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THE UNPRECEDENTED, POWERFUL COALITION THREE MAJOR CONSERVATIVE PERSONALITIES ARE BUILDING LIKELY HAS THE ESTABLISHMENT TERRIFIED


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Two heads are better than one, as the old saying goes. That surely means that three heads are even better.
If there’s any truth to that saying, the establishment in Washington and progressives everywhere are likely none too pleased to hear that conservative personalities Glenn Beck, Mark Levin and Sean Hannity are on the same page and joining forces to help the country get back on what they feel is the right path.
After previously allowing themselves to be caught up in a “stupid” competitive feud in talk radio, Beck revealed on his radio show Thursday that he has spoken with Levin and Hannity and they are all ready to start to “move together.”
“I am grateful to this audience. I am grateful for you. There was a stupid feud, and the three of us, Sean, and Mark and I, have talked about it,” Beck explained. “And we know where it came from, and we know who was feeding us lies about each other. And this individual just expected that if they fed us enough lies about each other, we would never talk to each other. And that way he would be able to divide us and keep the Tea Party movement at bay and control it as much as he could or destroy it. And we were foolish.”
Beck also read a letter he wrote to Levin on his radio show Thursday:


Beck said he, Levin and Hannity all have a different skill set, all of which are important to bring the country together and focus on real solutions.
“We are at the end,” Beck added. “And if talk radio begins to move together and we all understand: I don’t do what Sean Hannity does, and he can’t do what I can do. Same with Mark. I mean that… Everybody plays a different role. And each of us have an important piece.”


In his heart, Glenn says he believes his role to influence the culture, while Levin is able to nail the intricacies of politics. Hannity, he said, has a knack for outlining common sense, workable solutions to some of the most complex problems facing the United States.

The news is undoubtedly music to many conservative ears. Though Beck admitted progressives will not take the news well. He even jokingly referred to the trio as the “Wonder Twins.”


What’s just as significant than Beck, Hannity and Levin joining forces is the prospect of each of their audiences coming together to work towards a common goal.

All three made Talkers magazine’s top 10 most important radio talk show hosts in America in 2013. Hannity was ranked No. 2, Beck was No. 4 and Levin was pegged at No. 7.
“Something big is happening. Something good is really happening,” Beck concluded. “Well, I mean, unless you’re a progressive then I don’t think you’re going to like this. It’s not good news for you.”


Extremist religion is at root of 21st-century wars, says Tony Blair



Tony Blair
, political editor The Observer
Tony Blair says that religious extremism has become the biggest source of conflict around the world. Photograph: Blair Gable/Reuters

Tony Blair has reignited debate about the west's response to terrorism with a call on governments to recognise that religious extremism has become the biggest source of conflict around the world.

Referring to wars and violent confrontations from Syria to Nigeria and the Philippines, Blair, writing in the Observer, argues that "there is one thing self-evidently in common: the acts of terrorism are perpetrated by people motivated by an abuse of religion. It is a perversion of faith."

Identifying religious extremism as an ever more dangerous phenomenon, the spread of which is easier in an online age, he says: "The battles of this century are less likely to be the product of extreme political ideology, like those of the 20th century – but they could easily be fought around the questions of cultural or religious difference."

The former prime minister, who led the country into the Iraq conflict in 2003, appears to acknowledge that previous aspirations to export liberal democracy focused too much on political objectives.

But sources close to Blair insist that he is not in any way indulging in a mea culpa over past interventions by the west, including in Iraq. In the future, he writes, "the purpose should be to change the policy of governments; to start to treat this issue of religious extremism as an issue that is about religion as well as politics, to go to the roots of where a false view of religion is being promulgated and to make it a major item on the agenda of world leaders to combine effectively to combat it. This is a struggle that is only just beginning."

The promotion of religious tolerance, both within and between countries, states Blair, will be key to fostering peaceful outcomes around the world in the 21st century.

He uses his article to announce the creation a new online forum and database run by his Faith Foundation in collaboration with the Harvard Divinity School, which he hopes will become the world's leading source of information and debate about religion and conflict.

