NY Times Reporter Says Obama Is Out To Kill Press Freedom

A New York Times reporter facing jail time for refusing to out a source pulled no punches in a column published over the weekend, calling President Barack Obama the greatest threat to press freedom in a generation.

“It’s hypocritical,” reporter James Risen told the Time’s Maureen Dowd. “A lot of people still think this is some kind of game or signal or spin. They don’t want to believe that Obama wants to crack down on the press and whistle-blowers. But he does. He’s the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.”

The Obama Administration in 2010 renewed an expired Bush-era subpoena aimed at forcing Risen to reveal a source who provided him classified information about a failed CIA plot against Iran for his 2006 book “State of War.” In June, the Supreme Court refused to hear Risen’s appeal of the renewed subpoena, meaning that failure to comply with the Obama Justice Department’s demands could mean jail time for the journalist.

“It’s hard to fathom how the president who started with the press fluffing his pillows has ended up trying to suffocate the press with those pillows,” writes Dowd in her column.

Read the full piece at The New York Times.

Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 8-15-2014: Citizens In The Crosshairs; More IRS Bumbling In Lerner Lawsuit; Too Much Government; Change In Iraq; Al Gore Comes Back For His Money; Remembering Robin Williams; Friday Funnies

Brush Up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition.

DHS Says Law Enforcement Should Prepare For More Citizen Enemies

Leaked documents from the Department of Homeland Security suggest that police militarization is only likely to increase as officials claim that they are planning for increased “anti-government violence over the next year.” Read More…

IRS Contradicts Itself On Lerner Hard Drive Testimony; Judge Sets Another Deadline For Agency To Get Its Story Straight

The IRS will have until August 22 to explain to a Federal judge how it is attempting to recover Lois Lerner’s missing emails, as well as its policy relating to destroying computer equipment. The judge set the deadline after documents obtained via a FOIA request revealed agency officials had presented conflicting testimony, under oath, about the extent to which Lerner’s hard drive had been damaged before it was allegedly destroyed. Read More…

Americans Are Definitely Fed Up With Government

Separate polls out this week find that majority of Americans believe government is broken and overly involved in citizens’ lives. Surprise…

Al-Maliki’s Resignation As Prime Minister Prompts Relief In Iraq

Iraq swung Friday between conflicting emotions: relief that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s resignation had averted a destabilizing power struggle and a cold reckoning of the challenges facing the country’s new leader. Read More…

Al Gore Sues Al-Jazeera America For Allegedly Withholding $65 Million

Former Vice President Al Gore has sued Al-Jazeera America, claiming the satellite TV service owned by the Qatari royal family has withheld $65 million of the proceeds from the sale of cable channel Current TV. Read More…

Cartoonists From Around The World Say ‘Nanu Nanu’ To Robin Williams

This week, the world became less funny. Robin Williams succumbed to the mental illness that had lurked in the shadows of his entire adult life. He took a pocketknife and a belt, and he stopped the pain he had tried so hard to hide. Like so many tortured creative geniuses before him, Williams left this life too soon.Goodbye…

A Roundup Of This Week’s Political Cartoons

Talk about déjà vu! The volatile situation in Ferguson, Missouri, is frighteningly reminiscent of the days of Bull Connor and his attack dogs in Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1960s. How did we get here so many years later? Well, you can thank Barack Obama for that. Unfortunately, Obama is on vacation and he does not want to be disturbed. To quote Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” Friday Funnies…

Americans Are Definitely Fed Up With Government

Separate polls out this week find that majority of Americans believe government is broken and overly involved in citizens’ lives.

According to Rasmussen, 60 percent of American adults said that the government is too involved in trying to influence their lives. Fewer than 10 percent said that they wanted the government more involved in their lives and about one fifth of respondents said that the government’s current level of involvement is about right. The Rasmussen poll focused primarily on the Federal government’s use of taxes on things like unhealthy foods, alcohol and tobacco to influence personal behavior.

It’s no surprise that Americans aren’t thrilled about government efforts to force responsible decisions, as separate poling data show that a majority of the population believe the Nation’s leaders to be corrupt and largely inept.

In an August poll out from Gallup, more Americans (18 percent) cited “dissatisfaction with government/Congress/politicians; poor leadership/corruption/abuse of power” as their top concerns than any other issue facing the nation.

