UK Cabinet Reshuffle Rumours: Who is Daring to Dream of High Office?

In the days before the last cabinet reshuffle, there were a number Conservative Party MPs absolutely convinced that they were in line for a promotion. 

“Have you heard anything?” one texted me hopefully, chancing that someone in his phonebook would be able to confirm he had got the call up. Yet on reshuffle day, as the aspiring ministers watched their colleagues on television going into Downing Street for their chat with the Prime Minister, the phone never rang. Despite being so utterly sure that they were about to be put on the government payroll, each and every one of them had been overlooked.

How had they been so wrong? Which ill-informed journalist had provided them with duff information? Actually, it was the Tory whips. 

In the weeks prior to that day of disappointment, while David Cameron was working out who to promote, Tory MPs were told to attend a one-on-one meeting with a whip. At the meeting, they were told that they should expect to be offered a job, that they were upmost in the Prime Minister’s thinking, that they should go back to the backbenches and prepare for high office. 

So, eagerly anticipating their almost-promised promotion, the MPs behaved impeccably over the next few weeks. The Prime Minister was the greatest leader this country had ever had. The Chancellor is working miracles with the economy. “Have I told you about our long term economic plan?”

As one told me afterwards, they had been conned. Sensing the opportunity to use the hubris of hopeful backbenchers to instil some discipline, Downing Street dangled just enough under their noses to buy their good behaviour. It was a tactic that worked in the short term, but left the victims more than a bit miffed.

So, this time round, who is daring to dream?

Michael Gove has been fascinating to watch in recent weeks. First embroiling himself in an almighty row with Theresa May, then this week observing his former special adviser publicly attack the Prime Minister.

There is speculation about his restlessness. Surely the only job Gove, who outside of his education brief is also a published expert on Islamic extremism, would consider is Foreign Secretary. There was a suggestion earlier in the year that William Hague was coming to the end of his Westminster career and could make way for a long-term replacement before the election. Gove would be the chief candidate. Still, a change in such key government roles is unlikely with just eleven months until polling day.

A few months ago, Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps was the favourite for the chop. The Huffington Post‘s Mehdi Hasan claimed to have exclusively revealed that Shapps would be sacked. However, the Tories’ impressive ground operation in Newark, in which Shapps was instrumental, and the party’s resounding victory in that by-election means surely he will keep his job. Again, a change in this position would be a surprise.

Ken Clarke, minister without portfolio, may not be so safe. More than once this year Clarke invoked the wrath of Downing Street, going on television and the radio without the party’s permission and failing to keep to the party line. Cameron may well have decided he has had enough. A year out from the election might be a good time to promote a younger face to a senior role.

Another minister with a made up job title, Baroness Warsi, has been less than a team player in recent months. She has criticised the PM over his failure to promote enough women to the Cabinet and for the number of Old Etonians in senior government positions, also appearing less than enthusiastic at his robust response to the Trojan horse schools scandal. Getting rid of the Baroness would be a popular move among many in the party, though losing one of his only female and Asian faces may prove too much of a disincentive for Cameron to pull the trigger.

This all means a host of junior promotions are more likely than any major change around at the top. Cameron reportedly wants a woman in every government department, and indeed the names being pushed hardest for promotion are Liz Truss at the Department for Education and Esther McVey at the Department for Work and Pensions. Best bet for a non-female promotion is Matt Hancock, a trusted lieutenant of George Osborne is coming across as increasingly likeable.

The outsider being touted among Tory MPs over the last week is Priti Patel. From a cynical perspective Patel ticks plenty of boxes, but she also has a huge amount to offer in her own right as one of the most talented, hard-working, sound backbenchers around. It would also bring a rebel in from the cold. Sensible and a right-winger with a huge amount of potential, Patel could well be the one to watch.




Source: Breitbart Feed

Palestinians Celebrate Hamas Kidnappings of Three Israeli Children

Palestinians have taken to the streets of Gaza City to celebrate the Hamas kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers on Thursday night south of Jerusalem. The abductions have galvanized Israelis as few events have in recent years, resulting in unprecedented manhunts throughout the West Bank in search of the missing high school boys.

