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Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Teens criticized for giving students freedom over whether to say Pledge of Allegiance

Students at South Portland High School create proposals for new ways to recite the Pledge of Allegiance Pot Use Now Legal in Washington, DC A few teen girls at South Portland High School in Maine are facing harsh criticism for giving their fellow students the option to abstain from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Senior Class President Lily SanGiovanni started adding the words "if you'd like to" when asking her peers to join her in promising their loyalty to the nation, according to local media.
SanGiovanni, Senior Class Vice President Morrigan Turner, and their friend Gaby Ferrell say they started to think seriously about the topic after some teachers made students feel uncomfortable for not conforming, the Bangor Daily News reported.
They discovered that state law requires schools to allow every student to have the opportunity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance but “may not require a student to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.”
"We are not doing this because we hate America or anything. We are really doing this because we understand there are people who choose to say the pledge and it means a lot to them and for others it doesn't," SanGiovanni told WCSH.
The young women want people to be free to think about what the pledge means to them and decide for themselves whether they want to participate. 
Not everyone agrees.
Critics reportedly derided the girls on social media and sent emails to the school questioning the phrase’s inclusion in the morning announcements.
"There were some people saying we should go to Syria or Russia or Afghanistan and that will change us. It’s really hard to hear that coming from your community," Turner told the local paper.
Principal Ryan Caron told the NBC affiliate that he asked SanGiovanni to stop saying, "if you'd like to," because of school procedure, not outside pressure.
The girls, he said, would need to present their plan to say those words before the school board for approval.
"The fact that I was asked to take away the 'If you would like to,'" SanGiovanni said, "I felt like they were asking me to take away the law."
The shear audacity! 
How dare those kids obey the law!

FCC adopts net neutrality rules to ban Internet discrimination

by Aaron Pressman
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler greets commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel at the FCC Net Neutrality hearing in Washington
Federal regulators moved forward on Thursday with a net neutrality plan to protect openness on the Internet by treating the online world more like heavily regulated telecommunications markets.
New rules from the Federal Communications Commission adopted on a 3-2 vote will prohibit Internet service providers like Comcast (CMCSA) and Verizon Communications (VZ) from discriminating against any web site or online service. That means sites like Netflix (NFLX) or Google’s (GOOGL) YouTube won’t have to pay extra fees or face sluggish connections with their users. And new sites and services will be able to reach everyone on the Internet on the same terms as the big players.
Courts have struck down earlier net neutrality efforts, saying the FCC lacked authority to impose such rules. So this time around, the FCC chose to categorize high-speed Internet service as a telecommunications service. Consumers have long been guaranteed the right to call any phone they number they desire and phone companies have to treat all calls equally.
The agency heard from Chad Dickerson, CEO of the crafts sales web site Etsy, before the vote.
“Without strong rules to prevent discrimination online, the innovation economy would suffer,” Dickerson said. “We charge only 20 cents to list an item on Etsy, and take only 3.5% of every transaction. We couldn't afford to pay for priority access to consumers, yet we know delays of milliseconds have a direct and long term impact on revenue.”
Cable and telecom companies say congestion is due to the Internet companies sending more data. Higher fees are needed to cover the cost of building more capacity, they say.
Many companies that do business online had feared that Internet service providers would be able to squeeze them for increasingly higher fees to reach consumers. Netflix last year agreed to pay Comcast for faster access after its subscribers experienced slow downs. The problem arises because consumers can’t easily switch Internet service providers – most have only one choice – if they become dissatisfied. The new rules, which will apply to both wired and wireless Internet connections, include several major restrictions on Internet service providers. They may not slow down or block access to legal content, applications or services. They also may not create "fast lanes," speeding up some traffic in return for additional fees.
"We are here to ensure that there is only one Internet, where applications, new products, ideas and points of view have an equal chance of being seen and heard," Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said. "We are here because we want to enable those with deep pockets as well as those with empty pockets the same opportunities to succeed."
The FCC would not regulate the price of Internet services under the new rules and would not impose any new taxes or government-mandated fees. Nonetheless, opponents said they feared price regulations and new taxes would come eventually, further discouraging investment.
Two Republican commissioners, along with cable and telephone companies, blasted the new rules, warning that they might curb their investment in expanding Internet service and lead to higher prices for consumers. Internet service shouldn’t be regulated under 1930s era telephone rules, they argued.
"The Internet has become a powerful force for freedom, here and around the world," Ajit Pai, one of the two dissenters, said. "So it is sad to witness this morning the FCC’s unprecedented attempts to replace that freedom with government control. It shouldn't be this way."
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler had been pursuing a more modest net neutrality plan last year until President Obama came out in favor of the broader, telephone-based approach. Millions of consumers buffeted the FCC with comments in favor of strong net neutrality rules after comedian John Oliver offered a lengthy rant explaining the issue on his HBO television show

