Molenbeek Hit And Run: How The Mainstream Media Spread Another False ‘Islamophobia’ Story

The journalists and publications which implied the hit and run in Molenbeek this weekend was a ‘far right’ anti Islam attack had no evidence to suggest that it was as they reported, but they knew what story they wanted to write.

That’s why most hesitantly wrote “during” a “far right demonstration” instead of bluntly labelling the driver a “far right activist” as did the Daily Mail, the first publication to report on the story.

Instead of acknowledging the categorical error, or clearly reporting the truth as it emerged, however, the Mail quietly edited their original article, burying the factual change three quarters of the way down the page, and failing to issue a correction or clarification.

Their headline shifted from: “…Muslim Women Is Mown Down By Grinning Far-Right Activist”, to, “…By Grinning Driver…” (see above) and the critical new details only appeared in the sixth paragraph:

“Police later announced that they had arrested two men, believed to have been the car’s driver and passenger, who have been named as Redouane B. and Mohamed B – both of whom are thought to be residents of Molenbeek.”

Numerous other articles in the Independent, Express, New York Post and others are yet to be amended or followed up with the truth. Some, like Evening Standard, only published their misleading story this morning, after all the facts had become widely available.

Journalists who bothered to check with sources in Brussels were able to ascertain the man was not ‘far right’, but a local, Muslim teenager, a fact reported two days ago by those such as Channel 4’s Paraic O’Brien.

The Times, a well respected paper know as the UK’s ‘paper of record’, was one of the only major publication to report the perpetrators names from the start.

However, they only did so in the fifth paragraph, opening with the unnecessarily unclear: “A woman was seriously injured when she was struck by a speeding car during scuffles between Belgian police, far-right protesters and local youths…”

This reporting may have something to do with the fact that the ‘far right’ was mostly well behaved in Molenbeek this weekend. The only significant disturbance came from ‘rioting’ local migrant youths and bored, violent ‘anti fascists’.

Predictably, the ‘Islamophobia’ industry was quick to seize upon the fantastical story.

Britain’s ‘Tell Mama’ Organisation, which was once backed by the government and says it “supports victims of anti-Muslim hate” and “measures and monitors anti-Muslim incidents” tweeted about the story no less that TEN times (right).

 

As one Twitter user exclaimed: “Its amazing, these people are more outraged by fake tales of ‘Islamophobia’ in Brussels than the deadly terror attacks!”

Similarly, just last week, the murder of Asad Shah, a well loved Muslim from the persecuted Ahmadiyyah sect, rocked the British media.

However, the Guardian and others completely omitted the fact the killer was a Muslim, and the rest of the media lost interest when blame could not be pinned on ‘Islamophobia’.

The latest incidents highlight how the UK media is desperate to report false ‘Islamophobia’ stories, often failing to correct its reporting when it becomes clear that the crimes in question have no link to ‘Islamophobia’.

In December last year the media was led to believe that a normal Muslim family were the victims of ‘Islamophobia’ when they were simply trying to go to Disneyland. The story soon unravelled as it became clear that the family had connections with the same “army of darkness” mosque attended by the recent San Bernardino terrorist attackers. Breitbart London noted the discrepancies in their story almost immediately.

In September 2015, the BBC used a three-year-old video of a non-‘Islamophobic’ incident to highlight the “rise in Islamophobia”.

In June 2015 the BBC promoted a story about a man who couldn’t get a job because he had a Muslim name. But Breitbart London exposed the fact that not only did he change his name, he also removed all reference to an extremist, Islamist school from his Curriculum Vitae (Resume).

At the point of publication, none of the media outlets involved in the false reporting have responded to Breitbart London for comment. But the Daily Beast’s Dean Obeidallah did tell us to “f**k ourselves”.

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What really happened at the Chicago rally – My Firsthand Account

dcyN4ob

At 2:30 p.m., I arrived at the Donald Trump rally located at the UIC pavilion in Chicago, IL. There was light police presence at the Blue Line station, and the pavilion was short walk away. There I waited in line for about an hour until making it to the front doors, going through a security scanner, and finding a seat in the main hall.

For nearly two hours the pavilion filled until it neared capacity. It was clear that protesters were seated around the room, given easily away by their manner of dress. Most of the Trump supporters, being suburbanite or small town white people from outside of Chicago, were dressed strikingly normal—jeans and t-shirts, yoga pants or dresses, and the occasional suit.

The first protestors began around 5:30 when two young white males pulled off their coats to reveal t-shirts with anti-Trump slogans. At this point I noticed the police presence inside the rally was a mere 8 police officers, bolstered with hands-off event staff.

Before 6:00 p.m., a man spoke on the microphone and requested that rally attendees do not touch or harm protesters who interrupt the event. He reminded the protesters that Donald Trump supports the first amendment as much as the second.

Following this was a string of smaller incidents, such as people holding up improvised signs and shouting.

  • One entire bleacher row was filled with protesters and they began chanting and throwing around torn up signs.
  • A few people who began standing up and screaming, and were slowly escorted out by police. The police kept leaving the protesters unattended throughout this, taking 4-8 officers to escort protesters out one at a time.
  • A black man in a black jacket ran up to the front stage, bumped into the podium, and attempted to speak, but was wrestled down by two men in suits. As they escorted him through the crowd, he took a swing at a Trump supporter. The men escorting him were incredibly gentle and restrained themselves from using any force.

Then voice came on and declared that the event was postponed. A few minutes later, they informed us that Trump had landed in Chicago and spoken to Chicago Police officers, and that due to safety concerns, the rally was canceled.

At this point, the protesters began to descend into chaos. Aside from a few mild “TRUMP” and “USA” chants, the Trump supporters were mostly quiet and bewildered as the protesters began to scream, chant, and run around the main floor area in a huge pack, flipping off the rally attendees and swearing at them. There were a few tense altercations between the two groups, but from what I saw at this point, no violence.

The rally was instructed to leave the pavilion, and I have to admit, the Chicago Police messed up bad here.