As Israelis recoiled in horror at news of the abductions of three teenage boys by terrorists, Palestinians responded with celebration and joy, passing out candies and sweets and taking to the Internet to wallpaper Palestinian social media sites with celebratory messages and poses of solidarity with the kidnappers.

A Facebook campaign to support the terrorists for the kidnapping launched within hours of the abductions. Almost immediately, a trend among Palestinian Facebook users took hold to replace their profile pictures with poses of three fingers representing the three kidnapped Israeli youths. Slogans like “Hebron_Uprising” spread rapidly.

It wasn’t just Palestinian users of social media who have supported the kidnappings. Women and children took to the streets of Gaza City in several celebratory demonstrations, congratulating the kidnappers and urging more such acts.

Palestinians in Judea and Samaria were urged by leaders of terrorist groups to impede Israeli efforts to find their missing boys. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad both issued official statements calling upon Palestinians to kidnap more Israeli children so as to hold them hostage for ransoms of cash or convicted Palestinian terrorists now in Israeli jails.

The kidnappings initiated a massive IDF manhunt to find not just the boys but the terrorists who kidnapped them. As of Sunday night, Israeli forces reported having arrested at least 150 Palestinian suspects thought connected to the kidnappings. Forty suspects, including several unnamed Hamas operatives, were arrested late Sunday.




Source: Breitbart Feed

Council on American-Islamic Relations Seeks to Undermine the Land of the Free

The fact pattern and references to anti-Islamic “hate speech” sound depressingly similar to so many other cases abroad. Yet this incident occurred courtesy of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) Chicago chapter, showing how precious and precarious American free speech rights are. 

A Chicago suburb chapter of ACT! For America, an anti-sharia group, screened on May 17 the film Geert Wilders Warning to America at the Des Plaines Public Library (DPPL) after having met there since fall 2013. In the film, the Dutch politician Wilders addresses an American audience with his well-known thesis that “Islam is not a religion, Islam is a totalitarian ideology.” Amidst interspersed images of Islamic atrocities worldwide, Wilders, among other things, demands an end to construction in Western societies of mosques and Muslim schools, the latter termed by him a “fascist institution.”

Library parking lot flyers advertising the film drew opposition from CAIR-Chicago and the Islamic Community Center (ICC) of Des Plaines against the film screening. The library, a “safe haven for knowledge, education, and enlightenment… is now being tarnished,” CAIR-Chicago executive director Ahmed Rehab stated. Rehab worried about perceptions of the library endorsing the event. ICC board president Fazal Mahmood also questioned the appropriateness of a publicly-funded library as the film’s venue.

“I’m just practicing common sense not to let hate spark in our community,” Rehab said. Rehab “believed there should be limits on freedom of speech when it harms or incites someone else,” yet nonetheless conceded ACT!’s speech rights. “I understand and respect freedom of speech, but where do you stop?” Mahmood also said. 

Media reports also persistently noted ACT! for America’s “hate group” listing by the Southern Poverty Law Center without, however, mentioning SPLC’s leftist partisanship. Also unmentioned were CAIR’s deeply disturbing, numerous associations with precisely the kind of people against whom Wilders warned, including CAIR’s status as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case over financing of terrorism. Rehab himself has had such connections while asserting “Jewish control over the media” and that the “history of the Jewish film producers in particular have shown that they predate on weak minorities by default.”

“Personally, leadership at DPPL finds the materials being shared by ACT! for Des Plaines reprehensible, bigoted and Islamaphobic and we in no way agree with the hateful sentiments they express,” Library Director Holly Sorensen said in a statement. However, Sorenson noted that American free speech law obligated the library as a public forum to host the screening. “It is our hope the controversy this event generates will expose the areas within our community where bigotry and racism exist and we fully support our Islamic community’s efforts to peacefully fight this prejudice.”