The Real Pipeline

The ‘trust and confidence of our friends’

by Steve Benen
In this handout provided by The White House, U.S. President Barack Obama hosts a working dinner in Laurel Cabin, seated clockwise from the president are: Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of Russia,...
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s (R) big foreign policy speech didn’t go quite as well as he’d hoped last week, but his campaign team has nevertheless packaged excerpts from the event into a new 30-second ad. There’s nothing especially remarkable about the commercial, though it included a claim that stood out for me.
“Everywhere you look, you see the world slipping out of control,” Bush begins. “We have lost the trust and confidence of our friends. We definitely know no longer inspire fear in our enemies.”
This comes on the heels of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) having a chat last week with Donald Trump about and “how poorly” the United States is “perceived throughout the world.”
And just last year, it was Mitt Romney who argued, “It is hard to name even a single country that has more respect and admiration for America today than when President Obama took office.”
It seems to be one of those myths that’s simply accepted as fact: the United States enjoyed global respect and admiration, right up until that rascally Obama took office and ruined everything. Now, as Jeb Bush put it, we’ve “lost the trust and confidence of our friends.”
If this were in any way true, the president’s critics might have a point, but the evidence points in the exact opposite direction.
As long time readers may recall, Harry Enten took a closer look at the data a while back and found the entire argument doesn’t stand up well to scrutiny.
In 2012, Gallup asked whether people “approve or disapprove of America’s leadership” in 130 countries. It had asked the same question in 2008 in most of those same countries.
In 2012, the percentage of people approving of America’s leadership was up 7 percentage points in the median country since 2008. It was up 6 points in the Americas, 6 points in Asia and 18 points in Europe. It was down 3 points in Africa. More people approved than disapproved in every region.
Pew has conducted international polling asking whether people had a “favorable or unfavorable view of the United States” in every year since 2002. Pew has surveyed countries as diverse as Argentina and Uganda, but it has polled a different set of nations each year. The best years to look at are probably 2007 and 2013, when Pew polled more countries than usual.
From 2007 to 2013, Pew found that views of the United States improved in 22 countries. Eight nations’ favorable ratings increased by at least 20 percentage points; only four saw a decline. The median country’s views of the U.S. went up by 9 points.
What’s more, respect for the United States’ foreign policy also got a major boost when Obama overhauled our policy towards Cuba.
There’s just one other related angle to keep in mind. If Jeb Bush is genuinely concerned with whether, and to what degree, the U.S. is respected and admired around the world, he’s apparently angry with the wrong president.
Looking over the data from the Pew Research Global Attitudes Project, the actual drop in our national stature came under Bush/Cheney, when much of the world repelled from the Republican administration’s policies on war, torture, and global cooperation

Obama Shreds Republicans And Promises To Veto Bill Overturning Immigration Executive Action

Obama msnbc immigration town hall
President Obama delivered an impressive performance at the immigration town hall at FIU. The president shredded Republicans for opposing immigration reform while promising to veto any bill that overturns his immigration executive actions.
The president made it clear that House Republicans are responsible for blocking immigration reform and promised to veto Mitch McConnell’s Senate bill to overturn his immigration executive actions.
The president said:
And for over six years, now, I’ve been calling on the Republicans to work with us to pass a comprehensive fix that would strengthen our borders, that would make sure that businesses have the workforce that they needed, aboveboard, not paying them under the table, not depriving them of things like overtime or workers’ rights, and that we provided a pathway for people to earn their way into a legal status and ultimately citizenship.

