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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Trump Hates Super PACs Except When He Uses Them


By   |  March 31, 2016, 05:39pm  |  @lifeofgrace224

There’s a reason Donald Trump blathers on and on about hating Super PACs.

Between the Jeb-supporting Right to Rise USA and Rubio-backing Conservative Solutions PAC, about $29.1 million was spent trashing Trump, out of a total of $63 million so far, according to a March 18 ABC News report.


Since Bush and Rubio exited the race, the pace has picked up, with nearly $2.5 million a day spent hitting Trump since before Florida. That’s 65 percent of total GOP spending, again per the ABC report.

Now comes Great America PAC, which has spent $3.1 million on advertising for Trump, with ad buys through May 30. Television ad buys through April 4 total $1.5 million. Most of these ads attack Ted Cruz, using the typical mother-in-a-kitchen worried about her children (we’ve seen these way too many times).

Trump is behind in the polls in Wisconsin after taking a breather from the campaign trail, and he’s reversing himself (again) on an issue he’s campaigned on, because with Trump, nothing is non-negotiable, including Super PACs.

Honestly, I thank God for Citizens United v. FEC. Without Super PACs, there’s simply no way other candidates would be able to outspend Trump, who benefits from over a billion dollars of “earned media” by controlling the news cycle, according to a March 15 New York Times report.


Yet Trump complains that it’s not fair the other candidates outspend him using Super PAC money.

I call bulls**t.

Who can overcome a freaking 1.8 billion in free media, special treatment on news shows where other candidates have to show up and Trump can phone in from his jet, and half of the hosts at various news outlets breaking out the Astroglide when he shows up? Without the Super PACs, there’d be no such thing as #NeverTrump. It would be over. We’d be doomed.

And guess what? Should Trump become the GOP nominee, the earned media will flip over to Hillary, except to report Trump’s gaffes, flip-flops, missteps, profanity, and misogyny. The MSM will gladly report that.

Yes, thank God for Super PACs. They have been very effective, and in California, a new Super PAC led by Rob Stuzman has Trump in its crosshairs. Even if Trump gets the winner-take-all delegates from Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey–if he loses Wisconsin, he likely can’t get to 1,237. He’ll be short, and with the unbound delegates stacked against him, he’ll be very short.

It will come down to California, and you can bet your sweet patootie that Trump will use his Super PAC to attack Cruz all the way to the end. When he’s asked, he’ll give the same reason he gave when confronted about why he tried to condemn the widow’s home for a limo parking area, or declared Chapter 11 on his Atlantic City casino four times.

The same reason Bill Clinton messed with an intern in the Oval Office. Because he could.

It’s irrelevant whether those bankruptcies were good or bad for shareholders (bad), creditors (bad), Atlantic City (bad). They were good for Donald. And it’s irrelevant whether Super PACs are good or bad for politics. If it benefits Donald, he’ll use them. If he can make it seem like Cruz is “bought,” he’ll rail against them. He’ll do both in the same sentence if he can.

But it probably won’t help Trump. He’s only resorting to traditional advertising because his National Enquirer sewer scraping operation failed. He’s only resorting to a Super PAC because he wants to loan money to it and get paid back later instead of “self funding” as he claims (in fact, donors contribute 30 percent of his funding).

Trump says he hates Super PACs, but that’s not true. He only hates them when they hurt him. And they’ve hurt him. When it benefits him, Trump will go all-in for Super PACs. He’s a hypocrite on this just like every other issue in his campaign to be cultist-in-chief. Thank God we have Super PACs to stop him.


Let the people go: Obama commutes 61 drug, firearm sentences and will spring a dozen more from Gitmo

 **Written by Doug Powers

On Wednesday, President Obama commuted the lengthy sentences of dozens of people who had been convicted on drug and firearm felonies. As long as they don't become nuns and challenge the Affordable Care Act, their legal troubles are over:

President Barack Obama commuted the prison sentences of 61 drug offenders on Wednesday including more than a third serving life sentences, working to give new energy to calls for overhauling the U.S. criminal justice system.

All of the inmates are serving time for drug possession, intent to sell or related crimes. Most are nonviolent offenders, although a few were also charged with firearms violations. Obama's commutation shortens their sentences, with most of the inmates set to be released on July 28.