We walked straight out of the building and into enormous packs of protesters screaming at us, with little police presence to protect the Trump supporters.

Following this, I wandered the protest grounds to see what was going on. My memory is a bit jumbled at this point because I was so pumped up, but let me string together the events as clearly as possible:

  • Many of Trump propaganda signs, most commonly depicting him as Adolf Hitler, but others showing him with a small penis, simple signs of text English and Spanish, signs.
  • Young women shouting anti-white racial epithets.
  • “THE PEOPLE ARE UNITED. WE WILL NOT BE DIVIDED” being shouted at Trump supporters who holed themselves up in a parking garage, quietly fearing for their safety. Another good one by the protesters was “FREEDOM FIRST! FREEDOM FIRST!” Strangely enough, there were a good amount of signs calling for peace and freedom. Lots of peace signs being flashed with the fingers.
  • A single white Trump supporter who held up a sign and stood quietly as three dozen people surrounded him, smiling and screaming, snatching and pushing at him until he had to run for police cover. Someone grabbed his American flag and threw it on the ground and he fought to recover it. The police escorted him away.
  • Two young men, perhaps 17-19, standing quietly as they waited for a ride home. They were wearing their MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN hats, looking terrified as people cursed and swore at them, and occasionally threw furious challenges for debate. The two young men held their ground. Only once did one of those hats come down, and it quickly went back on again.
  • A general atmosphere of pleasure and happiness from the protesters. A common chant was “WE WON!” and “WE STOPPED* TRUMP!” It honestly felt like a social event for the protesters. There was plenty of mingling
  • Plenty of shouts at Trump protesters that Trump and his supporters are not welcome in Chicago. I challenged one on the first amendment. He said he does not consider himself an American and continued insulting the grizzled old white man he was arguing with.
  • Extremely inefficient police presence. The cops were lined up on their horses or standing behind barricades, but generally were not present where Trump supporters were being hounded and occasionally struck by protesters.
  • The protesters were primarily composed of millennial-aged: white hipsters, African Americans, Hispanics, and Muslims. Some of the protesters were teenagers below voting age.
  • The protesters flew a big set of American, Mexican, and Puerto Rican flags. There were lots of small American and Mexican flags too. *The Trump supporters mostly fled for safety immediately. You have to understand, they were outnumbered by thousands of protesters.
  • There was media presence, but not as much as you’d think. Plenty of areas where chaos was going on had no media nearby. The reporters were mostly getting people to talk to them off to the side where nothing was going on, or focusing ongoing debates between Trump supporters and rally members.
  • A small amount of the protesters were smoking weed. (I have nothing against this personally, just included for accuracy.)
  • Plenty of chants for “BERNIE! BERNIE! BERNIE!” Some Trump supporters looked at each other in bewilderment. “But Bernie Sanders isn’t even running against Donald Trump,” was the common sentiment.
  • Edit: The Trump supporters had a general trust for the police, while the protesters saw their presence as antagonistic. This is especially interesting to me, because as a foreigner and person of color I am generally afraid of police.

Closing statement:

Obviously I did not see everything that occurred as I wandered the protest grounds outside the cancelled Chicago rally. What I did see, however, was fear. Fear from the rally attendees for their immediate safety, and fear of Donald Trump from the protesters.

More than that, I feel that I experienced today, for the first time in my life, true totalitarianism and authoritarianism, expressed laterally from citizen to citizen, in order to silence opinions from being shared. This enforcement was shared through sheer numbers and intimidation, and in a few cases, violence.

People brought their children, loved ones, and friends to attend the Trump rally. I saw an older Asian man and his white wife in attendance, and the looks on their faces when the rally was declared cancelled almost broke my heart. I saw scared children clinging to their parents’ sides as they exited the building to the screams of protesters. I saw a quiet, but excited crowd of Donald Trump supporters get thrown out of Chicago.

Worst of all, I saw the first amendment trampled, spit on, and discarded like trash.

This cannot go on. As I finish this, I feel a sense of utter dread and hopelessness for what is becoming of the youth in this country, particularly those of the regressive left. So polarized has political opinion become, that dissenting thoughts on college campuses are now seen as hateful. These people deal in absolutes. They are right, and whatever means they must take to achieve their ends, they will do it. They will not stop themselves from violence or censorship. They will do it, and they will call hell down upon you if anyone dare does upon them the same.

Tonight I went to the Trump Rally to hear the thoughts of not only the man who was supposed to come and speak, but the people who support him. I found respect. I found calmness. I found peace.

The truth is, I am a legal immigrant, not a US citizen. I am not American. I am not white. I cannot vote.

After tonight, I support Donald Trump.

Lastly, for anyone who thinks the protesters didn’t incite violence tonight, I offer you this.

Updates:

Tallon5 posted a bunch of images and videos that match up to my personal accounts

Super Hat Bros FOUND! Personal friend of theirs speaks out

Thanks for the gold and all the kind comments. I hope you guys stay safe. Remember that the best way to make America great again isn’t just voting, but making yourself great too. That goes to anyone who reads this, regardless of who you support or what you believe.

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Chuck Norris Exposes a DARK SECRET From Hillary Clinton’s Past — WHOA!

Chuck Norris, the famous actor and martial arts expert, is speaking out against Hillary Clinton. His latest message is something every American patriot must see!

Norris, in an op-ed for WND, noted Hillary’s deep ties to Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, two radical academics who want to expand a permanent form of socialism in America. As Norris explained, “the Cloward-Piven strategy is a political plan created in 1966 by two Columbia University sociologists to overload the U.S. public welfare system, the goal being to replace it with a national system of ‘a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty.’”

Norris continued:

I echo again that it’s neither a coincidence that Obama graduated from Columbia University nor that others who espoused the Cloward-Piven strategy were a group of radicals who have been a part of his life and education: Bill Ayers, Saul Alinsky, Bernardine Dohrn, George Wiley, Frank Marshall Davis, Wade Rathke and George Soros, among others. What’s also not a coincidence is how close Hillary ran in the same circles.

