A Pennsylvania state trooper was shot during a highway chase on Tuesday. The suspects crashed into a school bus which then caught fire. No one was injured on the school bus.

From ABC News:

"A man stopped for an expired car registration sticker traded gunfire with police Tuesday during a highway chase that ended with a fiery crash involving a school bus and a trooper with a gunshot wound in his shoulder, police said.

"Trooper Patrick R. Casey suffered a "flesh wound," state police Capt. James Raykovitz said.

"Two people who were in the car when it was stopped were in custody, but Philadelphia police were searching for two more following the midmorning crash on a downtown highway, authorities said."


"At 0930 hours this morning, Tpr. Patrick Casey was assisting with a vehicle pursuit on I-676 when he was shot and wounded by one of the suspects during the pursuit.

"The suspects in the vehicle were taken into custody shortly thereafter. Tpr. Casey is in good spirits while recovering in the hospital," the Pennsylvania State Police said.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the Pennsylvania State Police Trooper shot on Interstate 676 in the line of duty today. I received an update from Acting Commissioner Blocker a short time ago and I am relieved to learn that the trooper is in stable condition at a hospital in Philadelphia.

"Our men and women in law enforcement put their lives on the line each day to protect us, and we owe them a debt of gratitude. The shooter was swiftly taken into custody by the Pennsylvania State Police," Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said.
By M.D. Kittle

MADISON, Wisconsin — More than four months have passed since the state Supreme Court ruled Wisconsin’s secret John Doe investigation unconstitutional and ordered it shut down.

People from 29 conservative organizations are still waiting for the return of property the investigators illegally seized and the resumption of their lives — long suspended by the politically driven probe.

“Worse yet, innocent people continue to be harassed by prosecutors filing frivolous motions and threatening to disclose their private information which prosecutors obtained illegally,” said a John Doe target who asked not to be identified for this story due to the unsettled nature of the case.

The release of reconsideration motions is a matter of the court’s discretion.

Diane Fremgen, clerk of the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, told Wisconsin Watchdog on Monday she hasn’t heard anything from the court about a decision. She said such cases can come through quickly, but she recalls one reconsideration ruling released nearly a year after the motion was filed.

It took the high court seven months to issue rulings in the original John Doe-related matters.

On July 16, the Supreme Court ruled — with liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley recusing — the investigation based on theories of illegal campaign coordination between the conservative groups and Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign ran afoul of the First Amendment.

Writing for the conservative majority on the court, Justice Michael Gableman slammed the investigation and praised the unnamed movants in the case before the court.

“It is utterly clear that the special prosecutor has employed theories of law that do not exist in order to investigate citizens who were wholly innocent of any wrongdoing,” Gableman wrote in the opinion. “In other words, the special prosecutor was the instigator of a ‘perfect storm’ of wrongs.”

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, launched what became known as “John Doe II” in August 2012. The state’s Government Accountability Board, according to court documents, jumped in to assist the district attorney’s office almost immediately, eventually transforming the probe into a five-county campaign finance dragnet.

The Supreme Court ordered that prosecutors return the millions of records and other items they seized in raids and through a spying operation into targets and destroy any copies.

Read more....
COLLAPSING CO-OPS: So far, 12 of the 23 Obamacare co-ops have failed, defaulting on more than $1.2 billion in federal loans. Only two have been able to break-even so far, and most of the survivors are eyeing massive premium increases – as high as 40 percent in some cases – in an effort to stay solvent.

By Eric Boehm

It’s been a no good, very bad month for the Affordable Care Act.

One of the nation’s top insurance companies has threatened to pull out of the government-run health insurance exchanges, while others are raising rates by double-digits after realizing that people signing up for insurance tend to be older and sicker than originally hoped.

On top of that, enrollment projections are way off.

But perhaps the biggest immediate crisis facing the Obama administration’s signature health reform measure is the utter collapse of many of the so-called “cooperatives” that were set up by states as part of the 2010 law.

The Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, or Co-Op, portion of the health care law established nonprofit health insurers that would receive federal funding and were intended to compete with private, for-private insurers on the exchanges as a way to lower prices. They were supposed to be small-scale single-payer systems that would be free from the profit motive; a progressive’s dream solution to the problem of providing health insurance for all.

Instead, they’ve turned into a nightmare. So far, 12 of the 23 co-ops have failed, defaulting on more than $1.2 billion in federal loans. Only two have been able to break even so far, and most of the remaining co-ops are eyeing massive premium increases – as high as 40 percent in some cases – to stay solvent.

A government program being poorly run is nothing new, of course. But the co-ops established under the health care law were subject to a series of regulations that make you wonder how they were ever supposed to succeed in the first place.

“It should be no surprise that so many of them are going belly-up,” said John Davidson, director of health policy for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, on the latest edition of the Watchdog Podcast. “The rules that they put on these co-ops almost set them up to fail.”

For starters, the co-ops were barred from hiring anyone who had served at an executive level at any health insurance company in the country.

Think about that for a second. This was essentially a brand new business venture that was prevented from relying on the expertise of anyone who might have the slightest idea what they were doing.

Another regulation prevented the co-ops from raising any capital aside from what was provided via those federal loans. Other rules prevented the co-ops from being allowed to turn a profit, and if one happened to accidentally make money anyway, it wasn’t allowed to use its profits to help it grow.

