Paul Ryan Says No to White House Run

Prominent Wisconsin Congressman and 2012 Republican vice presidential contender Paul Ryan has removed himself from contention for his party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee in 2012, told NBC News in an interview Monday that he will not seek the presidency in 2016.

“I have decided that I am not going to run for president in 2016,” Ryan said in a phone interview, noting that he is “at peace” with the decision he made “weeks ago” to forgo a bid for the White House.

“It is amazing the amount of encouragement I have gotten from people – from friends and supporters – but I feel like I am in a position to make a big difference where I am and I want to do that,” he said.

The nine-term congressman believes he can make that “big difference” in his new role as chairman of the influential House Ways and Means Committee rather than as a presidential contender.

Indeed, Ryan now controls the committee that control the purse strings. He’s also in a strong position to run for US Senate in the state that gave us Ron Johnson and has repeatedly backed Scott Walker.

What will be interesting to see is who Ryan backs instead. He has said that he’ll support former running mate Mitt Romney should the former Massachusetts governor run again. But what if hometown governor Walker jumps in? Could be interesting.

White House: We Should Have Sent Higher-Profile Official to Paris

In a rare admission of error, the White House today admitted a higher-ranking official should have been sent to represent the United States at the anti-terrorism march in Paris.

During Monday’s White House press briefing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest conceded, “We should have sent someone higher profile”. The admission came after widespread criticism from both sides of the aisle and the media.

Earnest further said he had no idea if Obama had been invited to the march or if he had watched the event on television. He also had no idea what the president was doing instead yesterday.

More than 40 world leaders, including the leaders of Britain, Israel, Germany, and the European Union, led the march that saw millions of French citizens turn out. No American representative was in attendance. A single representative attended a solidarity rally in Washington, DC.

Update: Earnest just claimed Obama wasn’t involved with the decision on whether or not to send a high-profile, high-ranking US official to Paris. Difficult to believe at best.

Cuba Reportedly Releases 53 Political Prisoners

I see people saying Cuba has released “all 53 political prisoners” but Cuba doesn’t have 53 political prisoners. It has approximately 11 million.

Cuba has released all 53 prisoners it had promised to free, senior U.S. officials said, a major step toward détente with Washington.

The release of the remaining prisoners sets a positive tone for historic talks next week aimed at normalizing relations after decades of hostility, the officials said.

They described the Cuban government’s release over the weekend of the last detainees on the list as a milestone but said they would keep pressing Havana to free more people the United States considers political prisoners.

The officials, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, did not say how many prisoners were released over the weekend or identify them. But the White House will provide the names of all 53 to Congress and expects lawmakers to make them public, the officials added.

Of course, Cuba itself remains an oppressive communist state, so it’s like being released from the jail cell into the prison yard. You’re not free, you just have a little more room in which to slave away.

No one should be surprised that Cuba followed through on the first part of the agreement. The Castro regime has nothing to lose and everything to gain. In exchange for some meaningless gestures of humanity the regime is propped up by a new and much-needed flow of money.

BREAKING: CENTCOM Social Media Accounts Hacked

The Twitter and YouTube accounts of US Central Command were hacked a short time ago, with self-proclaimed cyberjihadists claiming responsibility.

The hackers, claiming to be affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), first tweeted this message, posted to Pastebin:

Pentagon networks hacked

AMERICAN SOLDIERS,
WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK. ISIS. #CyberCaliphate

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, the CyberCaliphate under the auspices of ISIS continues its CyberJihad. While the US and its satellites kill our brothers in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan we broke into your networks and personal devices and know everything about you.
You’ll see no mercy infidels. ISIS is already here, we are in your PCs, in each military base. With Allah’s permission we are in CENTCOM now.
We won’t stop! We know everything about you, your wives and children.
U.S. soldiers! We’re watching you!

Here’s a part of confidential data from your mobile devices:

http://www.4shared.com/zip/2uJtWwfDba/us_army_files.html

http://www.4shared.com/zip/TskSuCl2ba/war_scenarios.html

http://dfiles.eu/files/njgg7yvbx

http://dfiles.eu/files/usybptc71

There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet! There is no law but Sharia!

The information they proceeded to post included the names and personal information of high-ranking military officers, along with military scenarios in China and Korea. None of the information seems particularly secretive, and much of it is publicly available. The focus of “ISIS” on Asian affairs also seems strange.

About a half-hour after the hacking, the CENTCOM Twitter account was suspended.

The incident occurred as President Obama gave a speech on cybersecurity.

Text: Mike Huckabee’s Statement to Supporters

Via email, former Governor Mike Huckabee’s statement to supporters regarding his departure from Fox News Channel:

Dear Friends,

This evening I wanted to share with you some news that is very personal to me. Because you have been such a good friend and a strong supporter of all my efforts, I wanted you to know first that tonight I will do more than just say goodnight on my Fox show. I will say goodbye.

