White House: There Is No Justification For Terrorism Over Expression, Including Muhammed Cartoons

Speaking from the White House Tuesday, press secretary Josh Earnest said there is no justification for terrorism in response to expression. He made a similar statement yesterday in response the terror attack on a Muhammed cartoon exhibit in Texas on Sunday. 

"There is no act of expression, even if it's an offensive expression, that can justify an act of terrorism or even an act of violence," Earnest said. "There is no room in our society, and it certainly doesn't reflect a commitment to universal human rights, to try to use an act of expression to justify an act of terrorism."

"There is no justification for an act of violence and an attempted act of terrorism like the one that we saw," he continued.

The terror attack is being investigated by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. Earlier today ISIS publicly took responsibility for the attack.

Yemen: Arab Coalition Puts Boots On The Ground

The Associated Press has reported that Arab coalition troops are on the ground in Yemen to complete a “reconnaissance” mission. Egypt has also admitted for the first time that it had deployed ground forces to the region, as they are expected to be participants in any future ground offensive against the Shiite Houthi rebels that ousted President Abed Rabo Mansour Hadi over the winter (via AP):

With helicopter gunships hovering overhead, at least 20 troops from a Saudi-led Arab coalition came ashore Sunday in the southern port city of Aden on what military officials called a "reconnaissance" mission, as fighting raged between Iranian-backed Shiite rebels and forces loyal to the nation's exiled president.

It was the first ground landing by coalition forces since the start of the Saudi-led air campaign against the rebels and their allies — forces loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh — who have captured most of northern Yemen and marched on southern provinces over the past year.

In Cairo, meanwhile, Egypt, a key coalition member that has been named as a likely participant in any ground offensive in Yemen, acknowledged for the first time that it has deployed troops in the Gulf region and the Red Sea as part of the Saudi-led coalition.

The objective of Sunday's landing was not immediately clear, but Yemeni military officials said the coalition troops would help train forces loyal to the country's internationally recognized leader, President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who has been in exile since he fled Aden in March. They would also try to identify an area that could serve as a "green zone" from which Hadi and his government could operate when they return to Yemen.

At the top of that list, said the officials, is the al-Bureqah area west of Aden, which stretches for about 15 kilometers (about 10 miles) along the coast and is home to a major oil refinery and large fuel tanks.

The Western-backed Hadi fled to neighboring Saudi Arabia in March, just a few weeks after he fled the capital, Sanaa, which was captured by the rebels, known as Houthis, in September.

Saudi officials declined to immediately comment on Sunday's landing. However, military and security officials have repeatedly said a ground operation would follow the Saudi-led air campaign that began on March 26, after the military capabilities of the Houthis and their allies had been sufficiently weakened.

On Sunday, the Yemeni officials said that streamlining the militiamen fighting the Houthis in Aden was a key step toward establishing a coherent force that a coalition expedition in Aden could lend support to.

Huckabee: "I Am a Candidate For President of the United States”

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR), the fiery social conservative and winner of the 2008 Iowa caucuses, announced today at the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope that he is once again running for president in 2016.

“Folks, it is a long way from a little brick rent-house on Second Street in Hope, Arkansas to the White House,” he began. “But here in this small town called Hope, where a person started [doesn’t determine] where he [ultimately has] to stop.”

Huckabee, who was born and raised in small town America, reflects its values and traditions, having lived there most of his life.

“So it seems perfectly fitting,” he declared, “that it would be here that I announce I am a candidate for president of the United States of America.”

Shifting gears, Huckabee painted an astonishingly grim and dismal picture of American life in the early 21st century, and was extremely critical of the current occupant of the White House.

“It was eight years ago that a young, untested, inexperienced and virtually unknown freshman senator made great speeches about hope and change,” he said. “But eight years later, our debts more than doubled, America’s leadership in the world has completely evaporated, and the country is more polarized than ever in my lifetime.”

“Ninety-three million Americans don’t have jobs,” he said. “And many of them who do have seen their full-time job—with benefits they once had—become two part-time jobs with no benefits at all. We were promised hope, but it was just talk. And now we need the kind of change that really could get America from Hope to higher ground.”

Significantly, however, he also shined a fluorescent spotlight on the scandal-plagued Department of Veterans Affairs, pledging to clean up (and root out) its deadly corruption and greed.

“Our veterans should be getting the first fruits of our treasury, not the leftovers,” he said. “And my friend, when I am president our veterans are not going to be left on the streets, or in waiting rooms to rot; they are going to be treated with the dignity they have earned and deserved.”

Naturally, he also touted his resume and the many reasons why he is qualified to lead the nation in the post-Obama era.

“No Republican governor had more Democrats and fewer Republicans,” he averred, referring to his decade-long stint as the governor of Arkansas. “I challenged the deeply entrenched political machine that ran this state. My friend, it was tough sledding. But I learned how to govern and I learned how to lead. And even in that environment, we passed 94 tax cuts, rebuilt our road system, saw dramatic improvements in student test scores, and fought the corruption of the ‘good old boy’ system so that working class people would finally be given a fair shake.”

“And we saw family income increase by 50 percent during my tenure,” he added.

Finally, tapping into his social conservatism and Christian faith, he blasted the organizations—and judicial activists—who are committed to redefining marriage and extinguishing innocent life under the banner of ‘choice.’

“Many of our politicians have surrendered to the false god of judicial supremacy,” he said. “My friend, the Supreme Court is not the Supreme Being—and they cannot overturn the laws of nature or of nature’s God.”