It’s the kind of business plan that would be laughed out of a business school classroom.

“The co-ops were essentially amateur exercises,” said Davidson. “Running a health insurance company and keeping it actuarially sound is a difficult thing to do, under the best of circumstances.”

Read More....
By Patrick Svitek, The Texas Tribune

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is facing increasing scrutiny for his vote five months ago to place new limits on national intelligence programs, legislation that is being cast in a new light following deadly terrorist attacks in Paris.

The drumbeat was started in earnest last week by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, and on Tuesday, an outside group will breath new life into the attack when it goes on the air in Iowa with a TV ad that says Cruz "voted to weaken America's ability to identify and hunt down terrorists." The group, American Encore, is spending just over $200,000 to run the 30-second spot over two weeks in the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids markets, according to its founder, Sean Noble.

Cruz's campaign dismissed the ad as a sign of the senator's growing dominance in the race for the White House. The campaign is also pointing to Cruz's belief that USA Freedom Act strikes the right balance between keeping the country safe and protecting individuals' right to privacy.

"Because Ted Cruz is surging in the polls, the Washington cartel is now so desperate, they would openly abandon the Fourth Amendment that protects citizens from unconstitutional searches," Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler said in a statement Monday. "We have to wonder what other parts of the Constitution they would gut."

At a forum last Monday in Washington, Rubio singled out Cruz for voting to "weaken" intelligence efforts when he joined 66 other senators to approve the USA Freedom Act, which banned the bulk collection of data on Americans' phone records, among other things. Rubio was among 32 senators who opposed final passage of the bill.

Noble, a former operative in the Koch brothers' network who personally supports Rubio, said Cruz's vote amounted to political posturing for a presidential race that was expected to look a lot different then than it does now.

“At the time, it’s clear that he viewed Rand Paul as his main competition for that wing of the party," Noble said, referring to Cruz's libertarian-leaning colleague in the Senate. "And then [billionaire Donald] Trump and [retired neurosurgeon Ben] Carson showed up and threw that completely into the mix, and so obviously after Paris, everyone wants to take the hardline."

"He can’t talk like Reagan and vote with Obama," Noble added of Cruz. "We need a consistent leader, and American Encore’s tradition has been first and foremost, we need to prepare America for the future to have the encore, and national security is the No. 1 issue on that.”

Noble considers himself a Rubio backer, having co-hosted a fundraiser for the senator last week in his home state of Arizona, where  But Noble said American Encore, which has also gone on the air against Paul, is neutral in the GOP race for the White House.

Rubio further rubbed in the contrast Sunday on Fox News, saying Cruz has "argued that somehow the government is out there spying on everybody, so we need to gut these programs." Rubio's campaign has aggressively promoted the dustup, eager to corner Cruz as on the wrong side of a national security issue following a terrorist attack in Paris that has left many Americans worried about their own safety.

Cruz's campaign initially pushed back on the attack by noting three other GOP senators who voted in favor of the USA Freedom Act: Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Tim Scott of South Carolina. The trio of senators represent the first three early voting states in the 2016 nominating process. Cruz's aides also pointed out that several members of Congress who have endorsed Rubio supported the law as well.

In an interview Thursday with conservative radio host Glenn Beck, Cruz called Rubio's focus on his USA Freedom Act vote "a lot of silliness" and charged the Floridian with trying to divert attention from their previous battle over immigration. That dustup centered on Rubio's membership in the so-called "Gang of Eight" lawmakers that in 2013 proposed a path to citizenship for people in the country illegally, an idea that is anathema to many in the GOP base.

"I understand Marco's campaign's desire — desperate desire — to change the topic from Marco's longtime partnership with Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama to push a massive amnesty program," Cruz told Beck. "Particularly in light of the Paris attacks, a lot of people are wondering, 'Well, gosh, why would he have supported the Democrats in granting citizenship to 12 million people here illegally and not securing our border and opening up our refugee program so more and more potential terrorists could come into this country?'"

"I understand why his campaign desperately wants to change the topic because they've made the decision that his longtime support for amnesty is now politically problematic, but I don't think it's going to work," Cruz added.

In an interview with The Guardian published Sunday, Rubio turned the criticism back on Cruz, who along with U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky have pounced on his immigration history since the last GOP debate. "They make that argument to distract from their own record on national security," Rubio told the newspaper.

The interview was conducted during Rubio's longest swing through Iowa yet, a five-day tour that came as Cruz was also crisscrossing the state. At a rally Saturday evening in Des Moines, Rubio did not mention Cruz by name but kept the heat on members of his own party who "know better than" to support curbs on intelligence programs that could, he said, prevent the next Paris.

The next front?

The line of criticism on intelligence programs appears part of a broader strategy by the Rubio campaign to undermine Cruz's self-styled reputation as a "consistent conservative." On Saturday, a Rubio adviser seemed to preview another front in the offensive, sending out six tweets flagging Cruz's reversal earlier this year on his support for Trade Promotion Authority, known as TPA, the power for President Barack Obama to fast-track trade negotiations.

The tweets began the day after Cruz said at a town hall in Harlan, Iowa, that he intends to vote against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, calling himself "deeply concerned" about the massive trade deal between the United States and 11 other countries. Cruz had previously voiced opposition to the agreement, but the town hall appeared to be the first time he said how he would vote on it.