And to their credit, members of the Senate passed a bipartisan bill, overwhelmingly. But the House Republicans blocked it. They refused to even allow it to get on the floor for a vote. What I did, then, was to say I’m going to use all of the authority that I have as the chief executive of the United States, as well as Commander-in-Chief, to try to make sure that we are prioritizing our immigration system a lot smarter than we’ve been doing. And what that means is, is that instead of focusing on families, we’re going to focus on felons. We’re going to strengthen our borders, which is what people are concerned about.


So in the short term, if Mr. McConnell, the leader of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, want to have a vote on whether what I’m doing is legal or not, they can have that vote. I will veto that vote, because I’m absolutely confident that what we’re doing is the right thing to do. And in the meantime, we’re going to continue to pursue all legal avenues to make sure that we have a country in which we are respecting not only the law, because we’re a nation of laws, but we’re also respecting the fact that we’re a nation of immigrants.
Obama repeatedly reminded viewers that House Republicans had a chance to pass immigration reform, but they refused to do it. If Republicans had passed the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, the president’s executive actions would not have never happened.
The idea that Republicans would support immigration reform, but now won’t because of the president’s executive actions is completely absurd. The one lesson from the immigration town hall is that Democrats have a giant advantage with Latino voters because of their position on immigration. The president is pressing his advantage as Republicans can’t stop digging themselves deeper into the hole that they have created by refusing to support comprehensive immigration reform.

Jon Stewart Buries Fox ‘News’ With Their Own Lies In Six Seconds

Image via Screenshot. Jon Stewart didn’t just take a shovel to Fox “News,” he completely buried them. During the Wednesday night edition of the Daily Show,...

Florida Republicans Spend Nearly $1 Million On Obamacare Alternative And Nobody Signs Up

Florida Republicans Spend Nearly $1 Million On Obamacare Alternative And Nobody Signs Up
Florida’s conservative-based Obamacare alternative: coupons for eyeglasses and discounted dentist visits. Seriously.

Ann Coulter: Undocumented Immigrants More Dangerous Than ISIL

From the "What did that idiot just say?" Department:
Ann Coulter writes today that while politicians are debating ways to defeat ISIL terrorists, they really should be focusing on the “illegal aliens [who] have killed, raped and maimed thousands of Americans — in America.”  MORE

Fox News Edits Video To Make Look Like Obama Is Illegally Enforcing Immigration Action

Fox News hit a new low today by selectively editing video of President Obama’s immigration town hall to make it look like the president is illegally enforcing his immigration executive actions.
Edited Fox News video of Obama’s remarks:
Fox News played a clip of the president saying at the immigration town hall last night, “The bottom line is, is that, if somebody’s working for ICE and there’s a policy and they don’t follow the policy, there’re going to be consequences to it.” Fox’s Heather Nauert added, “Really? Well, President Obama likened it to military personnel being expected to follow their orders. There’s just one problem though with this comparison. A federal judge has issued a ruling halting the executive immigration order in its tracks.”
Fox News edited the clip and added their own commentary at the end to create the appearance that that the president was illegally forcing ICE officers to carry out his immigration executive actions.
Here is the full transcript of the president’s comments:
THE PRESIDENT: The bottom line is, José, that I’m using all of the legal power vested in me in order to solve this problem. And one of the things about living in a democracy is that we have separation of powers — we have Congress, we have the judicial branch — and right now, we’ve got some disagreements with some members of Congress and some members of the judiciary in terms of what should be done.

But what I’m confident about is, ultimately, this is going to get done. And the reason it’s going to get done is it’s the right thing to do and it is who we are as a people. (Applause.)

MR. DIAZ-BALART: But what are the consequences? Because how do you ensure that ICE agents or Border Patrol won’t be deporting people like this? I mean, what are the consequences?

THE PRESIDENT: José, look, the bottom line is, is that if somebody is working for ICE and there is a policy and they don’t follow the policy, there are going to be consequences to it. So I can’t speak to a specific problem. What I can talk about is what’s true in the government, generally.