Huckabee, for his part, is a dark horse candidate for president. A recent poll finds he is polling at roughly five percent nationally.

VA Governor, AG Seek to ‘Expand’ Abortion Services by Easing Clinic Regulations

In July 2013, important regulations were put in place for Virginia’s 21 abortion clinics. The law, SB 924, required clinics to be held to the same standards as hospitals, requiring new hallway widths and equipment standards, for instance. Because of the new regulations, three abortion-providing centers that were not up to par were shuttered. Yet, despite the progress the law has made in protecting women from unsafe or unsanitary abortion centers, Attorney General Mark Herring has just declared that the state Board of Health need no longer enforce the regulations, insisting they are “medically inappropriate.”

After exhaustive and careful review, Attorney General Herring has concluded that:

"...in 2011 and 2013 the Board did not have the authority to apply the design-and-construction section of the regulations to facilities built before the regulations took effect, nor does it have the authority to do so now."

Former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who has warned the Board of Health to not dismiss these standards, told Townhall that Herring knew full well that these regulations were adopted in a common sense, across the aisle effort.

“In this case, the General Assembly’s intent to protect women in Virginia's abortion clinics was clear and bipartisan at the passage of the bill, and Attorney General Herring knows it as he was on the floor as a Senator for the long debate on the bill," he said. "The main complaint during the debate, repeated over and over, was that the regulations would shut down abortion clinics. Such a position would be ridiculous if the law did not apply to existing abortion clinics, as there would be nothing to shut down. Our office provided legal advice intended to effectuate the clear bipartisan intent of the General Assembly. Sadly, Herring is now substituting his political preference for a law legitimately passed. Herring's abuse of his office is particularly unfortunate as it relates to an issue of such sensitivity to so many Virginians.”

Perhaps the issue is so sensitive to Virginians because of the danger unregulated clinics pose to women. Just one look at Mollie Hemingway’s unnerving report at The Federalist detailing Virginia’s “blood spattered” abortion clinics in 2013 proves that planned inspections are necessary to keep these businesses accountable.

Unfortunately, Governor McAuliffe (D-VA) sides with Herring in putting abortion rights over safety standards.

“These regulations were designed not to keep Virginia women safe, but to limit their constitutional right to make their own decisions,” McAuliffe said in a statement Monday. “I have pledged to prevent any further political effort to limit women’s access to health care, and I am committed to ensuring that Virginia is in the business of expanding access to safe and affordable care, not limiting it.”

McAuliffe and Herring’s rejection of Cuccinelli’s urgent advice puts the women of Virginia in danger. Instead of protecting them, the reversal of these regulations will permit women to walk into clinics that lack oversight and are left to operate under substandard conditions.

The Board of Health will reconvene June 4 to discuss the current regulations. For the sake of Virginians, I hope they put the needs of women over pro-abortion politicians.

Winner of Muhammed Cartoon Contest: "Once Free Speech Goes, It's Over"

The winner of Sunday night's draw Muhammed art contest, which was attacked by terrorists influenced by ISIS, is speaking out and pleading for the West to fight back against attacks on free speech. 

"We can't be cowed by this because once this goes, once free speech goes, it's over," Bosch Fawstin said during an interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren. "I've been drawing Muhammed for years and I heard about the contest and I took it upon myself to take part in it. I think it's an important thing. It's about freedom of speech, which is deadly important, especially right now. It's under siege by the enemy, the Islamic enemy, by the left, by some on the right and it is a constant attack. We are being told that we 'shouldn't do this' or we 'shouldn't do that,' and we have the right to do that and we need express that right especially right now." 

"I understand the threat that we face and that's why I do what I do," he continued. "I don't refuse to do it because of the threat, I do it because we're being threatened. This has to be fought head on." 

Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch and an organizer of the art contest, also made an appearance on The Kelly File last night to discuss not just the attack from the terrorists, but attacks from those who say the group had it coming by "provoking" Islam.

ISIS Takes Responsibility For Attack on Texas Muhuammed Art Exhibit

ISIS has officially taken responsibility for the attack Sunday night on a Muhammed art exhibit in Garland, Texas. This is the first official ISIS attack to be be carried out on U.S. soil. Thankfully, there was a heavy police presence at the event and the suspects were shot immediately after they opened fire outside the building. More from Fox News

The Islamic State terror group (ISIS) Tuesday issued a claim of responsibility for Sunday's attack on a Texas cartoon contest featuring images of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

The claim was made in an audio message on the group's Al Bayan radio station, based in the Syria city of Raqqa, which ISIS has proclaimed to be the capital of its self-proclaimed caliphate. It is the first time ISIS has taken credit for an attack on U.S. soil, though it was not immediately clear whether the group's claim was an opportunistic co-opting of a so-called "lone wolf" attack as its own.

The message described the shooting suspects as "two soldiers of the caliphate" and added "We tell America that what is coming is more bitter and harder and you will see from the soldiers of the Caliphate what harms you."

The message also said the contest, which was being put on by a group known for controversial rhetoric about Islam, "was portraying negative images of the Prophet Muhammad."


As I wrote yesterday, it's been alarming to watch the reaction to the attack from the media, who has been giving more scrutiny to the event organizers than the terrorists who wanted to kill attendees over cartoons. Free speech and the West are under attack. 