Most are nonviolent offenders, although a few also faced firearms charges. Nabar Criam of Brooklyn, New York, was sentenced to 15 years for possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute, but received an additional charge for having a gun on hand during a drug trafficking crime.

The latest tranche of commutations brings to 248 the total number of inmates whose sentences Obama has commuted — more than the past six presidents combined, the White House said.

Obama treated some people whose sentences he's commuted to lunch Wednesday:

How many people will Obama pardon on his last day in office? The ceremony will probably be huge and go down in U.S. history as the only one that's ever been catered.

But lest we think Obama's opening of prison doors is merely a domestic push, his administration is also going to spring more Gitmo detainees:

The Pentagon reportedly told Congress Wednesday that it is planning to release a dozen Guantanamo detainees to at least two countries.

A U.S. official told Reuters the first transfers are expected in the next few days with others to occur in the coming weeks.

Pentagon spokesman Commander Gary Ross told Fox News he could not comment on when detainees would be transferred.

“The Administration is committed to reducing the detainee population and to closing the detention facility responsibly,” he said in a statement to Fox News.

And if any of them return to the fight John Kerry will remind them that they're not supposed to be doing that.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

Obama Displays Chip on His Shoulder Yet Again, Says Nobody Cared About Drug Abuse When It Was Minorities

Wednesday - March 30, 2016

RUSH: Man, oh, man, there's some stuff happening out there above and beyond the campaign that I would be remiss, I would go home today feeling profound guilt if I did not address some of these things. 

In no particular order.  I don't know how many of you saw it, but President Obama went to Atlanta to join this National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit.  It was yesterday afternoon.  They discussed drug addiction, the importance of treating it as a disease instead of a character flaw, but also as a treatment challenge rather than as a crime.  But as usual, Obama could not talk about this in an unattached way.  He couldn't just deal with the problem as it is; he had to attach his own biases and prejudices to it, which transferred bitterness to the discussion. 

And his basic point was (paraphrasing), "Yeah, hey, you know what?  It's all good, it's all wonderful that we're down here talking about prescription drug abuse and the heroin problem, but isn't it interesting that nobody cared when it was only African-Americans and Hispanics and minorities that had the problem?"  And I looked at this, and I said, "Can you drop your resentment?"  And he can't. 

He is incapable of dropping his resentment.  He is incapable of walking around without that giant chip on his shoulder about this country.  I don't care, I remain more convinced than ever that this guy has a giant problem with this country, that is institutional that dates all the way back to the founding.  It is rooted in what he thinks is something that was institutionally incorporated in the founding, and that is racism and discrimination and bigotry and white supremacy and all of this. 

He's running around, and his wife, too, constantly embittered, unable to get past it no matter what progress has been made, no matter what punishments have been meted out to people that he thinks are guilty over the course of our nation's history. No matter what changes have been made for the better, it's as though they never happened.  And it's as though the changes, even though they've happened, were made despite people wanting them to happen. 

Now, the prescription drug abuse problem and the heroin problem is what it is.  It's been around for a while.  It's been debated as either a demand-side problem or a supply problem.  But there's nothing new about it.  The focus now is on how do you deal with it, but I mean the size of the problem, it fluctuates and different drugs.  One year, two-year period it's cocaine, crack cocaine, go back to heroin, other than opiates, but it's there.  There's maybe an increasing percentage.  But of all things, for the president of the United States (paraphrasing), "Yeah, the drug problem was ignored when it was hurting the minority community."  It was not.  The drug problem has been on the minds of public servants and in people's heads and hearts for years. 

largeMy whole life I'm aware of all kinds of efforts to deal with the drug problem, to properly define it, to come up with ways to treat it. I mean, Nancy Reagan was mocked.  She had a slogan back in the 1980s, "Just say no."  And everybody mocked it and made fun of it just like the same people mocked and made fun of the idea of abstinence as a way of avoiding teen pregnancy and abortion as contraception.  Anybody that came up and said, "Hey, be bigger than it and say no to it." 

"It's easy for you to say."  It was rejected.  But the point is all kinds of people have cared about it for a long time, and here's the president with this mocking, resentful tone (paraphrasing), "The drug problem was ignored when it was hurting minority communities."  The thing to learn from this is that he's still walking around with this giant chip on his shoulder and it's why he goes to places like Cuba and Argentina and everywhere else in the world, and when leaders of those countries start complaining about the United States, why, he agrees with them.  And it's why he further says we've got no moral authority over anybody.  We can't tell anybody the right or wrong way. We can't impose whatever it is we do on people, cause our past is nothing to write home about, either. 