Blair argues that while the west needs to be ready to take security measures for its protection, such action alone, even military action, "will not deal with the root cause of extremism".

Debate over Blair's role in the invasion of Iraq will return to centre stage this summer when the long-awaited Chilcot report into the period running up to the war is published. It is expected to contain damning evidence of how President Bush and Blair jointly engaged in a rush to war to topple Saddam Hussein in the face of warnings of the risks of triggering sectarian divisions across the region.

In the article, Blair directly addresses the chaos left in the wake of the invasion when he argues: "All over the region and including in Iraq, where exactly the same sectarianism threatens the right of the people to a democratic future, such a campaign [for tolerance of other religious views] has to be actively engaged. It is one reason why the Middle East matters so much and why any attempt to disengage is so wrong and short-sighted."

Critics of the neoliberal interventions of the last decade – including those in Iraq and Afghanistan – have argued that they rely too much on a political "freedom" agenda, focusing on the toppling of tyrants in the belief that the introduction of democracy would be a panacea.

But some fear that to focus too much on deep-seated religious schisms is to ignore the local complexities of such regional conflicts.

On Saturday, Jonathan Eyal, the international director of the Royal United Services Institute, took issue with Blair's analysis and any implication that western governments were not informed before invading Iraq of the sectarian violence that was likely to be stirred up.

"Predicting when religious differences may descend into outright violence is never easy," he said.

"But it's just fallacious to claim that those who ordered and led the 2003 Iraq war lacked access to the necessary information about the complexities of that country's ethnic and religious divisions, or could have ever assumed that they could complete their intervention without rekindling religious bloodshed."

He added: "It was not the lack of sufficient knowledge about history and religion which led to the Iraqi debacle, but the lack of restraint among politicians who had all the relevant information at their fingertips."

Dinesh D'Souza's 'America' Trailer Released (Video)

 
The conservative behind "2016: Obama's America" is under indictment for campaign finance violations but his next doc will open on schedule on July 4, filmmakers say.

The filmmakers behind Dinesh D'Souza's upcoming doc have vowed to press on while their star defends himself after his indictment on federal charges that he violated campaign finance laws in 2012. On Sunday, they released a trailer for the movie, America, that is set for release on July 4.
America is the follow-up to the surprise hit  2016: Obama's America, which earned $33 million in 2012 and became the second most popular political documentary in history, behind Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, which earned $119 million in 2004.

In America, D'Souza -- who wrote and produced the film -- makes the claim that 1960s radical leftism is more or less indistinguishable from current mainstream liberalism, a doctrine that he says preaches the United States is the product of "stealing and plunder" from Native Americans, Mexicans and African-American slaves.

"I want to take this progressive, leftist critique head on," D'Souza says in the trailer. The movie will include re-creations of some of the major events in American history.

America is directed by John Sullivan and co-produced by Gray Frederickson, who won an Oscar for producing The Godfather Part II, and Gerald Molen, who won an Oscar for Schindler's List. D'Souza and Sullivan co-directed 2016: Obama's America.

D'Souza was arraigned Friday in New York on charges he made illegal contributions to the campaign of Wendy Long, a friend who ran unsuccessfully for Hillary Clinton's U.S. Senate seat in 2012. The crime carries a penalty of up to two years in prison. He's also charged with making false statements to the Federal Election Commission, a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.

D'Souza was released on a $500,000 bond on Friday. He was asked to surrender his passport and agree to certain travel restrictions.

D'Souza's attorney, Benjamin Brafman, says D'Souza "did not act with any corrupt or criminal intent," and Molen says the charge against D'Souza could be an act of political retribution for 2016, a critical look at President Barack Obama, or an effort to stymie his next film, which is due four months before midterm elections.

"When American citizens begin to suspect that people are being arrested for alleged minor violations because of their vocal dissent against their elected representatives or rulers, it breeds disrespect and contempt for the law and suspicion of those officials," Molen told The Hollywood Reporter. "If this unfortunate action against Dinesh is intended to deter the release of his upcoming film, America, that effort will fail."