WaPo: 2016 GOP Field 'Might Be The Most Diverse Ever'

With Carly Fiorina and Dr. Ben Carson throwing their hats into the 2016 ring, the GOP field is getting larger and more diverse. In fact, it’s the most diverse since at least 1992, according to Philip Bump of the Washington Post:

The addition of Carly Fiorina (not a white man) and Ben Carson (not a white man) to a Republican 2016 field that already includes Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul means that the 2016 Republican field will likely be the most diverse from either party since at least 1992. Given how the country has diversified -- and given how many non-white-men are already in the GOP field -- it's likely that the current class is the most diverse ever.

For 2016, we included a number of people who aren't yet actual candidates, including Martin O'Malley on the Democratic side and Republicans Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal. (Why didn't we include Trump? Because: Who is that? Who is "Trump"? Also.) Those likely candidates are the faded icons on the chart below.

Even once we add in all of those mostly white-male Republican maybes, the party's 2016 field is the most diverse on either side. One more white male, though, and the balance tips to the 2008 Democrats, with Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson in a smaller field. (In terms of the sheer number of non-white men, the giant 2016 GOP field will be hard to beat.) There's only one non-white woman on our chart: 2004 Democrat Carol Moseley Braun.

As I’ve said in previous posts, there’s a serious candidate to represent the various wings that make up the Republican Party. They should compete and do battle on the debate stage. We have the luxury of choice. And those choices don’t involve anyone having shady dealings via donations to their family non-profit, or circumventing FOIA laws by having a private email server installed in a family home. As a result of this, Americans do not view the former first lady as honest. In fact, a substantial number of Democrats–four out of ten–in the AP-GFK poll noted that “honest” was not the best word to describe the former secretary of state. As Quinnipiac has said in their polling showing similar dismal numbers on Clinton’s trustworthiness, it’s hard to run as a strong, competent leader, while also being viewed as dishonest.

Reminder: ISIS Camps Are in Mexico Just A Few Miles from U.S. Border

With the events in Texas yesterday, and given that one of the terrorist suspects linked himself to ISIS just before the attack, it’s well worth revisiting the report from Judicial Watch a few weeks ago that ISIS has a camp set up roughly eight miles from El Paso, Texas. There is also another cell near Ciudad Juarez that targets two towns in New Mexico “for easy access to the United States,” according to their sources, who include a Mexican Army field grade officer and Mexican Federal Police inspector.

During the course of a joint operation last week, Mexican Army and federal law enforcement officials discovered documents in Arabic and Urdu, as well as “plans” of Fort Bliss – the sprawling military installation that houses the US Army’s 1stArmored Division. Muslim prayer rugs were recovered with the documents during the operation. […]

According to these same sources, “coyotes” engaged in human smuggling – and working for Juárez Cartel – help move ISIS terrorists through the desert and across the border between Santa Teresa and Sunland Park, New Mexico. To the east of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, cartel-backed “coyotes” are also smuggling ISIS terrorists through the porous border between Acala and Fort Hancock, Texas. These specific areas were targeted for exploitation by ISIS because of their understaffed municipal and county police forces, and the relative safe-havens the areas provide for the unchecked large-scale drug smuggling that was already ongoing.

According to the Judicial Watch report, ISIS in Mexico is also conducting surveillance of “regional universities; the White Sands Missile Range; government facilities in Alamogordo, NM; Ft. Bliss; and the electrical power facilities near Anapra and Chaparral, NM.”

While the report is certainly disconcerting, it’s not the least bit surprising. Lawmakers, pundits, and citizens alike have long known our porous Southwest border is an easy target for terrorists and other criminals to enter the United States. Perhaps that’s why 63 percent of likely voters believe the U.S. military should be at the Mexico border to prevent illegal immigration, according to a new Rasmussen poll. Only 26 percent disagree.

One thing is clear: the longer we wait to get serious about enforcing our immigration laws and beefing up border security, the greater risk we face of seeing terror attacks becoming the new normal.

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson Upgrades Soldier's Seat to First Class

Talk about a class act.

Seattle Seahawks' Quarterback Russell Wilson was on a flight to Seattle a few days ago when he saw a soldier, Kane Bernas, board and head for the back of the plane. Wilson, seeing this, decided to take matters in to his own hands and upgraded Bernas to a first-class seat.

Wilson responded about 20 minutes later, thanking the soldier for his service.

According to Bernas, it was the "best flight ever."

It's nice to see a professional athlete, especially a football player, act in such a generous manner. With recent incidents of athletes acting badly, players like Wilson making the news for positive incidents are a welcome change. While upgrading a flight from coach to first class was probably nothing for Wilson, he certainly made Bernas' day. That's what's really important.

Wheel In The Cots: Clinton Agrees To Testify On Benghazi, Will ‘Stay As Long As Necessary’

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will appear before Congress to answer questions relating to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks in Libya that left Ambassador Chris Steven dead. Yet, this will be a one and done deal. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, requested that the former first lady appear twice before the committee to answer questions about Libya and her private email server. “Respectfully, there is no basis, logic, or precedent for such an unusual request,” wrote David Kendall, Clinton’s lawyer. He did say that Clinton “will stay as long as necessary to answer the Committee’s questions, but will not prolong the Committee’s efforts further by appearing on two separate occasions when one will suffice.”

On April 30, the Committee gained access to 4,000 pages of document from the State Department Benghazi Accountability Review Board. The Benghazi Committee continues to build the most comprehensive and complete record on what happened before, during and after the Benghazi terrorist attacks,” said Gowdy in a statement. “Contrary to those who said all had been asked and answered, the Benghazi Committee has shown there is more still for Congress to consider.”

Copy of the letter via The Hill:

Letter From Kendall to Gowdy

Those records took two years to be released to Congress via subpoena.

