Justin Holcomb  - US Marines Hit with Harsh New Rules at Okinawa
Posted: 5/29/2016 8:20:00 PM EST

Strict liberty restrictions and a midnight curfew took effect Friday for all service members on Okinawa, according to a report from the III Marine Expeditionary Force Okinawa, Japan.

A statement said the intent of the measures is "to observe a period of unity and mourning by curtailing off-installation activities" in response to two recent acts of misconduct.

The restrictions include:

• All ranks, including officers, must be on base by midnight.

• Alcohol may not be purchased or consumed off base.

• Patronizing off-base bars and clubs is prohibited.

• Parties may not be held off base.

• Personally owned vehicles entering installations between midnight and 5 a.m. are subject to sobriety checkpoints.

• No Marine on Okinawa may stay overnight off base unless it is their residence; however, these restrictions do not apply to those on special liberty or on leave outside of Okinawa.

The new rules follow the arrest of a civilian U.S. worker suspected in the death of a 20-year-old Okinawan woman. Others covered by the status of forces agreement – including civilian workers and families of service members – are being asked to abide by the restrictions, too.

"My intention is for all SOFA status personnel to consider their roles as ambassadors to Japan and good neighbors with the people of Okinawa, as reflected in their personal conduct during the period of mourning," III MEF commander Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson said in a statement.

"Additionally, we honor and mourn the tragedies affecting the victims of two heinous crimes. These incidents do not accurately represent the behavior of the more than 50,000 SOFA status personnel living in Okinawa who lawfully, peacefully and positively engage with our Okinawan neighbors on a daily basis."

Cortney O'Brien - LOOK: NASCAR Pokes Fun at NC Bathroom Law
Posted: 5/29/2016 5:33:00 PM EST

CHARLOTTE - Signs on the porta-potties in the parking lot at the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina on Sunday poked fun at the ongoing controversy in the state--and the nation--over a bathroom law that requires people to use public restrooms that correspond to their biological gender. 

Take a look: 

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is in attendance and received a mostly warm welcome and cheers from the crowd. 

Update: The signs were removed. 

Matt Vespa - ICYMI: Hillary Supporters Viewed As Traitors By Sanders-Supporting Peers At Harvard
Posted: 5/29/2016 5:05:00 PM EST

Earlier this month, The Guardian  ventured onto the campus of Harvard University, where supporters of Hillary Clinton are somewhat being driven underground. They’re afraid to publicly state they’re supporting her campaign, and have received some rather nasty exchanges from the supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. It’s not shocking. For starters, young voters are breaking for Sanders by wide margins. Second, this is the new era of American college life—the urge to silence those that hold differing opinions than you're own. If they're conservative, it's open season. In this case, the left is eating itself:

In April, Sam Koppelman, a 20-year-old government student at Harvard, wrote a letter to the New York Times lamenting that his support for Clinton meant that on campus he “might as well be Pat Buchanan”.

“At Harvard, admitting that #ImWithHer is nearly tantamount to boasting ‘Make America Great Again’,” Koppelman wrote.

The letter was a coming out of sorts for Koppelman, who told the Guardian that despite having written frequently about politics for his student newspaper until 2012, he stopped this year for fear that it would “cast me as an outsider, cast me as someone who’s more conservative”.

[…]

“If you’re engaged in activism and you’re a part of the campus left, and then you choose to support Clinton’s campaign … that’s almost a traitorous act,” Koppelman said.

[…]

anet Ho canvassed for Clinton during the New Hampshire primary. Ho, a 19-year-old freshman, is an open advocate for the former secretary of state, but admitted that being a Clinton supporter can be difficult.

“Do I feel more challenged by Bernie supporters? Yeah. Do I feel more challenged in general? Yes, I do,” she said. Ho said she felt she had to “justify” her backing for Clinton to Sanders fans.

“They see the Hillary supporter as someone who doesn’t really want as much equality as they do.

[…]

“There are going to be some people on either side who are going to be really emphatic about what they believe,” said Molly Roberts, a 22-year-old senior studying English who writes a column for the Harvard Crimson, the university’s student newspaper.

“And then you know, if they’re jerks in the first place maybe they’ll get vitriolic.”

Roberts has not been cowed by the potential for jerks to become vitriolic. In February, she wrote about her support for Clinton in the Crimson.

“There was maybe one person who said something pretty nasty about it on Facebook and then got some comments that were also nasty,” she said. “But I don’t think that’s the prevailing way that the Bernie supporters act.”