In fact, Hillary Clinton was obsessed with these types of radical techniques early in her career. She learned from Saul Alinsky, the original community organizer, how to agitate against the American government to support left-wing causes:

First, Robert Chandler, a retired Air Force colonel and former strategist for the White House, the Departments of State, Defense, Energy and Justice, and the CIA, explained in the Washington Times that “much of [the Cloward-Piven] strategy was drawn from Saul Alinsky.” There’s no doubt that Alinsky’s life and work served as the coach and plan for Cloward and Piven.

Second, Hillary’s similar discipleship devotion was clearly seen by her 92-page college thesis paper on Saul Alinsky, which is a glimpse behind the present veil of her politically savvy and guarded gloss into the heart of her true ideologies.

Even Bill Dedman, investigative reporter for NBC News, had to admit the young 21-year-old Hillary had an infatuation with the “old radical from Chicago.” In her own words, Hillary characterized Alinsky as possessing a “compelling personality” and “exceptional charm.”

Hillary Clinton’s roots are far more radical than her husband’s. Hillary has shown herself to be a shrewd operator, and has become deadly precise in promoting her radical agenda. She was fired from the Watergate hearings for her lying and deceitful conduct, but she continued her career of deception.

Chuck Norris is an American patriot who just courageously exposed Hillary for what she really is! Thank you Chuck Norris for spreading the word about why we must do everything possible to stop her.

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Delusional liberalism vs. Common Sense: ABC Democratic debate, December 19, 2015.

 

 

 

 

Hillary Clinton hit Bernie Sanders for proposing a universal tax hike to foot the bill for his paid family-leave program — and Sanders shot back that “$1.61 (a week) is a pretty good investment.”

Clinton, at the Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire, was criticizing Sanders for backing a proposal to impose a 0.2% payroll tax — deducted from checks much like Social Security and Medicare — to cover his plan.

She also made a firm commitment not to raise taxes on the middle class.

“That is off the table as far as I am concerned. That is a pledge that I am making,” Clinton said in the ABC debate.

She said that she’d cover the cost of paid family leave with higher taxes only on the wealthy.

Sanders, though, responded that his plan is backed broadly by Senate Democrats. And he said Clinton’s criticism of payroll taxes is out of step with Democratic giants such as President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who oversaw the creation of Social Security, and Lyndon B. Johnson, who shepherded Medicare into law.

“What the legislation is is $1.61 a week. Now you can say that’s a tax on the middle class. It will provide three months of paid family and medical leave,” Sanders said, arguing it was well worth it.

__________________

Hillary Clinton drew laughs — but a bit of a rebuke from Bernie Sanders — when asked about her ties to corporate leaders.

ABC debate moderator David Muir asked: “Should corporate America love Hillary Clinton?”

A smiling Clinton responded, to cheers: “Everybody should.”

“I have said, I want to be the president for the struggling, the striving and the successful. I want to make sure the wealthy pay their fair share, which they have not been doing. I want the ‘Buffett rule’ to be in effect, where millionaires have to pay 30%,” Clinton said.

But Sanders gave a much different answer when Muir asked whether corporate America would love him.

“No, I think they won’t,” Sanders said.

He added that “Wall Street will like me even less.”

__________________

The Democratic presidential debate’s transition to the economy started with an awkward moment when Hillary Clinton was late returning from a break.

ABC moderator David Muir said he expected Clinton back momentarily, and started a question for Bernie Sanders.

But before Muir could finish the question, Clinton walked on the stage to applause from the crowd gathered in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Clinton stepped to the podium and said only: “Sorry.”

__________________

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders sparred over the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — and regime change more broadly — during Saturday night’s Democratic presidential debate.

Sanders said Clinton is “too much into regime change and too aggressive without knowing what the consequences may be.”

Clinton swung back in the ABC debate, saying that Sanders had voted for regime change in Libya. She said that she had advocated a process to pursue the political ouster of Assad, saying it should operate on the same track as the U.S. fight against ISIS.

She also warned against any policy that would allow Iran to increase its role in Syria, equating such a move to “asking the arsonist to come and pour more gas on the fire.”

But Sanders stated, “We have got to get our foreign policy and our priorities right. It is not Assad who is attacking the United States — it is ISIS.”

__________________

All three Democrats had sharp words for Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump in Saturday night’s debate.

“He is becoming ISIS’ best recruiter,” Hillary Clinton said, pointing to the billionaire businessman’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

“He thinks low wages are a good idea,” Bernie Sanders said, directing his remarks at attendees of Trump rallies.

And former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said that the United States “must never surrender our American values to racists, must never surrender them to the fascist pleas of billionaires with big mouths.”

__________________

The candidates once again struck different tones on gun rights — with Clinton saying more citizens purchasing firearms wouldn’t help matters and Sanders focusing on a search for “consensus” on gun regulations.

“Guns in and of themselves, in my opinion, will not make Americans safer. We lose 33,000 a year already to gun violence. Arming more people — to do what? — is not the appropriate response to terrorism,” Clinton said.

Sanders, though, pointed to his state — Vermont — and said more than half of its residents own guns.

“I’m not going to say that everybody’s in agreement — it’s a divided country on guns. But there is a broad consensus on gun safety regulation,” Sanders said, calling for background checks for potential gun owners and the closure of loopholes that allow easier purchases at gun shows.

O’Malley took a big swing at both candidates, saying that, “Secretary Clinton changes her position on this every election year, it seems.”

“What we need on this issue is not more polls. We need more principle,” O’Malley said.

The other candidates hit back — with Sanders interjecting, “Whoa, whoa, whoa.”

“We can do all the great speeches we want, but you ain’t gonna succeed” without broad-based support, Sanders said.

__________________

Bernie Sanders, at the start of the third Democratic debate, apologized to Hillary Clinton for his staff’s exploitation of a Democratic National Committee computer vendor’s glitch to access her campaign’s proprietary voter files.

“This is not the type of campaign that we run, and if I find anybody else involved in this, they will also be fired,” the Vermont senator said in response to Saturday evening’s first question from ABC.