And the dangerous part about this is that all the people, the Democrats and the leftists in this country that support the guy, applaud this kind of thing.  And it feeds this really unhealthy notion that there's nothing special about the United States, when there clearly is.  It feeds, it grows this belief on the part of millions of people in this country that there's no such thing as American exceptionalism.  This is not leadership; it's not inspirational; this is carrying grudges around.  And presidents are supposed to be bigger than that.  

ISIS may be losing, but the big winners are America's enemies via @NYPost

With the retaking of Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra, we seem to finally have made tangible, on-the-ground gains against ISIS — that is, if “we” refers to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. 

President Obama and several of his would-be successors are satisfied: The terrorists of ISIS are losing ground. America exerts little treasure and sheds no blood. Our allies in Syria are on the march. What’s not to like? 

Wait, “allies”? 

During the half-decade Syrian civil war, the White House has repeatedly deemed Assad unfit to lead the country. 

If anything, administration officials stress again and again, he should stand trial for war crimes. Meanwhile, Hezbollah tops the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. Despite Obama’s endless overtures to Iran, the administration still considers it, at least officially, an adversary. 

And Russia? Well, it’s complicated, but a trusted friend they’re not. 

Over the weekend Syrian army troops loyal to Assad took Palmyra, supported by Russian warplanes. (Strange, while Vladimir Putin announced earlier this month that Russia is getting out of Syria, he keeps pouring military assets into the country.) Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps fighters helped out. 

It was a first for Assad. Syrian sources tell me that the Syrian army and its allies could have successfully mounted a similar attack at any time since last May, when the ISIS gangs took Palmyra over and proceeded to shock the world by smashing its cherished antiquities — or as ISIS called them, “symbols of idolatry.” 

Beyond its value to Indiana Jones types, by the way, Palmyra is a strategic asset, located between Damascus and the country’s eastern deserts and the Iraqi border. So how come Assad waited so long before instructing his army to take back the city? 

Because Assad never really saw ISIS as his main enemy. Rather, the group was his insurance card: The scarier and stronger it seemed to the West, the more we’d see the war as a choice between him and ISIS — and choose him. So he went easy on ISIS, and attacked all other Sunni groups that vied to overthrow him. 

Now, as America, Russia and the United Nations are (perhaps prematurely) beginning to plan the postwar political arrangements, Assad needs to demonstrate his value as the only serious buffer against ISIS. 

And so, with Russia, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah, Assad wrestles Palmyra away from those ISIS goons who shocked the world by ruining its beautiful ancient artifacts, and the world is impressed. 

Publicly, official Washington maintains the “Assad must go” mantra. But behind the scenes, we welcome his latest maneuvering. After all, anyone who’d weaken ISIS is welcome. 

Except ISIS will be fine. Indeed, it’s already moved assets to Libya. 

With our hands-off approach, we failed to cultivate significant alliances in Syria (as opposed to our success in doing so during the 2007-2009 Iraq “surge”). As a result, no one does our bidding there. We therefore must rely on Russia — even though Moscow also brings along Hezbollah, Iran and (for now, at least) Assad. 

Beyond the stench, is a victory for that odious coalition in our interest? It’ll lead to endless unrest. Sunnis won’t accept it. 

The growth of Iran’s Shiite Crescent has already ignited Iran-Saudi proxy wars in Yemen and Bahrain, in addition to Syria. And as Thomas Friedman reports from Iraq, this is a region-wide war. Meanwhile, Hezbollah and Iran are trying to establish a base on the Golan, where they hope to open a new anti-Israeli front. 

So, no. “We” didn’t gain in Palmyra. We farmed the battle out to others, who are no allies. Thus, we’re guaranteed intensified mayhem, which sooner or later can reach our shores, too. 

It should teach us the perils of the hands-off approach. Instead, our leading presidential candidates increasingly take up Obama’s complaint that our allies don’t sufficiently shoulder the burdens of global security. 

One of the lessons of the Syria mess is that when America sheds responsibilities, our allies won’t pick up the baton. Instead, the void tends to be filled with the worst of the worst.

Both sides in abortion debate pile on Trump

By Jessie Hellmann - 03-30-16 17:40 PM EDT

GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump outraged groups on both sides of the abortion debate Wednesday when he said women who undergo illegal abortions should be punished.