Another poll conducted by Fox News, recorded similar frustration:

The poll asks voters which message they would like to send to the federal government. Nearly six in 10 would say “leave me alone.” About a third would ask Uncle Sam to “lend me a hand.”

The 59 percent saying “leave me alone” is up from 53 percent in 2012 and 50 percent in 2011. Likewise, the 32 percent saying “lend me a hand” is down from a high of 44 percent three years ago (October 2011).

On Thursday, Rasmussen reported that Americans are divided on whether they think the President works very hard at his job. Meanwhile, 76 percent of respondents to a recent poll said that they are certain they work harder at their jobs than members of Congress.

A Roundup Of This Week’s Political Cartoons

Talk about déjà vu! The volatile situation in Ferguson, Missouri, is frighteningly reminiscent of the days of Bull Connor and his attack dogs in Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1960s. How did we get here so many years later? Well, you can thank Barack Obama for that. Our imperial president blatantly traipses all over our constitutionally guaranteed rights. That attitude trickles down all the way to our local communities. It was only a matter of time before Ferguson happened. To be fair, though, Americans aren’t the only ones who are the objects of Obama’s insatiable desire for control. He has his fingers in so many Middle Eastern pies it isn’t funny. Most recently, he decided it was up to him to do something about ISIS. Unfortunately, Obama is on vacation and he does not want to be disturbed. To quote Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” So Obama bombed Iraq. Hmmm… Haven’t we been here before, too?

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Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle
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John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri
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Bill Day, Cagle Cartoons
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Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune
August 15, 2014
Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News
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Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch
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Gary McCoy, Cagle Cartoons
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Olle Johansson, Sweden
Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle
Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle
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Taylor Jones, El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico
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Paresh Nath, The Khaleej Times, UAE
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John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri
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Eric Allie, Caglecartoons.com

Cartoonists From Around The World Say ‘Nanu Nanu’ To Robin Williams

This week, the world became less funny. Robin Williams succumbed to the mental illness that had lurked in the shadows of his entire adult life. He took a pocketknife and a belt, and he stopped the pain he had tried so hard to hide. Like so many tortured creative geniuses before him, Williams left this life too soon. The shocking and sad news of the death of this man who had made so many of us laugh for so many long years made headlines worldwide, and the world mourned. In the movie “Dead Poets Society,” Williams famously portrayed John Keating, an unorthodox English teacher who ignited a passion for poetry and for life in his students. Perhaps it’s fitting that Williams’ death calls to mind a poem.

Solitude

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air;
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go;
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all;
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a large and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

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Manny Francisco, Manila, The Phillippines
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Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch
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David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star
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Milt Priggee, www.miltpriggee.com
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Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant
August 14, 2014
Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News
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John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune
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Dario Castillejos, El Imparcial de México
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Petar Pismestrovic, Kleine Zeitung, Austria
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Petar Pismestrovic, Kleine Zeitung, Austria
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Taylor Jones, Politicalcartoons.com
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Daryl Cagle, CagleCartoons.com
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Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Peter Broelman, Australia

Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 8-14-2014: Golfers Ticked After Being Frisked For Obama; Rand Paul, A New Kind Of Republican; Obama Says Strikes Broke ISIS Mountain Siege; Why The Kurds Are Losing Ground; NAFTA Turns 20; Important Words On Race And Responsibility

Brush up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition news links.

Martha’s Vineyard Golfers Frisked Without Warning So Obama Can Play Through

Rich guys hanging out on the golf course at the Vineyard Golf Club were surprised this week when they were suddenly approached by law enforcement – members of President Barack Obama’s security detail – and frisked without warning. Read More… 

A Look Into The Islamic State’s Power – And The Powerlessness Of Its Native Enemies

While U.S. airstrikes have had some effect – it’s not known how great – on the Islamic State’s jabs into mountainous territory where fleeing Iraqi civilians have stranded themselves in flight before a murderous land grab, many outside observers have been surprised at the relative ineffectiveness of Kurdish forces in the region at beating back the jihadists. Read More… 