Fox News Congressional Correspondent Chad Pergram noted that the Clinton testimony could occur at an offsite location and a closed-door session.

Dem Rep: The IRS Should Investigate the NRA

The National Rifle Association is guilty of abusing donations for political purposes, asserts Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. He, along with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, is calling for an investigation into the NRA after a Yahoo News report suggested the gun rights organization had violated several provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act by using funds to support political candidates instead of promoting gun safety.

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) has launched a nationwide petition campaign asking the Federal Election Commission and the Internal Revenue Service to investigate “violations of federal law” by the National Rifle Association.

The petition drive cites the Yahoo News report which disclosed that the NRA had violated multiple provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act, failed to report its political expenditures to the IRS for six consecutive years, and appears to have avoided paying federal taxes.

Thompson said people deserve to know if the NRA is guilty of hypocrisy:

“Many Second Amendment supporters and responsible gun owners contribute to the NRA because of the work it does to promote gun safety and support the hunting community. They have a right to know whether their money is going to these causes or to Beltway-NRA political efforts that undermine common-sense laws designed to keep criminals, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill from getting guns.”

Yahoo did admit that since state election and campaign finance laws vary from state to state, it’s unlikely any repercussions would be administered.

The NRA is well aware of Thompson and his gun control agenda. This time last year, the organization reported on the representative's "Promoting Healthy Minds for Safer Communities Act." Here was an excerpt of their expose, which detailed the bad news Thompson's bill would mean for gun owners.

Title IV of the bill would expand existing prohibited person categories under the federal Gun Control Act. Outpatient mental health treatment would become prohibiting in some circumstances. Misdemeanor prohibitions would also be expanded, including an entirely new prohibition related to "stalking convictions." As defined in the bill, such convictions would not require any finding of violence or even violent intent, nor would they be limited to offenses occurring between persons with preexisting relationships. An existing misdemeanor prohibition would also be expanded to capture a much larger class of people. These prohibitions, moreover, would apply not just to future outpatient "commitments" or convictions but to those that had occurred in the past. Thus, persons who have long been in lawful possession of firearms without problem or incident could suddenly find themselves subject to federal felony penalties for continued possession.

Considering Thompson has a history of trying to sweep Second Amendment rights under the rug, the question arises: Is the new fund abuse accusation leveled against the NRA an actual scandal – or just another attempt by liberal Democrats to scale back gun rights?

BREAKING: Baltimore PD Denies Black Male Was Shot

Moments ago Fox News reported that authorities might have shot another man of color in Baltimore:

Baltimore police shot a man Monday in the same area where massive riots broke out last week over the death of Freddie Gray.

It's unclear what prompted the shooting. A Fox News crew witnessed a young black male running from police before he was shot.

Fox News reporter Mike Tobin was on-the-scene, and he told anchor Shepard Smith that he saw a man get shot.

“I saw a weapon on the ground,” he said. “I only counted one gun shot.”

Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE: A local Baltimore police officer told Fox News no one was shot.

UPDATE: And apparently he was telling the truth.


UPDATE: No one was shot.

UPDATE: An eyewitness, however, claims a "boy" was indeed shot in cold blood.

Despite her testimony, the fact of the matter is no one was shot. So she's either lying -- or was confused by what she saw. Hmmm.

Bill Clinton on Huge Speaking Fees: 'I Gotta Pay Our Bills,' You Know

So says the multimillionaire, channeling his wife's tone-deaf 2014 "dead broke" remark. The former president has reportedly earned nine figures in speaking fees alone since leaving office, millions of which just happened to flow in from entities with active business before Hillary Clinton's State Department. Indeed, both Bill personally and the family "slush fund" took in money hand-over-fist while she held the levers of American foreign policy; plenty of people were willing to dig deep, it seems. And wouldn't you know it, favorable policy outcomes followed, in many cases. But hey, the Clintons were just trying to make ends meet:

I'll say this for Bill: At least he's actually fielding questions from the media about this (or anything, for that matter), unlike the Clinton spouse who is currently seeking the presidency.  He says he and the Clinton Foundation have refused donations in the past, but declined to elaborate. If taking gobs of cash from foreigners (successfully) pressuring the US government to approve the sale of a large percentage of American uranium capacity to the Kremlin wasn't problematic enough to reject, one wonders where the Clintons were willing to draw the line. The 42nd president insists that none of this lucrative hustle and bustle at the intersection of money and power amounted to "knowingly inappropriate" behavior.  Americans shouldn't take his word for it: The Clinton Foundation exploited various tentacles to take in vast sums from unvetted foreign donors and governments, in violation of transparency agreements and commitments.  After getting caught, their excuses fell flat.  They failed to reports tens of millions in foreign government donations on their tax returns, "accidentally" reporting that income as zero.  They "mistakenly" listed paid speeches (taxable) as charitable contributions (tax-free).  They lied about a meeting at their home regarding the shady Russian/Kazakh uranium deal.  And, of course, Hillary essentially broke every rule in existence by setting up a private, under-secure email server as Secretary of State, on which she conducted all of her official business.  When Congressional investigators started asking too many questions, she directed her lawyers to cull those emails without any oversight, then wipe the server.  It appears as though many Americans aren't especially inclined to take the Clintons at their word:

Americans appear to be suspicious of Hillary Rodham Clinton's honesty, and even many Democrats are only lukewarm about her presidential candidacy, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. Is she strong and decisive? Yes, say a majority of people. But inspiring and likable? Only a minority think so. Clinton's struggles to explain her email practices while in government, along with questions about the Clinton Foundation and Republican criticism of her openness, wealth and trustworthiness seem to have struck a nerve in the public's perception of the dominant Democratic figure in the 2016 campaign. In the survey, 61 percent said "honest" describes her only slightly well or not at all. Nearly four in 10 Democrats, and more than six in 10 independents agreed that "honest" was not the best word for her.

