Note: Going to try something for a while to see how it goes. No pictures or graphics in this post. Thus no distractions to the links and articles. Instead, once a day will have one post that will be nothing but pictures and graphics.
The Story Behind the First Ransom Note in American History
One day last March, Bridget Flynn, a school librarian who lives in Philadelphia, was searching for an old family drawing to print on the invitations to her daughter Rebecca’s bridal shower. As she and Rebecca rummaged through the several generations of family artifacts—letters, photographs, an envelope of hair cuttings—she keeps in plastic bins in her basement, they found a stack of small envelopes tied together with a black shoelace.
“Oh, honey, these are love letters,” Flynn said.
Rebecca untied them and began reading the first one:
“Mr Ros, be not uneasy, you son charley bruster be all writ we is got him and no powers on earth can deliver out of our hand.”
“Mom, these are ransom letters,” Rebecca said.
Flynn went through the rest of the stack with her husband, David Meketon, a research consultant at the University of Pennsylvania. They counted a total of 22 letters, all of them addressed to Christian Ross. Kidnappers had taken his 4-year-old son, whose full name was Charles Brewster Ross, and demanded $20,000 for his return.
Meketon googled “Christian Ross” and found that in 1876, Ross published a memoir about the kidnapping. The memoir, available online, includes facsimiles of several of the letters. As he compared the handwriting in the images to the documents that lay before him, Meketon realized he held America’s first known ransom kidnapping notes.
The letters represented a direct link to a disappearance that had remained unsolved for 139 years. The question was how they had ended up in his basement—and where they might lead.
“The Constitution assumes that the different branches of government will protect their institutional turf. That is, the Framers calculated that, faced with a Democratic president who usurps legislative prerogatives, a Democratic congressman would see himself, first and foremost, as a congressman. Valuing the duties of his office over party loyalty, he would join with other legislators to rein in executive excess.
Today’s Democrats, however, are less members of a party than of the movement Left. Their objective, like Obama’s, is fundamental transformation of a society rooted in individual liberty and private property to one modeled on top-down, redistributionist statism. Since statism advances by concentrating governmental power, Democrats — regardless of what governmental branch they happen to inhabit — rally to whatever branch holds the greatest transformative potential. Right now, that is the presidency. Thus, congressional Democrats do not insist that the president must comply with congressional statutes. Laws, after all, must be consistent with the Constitution to be valid, and are thus apt to reflect the very constitutional values the Left is trying to supplant. Democrats want the president to use the enormous raw power vested in his office by Article II to achieve statist transformation. If he does so, they will support him. They’ll get back to obsessing over the “rule of law” if, by some misfortune, the Republicans someday win another presidential election.” –Andrew C. McCarthy
Syria’s insurgent militias are becoming ever more enmeshed with organized crime, blurring the line between insurgents and racketeers and undermining the rebels’ efforts to maintain sagging popular support for the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
And it isn’t only militias affiliated with the Western-backed Free Syrian Army or Islamist militias profiting from the chaos and lawlessness to plunder and smuggle, extort and kidnap—the villainy is also being perpetrated by al Qaeda-affiliated jihadists, who present themselves as paragons of strict Islamic virtue and argue the spate of executions they have presided over are done to enforce morality.
Both of the al Qaeda affiliate operating in Syria—Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham, or ISIS—have folded within their ranks groups widely seen as crime syndicates and insurgent leaders who at heart are racketeers, say European intelligence sources. They point to four battalions that have shifted allegiance in recent months from the FSA-aligned Ahfad al Rasoul Brigade to al-Nusra and this week realigned once again, this time siding with ISIS.
One of the battalions, Liwa Allah Akbar, is led by Saddam al-Jamal, who was, until his defection, the FSA’s top commander on the eastern front, and who earlier this week announced that he was joining ISIS on the grounds that the FSA had become a puppet of Western and Arab intelligence services.
In a 30-minute video uploaded to YouTube, al-Jamal called on all rebels to dissociate themselves from the Western and Gulf-backed Syrian National Coalition and its military arm, the FSA, because of their opposition to the jihadists and because they want “to prevent the Sharia of Allah from being established in the land.” He complained in the interview that, while working with the FSA, he had to “meet with the apostates of Qatar and Saudi Arabia and with the infidels of Western nations such as America and France in order to receive arms and ammo or cash.”
Much more on this HERE.
Why won’t the President rein in the intelligence community?