ACT! for Des Plaines founder Sara Schmidt denied hating Muslims but rather radicals “who want to destroy our way of life, who want to take over our country… and make us all Islam” are what concern Schmidt. “They don’t have the right to do that and they have devious ways to do that.” Schmidt cited a recent lawsuit by the American Islamic Center against the Des Plaines City Council after truck traffic zoning and safety issues prompted denial of a building permit for a community center.

In the end, the screening passed without event, although ICC members there to present questions and protest actually constituted the majority of the audience. Schmidt invited the gathered Muslims to collaborate against “Islamic extremists” and then showed the Wilders film. Most of the audience dissipated before a second showing.

“Americans enjoy more freedom than Europeans,” Wilders stated during a May 12, 2011, address in Nashville, Tennessee; “you cannot imagine how we envy your First Amendment.” While Europeans and Canadians “are dragged to court for telling the truth about Islam,” Americans “are still allowed to tell the truth.” “The day when America follows the example of Europe and Canada and introduces so-called ‘hate speech crimes’… America will have lost its freedom.”

The Des Plaines nonevent confirms Wilders. Accusations of “hate” and “Islamophobia,” including a partisan position from a public official theoretically committed to impartiality, did not stop a public gathering. Wilders appeared on screen in Des Plaines while opposing Muslim and non-Muslim views received an open airing without any legal repercussions. 

Wilders’ Nashville warning, though, shows how easily sentiments against “hate” can harden into laws dictating speech crime and punishment. America’s legal walls protecting free speech create what has been called the world’s “last bastion” of free speech concerning Islam. Yet often self-proclaimed minders of public morality like CAIR in Des Plaines and elsewhere remain ever ready to undermine and outflank these protections in America’s land of the free. Such subversion would simultaneously weaken freedom and the ability to discuss threats to it. “We have to be able to speak up or we’ve lost it,” Schmidt rightfully observed.

This article was sponsored by the Legal Project, an activity of the Middle East Forum.




Source: Breitbart Feed

Michelle Obama: I Couldn’t Feed My Kids Right–Even with a Harvard Degree

In an interview with MSN.com, First Lady Michelle Obama explained she used to struggle to feed her kids right—even though she received an education from Harvard and Princeton.

“Before coming to the White House, I struggled, as a working parent with a traveling, busy husband, to figure out how to feed my kids healthy, and I didn’t get it right,” she explained, sharing a story about her children’s doctor who pulled her aside to talk about her family diet.

“I thought to myself, if a Princeton and Harvard-educated professional woman doesn’t know how to adequately feed her kids, then what are other parents going through who don’t have access to the information I have?” she recalled.

Her personal struggle helped her launch her mission to address childhood obesity, she explains, especially passing a law requiring schools to provide healthier meals for kids.

The First Lady recommended that schools make decisions for children because their parents struggle to feed their children well. 

“It’s so important for our schools to make the hard calls for our kids, because parents are struggling enough at home,” she said, pointing out that schools would simply feed children sweet cereal, chocolate milk, donuts, burgers, and fries.

Obama added that parents and school administrators needed to stop worrying about what their kids want to eat and encourage them to act like adults.

“It is our job as adults to make sure that our kids eat what they need, not what they want,” she said. “I struggle with that in my own life, and I tell you, if I let my kids dictate what we have for dinner every day, it would be French fries, chips, and candy, but we don’t run our households like that, and we can’t run our schools like that.”

Instead of rolling back the national school mandates, the First Lady explained that schools just needed more help making healthy food taste better.

“What we need to do is lend a hand to the schools that are struggling, not roll back the standards and say, ‘Oh, well. The kids don’t like it so let them eat cake,'” she insisted. “We can’t afford to do that.”