In the U.S. military, when you get an order, you’re expected to follow it. It doesn’t mean that everybody follows the order. If they don’t, they’ve got a problem. And the same is going to be true with respect to the policies that we’re putting forward.
Notice that the president didn’t say is true. He put his comments in the future tense of going to be true. This means that Obama isn’t currently implementing his immigration actions.
The president was talking about his very legal power to prioritize deportations, not the program where people can sign up. Fox News created the false impression that the president was carrying out his immigration actions, and punishing ICE officers who didn’t follow his orders.
Facts are always optional at Fox News, but their latest edit of the president was designed to create the false impression that Obama is a lawless president. The tactic of deceptive editing is a technique that Fox uses to keep their audience misinformed.
These kinds of stunts are why Fox News is not a news network.

Fox News: Obama Is ‘Pontius Pilate,’ Allowing A ‘Holocaust Against Christians’

by Frank Minero
Bottom feeders at the Fox “News” network have been running with a false narrative about Obama’s commitment to defeat the Islamic State. They say he’s not doing enough to combat ISIL and complain that he doesn’t refer to them as “Islamic” extremists.
In all honesty, Fox News couldn’t care less about the effect their lies have on our country. They hate Obama more than they love America. Their number one priority is to take Obama down at any cost… and that’s what they do.
Case in point, on Wednesday, Fox News strategic analyst Ralph Peters played the Holocaust card. In response to a question from Bill Hemmer of “America’s Newsroom,” Peters spewed the following nonsense:
“You know, after the Holocaust and World War II, the world said ‘Never again.’ But Bill O’Reilly’s right; it’s happening again. And it is a genuine Holocaust against Christians.”
Peters continues his manufactured tirade by placing blame for this “Holocaust against Christians” squarely on Obama’s shoulders. He says:
“These Christians are kidnapped. Our President does nothing. Christians are tortured and even crucified publicly. Our president does nothing. Christian women are kidnapped and raped and raped again. Our President does nothing. Christians are driven from their homes in the middle east by the hundreds of thousands, slaughtered by the tens of thousands and our President does nothing.”
Then comes the coup de grâce. Peters takes a breath, then spits out a laughable comparison between our President and Pontius Pilate, the man implicated in the crucifixion of Jesus. Peters says:
“He is the reincarnation of Pontius Pilate washing his hands of it, but this blood’s not coming off.”
Peters goes on to complain that America’s coalition against ISIS is a lie, that our President would rather persecute Israel than go after the Islamic State and that Obama’s legacy is going to be an Iranian nuclear bomb.
When studies show only 11% of the “facts” aired by Fox News pundits are true, you would think Americans would find another place to get their news, right?

Republicans rejecting evolution

Eight-year-old Jack Osbourne reaches out to touch the teeth of a moving life-size Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur during a press launch of "Walking with Dinosaurs" at the O2 Arena in London on March 18, 2009.
Eight-year-old Jack Osbourne reaches out to touch the teeth of a moving life-size Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur
by Steve Benen
Why are Republican presidential hopefuls like Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal afraid to endorse evolutionary biology? Because they don’t want to alienate their party’s base.
Forty-nine percent of Republicans don’t believe in evolution, a new Public Policy Polling survey found Tuesday.
The poll by the Democratic-leaning firm found that 49 percent of Republicans said they do not believe in evolution while 37 percent said they do believe in evolution. Another 13 percent said they were not sure.
I was curious about the specific wording of the question, which turned out to be quite straightforward: “Do you believe in evolution or not?” A 49% plurality of Republicans said they do not.
This is obviously only one survey, though the results are roughly in line with what we’ve seen from other pollsters. Indeed, the evidence suggests support for evolutionary biology among Republicans has actually dropped in recent years.
On the surface, as we’ve discussed before, results like these are discouraging. There’s plenty to divide Americans, but scientific truths need not be one of them.
But I continue to wonder how much of this is sincere and how much of this is the result of tribalism.
It’s certainly possible that Republicans are, all of a sudden, turning against modern biology in greater numbers, but I think it’s more likely that in a time of stark polarization, partisans choose to stick to their “team.”
Paul Krugman had a good piece on this last year.
The point … is that Republicans are being driven to identify in all ways with their tribe – and the tribal belief system is dominated by anti-science fundamentalists. For some time now it has been impossible to be a good Republicans while believing in the reality of climate change; now it’s impossible to be a good Republican while believing in evolution.
It shouldn’t be this way, of course, but the alternative is believing that a big chunk of Republican voters have suddenly decided, for no reason, not to believe in modern biology.