In any case, you'll be pleased to learn that about this:

Hey, a couple's gotta eat.

CAIR: We Condemn The Terror Attack In Texas, But Pamela Geller Totally Had It Coming

The Council on American Islamic Relations, better known as CAIR, has issued a statement about the terror attack last night in Texas during a Muhammed Cartoon Exhibit. They're also partially blaming the organizers of the event for the violence and are equating them with the terrorists who carried out the attack. (bolding is mine)

"We condemn yesterday's attack on an anti-Islam event in Garland, Texas, without reservation.

"We also reiterate our view that violence in response to anti-Islam programs like the one in Garland is more insulting to our faith than any cartoon, however defamatory. Bigoted speech can never be an excuse for violence.

"Muslims in North Texas and across the nation are shocked and saddened by this inexcusable attack and pray for the speedy recovery of the officer injured by the attackers.

"We thank the Garland Police Department for its swift actions to ensure public safety.

"Unfortunately, human history shows us that hatred breeds more hatred and extremism leads to more extremism.

"Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Geert Wilders and the perpetrators of yesterday's attack all seek to provoke a downward spiral of mutual hostility and mistrust in America and around the world.

"People of good will must work together to ensure that extremists of all faiths and backgrounds do not accomplish that malevolent goal.

"We reiterate the American Muslim community's support for freedom of speech - even bigoted speech – and its repudiation of terrorism in any form."

A number of CAIR members have been targets of terrorism investigations and the organization has a long history of supporting terror groups like Hamas. 

NYPD Officer Brian Moore Has Died

Brian Moore, the NYPD Officer who was shot in the face over the weekend, has passed away. Moore, age 25, was in plain clothes patrolling Queens Village with his partner when they approached Demetrius Blackwell on the suspicion that he had a firearm. As Moore and his partner pulled up in their unmarked police car, Blackwell opened fire, hitting Moore in the head (NYT):

Officer Moore and a partner had been patrolling an area of Queens Village in an unmarked car when, the police said, they observed a man adjusting his waistband. They pulled up behind him to question him and as they did so, the police said, the man turned and fired at the car.

Officer Moore was struck in the cheek and suffered trauma to his brain, officials said. His family made a decision to take him off life support on Monday. Mr. Bratton sat with the family shortly before he was taken off life support, officials said. Officer Moore’s partner, Erik Jansen, was not hit.

Ninety minutes after the shooting, officers arrested Demetrius Blackwell, 35, at a house a block from the scene of the shooting, near the corner of 212th Street and 104th Road.

Mr. Blackwell was arraigned on Sunday in Queens County Criminal Court on charges including attempted murder, assault and weapons possession. With Officer Moore’s death, those charges were expected to be elevated to include murder.

After more than a day of searching, the gun used in the shooting was found by detectives Monday morning around some rubble in a backyard that officials said was along the short route they suspected Mr. Blackwell took after the shooting. The gun, a .38-caliber revolver, had two live bullets and three expended casings.

The police said three .38-caliber rounds were fired at the officers, two striking their car and one hitting Officer Moore.

Moore is the fifth police officer to be shot in New York City in the past five months. NYPD Police Commissioner said that Blackwell has an extensive criminal history.

Some Media More Concerned About Cartoons Than Terrorists Killing Those Who Draw Them

You'd think that in a country with a First Amendment, the press would overwhelmingly support the right to free speech. In 2015 America, that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. 

Take for example the Islamic terror attack last night on a Muhammed Cartoon Exhibit in Garland, Texas. The organizers of the exhibit pretty much had it coming or they're Islamophobes, you know.

"Controversial." Anti-Muslim. Free speech aside. Stunt. 

This is America, where we used to be allowed to say whatever we wanted without fear of being killed for it. Apparently, that has changed. Alarmingly, those who claim to support the First Amendment the most through their work as journalists are the people throwing free speech aside in the name of "tolerance."

AFP Foundation Reloads Right Online

Americans For Prosperity Foundation decided not to hold its annual digital conference–Right Online–last year, but they brought it back with a new flavor in Washington D.C. over the weekend. From self-promotion, monetizing your blogs, and the latest in social media apps, the conference was a mix of panels detailing the latest trends in technology and how to use them to advance economic freedom.

That dichotomy was shown on the first day when Sharyl Attkisson, formerly of CBS News, shared her story about how the biases within the mainstream media prevented her from covering certain topics. Attkisson, who’s now at the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal, spoke about the time she was covering the Fast and Furious story and was denied entry into the Department of Justice building due to her reporting on the subject. She was told she needed a DOJ-approved pass even though her press credential allowed her in any building, including access to the President of the United States upon an interview request. To show how thin-skinned this administration was concerning their image, she recalled the Obama White House’s war with C-SPAN.

Yes, the most innocuous news source in media drew the fury of the Obama administration when they conducted an interview with the president for an upcoming documentary on the White House on August 12, 2010; the whole saga is detailed in Attkisson’s new book, Stonewalled.

When the interviewer, Brian Lamb, asked why the president hadn’t redecorated the Oval Office, Obama said, “We have not yet redecorated this room . . . Given that we are in the midst of some very difficult economic times, we decided to hold off last year in terms of making some changes.”