"America" Trailer from Dinesh D'Souza on Vimeo.
Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com

‘EARTH-SHATTERING’ NEWS RUSH LIMBAUGH SAYS THE MEDIA IGNORED, BUT YOU NEED TO KNOW

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Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh expressed disgust, though not shock, that the mainstream media ignored an “earth-shattering” story out of Wisconsin that “should have caused a political earthquake.”
The state of Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is “rapidly falling” and the government’s budget ended the year with a $912 million surplus, Limbaugh explained. He says the dramatic turnaround is due in large part to the conservative policies of Gov. Scott Walker.
What’s even more amazing, he continued, is the fact that Walker is going to “rebate the money in the form of tax cuts to the people, who he said own the money.” Limbaugh says the news is “earth-shattering” because, in one of the bluest states, Walker was targeted for removal twice but continued to implement conservative policies that he was confident would help his state — and his strategy appears to be working.
“They did everything they could to gin up hate, anger, tried to destroy his reputation, his career, and his life,” he said. “He hung in there. The state of Wisconsin instituted his policy reforms, de-emphasizing the role of unions in the state.”
He’s going to cut income taxes and property taxes, and he made the point that it’s not just a gimmick of budgeting or accounting. It’s the result of serious, significant policy changes,” Limbaugh argued.
“Now, folks, what I just told you was not reported once anywhere in what you would consider mainstream media. It was not reported on one cable network, much less all of them. It was not reported in the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the LA Times,” he added. “It was reported in Wisconsin. There was an AP story on it, maybe some local papers picked it up, but just as a filler.”
“And to me, for us as conservatives, Wisconsin and Governor Walker, I mean, everything that we want to happen, happened there,” the radio host concluded.
Walker is proposing a $504 million property and income tax cut plan as a means to return some of the surplus money to the people of Wisconsin. Some Democrats and Republicans are already criticizing the plan and are calling for changes.
“The budget surplus is really your money,” Walker recently said at a meeting of the Wisconsin Grocers Association. “You earned it.”
However, some lawmakers are concerned that Walker’s tax cut plan would increase the state’s projected budget shortfall from $700 million to $800,000 million. The Republican governor argues the estimates don’t take into account any revenue growth, which he says will cover the difference.
The unemployment rate in Wisconsin dropped to 6.2 percent in December and has been dropping steadily since 2011.
THE BLAZE



Sample of the new graphics for American News Broadcasting

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The world's most ancient Christian communities are being destroyed — and no one cares

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Like many Coptic Christians in Egypt, Ayman Nabil Labib had a tattoo of the cross on his wrist. And like 17-year-old men everywhere, he could be assertive about his identity. But in 2011, after Egypt's revolution, that kind of assertiveness could mean trouble.