Majority Of Republican Primary Voters Want To Violate The First Amendment

cross flag
A national poll of Republican primary voters conducted by Public Policy Polling finds that 57 percent of these voters support “establishing Christianity as the national religion.” The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
Only 30 percent of Republican voters believe that Congress should not make a law respecting an establishment of religion, according to the poll.
The same poll also finds that 74 percent of GOP primary voters have a favorable opinion of former President George W. Bush. Two-thirds (66%) do not believe in global warming, and a plurality (49%) do not believe in evolution.>

Wisconsin Senate Ignores Workers Pleas, Passes Bill That Crushes Rights

WisconsinThe Wisconsin state Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that cripples organized labor.
The Republican right-to-work bill was jammed through with no support from Democrats in a 17-15 vote after a mere eight hours of debate. The measure is now headed to the Republican-controlled Assembly, where the bill will be taken up next week and is expected to easily pass.
Republicans weren’t satisfied with the damage being done to laborers by the passage of the Act 10 bill in 2011, and now they want to twist the knife in the wound by passing the right-to-work bill, which will do nothing to create jobs or help the economy, but simply increase profits for corporations and CEOs by limiting unions’ resources and lessening their ability to bargain for workers’ rights.
Thousands of protesters flooded the Capitol on Tuesday and Wednesday, but as it did in 2011, their pleas fell on the deaf ears of legislators eager to further strip their rights.
Gov. Scott Walker has said that he will be giving the bill his blessings by signing it, even though he had asked legislators to hold off on the issue until next year so as not to do any more harm to his tainted image with workers should he choose to run for president in 2016.
Showing us once again that Walker is more concerned with his own political aspirations than he is with the welfare of the people of his state.