"I'm old enough to remember when @TedCruz joined @PaulRyan to write about much he loves TPA and TPP," Rubio policy director Jonathan Slemrod wrote Saturday, linking to a news release from the Cruz campaign promoting an op-ed Cruz wrote with Ryan, now the speaker of the U.S. House, that vouched for both TPA and TPP.

Despite Cruz's vulnerability on the issue, he has nonetheless used it to separate himself from some GOP rivals. Among them: Rubio, who voted for TPA and wrote in an April op-ed that Congress "must ... pass TPP."

"This is one of the real differences in the Republican primary field," Cruz said in Harlan. "There are a number of Republicans on that stage who supported TPP, who supported TPA. I voted against TPA and I intend to vote against TPP."

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.
Former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn said that any investigation of  he possible manipulation of ISIS intelligence should start with the White House.

"Many of them have been deployed for many years in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere, so I think that the focus of really this investigation, they'll find whoever they're going to find and some of the tactical issues at central command, but the focus of this investigation ought to start at the top.

"Where intelligence starts and stops is at the White House. The president sets the priorities and he's the number one customer.

"So if he's not getting the intelligence he needs and if he's not paying attention to what else is going on, then something else is wrong there between them and the advisers he has," Flynn said.

A bus carrying the Presidential Guard of Tunisia was struck by a bomb today. The force of the North African republic was attacked by Islamists, likely tied to ISIS or Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

More details are coming in as the story develops further.

A Russian helicopter sent to rescue any remaining pilots from the plane shot down by Turkey was itself shot down by Syrian rebels. The UK Mirror has a story on the downing, which includes a video that purports to show its destruction:

The shootdown of the Russian plane was apparently carried out by a Turkish F-16.

Five people have been shot near the site of an ongoing protest over the fatal shooting of a black man by a police officer, a Minneapolis Police Department spokesman said. Police say the injuries are not life-threatening.

U.S. Army officials say four people died in a helicopter crash at Fort Hood. A statement from the Fort Hood public affairs office says a UH-60 helicopter aircraft crashed on Monday in the sprawling Texas military post.

"A UH-60 helicopter aircraft with four crew members crashed sometime after 5:49 p.m. Nov. 23 in the northeast portion on the Fort Hood Range.

"After an extensive search, emergency crews located the scene of the incident and are reporting the four crew members found deceased.

"The crew was assigned to Division West, First Army. They were on a routine training mission at the time of the crash.

"The cause of the crash is unknown at this time. A board will be assigned to investigate the incident.

"Names of the deceased will not be released until 24 hours after next of kin notification," Fort Hood officials said in a statement.

Turkey confirmed that it shot down a Russian warplane Tuesday, claiming it had violated Turkish airspace and ignored warnings. Russia confirms that the plane crashed but insists that it was only flying over Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the incident as a "stab in the back" committed by "accomplices of terrorists".

"This goes beyond the normal struggle against terrorism. This was a stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists.

"Our pilots and our plane did not in any way threaten Turkey. It is quite clear.

"They were carrying out an operation against [Islamic State militants] in the mountains of northern Latakia, where militants who originate from Russian territory are concentrated. So they were carrying the key task of preventative attacks against those who could return to Russia at any time," Putin said.

A bomb has exploded outside a Greek business federation in central Athens, causing damage but no injuries.

Two men were charged Monday with murder in the fatal shooting of a pastor's pregnant wife during an apparent break in of their Indianapolis home.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry identified the two men charged with the murder of 28 year old Amanda Blackburn, as Larry Jo Taylor Jr., 18, and Jalen E. Watson, 21, both of Indianapolis. Both men face murder, burglary, theft and several other charges.

Prosecutors believe Taylor shot Blackburn three times, including once in the back of the head.

Amanda's husband, Davey Blackburn, released a statement Monday saying: "Though it does not undo the pain we are feeling, I was extremely relieved to get the news of the arrest made last night of Amanda's killer."

New Orleans police say they've arrested a man accused of shooting a medical student who stopped an apparent kidnapping. Police Chief Michael Harrison said they arrested 21-year-old Euric Cain of New Orleans at a house Monday morning.

The U.S. State Department's issued a global alert for Americans planning to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Read the full State Department warning below:

Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions.  These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.  This Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.

Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria and Iraq.  Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.  Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services.  In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali.  ISIL/Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt.

U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation.  Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowed places.  Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events.  U.S. citizens should monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.  Persons with specific safety concerns should contact local law enforcement authorities who are responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country.  U.S. citizens should:

Follow the instructions of local authorities.  Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.

Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.

Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.

Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Foreign governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions.  Authorities continue to conduct raids and disrupt terror plots.  We continue to work closely with our allies on the threat from international terrorism.  Information is routinely shared between the United States and our key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats.
By Jordan Armstrong

IRVING — Attorneys for the family of Ahmed Mohamed, the Irving high school student who made headlines after being arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school, have sent letters to the city of Irving and the Irving School District demanding apologies and $15 million in damages.

Both letters claim that Mohamed's civil rights were violated, and he and his family have suffered physical and mental anguish because of the ordeal.

The letters claim Ahmed was singled out "because of his race, national origin, and religion."

"Ahmed never threatened anyone, never caused harm to anyone, and never intended to," read the letter to the city. "The only one who was hurt that day was Ahmed, and the damages he suffered were not because of oversight or incompetence. The school and city officials involved knew what they needed to do to protect Ahmed's rights. They just decided not to do it."