On March 12, 2013, James R. Clapper appeared before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to discuss the threats facing America. Clapper, who is seventy-two, is a retired Air Force general and Barack Obama’s director of National Intelligence, in charge of overseeing the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and fourteen other U.S. spy agencies. Clapper is bald, with a gray goatee and rimless spectacles, and his affect is intimidatingly bureaucratic. The fifteen-member Intelligence Committee was created in the nineteen-seventies, after a series of investigations revealed that the N.S.A. and the C.I.A. had, for years, been illegally spying on Americans. The panel’s mission is to conduct “vigilant legislative oversight” of the intelligence community, but more often it treats senior intelligence officials like matinée idols. As the senators took turns at the microphone, greeting Clapper with anodyne statements and inquiries, he obligingly led them on a tour of the dangers posed by homegrown extremists, far-flung terrorist groups, and emerging nuclear powers.
“This hearing is really a unique opportunity to inform the American public to the extent we can about the threats we face as a nation, and worldwide,” Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and the committee’s chairman, said at one point. She asked committee members to “refrain from asking questions here that have classified answers.” Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican, asked about the lessons of the terrorist attack in Benghazi. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, asked about the dangers of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Toward the end of the hearing, Feinstein turned to Senator Ron Wyden, of Oregon, also a Democrat, who had a final question. The two senators have been friends. Feinstein held a baby shower for Wyden and his wife, Nancy Bass, before the birth of twins, in 2007. But, since then, their increasingly divergent views on intelligence policy have strained the relationship. “This is an issue where we just have a difference of opinion,” Wyden told me. Feinstein often uses the committee to bolster the tools that spy agencies say they need to protect the country, and Wyden has been increasingly concerned about privacy rights. For almost a decade, he has been trying to force intelligence officials like Clapper to be more forthcoming about spy programs that gather information about Americans who have no connection to terrorism.
Much more found HERE>
ATF: Lunatics with guns, badges and no concept of right and wrong
Agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives employed rogue tactics similar to those used in Milwaukee in every operation, from Portland, Ore., to Pensacola, Fla.
Among the findings:
? As they did in Milwaukee, agents in other cities offered sky-high prices for guns, leading suspects to buy firearms at stores and turn around and sell them to undercover agents for a quick profit. In other stings, agents ran fake pawnshops and readily bought stolen items, such as electronics and bikes — no questions asked — spurring burglaries and theft. In Atlanta, agents bought guns that had been stolen just hours earlier, several ripped off from police cars.
? Agents damaged buildings they rented for their operations, tearing out walls and rewiring electricity — then stuck landlords with the repair bills. A property owner in Portland said agents removed a parking lot spotlight, damaging her new $30,000 roof and causing leaks, before they shut down the operation and disappeared without a way for her to contact them.
? Agents pressed suspects for specific firearms that could fetch tougher penalties in court. They allowed felons to walk out of the stores armed with guns. In Wichita, agents suggested a felon take a shotgun, saw it off and bring it back — and provided instructions on how to do it. The sawed-off gun allowed them to charge the man with a more serious crime.
“To say this is just a few people, a few bad apples, I don’t buy it,” said David Harris, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and an expert on law enforcement tactics and regulation. “If your agency is in good shape with policy, training, supervision and accountability, the bad apples will not be able to take things to this level.”
Read the full article at the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.
Dasani and her family live in the Auburn Family Residence in NYC, a dilapidated hospital converted into residences to provide housing for the homeless. Here 280 children live — only a fraction of the 22,000 “invisible” homeless children living in New York. Dasani lives with her mother, stepfather, and seven siblings in a 520-square-foot room.
Liberals advocate that welfare programs are designed to help the least fortunate and that they demonstrate a society’s compassion. However, sometimes too much compassion by the state can devolve into what recovering drug addicts would call “enabling.” Moreover, the “compassionate environment” provided by government often turns out to be wretched.
In the early years of America, welfare for the poor was called “charity” and was provided by volunteers and religious groups. The recipients knew it was temporary, and they were generally grateful that the community helped them in a time of need. However, they knew that they had to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, get back on their feet, and come to fend for themselves as quickly as possible. In the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal policies introduced the federal government’s takeover of welfare programs. Later, in the 1960s, President Lyndon B. Johnson took up the torch with his “War on Poverty” and worked toward his “Great Society.” His administration codified welfare programs, giving more and more assistance to those living under the government-determined federal poverty level.
Of course, all of this begot government-assisted housing, food stamps, child care, and Medicaid. Moreover, it created a permanent class of dependents on these programs. Unfortunately, Dasani and her family are now part of this class of dependents, and her government-ornamented landscape is run-down and depressing.
Read the full story at Breitbart.com.