Sanders did take several shots at Clinton before apologizing, however, saying that “I am not convinced that information from our campaign may not have ended up in her campaign.”

“Don’t know that,” he added, while touting an agreement for an independent investigation.

He also complained of “many press releases from the Clinton campaign of late.”

Clinton, though, ignored those shots and dismissed the issue.

“Now that, I think, you know, we’ve resolved your data, we’ve agreed on an independent inquiry, we should move on, because I don’t think the American people are all that interested in this — I think they’re more interested in what we have to say about all of the issues facing us,” the former secretary of state said.

After addressing the data issue, the candidates quickly pivoted to terrorism, and issue they also each touched on in their opening statements.

Clinton took a shot at Republican contenders, saying that “despite all their tough talk about terrorism, (they) continue to let people who are on the no-fly list buy guns.”

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley touted his recent visit to a Northern Virginia mosque and took a swing at Republican candidate Donald Trump, saying that the country must “must never surrender them to the fascist pleas of billionaires with big mouths.”

Sanders said he’s running for president because he wants a new foreign policy — “one that does not get us involved in perpetual warfare in the quagmire of the Middle East.”

But it was the data imbroglio that shaped the political environment in the hours leading up to the debate.

The encounter comes with Clinton in a dominant position after she survived House Republicans’ inquiries into her private email use during a hearing on the Benghazi attacks and Vice President Joe Biden’s decision not to make a late entry in the race. Sanders is fading from his summer high, struggling to broaden his appeal in a campaign increasingly focused on foreign policy, and O’Malley has failed to break out of the low single digits.

The timing seems unlikely to help Sanders, whose campaign is irked that the DNC slated it for a Saturday night, when viewership is lower than the weeknight bouts that have drawn massive audiences to the Republican debates.

Clinton, a 2-to-1 front-runner in most national polls, has largely avoided punching down at Sanders throughout the campaign, rarely mentioning him at campaign events and taking carefully calibrated swings at him on issues like gun control.

But the data breach left Clinton with a decision: give Sanders a pass, as he did with her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state, or tear into the Vermont senator over it during the debate, which takes place in New Hampshire and will air nationally on ABC.

Sanders’ campaign seized on a glitch in a DNC-housed program to access Hillary Clinton’s proprietary data on early-state voters this week. In response, the DNC locked Sanders out of all voter data, including information gathered by his own campaign. So Sanders retaliated with a lawsuit seeking $600,000 per day. The two sides announced a settlement in the wee hours of Saturday morning, with Sanders’ access restored.

Clinton’s campaign sent signals Friday that the daggers are out.

Campaign manager Robby Mook called Sanders’ team’s actions “incredibly disappointing” on a call with reporters, playing up the significance of what Sanders’ campaign had accessed.

“This was a very egregious breach and our data was stolen. This was not an inadvertent glimpse into our data,” Mook said.

Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon similarly lashed into Sanders on CNN, saying the senator’s campaign acted “like kids in a candy store and “went hog wild” downloading data.

Clinton’s campaign on Saturday also attempted to drum up focus on the data breach story by publishing an open letter to the Sanders campaign that directs four questions at the senator.

Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communication director, says that while the data breach has been “disturbing to our campaign and the volunteers who worked hard to build a strong organization,” it has also been “a distraction from the issues that the American people care about.”

Palmieri then went on to ask why the campaign said they didn’t store any data, despite logs showing that they may have, and why the campaign claimed the breach “was an accident” when the Sanders aides “conducted 25 targeted searches” within the Clinton data.

 

Comparing reaction to data access, Clinton emails

The Sanders campaign, for its part, has pinned blame on the DNC for the data’s accessibility. It has fired one aide, but has also accused national Democrats of overreacting.

“The failings of one or three or four young people who have made misjudgments in campaign is not cause for them to issue a death penalty on the Sanders campaign,” campaign manager Jeff Weaver told Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s “The Situation Room.”

However, hours before Saturday night’s debate, Weaver told CNN not to expect the same fire from the senator.

“He is a very issue-oriented candidate. Always has been, always will be,” Weaver said. “He will, given the opportunity, talk about the substantive issues facing middle class and working-class people. Period. That is what he will do.”

He did add, though, “Now, if the issue is raised, I think what he will say is that the DNC dropped the firewall between the candidates, some young staffers on our campaign, inappropriately took advantage of that and may have looked at some Clinton data. One of them has been fired, others are being investigated. There may be more discipline handed out to employees as a result.”

Weaver stressed, “There is no one saying what they did is not wrong; it was wrong and we have taken it seriously. We have been investigating it and we will deal with it.”

When asked whether Sanders will echo Weaver when he said the DNC “gave our campaign the death sentence” by shutting off voter file access, Weaver responded, “No.”

The Clinton campaign’s criticism of Sanders’ team, meanwhile, is starkly different from how Sanders has handled Clinton’s use of a personal email address on a private server during her four-year tenure as America’s top diplomat.

Sanders said during the first Democratic debate that the American people are “are sick and tired about hearing about your damn emails” — a line that won applause in the moment but diminished his ability to criticize Clinton on an issue that had hampered her campaign for months.

Republicans have repeatedly seized on the issue to assail the Democratic front-runner as untrustworthy, and have redoubled their criticism as the FBI reviews whether any classified information was mishandled.

 

Sanders challenges party establishment

But the dust-up over the DNC data breach could give Sanders new openings.

His campaign’s relationship with the party establishment has always been strained — and spats such as Sanders’ criticism of the DNC’s limited debate schedule, which Clinton’s challengers view as designed to shield the front-runner, have spilled into the open.

That powder keg of resentment has been ignited.

The timing of the debate could bolster Sanders’ argument. It’s the second Democratic debate to be held on a Saturday night, with the audience likely to be smaller than the viewership that would tune in on a weeknight, when Republicans have so far held their debates.

The debate comes as the 2016 race’s focus increasingly shifts toward national security and terrorism in the wake of the attacks in Paris and California planned or inspired by ISIS.

Sanders’ campaign has focused largely on the issue of income inequality — with Sanders latching Clinton to Wall Street and influential donors.