The letters demand $10 million be paid to the family by the city of Irving, and $5 million from the school district.

The family also wants written apologies from Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne, "acknowledging that she has never been presented with any evidence that Ahmed was a 'pawn' in any 'civilization jihad' or that the events here were planned by Ahmed's family or friends as part of an 'influence operation.'"

They also want apologies from the school district, as well as Police Chief Larry Boyd, saying Mohamed "never intended to threaten anyone, and that his detention, interrogation and arrest were wrongful and were made at a point in time when there was no reasonable suspicion to believe that Ahmed had committed a crime or was about to commit any crime."

The family's attorney ends the letters by saying civil action will be filed if the demands are not met within 60 days.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.
Before a recent airstrike on an Islamic State oil transport made up of 116 trucks, the Obama administration dropped leaflets to warn the terror group 45 minutes before the attack. The leaflets stated:

"Get out of your trucks now, and run away from them. Warning: airstrikes are coming. Oil trucks will be destroyed. Get away from your oil trucks immediately. Do not risk your life."

"In Al-Bukamal, we destroyed 116 tanker trucks, which we believe will reduce ISIL's ability to transport its stolen oil products.

"This is our first strike against tanker trucks, and to minimize risks to civilians, we conducted a leaflet drop prior to the strike. We did a show of force, by -- we had aircraft essentially buzz the trucks at low altitude.

"We combine these leaflet drops with very low altitude passes of some of our attack aviation, which sends a very powerful message," the colonel added.

"These trucks, while although they are being used for operations that support ISIL, the truck drivers, themselves, probably not members of ISIL; they're probably just civilians.

"So we had to figure out a way around that. We're not in this business to kill civilians, we're in this business to stop ISIL -- to defeat ISIL.

"So we had to go through that whole process of one, determining whether or not we felt it was in our best interest to strike these trucks. And then once we determined that, yes, it is in our interest to strike these trucks, how do we go about ensuring that we're able to mitigate the potential of civilian casualties? And these things take time.

"We know the oil funds more than 50 percent of ISIL's operations. This is something we want to take away from them. That we want -- that we need to take this away from them so that they're -- so they're operations are more difficult to conduct," Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve said.

Funny, I don't remember the Islamic State warning anyone before its recent terrorist attack on Paris.
Successful societies require strong moral anchors. Lacking those, societies have to rely more heavily on government regulation and enforcement.

The latest Planned Parenthood incidents exemplify how we are losing our moral bearings. As a result, there will be even more government to replace the internal values that used to guide us.

We are moving in the wrong direction.

I’ve long held that we owe the greatness of this country to a salutary blend between secular rules and moral values, a good working together of God and Caesar.

I've further maintained that Christian moral values induce behaviors that obviate the need for an excessive number of secular rules; they keep government from having to regulate moral behavior.

One reason the Constitution is so relatively simple is because, as John Adams himself said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” In other words, the two are necessary.

I've always seen the Establishment Clause, the very first words of the Bill of Rights, as the umbilical cord between our secular and religious laws, the religious being just as important as the secular because they are the source of our morals, virtues and values. Now we seem to be losing these.

Plan Parenthood is only the latest manifestation of our loss of a moral anchor.

As the Left continues its march to secularism, their care for science in many cases doesn't go far beyond the actual invoking of the word.  Everyone can be as smart as a scientist now if you just integrate the word into your arguments enough times.

What is equally disturbing to me is the Lefts continued use of the argument, "no proof of anything illegal".  I heard the head of Planned Parenthood use this the same defense as I have heard Hillary and her apologists use time after time for her many debacles.

It's truly as if the Left now knows that right or wrong are useless in politics today because if it doesn't rise to legal standards, who cares.  They are right as long as it's for their side of the political spectrum.

So in America today the Left is reduced to defining their entire moral compass in the context of power and winning elections.  The unborn are not important enough to them.
Vilifing teachers: AFL-CIO boss Rich Trumka is painting non-union teachers as enemies of "working people."
By Jason Hart

America’s most powerful union bosses are running a national smear campaign against 10 workers who fund their paychecks.

California teacher Rebecca Friedrichs and nine of her fellow educators are being vilified by executives of the country’s largest labor unions — including the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers.

Using money taken from workers’ paychecks, union bosses are portraying Friedrichs and her peers as allies of evil corporations and white supremacists.

AFT president Randi Weingarten has called Friedrichs part of an “assault on working people.” NEA president Lily Eskelsen Garcia has accused Friedrichs of “attacking working people.”

How did Friedrichs turn these self-styled champions of teachers against her? She is challenging their ability to take mandatory fees from non-members, in a case that has made its way before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The case was brought by billionaires and wealthy CEOs like the Koch brothers who want to rewrite the rules to only benefit them,” said AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka.

America Works Together, a coalition run by NEA, AFT, AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, is trying to convince union members that Friedrichs will ruin their lives.

“Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association is being pushed by special interests and corporate CEOs in an attempt to damage protections for hard working families and our communities,” the coalition warns.

Last week, the unions flooded their social media channels with a public relations blitz, calling the Friedrichs case an attempt by libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch to destroy unions.

America Works Together is gathering signatures for an AFT petition demonizing the Center for Individual Rights, a nonprofit giving Friedrichs legal counsel. As of Monday, fewer than 18,000 people had signed the online petition.