This is the last edition of Huckabee on the Fox News Channel. It has been the ride of a lifetime, and I have never had so much fun in my life. But I also realize that God hasn’t put me on earth just to have a good time or to make a good living, but rather has put me on earth to try to make a good life.

There has been a great deal of speculation as to whether I would run for President. I won’t make a decision about running until late in the spring of 2015, but the continued chatter has put Fox News into a position that is not fair to them. The honorable thing to do at this point is to end my tenure here at Fox so I can openly talk with potential donors and supporters and gauge support. As much as I have loved doing the show, I love my country more, and feel that it may be time for me to leave a zone of comfort to engage in the conflicts that have almost destroyed the bedrock foundations of America. I feel compelled to ascertain if the support exists strongly enough for another Presidential run. So as we say in television, stay tuned!

With the deepest gratitude,

Mike

Belgian Rapist To Be Euthanized. Seriously.

Apparently Europeans are okay with terminating the life of prisoners so long as it’s framed as being compassionate toward the prisoner. Fascinating.

Belgian newspaper De Morgen is reporting Frank Van Den Bleeken, who has spent the past 30 years in jail for repeated rape convictions and a rape murder, will be euthanised in prison in the north-western city of Bruges. “Euthanasia will indeed be implemented,” a justice ministry spokeswoman told the Flemish-language newspaper, which gave the date as 11 January .

“Now the time has come,” the spokeswoman added. Mr Van Den Bleeken had for years requested that the state help him end his life due to what his lawyer Jos Vander Velpen called “unbearable” psychological suffering. He received the all-clear to be allowed do so last September.

Aww, poor baby was suffering psychologically from being imprisoned for his rapes and murder.

BREAKING: Huckabee to Explore Presidential Run, End Fox News Show

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who already ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, will end his Fox News cable show and explore a run for president in 2016. Fox News confirms that this evening’s broadcast will be Huckabee’s last.

More soon.

Update: Huckabee will announce his decision in spring. I know you’re all waiting with baited breath.

HarperCollins: Hey, sorry for not putting Israel on our maps

Their branch in Europe, a continent known for its less-than-enthusiastic response to Israel’s existence, apparently forgot to include the Jewish state on maps of the Middle East. Oops.

HarperCollins regrets the omission of the name Israel from their Collins Middle East Atlas. This product has now been removed from sale in all territories and all remaining stock will be pulped. HarperCollins sincerely apologises for this omission and for any offence caused.

Yeah, I’d love to hear how the publisher accidentally forgot to include on its maps a major country, a player in a globally-involved dispute. And the country just happens to be the one that antisemites, Islamists, extremists on both sides of the spectrum, and many “hip” “intellectuals” refuse to acknowledge has a right to exist.

New York’s Democratic Governor Torpedoes Pro-Teacher Union Bill

Long story short: The New York teachers’ union wanted teachers exempted from terminations over terrible, terrible performance as determined by testing. New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said no.

“The governor reneged on an agreement,” the union said in a statement. “With this veto, the governor has decided that teachers are the only ones who should be held accountable for the state’s failed implementation of the Common Core. We can’t understand why he is refusing to sign his own bill.”

The union’s protest Wednesday will take place as Cuomo holds his annual New Year’s reception at the Executive Mansion, where members of the public can meet him and members of his family in a receiving line.

This governor has to decide whether he’s going to support the goals of students, parents and teachers or those of billionaires who want to destroy public education in order to privatize it and profit from it,” the union said.

That last part is so delusional it has to be deliberately false.

Unnamed, bogeyman billionaires who allegedly seek to profit from education haven’t destroyed America’s educational system. Terrible teachers and administrators, backed by cash-rich union bosses donating to powerful Democrats, have done that. And meanwhile actually good teachers watch their colleagues waste kids’ futures, while those who could replace the bad teachers are kept away.

Former Democratic Governor’s Firm Ordered to Pay $1.2 Billion Restitution

The collapsed financial firm of former Democratic Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey has been ordered to pay $1.2 billion in restitution.

MF Global — the brokerage firm that collapsed when Corzine was its chief executive — has to pay $1.2 billion in restitution and a $100 million civil fine after it was found to have improperly used customers’ money to prop up its faltering trading operations.

A Manhattan federal judge approved the settlement with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Wednesday.

The CFTC, which was MF Global’s main regulator, is still pursuing a case against Corzine and the company’s former assistant treasurer, Edith O’Brien. The former execs could face fines as well as a ban from trading commodities.

Corzine, who previously chaired Goldman Sachs, ran the broker giant until October 2011, when the firm collapsed following a panic over its massive risk on European government bonds. The firm then decided to use customer funds to cover its own funding shortfalls.