While Clinton has maintained her large lead nationally, Sanders’ message has resonated in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire — which are both whiter and more liberal than the broader Democratic electorate.

A Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa poll put Clinton ahead there by just nine percentage points — with 48% to Sanders’ 39% and O’Malley’s 4% — earlier this month.

In New Hampshire, Sanders has at times led. An early December CNN/WMUR poll showed him with 50% support to Clinton’s 40% and O’Malley’s 1%.

 

FACT CHECK: Glossed-Over Realities in Democratic Debate

In the latest Democratic presidential debate, oversimplification struck again.

Hillary Clinton spoke of fixing “glitches” in President Barack Obama’s health care law to address rising costs, skimming over deeper issues on matters of affordability and the Affordable Care Act. And in education, fancy dorms and football stadiums aren’t the big reason for higher college costs, as Bernie Sanders suggested.

A look at some of the statements Saturday night and how they compare with the facts:

CLINTON on rising premiums and out-of-pocket costs for the privately insured after enactment of Obama’s health care law: “I would certainly build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act and work to fix some of the glitches.”

SANDERS on his proposed single-payer health care system: “The average middle-class family will be saving thousands of dollars a year.”

THE FACTS: Obama’s law was mainly about expanding coverage for the uninsured, and even former officials of his administration say major work still has to be done on cost control. In other words, rising costs are more than “glitches.”

One of the health care law’s main brakes on costs — a tax on high-value workplace coverage — has been put on hold by the new federal budget deal. Clinton had called for complete repeal of that levy, known as the Cadillac tax. Many economists believe the tax would help keep costs in check by forcing people into leaner insurance plans.

Sanders says his plan for a government-run health care system along the lines of Canada’s and Western Europe’s would save money for families and taxpayers. But such a major transition would involve winners and losers, as well as new taxes in place of premiums.

When the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office looked at the concept back in the early 1990s, it concluded that a single-payer system had the potential to save money but that wasn’t guaranteed. Moreover, individuals would have less freedom to choose their insurance packages, a trade-off that not everyone would accept.

———

SANDERS: “The cost of college education is escalating a lot faster than the cost of inflation. There are a lot of factors involved in that. And that is that we have some colleges and universities that are spending a huge amount of money on fancy dormitories and on giant football stadiums.”

CLINTON: “States have been disinvesting in higher education … So states over a period of decades have put their money elsewhere; into prisons, into highways, into things other than higher education.”

THE FACTS: Clinton comes closest to diagnosing the problem accurately. College expenses are unsustainably high, but luxurious dorms aren’t the big driver that Sanders portrays. Public universities are charging more because they receive less in state government support.

Demos, a left-leaning think tank, said in a May study that the decline in state funding accounted for 79 percent of tuition hikes between 2001 and 2011. Just 6 percent was due to construction costs.

Sanders would make up that lost government money by providing free tuition, paid for with a tax on financial transactions. Clinton would offer federal dollars to encourage states to do more and keep students from having to borrow. It’s unclear how either plan would control colleges’ costs, though.

———

SANDERS, apologizing for his campaign improperly gaining access to Clinton campaign data, raised the possibility that Clinton’s campaign may have done the same thing. “I am not convinced that information from our campaign may not have ended up in her campaign,” he said.

THE FACTS: Sanders is speculating, at best. There’s no evidence so far that Clinton’s campaign has accessed Sanders’ voter lists.

During a conference call with reporters on Friday, Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said he could “unequivocally tell you that no member of our staff stole data from theirs.” And the contractor that manages the campaign data for the Democratic Party, NGP-VAN, issued a statement Friday saying “our team removed access to the affected data, and determined that only one campaign took actions that could possibly have led to it retaining data to which it should not have had access.”

———

CLINTON: “Assad has killed 250,000 Syrians.”

THE FACTS: Clinton appears to be blaming the entire estimated death toll of the Syrian civil war on just one side: the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Yet no matter how vicious his forces have been, deaths have come at the hands of all sides in the nearly 5-year-old multi-front civil war.

The Syrian conflict began with anti-government protests before spiraling into a war with many groups emerging in opposition to the brutal regime crackdown. Rebels in some of these groups are fighting and killing each other, in some cases with no involvement by Assad-backed troops.

The United Nations has estimated a death toll of 220,000 since 2011; other estimates are higher, and Clinton’s figure is roughly in line with them. But the death toll is attributable to all parties, not just to Assad.

———

SANDERS: “Middle class in this country for the last 40 years has been disappearing.”

THE FACTS: It’s no secret that the middle class is struggling. The costs of college, health care and housing continue to rise, while wages have barely budged for two decades. The Pew Research Center reported earlier this month that the majority of Americans are no longer “middle income.”

Things are not quite as dire as Sanders suggests.

Pew found the share of Americans that it defines as middle income — a family of three earning $73,392 — has slipped. It’s down to 50 percent of households from 61 percent in 1971.

More Americans are low income, but more are also upper income. “The closer look at the shift out of the middle reveals that a deeper polarization is under way in the American economy,” Pew concluded.

Pew defines the median upper income as starting at $174,625 — a lot of money, but hardly the billionaire class attacked by Sanders.

———

SANDERS: “One of the heroes who we should recognize in the Middle East is King Abdul II of Jordan. This small country has welcomed in many refugees.”

THE FACTS: With each new debate, the presidential candidates come closer to getting the Jordanian king’s name right.

Among Republican and Democratic contenders alike, King Abdullah II is considered an important figure in the struggle for stability in the Middle East. But darned if they can nail down his name.

Sanders said Abdul instead of Abdullah. Invoking the king again, he mumbled the name.

How many Tashfeen Maliks have we brought in?

Earlier today, the FBI revealed that Tashfeen Malik, the female Muslim immigrant behind the terror attack in San Bernardino, had expressed her allegiance to ISIS in a Facebook post during the attack.

“ This was an attack perpetrated by a Muslim extremist from Pakistan we let in through our front door just last year and granted a green card this past July.”