Relying on research from a City University of New York union, America Works Together asserts CIR “has been funded by the Koch Brothers, other right-wing one-percenters, and even white supremacists.”

CIR president Terry Pell told Watchdog.org the unions are “complaining about imagined contributions to CIR” to distract from their own massive paychecks. America Works Together failed to respond to a request for comment.

Read more....
By Alexa Ura and Edgar Walters

Planned Parenthood’s Texas affiliates on Monday filed a federal lawsuit to keep state health officials from booting them from the state’s Medicaid program.

Following Texas’ announcement in October that it would stop funding any care for poor women at Planned Parenthood clinics — a response to what state officials called “acts of misconduct” revealed in undercover anti-abortion videos — the women’s health organization is asking the courts for a reprieve.

The state’s move wouldn’t just end state funding for Planned Parenthood services like pregnancy tests, contraception and cancer screenings. It would also end the allocation of federal dollars to Planned Parenthood through Medicaid, the joint state-federal insurer of last resort that is administered by Texas. In 2015, Texas spent $310,000 of its own money on the women’s health organization while distributing $2.8 million in federal dollars.

Republican state leaders have long worked to cut taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions at some of its Texas clinics, but none that receive state or federal dollars. After videos were released depicting Planned Parenthood officials across the nation discussing how their providers obtain fetal tissue for medical research, the state moved to cut Medicaid funding from the women’s health organization.

Among the videos were recordings of staff at Houston-based Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, where two abortion foes in April misrepresented themselves as research executives and provided fake California drivers’ licenses.

Planned Parenthood has criticized the videos as being heavily edited and obtained under false pretenses. But the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s inspector general, Stuart Bowen, wrote in a letter to Planned Parenthood that they served as proof that the women’s health provider had violated Medicaid rules by altering the time or scenario of abortions. Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast says it does not currently provide fetal tissue for medical research but did so in 2010 as part of a University of Texas Medical Branch study on miscarriage.

The legal challenge in Texas is the latest in a series of lawsuits filed across the country over how Medicaid dollars are disbursed to Planned Parenthood clinics. Texas’ move comes weeks after a federal district court in Louisiana temporarily halted similar efforts there until the courts could better examine the issue. Other lawsuits are also making their way through the courts in Alabama and Arkansas.

This isn’t the first time Planned Parenthood has sued the state over being pushed out of a joint federal-state program. In 2012, Planned Parenthood took to the courts to challenge Texas’ Republican-led effort to kick the organization out of the Texas Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which covered family planning services and cancer screenings for poor women.

In that case, which Planned Parenthood eventually lost, Texas officials had argued that federal Medicaid laws gave individual states the authority to determine which health providers were qualified to participate. Meanwhile, the Obama administration argued Texas had violated federal law by limiting where poor women could seek health care. The feds ultimately halted their $9-to-$1 match for the program, forcing Texas to relaunch the program with state dollars alone.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.
Let's give Barack Obama his due. He has been appeasing our enemies, Iran, Putin, Assad, and frankly ISIS. His strategy morphed from degrade and destroy to contain, as though he could contain them.

Obama has the gall to admonish Netanyahu for retaliating when Israel is bombed by terrorists, a classic example of tolerance for intolerance. And the result is a rise in terror.

Astonishing that Obama has said he is going to maintain his (failed) strategy. This is due to his narcissistic tendencies that refuse to recognize when he is wrong. His delusions are recognized by our enemies, and we see the result.

It ain't pretty.

From CBS News:

"Just over a week after the terrorist attacks in Paris, only 23 percent of Americans think President Barack Obama has a clear plan for dealing with the militant group ISIS, the lowest number yet recorded in the CBS News Poll. Sixty-six percent do not think he has a clear plan - a new high.

"Large majorities of Republicans and independents say the President doesn't have a clear plan, and almost half of Democrats (40 percent) agree. More Democrats (45 percent) say he doesn't have a plan than say he does.

"In considering military options, 50 percent of Americans now favor sending in U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria, up four points from August. Support for sending ground troops rose to 57 percent in February in the immediate aftermath of the death of aid worker Kayla Mueller, but then dropped below 50 percent until now."

Read more....

Obama is woefully inadequate to the leadership task. You can't effectively marshal a coalition by leading from behind.

Come to think of it, Obama's "we've got your back" is more than simply an expression. It happens to be where he likes to position himself, behind everyone else (presumably so he has someone to blame if things go wrong)!

So much for the world leadership position America once held before Obama. In seven short years he has managed to give away the leadership prowess and respect this country has fought over decades to attain and maintain.

And to believe that some 38% still think he is doing a "good" job. Of course, as far as most thinking Americans are concerned that depends on their definition of "job".

Obama has proven superlative at mendacity, ideological obdurateness, incompetence, petulance, hubris, narcissism and tone deafness, and, in deference to the quote in this article, incoherence! By those criteria the majority might agree!

Obama admitted months ago, he really has no plan or strategy. He can't seem to reconcile the intelligence he is getting from the Pentagon and CIA with his thoroughly discredited, obdurate ideology.

So, Obama retreats behind doubling down on what has proven completely ineffective. Obama's idea of "containment" compared to what of most rational people is like night and day. This is the same level of containment he thinks he has achieved with Iran and their nuclear ambitions in his "agreement".

Sadly, for all of us Obama's delusion persists regardless of how many facts reality throws at it.