Analysis: With Ferguson Essay, Rand Paul Proves A Very Different Republican

Paul’s rhetoric is not just a break with others in the embryonic Republican presidential field; it challenges GOP political orthodoxy going back several decades, ever since Richard Nixon made law and order a cudgel to batter Democrats in the riot-torn 1968 campaign. Read More…

Obama: U.S. Has Broken Islamists’ Siege On Iraq Mountaintop

President Barack Obama said Thursday that U.S. forces have broken Islamic militants’ siege of Iraq’s Mt. Sinjar, and he declared the humanitarian mission to save thousands of refugees stranded on the barren mountain a success. Read More… 

MULTIMEDIA

Report: Crony Capitalism Alive And Well As NAFTA Turns 20

Reporter Charlie LeDuff of “The Americans” explains how the North American Free Trade Agreement has caused problems for workers in the U.S. and Mexico. While corporations have made billions shipping jobs south of the border, the poor wages they provide in Mexico and South America are driving up illegal immigration to the U.S. Watch… 

Race Baiters Destroyed In One Epic Rant

One man’s response to the current civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, where police recently shot an unarmed black teenager. Watch… 

Report: Crony Capitalism Alive And Well As NAFTA Turns 20

Reporter Charlie LeDuff of “The Americans” explains how the North American Free Trade Agreement has caused problems for workers in the U.S. and Mexico. While corporations have made billions shipping jobs south of the border, the poor wages they provide in Mexico and South America are driving up illegal immigration to the U.S.

Race Baiters Destroyed In One Epic Rant

“I’m sick of it!”

Those are the words of one black American who has had it with the race baiting of Rev. Al Sharpton and others who pontificate about racial injustice without ever doing anything to enact positive change.

Marching, rioting and looting, the man says, aren’t going to improve race relations in the U.S.

The epic rant is a response to the current civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, where police recently shot an unarmed black teenager.

“When are we going to overcome, when? That was fifty plus years ago and all we’re doing is going around in circles…” the man says.

“You activists out there, you civil rights leaders— all of a sudden Black Panthers, NAACP come out the woodwork… they just came out of nowhere, [saying] ‘Oh, we gonna want justice. We want justice. No justice, no peace’ that’s all you see ‘No justice no peace,’” the man continues. “Shut up.

“When it was sixty plus shootings in Chicago a few weeks back, where were you? Nowhere to be found. A few weeks later, there was forty-seven drive-bys in one weekend, where were you? Nowhere to be found. When little Ray Ray kills little Lukie, where were you? Nowhere to be found. When a little girl was shot when she was riding her tricycle in the front yard and stray bullets hit her, where were you? Nowhere to be found.”

The man contends that black Americans must do more to change their communities.

Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 8-13-2014: You Have No Say In Government Policy; Paul Speaks Out Against Executive Orders; GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Has A Great Job Creation Plan; Obama Mulls Further Action In Iraq; Does Cuomo Have Something To Hide?

Brush up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition news links.

The Average American Has ‘Essentially Zero’ Influence Over U.S. Policy

An academic look into the driving forces behind American Federal policymaking concludes that the average citizen in the United States has “essentially zero” influence over the direction of government. Read More… 

Rand Paul Says He’d use Executive Orders If President… But Only To Revoke Previous Executive Orders

Speaking to constituents in Kentucky this week, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said that he would use his executive power to reverse the damage done by his predecessors’ propensity for legislating by fiat if he were elected President. Read More… 

Texas GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Proposes Deregulating Entry Points For Small Businesses

Greg Abbott, attorney general of Texas and the GOP’s candidate for Governor, recently unveiled a proposal that, if adopted, would put an end to State licensure requirements that currently govern such small-business occupations as cosmetology, coaching, dog training and interior design. Read More…

U.S. Sends Aircraft To Iraq; Obama Weighs Mission To Save Refugees

Administration officials said Wednesday that President Barack Obama is considering using military helicopters and other aircraft to help rescue thousands of refugees trapped on Mount Sinjar in northwest Iraq, potentially putting U.S. forces closer to the extremist fighters who have laid siege to the area. Read More… 

Why Is The Cuomo Administration Automatically Deleting New York State Employees’ Emails?