Ayman's Arabic-language teacher told him to cover his tattoo in class. Instead of complying, the young man defiantly pulled out the cross that hung around his neck, making it visible. His teacher flew into a rage and began choking him, goading the young man's Muslim classmates by saying, "What are you going to do with him?"
Ayman's classmates then beat him to death. False statements were given to police, and two boyswere taken into custody only after Ayman's terror-stricken family spoke out.
Ayman's suffering is not an isolated case in Egypt or the region.
The Arab Spring, and to a lesser extent the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, were touted as the catalysts for a major historic shift in the region. From Egypt to Syria to Iraq, the Middle East's dictatorships would be succeeded by liberal, democratic regimes. Years later, however, there is very little liberality or democracy to show. Indeed, what these upheavals have bequeathed to history is a baleful, and barely noticed legacy: The near-annihilation of the world's most ancient communities of Christians.
The persecution of Christians throughout the Middle East, as well as the silence with which it has been met in the West, are the subject of journalist Ed West's Kindle Single "The Silence of Our Friends." The booklet is a brisk and chilling litany of horrors: Discriminatory laws, mass graves, unofficial pogroms, and exile. The persecuted are not just Coptic and Nestorian Christians who have relatively few co-communicants in the West, but Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants as well.
Throughout the Middle East the pattern is the same. Christians are murdered in mob violence or by militant groups. Their churches are bombed, their shops destroyed, and their homes looted. Laws are passed making them second-class citizens, and the majority of them eventually leave.
August 26, 2013: Bishop-General Macarius (right), a Coptic Orthodox leader, walks around the damaged Evangelical Church in Minya, south of Cairo. | (REUTERS/Louafi Larbi)
In Egypt, a rumor that a Muslim girl was dating a Christian boy led to the burning of multiple churches, and the imposition of a curfew on a local Christian population. Illiterate children wereheld in police custody for urinating in a trash heap, because an imam claimed that pages quoting the Koran were in the pile and had been desecrated. Again, the persecution resulted in Christian families leaving their homes behind.
In Syria, the situation is even worse. In June 2013, a cluster of Christian villages was totally destroyed. Friar Pierbattista Pizzaballa reported that "of the 4,000 inhabitants of the village of Ghassanieh... no more than 10 people remain."
Two Syrian bishops have been kidnapped by rebel groups. Militants expelled 90 percent of the Christians in the city of Homs. Patriarch Gregorios III of Antioch says that out of a population of 1.75 million, 450,000 Syrian Christians have simply fled their homes in fear.
In Iraq, the story is the same but more dramatic. According to West, between 2004 and 2011 the population of Chaldo-Assyrian Christians fell from over a million to as few as 150,000. In 2006, Isoh Majeed, who advocated the creation of a safe haven for Christians around Nineveh, was murdered in his home. The number of churches in Iraq has declined to just 57, from 300 before the invasion. The decline of Iraq's Christian population since the first Gulf War is roughly 90 percent, with most of the drop occurring since the 2003 invasion.
The U.S. and the U.K. bear some responsibility in this catastrophe, since they oversaw the creation of Iraq's postwar government and did little to protect minority faiths.
West's book touches on the clueless and callous behavior of Western governments in these episodes. U.S. reconstruction aid to Iraq is distributed according to Iraqi laws that discriminate against Christian Iraqis. The U.S. pours billions of foreign aid into Egypt, and yet the Christians in that country are not allowed to build churches (or even so much as repair toilets in them) withoutexplicit permission from the head of state, almost never granted. Last September, the U.S and Britain attempted to make their support of Syrian rebel groups explicit and overt, but at the same time some of these militias were executing a pogrom against Christians.
A Christian shopkeeper in Ma'loula summed it up in a quote to the BBC: "Tell the EU and the Americans that we sent you Saint Paul 2,000 years ago to take you from the darkness, and you sent us terrorists to kill us."
In an email to The Week, Ed West says there are things America and its allies can and should do to aid persecuted Christians:
Western countries should make clear that our friendship, cooperation, aid, and help depends on: 1) Religious freedom, which includes the right to change or leave religions; 2) A secular law that treats all people the same. That was not the case in Mubarak's Egypt, which the U.S. helped to prop up with $500 million a year. That is not the case in Iraq, which under U.S. control instigated sharia into its constitution. That shouldn't be acceptable. In 2022, Qatar will host the World Cup, a country where death for apostasy is still on the statute books. Why aren't we all boycotting it?
The last request does put the plight of Middle Eastern Christians in global context. Western activists and media have focused considerable outrage at Russia's laws against "homosexual propaganda" in the lead-up to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. It would only seem fitting that Westerners would also protest (or at the very least notice) laws that punish people with death for converting to Christianity.
December 25, 2008: Iraqi Christians attend Christmas mass at the Virgin Mary church in Baghdad. | (Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty Images)
And yet the Western world is largely ignorant of or untroubled by programmatic violence against Christians. Ed West, citing the French philosopher Regis Debray, distils the problem thusly: "The victims are 'too Christian' to excite the Left, and 'too foreign' to excite the Right."
Church leaders outside the Middle East are afraid to speak out, partly because they fear precipitating more violence. (Seven churches were fire-bombed in Iraq after Pope Benedict XVI quoted an ancient criticism of Islam in an academic speech in Germany.) Oddly, unlike Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Russia, the U.S. and the U.K. are the only powers acting in the Middle East that do not take any special interest in the safety of those with whom they have a historical religious affinity.
These are the lands in which Jesus' apostles and their disciples made some of the first Christian converts. In an interview, West pointed out that these communities "were Christian when our ancestors were worshipping trees and stones." Now they are in danger of imminent extinction.
In 2013, Raphael I Sako, the Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad, said the following at his installation homily, "Still the shadow of fear, anxiety, and death is hanging over our people." He warned: "If emigration continues, God forbid, there will be no more Christians in the Middle East. It will be no more than a distant memory." West's book is a sobering reminder that Western policy has helped shape this grim fate for Middle Eastern Christians — and Western silence allows it to continue.