Obama's claim that his foremost responsibility is to protect the American People, but then to continue to double down on refugee access to the U.S. is symptomatic of this man's total disconnect from reality. Numerous individuals in the intelligence community have flatly stated in interviews that there is no effective vetting in place to handle these individuals.

But that doesn't seem to deter Obama. One can't help but think that Obama has a screw loose somewhere. And as far as "American values" are concerned, he effectively stopped upholding them a long time ago, especially in the area of foreign policy.

Obana's policy is simply no policy, No strategy.

Our reckless withdrawal from Iraq led directly to the growth of ISIS.

After years of cultivating ties with the tough Sunni tribes in the north, the ones who had aligned with Al Qaeda jihadists in the aftermath of Saddam's defeat, the U.S. had achieved a kind of partnership with these groups who feared the Shi'ite majority government that replaced the Sunni dictatorship.  They worked with us to kill the extremists:  the "awakening".

Unfortunately, when the Bush Administration ended, so did this partnership; its architect, Gen. Petraeus, resigned in a personal scandal, Obama worked hard to pull the soldiers out, against the advice of the military, and the Sunni tribes were left to fend for themselves.

The Shi'ite-dominated military, amateurish but armed to the teeth with U.S. weaponry, proceeded to treat the Sunnis vengefully and brutally, and the Sunnis responded by allying once again with extremists.

And thus ISIS grabbed 25% of Iraq and became a global threat.

Happy now, Mr. President?
With passage of Obamacare, the Democrats not only fulfilled a decades-old liberal dream, but they were sure that at last, the United States could begin to unite under the humanitarian umbrella of health insurance, and ultimately healthcare, for all its citizens.

This Barack Obama led group could now stand arm in arm with FDR's 1930's Social Security Progressives, and LBJ's 1960's caucuses, who pioneered the landmark national welfare programs.

These brave new Progressives had aggressively and skillfully grasped a rare partisan moment to construct the third leg to the social tripod of humanity, and finally this country could indeed become a Great Society. They were so proud.

Now it's clear that instead of saving us, they had stunned us with a massive, crushing wedge, and set in motion a bitter, likely decades-long clash, that ultimately may tear the U.S. economy apart.

The problem with Obamacare is that it is simply unacceptable. Conservatives, snared in prior decades, won't be fooled this time, and will not live with this, ever. Liberals can drive themselves crazy trying to impose on conservatives what apparently seems perfectly logical to them - that the existence of Obamacare is permanent. But Obamacare to anyone who is conservative by nature, is nothing but a smothering shackle, and you can't clamp a shackle around half of the population, and then expect them to just carry on as before.

Obamacare is not a passageway - it's an obstacle. As long as Obamacare exists, negotiations will never be obtainable and issues will never be resolved.

Obamacare may attempt to transform healthcare, but it won't heal anything. It will only continue to inflict pain.

When I was in school, the definition of economics was "the study of how individuals and societies allocate scarce resources." If you take the time to break that sentence into its component parts you will understand why each and every regulation causes a reallocation of resources.

Regardless of your "version" of American economic history, there can simply be no denying that any rational business owner will react to the imposition of such massive costs to his business expense by shedding as much of the source of that cost as possible.

When liberals pass laws that increase the price of labor such as minimum wage, healthcare and any other costly regulations, employers will remove the source of that cost - employees - and replace them with whatever it takes to get the job done. That may mean part-time workers or moving your auto plant from Detroit to Tennessee or China. Reduce those costs and people hire more or stay put.

And this is how we lurch into becoming a European socialist society with higher permanent structural unemployment. The bulwark of our old economy was the flexibility that small businesses had in hiring workers without having to provide benefits. It allowed small businesses to grow. The impact of the Obama presidency on small business formation is more than clear now.
Too many people understate the disaster that is the Obama administration’s stewardship (if you can call it that) of American foreign policy, mischaracterizes its “grand strategy” as “well-intentioned, carefully crafted, and consistently pursued”, and is irrationally optimistic about the capacity to correct the current situation as to both their capabilities and ideology.

More than likely, the Obama presidency will go down as the most destructive in American history, both domestically and in matters of foreign affairs.

The main problem was emblematic from the very beginning with the Obama administration’s treatment of the Honduran constitutional crisis where then President Zelaya tried to illegally implement revisions to the constitution to further the dictatorial inclinations of his ally, Hugo Chavez. The Obama State Department sided with the Chavista’s against the Honduran People and the Supreme Court.

Since then, the fundamental trademark of Obama’s system of government has been to treat allies and fellow countrymen as enemies and adversaries, and enemies and adversaries as comrades. Hence his delusional and destructive outreach to the Muslim Brotherhood, negotiations with the Taliban, reset with Russia, abandonment of hard-won strategic gains in Iraq, abrogating missile defense agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic, the unprecedented display of contempt of unilaterally declaring the 1967 Armistice lines to be the starting point for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian’s regarding any future state, fecklessness in the face of hostile actions by China and North Korea, and the subrogation of American interests to the hapless and pathetic “international community” and the United Nations.
The eternally un-addressed or under-addressed observation - if the crime in places with strict gun laws is driven by people smuggling guns in from places with "lax" gun restrictions - why isn't crime higher in those lax places?