Source: Breitbart Feed

Op-Ed: Rules for Successful Conservative Activists

Coming off TEA party wins in the 2012 and 2014 Texas primary elections and last week’s conservative grassroots success in killing “The Texas Amnesty Solution” at the state GOP convention, a moment of reflection is in order. We spend quite a bit of time talking about why TEA party activists do what they do, but we neglect to revisit what we learned in battle simply because we’re quickly off to the next one.

In twenty-two years of this thing called conservative activism, I’ve learned a thing or three – sometimes the hard way. Inquiring minds frequently ask how to do it right. Because I believe in steering fellow activists away from landmines, here are my Top 10 Undeniable Rules for Successful Conservative Activists:

  • “They” will not like you. Get over it. If name-calling and confrontation make you want to throw up or cry, don’t sign up for the front lines. If your heart beats faster when a politician walks into the room, and faster still when they know your name, and if you live to be loved and approved of by politicians, you are a political groupie. Get. Out. Now.
  • You must earn the right to lead. Self-anointment and self-appointment don’t make you fit to lead anybody. Recommended reading – a short, but powerful blueprint for servant leadership – John Maxwell’s “The Right to Lead: A Study in Character and Courage.” 
  • Stay out of sandbox fights. If Activist A has a personal beef with Activist B, let them duke it out. Do not get pulled into personal skirmishes. Do not share, forward, or air dirty laundry and personal beefs via social media. It makes you look small, petty, and like you never left grade school.
  • Be a team player when the team has the right goal, but do not lose your own identity and credibility to go along with the crowd. Truth never depends on consensus. If 100 people do something foolish, it’s still foolish.
  • Participate in conservative coalitions, but remember your focus must always stay tight on the fight to save Texas and our country from Big Government corruption and to advance the cause of liberty. Remaining unwaveringly true to that mission means you must always be willing to be the skunk at the party, the hard-liner at the compromise table, and the toughest person in the room. Be ever aware of snares that lurk in privilege, special recognition, and being accepted into certain coalitions. If you can stay true to the mission while working in a coalition, do it.  After all, you are in the persuasion business.
  • Do not bear false witness against a neighbor, candidate, or officeholder. Do not spread rumors, which are unsubstantiated claims. If there’s not enough evidence to prove the case in court, then it’s hearsay. Discard it. Big Government candidates and officeholders have plenty on the public record to oppose. Don’t exaggerate or tell half-truths. To do so is to lie, which will destroy your credibility.
  • Work hard to persuade those you can, but don’t waste any more time on the perennial ostriches with their heads stuck in the sand. They like it that way because it’s safe or popular. Shake the dust off your feet and move on.
  • Strive to do what is right, at the right time, for the right reason. Wisdom dictates that you don’t always speak just because you can. Too much speaking for the sake of doing so will blend you into the wallpaper and reduce you to background noise.  Be judicious in strategic planning and execution. 
  • Fire only when ready. Follow Davey Crockett’s advice: “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead.” Never pretend to be an authority on something you know just enough about to be dangerous. For meetings with public officials, speaking engagements, and media interviews, be prepared. Do your homework and know your topic before you open your mouth. Knowing your topic includes some listening.
  • Never forget to say “thank you” to the folks who have your back – the team. Successful activism happens when a group of very committed, principled people with varying gifts and talents work together on a wise course to achieve a goal. Some are made to be on the frontlines. Others are best suited for behind-the-scenes work, logistics, strategy, and resource gathering. Frankly, some of the most valuable people in the world to me are those who say, “I’m praying for you” and really mean it. 

Speaking of saying thanks, it was recently Father’s Day weekend. So, Daddy, thanks for being a stable, dependable, loving father who taught us the value of hard work. Thanks for teaching us to see our Creator in His handiworks of nature and for teaching us there is much to learn from history. Thanks for your wise advice. I can still hear you say, “Whatever you do, be an original. Never be a copy.” 

This column’s for you, Daddy, with love.

JoAnn Fleming is the Executive Director of Grassroots America – We the People, and a two-term Chairman, Advisory Committee to the TEA Party Caucus of the TX Legislature.




Source: Breitbart Feed