Many on the right will immediately focus on the threat posed by ISIS. And undoubtedly ISIS is a big threat. But as I’ve pointed out before, ISIS is merely the latest reflection of the broader problem: rampant pan-Islamic supremacism throughout the Muslim world inspired by cyber-Jihad. This was unlikely a command-and-control style ISIS attack. This was an attack perpetrated by a Muslim extremist from Pakistan we let in through our front door just last year and granted a green card this past July.

Tashfeen Malik’s role in the San Bernardino attack demonstrates why why Islamic immigration in general is more of an existential threat than ISIS infiltration. It is also why vetting for ISIS terrorists is a complete non-sequitur to the issue at hand. Even if these individuals could be vetted for ties to professionally trained terrorists, investigators will miss the majority of Islamic terrorists who have not yet engaged in terror but harbor the views that will come to fruition after settling in America.

There is no way to vet strict Sharia adherence and ascertain if the immigrant truly hates our national and cultural values, or worse, will potentially engage in terror activity.  As the Tashfeen story indicates, this is much larger than immigration from Syria or ISIS infiltration.  Any number of devout Islamists throughout the Middle East could share the views of ISIS or Al Qaeda; inspiring them to commit terror attacks on our soil once we credulously let them through our front door.

This is the exact modus operandi Al Qaeda has encouraged in their Inspire magazine.  They have largely moved beyond command-and-control infiltration attacks and are encouraging individual Jihadis living or emigrating to western countries to carry out attacks. It’s no surprise this terror couple had followed the blueprint of bomb making detailed in Inspire magazine.

Before Thanksgiving, I posted a report showing how we’ve admitted 680,000 immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries in the five years between 2009 and 2013.  We also bring in over 150,000 foreign students from that region every single year.  The trajectory for both is growing faster than any other origin of immigration.

What is so disconcerting is that the government has not published any data since 2013 and has still refused to release the 2014 DHS yearbook on immigration statistics. So the American people have quite literally no idea how many security threats we have admitted from the Middle East over the past two years.  Likewise, the public does not know how many other Tashfeen Malik’s got through the same counter-terrorism screenings she did.  There is no monthly data on green cards that is publically available.

How many more Tashfeens are there among the 200,000 immigrants we’ve admitted from Pakistan since 2001?

Sadly, it appears that Republicans have no intention to address even the Syrian refugee issue in the upcoming budget bill, much less the broader problem of immigration.

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No, Mr. President, the NRA is not to blame

California has the strictest gun control in the nation, so Obama’s politicization of San Bernardino rings sickeningly hollow.

Just when we think that politics can’t sink any lower, President Obama once again proves us wrong by politicizing the tragedy in San Bernardino before the facts were even known. What we do know is that the American people are heartbroken by these horrific crimes — and despite what the president would have us believe — America’s law-abiding gun owners are heartbroken by these horrific crimes as well. At the same time, we are sick and tired of this president suggesting the men and women of the National Rifle Association are somehow to blame.

The National Rifle Association is not to blame. Neither is our Second Amendment freedom. An act of evil unfolded in California. President Obama used it not as a moment to inform or calm the American people; rather, he exploited it to push his gun control agenda. Policy discussions should be intellectually honest and based on facts, not politics. And the fact remains that California has already adoptedPresident Obama’s gun control wish list: “universal” background checks, registration, waiting periods, gun bans, magazine bans and an expansion of prohibited gun categories. But those laws did nothing to prevent this horrific crime from taking place. Nothing.

Here’s another fact: the president’s failed foreign policy has made us less safe. And his domestic gun control agenda would jeopardize our safety even further. In California, President Obama had what he wanted — the strictest gun control in the country — and it did not prevent this evil act. The plain truth is that the president cannot keep us safe. And his policies would leave us defenseless. That’s why our Second Amendment right to defend ourselves must be protected. It’s not just a constitutionally guaranteed freedom. It’s a natural, God-given, human right.

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Minimum wage effect? Seattle area restaurant jobs have fallen -900 this year vs. +6,200 food jobs in rest of state

In June of last year, the Seattle city council passed a $15 an hour minimum wage law that will be phased in over time, with the first increase to $11 an hour taking effect on April 1, 2015. Additional increases in the city’s minimum wage are scheduled for January 1, 2016. Depending on an employer’s size and fringe benefits, some businesses will be paying new higher minimum wages at the start of the new year of $12, $12.50 or $13 an hour, while some smaller employers will have a minimum wage hike to “only” $10.50 an hour on January 1.

What effect will the eventual 58% increase in labor costs from $9.47 to $15 an hour have on small businesses, including Seattle area restaurants? Actually, it will an increase to $18.55 an hour for many employers once all costs and taxes are added. It’s too soon to tell for sure, but there is already some preliminary evidence that April’s minimum wage hike to $11 an hour, along with the pending increase of an additional $1-2 an hour in a little more than a month for some businesses, has started having a negative effect on restaurant jobs in the greater Seattle area.

The lighter blue line in the top chart above shows that restaurant jobs in the Seattle area started to stagnate and then decline around the first of this year (when the state minimum wage increased to $9.47 per hour, the highest state minimum wage in the country), following steady growth in Seattle MSA food services employment during the previous five-year period between January 2010 and January 2015 (data here). On April 1 of this year, the city’s minimum wage increased to $11 an hour which may have contributed to the loss of 900 Seattle area restaurant jobs between January and October, the largest decline over that period since a loss of 3,400 restaurant jobs in 2009 during the Great Recession (see bottom chart above). What makes the loss of 900 restaurant job this year especially noteworthy is that the average job gain during the January-October period over the previous five years from 2010 to 2014 was more than 3,500, and over the previous three years more than 4,100.

What is also noteworthy about the loss of Seattle area restaurant jobs this year is the fact that restaurant employment in the rest of Washington state outside of the Seattle MSA is booming, as the top chart shows (see dark blue line, state restaurant employment data here). At the same time that Seattle area food services employment has declined this year by 900 (and by -0.67%), restaurant jobs in the rest of the state have increased by a whopping 6,200 new positions (and by 7.1%). Nationally, restaurant employment has increased by 2.4% this year since January.