Two weeks later, the White House told the Washington Post that a multi-million dollar redecoration project was in the works (via WaPo):

White House official, then-TV liaison Dag Vega, wanted to “make sure” that C-SPAN didn’t run its Obama interview snippet after the story in The Post surfaced. “The one taped just days before in which President Obama had implied, that in the spirit of austerity, there would be no Oval Office redecoration,” writes Attkisson. Actually, the president merely said that they’d made a decision to “hold off last year” on the changes — not that the changes wouldn’t be coming soon.

In any case, the White House, via Vega, wanted C-SPAN to drop the footage later, to coincide with the release of its full documentary about the White House. Not when it was most relevant, and when it would raise questions about why the president had spoken of austerity.

On Aug. 31, 2010, The Post drops its story on the Oval Office makeover, much of which took place while the Obama family had been on vacation (between the time of the Lamb interview and the story in The Post).

C-SPAN blows off the White House fussiness and publishes its interview. That very night, Josh Earnest, then the White House deputy press secretary, sends a tough e-mail to C-SPAN accusing the outlet of “being egregiously unethical and of violating terms of the interview. Though there’s no evidence of the existence of any prior agreement, he continues to insist the White House would not and did not agree to an interview with the president without specifying the terms under which it would air,” writes Attkisson, adding that the White House official threatened to “withhold future access.”

Attkisson said that the consensus amongst reporters is that the Obama administration is the worst regarding transparency. She also said that there are many ways to uncover corruption–or stories government doesn’t want you reporting–by looking at campaign contributions, family ties, etc. there’s a paper trail for everything. That also applies in the digital world as well.

After Attkisson, David Rowan of Wired UK presented a thorough and highly engaging presentation on technology and its impact of society and culture. In an indirect way, he was saying how technology and its various markets prove that capitalism works. There are many ways to slice the economic pie to achieve success since the market thrives on innovation and flexibility.

Rowan noted how a flying car was a concept of science fiction. There are now start-ups devoted to the manufacturing of flying cars, which were shown to the audience through a series of clips supplied by Mr. Rowan. Also, driverless cars might become things to see in the foreseeable future. 

Concerning using technology and social media for entrepreneurial ends, Michelle Phan is a great example. She took to YouTube giving make-up tutorials for women; her videos garnered over 1 billion people; she starts her own make-up company Ipsy; and that venture generates over $10 million a month. Kim Kardashian’s game that’s based on her life netted the socialite more than $40 million a few months after its release. The game is free to download.

He also noted how the market for technology changes rapidly. It’s almost incredible that Kodak once employed 140,000 people. When the first mobile phone emerged, it’s even more surprising that consulting firms told telecommunications companies, like AT&T, that there will be 900,000 cellular phones in the United States by the end of the 20th century. In the end, that figure was off–109,00,000 cell phones were being used in the U.S.

The night concluded with Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw being named as the recipient of the much-deserved Americans For Prosperity Foundation’s Blogger of the Year award.

The panels ranged from reaching a wider audience by “escaping the echo chamber,” how critical it is to generate good content, monetizing your blog, building your brand, and net neutrality issues. Far too often conservatives and liberals feel comfortable in their own bubbles. It’s time to get beyond that and engage each other. Yet, there are some forces, mostly on the left that seek to end the discussion.

Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey noted that blogging could be a career, but it’s risky. Just like any other business venture in America. To succeed, you need to have a good product, which Morrissey added was your blog posts. If you don’t have good product, you can’t monetize it. As for custom web design, Morrissey said it’s a definitely worth it if you have the resources. If that option is not in your budget, keep your site simple and easy. Don’t get hassled with blinking ads and other widgets; you don’t want to induce seizures with your readers, he said.

As for spreading buzz about your blog, networking is essential. This is a digital world we operate in, and putting a face to the name is a must. It may land you your dream job. Yet, Morrissey also noted that when emailing established bloggers about your content, like Instapundit for example, make sure you know what these people cover and their interests. It’s not optimal to send a link to a post about Second Amendment issues to a blog devoted to debunking global warming.

Concerning self-promotion, IJ Review’s John Brodigan, Howe Creative’s Ben Howe, Hot Air’s Mary Katherine Ham, and FTR Radio’s Fingers Malloy all pretty much said that being nice can go a long way in building yourself on social media. Also, don’t brag, or talk about yourself all the time, is another example of self-promotion done right, according to Howe.

“Self-promotion is all about subtlety,” said Mary Katherine Ham. “Picking your best work and push it out.” At the same time, she also said you need to balance being persistent, while not being overwhelming.

Guy Benson, who moderated the panel, aptly noted that being ambitious is fine. You can certainly think about where you want to go in your career, but you need to “do the job you currently have with excellence.” That will go a long way in achieving your goals.

Other things during the panels just showed how vast digital media has become. There are 152 million blogs, 1.35 billion Facebook users, and 24 million active Twitter users. There are 1 billion tweets every two days.

There are many ways to carve your success in tech, whether it is in politics or some other entrepreneurial venture. The tools are there; let’s go.

Last note: It was great to see Jim Hoft (Gateway Pundit) at the conference. He looks great given that Hoft’s health was in serious condition in 2013. We’re glad he’s back–and congrats on being this year’s recipient of the Andrew Breitbart Award for Excellence in Online Journalism!

It's Official: Ben Carson Jumps Aboard 2016 Express

On Monday at a campaign event in Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Ben Carson made the announcement his supporters have long been waiting for.

“I’m Ben Carson and I’m a candidate for president of the United States,” he declared to thunderous applause.