Ho said that she would support the Democratic nominee regardless of who it will be, though it’s pretty much assured it’ll be Hillary Clinton. And no, Ms. Roberts—Sanders supporters are quite vicious, given their rambunctious behavior at the Nevada Democratic Convention, which led to the state Democratic chair getting death threats.

Yes, these liberals got a little taste of what conservatives go through on college campuses across the country. It’s not good, and these Clinton supporters should be able to voice their opinions without being viewed as traitors. At the same time, maybe they can empathize with their more right-leaning peers, what few of them might be on campus, and their struggle to be who they want to be without being harassed.

Christopher N. Malagisi - Broken But Unbowed
Posted: 5/29/2016 5:00:00 PM EST

In a remarkable journey from being paralyzed at the age of 26 to becoming governor of the state of Texas, Greg Abbott’s new book, Broken But Unbowed: How to Fix a Broken Americais an inspiring and harrowing story.  CBC exclusively interviewed Gov. Abbott in the recorded podcast author interview below.

The first part of the book details the life story of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who was paralyzed at age 26 when a tree fell on him while jogging.  It’s an emotional rollercoaster detailing the specific events that transpired during and after becoming paralyzed.  

He would soon recooperate and become an exemplary lawyer, served on the Texas State Supreme Court, became the longest serving Attorney General in US history, and recently won the gubernatorial election to succeed Gov. Rick Perry.

The second part promotes a Convention of the States and offers constitutional amendments suggesting that only the people can rein in the federal leviathan.

Listen to our exclusive podcast author interview below with Gov. Greg Abbott!

Learn more about Gov. Greg Abbott and his new book at the Conservative Book Club!

Leah Barkoukis - The Nanny State Groweth: NYC to Start Issuing Salt Fines to Restaurants
Posted: 5/29/2016 3:00:00 PM EST

If you thought the war on sugary drinks in New York City was bad enough, the Big Apple will now be cracking down on another apparent evil: salt.

After getting the green light from an appeals court this week, the city will start enforcing that chain restaurants use icons on their menus to warn customers if foods are salty.

The good news for freedom-lovers is that the appeals court's ruling isn't necessarily the final word on whether the regulation will stand.

The Associated Press reports

The novel rule took effect in December, and some eateries already have added the requisite salt-shaker-like icons to menu items that contain more salt than doctors recommend ingesting in an entire day.

But penalties have been in limbo as the National Restaurant Association fights the measure in court. That clash is ongoing, but an appeals court Thursday lifted a temporary hold on issuing the fines while the case plays out. Fines can be up to $600.

The city will start enforcing the rule June 6.

Of course Mayor Bill de Blasio loves the new rule, calling it a “common sense regulation that will help New Yorkers make better decisions and lead healthier lives.”

And while the city won the first part of the lawsuit in February, the restaurant association appealed, and they are hoping New York will delay enforcement until the appeal is settled.

"Today's decision ... will force the men and women that own New York City's restaurants to start complying with this unlawful and unprecedented sodium mandate before the court has the chance to rule on the merits of our appeal," the organization said in a statement.

The association argues that nutritional warnings should be left up to federal regulators, especially given that there’s disagreement among scientists over excessive salt intake levels. On top of that, the group is also saying the new rule violates the free speech rights of restaurateurs. 

Leah Barkoukis - Gary Johnson Nominated Libertarian Candidate for President
Posted: 5/29/2016 1:10:00 PM EST

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has been nominated the Libertarian Party candidate for president. He was also the party’s candidate for president during the 2012 election.

Delegates to the party's convention in Orlando on Sunday picked Johnson on the second ballot over Austin Petersen, the founder of The Libertarian Republic magazine, and anti-computer virus company founder John McAfee.

Johnson got about 1 percent of the popular vote in 2012.

But the party is hoping for a strong showing in November because of the deep unpopularity polls show for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Johnson has said that he wouldn’t be running if he didn’t have a shot at winning.

“I wouldn’t be engaged in this right now if there weren’t the possibility of actually winning,” he told MSNBC this week.

 Though he’s been in the double digits in three recent national polls of hypothetical matchups against Trump and Clinton, he needs to poll at least at 15 percent to be invited to presidential debates.

“Really key for us right now is just being in the polls that determines who’s in the debates,” he added.

  

Christine Rousselle - American Airlines: 70,000 People Have Missed Flights Due To The TSA
Posted: 5/29/2016 12:00:00 PM EST

American Airlines is not thrilled with the recent trend of TSA lines and slowdowns, and the company claims that delays in screening have caused 70,000 people to miss their flights this year. An additional 40,000 bags did not make it to their destinations due to the TSA.