And overall payroll employment in the Seattle MSA increased 2.1% and by 39,100 jobs between January and October, while employment at the state level increased 1.9% and by 58,900 jobs during that period, with both of those job growth rates above the 1.3% growth in payroll employment at the national level during that period.

Bottom Line: Overall, employment growth this year from January to October in Washington state (1.9%) and in the Seattle MSA (2.1%) is above the 1.3% payroll growth nationally, suggesting that jobs in Seattle and Washington are growing faster than the national average. Further, restaurant employment in the state of Washington outside of Seattle is booming this year, with food services jobs increasing by 6,200 (and by 7.1%) between January and October. Further restaurants nationally have increased payrolls by 2.4% since January, well above the overall payroll growth of 1.3%, indicating stronger-than-average growth in hiring by America’s restaurants.

Meanwhile, there is at least one weak spot in Washington’s employment situation – restaurant employment in the Seattle MSA has declined by 900 jobs since January, the largest decline over that period since 2009 during the Great Recession. Historically, it takes a national recession before Seattle restaurant employment decreases between January and October, and there’s no recession this year to explain the drop in the area’s restaurant staffing levels.

One likely cause of the stagnation and decline of Seattle area restaurant jobs this year is the staggered increase in the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. Perhaps Seattle’s restaurant employment will recover, or perhaps it will continue to suffer from the upcoming full 58% increase in labor costs for the city’s restaurants that will be phased in during the coming years (and as high as a 95% increase for some employers after including additional costs and taxes) – time will tell. What we know for sure is that there are now 900 Seattle area restaurant workers who were employed in January who are no longer employed today, while more than 6,000 restaurant jobs have been added statewide outside of Seattle during that period, so it looks like the Seattle minimum wage hike is getting off to a pretty bad start.

Update: And with the pending increases in the minimum wage to between $12 and $13 an hour in about 5 weeks, I think we can expect even tougher times ahead for Seattle’s restaurant industry with continued weakness in food services employment.

Technical Note: The BLS restaurant employment data for the Seattle MSA covers the entire metro area of 3.6 million people, while the population in the city of Seattle, which is the only part of the MSA that is subject to the eventual $15 an hour minimum wage, is only about 652,000. Therefore there are several possibilities when considering the loss of 900 restaurant jobs this year:

  1. The loss of 900 restaurant jobs this year in the Seattle MSA could be spread evenly throughout the entire MSA, even though the non-Seattle part of the MSA is not subject to the city’s pending $15 an hour minimum wage.
  1. The loss of 900 restaurant jobs this year in the Seattle MSA could be concentrated in the non-Seattle parts of the MSA, even though restaurants there are not subject to minimum wage hikes and even though the state’s restaurants beyond the Seattle MSA are experiencing very strong job growth. This possibility doesn’t seem likely.
  1. The loss of 900 restaurant jobs this year could be concentrated in the part of the Seattle MSA – the city of Seattle – which is the only part of the greater Seattle area subject to the minimum wage hikes. That option would make more sense than the other two options above. In fact, the restaurant job losses in the city of Seattle might even be much higher than 900 this year. If we realistically assume that the restaurant industry in the non-city parts of Seattle are booming along with the rest of the state (7.1% job growth this year), then the possible gains in suburban Seattle restaurant jobs could actually be offsetting some of the city’s restaurant job losses. For example, suppose restaurant jobs in suburban Seattle grew by 1,000 this year, while restaurant jobs in the city fell by 1,900. The BLS would then report a loss of -900 restaurant jobs so far this year for the Seattle MSA, even though there was a loss of 1,900 jobs in the one part of the metro area that is burdened with higher minimum wages.

When restaurant jobs are experiencing strong growth both nationally and statewide in Washington outside Seattle, along with above-average growth in overall payroll employment in the Seattle MSA, but restaurants in the Seattle area are shedding almost three jobs per day at a rate unprecedented outside of recessionary periods, there seems to be one obvious reason for the loss of almost 1,000 jobs in the Seattle metro area this year – the city’s $15 minimum wage law.

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Obama Has Just Begun

How much damage can he do in his last year in office?
Insidiously and inadvertently, Barack Obama is alienating the people and moving the country to the right. If he keeps it up, by 2017 it will be a reactionary nation. But, counterintuitive as it seems, that is fine with Obama: Après nous le déluge.
By sheer force of his personality, Obama has managed to lose the Democratic Senate and House. State legislatures and governorships are now predominantly Republican. Obama’s own favorable ratings rarely top 45 percent. In his mind, great men, whether Socrates or Jesus, were never appreciated in their time. So it is not surprising that he is not, as he presses full speed ahead.
Obama certainly has doubled down going into his last year, most recently insisting on letting in more refugees from the Middle East, at a time when the children of Middle Eastern immigrants and contemporary migrants are terrorizing Europe. What remaining unpopular executive acts might anger his opponents the most? Close down Guantanamo, let thousands more refugees into the United States, free thousands more felons, snub another ally, flatter another enemy, weigh in on another interracial melodrama, extend amnesty to another million illegal aliens, make global warming laws by fiat, expand Obamacare, unilaterally impose gun control? In lieu of achievement, is the Obama theory to become relevant or noteworthy by offending the public and goading political enemies?
An Obama press conference is now a summation of all his old damn-you clichés — the fantasy strawman arguments; the caricatures of the evil Republican bogeymen; the demagogic litany of the sick, the innocent, and the old at the mercy of his callous opponents; the affected accentuation (e.g., Talîban; Pakîstan, Îslám, Latînos, etc.) that so many autodidacts parade in lieu of learning foreign languages; the make-no-mistake-about-it and let-me-be-clear empty emphatics; the flashing temper tantrums; the mangled sports metaphors; the factual gaffes; and the monotonous I, me, my, and mine first-person-pronoun exhaustion. What Obama cannot do in fact, he believes he can still accomplish through invective and derision.
Getting under his critics’ skin is about all that is left of a failed presidency.