Trump told MSNBC's Christ Matthews that there should be "some form of punishment" for women who got abortions if they were banned.

As a convert to the pro-life movement, Mr. Trump sees the reality of the horror of abortion the destruction of an innocent human life which is legal in our country up until the moment of birth, said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, in a statement.

But let us be clear: punishment is solely for the abortionist who profits off of the destruction of one life and the grave wounding of another.

Anti-abortion activists have long called for the person performing an abortion to be punished, not the woman undergoing the procedure.

March for Life, which holds an annual rally in Washington protesting abortion, also spoke out against Trump s remarks, calling him out of touch with the anti-abortion movement.

Mr. Trump s comment today is completely out of touch with the pro-life movement and even more with women who have chosen such a sad thing as abortion, said Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, in a statement.

No pro-lifer would ever want to punish a woman who has chosen abortion. This is against the very nature of what we are about, Mancini said. We invite a woman who has gone down this route to consider paths to healing, not punishment.

Trump later sought to clarify his initial remarks, saying if Congress were to pass legislation banning abortion, only doctors performing the procedure should be held legally responsible.

But he also received criticism from pro-abortion rights groups.

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund called Trump flat-out dangerous for women.

Women s lives are not disposable. There s nothing else to say, as Donald Trump s remarks today have said it all, said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, in a statement.

Trump's comments also drew criticism from presidential rivals in both parties. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton called the remarks "horrific and telling," while Bernie Sanders said they were shameful.

Brian Phillips, a top aide to GOP candidate Ted Cruz, said the remarks showed Trump was not truly anti-abortion.

John Kasich added of course women shouldn t be punished for having abortions.

GOP nears the breaking point

GOP nears the breaking point
By Jesse Byrnes - 03-31-16 06:00 AM EDT

The presidential primary has been a wrenching experience for the GOP so far and it s about to get even worse.

Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich have all backed away from their pledge to support the party's eventual nominee, foreshadowing a fight at the convention and beyond that could cleave the GOP into warring factions.

"This race is kind of at its boiling point," said GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak. "As ugly as it is now, the two losing candidates at the convention are going to feel even worse."

Instead of helping to unify the GOP behind a candidate, as the primary process typically does, the race has instead created deep wounds between the candidates that are unlikely to heal.

The antagonism has been heightened by a particularly vicious stretch of campaigning involving allegations of adultery and pictures of the candidates wives.

"I believe that we're beyond the point in the campaign where we feel we can unify. There s been too much bad blood that's been created," said GOP strategist David Payne, who said he would like to see Cruz win the nomination before the convention.

Cruz, the closest rival to Trump in the delegate count, acknowledged Wednesday that s Trump's attacks on his wife, Heidi, have made him reconsider his pledge to the Republican National Committee to support the GOP nominee.

I m not in the habit of supporting someone who attacks my wife and attacks my family, Cruz said during a CNN town hall Tuesday night. "That is going beyond the line."

Kasich, who also made the pledge, appeared to back away from his promise as well.

"Frankly, all of us shouldn't even have answered that question," Kasich said late Tuesday, referring to when candidates where asked to make the pledge at the first GOP debate in August.

Trump was the most definitive on revoking the pledge. "No, I don't anymore," he told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday when asked if he continued to support the eventual nominee.

"I have been treated very unfairly," Trump continued. Asked by whom, Trump responded, "basically by the RNC, the Republican Party, the establishment."

The businessman on Wednesday morning reiterated that his support for the Republican nominee is conditional.

"I just want to see who the GOP nominee is," Trump said on ABC's "Good Morning America.

The RNC engineered the loyalty pledge last summer after Trump floated the possibility of running as a third-party candidate in an interview with The Hill.

After facing pressure, the businessman made a show of signing the pledge, holding an impromptu press conference at Trump Tower where he held up the paper for the world to see.

But the businessman insists his pledge was conditional on being treated fairly by the Republican Party something he says hasn t happened, now that there is a movement to deny him the nomination.

Trump's opponents have launched a large-scale effort to prevent him from reaching the 1,237 delegates he needs to win, which would force a contested convention for the nomination in July.

"The pledge was always pretty hollow to begin with," said Rory Cooper, a former House GOP leadership aide who is now advising the new #NeverTrump super-PAC. "I'm happy that it's behind us."