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration — which the Governor pledged would be the most transparent in State history — has quietly adopted policies that allow it to purge the emails of tens of thousands of state employees, cutting off a key avenue for understanding and investigating state government. Read More… 

Good Guys With Guns Stop Just Plain Bad Guys

Protests related to the killing of an unarmed 18-year-old by police in a St. Louis suburb turned violent Sunday night, overwhelming law enforcement authorities and leading to thousands of dollars in property damage and stolen goods.

The initially peaceful protesters had assembled to demand that the Ferguson police officer who shot Michael Brown — who, despite being unarmed, was deemed a lethal threat by law enforcement officials — be relieved of duty and prosecuted.

Riverfront Times provides some background on the incident:

On Saturday at about noon, Brown was walking with a friend on the 2900 block of Canfield Drive when they came across a Ferguson police officer. Accounts differ about what exactly happened, but Brown ended up lying face down in the street in a pool of blood, shot repeatedly by the officer, a six-year veteran who has yet to be identified. Brown did not have a weapon. Witnesses at the scene told the media that Brown had his hands in the air when he was shot — some described the shooting as “execution style.”

At a press conference on Sunday morning, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar gave the (very brief) official version of what occurred, accompanied by Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, who did not speak. St. Louis County is in charge of the investigation. Here’s what Belmar told reporters: “One of those individuals at the time came in as the officer was exiting his police car. Allegedly pushed the police officer back into the car where he physically assaulted the police officer. It is our understanding at this point in the investigation that within the police car there was a struggle over the officer’s weapon. There was at least one shot fired within the car after that. The officer came back out of the car, he exited his vehicle and there was a shooting that occurred where the officer in fact shot the subject and the subject — they were fatal injuries.”

The story is a familiar one. As is the civil unrest that often follows when communities feel that one of their own has been killed, or suffered lesser abuses, at the hands of authorities.

Civil unrest and violence go hand in hand. And as emergency responders become overwhelmed — as they did in St. Louis this past weekend — the inaccurate assumption that the safety and property of individual residents is of primary concern to authorities quickly erodes.

Here, courtesy of the weekend violence in St. Louis, are two news reports that illustrate what happens when residents make the decision to actively defend (or not) their property.

A report reflecting the decision to trust the authorities to handle the situation via a Los Angeles Times report on the incident:

Workers hustled to replace Zisser Tire’s signature wraparound windows with plywood as evening approached. Looters broke into the store and stole tire rims from the showroom — each of them single display pieces for four-piece sets — and video captured one person using a rim to smash out each of the windows. Looters also entered the back of the store, broke into a gold Escalade and destroyed the dash.

Dennis G. Ferguson, a salesman for the store, told The Times that he had called the owner and debated bringing rifles down to the store as the looters worked their way down Florissant Avenue. Ultimately he decided against it. It was “too dangerous,” he said.

Another employee said that even after workers had arrived at the store Monday morning, a stranger came in and stole an iPad from the counter. Police caught him.

Now, from Riverfront Times, a report about on property owners who actively defended their assets:

Nobody is robbing St. Louis Ink Tattoo Studio anytime soon. Or County Guns, for that matter.

The two north county businesses share a storefront in a Florissant strip mall less than ten minute drive from the epicenter of last night’s riots in Ferguson. After nightfall, what began as a community’s peaceful demonstration against the Ferguson Police Department’s shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown turned increasingly violent. Crowds plundered a QuikTrip and burned it to the ground, and local news began reporting brazen raids on other stores in the area.

After hearing of the roving bands of looters, Mike Gutierrez knew he had to protect his tattoo shop. He brought a posse with him, including Adam Weinstein, owner of County Guns, who was acutely worried about criminals getting their hands on his merchandise.

“We didn’t want them coming in here and then running around with a bunch of free guns,” Weinstein told Daily RFT when we arrive at the store around 12:30 a.m. this morning. Weinstein was outfitted with an assault rifle, pistol and tactical vest. Gutierrez cradled his own rifle in his hands.

Gutierrez, Weinstein and their group arrived to find thieves tearing through a Dollar General in the same strip mall that houses their business. Weinstein says the looters attempted moving toward the shop, but were scared off by the guns. Then the police arrived.

“There were like two SWAT vans, two dozen cop cars,” said one woman. The cops apparently checked out the situation and then tore off to some other crisis.

Bottom line: A little deterrence and self-defense can go a long way.