A Taliban commander close to the negotiations over the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl told TIME Thursday that the deal made to secure Bergdahl’s release has made it more appealing for fighters to capture American soldiers and other high-value targets.
“It’s better to kidnap one person like Bergdahl than kidnapping hundreds of useless people,” the commander said, speaking by telephone on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. “It has encouraged our people. Now everybody will work hard to capture such an important bird.”
The commander has been known to TIME for several years and has consistently supplied reliable information about Bergdahl’s captivity.
The U.S. agreed on May 31 to exchange five Taliban commanders from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for Bergdahl, America’s only living prisoner of war. Following the deal, the outpouring of relief by those who had long lobbied to “Bring Bowe Home” was soon eclipsed by accusations and recriminations as Republican lawmakers accused the administration of making a dangerous precedent.
The Colorado Civil Rights Division is telling a Lakewood, Colorado, baker he must violate his faith and create “wedding” cakes for same-sex duos, even though the state doesn’t recognize such unions.
The ruling came Friday from the state agency board in a dispute between Jack Phillips, a Christian baker who runs Masterpiece bakery, and two homosexuals for whom he declined to create a cake in 2012.
Colorado’s constitution doesn’t recognize “same-sex marriage,” and attorneys representing Phillips said the decision is a step too far.
“The government … seek[s] to impose a new belief system upon Jack [Phillips], one that is fundamentally at odds with his conscience and his liberty,” explained a legal filing from attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom representing Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakes in Lakewood.
Two homosexuals filed the complaint after Phillips declined to provide them with a “wedding” cake. Phillips offered to provide other products but, citing his own Christian beliefs, declined to produce a message on a wedding cake that conflicted with his faith.
Administrative Law Judge Robert Spencer, however, earlier ordered Phillips, on pain of fines or even jail time, to violate his faith and provide the wedding cake to homosexuals Charlie Craig and David Mullins.
ADF appealed the “erroneous” ruling, filing a petition for review to the commission.
But the commission on Friday upheld the administrative judge’s opinion, rejecting ADF contentions that Spencer, under the state’s court rules of procedure, should have dismissed the complaint.
The notice argues Phillips “did not discriminate ‘because of’ sexual orientation” but acted “in accordance with the provisions of the Colorado Constitution, state law and the public policy of the state.”
Phillips’ “conduct and expressions in declining to design and create a wedding cake are protected by the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and by Article II, Section 10 of the Colorado Constitution,” ADF stated.
Read more here.
It’s been two days since MSNBC host Toure Neblett made a shockingly racist and anti-Semitic comment to a person claiming to be a descendent of Holocaust survivors.
“The power of Whiteness” is what Neblett callously told a poster Friday evening on Twitter (screen name @hope_and_chains) who responded to Neblett’s praise for an article on so-called “white privilege” by saying, “My family survived a concentration camp, came to the US w/ nothing, LEGALLY, and made it work. #SORRYFORBEINGWHITETHOUGHYOUGUYS”
Neblett, who has maintained Twitter silence since Friday night, has been blasted on Twitter since then, most notably by @redsteeze who Tweeted Holocaust imagery with caustic comments on “Holocaust privilege” such as sarcastically calling concentration camps “gated communities.”
With the exception of Mediaite, the media has totally ignored this latest racist blast by a MSNBC host. An online search Sunday afternoon revealed no coverage of Neblett’s Holocaust slur.
Oliver Willis of the media watchdog group (LOL) Media Matters for America posted his agreement with Neblett’s racist, anti-Semitic comment on Saturday. Willis, like Neblett, is Black:
“guess there are some out there who dont like to think that a holocaust survivor had a leg up over a black/brown person due to skin color”
Neblett is promoted as an “inspirational speaker” at Keppler Speakers. One of his presentations is laughably described as:
“How Racism Functions Today and Ways to Deal with it to Get Success
“Modern racism is far more fluid and subtle than the racism of our parents and grandparents. We often encounter moments where we feel we have received racist treatment but if we tried to explain it to others they would not understand. So what do we do? In this speech, Touré outlines several concrete things we can do to combat racism, based on his interviews with psychologists and sociologists. He explains that racism is not truly a comment on you or your ability, but on the person who is being racist.”
While the media may be giving Neblett a pass for now, one wonders how long MSNBC and Keppler Speakers will wish to be associated with an “inspirational” Black Nazi?
The attorney for “Hunger Games” assistant director Peter Rodger confirmed Saturday afternoon that the family believes their son was responsible for a shooting rampage near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus Friday night which left seven dead.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown had said earlier Elliot Rodger, 22, “appears to be” the lone man behind the rampage, according to KTVU-TV. A law enforcement source also confirmed to CBS News that the 22-year-old was the suspect.
Police said a gunman driving a BMW near the university campus went on a rampage that left seven people dead, including the shooter. Authorities described the tragedy as “obviously the work of a mad man.”
Seven people remain hospitalized with gunshot wounds or other injuries.
Read more here.