"Nobody expects Donald Trump to be a man of his word in any sense. That would certainly apply to the pledge as well," Cooper said.

The #NeverTrump super-PAC aims to deny Trump delegates with strategic ad buys. The group is now running ads in Wisconsin supporting Cruz, plans to support Cruz in California and may support Kasich in Pennsylvania.

Trump has 736 delegates so far, according to The Associated Press s delegate tracker. Based on current projections, GOP strategist Ford O'Connell said Trump is likely to either barely reach 1,237 or fall just short.

If Trump manages to win the nomination outright, it s likely that a group of Republicans will break away, potentially putting forward a third-party candidate.

But if a contested convention results in Trump losing the nomination despite leading in delegates, it s an open question whether he and his supporters would rally behind the nominee in the general electio

"It's going to be a fight, it's going to be embarrassing for us," Payne added about the possibility of a convention fight that could "play out in prime time."

Many Republicans strategists say they don't think Trump will attempt a third-party bid if he fails to win the nomination, given that it s too late to get on the ballot in most states.

But should Trump opt for a write-in campaign, it could effectively dash any Republican hopes of beating the Democratic candidate.

"Republicans the core Republicans are going to rally around the nominee no matter who it is, O'Connell insisted.

Still, "the enthusiasm is with Trump. How other candidates might pick that up if they're the nominee is an open question," O'Connell added.

Democrats are watching the spectacle unfold with glee.

"Friendly reminder that the GOP candidates don't even want to vote for the GOP candidates," former Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) tweeted late Tuesday.

Donald Trump Brings Out the Worst In People

By   |  March 30, 2016, 10:32pm

“There are days I think if we shaved Trump’s bad combover we’d find ‘666’ on his scalp. But then I realize he’s just a jackass with a unique ability to let others feed off his jackassery”

“Did he really say that?” ask the Branch Trumpidians as their cult leader bobs and weaves between diametrically opposed positions. The word parsing first made famous by a serpent in the Garden of Eden is stock and trade among Trump and the Branch Trumpidians. Along the way, Trump has the unique ability to bring out the worst in practically everybody.

Tune in to CNN and watch Sarah Huckabee, a Christian whose dad was a pastor, dodge having to denounce a smear against another Christian.

Tune into Fox and watch Sarah Huckabee’s dad or a variety of other Branch Trumpidians go on the attack against conservatives for upholding their principles or watch Stacy Dash call people who oppose Trump “traitors.”

In fact, the most amazing part of it all is how many outright shills there are for Trump who refuse to actually admit they are on his team. That really is the most amazing thing about what a terrible candidate he is. There are two or three talk radio show hosts and a host of television personalities who are non-stop mouthpieces for Trump giving Trump non-stop access to their programs for softball interviews. But they claim they are not endorsing him. Just tune in tomorrow, the next day, and the next day to watch Trump, Trump’s people, and Trump’s supporters say how awesome he is.

Everyone gets the joke but them.

Watch a Trump rally and see otherwise reasonable people turn into angry protestors and angry counter-protestors, even pepper spraying a 15 year old.

Turn on the internet and watch white supremacists pledge loyalty to Trump for addressing white grievances as “alt-right” fascists pretend they are just hipster contrarians.

Turn on Breitbart and watch a cast of characters attack their own employee for what Trump’s campaign manager did.

Watch Ben Carson beclown himself to defend the man who compared him to a child molester. Watch Chris Christie contort his body in ways no humanly possible to reconcile his past statements on Trump’s record with his support of Trump. Watch Sarah Palin and her daughter attack Ted Cruz then have her Super PAC use Ted Cruz’s name to fundraise, claiming to support Cruz.

Watch any member of the Branch Trumpidians presume anyone opposed to their man-god is bought and paid for by the Establishment™. In fact, watch a whole lot of radio and television personalities who’ve long been given perks and discount access by Trump start accusing others of being on the take.

Donald Trump brings out the worst in everybody. Those who enter his orbit come out of it without their integrity. Everyone around Trump comes away with compromised values. And those opposed to Trump often find themselves reduced to the same shrill level as the average Branch Trumpidian.

It is a cult and I, for one, refuse to perpetuate the talking point that we want these people as a meaningful part of any coalition. I sure don’t. The people still hanging on to Donald Trump at this point and defending him really are not meaningful partners in making America great again. They’ve been consumed by their lesser angels and many people once presumed to be civil have been shown to actually be really awful people happy to put it all on display.