Why would criminals go through the trouble and risk of all that travel when they could simply "one-stop-shop" i.e. commit their crimes where they buy the guns. Might it be that they just might be aware that others in that "lax" area might have guns as well?

From Fox News:

"A dispute between two groups of people in a New Orleans park Sunday escalated into a shooting that injured at least 16 people, police said late Sunday.

"The shooting took place at around 6 p.m. local time after approximately 500 people had gathered at Bunny Friend Playground in the city's 9th Ward to film a music video, the New Orleans Police Department said in a statement. Ambulances took 10 victims to area hospitals, and police later learned that another six victims had been taken to the hospital in private vehicles.

"Photos of the scene showed emergency workers wheeling some of the wounded to ambulances on gurneys while other people who appeared to be in pain lay on the ground. No deaths were immediately reported and police had few details on the extent of the victims' injuries."

Read more....

"Detectives are still working to determine the extent of all of the victims' injuries,

"Information on the age and gender of all victims involved as well as the extent of their injuries will be provided when it is available," the NOPD said in a press release.

"This is a classic case where we need citizen help. People know who did this. We need them to come forward and tell us so we can bring these people to justice." NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said.

"At the end of the day, it's really hard to police against a bunch of guys who decided to pull out guns and settle their disputes with 300 people in between them. It's not something you can tolerate in the city," Mayor Mitch Landrieu

Here is video from the mass shooting at Bunny Friend Park in the 1900 block of Gallier Street.

Mayor Landrieu and Police Department Superintendent Harrison spoke to reporters outside Bunny Friend Park where at least 16 people were shot and injured.

Of course, the trends support a robust concept of armed self-defense. In the past couple decades, 40 states have passed right-to-carry laws. Many to most have seen crime decreases, and not one has seen an increase.

But, gun control is one of those topics where liberal orthodoxy and their version of "common sense" trumps empirical data and history. The gun-banners "know" that allowing greater access to guns is certain to create crime, to turn the law-abiding into macho vigilantes, to prompt "old-west" style shootouts, and to greatly spike the number of people killed by their own guns. They "know" and argue these points by claiming that they're obvious - forget the facts or the statistics (which they dismiss either by attacking the source, declaring without evidence that they've all been fudged, or declaring (again, without evidence) that they *could* just as easily find stats that support their positions).

This reminds me of an old gag from college math and science classes - you start solving the problem, then write the answer and claim that it's "intuitively obvious." Too bad professors don't give credit for "intuitively obvious."

The problem with all the gun control laws and statistics is that there's really no null hypothesis. If guns were banned in total, 100% of the crimes would be committed by illegal gun owners. If there were no gun control laws, 100% of the crimes would be committed by legal gun owners.

Human behavior has far more to do with it than anything else. If a criminal seeks to accomplish something, he's going to do it if motivated enough. However, guns can deter a spontaneous event, I believe.

Long story short, guns in the hands of the responsible will either do no harm or possibly help. Guns (or anything else for that matter) in the hands of the irresponsible and criminal element will do no good or do harm.

To me, that is the simple truth about gun control. It's government trying to fix a problem, except the problem is a symptom and not the source of the problem to start with.
Over the years, many people have presented some very compelling conspiracy theories that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone or actually kill John F. Kennedy. However, I personally feel all of the evidence presented in the Warren Commission report overwhelming proves that Oswald acted alone in assassinating President Kennedy.

I can accept the lone-killer explanation that was concocted by the Warren Commission, after we find Oswald was a messianic character convinced of his exceptionalism but in fact manifestly a marginal character who likely never would amount to much — killing someone important is always a popular means to be noticed by history, when one lacks the capacity to earn such distinction honorably; and he certainly got his page in history.

Alternatively, I also find the claims of the Mafia interesting. Key underworld characters have claimed that they masterminded the plot to kill Kennedy as revenge for brother Bobby Kennedy’s actions, as Attorney General and, earlier, in his role as congressional counsel in investigating and pursuing organized crime. Some revenge, if so.

But, given the forensic evidence from Oswald’s rifle as the murder weapon, the mob theory lacks conclusiveness: Oswald didn’t need anything the mob might have provided to plan and carry out the assassination, he just needed crazy.

Likewise, the Castro connection: Fidel wouldn’t have needed to provide Lee Harvey with anything the man didn’t already have to plan and execute a murder. Oswald didn’t need a conspiracy, he just
needed a rifle.

I could even buy that Oswald had broadcast his intentions to those whose ideological regard he valued, such as the U.S.S.R and Cuba; but I don’t buy that it was a conspiracy involving them. Oswald didn’t need a conspiracy to map JFK’s planned movements through Dealey Plaza and set up a nest in the Book Depository Bldg, all he needed was a newspaper, a rifle and crazy.

If indeed Oswald communicated his intentions to communist governments, then it should surprise nobody that they’d be listening to see what happened. But it doesn’t mean that three cigar-smoking guys were on the Grassy Knoll with scoped sniper rifles and tripods.

Oswald didn’t need anything to kill JFK that he didn’t already have, including the motivation — a page in the history books for an intelligent but marginal man who never could have distinguished himself by honorable means but who desperately wanted that distinction. Oswald didn’t need encouragement, he just needed an audience.

Lee Harvey Oswald has been demonstrated to be a marginal character, desperate to be acknowledged as a substantial man; intelligent but poorly lettered and without the access necessary at that time to build a life that had honorable and distinguished impact on society; and for these reasons a very bitter man.