Texas Secessionists Shocked That Feds Raided Their Revolution-Planning Meeting

by Valerie Beaumont 
A group of Texas secessionists just can’t understand why law enforcement busted up their monthly revolution-planning meeting. “We had no idea what was going on,” said John Jarnecke, “President” of the “Republic of Texas.” He claimed, “We knew of nothing that would warrant such an action.”
Jarnecke said in a statement on the group’s web site:
“As if dangerous criminals, many of the Texian [sic] people — generally seniors of respected middle-class business, farming, broadcasting, engineering, scientific, health, veterans and faith-based backgrounds — were one-by-one physically searched on their person and in their vehicles, finger printed, detained and then had their personal belongings and property searched and seized.”
At least 20 law enforcement officers from various departments — the Bryan Police Department, the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office, the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office, Agents of the Texas District Attorney, the Texas Rangers and the FBI — raided the Bryan, Texas meeting hall where the group was to discuss their “national currency” and develop “international” relations.
Law enforcement fingerprinted and searched all 60 attendees at the meeting, and seized electronic evidence, including computers, cell phones and recording equipment, gold and silver, and thousands of dollars in cash, related to the secessionist group.
While Jarnecke may not “know” the reason for the raid — the feds do. The Houston Chronicle reports that the raid was a response to the group issuing unlawful summonses to a Kerr County judge and bank employee, demanding that they appear in the “Republic of Texas'” “court” at the Veterans and Foreign Wars building in Brian.
The judge and banker had been involved in a foreclosure of Republic of Texas member Susan Cammack’s home. Cammack signed the fraudulent summons, along with David Kroupa, a “judge” associated with the secessionist group. CNN reported at the time:
The standoff occurred in a remote area near Fort Davis, Texas, where members of the Republic of Texas separatist group seized the hostages as retaliation for the arrest of two group members. The group believes Texas should be an independent nation, and its leader Richard McLaren has been wanted since December on charges of avoiding a federal contempt citation.
The hostages were taken after the arrest of the Republic’s so-called chief of security, Bob Sheidt, early on Sunday. McLaren called that arrest a “kidnapping,” and the impetus for taking Joe Rowe and his wife, M.A. Rowe, as hostages.
McLaren said he also was angered by the arrest in Austin last Tuesday of group member Jo Ann Canady Turner on two contempt charges, stemming from a lien she filed against a moving company that stored her possessions after she was evicted. She was still in custody Sunday.
“When they arrested her, they enacted a declaration of war,” he said.
“You can’t just let people go around filing false documents to judges trying to make them appear in front of courts that aren’t even real courts,” said Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer. He says that, though they were only serving a misdemeanor search warrant, the “show of force” was because of worries that some of the extremists may become violent. He cited a 1997 incident when 300 state troopers were forced into a week-long standoff with a Republic leader.
“We’ve had years of bad press, but we’re not those people,” Jarnecke said of the’97 standoff. “But yes, we are still making every attempt to get independence for Texas and we’re doing it in a lawful international manner.”
The Chronicle notes that:
The Republic has a lengthy list of qualms with the federal government, among them that Texas was illegally annexed in 1845. But most of their complaints have to do with the behavior of the American legislature and executive. Robert Wilson, a senator in the Republic, equated politicians in Washington D.C. to the “kings and emperors” of the past, and sees Texas independence as part of a worldwide movement for local control.
“This is the century for colonialist ambitions to be reversed,” the 78-year-old pastor said. “I’ve watched a lot of things happen, and the people of the world are fed up. The spirit of the world right now is: make things smaller, move governments closer to home, take back self-rule.”
Jarnecke said he was being taxed by a foreign government that he feels doesn’t represent him, and protested having to fund bank bailouts and foreign wars.
“According to the U.S. Constitution, the only place any army should be is guarding our own borders, not invading and trying to impose their will on every other country of the world,” Jarnecke said.
Jernecke claims the group will not turn violent, but intends to work through the courts to gain international recognition of Texas an an independent entity. While he claims the methods are legal, Sheriff Hierholzer disputes that assertion:
“We’ve had a lot of dealings with Republic of Texas members in the past here, too, flooding the court with simulated documents. I don’t have any problem with them going back to the Republic of Texas but they need to do it through the proper legal channels.”
Jarnecke says that he and his group of revolutionaries are close to taking their case for independence to an international court, though he is not sure which one, yet.
“I’m positive we will get out independence back at some point in time,” he said. “Now we’re just trying to nip things in the bud ahead of time to make sure the people are the ones that have the power when it happens, not the government.”

Link Dump

Quick Hits

Young Lesbian Couple Beaten, Left For Dead In Homophobic Hate Crime
Rosin and Ciara- Image Credit: Queerty
We must end this kind of brutality. This is a hate crime, and it should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Read more ›
People Got All Sorts Of Offended When This Reporter Asked For Scott Walker’s Transcripts With dog 
People Got All Sorts Of Offended When This Reporter Asked For Scott Walker’s Transcripts With God (TWEETS)
Anyone with any smattering of a sense of humor would think what was said is funny — even Christians.
Read more ›
This Is The Most Depressing Statistic I’ve Ever Read In My Entire Life 
Featured image/Shrinking office space: Composite with cubicle photo (cc 2009 Asa Wilson via Wikipedia) and fear face from Becuo.Com image gallery.
America’s office workers have an astonishing thing in common with supermax prisoners, and you won’t believe what it is.
Read more ›

54% of Republicans believe, “deep down,” Obama is a Muslim

Alex Theodoridis of the University of California at Merced asked Republicans, Democrats, and Independents "Which of these do you think most likely describes what Obama believes deep down?"
They could choose from: Christian, atheist, Muslim, spiritual, or I don't know." Over half of Republicans answered "Muslim."
I wonder how much overlap there is between the 54% who believe Obama is a Muslim and the 11% who either believe or are unsure that the country is being run by shape-shifting lizard people?