Speaking without notes, the former neurosurgeon brought up his moving personal story and the resilience and tenacity of his mother. Among other things, he extolled her work ethic, commitment to educating her children, and money management skills—values that even today continue to influence him.

“I’m fond of saying that if my mom were secretary of treasury, we wouldn’t be in a deficit situation,” he joked.

However, on a more serious note, Dr. Carson also sought to clear up all the misinformation about where he stands on the important issues of the day. For instance, he was particularly incensed that the media continues to perpetuate the falsehood that he wants to end all government welfare and safety net programs.

“This is a blatant lie,” he declared. “I have no desire to get rid of safety nets for people who need them. I have a strong desire to get rid of programs that create dependency in able-bodied people.”

“We’re not doing [them] a favor,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Carson also touted the fact that he has never held elected office before—which, by the way, is something he clearly sees as an advantage, not as disqualifying.

“I’m not a politician,” he intoned. “I don’t want to be a politician. Because politicians do what is politically expedient. I want to do what’s right.”

Finally, he urged Americans to vote with their brains in 2016, not with their family or friends.

“Stop being loyal to a party or to a man, and use your brain to think for yourself,” he urged his audience. "That is really the key to us as a nation becoming successful again."

'It's Working:' Obamacare Dogged by Troubled Exchanges, Inaccurate Subsidy Payments

Obamacare "is working" and "proving critics wrong," its supporters like to insist -- relying heavily on assertionwillful ignorancemoved goalposts and cherry-picked data. Behold, the latest installments from the chronicles of "success," starting with the state of the exchanges:

Nearly half of the 17 insurance marketplaces set up by the states and the District under President Obama’s health law are struggling financially, presenting state officials with an unexpected and serious challenge five years after the passage of the landmark Affordable Care Act. Many of the online exchanges are wrestling with surging costs, especially for balky technology and expensive customer call centers — and tepid enrollment numbers. To ease the fiscal distress, officials are considering raising fees on insurers, sharing costs with other states and pressing state lawmakers for cash infusions.

As we've noted previously, the law has been a drag on the already-strained budget in California, which has been touted as a shining example of state-level Obamacare implementation.  Next we have miscalculated subsidies, resulting in millions of enrollees facing higher tax bills:

Back in January, H&R Block figured that about half of the 6.8 million people who were getting ObamaCare subsidies would owe some of the money back. Another expert reckoned the average payback at $208. That was enough to set off alarms about the "unpleasant tax surprise" these millions would face. The tax experts were too optimistic, however. H&R Block now figures that two-thirds of ObamaCare enrollees who got subsidies had to pay at least some of it back. And the average payback was $729. So roughly 5.5 million ObamaCare enrollees had to return, on average, almost a quarter of their premium subsidies. Given that these subsidies are available only to families with modest incomes, that's got to hurt.

Meanwhile, it looks like taxpayer-funded insurer 'bailout' funds are woefully ill-equipped to help cover the losses incurred by the industry -- which are partially attributable to the older, sicker risk pools Obamacare attracted, coupled with the law's guaranteed issue and community rating provisions:

There may be just $1 in the piggy bank to cover every $10 in claims at an Obamacare program designed to spread risk among insurers, Standard & Poor’s said. The “risk corridor” program was designed to bolster plans that suffered losses on health-care insurance exchanges, in part by taking funds from those that turned a profit. It was one of three risk-sharing initiatives that help companies adjust to the Affordable Care Act. Yet companies mostly did poorly in state marketplaces, leaving the amount insurers expect to pay into the program at less than 10 percent of what others expect to get out, S&P found. And a bill passed last year doesn’t let the government use its own funds to make up the difference. “The only money they can use to pay the insurers who are on the downside is money coming in from insurers who are profitable,” S&P analyst Deep Banerjee said. Most insurers “ended up being on the loss side of the corridor. That’s why we are here.” The shortfall could mean higher premiums for customers and may threaten the viability of some smaller insurers…"

Some healthcare experts have warned that relatively modest average premium increases for consumers so far (with many experiencing sharp hikes, along with hefty out-of-pocket costs and access shock) won't be sustainable once certain bailout-style payment systems and other price controls expire in the coming years.  During the Obamacare debate of 2009 and 2010, the president and Democratic supporters of the law promised Americans that their proposed reforms would significantly reduce premiums:

UPDATE - Another data point on Obamacare's failure to reduce uncompensated care:

BREAKING: Carly Fiorina Announces She's Running For President

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced early this morning on Good Morning America that she's running for president of the United States. 

"Only in the United States of America can a young woman start as a secretary and work to become Chief Executive of one of the largest technology companies in the world," Fiorina's campaign website states. "It's time to put a citizen leader in the White House."

Fiorina's new book, Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey, is also out today. All of the proceeds will be donated to charity. 

For months Fiorina has hinted at a White House run and has taken direct aim at Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton. In an announcement video posted on her campaign website, Fiorina again slams Clinton and points out the Founding Fathers, "never intended us to have a professional political class." 

"We know the only way to reimagine our government is to reimagine who is leading it," Fiorina says in an announcement posted online. "I'm Carly Fiorina and I'm running for president."

Yesterday Dr. Ben Carson officially announced his candidacy during an interview with a local radio station. Fiorina and Carson join Senators Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz as official presidential candidates.

NYT Journalist Wonders: "Free Speech Aside" Why Would Anyone Hold A Contest to Draw Muhammed?

Answer: To stand up for free speech against savages who murder over being offended. That's why. 