In the 2016 election campaigns, most Democratic candidates in swing states will have distanced themselves from the last eight years. Otherwise, they would have to run on the patently false premise that American health care is more affordable and more comprehensive today than it was in 2009; that workforce participation is booming; that scandals are a thing of the past; that the debt has been addressed; that Obama has proved a healer who brought the country together; that immigration at last is ordered, legal, and logical; that the law has never been more respected and honored; that racial relations are calmer than ever; that the campuses are quiet; that the so-called war on terror is now over and won with al-Qaeda and ISIS contained or on the run; that U.S. prestige aboard has never been higher; that our allies appreciate our help and our enemies fear our wrath; that Iran will now not go nuclear; that Israel is secure and assured of our support; and that, thanks to American action, Egypt is stable, Libya is ascendant, Iraq is still consensual, and the Middle East in general is at last quiet after the tumultuous years of George W. Bush.

The hordes of young male migrants abandoning the Middle East for the West are merely analogous to past waves of immigrants and should be uniformly welcome. For Obama, there is no connection between them and his slashing of American involvement in the Middle East — much less any sense of responsibility that his own actions helped produce the crisis he now fobs off on others.

If an American president saw fit to attack fellow Americans from abroad, and lecture them on their illiberality, there are better places from which to take such a low road than from Turkey, the embryo of 20th-century genocide, and a country whose soccer crowds were recently shouting, “Allahu akbar!” during what was supposed to be a moment of silence offered to the Paris dead. Surely an American president might suggest that such grassroots religious triumphalism about mass death is much more reprehensible behavior than are his own fellow citizens’ demands to vet the backgrounds of refugees.

If you suggested to Obama that, in his search for a contrarian legacy, he should do something to stop the slaughter in the Middle East and be careful about letting in more unexamined refugees, in answer, he would be more likely to do less than nothing abroad and vastly expand the influx of migrants. Getting under his critics’ skin is about all that is left of a failed presidency.

Many of our observers still do not quite grasp that Obama will end his presidency by seeking to get his opponents’ goat — and that his resentment will lead to some strange things said and done.

Few foresaw this critical element of the Obama character. The tiny number of prescient pundits who warned what the Obama years would entail were not the supposedly sober and judicious establishment voices, who in fact seemed to be caught up in the hope-and-change euphoria and missed entirely Obama’s petulance and pique: the Evan Thomases (“he’s sort of god”), or the David Brookses (“and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant, and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.” “It is easy to sketch out a scenario in which [Obama] could be a great president.”), or the Chris Matthewses (“the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama’s speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often.”), or the Michael Beschlosses (“Uh. I would say it’s probably — he’s probably the smartest guy ever to become President.”), or the Chris Buckleys (“He has exhibited throughout a ‘first-class temperament,’ pace Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s famous comment about FDR. As for his intellect, well, he’s a Harvard man”), or the Kathleen Parkers (“ . . . with solemn prayers that Obama will govern as the centrist, pragmatic leader he is capable of being”), or the Peggy Noonans (“He has within him the possibility to change the direction and tone of American foreign policy, which need changing; his rise will serve as a practical rebuke to the past five years, which need rebuking; his victory would provide a fresh start in a nation in which a fresh start would come as a national relief.”).

Obama feels liberated now that he is free from further elections. He thinks he has a legitimate right to be a bit vindictive and vent his own frustrations and pique.

In truth, it was the loud, sometimes shrill, and caricatured voices of talk radio, the so-called crazy Republican House members, and the grassroots loudmouths of what would become the Tea Party who had Obama’s number. They warned early on that Barack Obama’s record was that of a petulant extremist, that his writing presaged that he would borrow and spend like no other president, that his past associations gave warning that he would use his community-organizing skills cynically to divide Americans along racial lines, that nothing in his past had ever suggested anything other than radicalism and an ease with divisive speech, that his votes as a state legislator and as a U.S. senator suggested that he had an instinctual dislike of the entrepreneur and the self-made businessman, and that his past rhetoric advised that he would ignore settled law and instead would rule by fiat — that he would render immigration law null and void, that he would diminish the profile of America abroad, and that he would do all this because he was an ideologue, with no history of bipartisanship but a lot of animus toward his critics, and one who saw no ethical or practical reason to appreciate the more than 60 years of America’s postwar global leadership and the world that it had built. Again, the despised right-wingers were right and the more moderate establishment quite wrong.

Abroad, from Obama’s post-Paris speeches, it is clear that he is now bored with and irritated by the War on Terror. He seems to have believed either that Islamist global terror was a minor distraction with no potential for real harm other than to bring right-wingers in backlash fashion out of the woodwork, or that it was an understandably radical manifestation of what was otherwise a legitimate complaint of Islam against the Western-dominated global system — thus requiring contextualization rather than mindless opposition.

A lot of ambitious and dangerous powers are watching Obama assume a fetal position, and may well as a consequence act foolishly and recklessly this next year. Not only Russia, China, and North Korea, but also Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, ISIS, and assorted rogue states may take chances in the next 14 months that they would otherwise never have entertained (given that America is innately strong and they are mostly in comparison far weaker) — on the premise that such adventurism offers tangible advantages without likely negative consequences and that the chance for such opportunities will not present itself again for decades to come.

At home, Obama feels liberated now that he is free from further elections. He thinks he has a legitimate right to be a bit vindictive and vent his own frustrations and pique, heretofore repressed over the last seven years because of the exigencies of Democratic electioneering. Obama can now vent and strike back at his opponents, caricaturing them from abroad, questioning their patriotism, slandering them for sport, and trying to figure out which emblematic executive orders and extra-legal bureaucratic directives will most infuriate them and repay them for their supposed culpability for his failed vero possumus presidency.
The more contrarian he becomes, and the more he opposes the wishes of the vast majority of the American people, all the more Obama envisions himself speaking truth to power and becoming iconic of something rather than the reality that he is becoming proof of nothing.
Hold on. We haven’t seen anything yet.

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