It’s accepted now that Oswald also tried to murder Gen. Edwin A. Walker, fired a shot from the same rifle that killed JFK and almost got the general. And the forensic evidence linked the bullet that passed through both JFK And TX Gov. Connally to Oswald’s Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. Oswald was gunning for someone to get him in the history books, and he got him.

If you were picked up by Texas lawmen and accused of murdering the President of the United States, would you immediately own up to it? Within hours of that claim, Jack Ruby forestalled any possible retraction of what probably was a gut-reaction denial.

There is no more to Ruby than meets the eye. He was a friend of the cops and got access to the garage due to his relationship with the cops. You have to realize how stirred up the cops and the citizenry were.

While certainly killing JFK was monumental, Oswald also shot a cop who tried to apprehend him. too and the blood was running incredibly high. None of the supposed connections to the mafia play out, and really it’s just another dead-end with no actual evidence.

I don’t think JFK was the casualty of a small man who thought he should be larger and saw no other means to grow large; and of a more innocent world when assassinations of presidents were so unthinkable (despite having happened before) that security was nowhere near as tight as it should have been.

Conspiracy theories appeal to people with defective cognitive abilities and personality defects of some sort. They like having “insider” information, they like being the only one “in the know”. They like being a victim and they like seeing the world through a lens of evil manipulators.

For a more recent example, just look at 9/11 truthers. The feds went out of their way to deal with their questions/concerns and NIST issued a second report that went through each one and showed how they were baseless — to no effect to the truthers.

As for the JFK assassination, Oswald was an anti-social, violent and unstable person since he was a child. When you apply modern forensics to much of the evidence, and bring together all the information available about issues like the shots and how the traversed the bodies etc, it shows categorically that there is nothing mysterious about any of it.

One of the errors of the initial investigations was that the timing of the shots was calculated using a recording of a motorcycle cops open mic during the shooting. One of the “shots” was actually a car backfire and when the actual shots are used, the timing is clear – Oswald could easily make the shots he made, as any marksman could. Oswald was a trained Marine marksman, so this is no shock.

There was a bit of controversy initially, due to the limitations of technology at the time of the initial investigations. The timing of the shots is easy to replicate. The initial timing made it very hard to replicate because it was a bolt-action rifle. But under the correct timing it was quite doable.

As for the Grassy Knoll stuff below, you just have to giggle. First off, modern gun powder is smokeless – guns don’t leave puffs of smoke so that entire idea is laughable.

As for “ear witnesses” this is highly unreliable testimony. Also, go look at the spot they are talking about. The thought that someone could have set up and taken the shot without being seen is nuts. There is very little cover and someone doing so would easily have been seen.

Eye witnesses recall seeing Oswald’s rifle in the window after the first shot. How come there wasn’t one eyewitness who saw the supposed Grassy Knoll shooters? Answer: Because there was nobody there.

When you investigate and take a part all of the conspiracy theories out there, each of them becomes a complete dead-end almost immediately as there is no factual basis for any of them.

The conspiracy theorists have no real evidence, just hyperbole, small bits of data that they spin – but in each case it all actually amounts to nothing. Some are even just total fabrications with people profiting by books, newsletters etc.

What becomes painfully obvious is that there is no reason to believe anything other than the fact that Oswald shot Kennedy because he was a deranged individual. Oswald was kicked out of the Soviet Union by the government there, he didn’t leave voluntarily, because he was a troublemaker and unstable.

Every single person who thinks there is something nefarious about JFK’s assassination should rethink their position. Too many people have watched Oliver Stone’s laughable “JFK” movie and continue to peddle paranoid lies about John F. Kennedy’s death.

The facts are clear. There is no controversy among sober people. Many people have spent a lot of time and money chasing down every conspiracy theory out there. Researchers have chased down the threads about the Mafia, Ruby, CIA, Grassy Knoll (modern gun powder is smokeless so if another shot came from there it would not leave a puff of smoke), magic bullet, etc, and virtually all the conspiracy theories are easily debunked.

Bottom line, Oswald was a violent, unstable person from the get go. He was kicked out school, dishonorable discharge from the Marines, and kicked out of the Soviet Union because he was such a difficult, volatile person. He fits the profile of someone who works their way up to this kind of act to a ‘T’.

It also becomes clear is that the JFK assignation has become an industry and the folks peddling such nonsense are motivated by selling pamphlets/books etc.

I’m a bit difficult with people on this stuff because it really matters. You want to believe in ghosts or ESP or UFOs? Fair enough.

However, believing that there is some cover up to the assassination JFK, when there is no evidence? It encourages people to distrust our government in profound way. We already have plenty of real reasons to distrust the government. We don’t need a fake, hysterical ones like the JFK conspiracy theories.

I’m the same way with 9/11 truthers. Their beliefs encourage people to hold wildly paranoid views about our government. In that case. the second NIST report sealed the deal. It addressed every contention of the truthers and showed conclusively that they don’t have a shred of real evidence to support their views.

I also see the JFK thing as politically pernicious. It gives leftists a meme (not a motif – a motif is a design pattern) that supports their narrative that Kennedy was killed due to his support for civil rights and that conservatives wanted him dead for it. Many of the left have said as much this week. It’s not okay to distort the truth this much.

The blame for JFK’s assassination lays squarely on Lee Harvey Oswald. Period.