'Jihadi John' unmasked

Investigators believe that the "Jihadi John" masked fighter who fronted Islamic State beheading videos is a British man named Mohammed Emwazi, two U.S. government sources said on Thursday.
He was born in Kuwait and comes from a prosperous family in London, where he grew up and graduated with a computer programming degree, according to the Washington Post.
In videos released by Islamic State (IS), the black-clad militant brandishing a knife and speaking with an English accent appears to have decapitated hostages including Americans, Britons and Syrians.
The Washington Post said Emwazi, who used the videos to threaten the West and taunt leaders such as President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron, was believed to have traveled to Syria around 2012 and to have later joined IS.
In each beheading video, he is dressed entirely in black, a balaclava covering all but his eyes and the ridge of his nose. He wears a holster under his left arm.
Hostages gave him the name John as he and other IS Britons had been nicknamed the Beatles. Another was dubbed George.
British government sources and the police refused to confirm or deny the report, citing a live anti-terrorism investigation, a position mirrored by a spokeswoman for Cameron.
"We don't confirm or deny matters relating to intelligence," the spokeswoman said. "I am not going to get into the details of an ongoing police and security investigation."
"We have said since we have seen the awful actions being taken by these terrorists that we are absolutely determined to bring the perpetrators to justice, and the police and the security agencies have been working hard to do that, continue to work hard to do that and that is what we want to see," she said.
Since a video surfaced in August 2014 showing a masked man raging against the United States before apparently beheading U.S. citizen James Foley off camera, "Jihadi John" has been one of the world's most hunted men.
Intelligence services in Britain and the United States were ordered to track down the masked man who became a menacing symbol of the brutality of IS. Authorities used a variety of investigative techniques including voice and facial recognition as well as interviews with former hostages.
The services had chosen not to disclose his name for operational reasons.
There was no answer at addresses in London where Emwazi was listed as living.
The Post quoted one of Emwazi’s close friends as saying: "I have no doubt that Mohammed is Jihadi John. He was like a brother to me . . . I am sure it is him."
The Post quoted the friends of Emwazi, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying they thought he had started to become radicalized after a planned safari in Tanzania following his graduation from the University of Westminster in London.
They said Emwazi and two friends — a German convert to Islam named Omar and another man, Abu Talib — never made it to the safari. On landing in Dar es Salaam, in May 2009, they were detained by police and held overnight before eventually being deported, they added.
In a statement, the University of Westminster said a Mohammed Emwazi had left the college six years ago. "If these allegations are true, we are shocked and sickened by the news," a spokesperson said.
The Post said Emwazi claimed that representatives from Britain's MI5 security service had tried to recruit him. He later tried to move to Kuwait but was detained by counter terrorism officials in Britain in 2010.
Emwazi was prevented from traveling but eventually found a way to Syria in 2012, it added.

Why You Should Enjoy Bill O’Reilly’s Suffering

by Jesse Berney
BillOBill O’Reilly continues to deny that he has ever told a lie in his entire career as a reporter, no matter how much evidence piles up against him. And I still believe this strategy will work for him. O’Reilly isn’t going to be fired, or suspended, or miss a single broadcast because of the latest controversy.
Fox News doesn’t care about his credibility. He doesn’t have credibility. What he has is an audience who believes every word he says, and reports from Mother Jones or The Washington Post aren’t going to change that.
But even if O’Reilly keeps his show until his entire audience dies off — which given their age, could be any day now — this is still a great story that you should enjoy. Why?
Because O’Reilly is a genuinely bad person.
If you’ve watched his show for more than 10 minutes, you already know that he is not a nice man. He yells at people. He makes stuff up. If you don’t agree with him, you are a pinhead or worse.
But maybe that’s just the character he plays on TV? Maybe in real life he’s warm and cuddly, kind to puppies and children.
BillOExcept the most remarkable thing about the stories that have surfaced recently has been the flood of former co-workers — at CBS, at that station in Dallas — who have come out and spoken on the record, under their own names, about how O’Reilly is a jerk, a liar, and a crappy reporter. That’s not something that happens to nice guys.
Of course, O’Reilly is already famous for accusations of on-set tantrums, sexual harassment, and even using the local police as his own personal private detective agency. There never has  been any serious question about whether he’s a nice guy.
Look, he is keeping his job at Fox; you can bet on it. But you can also bet he is furious that he has to defend himself from public accusations of being a liar — and that people he worked with don’t see the hero he sees when he looks in the mirror.
So take a moment, and imagine how terrible the last week has been for Bill O’Reilly. That’s something we can — and should — all enjoy.