American thinks that the TSA isn't doing enough to ensure that lines don't get out of control.

American, the world's largest airline, wants TSA to create a senior internal role focused on traveler concerns, said American Airlines Group Inc Senior Vice President for Customer Experience Kerry Philipovitch. The request comes days after Neffenger shook up TSA's management, removing the head of security operations, Kelly Hoggan.

Philipovitch also recommended that TSA consider reinstating a risk-based screening program that it canceled last year because of high-profile lapses.

In the program, officers trained to detect irregular behavior would pull unsuspicious travelers randomly into "PreCheck" lanes that can process people faster, as they do not remove their shoes and other belongings.

Ridiculous. The TSA claims that they need more staff to fix these issues, but there's no hard proof that this will solve the problems. After all, this is the same organization that spent $1.4 million on an app...that could have been built in 10 minutes.

Matt Vespa - Female Voters Shred 'Reckless' Hillary Clinton Over Email Server
Posted: 5/29/2016 9:05:00 AM EST

If Hillary Clinton wants to maintain a bunker mentality until Election Day, I would suggest switching courses. She hides while Donald Trump calls her “crooked Hillary” for months—bad move. With the latest State Department Inspector General report that the former first lady had violated the Federal Records Act, Clinton is keeping away from the press. Her campaign maintains that she did nothing wrong, though the facts don’t hold up with that narrative. Moreover, it seems to be impacting her stance with young women voters, who have flocked to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, since they think that her private email system showed that she was “reckless,” not accountable for her actions, and played by her own rules. The latter is a throwback to the criticisms lobbed against couple in the 1990s.

Last week, NBC News’ Chris Jansing sat down with a focus group of women voters, who pretty much savaged the former Secretary of State over her email fiasco.

“I take national security really seriously and the idea that she would have a private email server—it demonstrates someone who thinks they’re outside of the rules and not accountable. And it’s reckless,” said an undecided voter, who served in the Air Force for six years.

“Exactly,” responded another female voter in the group.

The Air Force veteran continued by saying, “the most disappointing part about all of it is that I don’t feel like she’s taken responsibility for it.”

“When people are in positions of power, they have a responsibility and a duty, to make sure that what they do is transparent. And the entire problem with this email server issue is that she’s [Clinton] not being transparent,” said another voter.

A Clinton supporter read the usual lines, like how other secretaries of state have done this, but also—in a bit of a stretch—said that Bernie supporters should view this email controversy as a criminalization of Clinton. And that Sanders’ supporters should see how these actions are somewhat in conflict with the Vermont Senator’s message of overcriminalization and criminal justice reform. The rest of the focus group roundly rejected that point.

The Air Force veteran concluded the segment by saying, it [the email server] speaks to her character…I want someone who I can trust, who I think has a character that is credible, and that I’m going to believe what that person says to me.”

After taking into account all of the exit polls from past primary contests, women voters under the age of 30 split for Sanders 68/31 over Clinton. Jansing said that this group looks at this election as an existential crisis, noting that many have student loans and want to start families.

It also proves that women are not monolithic in their voting behavior, which is a trap that many Democrats fall into when assessing the strength of their coalition. They obviously want someone who has a good character, who would be held accountable, and who does not consider themselves above the rules. That’s not Hillary Clinton.

A NBC News/WSJ poll showed that 19 percent of voters found Clinton as trustworthy and honest, while only 35 percent felt the same for Donald Trump. They’re very low numbers, but as MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki noted—twice as many voters felt Trump was more sincere. Moreover, what the Clinton supporter in the focus group left out, and what Kornacki referenced, was that the State Department was never approached by the Clinton team over setting up this sort of email arrangement, and even if she did—it probably wouldn’t have been approved. Maybe that’s why “liar” is one of the most popular words used to describe Clinton.

Oh, and she doesn’t get it.

Matt Vespa - Tragic: Eight-Year-Old Venezuelan Boy Who Protested Drug Shortages Has Died
Posted: 5/28/2016 9:05:00 PM EST

Venezuela’s health care system has been relegated to something out of the 19th century. Hospitals lack even the most basic supplies, like soap and gloves, with rolling blackouts—at times—having deadly consequences for the infants in the various maternity wards. The Washington Post’s editorial board mentioned that 200,000 Venezuelans with chronic illnesses don’t have access to medicine, though they failed to mention that left wing economics is partially responsible for the deteriorating situation in the country. Yet, for one eight-year-old boy, who protested the appalling scarcity of medicine, including the drugs he needed to fight his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his struggle ended with his death (via PanAm Post):

The eight year old whose image went viral several months ago after participating in a protest against Venezuela’s drug shortages died recently after he was unable to receive the medicine he needed.