There are days I think if we shaved Trump’s bad combover we’d find “666” on his scalp. But then I realize he’s just a jackass with a unique ability to let others feed off his jackassery and behave like jackasses themselves.

Congress Remains on Standby

Thank goodness we don’t have to write on paper anymore, or the forests of entire continents would have been wiped out explaining the Donald Trump phenomenon.

One explanation that crops up consistently, though, is that voters elect Republicans to Congress, but then those Republicans don’t deliver the promised outcomes. Why not an outsider with little actual connection to the party to whip the leadership into shape and get some conservative legislation passed?

I don’t share the affinity for Trump, but I do understand the frustration with a congressional gang that simply can’t seem to shoot straight. It happened against last week with what should be non-controversial legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration.

U.S. Travel, a trade group, had laid out a sensible proposal that conservatives in Washington should have leaped on. Its plan would have eliminated five airport and airway trust fund taxes — the 7.5 percent domestic passenger sales tax, the $17.70-per-passinger international arrivals and departures fee, an $8.90-per-passenger tax on flights to Alaska and Hawaii, a 4.3 percent tax on commercial fuel and a 7.5 levee on mileage awards.

Overall, its plan would have saved travelers between $9.50 and $25.50 on a $340 ticket. And that’s even if Congress had taken up its proposal to raise the cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) — the fees local airports charge to fund their infrastructure costs — from $4.50 to $8.50, a move that would have devolved power over airport renovations to states and localities.

So, in large part, a no-brainer vote for any sentient conservative. It strikes a blow for free trade and scraps federal taxes that go into big pots of money that end up distributed to cronies. It also increases the cap on a fee that lets local governments raise their own funds and direct them to their own priorities.

After all, who knows better what the Minneapolis airport needs, for example… the federal government or the people who run the Minneapolis airport? And in today’s charged political climate, a measure that could lead to increased revenues but devolves power to local authorities should have had appeal on both sides of the aisle.

Moreover, the fee has not been raised in nearly 20 years, and many of America’s airports are old, unable to keep up. and lacking in the resources to turn things around. Trump himself has comparedNew York’s LaGuardia Airport, one of the busiest in the world, to a “third world dump” and the airport’s director actually agrees with him.

Airlines for America, the airline trade group, says it opposes allowing airports to increase the Passenger Facility Chargebecause they already have $3 billion in the bank from these fees — an all-time high. But Christopher Ward, executive director of the New York-New Jersey Port Authority, which operates all three New York-area airports, said the LaGuardia project alone would cost $4 billion if he could find the money to do it, which he can’t.

“There exists a bipartisan recognition that adjusting the PFC cap is long overdue,” Jonathan Grella, U.S. Travel’s vice president for public affairs said. “After all, addressing the issue of airport infrastructure and airline competition are about as meaningful measures as lawmakers could hope to address in FAA renewal.”

The Airlines for America press release says it opposes the tax on behalf of its customers, the passengers. But it felt no such concern toward its customers on eliminating the other federal taxes involved or changing the rules on bag fees and other assessments the airlines now collect tax free.

One has only to look at the volatility of airline pricing — tickets for a flight months out cost more on Saturday than Tuesday for some reason that certainly doesn’t have to do with helping the customers — to realize those claims can’t be taken seriously.

The airlines didn’t get everything they wanted in the legislation either. The move to privatize air control by creating a non-profit to usher in new technology and move thousands of workers off the government payroll was left out.

But what was clear is the side of Washington that most infuriates voters this year was on display with this legislation. A common-sense proposal to devolve power to those most in position to respond to America’s airport crisis went by the boards because lobbyists from the airlines and unions opposed it. Special interests took precedence over the public interest.

Airlines for America expects more people to fly this spring than ever before. While it is high-fiving itself for killing the increase in the Passenger Facility Charge, it should remember those customers it says it cares so much about don’t step directly our of their cars onto its planes. They have to go through an airport.

And if the conditions of those airports continue to deteriorate, the people celebrating now may well wish they had let the Passenger Facility Charge increase. 

Read More Here

What Islamophobia?