BREAKING: Two Men Open Fire At Muhammed Art Exhibit in Texas, Shot Dead By Police

Two suspects, who are now dead, opened fire at a Muhammed Art Exhibit in Garland, Texas tonight. The event was held as a protest for free speech in response the recent Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. The exhibit was hosted and organized by Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs. Participants were asked to submit cartoon depictions of Muhammed for a contest and for the exhibit. There were 200 people at the event, 350 submissions were made from all over the world. The winner of the contest is a former Muslim and was awarded $10,000. 

"We had an event in defense of freedom of free speech in the age of jihad," Geller told Fox News, adding that when the event ended at 10 p.m. two men drove up and shot a police officer. The men were then engaged by police and killed. "This is a war and the war is here. This isn't Paris, this isn't Copenhagen, this is Texas."

"Each person is responsible for their own freedom," Geller said.

Security for the event reportedly cost $10,000 and was beefed up in expectation of an attack

The fact is that security is massive at the event, which speaks to the eroded state of free speech in this country.

Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician who is on a variety of Islamist hit lists, was at the event.

One security officer has been shot but is in stable condition (UPDATE: He has been released from the hospital). Explosives were reportedly brought to the scene by the suspects and a vehicle is being searched. The dead suspects will also be searched for explosives. Attendees were taken away from the scene on school buses. 

Tea party leader and former congressional candidate Katrina Pierson was in attendance. She said once the shooting started, attendees started singing the Star Spangled Banner and prayed. 

Naturally, prominent jihadists like Anjem Choudary are celebrating the attack (ironically by practicing their own free speech). I won't publish his bile here.

More on the alleged suspects:

The Garland Police saved the day. This could have been much worse.

Updates to follow. 

This post has been updated. 

Editor's note: A previous version of this post stated the event took place in Dallas. More accurately, it took place in Garland, Texas. Further, it was stated a police officer was shot. It was a security officer.

Wisconsin Capital City Bans Discrimination Against Atheists

In a bit of odd news coming out of Madison, an ordinance was passed that protects atheists and people lacking religious beliefs from discrimination. Atheists and non-religious are now given the same protection against discrimination as religious people.

From the Associated Press:

In what is believed to be the first statute of its kind in the United States, Madison banned discrimination against the non-religious on April 1, giving them the same protections afforded to people based on their race, sexual orientation and religion, among other reasons.

It's hardly surprising that such a statute would originate in Madison, an island of liberalism in a conservative-leaning state and the home of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. But the ordinance's author, Anita Weier, said it didn't arise from an actual complaint about alleged discrimination based on a lack of religious faith.

"It just seems to me that religion has spread into government more than I feel comfortable with," said Weier, who left the council after the statute passed. "It just occurred to me that religion was protected, so non-religion should be, too."

At what point does an ordinance become so broad that it effectively renders itself useless? Also, does this indicate that a lack of belief is considered to be a system of belief?

Report: Harvard Faculty Supports Democrats a Whopping 96% of the Time

It’s common knowledge that higher education institutions are dominated by left-leaning professors and administrators—and if you somehow missed that chapter, Townhall columnist Mike Adams, Campus Reform, or even a Google search will quickly fill you in. Nowhere is this political bias more prevalent, however, than at our nation’s Ivy League universities.

So, how bad is it? At institutions like Harvard, the numbers are truly staggering.

Republicans running for president might as well skip any fundraisers at Ivy League universities like Harvard, where a new analysis shows 96 percent of faculty donations over the last three years went to Democrats.

Academia in general, and the elite northeastern schools in particular, have long been seen as a bastion for left-wing professors. Nationally, about two-thirds of college professors say they are liberal and less than a tenth identify themselves as conservative, according to one study. 

The disparity, which was brought to light by the school’s student newspaper, even surprised Harvard Dean Michael D. Smith.

“I am amazed at how high that number is,” he told the Harvard Crimson.

In the presidential race in 2012, every one of the eight universities in the Ivy League saw more than 90 percent of faculty donations go to Obama. Some say that shows a troubling lack of ideological diversity on campuses and could lead to students getting biased educations.

“It is a shame that our greatest universities have become ideologically monolithic," Georgetown law professor Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz told FoxNews.com. "At many of these schools, including Georgetown Law School, most students will graduate without ever laying eyes on a single Republican professor.”

“Ideally these universities would expose students to the most powerful arguments on both sides of the great issues, rather than indoctrinating them with the ideology of the far left,” he continued. 

Bernie Sanders: Fundraising Machine?

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is a long shot for the 2016 nomination – a very long shot. His early fundraising campaign, however, is putting Republicans to shame.

CNN has the scoop:

Bernie Sanders' nascent presidential campaign announced Friday that it raised more than $1.5 million in its first 24 hours, a number that far outpaces what Republican presidential hopefuls posted in their first day.

Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats, kicked off his dark horse campaign for the Democratic nomination on Thursday with an email to supporters and a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol. Since then, more than 100,000 people signed up for the campaign and 35,000 people donated money, according to a campaign press release.

Sanders also vowed to spurn Super PACs, instead pledging to raise money by appealing to the rank and file of the Democratic Party. And his strategy seems to be working. As the article excerpted above goes on to note, the ‘average donation’ Sanders has thus far received is roughly $40. This shows that the lifeblood of his campaign – i.e., money – will come not from the “millionaires and billionaires” he angrily derided in his campaign announcement, but ordinary citizens concerned about income inequality, money in politics, and climate change.

Sanders, for his part, is the first presidential candidate to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016.