“I want to get better, peace and health,” Sanchez’s sign read during a demonstration, which made him the face of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis turned Venezuela.

Oliver Sanchez was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma just over a year ago, but shortages of medicines needed for treatment led him and his family to participate in the demonstration.

“We are in a desperate situation,” his mother Mitzaida Berroterán said at the time.

Sanchez’s cousin Ricardo Lobo told the newspaper Efecto Cocuyo that at the time, the child “asked for paper and a pencil and wrote the sign.”

Lobo said that what little medical care they could get ended up being by donation.

Sadly, the situation in the country is likely to get worse before it gets better. Besides the growing medical emergency, we have hungry Venezuelans going through garbage cans to find food.

Matt Vespa - NPR: Couric's 'Manipulation' Of Audio During Gun Owners' Interview 'Would Not Pass Muster' Here
Posted: 5/28/2016 6:30:00 PM EST

It was not a good week for Katie Couric. Her new anti-gun documentary (which she also executive produced) Under The Gun, was literally put in the crosshairs after Stephen Gutowski of the Washington Free Beacon discovered that an interview with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League was deceptively edited to make them look like idiots. Luckily, Philip Van Cleave, president of the VCDL, released a copy of the audio showing that there was no pause, as depicted in the film. His members did give responses to her questions concerning background checks.

It’s drawn considerable criticism on social media and some online publications. The film’s director, Stephanie Soechtig, gave this weak sauce explanation for the pause:

“There are a wide range of views expressed in the film. My intention was to provide a pause for the viewer to have a moment to consider this important question before presenting the facts on Americans’ opinions on background checks. I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way.”

Even Erik Wemple of The Washington Post found this to be utterly ridiculous:

…[W]e’ve scarcely seen a thinner, more weaselly excuse than the one in the block above. For starters, it appears to count as an admission that this segment of the documentary was edited. The artistic “pause” provides the viewer not a “moment to consider this important question”; it provides viewers a moment to lower their estimation of gun owners. That’s it.

[…]

Many of those who sampled the discrepancy between the video and the audiotape were already enraged by the depiction of these gun owners. The statements from Soechtig and Couric will surely intensify the backlash, as well they should. An apology, retraction, re-editing, whatever it is that filmmakers do to make amends — all of it needs to happen here.

Couric had gone on the record saying, “I support Stephanie’s statement and am very proud of the film.”

Now, we have National Public Radio tearing into the “manipulation” of this interview, noting that it would fall way short of its standards regarding interviewing practices. When you lose NPR, you know you’ve seriously messed up. It was a completely avoidable disaster:

This manipulation — and that's what it was — would not pass muster at NPR under its principles for fairness in handling interviews.

It should be noted that documentaries operate with a different ethos than straight news. Under the Gun has a take, strongly suggesting there is a quiet consensus in favor of background checks among gun owners, aside from gun rights advocacy groups. This is not deception on a grand scale, but this handling of the interviews with the Virginia gun owners group is clearly unfair and unwarranted. People deserve to recognize themselves in how they appear in interviews.

This wound was both self-inflicted and rhetorically unnecessary — the director simply could have cut away after Couric asked the question and returned to it later. (Which the movie does in fact do, posing much the same question to Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who supports gun ownership rights.)

To show the gun owners blank-faced for an extended time didn't provide a pause for the viewer — it wiped away the notion these people had an answer to hear.

The deception reflects poorly on Couric, too. She conducted the interviews, serves as the movie's executive producer and has promoted it extensively. She saw a polished cut of the documentary before its release. She apparently expressed doubt about the insertion of the pause but failed to get it removed from the film.

Regardless, those nine seconds — fleeting moments for the film — amount to a team loss on an unforced error.

Van Cleave, the head of the Virginia gun owners group, said he came away from the interview with a largely favorable impression of Couric. He said that her questions were tough but fair, and that she played the devil's advocate but never attacked.

"Nothing in the interview made me think she would do what she did," Van Cleave told NPR. "We've got to be able to trust the press."

Pavlich added that since Couric’s documentary has been exposed for its selective editing, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN have ignored the story.

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