‘Islamophobia’: U.S. cities face anti-Muslim backlash, shouted the USA Todayheadline two days after the Brussels airport and metro assault. “Cities across the USA are preparing for the next phase that inevitably follows a terror attack: anti-Muslim backlash,” the article began.

Longtime Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman Ibrahim Hooper conceded brutal attacks on Muslims since the Brussels attack had not been reported. Not yet. But bullying and hate speech were growing, he warned. Politicians “have mainstreamed Islamophobia,” he added.

Inevitable backlash! Brutal attacks! Islamophobia! How awful! Be very afraid!

None of this happened, mind you, but CAIR assured us it’s coming if we don’t watch our step, USA Today serving as its megaphone.

What is Islamophobia? No one’s really sure. According to author Salman Rushdie, it is “an addition to the vocabulary of Humpty Dumpty Newspeak.” The late Christopher Hitchens called it a “stupid term” that was “put into circulation to try and suggest that a foul prejudice lurks behind any misgivings about Islam’s infallible ‘message.’”

“I refuse to use this term ‘Islamophobia,’ because those who use this word are trying to invalidate any criticism at all of Islamist ideology,” said French Prime Minister Manuel Valls after the 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacres. “The charge of ‘Islamophobia’ is used to silence people.”

Yet CAIR and its allies cry “Islamophobia” whenever necessary, as when militant Islam strikes and kills the innocent, which seems increasingly often. The USA Today article politely calls CAIR a “Washington-based civil-liberties group.” Many governments and public agencies consider it to be in league with terrorist groups. At the least it is a non-profit Muslim propaganda machine.

Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., with 33 affiliates nationwide, CAIR lobbies compliant politicians, corporations, and media. It does so purposefully, relying on credulous Americans fearful of contributing to “backlash” or being anything less than nice and tolerant people –– much less right-wing kooks or racists. It uses toleration, pluralism, fairness, religious freedom, diversity, and other high-minded American ideals to disarm suspicion or resistance.

Some CAIR claims are sheer inventions. “Unlike what happens after the mass shootings committed by white supremacists that happen almost daily in America, whenever an act of terrorism involves those who identify themselves as Muslims, politicians respond by calling for the curtailment of the rights of American Muslims,” CAIR Florida executive director Hassan Shibly said to USA Today.

Muslim activists like Hooper and Shibly are world-class injustice collectors. They condemn what they claim is constant “racial profiling,” “institutional racism,” and “fear-mongering.” But charges of persecution often don’t hold up. Some seem fabricated or staged. Are Americans already forgetting last year’s Clock Boy debacle?

Think back a few months to San Bernardino, when Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik slaughtered 14 people and wounded 22 others at a holiday party for the county department of health. Beginning the day of the shootings, CAIR organized press conferences and interviews, conducting a well-choreographed media campaign. Lawyers insisted there was no evidence the killings had anything to with religion. One added the killer may have faced workplace derision for his beard.

CAIR’s executive director in the Los Angeles area, Hussam Ayloush, appealed to MSNBC viewers not to jump to conclusions about the suspects’ motives. “Is it work? Rage-related? Is it mental illness? Is it extreme ideology?” Ayloushwondered at another press conference. “At this point it’s really unknown to us.” But many Americans had known in a flash what had actually happened, and a few realized that so had CAIR.

How much Islamophobia, oppression, surveillance, or persecution do American Muslims actually face? And who really is being persecuted? First Amendment freedoms and privacy law give ample protection.

When Middle East experts, historians, journalists, or public officials express any alarm about Islamic fundamentalism and Islam’s geopolitical aims, they may incur vicious attacks on their character. On U.S. campuses dissident speakers and professors face open hostility from Muslim students and their allies claiming “hate speech.” Lecture invitations and jobs are at stake.

“We live in a time when great efforts are being made to falsify the record of the past and to make history a tool of propaganda; when governments, religious movements, political parties, and sectional groups of every kind are busy rewriting history as they would wish it to have been,” observed historian Bernard Lewis in Islam and the West, at the high tide of the 1990s culture wars.

 “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future,” CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper said about the same time. “But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”

This sounds a lot like soft –– some call it stealth –– jihad, doesn’t it, or something similar to subversive activity.

Irrational fears? Hate speech? Islamists use diversity politics and ecumenical dreams to move the holy struggle forward. Invoking Islamophobia, they seek to shut down criticism and ruin any critics. With the enthusiastic support of America’s multiculturalists and cultural left, they are succeeding.

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