is fair [so] that every American can fill out his taxes on a postcard.”

3. “We need to expand energy in this country and create high-paying jobs all over America.”

4. “We need to expand school choice. Every child deserves an opportunity to have an excellent education, regardless of your race, your class, your creed, where you come from – every child deserves a fair chance at the American Dream.”

5. “We need to repeal Dodd-Frank.”

6. “We need to audit the Federal Reserve. Unaccountable power in Washington debasing our currency, driving up the cost of food and gas and the basic stuff of life is hurting Americans who are struggling across this country. And I’ll tell you what else it’s doing: It’s fueling the abuse of power by petro-tyrants like Putin.”

7. “We need to pass a strong balanced budget amendment. We need to stop bankrupting our country.”

8. “We need to repeal every single word of Obamacare.”

9. “We need to stop the lawlessness. This President of the United States is the first President we’ve ever had who thinks he can choose which laws to enforce and which laws to ignore. He announces just about every day one change after another after another in Obamacare. It is utterly lawless. It is inconsistent with our Constitution, and it ought to trouble everyone – Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians.”

10. “We need to end the corruption. We need to eliminate corporate welfare and crony capitalism. If you come to Washington and serve in Congress, there should be a lifetime ban on lobbying. And we need to pass a strong constitutional amendment that puts into law term limits.”