Hannity: I'd Consider Running for Office


On Tuesday night, Fox News host Sean Hannity entertained the question of whether he would ever consider running for office – and he refused to shut the door to a possible electoral run.
In his #AskSean segment, one of his viewers, Michele Punzi, wrote, “Will you run for office or do you feel you can accomplish more where you are now?” Hannity answered: “Would you vote for me? The answer is yes, I think about it. I never thought that…I’m leaving New York, as you know as soon as I can.” He said he would run in either Texas or Florida.
Hannity has said he will leave the state of New York thanks to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s comments in which he said that those who were pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-traditional marriage were not welcome in the state.

Rogers: Russia may be behind Snowden leak

By ADAM SNEED 

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee says Edward Snowden likely received help stealing information from the National Security Agency — and that help may have come from Russian intelligence officials.

In a pre-recorded interview for NBC’s “Meet the Press” with David Gregory, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) questioned how the former NSA contractor arranged travel out of the United States before leaking the trove of secret documents and eventually making his way to Russia.

“Let me just say this. I believe there’s a reason he ended up in the hands, the loving arms, of an FSB agent in Moscow,” Rogers said. “I don’t think that’s a coincidence.”

Rogers said several factors of the saga raise questions, that some of the things Snowden did in attaining the information “were beyond his technical capabilities,” according to an early transcript from the show.

In August, Russia granted Snowden one year’s asylum after he spent five weeks in legal limbo in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, a decision that has been an ongoing source of tension with the United States. The Obama administration has called for Snowden’s extradition so he can stand trial.

Announcing NSA reforms this week, Obama said Snowden’s disclosures could impact national security operations “in ways that we may not fully understand for years to come.”

Rogers’ interview will air Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where he makes a joint appearance with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

—Josh Gerstein contributed to this report
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/01/mike-rogers-edward-snowden-russia-102355.html#ixzz2qoPN2sjj

SARAH PALIN'S BROTHER: IRS 'HORRIBLY HARASSED' DAD SIX TIMES SINCE 2008

by TONY LEE

Sarah Palin's brother said that his father, Chuck Heath, Sr., has been "horribly harassed" by the IRS six times since Palin became the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2008. 

Chuck Heath, Jr. wrote on Facebook that his father had never heard from the IRS before 2008. Since then, he said, the IRS has tried to "dig up something on him but he's always operated above board."
"Coincidence? You decide," he wrote.
My father, who worked multiple jobs and faithfully and honestly paid his taxes for fifty years, had never heard a word from the IRS. In 2008, his daughter was tapped to run for vice president of the United States. Since that time, he has been, in his words "horribly harassed" six times by the agency. They've tried to dig up something on him but he's always operated above board.
Government and politics are ugly. Kudos to the few that are trying to clean it up.
Four years ago, the IRS started to target organizations seeking tax-exempt status that also had "Tea Party" or "Patriot" in their names, while approving applications for progressive organizations with names like "Progressive USA" and "Progressive Leadership Alliance." The FBI and Justice Department have indicated that they most likely will not seek criminal charges against anyone involved in the scandal, even though Attorney General Eric Holder has said that those involved in the targeting scandal engaged in actions that were "certainly outrageous and unacceptable... if not criminal." The IRS reportedly also targeted conservative donors
The Obama administration chose an Obama campaign donor to head the targeting investigation.